Andi ran upstairs after school, dropping her backpack on the stairs, and slammed her door. Tony sighed as he picked up her backpack and took it to the kitchen. The strap was wet and covered in clear slime.
“Eww,” he said, sitting it down on the table then immediately went to the sink to wash his hands. “Something must have happened at school.”
“Well, she is thirteen,” Jack said, handing Tony a hand towel.
Tony stared his husband with that look and sighed.
“Fine,” Jack said, adding his family famous fake sigh. “Check the chicken in the oven, please.”
Jack looked at the backpack when he walked past and winced seeing the clear slime drip off the shoulder strap. He went upstairs and knocked on her door.
“Andi,” Jack said through the closed door. “What happened?”
Sounds of drawers quickly being closed piqued his curiosity but also worried him. Was it so bad that she would want to run away? Or worse? Images of the worst possible situation flashed in his mind and his heart started racing. “I’m coming in!”
“Ugh! Dad! I told you to go away!”
Andi was sitting on her bed as Jack walked in. He glanced around the room and didn’t see anything out of place so his stomach returned to its usual location. Jack sat on the edge of her bed, patting her knee. “What’s wrong?”
“You wouldn’t understand.”
“What wouldn’t I understand? Would you rather talk to Pop?”
Andi sighed and shook her head. “No. Both of you wouldn’t understand.”
Jack had a way about him that encouraged people to open up to him. Andi always thought he should have been a priest or police detective rather than psychiatrist. “Fine.”
Jack’s mind raced, running though scenarios ranging from bullies or sexual advances to drugs or worse, but nothing prepared him for what he heard next.
“Mrs. Baker made me throw away my booger collection and clean my locker!” Andi screamed, burying her head in his shoulder crying.
Jack hugged her, trying to comfort her while her words were being processed by his brain. “Your what?”
“My booger collection! I’ve been collecting that one all year! Doesn’t she know how hard it was to get Coach Keely’s!” She started crying even harder.
The only thing Jack could think about was the slime covered backpack downstairs and hidden collections in her room. Him and Tony would have a very long talk that night.
This story was inspired by the Collector Challenge #14 — Boogers