A divorced couple was busy bickering when their son got lost in the crowd. When they looked around, they spotted him with a hooded man, but he fled before they could get to him. The paranoid couple didn't know what to do until the wife remembered something about their son.
Derek was only six years old when his parents, Peter and Nita, got divorced. He adored them, but they fought so often that he was happy when they separated.
After the divorce, Nita got Derek's custody, and Peter was permitted to see him on occasion. However, even after their separation, Peter and Nita's disputes continued. They would end up arguing whenever Peter arrived at Nita's house to see Derek until something unexpected happened one day...
Derek was tired of his parents quarreling all the time. | Source: Pexels
On Derek's 7th birthday that year, Nita had organized a grand birthday party for him, inviting all his friends. She didn't want to invite Peter to the party, but when Derek pushed, she couldn't say no.
When Peter arrived at Nita's house, his gaze fell on the dinner table lined with a huge birthday cake and a whole lot of scrumptious treats! Everything looked utterly delicious, and Peter couldn't stop himself from devouring two donuts off the platter next to the cake.
"Don't worry, Nita! Derek will be fine!"
While he was on his third, he noticed Nita entering the kitchen and began to pretend the donut was disgusting. "Jesus! It's horrible," he said, taking a bite. " I can't believe those poor kids will have to eat this! Even sipping sugar syrup would be better!"
"Well, I didn't make them for you, and you didn't help me with them, so you don't get to eat them," she shot back, grabbing the donut from his grasp and tossing it into a bin. "By the way, Peter," she continued. "I've already tried them, and I know they're great! So, the next time you lie, use your brain for a change."
Knowing his lie was caught, Peter didn't say much and walked away. However, he had a brilliant reply prepared for Nita in the back of his mind...
Nita had prepared a whole lot of treats for the birthday party. | Source: Unsplash
Almost an hour later, when all the kids arrived and Derek sliced the cake, Nita began distributing snacks along with the cake. The kids were ecstatic as they ate all of the delicious treats Nita had baked until the doorbell rang and Peter answered the door.
In the doorway stood a man dressed as a clown, holding superhero-themed cupcakes. All of the children ditched the feast Nita had prepared and dashed over to get the fancy cupcakes.
Nita was outraged and Peter only fueled her rage. "Your baking may be perfect, Nita, but you'll never beat me! Look at the kids, and Derek...they prefer the cupcakes over your pathetic homemade goodies!"
At this point, Nita was furious, but she kept her cool since she didn't want to ruin Derek's special day. However, things got ugly as Peter continued to make fun of her, and they both started yelling at each other in front of everyone.
Derek's birthday celebration turned into a disaster, and he was embarrassed when everyone started to leave.
All the kids ran over to the clown to get the fancy cupcakes. | Source: Unsplash
Once everyone was gone, Peter noticed Derek's sad face and gave his gift to cheer him up, which included two tickets to an amusement park for the following Saturday.
"Thanks, Dad..." the boy replied silently.
But Nita wasn't happy about it. "This Saturday? No way! I also got him tickets to the same amusement park because I knew he wanted to go there! And I asked him first, so he's coming with me!"
"You wish, Nita!" Peter screamed as he got to his feet. "He's coming with me, as he promised me just now, and these were the last tickets I got, okay? So you're out of the scene!"
"In your dreams—" Peter and Nita wouldn't stop, and Derek was again frustrated to see them quarreling. He eventually lost his cool and yelled at them. "MOM! DAD! ENOUGH! I'M NOT GOING ANYWHERE IF YOU KEEP FIGHTING! I'LL RUN AWAY FROM THE HOUSE...AWAY FROM YOU TWO!"
Suddenly, both Peter and Nita fell silent.
"My teacher says it's better to work as a team than alone! If you still want to keep things separate, I can spend the first half of the day with mom and then with you, dad. Is that okay?" he sighed, dropping his head in frustration.
Derek had to intervene to keep Nita and Peter from arguing more. | Source: Pexels
Peter and Nita for once stopped arguing, and they consented because they saw how frustrated Derek was. However, the following Saturday, Peter arrived at the amusement park sooner than they'd agreed upon, resulting in another argument.
"What the hell are you doing here?" Nita snapped at him. "You know I still have a lot of time left, Peter!"
"So? I can do whatever I want, Nita! It's not like I need your approval!"
"Just shut up and get lost!"
"And what if I don't want to?"
"Go to hell, then! Let's go, Derek!" she said, turning back to take her son's hand, only to realize he wasn't there. They'd been so involved in bickering that they'd forgotten about Derek, who they had now lost in the park's crowd.
"To hell with you, Peter! Because of you, our son's lost!" Nita yelled at him as she looked around for Derek.
Nita and Peter lost Derek at the amusement park. | Source: Pexels
Suddenly, Peter spotted him. "Nita! Derek's there! With a man in a hooded jacket!" he yelled, pointing to a stranger. Nita noticed them as well, but they lost them in the thick crowd while trying to catch up with them.
"Jesus! What do we do now?" Peter sighed as he came to a halt. Suddenly, Nita remembered that she'd given Derek a spare iPhone and asked him to keep it with him at all times because she was a single working mother who couldn't be with him all the time.
Nita called Derek right away, but all of her calls went unanswered. As a final resort, she traced the phone's location, and luckily, it was at a house near the amusement park.
Nita was terrified, and her hands were trembling, so Peter drove her to the house in his car. On the way, he consoled her, saying, "Don't worry, Nita! Our son will be fine!"
She nodded, teary-eyed.
Peter and Nita forgot their differences for once and decided to find Derek together. | Source: Pexels
As they reached the house, they knocked on the door, but nobody answered. Peter eventually called the cops, and when they broke open the door, they saw Derek and a young man emerging from a room with their headphones on, holding a few packets of chips and some dirty dishes.
"Mom! Dad! You found me!" Derek ran towards them and hugged them.
"Thank God you're safe, champ," Peter exhaled a sigh of relief.
"Daddy is right, Derek. I nearly died when you disappeared. He didn't hurt you, did he?" Nita asked, worried and glaring at the stranger.
But Derek smiled and revealed that he had asked his friend's older brother to pretend to abduct him to finally put an end to their bickering. "Harry and I were watching movies in his room, so we couldn't hear you. But I'm happy the plan worked, mom!" he chirped.
Peter and Nita were relieved when they finally found Derek. | Source: Pexels
Peter and Nita exchanged an embarrassed look as they realized their mistake. The cops understood the problem but warned Derek that what he'd done was wrong. They also asked Peter and Nita to be more cautious next time.
Meanwhile, Peter and Nita apologized to each other and to Derek for prioritizing their disagreements over him. "I'm sorry, Nita!" Peter said. "It was foolish to always lash out at you. I promise to be better in the future."
Nita promised the same and decided to never fight again with Peter. But that wasn't the end.
A few days later, Peter had bought movie tickets for him and Derek but Derek purchased one more ticket with the money his grandparents had given him so that Nita could join them as well.
Nita refused, not wanting to interfere with Peter's time with Derek, but Peter asked her to join them, saying that watching the movie as a family would be far more fun.
What can we learn from this story?
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