It was Friday afternoon, at Bayview High School. The last class of the day had just let out. Stephanie and Gia were by their lockers. "Steph, did you notice that new guy? He was totally checking you out." "Really? Cool." "Don't look now, but he is heading this way." "Hi." He said smiling at Stephanie. "I'm Ben Harris. Would you like to go out for pizza with me tomorrow evening?" "Sure. My name's Stephanie Tanner." "Okay, I'll pick you up tomorrow at seven." "Sounds great. My address is 1882 Gerard Street."
Ben had been born in San Francisco. His family left, abruptly, when he was 5. He didn't know why. He just knew it had to do with his father. His mother won't talk about it. The only thing she said about it was "He had to go away." Ben had a nagging suspension that didn't mean his father was dead. His mom had even changed their last name to Harris. It had been her maiden name. He had been surprised when his mother moved them back, last week. He knew she still wouldn't tell him what happened back then.
Ben decided to try to find out about his father on his own. The curiousity was killing him. He went to the library. He knew his father's name and his family left San Francisco in 1987. He scanned through the microfilm from 1987, until he saw his father's name. Then he glanced at the headline. LOCAL WOMAN DIES IN DRUNK DRIVING ACCIDENT. He read the article. His father had caused the accident. Suddenly, he realized why his mom won't talk about it. She was embarrassed by it. This means his dad has been in prison for the last eleven years. The name of the victim also caught him off guard. Pamela Tanner. Stephanie's last name was Tanner. While it is a popular last name, there probably are not a lot of families with that name in San Francisco. He just knew Pam and Stephanie were related. How was he going to tell her his dad killed her mom?
Saturday evening came. Ben couldn't look Stephanie in the eye. After they had ordered the pizza, things seem to loosen up. He hated to ruin the mood, but he needed to tell her. She might hate him, but he wont be able to live with himself, if he doesn't. "Ben, is something wrong?" "Maybe this wasn't a good idea." "Why?" "I need to tell you something. I am afraid of what you will think of me, afterwards." "It can't be that bad." "It is." "Just tell me." "I just found out, myself yesterday after school. My dad was the drunk driver that killed your mom." Stephanie just sat there, in shock. Then she said, "You're right. This wasn't a good idea. I want to go home. I'll call my sister." Stephanie left the table to call D.J. Ben had expected worse.
"You are quiet, tonight. Wanna tell me what happened?" "I can't date him. He's the enemy. How do I tell dad that I shared a pizza with the son of the drunk driver, who killed Mom?" "Dad would tell you that it's not Ben's fault. He was a little boy at the time. He lost a parent, too. Just not in the same way." "I hope you're right. Thanks, Deej."
Stephanie walked into the house, through the kitchen door. "You're home early. Bad date?" "Dad, I found out that Ben's dad was the drunk driver, who killed Mom. I called D.J. for a ride home. She said you wouldn't blame Ben." "Honey, D.J. is right. It wasn't Ben's fault. We should never blame a
child for something their parents did. He's your age. That means he was also 5 when this all
happened." So, I should forgive him and see him again?" "That's up to you, but there is nothing to forgive. He was a child."
Stephanie was relieved. Her father was right. She tracked down Ben's number and called him. "Ben? This is Stephanie. I am sorry I blamed you. It wasn't your fault. If you still want to go out with me, we can try again, next weekend." "Okay, if you're sure." "I am. See you at school, Monday. Bye." Stephanie knew everything would be okay. She remembered that her mom was able to forgive almost anything. She would be okay with Stephanie dating Ben."
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