“Didn’t know you’d be here.”
“Clearly, but do you honestly think that I’d miss your first time at the All-Star Game?”
The answer is no, and I should’ve thought about that beforehand, except I have nothing to hide. If he doesn’t like Ainsley, so what? He’ll figure out a way to coexist with her or he won’t exist in my life at all.
“Dad, you remember Ethan and Daisy Davenport?” They shake hands, and he seems pleased to see them. “And this is Ainsley, my fiancée.”
His face turns red as he glares at me. “We need to talk,” he says, reaching for my arm, but I reel back and step in front of Ainsley.
“Whatever you have to say, you can say in front of Ainsley.”
“This is a private family matter,” he seethes. He looks at Ainsley, Daisy, and Ethan, and none of them flinch or move a muscle to leave.
“Ainsley’s my family. So are Ethan and Daisy. Whatever you have to say, it can be said in front of them.”
“She’s not my family. She’s a two-bit whore that trapped you into this relationship. She only wants your money. She doesn’t give a shit about you. I’m not going to stand by and let you throw away everything you worked for because you were dumb enough to fuck this woman without a condom.”
I feel Ainsley tense next to me, and I don’t like it one bit. I hate that my father is like this. I take a look at her and see fear and sorrow in her eyes. She should never feel like that when she’s with me.
“I’m only going to say this once, so you need to listen closely. Ainsley and I are getting married and we’re starting family. I trust her, Dad, and wish you didn’t have to be so pigheaded. But you are, and that leaves me no choice but to say this: If you can’t accept my family, we can’t accept you. The only time you will see me is on television or when you buy a ticket to a game. I will no longer support you. I will no longer be a part of your life. This is your call.”
“You can’t do that. You won’t do that,” he says, challenging me.
“I will. Oh, and if you ever call my Ainsley a whore again, I’ll slap you with whatever lawsuit I can pin on your sorry ass. If you want a relationship with me, you will apologize to her. Until then, you are nothing to me.”
I don’t give him an opportunity to respond as I brush past him with Ainsley by my side. She’s murmuring into my shoulder that she loves me, and all I want to do is pull her into my room and show her how much I love her.
When we get to the girls’ room, I’m hesitant to let them go inside because my dad is still standing in the hallway, probably trying to figure out how he’s going to live now. He’s stubborn enough that I know he won’t come around and see things from my side. I get that he wants what’s best for me, but that’s my choice, and I choose Ainsley.
Daisy assures us that they’ll be fine, and promises they won’t open the door for anyone, especially my father. Ethan and I both stand at the door until we hear the deadbolt slide before heading to our room.
“That was fucked up,” Ethan says as we enter.
“That’s my life. No one has ever been good enough for me in my father’s eyes. When he found out Ainsley was pregnant and in Boston, he flipped and demanded I get a paternity test.” I sit down, shaking my head. He put doubt in my mind about Ainsley and the babies, and I hated that. She never gave me a reason not to trust her. She was scared and alone when she came here, and I did nothing but question her.
“When my mom died, he changed and changed me right along with him. I was all he had. At first, I thought it was because he missed her, but I have come to realize it was because he wanted me to be something he never was.”
My cell phone beeps with a text from Ainsley. For a moment I fear reading it, wondering if she’s second-guessing our upcoming nuptials because of what just transpired with my father. We’re supposed to get married while we are here in California, at Disney two days after the All-Star Game. If she backs out now, I don’t know what I’ll do.
Pulling up her message, I’m hit with the sudden urge to run down her to room and say fuck the rules, but I know I can’t.
I love & miss you terribly. Thank you for sticking up for me.
She’s thanking me for sticking up for her?
Why wouldn’t I stick up for you? You’re about to be my wife in a few days and you’re the mother of my children. As far as I’m concerned you’re the most important person in my life.
I send that back to her, hoping that she understands that it’s not going to matter what my father says: She’s my life.
I quickly type out another message. I don’t want her to think that I didn’t notice that part of her message and only focused on the negative.
By the way, I love you too.
Ethan tells me that he’s going to go take a shower, leaving me alone to figure out what to do about my dad. There’s a knock on the door that sends me flying over there hoping it’s Ainsley. Only when I open it, it’s my dad.
“What are you doing here?” Anger boils through my veins.
“I came to give you these.” He hands me a stack of papers. I look down quickly, and my stomach rolls. Prenuptial is the only word that I need to read to know these aren’t for me. I hand them back to him.