Shelby had been keeping a close watch on her dad. She could see that his moods were flipping between sadness and anger. She was worried that he was moods were flipping between sadness and anger. She was worried that he was going to snap and something bad would happen.
She tapped on her dad’s office door. “Daddy?”
She didn’t get a response she poked her head in just in case he had been on the phone and didn’t hear her.
She saw him standing at the window looking out.
She saw him wipe his eyes before turning around. She wanted to run over and hug him like he had always done for her when she was upset. Lately he had been pushing away anybody who tried to comfort him.
“I fixed lunch. I made spaghetti. I know it’s one of your favorites.”
“Thanks. I’ll get some later. I’m busy right now.”
She knew he wouldn’t eat later. He barely did more than pick at his food.
“Daddy, we are worried about you. You don’t eat. You barely sleep.” She had heard him crying at night.
“I’m fine, Princess.”
“No you aren’t, Daddy. You need to talk to someone. If you won’t talk to a doctor or to Grandpa, then talk to me.”
“Dammit, Shelby! I said I’m fine.”
She could be just as stubborn as he could. She refused to let this go. She sat down and glared across the desk at him.
“You either talk to me, or I will have you admitted to the hospital where they will force you to talk to someone.”
“You can’t do that.”
“I can, and I will if you keep going like you are. I already have the paperwork to have you declared incompetent. All I have to do is take them and the supporting letters to a judge.”
“What supporting letters?”
“The ones that I have collected from several people to back up my claims.”
Andy couldn’t believe she was doing this. “Do you realize what you are doing?”
“I do. I am trying to save my father from himself.”
“I told you I am fine.”
“And I know that you aren’t.”
“This isn’t the first time I have lost someone I love, Shelby. I will be fine.”
She looked a little confused. “Are you talking about Mom?”
He shook his head and sighed. “Her brother. Your uncle. Reuben was my best friend.”
“What happened to him?”
“He killed himself our first year of high school.”
She knew the reason most teenagers took their own lives. “Why didn’t you or mom ever talk about him?”
“We did. Just not around you girls. It was hard for us to deal with without the two of you asking questions.”
“Is he what got you and Mom together?”
Andy nodded.”We started spending time together after he died. We both had a connection to Reuben that nobody else had and it connected us also. At first we mostly talked about him. As time passed, we found other things to talk about.”
“So you and Mom only got together because you both lost Uncle Reuben? Do you think you would have gotten together if he was still alive?”
Andy shook his head. “The only thing we had in common was your uncle. Later it was you and your sister.”
“And we were both unplanned.”
“Unplanned, but never unwelcome.”
“Nice try, Dad. You better hope that Nakusa never learns the meaning of her name.” She could see that he was surprised she knew. “If you thought that leaving out one letter would change it, it doesn’t. The name is mean.”
“I know. I do regret her name.”
“What can I do to help you, Dad? I am worried about you.”
“I just need some time. I promise I will be alright.”
She got up and hugged her dad.
“Get out there and eat. Start taking care of yourself and I will back off.”
He nodded and smiled. “I swear you get your bossiness from your great grandmother.”
“Well someone had to keep you in line.”