Looking between the two who haven’t broken eye contact I start to feel uneasy. My father sighs and as a child I knew whatever I asked for, if he did that it was a no.
“Amos, you are a smart young man and I appreciate you taking in my daughter, but I don’t think I will be needing assistance protecting my family. You protecting my daughter is already enough.”
Amos still seemed calm and it was slightly concerning.
“With all respect sir, I am just thinking about what is best for Tia. I can protect her, but with her being gone and your in-laws being attached to the wrong people they know who you are. They probably expect her to come running back to mommy and daddy.
“With her being safe I’m sure she doesn’t want her family to suffer for her. Not saying you and yours can’t protect yourselves I’m just thinking extra protection. For everyone.”
Protection? Wrong people?
“Hi, hello, yes I am still here. Can we not leave me in the dark? Who are the wrong people? Other than John himself.”
They look at each other before my father speaks up.
“Mija listen to me sí? I cannot put into words let alone a good explanation as to what is going on, but you must trust me.” I close my eyes and sigh.
“Amos I’m ready to leave please.” My voice cracks as I continue to think of my father keeping secrets from me.
I stand and make my way to the door prepared to open it and keep walking.
“Tia please listen to papa. This world isn’t safe. Amos will take care of you and everything you want to know he will tell you.”
Amos looks taken aback and stands. “Excuse me? I don’t remember agreeing to this.”
My father looks at him with a fake smile. “Well son if you want this deal you explain it to her.”
He rolls his eyes before agreeing.
The drive back to the house was quiet, but not awkward fortunately. I stole some quick glances at Amos to try and figure out what he was thinking. When I came up with nothing I chose to stare out the window.
“You know you could just ask, right?” He spoke out of no where.
I look back at him a little embarrassed realizing he caught me. “Well you’re driving and I didn’t want to distract you.”
“Fine then. Since I’m driving, what are you thinking about?” He ask with a smile on his face using my excuse to ask me questions.
“Well... Just that all my life, right under my nose, my father was what I’m assuming is another business that he doesn’t want me to know about through his big stupid building. They’re connected somehow right? It has to be. How else would he be running something like that when he’s always in his office.
“I would know I was there with him all the time. I refused to not be around him.” I finish and realized I was rambling all the way back to the house.
He turns the car off and we both sit in silence. “You know I get why he would keep it from you. Up until some years ago I kept it from my aunt, but Sophia doesn’t really understand the world so I don’t have to tell her anything.”
He sits and thinks it over before finishing.
“When it comes to this... Business. It’s not the kind where we can run around and tell everyone because we can’t trust anyone. We have a family to protect so keeping it from you is the best option the less you know the less of a target you become.”
I nod my head understanding. “So it’s the mafia. From what I’m understanding.”
He smiles, his teeth standing out against his tanned skin. “Yes I guess. Smart girl.”
“Where are you from?” It slipped out before I could stop myself. “I’m sorry I didn’t mean to come out so straight forward like that.”
He laughed before answering me. “I am from Hawaii. Did the accent not give it away?”
I smile because I never noticed the accent. It must be a fading accent.
“No I didn’t. You’ve been here for too long and it’s fading. You might want to take a trip if you don’t want to lose it.”
We get out of the car and enter the house to see Sophia and Mel standing on the couch and coffee table in the living room. We stare at them a little confused before shutting and locking the door.
“THE FLOOR IS LAVA!” Sophia screamed at us making us drop our things and run to jump on the couch and recliner.
“Are the lava monsters back Soph?” Amos ask as he rocks the recliner he is standing on.
“No we fighted them and won.” She says
“We shall eat them for dinner! A champions dinner! To the kitchen!” He screams before jumping off the recliner and running to the kitchen to start pulling things from the fridge. “How does loco moco sound? I need to get rid of some rice.”
Everyone migrates to the kitchen to help. “Papa can I help?” Sophia speaking made me turn to see Amos pick her up while smiling.
“Of course sweets.”
Everyone helps around as I scramble because I have no clue what I’m doing. It’s an easy recipe from what I can tell.
Once the cooking was finished it doesn’t take long for everyone to shove everything into their mouths as we laugh and talk about our day. As we finished up and Mel got Sophia ready for bed me and Amos did the dishes.
“She called you papa.” I say while washing gravy from a bowl.
“Yeah. It happens sometimes. Our dad wasn’t around much and when he was it wasn’t enjoyable. So I was her father figure. She knows I’m not, but it slips from her sometimes and I don’t correct her because I know that her mind is on her wanting her father which I guess would be now.”
I rinse the bowl I had been scrubbing for an unnecessary amount of time and place it in the rack to dry.
“You’re a beautiful human being with a beautiful soul. You took me in and you didn’t have to. I feel like you grew up saving people just because you could.” I tell him as I face him. “Don’t let anyone use that against you. If they do turn it into a weapon. I couldn’t and I feel like that’s why I’m here now, but besides that. Thank you Amos, for everything.”