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(Samantha's parents reaction to Nick's proposal)

“Um, dad, you do know that I’m the one who says yes or no, not you, right?”

“Don’t be sarcastic, Samantha,” my mom said. “We all know you think you can make your own decisions. And what are you wearing? You’re dressed like a mechanic.”

I ignored the dig at my jumpsuit. “Yes, mom, I can make my own decisions. I’m an adult and if I want to marry Nick, I’m going to marry Nick.”

“So you already said yes?” She said. She grabbed my hand and held my fingers, showing my father the ring. “Apparently he’s a thug with no respect for tradition.”

“Mother, there is no such thing as a shoe designer thug.” Actually, there probably was, but this wasn’t the time to split hairs. “Now listen. I had appointments out of the office this morning so now I have a lot of work to get done. If I had known you were coming, I would have tried to figure something else out, but I just came back from two weeks of vacation, so I can’t leave early. Nick is meeting me here when I get off work and the four of us can go out to dinner and get to know each other.”

“Fine,” my mom said. She perked up a little. “He’s coming here? Maybe we can go to Brothers for pizza.”

It was going to be a long night.



(Samantha's parents meet Samantha's boss at Tradava)

“Why don’t you go to your hotel and rest? You probably had to get up super early to make your flight.” I looked around for their luggage. “Where are your suitcases?”

“At the house.”

“What house?”

“Our house.”

“You mean my house?”

My mom smiled and patted me on the cheek. “When you’ve owned it as long as we owned it, you can call it yours.”

I walked them to the elevator wells. Pam Trotter came off the escalator and joined us. “Samantha, any updates on the factory? Today was your morning to scout locations, correct?”

“Yes. I’m afraid the ones I saw this morning won’t work out. I’ll find something soon, though, don’t worry.”

“What’s this about a factory?” my dad asked.

“It’s nothing, dad. Just a setting for a photo shoot.”

“‘Dad?’” Pam said. “Are these your parents?” She held out her hand. “Pam Trotter. General Merchandise Manager for Tradava.”

“I’m sorry. Pam, this is my mom and my dad. XXX and YYY.”

They took turns shaking hands. “Your daughter is a real dynamo,” she said. “We’re lucky to have her here.”

“Well,” my mom said, rolling her eyes as if I wasn’t there, “I’m sure you’d be happier with her performance if she’d stay out of trouble.”

“Mom,” I said sharply.


(Samantha's parents' surprise arrival in Ribbon)

Eddie’s voice dropped down to a muffled whisper and I could barely make out what the said. “Dude, there are two people here who claim to be your parents. I can only entertain them for so long. Get here. Now.” The call disconnected.

My parents? They were in California. They’d been in California since two years ago when they sold me their house—the house I’d grown up in—and left to start their new west coast life. Aside from the occasional phone call now and then, we didn’t have much contact.

I scrolled through the recent calls, finally hitting the call back button. My mom answered. “Samantha!”

“Hi, Mom. What are you—”

“It’s about time you called us back. We waited at the airport for three hours. Your father finally rented a car and drove us to the house, where we find out you’re shacked up with a thug. Is this what your life has become? Playing hooky from work and entertaining seedy men in your spare time? Here. Talk to your father.”

“Kid? It’s Dad. Your mother is a little upset.”

“What are you doing here?” I asked.


“We’re waiting for you. I don’t know what you’re doing, but I think it’s about time you came in to work.”

I’d been so caught up on the phone that I hadn’t stopped to notice that a police car had pulled up behind Nick’s truck. The sound of a siren went Woop! Woop! and his blue and red lights circled atop his cruiser.

“Is that the police? Were you arrested? Oh my god. Samantha was arrested.”

“Dad, I wasn’t arrested. I gotta go. I’ll be there as soon as I can.” I hung up and tossed the phone into the cup holder. The officer approached the driver’s side window and I rolled it down and greeted him.

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