“Get your butt out of bed and to the marina,” Ryan Whitney said in his normal sarcastic tone.
Ren turned his head to look at his father. He was exhausted, as he’d just gotten to sleep a few hours ago. “I was doing my homework all night,” he said firmly, then flopped his head back down.
“You’ve got all weekend to do it so I don’t know why you have to stay up on Fridays. I think you were just playing games on the computer like you always do. I need your help today. There is a lot going on,” his father said with his hands on his hips.
Ren turned to look and saw it was barely seven. Jesus. He’d only been sleeping four hours tops.
“Ryan,” his mother said, coming to stand in the doorway of Ren’s bedroom. “Ren needs to do his schoolwork first. We’ve always said that. If he was up all night doing it then it was so he could help you at the marina without worrying about assignments. But he needs his sleep. Go to the marina and he’ll come down later. How many times have we talked about this?”
“Thanks, Mom. I just need a few more hours,” Ren said, his eyes on his mother who always came to bat for him.
“All you ever do is sit in front of that damn computer and tinker. You always say you are working on a program, but I think you’re playing games. And now you’re complaining you’re tired. When I was your age I was up every weekend at six and pulling my weight and staying until closing. Then I’d go out with my friends and get a few hours of sleep and still be ready to go the next day. Your generation is nothing but lazy.”
Ren ground his teeth. He wasn’t playing games. He was writing code. He was developing software and designs. It was an advanced class he was taking through the local community college that his mother encouraged. His father would never understand.
“It’s not games,” he said between his clenched teeth, and threw the covers back. He’d never get back to sleep at this point anyway. “Just because you can barely figure out how to open your email doesn’t mean I sit in here to avoid going to work. I know what I need to do. As Mom said I was trying to get it out of the way so you didn’t bitch to me for not paying attention at work because my mind was on school.”
“Don’t get wise with me,” his father said. “That job you work at is what is paying for all these classes you’re taking. A complete waste of time if you ask me. I need you at the marina.”
“It’s only a waste of time because it’s not what you want,” he snapped back. “The sooner you get out of my room, the sooner I can shower and get to work.”
“Ren,” his mother said. “Don’t be nasty.”
“Dad is,” he said back.
His mother sighed. “Ryan, go. Get to work. Ren will be there as soon as he’s ready. We’ll talk about this tonight like we have so many other times.”
His father turned and left, his mother staying. They heard the door slam. “Why doesn’t he understand I don’t want to be there?”
“I’m trying to get through to him,” his mother said. “It’s a family business. He took it over from his father. He thought you would do the same.”
“It’s not what I want,” he said. He could barely step foot on a boat without feeling as if his stomach was going to roll around and spit out his mouth. That wasn’t the worst of it though. His father and he were like oil and water. They didn’t mix at all and never would. Why would he want to work with a guy that didn’t understand him and belittled him with every other word?
“I know,” his mother said. “Continue doing what you are. You’ve got time yet.”
“Really?” Ren asked. “I’m graduating next month and going to college and he still thinks I’m going to come back and run the marina?”
“I got him to agree to let you get your education. You need it. He understands.”
It’s only because he knew his mother was paying for it. He’d overheard the conversations. No. The arguments. His mother standing up for him. Trying to tell his father the talent and potential he had. It’d come down to his mother saying she’d work more to cut costs if she had to, but her son was getting the college degree she never had.
“But he thinks I’m going to throw away MIT to come back and run the marina and restaurant like him? Does he not realize that makes no sense?” Ren asked. He ran his hands through his hair. At seventeen he couldn’t figure out why his father was so bullheaded about things that were right in front of his face.
“That is where the time comes into play. You’re both so damn stubborn and have to have the last word at all times. Go shower and then go help your father. I’m leaving in a few minutes myself. I’ll talk to him again.”
“It won’t make a difference,” he said. “It never does.”
“We’ll see you there,” his mother said and left his room.
He rushed through his shower because he wasn’t in the mood to put up with any more shit from his father, then he went to the kitchen and had a large glass of orange juice and a blueberry muffin. His mother would feed him again in a few hours. She was always the one watching out for him.
He knew what he wanted out of life and he was going to get it. Then he was getting the hell out of Mystic and away from the Whitney Marina. Away from the man that didn’t understand him and made him feel like shit because of it.
It seemed like the past ten years of his life it’d been progressing and he wasn’t sure he could take much more.
If you didn’t agree with Ryan Whitney, then you were wrong. End of story.
But he was going to rewrite his own damn story and if his father didn’t like it, too damn bad. Maybe they were alike, but it was time for him to take his own stand.