Chapter 23: Shopping with Dad

Connor sat in the kitchen chugging orange juice. It was six o’clock Thanksgiving morning. He had gotten up very early because he knew that Daisy and her Grandparents were up cooking turkey with all the fixings. Connor couldn’t sleep if he knew something was going on in Daisy’s world, but it was too early to go across the hall to their apartment. So there he sat… in his boxers… in the kitchen… just thinking about it.

Finally, after what seemed like a decade of waiting, his Dad’s alarm clock went off. Connor jumped up and headed for his Dad’s room.

“Hey Dad, are you awake?” Connor whispered into the dark, air conditioned room. “Geez Dad, it’s freezing in here! Why do you run the air so high in your room like this? It’s November for crying out loud!” Connor shuttered.

“Because, I like it that way. I work in the heat all day long. When I come home I don’t want to sleep in it too.” Davis moaned and rolled over underneath his mound of blankets.

Connor shook his head at his Dad’s strange sleeping habits. “It’s Thanksgiving Dad, get up.”

“Why do I need to get up this minute?” Davis mumbled gruffly.

“I want to go shopping before we go over to Daisy’s. You need to come with me. So get up.” Connor obviously had some kind of a plan, but Davis was not yet awake enough to figure it out.

“Have you lost your mind boy, it is 7 a.m., and I’m on holiday. The mall isn’t even open yet.” Davis rubbed his head and sat up trying to figure out what was going on with his son.

“Dad, get up. By the time we get our showers and get dressed it’ll be a good time to head out to the mall. We’ll get there exactly at 9 o’clock when the doors open.”

Davis stared at his son blankly. “Why… in the world… do I want to be at the mall at 9 o’clock in the morning?” He yawned a huge monster yawn and fell back into his covers like he didn’t care what the answer to that question would be.

“Dad… ” Connor moaned impatiently. “I want to get Daisy a present for Thanksgiving. I also want to get Grandma Rose some flowers for cooking for us. She asked us to pick up a cake at the bakery for her too. And,” Connor hesitated then hurriedly continued, “I also think you should pick out something for Coach Peggy.” There. He’d said it. The cat was out of the bag. He’d noticed his Dad liking Coach Peggy, and now he was going to help his Dad along by talking him into buying her a gift for Thanksgiving.

Davis just stared at his son for a long while then slowly asked, “Why would I want to do that?”

“Come on Dad, I saw how you two were at the bowling alley. I think you should move on to the next step and just buy her a gift,” Connor said it as quickly as he could.

“You saw how we were at the bowling alley? What do you mean?” Davis was still testing his son’s knowledge. He was not completely sure that his son was on to him yet.

“Dad, you like Coach Peggy. I think that’s great. I like her too. She’s cool, now you need to get her a Thanksgiving gift, and tell her you like her.”

Davis put his arms up over his head thinking about what his son was saying. “You think that, huh?” is all Davis said at first. Then he continued, “What are you getting Daisy?” Davis eyed his son from under his arm.

“I was thinking of getting her some earrings. Does Coach Peggy wear earrings? I have never noticed. Have you?” Connors grinned as he said it. He thought it was cool that his Dad might actually know the answer to that question.

“Yea, she wears earrings,” Davis answered cautiously.

“Do you want to get her another pair?”

“Well, I don’t know… maybe. I have never thought about it before.” Davis looked at his son from the corner of his eye again.

“Dad, you need to get her something. So get up, and let’s get ready and go down there and look around.”

“Alright.” Davis gave in to his son’s advice. It wasn’t the first time he’d done it either. Connor often had good advice. Davis thought about this as he showered and got ready to leave.

When they arrived at the mall, it was just as Connor had said. The doors were just being propped open by the workers as they rolled to a stop in a parking spot. Davis chuckled because he had never been to the mall so early in the morning in all his life. So early that he could get a parking spot right next to the front door.

They hopped out of the car and went in. Strolling down the center of the mall, they window shopped and made small talk. They stopped at the coffee shop and purchased two extra large coffees with the works. Connor rambled on and on about running and his friends.

Davis was a good listener. People automatically opened up whenever he was around. Maybe that was why he got along with Coach Peggy so well. Davis was a listener, Peggy was a talker. It was easy for Connor to see how the attraction between Peggy and Davis might have come about. He wanted to help it along.

They stopped at the sports shop. Davis browsed through the bowling gear. He tried on several different pairs of gloves while Connor talked. He picked out a pair for himself and a matching pair for Coach Peggy.

“I’ll get these. Peggy needs a new pair of gloves,” Davis announced.

Connor took a quick look at his Dad’s gift choice, “Cool.” Then he continued his spiel on cross country.

Davis purchased the gloves and they moved on.

When they finally came to the jewelry store, Connor stopped talking and started browsing more seriously.

“Son, I’m going to hunt for a place to throw away our trash. I’ll be back in a minute.” Davis took both coffee cups in hand.

“Sure, Dad.” Connor continued to study the items in the glass cases around him as his Dad walked off to find a trash can. Connor leaned against the counter deep in thought about what Daisy might like when someone approached him from behind.

“Look what the cat dragged in, Glenn?”

“Yea and he’s all alone too.” Glenn’s irritating voice pierced the air. “That cute little gal I like so much isn’t here either. Too bad, maybe I should look her up. I bet she’s in the phone book. Huh, Connor? That cute little gal… is she in the phone book?”

Connor swung around angrily. “Don’t you two have something better to do than to bother shoppers in the mall?”

“Nope, I don’t. How about you Gary? You got anything else to do?” Glenn narrowed his eyes in a mean way.

“Nope, I got nothing better to do. Drop out of the races Connor, and we’ll leave you alone. One race, that’s all I need,” Gary said.

“That cutie gal you run with is getting pretty fast too there, Connor. Maybe we need to teach her a little lesson about who’s the boss.” Glenn smacked his lips like he were hungry for something tasty.

Connor straightened up and squared his shoulders. “You two can just stay away from Daisy.”

Glenn grinned hungrily. “So… that’s her name, is it? Her name is as cute as she is. Huh, Gary? Maybe we should go flower pick ’in together. We can play tug-of-war with those ears of hers.” Glenn pulled on his own ears and laughed as he made fun of Daisy.

Connor was going to answer, but just then Davis returned.

Davis eyed the boys cautiously. “Boys, you two can just move along and stop harassing my son. Daisy is also off limits to the both of you. Do you understand me?” Davis took out his cell phone and called the police. “Yes, hello. I would like to make a police report. Yes, my name is Davis Bailey. I’m here at the mall with my son, and we are being harassed by some riffraff down here. Could you please send an officer down here to the jewelry store? If these two boys touch my son or my daughter there will be a very large fight. Yes, thank you. We will wait right here for you. Thank you.” Davis clicked the phone shut.

Gary and Glenn stood there with their mouths open.

“Who’s this?” Gary glared at Connor for the answer.

“This is my Dad.”

“Come on, let’s go.” Gary nudged his brother.

“Aaa, that phone call’s a bluff. He didn’t call the police,” Glenn snickered in disbelief.

“Well, then why don’t you two just hang around and find out,” Davis returned.

Gary and Glenn looked at each other for a moment then looked back at Connor, “If you’re his son, who is his daughter? You don’t have a sister. You two are just trying to scare us off.”

“Yea and I ain’t scared.” Glenn crossed his arms and glared at Connor.

“He’s referring to Daisy, the girl who hangs with me,” Connor explained. “My Dad is considered her guardian whenever her family is not around. If one of you two touches Daisy then you will have to face me and my Dad together. Are you able to understand that?” Connor explained as if they were toddlers.

Two police officers walked up politely. “Is there a problem here, sir?” When Gary and Glenn saw the uniformed police officers they attempted to run. The officers were so close however, that Gary and Glenn didn’t get far. They dragged them both back to the spot where Connor and Davis were standing.

The police officers then asked again, “Is there a problem here?”

“Yes, there’s a problem. And it needs to be written up because these two boys are threatening my son and another girl, Daisy Greene, who I’m responsible for.” Davis and Connor then explain the whole story to the officers, and the officers wrote up the story as it was told to them.

The officers asked the jewelry store keeper for a look at their surveillance tape. The entire conversation with the threats concerning the race and the threats concerning Daisy were all very clearly heard on the tape. Gary and Glenn were then handcuffed and escorted out by the police.

Connor and Davis waved goodbye cheerfully and returned to their shopping.

“So where was I?” Connor mumbled to himself.

Davis followed his son around the store, happy that he had already found his present for Peggy.

Connor looked over the earrings several times trying to decide. The things he wanted to get her were so far out of his price range it was ridiculous. He finally picked a pair of Tiger-eye earrings. The colors would match the sharks tooth necklace he had made her. He thought she would like them. They would just have to do until he had more money.

“I think she would like these,” he finally said. Connor held them up for his Dad to see.

Davis smiled more at his son than at the ear rings. “My son the Romeo,” Davis stated proudly.

Connor rolled his eyes at the name calling and purchased his gift. They moved on to purchase the other needed items for Joe and Rose then returned to the car.

In the car, Connor cranked up the music. It was much louder than Davis would have liked, but he let it slide since it was holiday time. Davis pulled out of the parking lot and aimed the car for the Greene’s apartment. Connor could hardly wait to get upstairs. He had been thinking about Daisy all morning and he was tired of only thinking about her. He wanted to see her and help her in the kitchen.

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