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339 Haunting Pas

 Dave stood staring at the old man for a few moments, then immediately, his brows knit together in a frown.

"What the fuck are you doing here?" As Dave shouted he reached out to grab the man by his collar. Only when he saw the two kids flinching and hiding behind the old man's legs did he let go of it.Find authorized novels in Webnovel,faster updates, better experience,Please click www.webnovel.com for visiting.

"Hey, watch your tone!" the old man said, as he noticed the two kids' fear "I didn't come here to cause any trouble, I just wanted to see my son."

Ralph stopped the music and walked toward Dave. Seeing the old man. Ralph frowned even more than Dave.

"Uncle Peter, what are you doing here?" Ralph asked.

"Hey Ralph!" Peter said with a smile seeing someone else he was familiar with, "You're looking fit. So do you plan to make your old man stay at the door?"

"Yes," Dave answered nonchalantly. His hand was shaking. He was barely able to hold himself back from doing anything foolish.

"No, Dave let them in." Ralph told his buddy. He was just as angry as Dave, but he knew making a scene at the doorstep wouldn't help anybody.

Dave walked away from the door, "Why'd you let him in, man? You know better than anyone that I can't stand to be in the same room with that guy."

"I know Dave, but still, no matter what he's your father. Also... those kids..., I think he has something to say to you."

Dave's father, or as Ralph had called him, Peter walked into the room. The festivities had abruptly halted as they saw the new addition to the group.

Zoe tilted her head when she saw the two kids that looked barely 10 years old. They resembled Dave a bit.

"Who's this old fella?" Flanker asked as he finished chugging down his beer.

"Hello, I'm Peter Ruster. David's father," The man introduced himself with a smile.

"Oh, Skelly's pops, nice to meet you," Sven was about to go and shake the old man's hand when he saw Dave frowning. "Ah sorry, my hand's a bit dirty, lemme go wash it first." Sven disappeared from the room.

"Well now you're here, so what do you want?" Dave asked impatiently.

"Do I need to have any ulterior motives? Can't I just have come because I wanted to see my kid?"

"Cut the crap, I know you. You'd never have come here if you didn't need something. It's been more than a decade and this is the first time you've come to 'visit'... Also who are these?" Dave was clearly agitated as he pointed at the two kids.

"They are your brother and sister, Jane and Hawk," Peter answered.

The boy looked at Dave from behind Peter's leg. He was a bit frightened given the way Dave acted, but there was also a small shine of intrigue in his eyes.

Dave's breathing began to hasten. Then he slowly uttered the following words through gritted teeth, "That's it, huh? You gave up on your old family and just started a new one, huh? Why? Were we not good enough for you? Or were you just sick of mom? Drove her into that depressive state first and then just up and left? Judging from the way they're hanging on to I guess you that you're not treating them the same way you did me, isn't that right, Peter?"

"Hey, don't talk to me that way, boy! I'm still your father!" Peter for the first time let go of his smile. His tone now commanding and oppressive.

Dave roared out, "Boy? Father? When the hell have you ever acted anything like a real father to me? Do you know how heavy that word is?!" Dave was fuming with rage. The current events were bringing up old memories he never wanted to remember. This only served to make the situation more awkward.

The eyes of the young girl behind Peter began watering up. She was about to cry.

"Dave," Zoe stood up, "You're scaring the kids. Calm down and just talk this throu..." But before she could finish, Dave snapped and yelled in her face "What the hell would you know?!"

Zoe was startled for a moment, but Ralph shook his head at her and gripped Dave's shoulder. "Zoe's right, take Peter upstairs and talk things through. We'll be watching the kids in the meantime." Ralph said while looking straight in Dave's eyes.

One of Ralph's most commendable traits showed when he became serious. His oldest friend had always managed to calm Dave whenever he went into one of his rare fits of rage.

Dave took a deep breath and went upstairs. "You coming? You wanted to talk, so let's talk."

Peter sighed and followed behind Dave, leaving his two kids with the rest of Dave's friends.

The two of them were hugging each other. They felt like lambs being surrounded by hyenas.

Zoe went toward them and bent down, she fixed her hair and asked, "Are you guys, twins?"

The boy mustered up some courage and said, "Yes."

"Oh, that's cute. How old are you?" She asked. Her words were soothing and calmed the panicking kids down a bit.

"Ten," the boy replied.

"Oh, you're so big," Zoe said and began chatting with the kids.

"What did I miss?" Sven asked as he came from the bathroom.

"Well, you missed Dave's nasty side. I hope things work out between those two," Rob answered.

"I doubt it." Ralph shook his head. "I've known both of them for a long time. Each one of them can be pretty thick-headed."

"Like father like son?" Sven asked sarcastically.

"You don't know anything, bro. Dave has been through some tough shi... well stuff." Ralph swallowed the 'bad word' in front of the kids.

"Every family has its own problems" Caitlin chimed in.

"Yeah... you don't know the half of it" Ralph said not wishing to contribute more.

Sven went to the kids and asked, "Why did you guys come here?"

Jane turned to Sven and answered, "Daddy told us that he personally knows Mr. Skeletal. He said he was our older brother and he brought us to meet him. But I didn't imagine him being so scary."

"No, Dave is not that scary at all. He is a really nice guy... normally" Zoe tried to defend Dave. After all this was actually the first time she has ever seen him react this way.

"But he just yelled at you! Dad says that yelling at girls is wrong." Hawk pointed out.

Zoe coughed; she was a bit embarrassed.

Ralph frowned when he heard the boy mention that: "You mean, Peter, I mean your Dad never yells at you or your sister?"

"No. Never has!" Hawk shook his head to emphasize on this.

"He doesn't punish you if you ever do something wrong?" Ralph added.

"No." Jane also shook her head. "He gives us lectures sometimes when we do something that we shouldn't do, but he always hugs us afterwards!" Her brother nodded, agreeing with his sister.

"What about your mum? Does he ever talk 'loudly' to her?" Ralph asked.

"Nope... no wait, one time he yelled at mum, but he apologized and brought her chocolates and flowers the next day. The chocolates were yummy, he let us eat a lot."

If confusion could be a person, it would be Ralph right now. His brows were knit together. If he didn't know any better he could have sworn that they were talking about another person entirely.

"What's wrong, Ralph?" Caitlin asked noticing her boyfriend's behaviour.

"This is strange. I mean, I know Peter. Like I personally witnessed how he treated Dave. So, hearing the stuff these kids are saying about him right now is kinda messing with my head." Ralph whispered moving back a bit. He did not want to badmouth Peter in front of his own kids. Fortunately they were busy with Zoe and starting to open up a bit.

"Couldn't they be lying?" Sven asked Tom in a hushed tone.

Tom shook his head, "I don't think so. First of all why should they? Usually, kids don't lie, and even if they did, it wouldn't be this convincing. Something must have come up to change Dave's father."

"Let's wait for Dave to come down, he might have some answers for us," Zoe said having heard their whispers.

She took one of the crackers and candy from the table and handed the kids one each.

"Dad told us we shouldn't eat candy before lunch," Hawk said.

Zoe smiled at his honesty, "Then take them with you and just eat them after lunch," she placed the candy in his pocket.

The kid smiled at her. "You're very nice."

"Awwww!" Zoe cooed cutely and pinched the boy's cheeks.

The kid started giggling making Zoe even more excited.

"I see my son likes you," Peter said.

Zoe stood up and looked at the man coming down from the stairs.

Behind him was Dave, anger still painted on his face and his arms crossed. Whatever they talked about, it clearly didn't help Dave's mood, though he was seemingly trying to digest it.

"Anyway, I only came here to pay my son a visit. Seeing that you are all here having some sort of party, I wouldn't want to ruin your mood. Enjoy yourselves" Peter bid them goodbye and took the kids with him.

Hawk and Jane turned to look at Zoe and waved at her before they went and closed the door behind them.

"Dave-" Zoe was the first to speak, but before she could say anything else, Dave took a deep breath and exhaled loudly.

"Z, I'm sorry I snapped at you before. I didn't mean what I said," Dave apologised.

Ralph gave Dave a double thumbs up in his mind.

"It's... alright. More importantly how are you hanging?" Zoe asked with concern.

"I'm good. ... but I guess it's about time I share some stuff with you guys." Dave said and came down the stairs. He took a seat on the round sofa and poured himself a glass of wine.

He chugged the glass down and sighed before starting with his story, "Ralph was there to witness how my life was going at the time. I don't know about him nowadays, but to me Peter has always been an abusive father. He treated my mom and me like shit, which eventually led to her alcoholism and later to her death."

The atmosphere turned grim instantly.

"Soon after, Peter left, leaving me with nothing. Even the house we used to live in was foreclosed due to mortgage payment not being met," Dave poured himself another glass and downed it as fast as he had the first one.

Sven shook his head at this image,"Bruh, let me tell you something. That man may be your father, but he ain't your daddy. No one should treat their child that way man."

Dave chuckled lightly at Sven's words, but in that laugh there was still a hint of sadness.

"You don't have to do this, Dave" Zoe said. She came closer to Dave and hugged him from the side.

"Thanks, Z. But I gotta get it out of my system. You are the first guys I've ever told you about all of this. I dunno... speaking about it... it kinda feels therapeutic. But then again this may just be the wine talking." Dave said with a bad attempt at a joke. A sad smile plastered on his face.

Zoe nodded, her eyes were watering.

"Anyway, so there I was. 16, Mom just died, father left and without a roof over my head. Not gonna lie life was pretty dark at that point in time. I obviously couldn't afford university tuition and I didn't want to burden Ralph or ask for help from anyone else, so instead I spent many days on the streets. God you can't imagine it. Every day waking up asking yourself: 'What am I going to do with my life? Where is this all leading me? Where will I sleep this evening?"' Telling yourself that you need to find work, looking everywhere for anyone to hire you... I didn't have a full education, finding work was hard. I had to take all kinds of miscellaneous jobs just to get by, to afford my food..."

"Bro, you should have come to me then. You know I wouldn't let you suffer that way."

"I know man, but you had your own troubles. Call it stupid pride or whatever, but part of me just couldn't do it at the time. What else should I say...That kind of life can break a person. Luckily I somehow I made it out alive. Somehow I kept going until karma, divine intervention, God or whatever you want to call it came and turned my life upside down."

"Yeah, sorry about that," Caitlin said looking down at her drink. She was still feeling embarrassed about the whole car incident and especially at what her stupid cousin had tried to stage.

Dave waved his hand at her "Relax. I should be thankful. Being spiteful actually made me who I am. Heck being spiteful at everything is what created Mr Skeletal. If I had known that my life would have changed this way because of it I would have gladly jumped in front of your car." Dave said jokingly, but all knew that he was just trying to hide the pain.

"The point is as I was going through with my life, apparently so was my dad. He told me he met this psychiatrist soon after mom died. She is currently his wife. She somehow managed to tame his 'inner' beast' as he called it. Ha, what a joke." Dave shook his head and was about to pour himself another drink. But Zoe stopped him.

"You've had enough."

"Right. I shouldn't drink too much. Lest I end up like my mother," Dave said. His words made Zoe's heart sting.

"That's not what I meant," Zoe said unsure what to do.

"Yeah. I'm sorry, I know you're just looking out for me. Anyway. Peter got together with his new wife and created a new family. He claims that he went looking for me after he stabilized his mentality. Even his wife came looking for me, but 'unfortunately' they never found me. ... honestly I call that a load of bull. If he genuinely searched hard enough, he would have learned where I was... I mean it's not like it was me who was trying to hide," Dave started sounding angrier towards the end.

"So what's the real reason behind his visit then?" Ralph asked.

"Probably the one all of you have suspected. He's here for the money. Over a decade he had no problem living without his son, but as soon as the whole world found out about who Mr. Skeletal really is, he's right at my doorstep." Dave said, a grimace flashing across his face. "Now that he knows I have some Benjamins under me, he came to reclaim me as his son. Talk about a Joe-Dirt scenario."

"Did he say it like that?" Ralph questioned.

"Not really, but he heavily implied it. He said that his kids look up to me as their idol. That I needed to come home and be their older brother. Ha. He's using the kids as leverage. Despicable!!!"

Zoe took away the cup from Dave's hand before he shattered it and hurt himself.

She and Caitlin had spent a lot of time in the 'Grown-Ups' world, so they were the first to understand where Dave was coming from.

"They are still your brother and sister," Zoe said.

"I know, and that's what pisses me off the most. He has NO RIGHT to use them to twist my arm like that. They did nothing wrong. Fuck what am I gonna do?" Dave began rubbing his temples.

"You can take care of your brother and sister without giving that prick any chance to abuse them. Secure a future for the two of them. Make a bank account in their names that only those two can access after they turn 18. You can even specify that the funds are to be used for schooling at a good university. Provide them with the chance you didn't have, this way you'll feel better about yourself, and you will have done good towards your brother and sister." Zoe suggested with a shrug.

"That sounds like a good plan." Dave nodded.

"Alright, I'll have uncle help you out with this first thing in the morning. And if that dumbass tries to do anything funny, uncle can easily send him to the slammer. No one mistreats my Davey!" Zoe promised.

"Oh, you go, girl, calling him yours already!" Ralph said with a wide smile.

Realizing what she had just said, Zoe grabbed the nearest alcoholic drink and chugged it down to hide her embarrassment.

The rest of the guys began laughing, and the gloomy atmosphere was starting to dissipate.

"Okay guys we came here to party, so let's do it! Who has some good music recommendations?" Sven asked.

"I say we do Karaoke?! The TV has that option!" Ralph suggested.

"Karaoke? They used to call me the golden throat in high-school. My sweet voice can make any chicks faint!" Boasted Sven.

"The heck are you talking about? The last time we went to Karaoke with you they threatened to kick us out. Your voice is enough to revive the dead from sheer agony, and they would kill themselves again after hearing it," Rob began bickering with Sven over who got first dibs on the microphone.

Dave smiled, this time from the bottom of his heart. He was thankful he had this bunch of friends.