This has got to be one my favorites ever!
Mason woke up to a splitting headache among numerous other aches. It took him a moment to remember why, then he muttered a curse under his breath and slowly stood to his feet.
“I’ve been waiting for you to wake up.”
Mason slowly turned to face the voice, only to find, to his horror, the man who had given him the pain. He turned to run, but his legs wouldn’t cooperate. His brain wouldn’t give the command. The man was right next to him by now.
“Mason, I take it, from Penny’s screams,” he said sarcastically. “I’m Tyler Newman. Since I’m dating her mother, you could call me her dad. Either way, I’ve been waiting to have a talk with you, young man, and now’s as good a time as ever. You see, her mother and I don’t want her throwing herself away on just any boy that runs into her life and makes her feel special. Luckily for her, she felt the same way. Now, I was going to talk to you about why you wanted to date her, and I was fully prepared to offer you her mother and my complete permission, but I’m afraid you blew it, buddy. Anything to say for yourself?” Tyler asked.
Mason shook his head. He had plenty he wanted to say, but he had enough reminders of this guy’s strength that he didn’t want to test him. He had a feeling another whipping was coming up since to his recollection he only got knocked out of the way earlier.
Tyler nodded. “Good. Now, Penny’s mother asked me to be sure I wasn’t hasty or rude, but I’m afraid you lost those privileges. I’ll still be pretty nice, though. I have a reputation to uphold.” He seemed to remember something then. “Unfortunately, I also have two ladies’ reputations to uphold. So I’m afraid you’re out of luck, pal. Now, are you sure there isn’t anything you want to say? Say it now. After I’m through with you, you won’t be talking for a while. If they manage to repair your jaw enough that you talk at all.”
Mason winced. “Look, mister, I’m not sure why you’re putting yourself in the place you say you’re in. Penny told me that there was no father figure in her life. Besides, aren’t you a little young to take that responsibility? So who are you for real? Her boyfriend? Cause I could totally understand that. And if you are, man, I’m sorry. She said she wasn’t dating anyone. How do you expect me to read her mind or her past?”
Tyler smiled genuinely. “As I said before, I’m dating her mother. She doesn’t recognize my position entirely, but hopefully that will change. After an encounter with a boy like you, I’m hoping she’ll realize how much more worthwhile I am than the other guys that her mom could have brought into her life.”
“Aren’t you worried that I’ll press charges?”
Tyler laughed. “I called your parents on my way over here, Mason. They’ll be here after I’m through with you to take you home. Unless I’ve gotten really bad at understanding tones, even if you can walk after I leave, you won’t be able to for a long, long time after your parents are through. I doubt you’ll be having anymore innocent affairs for a while, my boy.”
Mason shook his head. “Hey, I’m older than Penny. Would you call her all those condescending names you’ve been using on me?”
“She acts older than she is, Mason. She stood up for what she thought was right. You violated your own standards as well as hers. Who’s the older person there? Who should be treated condescendingly?”
Mason glared. “She hates you so much that she ran away from her mom’s house to get away from you. How does that make her older?”
“She needed space so that she didn’t end up actually hurting anyone. And she still did what was right, no matter whose house she was in, and even when she wasn’t associating herself with her mother.”
“How can you say I’m violating my standards?”
“You’re right, Mason. I can’t say that, can I? I’ll bet a stinkin worm like you can barely pronounce the word without cringing can you? But if you could do something like that to a trusting girl and tell me you weren’t violating your standards, you better believe it’s about time someone did what I’m about to.”
“She was naive, and she needed someone to teach her what the real world was like.”
“And right now, her mom’s expecting me to teach you what a real man is like.” Without further ado, Tyler made him pay dearly. He called Mason’s parents as he walked away for the second time, and they came out of their car as he got to his.
The man, who looked incredibly like Mason, walked over to Tyler. “I’m his dad.”
“I’m her dad.” Tyler reached into his back pocket and pulled out a business card. “You can send the medical bill here.”
“Thank you. I apologize for my son’s behavior,” the man said, looking extremely uncomfortable.
Tyler smiled thinly. “Yeah, so did he.” Before anything else could be added, Tyler walked away quickly.