In loo of Father's Day let's leave Sara and Zara in their private haven for awhile to take a trip back to Minden to see what's been going on...
I hope to get the edit version up soon. Here is what I wanted to post last week anyway...
Father's Ty: Part 1
©Mika Star ~2011
On June 19th there was an annual Father's Day celebration coupled with a birthday surprise for the Mayor in the town square. Jodie's dad, Phillip Dumont, was the Mayor of Minden, and as such, the best thing that happened to the town in a long time.
When Jodie's mother, Elizabeth, wasn't working beside her husband and taking care of Jodie she baked the best fruit pies in three counties. The bakery often bought her pies since she had no time to work at the bakery itself.
Elizabeth had spent the last week in her kitchen making enough pies to share with the town. It was agonizing for anyone driving by the mayor’s house the last week. The smell of apple cinnamon, blueberry, cherry, blackberry, peach, pear and even banana crème pies was enough to make anyone's mouth water. The neighbors would often leave her front porch with a shadow of disappointment written on their face because Mrs. Dumont turned down each and every plead to taste one or two pies. "No, these are for Father's Day, if you want some you'll be there." She would point to them matter-of-factly, "You better be there; I haven't made all these pies for nothing, you know."
Jodie had spent the last couple of summers working at the bakery full time, and any opportunity during the school year. This summer was her last before she made her way to a college campus. She was so excited to a part of the cake preparation today. Why? Because she, Josephine Alexandra Dumont, had been put in charge of designing her father's birthday cake, which would be displayed next to the town's giant annual themed Father's Day cake.
The last few weeks after the manager kicked her out of the shop to "Get some sleep” she stayed up until the early hours of the morning writing notes and sketching designs.
Finally, Jodie decided on a simple three tier design. On a personal level, her father preferred things as simple and straight forward as possible. She eyed her sketch pad several times before nodding off to sleep. She just knew he would love it!
* * *
When the doorbell of the bakery rang the next morning, Jodie and Sara were putting the finishing touches on what would be the top tier of the mayor’s cake.
Jodie made her way to the register expecting Mrs. Carson there to pick up the loaves of rye she had ordered yesterday. Instead, her breath caught at the sight of a handsome vision straight out of her dreams. Dressed in loose fitting black jeans and red tee, Tyler strolled in the door with the sunshine at his back and shades drawn up on his forehead.
He slumped against the counter his short black curls stiff with gel. She stared, studying his face for something familiar. His arctic blue eyes sunk into her soul sending a chill down her spine rooting her feet to the floor in front of him.
She found her voice long enough to choke out "C-c-can I help you."
"Yeah, I am here to pick up some rye bread my mom ordered.”
"Okay, I'll be right back."
Jodie turned an about face; her legs appeared filled with lead. She urged herself into the storage room. She returned to Tyler with a large bag of individually wrapped loaves of bread. Setting the bag on the counter she rang up the sale. She avoided direct eye contact with him. "That'll be $48.96."
"Wow, that must be some bread," he said sarcastically.
"The best, fresh and made to order," she countered.
Pecking at the sale key, the draw popped open; his fingers brushed her skin as he handed over the cash in full. His fingers were so warm compared to hers.
Tyler's heart thumped as he waited for Jodie to count all of the money; to find the extra white piece of paper he had slipped in between the bills. He held still, waiting for her reaction.
Jodie's eyes darted from the folded piece of paper to Tyler and back again. Unfolding it, her pulse racing in her fingertips, she found a picture of the two of them hugging each other tightly the day they had started Kindergarten.
She remembered the morning well; her father rushed her out of the car to catch Tyler before he turned the corner to go into their classroom. Jodie caught Tyler by the arm. “Tyler will get to the correct class.” her dad assured the teacher guiding the boy. Her dad had taken the smiling snapshot of them right before they entered the classroom.
A few years later, after Tyler's dad died he moved away with his mom. She hadn't seen Tyler in what, ten--eleven years?
"Ty?" she said aloud.
Blood rushed to her ears, and her chest tightened with so much joy she thought her heart might burst. She fought back tears. After so long, she was determined not to let crying be the first memory Ty had of her.
"Jo." his white smile lit up the room.
She threw her hands in the air. "Oh my God, I can't believe it is you! How long have you been in town? For that matter, how did you find me?"
His gaze shifted to the tile flooring, "My mom and I moved back here about a week ago. By asking around over the last few days I found out you worked here." He looked back up at her smirking, "When Mom mentioned something about the bakery and rye bread I volunteered to come see you- to pick up the bread."
"Your mom is a Mrs. Carson now? Well, I guess, this explains why she didn't give me her first name on the phone yesterday."
"Yeah she and my Step-dad got married a few years back. He's a good guy; he tries. He treats her right, so I can't complain too much."
Absolutely thrilled, Jodie rounded to the outside of the counter spreading her arms for a hug, secretly hoping she wasn't being too forward after all these years.
He welcomed her into his arms. He took in the sweet smell of cucumber melon body wash and chocolate icing. They hugged for a long moment each reluctant to let go. He set her back down on the floor as she had practically jumped into his arms.
Handing the photo back to him, she played with the seam of her apron. “Ty, I wish I could sit and talk with you for awhile, but I have to help Sara finish Daddy's birthday cake. There is no reason for his birthday to be overlooked just because it happens to also be Father’s Day.”
Tyler laughed "Yeah, and the fact that he is the mayor of Minden."
"I know. Can you believe it?"
Tyler just shook his head without taking his eyes off of her.
Jodie trotted back toward the kitchen. Sara stood in the doorway, arms crosses and foot tapping, impatiently.
"I'll see you around." Tyler waved to Jodie, slid his sunglasses back over his eyes, and pushed his way out the door onto the busy sidewalk.
Sara nudged her “So, what was that all about?” she asked almost teasing.
“Oh, I don’t think I ever told you-about him…”
* * *
Jodie kept busy even after finishing her father's cake, but 6:00 didn't come fast enough. She couldn't wait to see the look on her father's face, wondering what he might say when he found out the cake was Jodie's own design.
Of course, any moment she had alone, her thoughts drifted to her encounter with Tyler. He looked incredible. She would have never believed it was him had he not kept the picture all this time.
Hours later, both cakes along with an assortment of cookies and cupcakes were loaded into a van for the short trek to the auditorium in center of town.
The five tier Father's Day cake took up an entire five foot by five foot table. The design had a blue rippling water effect. The top tier depicted a man in his row boat pulling in a fish caught on his fishing pole. Grasses and cattails surrounded the bottom tier. In dark blue icing, Happy Father's Day stretched over the three center tiers.
The Mayor's cake was made of three white layers. Slices of strawberries patterned the entire cake. Each slice had been lined with chocolate fudge icing with Happy Birthday written in strawberry jam at the top. Thick Bavarian Crème filled the center of each layer.
* * *
It had taken an hour to pack the entire (attending) towns people into the auditorium. Jodie met her mother and father at the doorway. She fought the urge to nervously twirl the end of ponytail in her fingers.
Her mother had called her earlier to warn her of how her father's mood had soured after he found she had left for the bakery before telling him "Good morning," much less anything to do with Father's Day or his birthday. He wasn't the type of person to get bent out of shape if he didn't get gifts on any occasion. However, like anyone else, he hoped for some sort of recognition from his loved ones. It wasn't too much to ask. Jodie hoped this would make up for her absence this morning.
Jodie and her mother led the Mayor to a lone chair near the center of the stage. Everyone in attendance over the age of nine were given a metal spoon and instructed to aid in a drum roll using the back of each chair when given the signal. Each child nine and under were given party favors--absolutely anything they could make noise with, and instructed to make as much noise as they possibly could when the curtain was pulled revealing the two cakes he had yet to see.
For the most part everything went off without a hitch. The crowd cheered as Jodie came from behind the curtain hugging her dad.
Microphone in hand, Jodie apologized to him. "Dad I'm sorry for not being around this morning for breakfast. I know you do your best to make time for me then, even when your day is otherwise slam packed. But I am hoping you will forgive me this once," she grinned from ear to ear.
* * *
After a few heart felt words from Jodie's father. Her mother announced "Okay, enough of the chit-chat, who wants cake? For those of you are not interested in cake at the moment, let the festivities begin!" Another cheer broke out from the crowd as they descended on stage or out the doors to the small amusement park set up outside.
The Mayor beamed at his daughter as she told him she had personally designed his cake herself. "That's not all!" Jodie ran frantically out into the crowd of people, hoping she hadn't somehow missed Tyler's exit. Someone tapped her on the shoulder.
"Would I happen to be the lucky one you are looking for?" Tyler's voice was little more than a whisper in the shuffling crowd of people. Jodie turned, instantly melting into his big brilliant blue eyes, he playfully batted a set of eyelashes no boy had a right to own, but any girl would envy. Jodie grabbed him by the wrist, and led him to where her father now stood on ground level in front of the stage.
"Daddy, I want you to meet, Tyler." she motioned between the two of them. " Tyler this is my Dad, Phillip Dumont, Mayor of Minden."
Tyler held out his arm for a formal handshake. "Tyler." Jodie nudged his shoulder, "Show him the picture." Tyler grabbed at his wallet snatching the picture out of its placement among some other photos he cherished-- holding it up for the man to see.
Jodie's father stared at the photo for several minutes without a word. He looked into Tyler's face with tears welling in his eyes. "Ty, my boy, how are you!?" He jolted Tyler into a bear hug. "How's your mom?" he choked out while handing the photo back.
"Oh, she's good. I'm good. She re-married and missed 'home' too much, so here I am, Mr. Mayor."
Phillip's beaming expression sobered. "Ah, I trust that he treats you and your mother well?"
"Yes, Sir he does."
"See that I don't find out any different." there was almost a growl in his voice.
"You won't, Sir, I promise."
Carolyn Carson was the widow of Jacob Turner, Phillip Dumont's life long friend, and companion. Phillip had almost had a stroke the night Jacob had died. He had run sobbing, and screaming into the street clasping into a heap of unconsciousness.--That was close to fifteen years ago.
The Mayor hugged his daughter and Tyler once again. "Now, you two go have some fun before this old man ropes you into a chain of stories that would take up the rest of the evening. Nice to see you again, Ty. Meet me in my office tomorrow morning, 8:00 sharp. We've got some 'catching up' to do. Oh, and tell your mother I said 'Hello' if I don't see her sometime tonight."
At the door Tyler took Jodie by the hand heading out into the cool evening air, and into the future that lay at their feet.
The next morning, 7:00 came far to early for Tyler. In an effort to impress, he wasn't sure whether to break out a three piece suit or go casual, so he decided to go with his best dress shirt and a pair of slacks. He'd at least carry a jacket with him to throw on just in case.
Although he was dressed, his hair wouldn't cooperate, he spent ten minutes looking for his toothbrush, and of all days, his car wouldn't start right away. Making a metal note to get the battery checked, he walked up to the secretary's desk with three minutes to spare, and not a clue as to what the mayor wanted to speak to him about.
His stomach knotted when the secretary told him he could go into the mayor's office. He gathered up his nerve along with his jacket that rested on the arm of the chair next to him.
A full toothy grin spread over the Mayor's face as Tyler entered the room closing the door quietly behind himself.
"Good morning Ty. Have a seat."
"Good morning, Sir." He pulled a chair up to the front of the desk admiring the wood stained oak, and glancing at a picture of Jodie and her mother nestled among paperwork next to his computer.
"Enough with the 'Sir'. The formality is necessary when we are among other people, but here, just you and me, 'Phillip' will suffice."
"Yes, S-- okay" Tyler stumbled over the words, not accustom to being informal to his elders, especially to those he respected.
The mayor angled his leather chair allowing himself to look at Tyler and out at the town through the massive office window when he had the desire to do so.
Cutting into the awkward moment Tyler tried it on for size,"...So, what is it you wanted to talk to me about, Phillip?" Yeah, it will take some getting use to.
Phillip spoke quietly as if the walls in his office had ears, and he was afraid of being overheard. "Ty, you know your father was my best friend. After all these years there are still overwhelming moments when I miss him so much." Tyler sat back in his chair studying the man before him and hanging on his every word.
"It was wonderful to see you last night...so grown up. I hope you can forgive me for not trying to keep in touch with you and Carolyn, at the time it just seemed easier to try to forget, and move on with my own life, for Jodie and Elizabeth." Phillip starred at the floor, elbows on his knees wringing his hand together in slight embarrassment coupled with regret.
"Well, you were like a son to me, back then, and I often wondered how you and your mother were doing. You know, in your dad's will, in agreement with Carolyn, you were entrusted to me should something ever have happened to her. I signed the documents myself. I don't imagine she ever told you that?"
Phillip eyed Tyler for the first time in several minutes. Tyler leaned forward, cocking an eyebrow in interest. "No. She never told me that."
"Well, she probably thought it best to tell you if the time ever presented itself."
A bit of anger welled up in the pit of Tyler's stomach. The anger was evident on his face, his lips tightened as he ground a fist in the arm of his chair. Phillip could hear the snarl in his voice "That's great to know, what if she had been killed in car accident then I would have just been shipped over here, whether I liked it or not!"
Phillip looked sympathetic to the boy's reasoning, "I wish I knew what to tell you, son." The word slipped out of his mouth before he could stop it.
Tyler lost control of his anger at that point. "I'm sorry, Sir but you have no right to call me 'Son', you just finished telling me you purposely left my mom and me out of your life and now you have the nerve to call me son! " He yelled, "I miss my dad too, you know. And if I had thought for one second you and I would have been sitting in your office talking about him and all this...CRAP I never would have tried to find Jodie it the first place."
"Now wait just a minute I didn't mean to...You can't take this out on Jodie, this is between you and me. I didn't tell her about any of this either. It is not fair to her."
"Well, I'm done listening. If Jodie wants to know why I am not around maybe then you will tell her, about the brother she might have had. I don't even understand why you told me all of this. It doesn't even make a difference anymore. I'm eighteen."
This was one of those times Phillip wished he had never given up smoking. He felt sorry for the kid, and thought perhaps he shouldn't have told him anything. At the same time he couldn't help, but feel he had done the right thing. As much as it stung to have Tyler around--he couldn't help but notice how much he resembled Jacob-- he wouldn't have it any other way.
Tyler waved him off, storming out, slamming the door. From Tyler's reaction Phillip hoped in time he could see past this meeting, past the hurt, for the sake of his daughter if nothing else.
to be continued at a later time...
Does anyone now have a serious craving for strawberry shortcake? Yeah, me too! *shuffles off to the kitchen to see what I can find*