“Hey guys, sorry I’m late getting home. Do you want to just order pizza for dinner?” Ted Paxton shouted to his family as he walked through his front door.
“Your boss must really want that deal wrapped up,” his wife, Miranda said while helping him off with his coat. “This is the fourth night in a row you’ve come home late.”
Miranda was right, it had been the fourth night that week Ted had come home late, but the twentieth night overall in the last three months. Lucky for Ted, Miranda had accepted that waiting for her husband to get home was the price she had to pay for being married to a sales executive, but it still didn’t make it any easier on her; especially once the children started to arrive.
“Can I call the pizza place, Dad?” their eldest, Toby asked.
“Sure thing, buddy! You can use the cell phone we got you last year for Christmas. Do you remember the number?”
“Yup!” Toby said, filled with the pride that came from being able to do the job his Dad usually handled on Friday nights. While Toby’s parents headed for the kitchen to pour themselves a drink, Toby raced into the living room to retrieve his phone.
“Darn it! I forgot to charge the battery! That’s okay, I’ll grab Dad’s phone from his briefcase. I’m sure he won’t mind.”
Toby couldn’t have been more wrong. His father was going to very much mind once he had found out that Toby had gone into his briefcase. It wasn’t the act of Toby rummaging through his briefcase that Ted would mind so much as what Toby would find as soon as he popped the latch.
“Ew! What’s Mom’s underwear doing in Dad’s briefcase? And how the heck is she able to fit into such a tiny pair? Her bum’s too big for a pair this small.”
Using the tip of his baby finger, Toby moved the offending undergarment off of his father’s phone and then picked it up to make the call. Only before he had a chance to dial the number, Toby noticed that his father had received a text…a text from someone named Baby Boo.
“Baby Boo? Who’s that?” Toby said aloud. There was only one way to find out, and that was to read the series of texts that had gone back and forth between his father and Baby Boo.
‘We’ve only been apart thirty minutes, but I want you back in my bed now!’ was the most recent text sent from Baby Boo.
‘Your place, this afternoon at 3?’ Toby’s father had asked earlier in the day.
‘Yesterday was magical. When can I have your hands all over me again?’ Baby Boo had wanted to know first thing this morning.
On and on the texts went, as far back as three months ago. That was when Toby understood the real reason behind his father’s late arrivals.
“Dad? Could you come here? I keep dialing the wrong the number,” Toby called out to his father.
“I can order if you like,” his father said when he got to the living room. “Here, hand me the phone.”
When Toby handed the phone over, and Ted realized that it had been his phone his son was holding, his face went white as a ghost.
“I couldn’t find the number listed in your contacts, but I did find Baby Boo’s. We need to talk,” Toby said to his father.
“We certainly do. What were you doing going through my phone?” Ted asked, trying to make it sound as though Toby should be the one who felt ashamed.
“Seriously? That’s what you want to talk about? How about we talk instead about that new mountain bike you’re going to get me for Easter in exchange for not telling Mom about Baby Boo? Looks like I’m the boss of you now, doesn’t it?”
Toby got to enjoy being the boss of his father until he finished school. Mind you, it was in the form of pure ‘I’m the damaged child of a broken home’ manipulation once his mother found out on her own about Baby Boo and successfully sued for primary custody of the children, but he enjoyed it just the same.
Psychologists might argue that’s why Toby went on to become a much feared boss at the company he began working for after college. Toby couldn’t care less. He’s just liked being the boss.