COME TO JESUS
The sound of her father laying on his horn makes her ears and neck burn as she trudges down the steps of Katherine Weisz's house. Molly is too embarassed to do anything but give a hasty wave and make her way down to her father's car as fast as her legs can carry her, ducking her head.
When her fingers finally hook around the car door handle, he lets go, still clearly talking on the phone as she comes to sit on the uncomfortable leather interior. The BMW is a car she has hated since the day her father had gotten it, and even moreso when he started to argue with her mother over it.
(Then again, everything was an argument these days. Arguing over the fact that she liked staying out late, arguing over Mark and Matthew's less-than-perfect grades, arguing over Molly having to repeat gym, arguing over money, arguing over dinner, arguing over the goddamn tv channel.)
It's not until they're three blocks away that he disconnects his phone and shifts his gaze to her. "You didn't leave the house wearing that." He looks derisively over the torn up Atreyu shirt she has, the torn jeans and the jacket that definitely belonged to Katherine's older sister and probably still had her phone number jostling in the pocket.
"I like it better," she chooses the smoothest, easiest route out of it that doesn't reference the fact that he hadn't left the house that morning with a hickey on his neck. It makes her stomach roil and her blood boil, but she's getting better at dodging petty arguments he likes to make.
He snorts and fixes his eyes back on the road. "I take it you enjoyed the concert. For all that money, you should have."
Molly struggles to take a breath and keep to the highroad. "It was fun! We got close to the stage, and they played one of my favorites." She considers exaggerating, but thinks better of it. "We didn't get back until about midnight, and Katherine's mom took us out for breakfast."
"Did that breakfast have mimosas?" He glides to a stop at a red light. Neither of them have to go further than that remark; Katherine's mom and her alcohol were always a pair.
"No," she lies.
They drive the rest of the way in silence. Molly takes in the details of her father's car: the cigarettes that she knew he didn't smoke tucked into the bottom tray; the papers on the front seat that she hopes are for her parents divorce and not someone elses; the way the sun hits his hair; the fact that there is so much she wants to say but can't. Not now, and not yet.
When they get home, Molly is hoping that she can get to her room quick enough. Something about his silence, about the way that his fixed on the road unsettled her. As much as her mother attempted to reassure her that her father could get better, go back to the one that smiled often and made jokes, it felt that more and more, he was starting to become someone else entirely.
Instead, he locks the doors and says, "We need to talk."
Her heart bottoms out in her ribs immediately. "About what?" Those words have never been good to hear out of anyone's mouth, much less his.
"About the fact that your mother seems to think that you can do this teenage rebellion bullshit and not do a damn thing in school but exist," his voice grows louder as he shuts off the car, glare fixed on her. "Look--Molly we know you're not stupid. You're perfectly capable of bringing in good grades."
Fuck. Not this again. It's not so much irritation but anger that comes up. This stupid argument that he could never seem to get over. "That was twice during elementary school--,"
"I'm sorry I didn't know I stopped speaking," his voice rises, dripping with anger. It makes her mouth snap shut, and sweat to start forming on her skin. He's never hit her, ever. With the way things were going lately, though, it feels worse than usual. It tastes like a threat on her tongue. "I didn't sit up here and sacrifice and fight for you to waste your talent on running around with boys and getting into trouble. I know damn well that you can get to the top of your class if you actually sat your ass down and concentrated on what was actually important. It's so simple, Molly, and you just-- you refuse to!"
She feels every word as his voice grows louder and louder, her fingers digging into the seat.
"What did I do wrong, huh?" He pounds his chest, imploring. "Where did I go wrong raising you? You were a smart, bright kid and your mom thinks it's worth it to put you in public school with dummies, and you think any talk of bettering yourself is bullshit. Why is that?" His voice climbs louder, ignoring every move she makes to fold in herself. "Do you want to be a bum? Do you want to end up on the street or flipping burgers for the rest of your life when you have had every opportunity to do better?"
Her eyes sting with tears. She looks down, shoulders shaking. There are a million things in her head that she wants, that she thinks she should say or could say. That it was one concert, one time to hang out with friends. That Molly tried her best, that keeping up with her classmates was difficult. That he only gave a damn when she slipped up and never when she actually accomplished anything -- he and her mother were just about even on that.
But the threat, the anger in his voice makes her pull in on herself. The sheer disappointment, the gulf between them is too wide for her to conquer or cross, and the shame and embarrassment (embarrassment she shouldn't even feel!) keeps her mouth shut.
Eventually, he opens the doors and says, "Get out."
Molly climbs out, angry and ashamed. She pushes past her mother, and shuts her door right as Julia shouts, What did you say to her?