D

ay one and Mimi was almost loving it. If she could just shelve that fat little tornado of horrible thoughts messing her up inside.

Ha.

Her coffee was gone and now there was only the slightly acrid aftertaste on her tongue. Well. Who didn’t like quiet mornings with coffee?

Snow had drifted all night, leaving the whole world dusted white.

If only Daddy could see her now. Mimi snorted.

She stared down her empty mug. It wasn’t as if she had nothing to do. She had Kaylie to call, and she had to apologize. Yes, apologize, because they were family, after all, and unless she wanted yesterday’s ugliness to fester for eternity, well, then she had better call.

And she would. Soon.

Her phone buzzed from the kitchen. Levi, calling to check up on her again? Seriously, did everyone think she would go nuts having her peaceful morning alone?

Sighing, she padded to the kitchen. Her phone buzzed again; it was Daddy.

Mimi licked her lips and sucked in her breath. Really, what did she think? That Daddy would let her walk off into the sunset?

She picked up the phone.

“Mimi, my princess,” Daddy began. His voice was peaches and cream, like always. “We had a dramatic day yesterday, eh?”

Mimi coughed.

“C’mon, sweetie, I didn’t think you would make yourself so crazy. There’s work to do. Just come in and get it done.”

Mimi closed her eyes. “Daddy, I was serious.”

“About what? Look, it’s after lunchtime. You must be hungry.”

Mimi pressed her fists against the cool countertop. “Daddy, I’ll come in to show Kaylie the ropes... um, another day. Trust me, Daddy, Kaylie can handle it.”

“Mimi, enough,” Daddy said, his voice growing hard. “What are we, little kids having a spat? Enough with this nonsense.”

Mimi willed herself not to cry. How do you leave a job when your boss won’t accept your resignation? And your boss is your father? She didn’t know how to tell Daddy that she wasn’t holding on to an old fight. That this was about their family — which, she realized painfully, did not mean Zoberman’s. Before the “business” latched on, it was just “family.” If working together meant a splinter in the family, then she would dump the work and keep the family.

“Look, Daddy,” Mimi sighed. “I can’t come back. But I can explain.”

“Good, then, so come explain. I’m in my office.”

“No,” Mimi said quickly. Not his office. Passing the warm comfort of the kitchen (though finding Darrell there with his obnoxious self-confidence might not lend to much fuzziness), finding Kaylie — sulking? hurt? — alone in the back office, it would all be too much. “Let’s go somewhere else to talk.”

She could sense Daddy frowning. “Where?”

Mimi paused. It would be over anyway, if she was going to do some honest soul-talk with Daddy. He was going to think she should live on the moon. She may as well do this her way, all the way, take Daddy to Prospect Park. Bare her soul on a park bench, with the trees as powder-white sentries. (Excerpted from Family First, Issue 599)