For today's Christian Fiction Friday, I'm introducing you to Madeline, a four-year-old girl from my current romantic suspense project.
Madeline ran up to Lacy. “Daddy says I get to have an ice cream because we didn’t stay late enough at your house and you didn’t even have a dessert.”
Lacy forced a smile. “That was awful nice of him.” She avoided Kurtis’s gaze.
“Daddy says now I have to be good and promise to sleep in until eight o’clock tomorrow.”
“Really? Well I bet a big girl like you can do something like that, can’t you?”
She puffed out her chest. “I slept until eight-thirty last Sunday. Daddy was mad because we were late for church, because he promised he would help me make pancakes, but I spilled …”
“All right, Munchkin,” Kurtis interrupted. “You take this ten dollars here and go tell Miss Cathy up at the counter what you want, ok? And be sure to bring back my change.”
Madeline’s eyes widened. “Can I get a big one this time?”
Kurtis frowned, but his eyes stayed soft. “You know the rules.”
Madeline sighed dramatically as she turned around and marched to the counter.
“Mind if I sit down?” Kurtis gestured to the seat. “Or if you’d rather be alone, I can …”
“No, go ahead.”
He slipped in the seat across from her.
“I was just …” She took a bit of sundae and didn’t bother finishing her thought.
He took a deep breath. “I’ve been thinking about it, and I’m sorry if I came across as too forceful. I was just … I was afraid of losing you.”
She watched his Adam’s apple while he swallowed.
“It’s just that after Renee died, I thought I’d never get over it. I thought I’d have to carry that pain around with me my entire life. And I was ok with that, because I had the munchkin. But then I met you, and I was laughing again, and smiling. Madeline told me a few weeks after we started dating that she liked you because you made me act like a good daddy.”
Lacy wanted to interrupt, but Kurtis held up his hand.
Madeline proudly carried her dessert to the table and glanced at her father, who didn’t react when she set down a large sundae. She gave Lacy a conspiratorial grin and dug in with her spoon.