Three homework assignments and twenty rounds of Solitaire later from arriving home from school, and still no sign of her dad. Nancy had been killing time on the living room couch in front of the TV, drinking cup after cup of coffee and playing endless rounds of Solitaire over the coffee table.
It was past midnight, hours after Donald's usual arrival time, when the front door unlocked and Donald himself burst through. He took a couple steps forward before stumbling forward and leaning against the railing of the stairs, groaning under his breath. He was drunk.
After Donald, in came a mid-thirties man in a police uniform. Roman Campbell, Donald's partner on the force.
"Hey Nancy," he said to Nancy, giving her a small awkward wave, "How you doing?"
"Fine," she answered, her gaze still on her father hunched and rubbing his head with the knuckles of his fist. The current situation made an otherwise friendly meeting tense and uncomfortable.
After a moment, Donald finally took notice of the alarm system beeping from the front door being opened. He stumbled over to the keypad and squinted his eyes to help focus them, though it didn't seem to help as he kept punching the wrong numbers. So, Nancy rose up from the couch and strode over beside her dad and punched in the numbers for him, disarming it. After she did so, Donald turned to her, glaring at her with blood-shot eyes.
"What the hell're you still doin' up?" he slurred.
"I just," Nancy answered with a shrug of her shoulders, "thought I'd wait up for you."
"Well, uh'm home now," Donald slurred some more, "s'now we can both get our butts to bed."
With that, Donald began to work his way up the stairs. When he set foot on the first step, Roman moved to assist him, but Donald shrugged him off him. "I don' need yer help walkin' up some damn stairs," he snarled, continuing to trek up the stairs, moving on into the bathroom.
"Thanks for giving my dad a ride," Nancy said to Roman, who was standing leaned back against the wall with his arms crossed over his chest.
"No problem," he told her. "He's taking all this pretty hard," he continued to tell her, "He's even decided to take a few days off to, you know, get himself straightened out."
"You sure you two'll be okay?" he then asked her.
"We'll be fine," she answered, not looking at him but down at her bare feet, "Good night Roman."
She then began to walk towards the stairs so she could go up herself.
"Hey, wait," Roman then said, stopping Nancy in her tracks. "You know, if you ever need anything, like help or somebody you can talk to," he told her, placing a reassuring hand on her shoulder, "I'm always there, for you and your dad."
As much as she appreciated his kindness, his touch, though purely innocent and friendly, made her skin crawl. She pulled her shoulder out from under his hand and took a step back, moving one step up the stairs.
"Thanks Roman," she said meekly, rubbing her forearm, scratching the handprint burned into her skin through her sleeve, "I'll see you around."
"See ya," Roman said before exiting through the front door.
After he was gone, Nancy reset the alarm, then collected her playing cards and mug from off the coffee table before taking them and herself up to her room. As she passed the bathroom, she could hear her father heaving and retching into the toilet through the door. She had one long night ahead of her.
OMG! Can you believe it!? At last, a new chapter! Hopefully the rest of this won't take nearly as long as this did to complete. Just have to wait & see