As he places the buns into the oven to get them toasty, I feel like he should know. I feel like he should know that two men followed me today, and tonight’s outcome could have been completely different.
If I tell him about Isaac and the two men from today - he could find them and lock them up. My father has the authority and the power to make them go away, so I won’t have to worry about them anymore.
Mike knows what Isaac looks like, but my dad nor Mike have a name. At any time, Mike could have told my father what Isaac looked like...maybe dad already knows that part...
My father would tell me if he caught Isaac - I’m sure of it. He probably would have brought me down to the precinct to see if I recognized him in a lineup. He hasn’t done that yet, so he must not have found him...
What if Isaac knows he’s on my father’s hit list? Maybe he sent those two guys after me... Or perhaps he doesn’t know yet. If they don’t know, would my father going around asking about Isaac cause more problems?
What if word that a detective -my father- is out there to catch Isaac and those other men? There would be more motive to come after me.
How would word get out, though? My thoughts go to the girl behind the counter at the store. It’s a small town -she seemed awfully friendly towards that one possible abductor.
The water boils as dad rolls the hotdogs around every now and then.
If my father goes around from store to store with a drawing of what those three men look like, word will spread like wildfire... what if she has hazel eyes’ number? What if he’s a regular customer or something? He would find out. If he has ties with Isaac, then Isaac will know.
I watch dad as he cracks open a can of baked beans and pours them into a saucepan. By the smell of it, he got the kind with bacon in it.
Maybe I could just tell dad to keep it on the down-low. Perhaps he’ll just patrol around until he finds them. What if he does find them walking down the street and my dad pulls over to talk to them - to arrest them and they shoot at my dad? It would be three against one – that’s not fair. However, maybe they don’t carry guns, and my father would win and get rid of the bad guys...
Watching my dad start to take the hotdogs out of the pot and onto a plate, I ask, “Hey, dad?”
He still focuses on the hotdogs as he transfers them one by one to a small plate without looking at me. “Yeah?”
“I-I need to tell you something...” My heart is racing so fast - it could easily be a stampede of horses in there. Now is it, Elena, pull yourself together.
He places the tongs on the counter beside the stove then looks at me. I have his attention. “What is it, sweetheart?”
This job has aged him. He looks tired, frazzled, and I swear he has more grey hair in his mustache and in the short sideburns of his hair than what he came down here with. He has a hard job – a stressful job. I don’t want to be a stressor for him. I don’t want him to worry about me anymore than he already does.
He probably stresses about you and Mike, my little inner voice drops - I throw it away. He doesn’t need any more additional stressors from me.
“Uh...the shower drain is clogged again; where did you put the little claw grabber thing?” I’m a chicken.
He chuckles and says, “It’s in my toolbox. I’ll get it for you after we eat.”
He sets the hotdogs on the table with the buns and the beans, then fetches two glasses and plates from the cupboard. Removing myself from the counter, I walk over to him then wrap my arms around his middle once more - pressing my face against his chest. I hear a light clink on the counter from him setting the dishes down, and then I feel a strong arm curve around my back.
“You’re clingy tonight. What’s all this for?” he asks with a light chuckle.
“I just love you, Dad,” I say as I try to hold back tears.