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. Hi guys and thank you for reading my story! Not making any money here, just another fan.

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Right outside Sydney, there was a 17 year old boy sitting in his room in front of his computer. His room was at the top floor of the big house and through the window you could see a beautiful garden. Robert Jonathan Chase was waiting for his father to pick him up. They would celebrate his birthday (that had occurred three weeks ago). He was just about to turn off the computer when he heard a knock on the door from downstairs.

"I'll take it", he yelled to let his mom know that she didn't need to answer. He didn't want her to answer, but too late . . .

"Rowan, what the hell are you doing here?" Victoria asked, dressed in a not ironed dirty old dress.

The man in front of her took a step back from her alcoholic breath. Rowan had, since the divorce two years ago, tried to avoid meetings with his ex-wife as much as possible. All the negotiations had been dealt with through a lawyer, he hadn't quarreled over the alimony or she keeping the house. He told himself he didn't feel guilty for the way she lived and that it wasn't that bad. Ok, she didn't have a job, but she didn't have to, he provided all the money she needed . . . So he couldn't see his son every day, he hadn't done that before the divorce either. It was a shame, he missed the boy sometimes, but Robert had chosen to live with his mother, despite Rowans offer to live with him and his new wife, Caroline. Maybe it was for the best to let his son live where he wished. But sometimes that opinion was hard to hold on to, especially while seeing the boy's mother in this state. However, he pretended he didn't notice. "Hello Victoria, I'm here to pick up Robert."

Victoria didn't react too well. "The hell you are! since when? Did you suddenly decide that you wanted to be a dad now?" She slurred a little bit and had a hard time focusing on her ex-husband. She turned by the sound of Robert coming down the stairs, dressed in a green shirt and beige trousers. "You're going out?" She made an effort to talk straight, which made her voice shiver a little, making it sound even more hurt.

"Mom, we talked about this. I would eat with dad and then come home, remember?" He said with a quiet patient voice.

"On a Wednesday?"

"Mom, it's Saturday." He said, his voice even lower.

"Are you sure? I thought . . . well, don't be to late . . . homework and school and all that." She said looking at Rowan as to show him that she could take care of her son. Robert looked at his father, begging him with his eyes not to say anything to embarrass his mother. But Rowan just started to walk towards his car.

"See you later, mom. Don't wait up" Knowing that she probably would have passed out by the time he returned, Robert kissed his mum and went after his dad.


It was a fancy restaurant. Robert remembered birthdays and anniversaries being celebrated with the family. It used to be his favorite. When they had ordered Rowan tried to make conversation, but it mostly turned out as awkward small talk.

"So, Robert, how's school?"

"Fine, I'm doing well in most of the subjects." Robert replied without any enthusiasm and barely making eye contact with his father.

"Good, that's good and do you spend a lot of time with your friends?"

"I guess."

Rowan sighed. "Robert, I'm sorry about your birthday. I meant to call but I had a surgery that went over time and it became really late and . . ."

"Don't worry about it." Another awkward silence

"Liked your present?" Rowan remembered the stereo his wife had shown him before sending it to his son. Apparently, it was the best on the market and every teenage boy wanted one. He hadn't thought much about it, but had added some hundreds on the boy's trust fund.

"Yeah, the stereo is great." Robert thought of when the stereo had arrived and how his mom had gone on and on about how his awful father just tried to silence his bad conscience and tried to buy his love, even though she had been drunk and slept through most of his birthday.

"Wish for a car next year?" Rowan smiled and actually managed to get a small smile back.

"Maybe, I don't know. I haven't got a driver's license yet."

"But you're taking classes, right? Rowan asked feeling embarrassed over how little he knew about his son's life. He didn't have a clue, not even of the most basic things.

"Nah, well I started just that I don't have that much time . . ."

"Well if there any financial problems just let me know."

"Sure" Why not? That was the only way his dad took any part in his life: financially.

A chubby waitress with a nice smile saved them from another awkward silence. They ate their meals and talked some more. Rowan asked his son some more about his school and Robert asked his father about work at the hospital and his new book. Nothing too personal. When they were done Rowan asked if he wanted dessert.

"No thanks, I . . . Dad, is it ok if we leave now? I promised mom not to be too late" For a brief moment Robert wondered why he bothered lying when they both knew the real reason. Then he remembered 'right, we're playing convenient reality', he thought bitterly.

"Sure, just let me pay."


Rowan drove them back to the house, where the lights were all off, except in the living room. Robert knew that either meant that his mother was still up or that she had passed out on the couch; he had learned to expect the latter.

"Hope you had a good time, Robert. I wish we could do this more often." As soon as the word had left his mouth, he regretted them, fully aware who was to blame for the scarceness of their moments together.

"Yeah, me too . . . You want to come in?" Robert asked already knowing the answer.

"I don't think that would be a good idea."

"Ok, bye" Robert was about to open the door.

"Robbie, I . . . are you sure you still want to live here. I know I'm not home a lot, but at least at my place you wouldn't have to . . ." He stopped himself before he did anything stupid, like comparing Victoria to his new wife.

Robert refused to look at him. He hates the concern in his father's voice. 'It's not real, if it were, he wouldn't have left mom, then he would be taken care of her, of us'. "Mom needs me, I'm her son, and at least you used to be her husband. You left and . . . I need to take care of her."

Rowan sighed heavily "Robert, you're 17, you're not supposed to . . ."

"Don't worry about me, it should be easy for you, just do what you normally do" he said and left the car.

"Robbie!" His father yelled and he turned.

"Yeah?" Robert spat, staring into his father's eyes, challenging him to continue.

"Love you, son." And with that Robert ran back and hugged his father. He almost started to cry.

"I miss you, dad."

"I know and I miss you too." Then the doctor's beeper went off, hospital emergency. And with that he drove away leaving his son to deal with his alcoholic mother.


TBC

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