Eddy drops Dani off at her house the next morning, after the spent a long night talking about everything that happened to her the night before. He tells her how she can call the school and see how she can go about getting accepted to the school.

Her father is not at home when she arrives, which does not surprise her in the least. In fact, she would have been shocked out of her sock had he been home one a Saturday morning. He has only been there twice in the last six years since her mother passed away.

It used to be a tradition of theirs to have a large brunch, with belgian waffles, fresh fruit, bacon, sausage, scones, and so much more. Then they would spend the rest of the day as a family, going to the zoo, walking through central park, shopping or going on driving trips out of the city.

These days it is her tradition to spend the morning alone with a bagel or muffin and a coffee from the cafe down the street. Then she goes to the women's shelter in Queens and spends a few hours reading to the children. Then the rest of her evening is either spent with her friends or with the television, making good use of her extensive VHS collection.

Walking into her bedroom, she takes the slip of paper with the hasitly scribbled number on it and puts it in the music box sitting on her vanity. She can not wait until Monday morning when she can put the call in and get excepted.

A large part of her wants to go ahead and call right now, but she doubts that the office is open on a weekend. She really wishes that it was, because she wants to go right now. Her senior year just started and she wants to transfer schools as soon as she can, before she gets any deeper into the year.


Dani freezes, her spine stiffening at the sound of her father's voice coming from the doorway. He wasn't home. He asked the door man. Why is he here on a Saturday?

“Danielle, we need to talk.”

Without looking at him, she moves over to her closet to pull out a clean outfit. She doesn't pay any attention to what she pulls out, just grabbing at the first thing that she sees. It is a black skirt and a silver sequin top with a halter style neckline.

It is a little dressy but she doesn't care. Dani just wants to get the hell out of the room as soon as possible. Escaping to the bathroom for a much needed shower seems like the best option since he can't follow her in there.

“Damn it, Danielle Marie Millman, do not ignore me! I am your father-”

Her loud scoff silences him mid-sentence. “Father... right...”

“Danielle, I know you are angry-”

“Angry?” She shake her head. “No. I am not angry.”


“Disgusted.” Dani says, tosing the clothes on the bed. “Kind of wish I could gouge my eyes out with a spoon. I saw far too many people getting it on in just one night. A girl can only take so much.”

“About that-” Fredrick begins.

“Nope.” Dani cuts him off, holding up a hand to silence him. She does not want to have that conversation with him. Any discussion pertaining to his sex life is not something that she is interested in.

“Annoyance. There is a fair bit of annoyance, you understand. You should get it. I hop to see my father in the crowd, cheering me on at my performance, only to find him slipping it his married secretary instead.” Dani mutters, folding the skirt that she just laid down, her motions jerky with agitation.

“Shit! I completely forgot about your thing at the school last night-”

“That doesn't surprise me. When do you ever think about me or anything pertaining to me? I know that I don't exist in your world-”

“That is not true!” Fred shouts angrily, but Dani ignores it.

“Hurt. I have to admit that I am a little hurt that you dropped from my life the same day that Mom died-” Dani tells him.

Suddenly hands grab her shoulders and turn her around forcefully, pushing her down until she is sitting on the edge of the bed. Her father looms over her angrily, his face red with his fury. “That is not fair! That is not how it is!”

“That is exactly how it is!” Dani shouts back at him, just as angry. She pushes to her feet, forcing him to back up a step. “You know it is! You turned your back on me the day that my mother died! Everyone, myself included, assumed that it wa just the pain affecting you. That you couldn't handle the grief, so you lockd yourself away to wallow in your pain.”

Dani glares at him.

“I fed myself that bullshit platitude for months, even when it stopped sounding plausible. Even when I knew it was a lie. I kept waiting for the day that you would realize that I was hurting too! That I lost her too! Everyone said that you needed your work, and I tried to understand that, but it was hard. Epecially when I had needs too. I needed my father. I needed the only parent that I had left! I needed someone to hold me and tell me that I would be okay, on those long, lonely nights when I was drowning in tears and missing her more than I could stand.”

She swipes at the tears on her face and he lifts a hand towards her, but she jerks away, wrapping her arms around herself. “I waited for you to be my dad again! I waited for six freaking years! I am done waiting. You are not my father and I do not want to be your daughter.”

“Dani, please-”

“I do not want to be in this stupid apartment, spending every dang night alone. I do not want to be in this city, where after last night, I am a laughing stock!” She tells him and he steps back in surprise.

“What happened? You practiced so much-”

“We won the talent show, it wasn't that.” Dani shakes her head. “Your neice.. found yet another way to ruin my life.”

“Come on Dani, whatever she did couldn't have been that bad. I can call Charles and he will have her apologize to you, if that is what you need..” Fredrick begins but Dani doesn't listen. She turns away from him and sighs, loudly.

This is how it always is every time that she tries to tell him what Amber has done to her. Amber stole the locket that their grandmother had given Dani as she died, that was a misunderstanding. When Amber told everyone in Elementary school that Dani was a bed wetter and had to were diapers still, she hadn't meant anything by it. When she had ruined Dani's brand new peach colored lace Easter dress by deliberately dumping grape juice on it, they had called it an accident.

“She screwed my boyfriend during my performance, then the two of them came onstage as we were accepting our prize and announced it to everyone. They called me names and embarrassed me in front of thousands of people. So no, you don't have to have your brother force his horrid beast o a daughter to say something against her will.”

She smiles a humorless smile. “I don't need her to apologise. I don't want anything from her, uncle Charles or you, accept to never have to see any of you again. I am not part if this family and I am tired of trying to pretend that I am. None of you give a damn about me-”

“That is simply not true!” Fred says.

“It is! I lost my family when I lost Mom! I am alone and I have been for years. But now, I am changing that. I found a place that I want to be. I want to go to borading school in Vermont. It was built to be a place for youths from horrible families and God knows I fit the bill. I am calling Monday to apply. You can use the money you pay in tuition at Briorwood to pay for me to go to Southwood Meesler.”

“Dani, you can't just make these decisions on your own like this, I am your father.” Fred tells her, and she fights back the disdainful snort that is bubbling up. She doesn't hide the roll of her eyes, though.

“That is kind of ironic that you are bringing that into this conversation. Convenient too. Because that fact has not had any bearing on your decision in the past six years, if not longer.” Dani tells him.

“I make all the decisions for myself. For this house hold as well. Who do you think pays all the bills and makes all of the decisions? Does the grocery shopping?”


“Quit two years ago, Fred. Two. Years. I interviewed Helga and Odette, hiring them both. Helga on Tuesdays and Thursdays to run errands, oversee Odette and generally make sure everything runs smoothly. Odette on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday to clean and cook meals. The check book that you leave in the kitchen drawer, the expense account, I balance it and write the checks. They don't even know about it. I moved it to my room when I hired them.”

She moves over to her bed side table and pulls it out, holding it in the air for her father to see it. “I pay the bills each month. I attend the monthly meeting that the building beautification committee demands all tenants attend. I gave Eddy a raise, by the way. I budgetted it in by switching insurance providers. I also found a new dry cleaner that is closer, cheaper and does a way better job that Abbasi's. I am the one who called the exterminator when Micheal Layhee on the floor below us let his snakes food get loose and it made it's way into our apartment. The exterminator, Bill, caught the mouse in two days.”

She shakes her head. “I called Tony, the plumber, when the bathtub stopped draining and I filed a complaint on the couple on the fourth floor after I found the man butt naked passed out in the floor of the elevator. All the things that had to be done around here, I do them. I buy the shampoo and the toothpaste. I write the checks to the utility company. I am the adult and I have raised myself for a long time now. I am capable of making my own decisions.”


“I am capable of being on my own. I have had years of practice.”Dani looks him in the eye and adds quietly. “I don't need you.”

She watches her father's eyes widen slightly at her words, before he gives a brisk nod. He backs away from her, turning away to leave the room, his words floating back to her, devoid of any emotion.

“Tell me where to send the check.”

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