Sidney got home and called out Misty’s name. Sam and Bauer greeted him as he walked in, but he received no response from Misty. After giving each dog attention he headed for the back door. He knew where Misty would be if she wasn’t in the house. He stopped at the door and glanced out the window.
Misty was sitting at the end of the dock staring out at the lake. She did this a lot. Misty had told him that she loved just sitting there in the quiet. He gave her a few minutes, just watching her sit there before he made his way outside to join her. She turned and smiled up at him as he reached the end of the dock.
“How was dinner with your parents?” she asked as he sat down next to her. He gave her a quick kiss before responding.
“It was good. Mom and Taylor said they hope you don’t have to work next time so you can join us.” She released a sigh.
“Troy didn’t share the sentiments?” He saw the look on her face, and felt bad that she’d noticed that he’d left his father out of his statement.
His father had been absolutely awful to Misty since they’d gotten there for the summer. He hardly acknowledged her when she was around. In fact, he almost went out of his way to be less than pleasant to her sometimes. Then when she wasn’t around he always found a way to get on Sidney’s case about what he could possibly see in her. It was grating his nerves, that was for sure.
He didn’t know why his father couldn’t see what everyone else did. Misty loved him for who he was, not what he had. She went out of her way to make sure she made his life as easy as possible. She made him laugh, cheered him up when he was upset, and let him vent when that’s all he needed. She’d become his rock.
He’d tried to tell his father that. He’d tried for a little while at the beginning of the summer to get them together whenever he could so that his dad could see the kind of person she really was. For whatever reason, his dad refused to see it. It was like he’d put on blinders when it came to Misty.
“He didn’t mention you, no,” Sidney replied as he slipped an arm around Misty. She leaned back into him and rested her head on his shoulder.
“Well, that’s a plus. Usually he has something so pleasant to say.”
“I’m so sorry he’s like that,” Sidney apologized for what must have been the millionth time. Misty turned her head to look up at him and gave him a smile.
“It’s not your fault. There’s no reason for you to apologize. I’ll win him over someday. I’m not sure when, but it’ll happen.”
Her attitude about his dad never ceased to amaze him. It would be so easy for her to stop trying, to give up. He wouldn’t blame her if she went around complaining about him, but she didn’t. She just put a smile on her face and kept her mouth shut when something he did upset her. No other girl he’d ever even introduced to his parents had hesitated to complain about his dad, but not Misty. That was just something else that he loved about her, because who wants to hear how much their significant other hates their parents?
“I don’t ever want to leave this place,” Misty said after a few moments of silence.
“It means a lot that you love it here just as much as I do,” he told her.
“Maybe more,” she joked with a little laugh.
He glanced down at the surface of the water and watched her swing her feet, the balls of them barely skimming the surface of the water, and he knew. He wasn’t going to do it this summer because he knew they both weren’t ready, but he knew he was going to propose to her, and he knew how he was going to do it. He pressed his lips to her forehead and she giggled.
“I love you,” she whispered as if she could tell what he was thinking.
“I love you, too.”
She shifted, turning her body to face him before placing both hands on either side of his face and kissing him. He didn’t think he’d ever get enough of that. As they kissed she climbed onto his lap and wrapped her arms around his neck.
“Should we head inside?” she asked, following that question with a few light kisses trailing down from his ear to his collarbone.
“You keep doing that and we won’t make it that far.” She giggled again, as he lifted her up and carried her towards the house. He groaned as she continued placing kisses in strategic places. “You’re pure evil.” That same giggle had him practically running through the door to get inside.
“It’s going to be fine,” Zara tried to assure me. I pushed my bangs off my forehead and looked at her in the mirror.
“It just keeps getting worse every time I see him. I don’t know what to do anymore,” I confided.
“You’ve just got to kill him with kindness. He can’t hate you forever,” Valerie chimed in. The three of us were getting ready for a barbecue at Sidney’s parents’ house and I was not looking forward to seeing Troy again
“I’ve been so kind I’ve nearly killed myself,” I groaned, taking a straightener to my hair.
“The more he gets to know you, the more he’ll like you. I don’t know anyone that can resist the Misty Harris charm. He’s just more stubborn than most,” Zara stated.
“I hope you’re right.”
“What the hell’s going on up there? It’s an outdoor barbecue for fuck’s sake!” we heard Walker yell. The three of us laughed before walking out of the bathroom and meeting the guys downstairs.
A couple of hours later I was helping Trina set the food out for dinner. So far I’d managed to avoid talking to Troy past saying hello when we’d arrived. I wasn’t sure if it had been because I was avoiding him, he was avoiding me, or a combination of the two. I ran into the house to grab another bowl of salad since the first one was empty and ran into Troy grabbing a few beers out of the refrigerator.
We both looked at each other in surprise, not expecting to be alone in the house at any point together. After I got over the initial shock I smiled at him and made my way to the refrigerator where he was still standing. He didn’t smile back, and actually narrowed his eyes at me as I moved closer to him.
“I just need to grab the other bowl of salad to replace the bowl that’s empty,” I explained as I approached.
“Why are you doing this?” he asked. I had no idea what ‘this’ entailed.
“Everything. Helping Trina with the food. Living with Sidney for the summer. Working here instead of back home. Going to school in Pittsburgh. Dating my son.” I clenched my jaw and took a deep breath before answering so I wouldn’t snap.
“I just want to be happy and doing all of that makes me happy.” He gave me a look that told me he didn’t believe a word of it.
“I’m sure being with a famous millionaire makes you really happy.”
“I didn’t go looking for that. I just happened to fall for a guy with that lifestyle. You think I’m looking forward to the day that the world discovers I’m Sid’s girlfriend? I dread it. I stress about it almost every day. If I didn’t love him so damn much I would have run the other way a long time ago.”
“I’m sure you would have.” His outright accusation was it for me. I was officially done trying to be nice. If he wasn’t going to make an effort, than I wasn’t going to either.
“I’m no gold digger or puck slut, Troy, and to be honest I’m sick and tired of you treating me like I am. Everyone else who has ever met me can see that I’m with Sidney because I’m truly in love with him, not because I’m using him. I don’t know why you’re the only one blind to that. All I know is that I’m not going anywhere and you’re going to have to get used to that fact. It’s time to realize that your son is an adult and doesn’t need you making decisions for him anymore. Let him go, Troy. You have another child to worry about. Her name is Taylor. She'd love a little attention once in a while.”
I didn’t wait for a response. I took the bowl of salad and walked back out the door with it. I paused to calm myself for a moment and then carried the bowl to the table that was set up with the food. I felt a hand on my back and turned to see Sidney standing there, a look of concern on his face.
“Are you okay?” he asked. I forced a smile onto my face and nodded. Now was not the time or the place to tell him what had transpired in the kitchen.
“Yeah, I’m fine. Just a little tired. I think I need to eat something.” He placed a kiss on my temple and reached over to grab a plate.
“Then stop working so damn hard to help host and eat something,” he said with a smile. I took the plate from him and filled it with food before making my way over to the table where our friends were sitting to eat.
Troy and I didn’t have any more run-ins that night. In fact we both avoided each other like the plague. I was upset by the confrontation, but I tried to act like nothing had happened and put on a brave face even though I was terrified about what the result of my words would be. All I knew was that I hoped someday we’d at least be able to be civil to each other.