Flowers for Olivia

Why does my father have a gun?

I think Sam is going to kiss me. It’s only fair, this is our second date. Since the first time I saw him walking around campus, I thought he was cute. He has such a sweet smile and an innocent look, he seems like a good boy, the kind you can trust. Maybe boy is not the right word, after all, he is three years older than me, he just turned 23. So basically, he’s already a man. He’s graduating from college this year and soon he will be fully immersed in the adult life. I envy that. I crave the freedom he’s getting.

My hands are sweaty, my heart is pounding in my chest. We are entering my street when the car stops I’ll know for sure if he likes me as much as I like him. If he doesn't kiss me, I’ll become a nun... ok, I won’t, but I’ll be pretty disappointed.

He pulls the car over in front of my house. My pulse accelerates. What is wrong with me? He is not even that good looking, he is cute, although he looks like an average Starbucks hipster, totally not my style. But he listens to me when I talk and he has a good sense of humor. I cannot put a price on that, most people in my life never listen to me, they just try to get me out of the way, especially my parents. My dad spends all of his time working and my mom is always either too mad at my dad for something he did or too tired to notice me. Neither of them ever take the time to get to know me or what I want.    

“Well, here we are,” says Sam shyly.

“Yep, this is my house,” I reply trying to sound relaxed.

I look away. I must be chill, not let him know how fidgety I really feel. I look out the window and see my house. It’s the biggest on our street in one of the nicest neighborhoods in town. The lights on each of the three floors are on. My mom must be arraigning our furniture for the fifth time this month, annoying our maids beyond words. I pity them, I also pity my mother and her strange ways. Or maybe my dad has one of his business meetings. He usually brings his employees to the house. I know most of them only by sight, my dad doesn't like it when I speak to his workers. I don't know why, I mean, they are just florists like him, but he gets cranky even if I say “hello” to them, so I’ve learned to ignore their presence in my house.

My mom calls them “the intruders” because they always come and go as if this was their home too. I feel the name intruders is appropriate not only because they invade our home, but because they always act suspiciously like they have something important going on aside from the exotic flower import (that’s what my dad’s business does). They always wear suits and have a “don’t mess with me” attitude, which I find really excessive for men who trade flowers from South America and Asia.

Whatever the reason, if it’s because of my mom or the intruders, the point is that there is a lot of activity in my house and that’s not good for me. I told my parents I’ll be out with Miranda, my best friend since middle school, if they see me with a guy they’re going to get really mad.

Maybe I should tell Sam to go, but I’m not ready to say goodbye just yet. He gets out of the car and walks to my side to open the door for me. I smile, he’s such a gentleman. He offers me his hand to help me out of the car and I take it. I know I should send him home right away.  Someone might see us from a window and I could get in trouble. Even though I’m 20 years old, my parents don’t allow me to date anyone. It’s not that they are super religious or anything like that. It’s just that they see a threat in every guy that approaches me. I can’t really blame them, my brother was murdered last year when some idiot burglar tried to steal his wallet and he resisted. It’s been really painful for all of us, I dropped out of college and moved back home to be with my parents and they have prohibited me to date anyone ever since. To be fair, they’ve never been cool with me going out with guys, even before, but the situation definitely worsened after we lost my brother. Out of respect for their pain, I have gone along with the “no dating” rule for the last year, but I had a crush on Sam since a while back and when he asked me out I just couldn't say no.

He walks with me to the front porch of the house and smiles.

“I had a really nice time,” I say in a rush.

“Me too. You are really nice when you relax, Olivia,” he says.

“When I relax?” I ask confused.

“Yes, most of the time you were looking over your shoulder as if you were nervous someone was following us, but there were a few moments when you relaxed, and those were really cool.”

I blush. I had no idea my paranoia with my parents was so evident. I promise myself to be better next time. I would love to be honest with him about why I seemed so nervous on our date, but he is going to think I’m such a loser. The 20-year-old girl how’s not allowed to go on dates. Lame.

“Sorry about that. I really did enjoy our date,” I say with a smile.

“I’m glad because I like you very much.”

“Me too,” I whisper.

He leans forward. He is going to kiss me! I close my eyes awaiting to feel his lips on mine. I feel him approaching, but then he suddenly pulls away.

“Who do you think you are? You piece of scum!”

I open my eyes the second I hear my dad yelling. I gasp in horror. My dad has Sam on his knees, with one hand he pulls his brown man bun to force Sam to face him and on the other, he’s holding a gun. Why does my dad have a gun?

“What the...” Squeals Sam in pain.

“Dad, please, stop!” I beg mortified.

“Do you think you can come to my house and take advantage of my daughter?” He asks without paying attention to me.

My dad throws Sam against the ground. His head hits the pavement hard. I cover my mouth with both of my hands, bewildered. A bunch of intruders step out of the house and, for a second, I think they’re going to stop my dad, but they just watch undaunted as my dad assaults an innocent guy.

Nina AM

Edited: 02.12.2020

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