Vada just couldn't help it. She needed to reach out to Gage. She had too.
Vada found him out on the front porch nursing a cigarette.
"I thought, you, gave that up?" Where did he find the time and energy to still support that habit? She wasn't going to ask him about his shoplifting needs, but when had he ever paid for anything?
"I did." He smoked quickly and put it out, as if he knew she'd tell. "What do, you, want?"
"Look," Vada said not s..ure what she could say to make him feel OK about the situation. "I know..you've given up on a lot of people." She guessed he'd given up on her too. He never made it easy. "But can't you just let something good happen to you, for a change?"
"I dunno what you're talking about." He gritted as if maybe he was thinking up of lighting another cigarette.
"You've got a family." Wasn't it obvious? "You have a Dad." She reminded him.
He sort of nodded and turned from her as if she'd had her say, so go away.
Vada sighed as if she was never going to try to reach out to him ever again. Before she knew it, he was hugging her so.
"I messed up this time." He murmured. "Big time." He was crying, and almost too heavy for her limbs. "I dunno what to do."
Gage wasn't talking about a dad he never knew. He was talking about something entirely different. He was going to be Dad.
"I never had a Dad. I mean..not even with Ren." He looked at her as if she needed to slap some sense into him. "I'm gonna make the worst Dad ever." He couldn't tell Ren about Halie.