How did I not see it coming? This is Dad I’m talking about, the same guy who blasts a search light into the sky from our backyard every Saturday night to let me know curfew was up. Like I was Batman.
It was his fault I had no friends. A boyfriend? Forget it. Being the daughter of a special forces intelligence sergeant was hard, being his mother was worse. Being both was impossible.
It infuriates me, thinking about him watching from the rooftop as I pulled into the gravel drive of the “Gentle Endodontics” office for a root canal.
I entered the low-slung government building just off the base, shrugging it off to Dad being cheap again. Even as I walked into the windowless waiting room and fanned through the Guns and Ammo magazines, sitting on a bench lining the bare walls under the inducing calm of flickering fluorescent lighting, I never thought he would slink to this new low.
A nervous looking thug in nursing scrubs waved me back. He was tall, with hairy forearms that did little to hide the scars on his arms. Black eyes and cauliflower ears. Yeah, Igor might have spent some time in people’s mouths, but it was too extract answers, or teeth, in whatever order necessary.
I rolled my eyes at his small talk, something about Beirut. A quick scan and I noticed he was packing a Glock on his hip as he laid out his tools.
It’s not that I’m brave. Only that I’ve never known a human with working parts. Mom took off when I was three and Dad’s buddies came hobbling over to the house to raise me. They were guys with more experience with IED’s than childcare. A leg gone here, missing fingers, mangled ears, scars, burns. My tea parties were something out of a Stephen King Novel. They changed my diapers until I could change theirs. Needless to say, there were no women around.
So Igor didn’t exactly set my hair on fire. I took my seat and closed my eyes. I quickly fell into a dream about Tyler Inge and his dimples and the way he might have smiled at me yesterday. Igor grunted and mumbled but the lug had the touch of a pianist. I woke up an hour and a half later and he did the scariest thing he did that whole day: he grinned.
I rubbed my jaw and cursed Dad and his thriftiness. What I should have noticed was only my father made guys like Igor nervous. And sure enough when I got home, the interrogator asked zero questions about the whole thing. Something was up. The next day, when Tyler asked me out to a party, I found out what that something was.
Tyler picked me up at the address two streets over that I’d given him as my own (what? I’ve been raised by Jason Bourne. I have trust issues). I hopped in his car around eight. The plan was to hit up a party over at Riverdale. I knew it was sketchy just as soon as we arrived. And yeah, okay sure, perhaps Tyler was sketchy too, but I’m only human and have a weakness for dimples.
Only now it was like a voice inside my head was telling me this was a bad idea. Probably because a voice inside my head was telling me this was a bad idea.
Come in Eagle Wing, this is Fox Blast. Exit now. You don’t want to be here. Over…
I stopped cold. Dad was in my head. More specifically, my tooth. But a quick scan showed he was right, even if he was using our stupid code names. People on the roof, drinking. Liquor bottles in the lawn. The smell of weed pluming from the screen windows. Neighbors were outside. This party was a bust waiting to happen. But that Dad was talking to me only made me want to enter.
Tyler was a few steps ahead of me when he turned, looking hot in his confusion. “You okay?”
Nope. I was a girl with a freaking two-way radio in my tooth. A quick count of the so many ways I was going to kill my Dad.
Eagle Wing. I know you’re upset with me. But listen, Do not enter that building. Use your head!
That he would do this. Just when I met someone, too. I jammed my tongue in my tooth and took Tyler’s hand. ”Yeah, I’m fine.”
We took the porch. Tyler offered me a drink. That little voice in my head calling after me Eagle Wing! Report back to base immediately…Eagle Wing!
Sorry Dad, but it was time for a little radio silence. A girl needs to make some bad decisions once in a while.