What Her Dad Doesn't Know(7)

By: Lila Younger

“Thanks for helping me back there,” I say once I’ve calmed down. “That was close.”

“It was. Are you going to be okay?”

“I think so. I might have to enroll in some self defense classes,” I say, only half kidding.

“So why are you working there anyways?” He says it casually, like he doesn’t care, but I know that he does. I’m his best friend’s daughter, so naturally he’s looked out for me most of my life. I glance over but his eyes are on the road. Should I tell him? He already promised he wouldn’t tell my dad so I risk it.

“I lost my scholarship. It was... stupid. I got cocky after the first year, and I thought it’d be easy to keep my grades up. And there was this sorority that I’d joined. I didn’t even realize until it was too late. I just... I just wanted to have the college experience for once.”

It’s embarassing to say all this out loud. My parents had been so proud of me when they learned that I had gotten a scholarship to the exclusive liberal arts college I was studying at. They couldn’t stop talking about it. My dad only had a high school education. After coming back from the war he took over managing one of grandpa’s hardware stores. My mom worked as a nursing assistant. It was a good life, but I knew they wanted more for me. I just hoped that I hadn’t messed it up too badly.

“And did you?” he asks.

I think of the drunken nights out with my friends, coming back to the dorms at 3 in the morning and ordering pizza. I think about the awful hangovers the next morning. I think about my first encounter with a guy, who came after five minutes and collapsed on top of me, falling asleep immediately. I wasn’t saving myself for ‘The One’, but as first times go, that one stunk. I still make a u-turn when I think I see the guy on campus.

“I guess. I’m reformed now though. It wasn’t worth the price I had to pay.”

“So now you’re working there so that you won’t have to tell your dad.”

I could tell from the way Andrew was drumming his fingers on the wheel that he didn’t think much of my plan. After tonight, I didn’t either. The tips were great, but I didn’t know what I would have done if Andrew hadn’t been around tonight. I didn’t want to think about it. I was going to have to quit and find something else, but what? I was a college student with a limited amount of time and almost zero experience. Double D was the best I could get, short of stripping.

“Pretty much,” I say. “It’s not that bad. Tonight was just an off night.”

“What are you studying at school?” he asks after a few moments.

“I’m in business school. I chose marketing, but I’m thinking about changing to management. I- I want to start my own jewelry company one day. I’ve got pages and pages of designs, but I haven’t had a chance to do more than that.”

“Were those the sketches you used to make all the time on everything you could get your hands on?” he asks.

I blush and nod. I’d been designing things all my life, but it’s only in the past few years that my doodling has become serious. I’ve even got a few collections, inspired from different things in my life, like our family trip to Italy last year, and the different phases of the moon. It sounds ridiculously pretentious to say it out loud though, so I don’t. I haven’t told anyone what I wanted to do, only Andrew. Somehow he always makes me feel relaxed enough that I can tell him anything without worrying that he’d judge me.

“You know, there are internships at my company. I don’t know how many and if they’re filled yet, but that’s something you could do instead. It’d be a lot safer.”

“It would...”

The idea of working for Andrew is thrilling. I could see him everyday, and we’d have intelligent chats about stocks and meetings and what the next big thing is. I’m already imagining us having business lunches and cocktails where the conversation turns serious and we get to know one another better. Maybe he’ll even start to like me. I’m smiling now, and starting to feel ridiculously hopeful. It could happen. It does, at least in the movies. And there’s got to be a grain of truth in those stories, or they wouldn’t tell them right?

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