I burst in the door of my house, tears stinging my eyes.
“Stella,” my father asked. I jumped and then turned to see him sitting on couch, his hand still holding back the curtain.
“Were you spying on me?” I sniffled.
“Was that the neighbor boy? The one that came over to fix our power that time?”
“Yeah.” He was also the one that had been screwing with my head since that very same day. Rock climbing jerk.
“He seems like a tool,” my dad said, letting the fabric fall back into place. I stared at him for a second and then laughed.
“Fathers can’t say words like ‘tool’,” I said.
“How ‘bout asshole? Does that work?” My father grinned.
“Much better.” The sickness that Conner left me with began to fade as I stood, listening to my father insult him. Sometimes making fun of someone helped. Sometimes it made things hurt a little less.
“By the way,” my dad said, picking at his fingernails. “A boy stopped by earlier.”
“A boy boy, or a guy?” I think he liked to use boy to pretend we were all still in grade school.
He rolled his eyes. “A guy. Becker. He seemed nice. At least that one could look me in the eyes. Definitely not a tool.”
I stared at the wood floor, feeling both guilty and happy that Becker had come by. Stupid Stella needed to get over herself and the blond boy next door.
“You…should maybe call him,” my dad said. “He mentioned something about taking you to a concert.” He chuckled. “Asked my permission even.”
I looked up at my father and he was beaming. A real bona fide boyfriend for me that wasn’t a jerk off? Unheard of.
“I’ll call,” I said. And I would. Conner was over. I needed to move on.
But without thinking, I peeked out the window and saw Conner’s Jeep in his driveway. And I sighed.