**Tyson is working in his parents' winery after returning from a tour of duty overseas. It would be putting it mildly to say he's not adjusting well. This scene occurs just after a group of women--a bachelorette party--has pushed him to the edge of his patience as he works in the winery's tasting room.**
“Listen son,” his father started. Tyson hated it when he called him “son” — it meant disappointment would follow. “I’ve tried to give you a chance — Lord knows you deserve one after the shit you went through over there — everything with your mom since you’ve been home…and Wyatt…But Tyson,” he trailed off and his face softened as he looked at his son.
Tyson couldn’t hold his eyes. He looked down. Maintaining eye contact was not his strong suit. Not anymore.
“Tyson, I need to see that you’re actually trying, that you care about what happens. The way I see it right now, you’re a drunk and a liability. You insult our guests, cost us hundreds of dollars a day between the wine you drink and what I have to give away to make up for you… And that’s only when you’re not threatening guests with raised bottles for startling you. I don’t know how much longer this can go on, Ty. You’re supposed be out selling. That was our agreement. Working the tasting room is one thing, but we need to get the wines into restaurants. That’s where the money is.”
They stared at each other for a long moment, as Tyson tried to figure out what to say. The silence was broken by the door opening again.
Tyson turned to look as Audrey strode back inside. His heart lunged into his throat. He wondered what the hell was wrong with him.
“Shelby forgot her bag,” she said, pointing to the ground under the stool where Tyson sat. A small brown purse sat at his feet.
Tyson stood and picked up the bag, holding it out to her. “Look,” he said, staring at her slim hand as it reached out to take the bag. “I’m really sorry. You were right. I’m an ass.” He looked up into her face, and for just a second, he imagined that he saw a flicker of something in her coppery eyes. Interest? Understanding? “I’m sorry,” he said again, breaking the traction of her gaze.
“It’s fine,” she said.
“No, it’s not,” Tyson’s dad offered from the other side of the bar.
“No,” Audrey agreed, “but I’ve had to spend the entire day with them, so I do know how a bunch of drunk girls might wear on one’s nerves.” She smiled at Tyson then, just one side of her thin sculpted lips lifting. His heart started flipping again. “They probably won’t even remember.” She turned to look at the older man. “And I guarantee they won’t remember the name of your winery.”
She turned and walked back out the door, her thick dark hair bouncing just above her shoulders as she left.
The room felt dead in her absence, and Tyson felt the emptiness that had plagued him for months grow deeper. The room was quiet, and the silence fanned the glowing ember of fear that lived in his gut. He looked around for a drink.
“You gotta turn it around, son.” His father said. “We can’t go on like this.”
“Sorry, Dad,” Tyson said softly, struggling for control — forcing himself not to pour another glass of wine. He didn’t want to let his dad down constantly, but he felt like he’d been two separate people since returning home. One part of him was pure reaction — making judgments and taking action before his mind even had time to engage. The more human part was muted, watching the other half wreck what was left of his life, and feeling unable to stop it. He was a spectator in his own life and he didn’t know how to do anything differently. “I’m trying.”
“I know son,” his father said, coming around the bar. “I don’t want you to think that I’m not happy to have you home. Your mom and I both are.” He hugged his son then, pulling him close to his chest as he sat on the stool. “Clean up in here and lock up before you come up to the house.”
Tyson followed his father’s instructions, drinking one last glass of red, then trudging up the hill from the tasting room to the house under the damp drizzle of Oregon’s dark summer sky.
**Want more? You can pick up the book here!**