James knew it couldn’t be avoided. It has been five years that his heart had left him and turned into ashes. It has been five years since he felt love for a woman but now he had to be strong and make a decision. His daughter needed him to be a father but most importantly his daughter needed a mother.
It was a very hard decision. One he thought about continually until he couldn’t think any longer. Almost reluctantly, he filled out an application online to be matched to a woman that will fit what he needed. He knew for a fact he will not love her the way he loved his beautiful Charlotte. Nevertheless, he will do anything for his daughter, Arianna.
“Will she like me?” Arianna’s soft voice asked from behind his seat.
He glanced in the rearview mirror swiftly before turning his gaze back onto the road. They were going to go see Zoey. She was pretty and well mannered. When they first met he didn’t fall instantly in love with her like he did with Charlotte but she was good company and respectful. They have been dating for over a year now. He felt that it was time he introduced his daughter to the woman he was dating. He needed to know if Arianna approved.
“Of course. Who wouldn’t like you, darling? You are the sweetest girl anyone can encounter.” James countered, a small smile creeping onto his face.
His daughter was a very beautiful child and he wasn’t saying it because she was his daughter. Even without him being her father, he could see just how precious she was. Arianna was born with flawless porcelain complexion. She was only five years old but her hair was past her waist and down to her hips. She held herself up with an elegance that even for a grown adult they can tell that the child was special.
“Is she your friend, daddy?” She asked.
James’s heart clenched at her daughter’s innocent question. How was he suppose to tell her that she was to be the woman in Arianna’s life? He couldn’t lie from his mouth to his daughter. Instead, he simply nodded.
“She will be there for you, Arianna.” James answered.
“But I already have you.” Arianna replied clearly confused on what her father was implying.
“Yes but she will also be there to help you grow.” James countered.
Arianna remained silent throughout the whole ride. He glimpsed through the rearview mirror one last time before arriving to see her reaction. She wore an emotionless face but her eyes held no confusion, only trust. He hoped he was doing the right thing for his little girl. He put the car in park in front of the restaurant he promised to meet Zoey at and got out of the car to introduce his daughter to his girlfriend.
A few years later, Arianna felt Zoey’s hand wrapped around her arm tightly as she pulled Arianna aside. A cold look in Zoey’s eyes as she glared down at poor Arianna who was the flower girl for her father’s wedding with Zoey.
“You better not make a mistake, Arianna.” Zoey said in an undertone. Her eyes hold a promise she will make Arianna pay if she made a mistake.
“Y-yes, I know momm-“
“Do not call me that! It is Zoey to you.” She sneered with distaste.
“But daddy told me that I had to call you that.”
“Only in front of your daddy. When it is just you and me, you will call me Zoey.” She spitted out with so much hatred. “Do you understand, Arianna?’
“Yes, ma’am.” Arianna fought back tears. Her step mother’s grip on her arm was hurting her already.
The door to the small room that Zoey dragged Arianna in opened. Her father stepped in his gaze landed immediately on his daughter. A warm smile graced his face as he walked over to her and pulled her into his arms. Arianna wanted to cry, she wanted her father to know that Zoey was being cruel to her.
How can she do that when he was finally smiling again? She wanted him happy. Her father kissed the top of her head affectionately before pulling her back to look at her thoroughly. Arianna was the girl who looked at the glass half full. Zoey couldn’t be all that bad. She hasn’t beaten Arianna at all. Yes, sometimes she yells at Arianna behind her father’s back but that was it.
“You look beautiful, my little girl.” Her father said proudly. Arianna didn’t miss the hard look on Zoey’s face before Zoey smoothly removed her father’s attention from Arianna and towards her.
Her father was getting married today and she should be happy for him. She pushed aside her fear of Zoey and promised she will do her best in earning her step mother’s affection.
Arianna grew up soon after learning a few tricks to avoid her step mother’s wrath. She realized that when her father was home she was safe to do what she wanted. Her dollies won’t be taken away from her. She wouldn’t be locked in a closet because she was being naughty.
She learned to keep her mouth shut when she had pushed too far with her step mother. She still hasn’t laid a hand on Arianna yet but Arianna had a feeling it had to do with her father’s presence.
When Arianna reached the age of eighteen, her father grew very ill. Doctors were not able to tell them what the cause of his illness was. When Arianna asked for an explanation of what was going on the doctor simply replied that her father’s body seemed to be shutting down on him.
Her life was getting darker and darker with each passing day. Her father was dying in front of her eyes. Every day he grew weaker. One day, she sat on the side of the hospital bed crying her heart out. She couldn’t lose him. He was the only thing she had left. His shaky hands came up to cup her cheek where he wiped away her tears just like how he did when she was a little girl.
“It is okay, my little girl. I will be fine. Your father is just getting over a cold.” Her father tried to comfort her.
“I know it isn’t. I am old enough to see what is going on.” She sniffled as she leaned into his hand. He gave her a half smile.
“Yes, my little girl isn’t a little girl anymore.” He whispered sadly. “I love you, Arianna. You have always been everything to me.”
“I don’t want you to die.” Her voice cracked and her tears ran down her cheeks like a river. Her vision was blurred from the amount of tears she was creating.
“I know and I am so sorry. If I had a choice I wouldn’t leave you too. You are still so young. I wanted to be there for you when you get married. I wanted to see you fall in love, experience life like how I did when I was young.” Her father’s voice turned hoarse and Arianna watched tears seeped from her old man’s eyes.
He took in an unsteady breath to steady his emotions. She cried harder as she wrapped her arms around her father tightly as if he will leave her the minute she let go.
“It isn’t fair. I can’t lose you. I won’t have anybody left.” She cried.
A month later, her father slipped into a coma. She waited for years for her father to awake. She encouraged the doctor to do whatever they can but they couldn’t understand the cause of her father’s illness. No one knew what was going on and no one could help her.
She watched her father sleep for over seven years before the doctors told her it was time to let him go. His organs were finally giving up. He was never coming back.