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It's not that simple with relationships.
Cloacked in a three piece black suit with a matching trench coat, he was an underestimated force to be reckoned with in the business world. I stood uneasily, pulling the hem of my shirt down. "Thanks, Dad." Shane was by my side, giving my father a firm handshake. "It's good to see you again, sir."
"The same to you. If you wouldn't mind excusing us, I would like a moment to speak with my daughter."
"Of course." He stood directly in front of me, speaking as low as possible. "I'm going to take Austin for a walk. How pissed at you right now?" I gave him a tight smile, keeping my anger bubbling as far from the surface as possible. "Save the yelling until we get home, but he wanted to see you. Be nice. Let's go, boy." He sidestepped me to walk Austin in the opposite direction, as we were left there in awkward silence. I started walking past my dad, after a few steps he matched my strides. "Are you having a nice birthday?"
Small talk it was. "Yes. Shane has made sure it has been very relaxed."
He nodded, regarding me from the side. "And you're doing alright otherwise?"
"Yeah. School's a little overwhelming, but I'm fine."
"Good. I've filed for divorce from your mother."
I stumbled over my feet, tripping on an imaginary rock. "Whoa. Uh. Okay."
He kept a stone face as we kept on our path. "It's time."
"How is Mom taking it?"
"With vodka and hateful words. Nothing that wasn't suspected."
I grabbed his arm and made him stop and face me. "Why? I mean...why now?"
He looked out into the distance as he formulated his answer. "When you were in your emotional state this last time, I had the opportunity talk to your boyfriend at length. He was very concerned with your well-being, for no other reason than he wanted you to be okay. He sincerely proclaims to be in love with you. Your mother and I...there is no love there. There never has been."
"Then why did you stay with her this long?"
"I thought it would be better for you if we stayed together."
"Are you fucking kidding me?" He grimaced at my profanity. "Language, Contessa."
"You know how she was. She was horrible to me. She is literally the source of all the insecurities and anxiety I have...she hates me. How could you think that would be better?" He finally looked me in the eye, a hint of remorse in his face. "Because she was there, and I wasn't. Horrible as she was...is, she went to every recital, ceremony, and competition you had. Most of the time the videos she took were the only way I could see you, know what you were doing in your life. It was selfish, and I am truly sorry for the impact it has made in your life. I can't change the past, but I would like to move forward."
I stared at him, not knowing what to do with the information he just dropped on me. "I don't know, Dad. This is a lot to process. I think I need some time to wrap my head around it." He nodded. "Take all the time you need." We started to make our way back to our picnic spot. The boys were next to the blanket, Shane attempting to teach Austin to play dead, which resulted in the black fur ball running circles around his legs. "Are you happy with this young man?"
As if he heard us, his eyes locked with mine. I gave him a small wave, and he winked. "Absurdly, and completely."
"He has the means to take care of you?"
I inhaled deeply, the sight of him playing with Austin melting the rest of my anger away. "He says he wants to marry me."
"I know. He came to see me at the office two weeks ago, asking for my blessing for the two of you."
"He did? What did you say?"
"That I felt you are entirely too young, and in no way should he not interrupt your education. But you are an excellent judge of character, and if you feel he is good enough for you, that's enough for me. I have to get back to work." He pulled an envelope from his coat pocket. He placed it in my hand and gave me a brief squeeze on the shoulder. "I'll be in touch. Enjoy the rest of your day." He walked up the opposite path and was gone.
I wrapped my arms around myself, either from