Trying to understand my characters. Almost to the end of Story-a-Day May! Woo!
Thank you for reading.
Tommy’s inability to make a decision grew the closer into town he drove. Going home seemed a bad idea. His parents would call the police. They’d never liked Hannah, and this would confirm their suspicions that she was a wholly unsuitable girl.
He took turn after turn driving to where he hadn’t consciously decided to go, Hannah’s house. The sight of Hannah’s dad standing in the driveway took Tommy by surprise.
Tommy parked in the street in front of the house. He rolled down the window. “Mr. Wygant,” he called.
Hannah’s dad titled his head to the side. “Tommy?”
“Hannah home?” Tommy asked.
“Isn’t Hannah with you?”
Tommy frowned. “She ain’t with me, Mr. Wygant. That’s why I’m asking.”
Gerald Wygant shuffled over to the truck. “Why are you driving this truck thing?”
“I think Hannah’s in trouble?”
“That’s why you’re driving a truck?” Mr. Wygant touched the truck door.
Tommy always found Hannah’s dad frustrating, but he was brought up to be polite to anyone older no matter what. “Sir. If you get in the truck, I’ll take you where Hannah probably is.”
“I thought you drove that Chevy pick-up.”
“Yes, sir. I borrowed this. All right?”
Mr. Wygant nodded, and he walked around the front of the truck through the glare of the headlights to the passenger side door. He pulled himself into the truck. “You look like you’ve got blood on your face,” he said.
“Yes, sir,” Tommy replied. “I got myself into something of a scuffle.”
“Is Hannah all right?” He buckled his seatbelt.
“I hope so, sir. I really do. But that’s why I’ve come to you, sir. I thought a proper grown up was necessary.”
Mr. Wygant looked alarmed. “She’s not in jail?”
“No, no, no,” Tommy said, pulling the truck back into the road. “Hannah’s too smart to end up jail, sir.”
“What’s she done?” He fussed with the folds of his bathrobe. “I’m in my pajamas, you know.”
Tommy stumbled over what to say. “It don’t matter none about what you’re wearing.” He wasn’t sure that was true, but he hadn’t paid attention to what Hannah’s father was wearing.
They were nice pajamas, and the robe was monogramed. Her father didn’t look half bad. “Hannah…” He trailed off. He didn’t want to get Hannah into more trouble, but he saw no way around it. “Hannah went to the Asylum. I don’t think she’s come back out yet.”
Mr. Wygant’s head snapped up. “What’s she done? Say that again?”
“She’s gone into the Asylum, sir.”
“Why in blue blazes has she done that?”
Tommy saw no reason why the truth would be helpful. “Just curiosity. You know how she is, sir. She’s always wanting to know things.”
Mr. Wygant opened his mouth the say something, but ended up saying nothing. He stared out the windshield. “I’ve warned her. I’ve warned her a hundred times not to go the Asylum. Why does she never listen to me?”
Tommy considered Mr. Wygant, and he weighed his words carefully. “All due respect, sir, and I really ain’t meaning to offend you in any way. But have you ever told Hannah anything useful?”
Mr. Wygant’s eyes widened. “Tommy Adams. I’m her father.”
Tommy kept his eyes on the road. There was no traffic, and most of the town’s lights flashed yellow. He was making good time back to the Asylum and his stomach was in knots. “I know that, sir. I do. And you’re darn good dad. You put food on the table and you never raise a finger to your family. Why, I think you’re the nicest dad I know. But your daughter is smarter than the two of us combined, and when you don’t answer her questions, she figures out how to find out for herself. No disrespect meant, sir.”
“She’s gone to find out about my mother, hasn’t she?”
“I reckon she has, sir. It burns in her, wanting to know. I don’t claim to understand it, but she isn’t going to have no peace until she knows.”
Mr. Wygant nodded. “I tell you what, Tommy. If we find my Hannah safe and sound, I promise you that I’ll tell her everything she wants to know. All right?”
Tommy nodded. Silently he prayed that they weren’t too late.