I’ve dated guys. Maggie and I both had fun giving the boys a run for their money in high school. We weren’t wild, per say; our dad’s wouldn’t have allowed that, but we definitely weren’t the type to settle down. Before the accident, it was great being away at school. Maggie and I were no longer under the watchful eye of our biker dads. Anytime either of us went out, both our dad’s rallied together, shotguns on the porch beside them. It used to annoy the shit out of us; it was so embarrassing. Now, I wish my dad were here to screen the guys. His mere presence was intimidating. My dad wasn’t an overly tall man, but he was built and tattooed. He was also confident and fiercely protective; there is no doubt in my mind that if a boy messed with me, my dad would have handled it.
What would he think of Michael? Would he approve? My dad was perceptive. Are there things I’m missing? Oh daddy, I’m happy, I think. He’s been a gentleman so far. The despair is creeping up into my heart and my head once again. I can’t do this. I will cancel; there is no way I can go out. No one is here to watch out for me like that anymore.
A knock at the door alerts me to the time. Damn it, I was daydreaming too long, he’s here. I make it out of my room to find Maggie with a baseball bat in her hand, directing Michael to the couch.
“Sit. Let’s chat, Michael.” Maggie commands. I stand in my doorway to observe.
“Hello, you must be Maggie.” Michael says extending his hand in greeting.
“No handshake. We aren’t friends son, we aren’t acquaintances.” Maggie begins in her version of a stern voice. “We are here because you want to take my girl out.”
Michael nods his head in agreement with the funniest face. I’m struggling to stifle my giggle as I watch my best friend attempt to play the role of our dad’s. She’s patting the bat into her hand for emphasis of its existence.
“Dina is precious. She’s to be valued and treasured. She’s to be treated with the utmost respect, son.” Maggie states. “You fuck up, you will face me. I’m not afraid to go to prison for the ones I love. Take her out, but know the rules. Number one- she is to home by midnight. Not twelve oh one, fucker, because twelve oh one would constitute a new day. A new day would mean that precious was out with you overnight. Overnight dates aren’t allowed. Midnight. Number two- you open every single door for her. We live in the south, and that’s what gentlemen do for ladies. Our Dina is a lady. I’m not a fucking gentleman so get that straight, right fucking now. I will fuck you up, if you don’t act like a gentleman.”
Tears well up behind my eyes, as Maggie is reciting word for word the speech our dad’s gave our dates every single time. I feel him with me in this moment. I don’t move, as I silently watch as Maggie continues.
“Number three- you pay for every damn thing. If my baby girl wants the most expensive lobster on that menu, you pay for it without hesitation. If she doesn’t even eat one bite of it, you smile and know it was worth your money just to spend time with her. If she wants to stop at five stores, for a specific candy bar that can’t be found, you stop at five stores if that’s what it takes. And you pay. You take care of my precious. Number four- you don’t drop her off. Revert back to rule number two, son, you open every door. That includes the door returning her safely home. Are we clear fucker? I’m not your friend, I’m your worst nightmare if you upset Dina. Got it?” Maggie says swinging the bat to point at Michael.
I can’t stop the laughter. Seeing my very skinny and not at all scary looking best friend give that speech is hilarious. When my dad gave it, I would get nervous for the guys on the receiving end. Watching Maggie, it makes it comical. As I enter the living room, Maggie looks up at me and smiles.
“Hey D, Michael and I were just getting to know each other.”
“I heard Mags. And that was the funniest thing I’ve ever seen.” I reply, laughing harder.
“What? You do the same thing when I bring a guy home.” She replies innocently. Then before I can respond, she cuts her eyes back onto Michael.
“Okay, so I’m not that intimidating. But if you mess with her, I have two brothers and a dad that will bring a wrath upon you that you never saw coming. She’s my sister, don’t hurt her.”
Next thing I know, Maggie has wrapped me in a big hug as she whispers in my ear.
“He’s cute, D. Have fun. I’m so happy for you.”