"Hey … I'm sorry. Have I been too loud?"
"No, no – of course not. What time is it?" She looked out for a clock, Emily was faster. "Nearly 2 p.m."
"Mhm … Where's your Dad?"
Emily shrugged her shoulders. "Locker called about an hour ago and he mumbled something about Never-Letting-The-Kids-Play-Alone and was out in under 2 minutes. Oh – of course not without telling me to go nowhere. I'm pretty sure he wanted to be sure that someone is there to have an eye on you. And not just to be a good girl, but also I really like you and I'm concerned: How are you?" Emily sat down on a barstool, Gillian joined. Maybe because she really wanted to talk. Maybe because she wasn't able to stand any longer.
"I'm okay, I guess. A little dizzy from time to time. Nothing to worry about."
"You know … you know that he worries, right?"
"Nothing to be unseen."
"No. No I meant … you know that he worries. Because of you."
"I just … I'm sorry – I just don't want you both to mess it up again."
There was a lack of understanding in Gillian Foster's eyes when she looked right into Emily's face. Trying to read – whatever there was to read. And trying to understand, what she had just heard.
"What?", she echoed her own question, but Emily just shook her head.
"I'm sorry, Gillian. I've already said too much. Dad would hate me if he knew that I started small talk with you instead to force you to lay down and relax."
Even if she wasn't doing well Gillian knew that this wasn't small talk. And she was able to play this game.
"Well – small talk is relaxing, isn't it?"
"Oh – no, no, no. Don't do that to me!"
"Nice to see you too, Dad. How was work? Everything alright? The Kids stopped playing alone I guess?"
"Have you both talked?" He didn't answer any of Emily's questions. Pretty sure she just wanted to tease him. There were more important things to talk about. No, not things. Persons. One specific person. Gillian. The only one he could've thought about when he pulled Locker out of the shit.
"Oh yes." Emily smiled at him. "She was awake, we had a coffee and then I told her that you love her more than in this weird-platonic-way."
She raised her eyebrows in disbelief. "Really, Dad? You believed me? Well – even if you weren't the best mind reader I know – believing this is totally nonsense. Jeez – I can't believe that you trusted me!"
"I always trust you."
"Oh, no Dad. Don't try to play with me. I'm no longer your 9-years-old little girl, remember?" She sighed. "But to pick up the thread again – you have to talk to her. She's not stupid, Dad! On the contrary – she's the smartest woman in know!"
"You don't get it – Emily! I can't talk to her! I promised her not to talk about … about some things!"
He was angry. No – angry was the wrong word. He was upset. Upset and … hurt? Was this even possible? But it wasn't up to Emily to give up. Not today. He won yesterday, but he was fighting a losing battle. She could be stubborn, too!
"What? What, Dad? She took the pledge from you never to tell her that you love –"
"No! Let me finish the sentence. Let me make the point. The point you're just wobbling around. You love her. She loves you. Life is easy, Dad. Sometimes it's this easy. No secrets. No intrigue. Really – you both need to talk."
That was … offensive.
No doubt that Emily was his daughter. Furthermore, she slammed the doors better than him.
And maybe – not that he would ever speak this out loud – she was right.
They needed to talk. Someday.