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My dad wants to talk to me about Ashley. I think I know what he's going to say, but I don't know what we're supposed to talk about. I guess I'm about to find out, though.
“Hey,” I say. “Do we have to do this here? Can we just take a walk or something, go somewhere else instead?”
“Sure,” my dad says. “Let's go.”
That settles that. We leave my dorm room behind and go out into the hall. It's filled with parents saying goodbye to their kids, and people moving shit into their rooms. We walk down the halls without saying anything for now and pass by the common area where a few people are watching a movie.
The common rooms are pretty cool. It's a nice place to go to meet people during the afternoon or evening. It's a great place to bring a girl really late at night when everyone else is sleeping, too. I think that's more of my past self thinking about that, because sometimes you want to do some things with a girl, but you don't want to bring her back to your room, you know? In which case… hey, there's the common room. Let's watch a movie, which is code for we're going to pretend to watch a movie for a couple minutes and then make out.
I don't have to do stuff like that anymore, though. Yeah, if I want to watch a movie with Ashley, I'll watch it. And she'll probably cuddle the fuck out of me and fall asleep, because that's sort of her thing. It's cute, though. Or else we'll make out. Or fuck.
I don't have to plan this out. It's not like I planned it out before, but when you get used to only spending a week or two with a girl, you kind of get into a routine with it. You know what to expect, you know how it goes. Sometimes it goes faster than usual, or sometimes it goes a little slower, but it all ends up being the same in the end.
I'm breaking new ground now, though. I don't know what we're doing anymore. It's pretty fucking exhiliarating, though. I can see why people do this dating thing, at least sometimes. I never really understood it before, but it makes a lot more sense now.
My dad and I head to the elevator and go down to the ground floor, then out the front. When we get to the street, we just pick a random direction and go on our way. I don't know where we're going. I guess this isn't about that, so it doesn't matter. It's my kind of thing, though. Who the fuck knows what's up? Let's just move and figure it out on the way.
“I heard about what happened with Ashley this afternoon,” my dad says. “Her ex-boyfriend?”
Fuck him, that stupid fucking loser. He's one of the main reasons I used to do what I did. I mean, yeah, I enjoyed it, too, but it's so fucking easy to hurt someone, and guys like Jake are selfish as fuck, so…
Ego boost, right? A confidence building activity. That might have included a lot of sex and screwing around. Whatever. It's over now, but I don't regret it. Plenty of the girls I screwed around with found really nice boyfriends after. I found a really nice girlfriend, too. It all worked out in the end.
“Ethan?” my dad asks.
“Uh, yeah, sorry,” I say. “I kind of spaced out for a second there. I'm just really fucking pissed. I don't know what his problem is.”
“I'm not entirely sure about the history involved here, but your stepmother wanted me to make sure you're doing alright. I know it's hard since you two are away. I know it might make you feel helpless, like you can't do anything to help her, but I want you to know that's not true.”
Damn fucking straight it's not true! I'm already thinking of ways to beat his ass when I visit Ashley one weekend. I'm just not sure if once is enough. Maybe I should make a ritual out of it? Like, yeah, before I see Ashley each time I visit her, I pay Jake a friendly visit and collect on the ass kicking debt he owes me.
“He's going to get what's coming to him,” I tell my dad. “I thought he already did, but I guess it wasn't enough.”
“That's the thing with these kinds of situations,” my dad says quietly. “It's true that most of the time if you stand up to a bully, you can get them to leave you alone forever, but sometimes you come across someone who is just so singularly obsessed with something that you need to think of alternative methods as a solution to remove the problem.”
Holy fuck, is my dad saying what I think he's saying?
“So, you're saying we need to hire a hitman?” I ask.
“What?” My dad sounds surprised. “Ethan, no!”
“What are you yelling at me for? You're the one saying we need to find alternative methods to remove the problem. That's exactly what you just said!”
“We're not killing anyone! That's not what I was trying to say!”
“I think that's the entire point of hiring a hitman, Dad,” I tell him. “We wouldn't be the ones to do it, the hitman would.”
My dad shakes his head and laughs at me. “Alright, let's start this over. No assassinations, Ethan. What I was trying to say is that I doubt that Ashley sticking up for herself is going to solve this problem. In which case–”
“I have to kick his ass,” I say, finishing my dad's sentence for him. That's what he was going to say, right?
“The problem with kicking someone's ass is that it can result in you getting into legal trouble,” my dad reminds me.
“I don't know if you realize this, but I've gotten into plenty of trouble before. It's kind of my thing.”
My dad sighs, and gives me a look. It's a weird look, kind of a cross between admiration and exasperation, or whatever the fuck you want to call it.
“Alright, listen,” he says. “I get that you've got a reputation, and I can see how sometimes it might be beneficial for certain scenarios, but let's try and come at this from a different angle. Shall we try a thought experiment?”
“Thought experiment,” I say, nodding. “Yeah, sure.”
“What's the outcome of you kicking Jake's ass? Besides temporary personal satisfaction?”
“Uh… his ass will be kicked? What more do you want from me?”
“Ethan, as soon as you leave, he'll just be angry. And who will be there to protect Ashley after that? She'll essentially be trapped with him for the rest of the week. I know it's easier for you, but Ashley's not like you. She's a brilliant young woman and I'm proud of her accomplishments, but…”
Fuck, he's right. Don't get me wrong, I'm all about, uh… feminism or whatever the fuck. Independent women who can protect themselves, or whatever. And, yeah, that's cool and all, but she's my goddamn fucking Princess, and I can't stand for this.
This is difficult. Who knew that kicking someone's ass could cause problems? It's supposed to end problems, not cause them! Fucking A, man. This is backwards as fuck and I don't like it.
“Alright,” I say. “I get it. So… I have no idea what to do now.”
“I must admit, I'm kind of disappointed that as soon as kicking ass is off the table, you're drawing a blank,” my dad says, grinning.
“Listen, uh…” Wait! I just had the best idea ever. “Ashley can take boxing classes, so she can kick his ass on her own! Fuck yeah! That's the answer, isn't it.”
I'm so fucking good at this, you don't even know.