Careful (A David Chan Mystery, Part Seven)

“Dave?” Chan called, walking into the house.  He checked his watch.  9:30.  The kid was only 16.  Where was he?  But Chan still had enough faith that he was sure it was kung fu, not drugs or some other criminal activity.

Chan had flat out asked his son one time if he were on drugs.  Dave had come home wearing a pair of dark glasses.  He’d come to the dinner table and slouched in his seat, still wearing the glasses.  Chan not as a cop, but as a dad who cared and was worried had said, “Dave, are you on drugs?”

His son had stared at Chan open mouthed.  Both Sarah and Elaine had frozen in their seats.

David the Third had then got up from the table and stormed downstairs to his bedroom.

Elaine had said, “David, why did you say that?  You know he would never be involved in drugs.”

“Oh really?” Chan had said.  “How do I know that?  Drugs can happen in a split-second, Elaine.  And why’s he wearing those glasses?  Where’d he get those?”

Elaine said, “I bought them for him today.  He was just wearing them because he wanted to wear them.  Role playing tough.  You know children.”

“Do I?  Maybe I don’t.  You could’ve told me you bought them.  What if he’d shoplif – ”

But he’d stopped himself.  That was the cop.  He wanted to be a parent.

“What am I supposed to think?  I can’t see his eyes, he’s slouched at the table.  Am I crazy for caring about my son?”

At this Chan had stood and stormed off to his study.  Better you shouldn’t care about kids.  This was the kind of thanks you got.

Remembering that scene, Chan shook his head.  If he had to do it over, would he still say the same thing?  It’s a hell of a thing, caring about kids.

He came back up and popped a beer.  Flipping on the radio, he walked out on the lānai.  Chan heard Tommy Sands singing “Teenage Crush.”  Annoyed, he went back in, turned off the radio.  There was a Dexter Gordon album sitting on the turntable.  He started it up and went back outside.  Listened.   “Cry Me a River.”  Geez.

Elaine and he preferred jazz, especially saxophone.  Dexter Gordon hit the spot.

Chan stared at the city lights, wondering what his wife would think about his teenage crush.  A whole family wiped out, and now there was just Nina.  No husband or kids.  No nieces, nephews, all three brothers being bachelors.  Grandparents?  Maybe.  Uncles, aunties, cousins.  He and Yamamoto would have to look into all that.

The front door banged open.

“Dave?” Chan called out.

“Yeah, Pop, it’s me.”

Chan could see his son had been at kung fu.  Before Elaine’s death, he would have called his son to come join him, ask about his day, see if he still needed dinner.

Now he cared.  He did.  He just didn’t have the energy.  “Kind of late, isn’t it?”

“Yeah, kinda, canna help,” Dave said, his voice fading as he tromped downstairs to his room.

Losing Elaine had cost Chan his daughter, too.  Sarah had moved out when she entered college.  Of course she could have lived at home, but the distance had grown fast and thick between Chan and his children.  He’d withdrawn from them, submerged himself in his work.  For all he knew, Dave might be dying to graduate high school so he could move out as well.

Women?  No time for them anyway.  Chan couldn’t imagine introducing his high school crush to his kids.  What they might think.  Forsaking their mother.  How could he love someone else anyway, if he can’t even love us anymore.

But Nina didn’t really seem much interested anyway, so no use worrying about all that.  And being alone was fine with Chan anyway.

Gordon’s rendition of “Don’t Worry About Me” started playing.

Yeah, I’ll call you.  Right.  Whatever.

But she’d changed.  Not over the years.  Well, yes over the years.  Everyone does.

No.  The phone call had changed her.  Who was that?  Someone who’d ruined her mood.  Someone who’d upset her.

Who the hell had killed David Chan’s chance for romance?

* * * * *

Aloha #WriterSunday. Today’s #WritingPrompt is

caring

Use it to inspire a piece of writing, and then post that piece on your site and link back to me, or simply leave it as a comment below. I would love to read it.

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