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 Me And My Daddi 

Season 5

Episode 1

“But Dad, I don’t want to go. I want to go home,” Riley pleaded.

Emerson sighed and turned toward her as they sat in the back of the limo. “And I’ve already told you that I sighed you up to be a counselor in the camp. You’ll have a good time. Give it a chance.”

“No one will like me,” she whined.

He glanced over at his daughter. “You need to start making friends your age. You can’t stay at home by yourself all the time.”

“I’m not alone. Connie’s there with me.”

He rolled his eyes. “She’s the housekeeper, not your friend. Don’t tell me the gardener, Henry, or Mike, our stable master, are your friends, too.”

“But they’re nice to me.”

“Because I pay them,” he barked, then sighed, looked away, and pinched the bridge of his nose. “I know they like you, Riley, but they are not the type of friends you need. You’re twenty-two years old, and you act like a twelve-year-old sometimes.”

Any animation Riley had in her expression faded.

Ever since her mother died ten years before, his daughter had been at a loss. Her mother had been the center of her and her dad’s universe, and then she was taken from them in a senseless accident caused by a drunk driver. Since then, Riley had attached herself to her dad like a barnacle, and it seemed to get worse as the years passed.

Instead of growing up and going off to college, Riley had decided to stay home with him. When her personality should have been maturing, she had taken on more childlike qualities. She liked being tucked in at night, told what to do, and dressed more like a child than an adult.

“Dad, please. I’ll go to summer school or get a job.”

“Really? What kind of classes and where would you work?”

“I … I would take home-decorating classes and get a job at the ice cream parlor by our house.”

Emerson rolled his eyes. “You’re staying at the camp. You’ll get more out of it. Heck, you might even find a boy you like.”

She scrunched up her nose. “Dad, most boys I know are stupid.”

“Oh, Jesus Christ. I’m never going to get grandkids, am I?”

“Oh, absolutely. I want to have babies someday, but I’m too young for them right now,” she informed him.

He rubbed his temple where a headache had started to build. He prayed something would happen to help her grow as a person because he didn’t know how much longer he could take it. He spent more time at the office nowadays than he needed to because when he was at home, she dogged his heels, never letting him sit in peace.

He would love to be able to have a scotch after dinner in his den and read some of the books he’d wanted to. But his daughter always wanted him to play a board game, cards, or watch animated movies. Her favorite was Beauty and the Beast. She also liked to talk about things he had no interest in, like fashion, movie stars, or horses.

He glanced down at his daughter when she gasped and then followed her gaze to see the camp come into view. There were twenty or more pristine white cabins—some larger than the others. There was a long, gray steel building with a sign that said Mess Hall over the door. The closer they got, the other areas around the camp came into view. He saw the lake with several rowboats lined up on the sandy beach, the stables, and a dozen horses in the corral attached to a large red barn.

It looked just like the picture he’d received. A friend of his knew the man who had owned it for years. Emerson had heard about the man, Noah Harrison, who was richer than everyone he knew but spent the summer at this camp he built.

Emerson had heard that the camp Noah built was like the one he went to as a child, which had changed his life, so now he wanted to give back. He didn’t know many people who went to the extreme that Noah did, and it impressed him.

Emerson hadn’t had an interest in it until someone suggested he put Riley in the camp. Since she was an adult, she had to be a counselor. He had proposed to Noah that she might help with the horses, and he said he’d see what she wanted to do.

He knew she was good with children and excellent with horses, so he thought it would be a good place for his daughter. His only hope was that this would help her and get her to be a little more independent. To get her to grow up and want to be out on her own.

The limo pulled to a stop. Emerson glanced down and saw how nervous Riley was. “Honey, you’ll be spending most of the time with the horses, remember? You’ll be teaching others how to care for them. You love that.”

She took a deep breath and nodded. “I would like that.”

The driver opened the door and let Emerson and Riley out. They stood by the car as the driver pulled out all of Riley’s suitcases.

“Do you really need all of them?” Emerson asked as the fourth and then fifth big suitcase was pulled from the trunk.

She stared up at him, wide-eyed. “Of course, I’m going to be here for six weeks.”

He just nodded and kept his mouth shut, relaxing when he saw Noah headed their way. He had talked to the man about his daughter, so Noah knew the situation and that he might have a problem with her at first for the fact she’d never been away from her dad before.

Noah had assured him Riley would be just fine, and he’d see to it personally.

Emerson held out his hand, and Noah shook it.

“I’m so glad you guys made it.” Noah turned to Riley and held out his hand to her. He smiled gently when she stared at his hand and then him.

Emerson cleared his voice to get her attention.

She jumped and glanced at her dad before holding her own hand out. “It’s very nice to meet you, Mr. Harrison,” she said politely.

Noah grinned. “It’s nice to meet you, Miss Holmes. I’m so glad you could help me out this summer.”

Her eyes widened in shock. “Really?” she asked. “You really need me?”

“Absolutely. Your dad told me how good you are with horses, and I desperately needed someone’s help with them and the children who will be learning to ride.”

She nodded eagerly. “I can do that.”

“Good. You’ll be in the women counselors’ cabin.” Noah pointed to one of the larger cabins.

“Other girls will be in there with me?” Riley asked nervously.

Noah nodded. “Yes, sweetheart, but they are all very nice. You’re going to make a lot of friends this summer.”

Riley’s mouth turned down.

Her father cleared his throat. “How about if Mavis helps you take your bags to the cabin while Noah and I talk?”

She glanced up at him with a little fear darkening her expression. “You won’t leave without saying goodbye, will you?”

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