Title: Daddy’s Girl
Author: Ben Burgess Jr.
Genre: Adult, Contemporary/Urban Fiction
Published: June 13, 2016
Nick Johnson has always been an underachieving, borderline alcoholic. He soon finds himself in over his head when his affair with Vickie, an unhappily married homemaker, results in an accidental pregnancy. Vickie abandons Nick, leaving him to raise their biracial daughter, Lynn, alone.
Overwhelmed by the difficulties of single fatherhood and seeking comfort and help for himself in that stressful journey, Nick dates numerous women who will change his life forever. Will raising Lynn force him to mature? Can a single father with a challenging past teach his daughter to become a strong, successful woman? Will a Daddy’s Girl, raised primary by her father, leave Lynn destined to fail from a lack of female guidance?
Lynn stood up, stared me in the face, and shouted, “You always ruin everything! You’re the reason why my mother isn’t around for me, and now you managed to fuck things up and drive Jonna and Erica away too. I hate you!”
Everyone’s mouth opened in shock. It hurt hearing those words come from my daughter. After all the sacrifices and the work I put into giving her a decent life, “hurt” wasn’t a strong enough word to describe how I felt. In her face, I didn’t see the little girl I raised or a child that resembled me. I saw yet another woman who didn’t believe in me. I saw her mother.
Before I could blink, Rhea stood up and backhanded Lynn across the face.
Lynn wore a look of shock and fury, her nostrils flared.
“How dare you?” Rhea yelled. “Your father is far from perfect, but he’s tried, and he’s done the best he could to raise and provide for you. You’ve always pined after your mother, and you’ve never appreciated him for being here for you. That woman abandoned you. In all honesty, she didn’t want you, but your father begged her to have you and promised to take care of you alone.”
Lynn rubbed her reddened cheek and lowered her eyes. “That’s not true. I know Mom wanted me,” Lynn cried.
For years, I’d tried to make sure Lynn never viewed Vickie as a villain, but it was time for that façade to end. I stormed into my bedroom and dug the letter out of my sock drawer, the one I had told myself I’d never show to my daughter. I didn’t want her to have mommy issues, so I tried to let her have a positive image of her mother, but at the moment, I no longer gave a shit about that. I was beyond hurt, and she needed to know the truth.
Rhea was still telling Lynn of when I walked back into the living room.
“Here! This was the last thing your mother gave me.”
Lynn snatched the letter out of my hand and read it immediately.
I watched as her shame-filled eyes captured the harsh words on each line, and by the time she finished, she was in tears.
“Vickie isn’t in California. She’s right here in New York, in Garden City. She wants nothing to do with you, but if you hate me so much, and you want to see if you’d be better off with her, I can give you her address.”
Lynn shook her head. “I’m sorry, Daddy.”
I didn’t want her apology; I felt hurt and betrayed by my own flesh and blood. I threw my cell phone on the kitchen counter, then turned to leave.
“Nick, where are you going?” Jonna asked.
I didn’t answer her. I just walked out of the house, climbed in my car, and went for a long drive, in desperate need of some fresh air.
Ben Burgess Jr is the author of the award-winning novels “Monster”, “Wounded”, the poetry book “Times Have Changed and Life is Strange” and the new novel “Love and Happiness” He is an active performer of spoken word poetry. Ben Burgess Jr uses his love of writing to inspire and influence youths to strive for what they believe in, and to never give up on their dreams. His poetry book “Times Have Changed and Life is Strange” and his novel “Monster” are currently used in schools on the lower east side of Manhattan. Ben Burgess has a BA degree in Business Management and an MA degree in Educational Leadership. He is the proud father of his daughter Jaelynn and is active in trying to improve urban neighborhoods and communities.