Author’s Note – Here’s another little fanfic of mine from a one word IG prompt. This scene doesn’t appear in Always Darkest, but it could.
It was quiet other than the patter of rain and snow on the porch roof. Mal warmed her hands around her coffee cup, smiling faintly at the one tree in their yard still stubbornly holding on to its autumn leaves in the face of impending winter.
The swing creaked and a blanket dropped over her shoulders.
She didn’t even have to look. “Morning, Dad.”
She glanced his way.
He was smiling, but it was a speculative questioning sort of smile. “You’re up early.”
She shrugged. “I guess. Bad dreams.”
“Again, huh?” He squeezed her hand.
She sighed. “Yeah. It’s been a rough week.”
“I’m sorry, honey. I wish I could help.”
She shrugged again. “At least break is starting soon. Then it doesn’t matter so much how I sleep.”
Ari put an arm around her. “Are you looking forward to a little vacation?”
“Yeah, I am. Teddy’s not gonna be around, but I’ve got plans with Petra, and Ben …” she trailed off.
“So his name’s Ben, huh?”
She blushed. “Yeah. Um … Ben Brody.” She didn’t know why she hadn’t said anything before now. It’s not like she hadn’t dated before. But Ben was different.
He smiled fondly. “The color in your cheeks is more than the cold. Maybe this is a more than friends boy?”
She turned toward him, her face splitting into a real smile, sleepy brain cobwebs be damned. “I think he really is.”
She told Ari about Ben then. She’d gone from feeling weirdly protective of her budding relationship to wanting her dad to know everything.
Ari chuckled. “He sounds like a great guy. And he must be if you’re this fascinated by him.”
“He is. I … I really like him.”
“Would you like to invite him?”
“For Christmas? You said he can’t go home to his own family.”
She grew thoughtful. “It wouldn’t be weird?”
“Depends on how shy he is, I suppose. But I don’t think I’m all that intimidating,” he grinned.
“What about Uncle Davi?”
“I’m sure he’ll like your Ben just fine.”
Her Ben. She really liked the sound of that.
“I’ll ask him,” she said finally.
“Good.” Ari squeezed her shoulders and they sat looking out at the lake as the mix changed over to more serious snow.
It was a comfortable, homey silence.