'Where is mummy?'
'She's gone to work, she told you last night.'
'She's got a meeting.' The almost seven-year-old pouts, clinging the bunny closer to her chest. 'Now, toast or toast?'
'I don't want toast.'
'You like toast.'
'I like mummy toast.' She points out, crossing her arms. 'You're not mummy.'
'Mummy will be back this evening.' He promises her, getting a class of water for the child.
'I like juice. The apple one in the fridge.'
'You look more and more like her every day.' She just shrugs, 'anyway no one has ever said they like mummy's food.'
'Clearly, you're having toast.'
'I want cereal. Weetabix.' He nods, scouting out the Weetabix out and pouring it in the bowl. 'Hot milk.' She points out as he pulls a face.
'You, missy, are sooo bossy. You are definitely your mother's daughter.' She grins, sitting at the table. 'I swear your brother was never as bossy as you.'
'Mummy says it's a good thing.' He laughs at the little girl, wondering what possessed Carla to say that. Although, it probably is. When she was born, he wondered what she'd be like. A whole new life, ready to be lived. She was their miracle baby. He wanted her to be strong, to be like her mum, ready to live life to it's fullest. But, right now, she was his little princess, the apple of his eye, Carla usually teases, when he lets her get away with blue bloody murder.
'Is mummy picking me up?'
'No, darling, grandad Ken is.'
'He's picking up Bertie and I'm working.'
'Why can't mummy pick me up?'
'She's going to London; she'll be back late. She said she'll, hopefully, be back this afternoon.'
'What is this? The Spanish inquisition?'
'Don't worry, it's daddy trying to be funny. Now eat your breakfast. Do I have to make you a school packed lunch?' He panics, he's done the school run before, but he's never actually had to get her ready, not since Simon was in school. Even then, he's not sure how great he was at that. Since Delilah, he's questioned every step of his parenting, trying not to make the same mistakes with her. Carla is constantly reassuring him he's doing well, but that doesn't stop him from fretting. Or the guilt, every time he does something new, he remembers that he didn't do that with his son, and it's likely Simons memories of his childhood will be him drunk or him being a pawn in his game with Leanne. And that wasn't fair.
'I have school lunch.' She tells him, making him jump, 'have 'ou go' me uni'orm.'
'Don't talk whilst you're eating.' She just rolls her eyes, her eyes darting towards the TV. 'Now where is your uniform?' She shrugs,
'and me bag.'
'I'm not cut out for this.' She laughs, standing up and taking her bowl to the sink. 'I didn't even think about you needing a bag, this is something mummy would have sorted out, right?' He questions as the girl nods, a grin painted across her face as he can tell that she's just having him on.
'It's in the laud'y room.' He nods, leaving the kitchen, finding it exactly where the small girl told him it would be, with a note at the bottom telling her to have a good day. No one could fault Carla's parenting skills, she was a brilliant mum, despite her worries. She adored the little girl, even if she was a surprise, it was these little things that made his heart warm.
'Is Grandad taking me to Rainbows?'
'Rainbows? I thought it was Friday.'
'That's football, silly daddy.' She laughs.
'I need a calendar, to keep track of you.' He laughs. 'I can't keep up with you, you are far busier than Simon was, or Bertie, he doesn't seem to-do as much as you.' She just shrugs, smiling.
'After school. Mummy left me uniform with my school bag.'
'Mummy's far more organised than me.'
'I know.' She laughs, as Peter stares at her, she was, undeniably, Carla's mini-me, not only did she look at her, her personality was all Carla. Probably best, he muses. A strong, independent woman. She was so different to Simon, to anyone he knew. Simon was a great kid, but Delilah was something else. She was a firecracker. He loved them both the same, but it was two very different relationships.
Maybe it was because he was such a big part of her life, he was there every morning when she woke up and he read her a story before bed. This time, he did everything. The tea parties, playing dress up, even playing football in the garden, much to Carla's dismay after she read something about head injuries.
He was there and more than just a drunken figure in her life. He'd been sober since before she was born, he'd promised Carla and he'd kept that promise. Maybe it was because he thought Carla wasn't strong enough, maybe its because he was wracked with guilt when it came to his son. Delilah, she was a second chance. She was a miracle, meant to save them. He was sure of that. 'You okay daddy?' He smiles, nodding.
'Just thinking about how much I love you, baby girl, and how great you are.'
'Love you too.'
'Can you get yourself changed?' She nods, 'I'll do your tie.' He tells her, handing her the uniform he found, as she skips off.
From C: Everything okay? Give her a kiss from me X
He smiles, typing a quick message promising he will, as the child comes in moments later. 'My jumper is cold.'
'Your jumper is cold?' She nods, as he pulls a face. 'What am I supposed to-do? I don't think I've heard you say that to mummy. I don't think it would suit me princess.'
'Well put it on the radiator.' She nods, placing it on the radiator next to them. 'Right, hair time.'
'Wait, my hair bands are in my room.' She tells him, scuttling off to find them.
'How do you want it?' Over the years he'd learnt more hair styles, going as far as becoming quite proficient and learning how to braid her hair.
'Ava F said that her dad can't do hair. She said that all men can't.'
'That's very sexist.'
'Stereotyping people, liking when people say you can't play football because you're a girl.
'I said they can. You do my hair, sometimes.' She points out, as he brushes her hair. 'Ouch.'
'Sorry, sorry.' He whispers, as he parts her hair, gently starting to braid it. 'Mummy said have a great day at school, which we need to get going too or we're going to be late.' She nods, standing up.
'Mrs Laney said that I'm very mature for my age. Not everyone can get changed from PE without help, Elle can't put her tights on by herself.' He nods, strapping her into her car seat. 'Why do I have to sit in this.'
'Because you're little.' He grins, kissing her forehead. 'School time missy.' She hums in response, looking out the window.
'What's for dinner?'
'Dinner?' She nods, 'I'm not sure.'
'Can I eat at grandads?'
'No darling, we'll get something after rainbows.' She nods as they make small talk and she tells him about her DT project. Apparently, DT is her new favourite subject.
'Look there's Bertie.' She tells her dad, as she hops out the car. 'BERTIE.'
'Do we have to scream?' She nods, as he passes her bag and Bertie and Daniel cross the road. 'You'll make me deaf.'
'You don't usually do the school run.' Daniel points out, as his daughter hugs her cousin. 'Not without Carla. In fact, I don't think I've ever seen you take her, on your own. You do pick her up though.' He muses, 'anyway, how are you?'
'She was up and out early, some sort of meeting, all the way in London. She could have stayed over last night but decided she didn't want too. And I don't think she trusted me to get everything ready for Delilah.' Daniel chuckles, 'to be fair, she had a point. I didn't realise she had rainbows tonight.'
'Rainbows?' He just shakes his head.
'It's like the girl's version of scouts.'
'Yeah but for younger kids, although apparently she's staring that in June. She was telling me this morning. She's got to wait till she turns seven, or something.'
'When is her birthday party?'
'May 6th. It's a Saturday. In like two weeks.'
'Is Bertie invited?' Peter just looks at him. 'He didn't get an invite. He was very upset.' Daniel grins, 'I told him he didn't need one because they're family.'
'I think that goes without saying.' He replies, watching the two interact. 'She idolises him. Just look at her.'
'He's like the sister he doesn't have. I think the feeling is mutual, he tells me how he looks out for her, although I get the feeling he doesn't actually need to, it just makes him feel special.'
'I know Simon is, technically, her brother, but Bertie is her brother. They're similar ages, and they're always playing together, its sweet.' Peter replies, 'I wish things had been different with Si, but I messed up his life so much. I think he's a bit jealous of her, even though he is an adult.' He just shrugs. 'And there is a huge age difference between them, a bit like us, I guess.'
'I think everything with Oliver, he was his brother and the suddenly a new baby is involved.' Peter smiles a little, touched at his brother trying to make him feel better.
'I guess.' He smiles as they enter the gates. 'Hello.' He grins at the little girl, who'd suddenly reappeared, 'aren't you playing with Bertie?'
'We're not in the same playground. We've got to go to my playground.'
'He's year four, I'm in year two. He's in the juniors. I'm not in the juniors till next year.'
'Oh.' He tries, which seems to be a satisfactory response to his daughter. 'Lets get you to class.' She nods, grabbing his hand. 'I'll see you later Daniel.' He turns to walk off, suddenly remembering something. 'Daniel.' He calls, getting the man's attention. 'I'm heading over to dads, do you want a lift? He nods, 'I'll see you outside the gates then. Have a good day Bertie.'
'C'mon daddy, we'll be late.' The girl tells her, pulling at his hand, following her into the cloakroom and to her peg.
'Right, schoolbag on the peg, coat.' She nods, doing that. 'Do I get a kiss?' She nods, kissing his cheek. 'Love you.'
'Love you too.' She tells him earnestly, before turning around and leaving him.
'Have a great day at school darling.' He tells her as she disappears into the crowd, wondering when did she get so big?
A/N Thoughts? I'm thinking of doing a few one shots about their life with a kid, so suggestions would be welcome :)