Stephanie watched her father’s face, she had been right, he was talking to a woman. He had that look of a kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about Steph, I was on a business call.” Jon carried the broken cup into the kitchen and threw it in the trashcan.
“Dad, who are you trying to fool? Even the boys think you’ve met a woman, well Jakey does, Romeo just agrees with him.” Stephanie climbed up and on the counter and watched her father trying to come up with a cover story.
“When have I had time to meet a woman? We just cleared out the Hampton house and came home.” He tried to level the ‘I’m the dad’ look at her.
“While they were out one night,” She told him and then ticked off on her fingers “Two coffee mugs, two plates, frying pan and bowl, dad that is your basic quick omelet date, I read all the crap about you and your world best omelet date deals.” She watched him hang his head.
“Well they are great omelets.” He laughed a little.
“Okay, give me the deetz.” She came off the counter and went to the café table in the kitchen and patted the opposite seat.
Jon rolled his eyes and gave her the stink eye, but he really made a production about sitting with his baby girl.
“I met her in a bar.” He started telling her how he met Colleen.
“Oh dad, not a bar fly.” Stephanie moaned.
“Bartender not a bar fly.” He played with the napkin on the table. “Her name is Colleen, redhead, green eyed.” He rattled off all the details about Colleen and made her smile. Granted, as far as her mother had thought, he had a woman in every state and country in the world, but Steph knew, he had loved her mom till the day she killed herself.
“So have you been having any late at night calls?” She asked him, there was more to this than he was letting on.
“First time I called her was today, getting back and having the boy’s settled down ready for school, I haven’t had any time to call.” He looked up in her eyes. “Uncle Davy and Uncle Teek called about working again, was I told them that I wasn’t sure if I was ready, I haven’t picked up my guitar since we put your mom in the rehab.”
“Dad it’s time, I know Jess would agree with me.” Stephanie reached across the table and placed her hand on his.
“I don’t know Steph, maybe, I just don’t know.” Jon smiled and thought about all the times he and Stephanie had talked like this, ever since her mother went into the hospital. But this time she was acting like the adult and he was the child.
“Well, you have a date don’t you? That’s a start.” She laughed and got up and went to the fridge and got a bottle of water. “Have you decided where you’re going to take her?”
Jon stopped laughing, where was he going to take Colleen? Once the press got a hold of it, it would be all over social media before they got the seats warm.
“Not sure, got till Friday to decide. Thought about dinner and a show.” Jon watched Stephanie reaction.
“Uncle Southside is playing this weekend at the Pony, isn’t he?” Stephanie sat back at the table. “You’d blend in down there. Maybe dinner on the boardwalk?”
He liked where she was going with his idea of a date. Oh my God he was going on a date. The last time he went on an actual date was with Dot.
“Sounds good, I’ll call Colleen and see if she would like that.” Jon told her.
Jake and Romeo came in from the first day of school. Jon came down to the kitchen as they got a snack from the fridge and sat at the table.
“So how was the first day?” Jon got a bottle of water and sat at the table with them.
“It was okay, I got one of Jake’s teachers this year.” Romeo sad between bites of grapes.
“How about you Jake?” Jon asked as he grabbed a few grapes.
“I got a new teacher, she has this box by the door, and we all had to put our cells in the box while we are in class. She said that anyone caught with a phone will have the cell taken away till the end of the day.” Jake grabbed a few crackers out of the box.
“Well that will cut down on the picture of you in class that keep showing up online.” Jon said as he grabbed the box from his son and poured some crackers out of the box. “This new teacher, what’s she teaching?”
“English and creative writing, and I have homework already. These teachers don’t seem to understand, we just got off vacation, don’t bury us in homework.” Jake popped a cracker in his mouth.
“Well, get your homework done, Grandpa called for us to come for dinner.” Jon got up and watched his sons pulling out books to do homework.
Friday finally came. Stephanie came by with a few friends for pizza and movies with the boys. Jon stood looking in the mirror, on the floor of the closet were discards of what he had tried on to wear for his date. He turned at a knock on the door. Walking over he opened the bedroom door to see Jesse and Stephanie on the other side.
“What are you doing home?” He asked Jesse.
“I came to see if you were ready for your date.” He said following his sister into the bedroom.
“You aren’t wearing that are you?” Stephanie asked checking out her dad. He had on jeans and a polo shirt.
“What’s wrong with what I have on?” Jon asked his daughter looking back in the mirror.
Jesse went into the closet and went through the pile on the floor and looked at what was left on the hangers. Stephanie followed Jesse into the closet and came out with a black v necked knit shirt and Jesse came out with a gray jacket.
He stripped off the shirt and pulled on what the kids picked out. He had to admit it looked good.
“Where are you taking her to dinner?” Stephanie ask as she climbed up on the bed.
“I thought we’d maybe go to Talula’s, or somewhere along the way down.” Jon pulled on his boots and stood up for the kid’s inspection.
“Good place for a first date.” Jesse told his dad. He looked at his sister to see what she thought of the pizza place for their dad’s first date.
“Sounds good, did you ask her where she would like to eat?” Stephanie asked her dad.
Jon thought back to the calls he had shared with Colleen.
“She left it up to me, since I had been down there a lot.” Jon put his wallet in his pants pocket and put his phone in his jacket pocket along with his keys.
They went down stairs. He checked on the younger two; Stephanie’s friends had arrived and were looking over the movies to watch. Pizza boxes were on the bar, along with soda bottles and water bottles. Just as he opened the door, two of Jesse friends were about to knock on the door.
“Okay Guys, don’t tear up the house.” Jon left the apartment and headed down to the garage. He had thought about getting a car with a driver, but it was a good night to pull out the Chevelle and put the top down.
Colleen tossed her jacket on the sofa, she had finally settled on jeans and a cold shoulder shirt. She cleaned up her desk, she had been grading homework, and some of these kids were still on summer vacation mode. She checked her watch, he was due any minute. She was actually nervous, the last date she had been on was in a while ago. She jumped when there was a knock on the door, looking at her watch, right on time. She brushed her hands down her slacks, just in case her hands were damp. Looking in the peephole, yep it was Jon. She opened the door and smiled.