When Angels Cry
Chapter 1: Growing Up
Growing up, I was the only child of divorced parents. I don't remember a time when I had both parents living under the same roof -or in the same state- because they divorced when I was an infant. My mom took me with her, my father only getting the occasional quickly scrawled note with a picture for the first five years.
Then, my questions about why other kids in school had both mommies and daddies, when I only had a mommy, must have gotten to my mother. Well, it was either that, or she finally gave in to my father's demands of spending time with me.
From then on, it seemed like I had two lives. One with my dad, Charlie, the other with my mom, Renee. I still lived with my mom during the school year, but on breaks during the summer and a week for Christmas, I loved spending time with my dad.
He was my hero, growing up, because he was a cop. He always took time away from the station when I was with him, but on the rare occasions that he got called in, I remember watching his routine with excitement... just waiting for my hug when he returned.
He would always take his uniform jacket off to hang it on the rack by the door, then take the clip out of his gun, making sure there wasn't a bullet in the chamber. His gun belt would go on the rack with the empty gun in the holster, while the clip would always be locked into the closet safe next to the rack.
Once the door was closed, finally it was safe to run to him. I was usually in his arms and being swung around within seconds of him closing that closet door.
I thought life was great... that I wasn't missing anything... and life continued the same way until I turned 14. My mom met Phil, who was a minor league baseball player at the time. She was instantly taken with him. She turned into a tittering and blushing preteen every time someone mentioned his name.
At first I didn't see the big deal. I had my friends, but I didn't act that way around them. What was so special about Mom's new friend Phil?
I found out what was so special after Phil had been spending a lot of time with us. He wasn't just a friend, because I spotted them kissing in the kitchen during my 15th birthday party. My mom was falling in love with him. By the looks of him, the feelings were returned.
It wasn't long before they sat me down to tell me that they were getting married. I had to miss my summer vacation with my dad that year, due to my mom's insistence that it was the perfect time to be married in Mexico. I was a bridesmaid, therefore I had to attend. I can't say that I didn't have fun, but I missed my dad dearly by the time school rolled around again.
Needless to say, I was highly upset when I found out I wouldn't be seeing my dad again the next summer, either. Phil had a chance to sign with a major league team, but there was a signing event that we all needed to attend. I wanted to thrash and scream like a three-year-old, but there was a catch. I couldn't see ruining this for Phil, when he had been the best thing to happen to my mom.
From the beginning, he seemed to naturally be able to calm down her more flighty tendencies. He also had a true knack for talking her out of her most dangerous ideas, while indulging in her more tame ones. Tarot card reading, herbal remedies, and yoga were a few of her fads, among too many others to count.
So you see, I couldn't very well ruin this signing event for Phil, just because I wanted to see my dad for the summer.
When Phil's practices and away schedule became more demanding during my next year at school, my junior year, I started noticing my mom's behavior changing. She was fine when Phil was home, but I could see the depression start taking hold when he went away for a game. It only took me a month into school being back in for me to make my decision, because I could practically feel the longing in her to travel with Phil.
I sat them down after dinner once I had worked everything out, saying, “I think I want to go stay with Dad for a while. He hasn't had the chance to have me living with him, and if I wait too much longer, that time will have run out. I'll be off to college, then finding my own place after that. I miss him, and if he agrees, I think it would be really good for both of us.”
After much discussion, it was planned that when I went out for Christmas, I would be staying instead of flying back. It wasn't what I would have preferred, but I understand them wanting me to have time to pack and ship all of the things that I would want in Washington with me. Among those, was buying an actual winter wardrobe to have shipped before I arrived, since the weather in Florida was completely different from what it was in Washington during the winter months. They only had one stipulation, which I fell in love with as soon as I laid eyes on it.
When I first started to learn how to drive, Phil gave me a 'learning truck'. It was an old dodge manual-transmission pickup; it wasn't pretty by any means, but it helped me learn how to drive. I was surprised as hell when Phil and Mom dragged me out of the house, the Saturday after the plans to move were finalized, taking me to a used Dodge dealer. Phil smiled as he explained, “Baby Girl, we've talked about the weather in Washington with Charlie, and there's no way that old pickup will make it in the winter there. The three of us agreed to one stipulation... that you get rid of the truck you have, so your mom and I get you a truck that will get you through Washington winters safely.”
My eyes went wide. I think I actually squealed my response as I tackled them in a hug, “Really? Really truly? Holy shit, this is awesome!”
Mom chuckled, “Really truly, Bella. Come on. Let's go find you a new truck. I know you've been looking online for a while, so maybe we can find you something similar here.”
We walked around the lot for a bit, but when I spied a cherry red Ram 1500 crew cab, I knew I had to have it. I instantly went over, opened the driver door, then popped the hood latch. After lifting the hood, I climbed up onto the driver-side tire to be able to check things out. Phil called out with a chuckle, “Find something that interests you?”
I nodded back excitedly as I spied all of the aftermarket upgrades under the hood, saying, “Give me another minute, and I may just fall in love.”
I hopped down, slid underneath the truck, then practically moaned, “It's official... I'm in love.”
Mom giggled, then said, “Well, what do you see? I'm not crawling under a truck in these jeans.”
I slid back out, stood up, then said as I brushed myself off, “First off, I don't see signs of any leaks or lack of maintenance. Second... and again I say, I'm seriously in love... it has Incubus Recoil rims and tires, plus over two grand in just the SkyJacker lift kit, not including the other eight bills dropped into the Rancho RS9000XL shocks under this beauty. Seriously, Phil. You should look under there. You saw all the aftermarket power upgrades under the hood, right?”
He chuckled as he hugged me, then did actually bend to look underneath the truck. He let out a long whistle, then beamed at me, “I take it we're ready for a test drive?”
I couldn't contain my excitement as I grabbed their hands and drug them toward the sales office, “Well, come on, slowpokes. I'd like to drive my truck and get a feel for it.”
It felt like forever after the test drive, but a little over an hour later, I was driving off the lot in my new-to-me truck. Mom and Phil knew I wanted to go show it off to my friends, so they let me go my own way after making me promise to be careful, as well as back home in time for dinner. I drove it for a bit after I met all of my friends at the usual hangout spot, loving how it handled on the off-road trails. Ultimately, I think I made it home with only 3 minutes to spare.
It was a sad day a week before the move, because school was letting out for winter break, and my truck was being shipped to Dad's house. The company came to pick it up in the car hauler, causing me to chuckle loudly at the only highlight of the day as they tried to strap my truck in, “I told you it was a beast, and to make sure to bring long enough straps. Guess you believe me now, right?”
I think they were slightly peeved that a little female knew better than them, because I didn't receive a response as they pulled out the heavy-duty long straps.
Dad called me the night before my flight, truly excited about me 'coming home to stay' while he promised to meet me at baggage. I was utterly exhausted by the time we finished talking over an hour later, because it was already 10:30, plus I had a 6:45 am flight. Dad chuckled as I yawned my goodnight to him, then he wished me his standard, “Sweet dreams, Princess,” that he always said at the closing of our night-time phone calls.
I easily fell into a peaceful sleep not long afterward, knowing deep down that this was not only the right choice for me, but also the beginning of something new and wonderful.