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I hadn’t seen my father in years. He had left all of a sudden, and my assumption had always been that he abandoned us. That was what my mother had led us to believe. However, it was only very recently I had learned that mom had been having an affair and that some of my sisters might not even be full sisters. This was the act that had made my father walk.

This didn’t stop my mother from being my mother. This also didn’t stop the fact that my father left, and we weren’t the only ones he abandoned. Coming from my old world, would you blame a man who left his cheating wife, who made him question even if his children were his own by blood? Now, flip that gender. Was it okay for a man to leave his children for any reason? Therefore, my feelings about my father were muddy at best.

So, when I saw him suddenly out of the blue, this caught me by complete surprise. This also wasn’t the same father I had remembered, however dimly after all of these years. This was the motherly version of my father, a man in this world, who had been hitching a ride to return to this city for reasons I couldn’t guess and had ended up getting into trouble as the girl had assumed some things about his intentions.

“Noah!” Anna hissed as I opened the door and got out.

Dad had a scared look on his face, which showed vulnerability I had never remembered on the man before. I had to keep reminding myself that this wasn’t the same guy. I couldn’t just punch him and get over it. This was a different person entirely. I still found myself wondering if he was scared of the woman groping him, or the fact that he had to face me.

As I came around the car to their side, the woman finally seemed to notice me. “Hello, cutie, what the hell do you want?”

I crossed my arms, “That’s my father. Can you leave him alone?”

Father shot me a look and then rolled his eyes disappointingly. Somehow, that irritated me even more. To my surprise, a bit of excitement seemed to flash in the woman’s eyes. While still holding my father against the car with one hand, she turned toward me and smiled.

“Your daddy, huh? Poor boy. I’ll let daddy go, but first, he has to give me what I want first.”

“Fine.”

She blinked. “Eh?”

“Fine. You want your pussy licked, right? You want to do it in the back of your car or the bushes?”

“Noah… don’t…” Dad cried out helplessly.

“Well, well, it looks like your son knows what a girl likes.” She chuckled, then looked back. “Even in front of your girlfriend. What a slut!?”

“You…” Anna had gotten out of the car, but she was on the far side, making sure she had two cars between herself and the other woman, and even then she looked like she wanted to run any second.

“What? You little cuck pissant! You gonna stop us?” The woman sneered at Anna.

She looked down, an angry, but fearful expression on her face, completely cowed by the older woman.

“Now that I think about it, why have one when I can have both!” The woman grinned, reaching out a grabbing my arm.

“What?” I cried out as she pulled me together.

“Mmm… a little father, son action sounds about right. I might even give you a little money.” She chuckled.

“Please… stop! Just let us go!” dad cried as I was pushed against him.

“Blllppp…” I made a face, causing the woman to grow startled for a second until I swallowed. “Sorry… just threw up in my mouth a little…”

The woman’s face relaxed and her lewd grin returned as she eyed us both. “Yeah, I’d like to taste one, and then the other, or maybe both at the same time. Why don’t the two of you kiss-“

“Fuck it, I’m out!” I used all of my strength and slugged her into the gut.

I was going to wait until she was in a more vulnerable position like she had her pants down, but I wasn’t going to listen to another word of that fantasy. What the hell was wrong with women? Rather, what the hell was wrong with men! A mother-daughter fantasy was superhot until you suddenly switched things! I was still fantasizing about my mother on occasion, but this hit the limit. I know, I’m a hypocrite, but I don’t give a shit.

“Let’s go!”

I grabbed my dad and pulled. Thankfully, the punch was enough that not only did she let go of us, but she fell back a few steps too. Anna was still staring at us dumbfounded as I rounded the assaulter’s car.

“Start the car. Start the fucking car!” I shouted while dragging my confused dad with me.

“You bitch!” I heard a roar from behind.

Anna snapped out of it and jumped into the driver’s seat. I opened the back seat and shoved my father in and jumping behind him. I slammed the door just as the screeching woman made it. She struck the window with quite a bit of force.

“I’ll fucking kill you!” I heard her muffled voice through the window as I locked the door.

“Go, Anna, fucking go! Just go!”

She was trying to adjust the mirror! She put the car in reverse as the woman switched to the passenger door, which was not locked. However, Anna started backing up just as she opened the door, and she ended up getting dragged back and falling on her face. She drove back faster and then hit the breaks, the door slamming shut. Then, she switched to drive and hit the gas.

We were on the street by the time the woman was back on her feet and running at us. We left her screaming, running body in the rearview mirror as we pulled away.

I was leaning back unnaturally in the car, and dad was still trying to straighten himself out. A moment later, I broke into laughter.

“Noah!” Anna cried out when she heard me. “How come every time I take you out, I feel like I’m committing a crime!”

I could only respond by laughing harder. A moment later, dad joined me, and the pair of us laughed as Anna left the park, taking dozens of unnecessary turns as she feared the woman would follow her. By the time she finally pulled over, still shaking, I had stopped laughing and had caught my breath. I finally turned to look at my father. When he saw me looking at him, his expression grew solemn too.

He might have been attractive, and he had a thin, boyish body that made him look younger than you’d expect. If someone said he was my older brother and not my father, it would be believable. Even next to London, some people might struggle to say who was older. He had mopish hair, a disarming smile, and a somewhat clean appearance. However, he couldn’t have had money, otherwise, he wouldn’t have been bumming rides.

“Why are you here, dad?” I finally asked.

He closed his eyes and smiled strangely. “You still call me that.”

“…”

His eyes opened again and he glanced at me worriedly. “I imagined seeing you again. I always thought you wouldn’t call me father anymore. It left me worried.”

“I know about mom,” I said. “I know why you left.”

“Oh.” He responded, and then silence followed.

About five minutes later, he leaned over to me. “Could we go somewhere to talk? Would your girlfriend mind driving us?”

“I-I’ll drive you wherever you want!” Anna cried out and then blushed.

Dad giggled. “She’s cute. She has a big sister?”

“Dad… no…” I shook my head, having multiple meanings to the look I gave him.

He leaned away, closing his mouth and wearing a sullen look. Another five minutes and we stopped at a small café. I ordered a drink. I got coffee, but dad ended up ordering some kind of cotton candy Frappuccino monstrosity covered in whip cream. Well, it wasn’t like I didn’t fill my coffee with cream and sugar. I preferred the raw natural sugar. It tasted better.

After taking a sip and licking the whipped cream from his lips with a sigh, he looked at me. “How is your mother?”

I looked down. “Doing her best.”

“And my… your sisters…”

He stumbled slightly on that. They may not all be his children. It had to sting.

“They’re good. Dawn is forgoing college to follow her dreams. Mackenzie is getting ready for college entrance exams. The others are growing up well.”

I didn’t mention London, who he had no relationship with anyway.

“That’s good…” he responded, remaining a bit quiet, but after a minute he spoke up again. “I suppose you want to know why I’m back in town?”

“Yes.”

He nodded slowly. “It’s nothing exciting. I needed my birth certificate, and they said they’d do it free if I am in person, while they’d charge to send it out. I was born here, so here I am to get it.”

“That’s it?” I could stop a bit of emotion from flooding into those words.

They aren’t what I wanted to hear. Then again, what if he said he had come just for me? What would I do if he told me that he loved me and that he came because he wanted to be a proper father? Would I even believe that?

“Look, sweetie… I am glad that I ran into you. I was planning to…” He stopped, biting his lip. “I’d check up on you. I have been checking up on you.”

I didn’t respond, but as the silence lingered, I tried to change the subject. “So… your birth certificate? Does that mean you have a new job?”

“I hope.” He smiled. “I got a job at a club. The pay is good. My life is good. I’ve been getting things under control.”

“Is that implying they weren’t under control before?”

His smile flickered. “I thought your mother said why I left?”

“Right? She cheated on you?”

He glanced at me for a moment and then nodded, smiling. “That’s right. When I found out she was having an affair, it devastated me. My life fell apart after that. It just… it took a lot of time for me to get back on track and recover. That was all.”

“I see…” I responded, “Maybe if you didn’t leave us… your life wouldn’t have been so disordered.”

This time, I couldn’t keep the anger from my voice.

“Hey… hey…” he responded, not looking offended at all. “Noah, I do care about you. You matter to me. I regret leaving you every day. However, if I had to do it again… I would have!”

“Bullshit.” I hit the table, causing Anna who was sitting three tables down giving us privacy to look over anxiously.

“If I had stayed, I would have just dragged everyone down. You, and your sisters. Look at you! You turned out great! You’re smart! You can keep your wits in a situation! Just look how you handled that nasty woman trying to take advantage of us!” He let out a laugh. “Just imagining her face when you socked her, it was priceless!”

“She did look pretty silly…” I responded, chuckling softly.

The pair of us laughed and dad leaned forward. “Was it your mom who taught you to punch like that?”

“No, it was…” I stopped and smiled weakly, nodding my head. “Yeah, it was Mom.”

“Then… you’re fine!” He grinned, leaning back comfortably. “I can’t change the past, but we can do something about the future, right?”

“The future?”

“After seeing you, I’ve changed my mind.” Dad smiled. “I’d like to stay here for a while. I’d like to be the father you never had.”

I bit my lip. Technically, that was impossible in this world. Mom was the father I never had. Dad was now closer to a mother figure, something I had experienced, and had never felt I lacked. Still, the offer was just too tempting to refuse.

“Okay… dad.”

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