Banging on the door startled Simone. Her hand flew to her chest. Her heart fluttered in a staccato rhythm under her fingers. Staring wide-eyed at the door, she perched on the edge of her seat. The pounding repeated, and Simone glanced at clothes scattered across the floor and make-up on the kitchen counter.
Hand still pressed tight against her fluttering heart, she set her book aside, eased off her her chair to the door, sweeping a minuscule powder blue skirt underneath the futon with a deft sweep of her toe as she did. Peeking through the tiny spyhole, her breath caught in her throat.
“Daddy? What are you doing here?” She opened the door as far as the copper coloured chain would allow, hollow gaze on the grizzled man standing on the other side.
“Let me in,” he said, pushing at the door, eyes beseeching.
“You shouldn’t be here.”
“Do you even understand what you are doing? What the stakes are? I’ve come to take you home.” He reached meaty fingers inside the opening, and Simone inched backwards.
“I’m not going home. I can do this.” After a moment, she took his enormous fingers in her fragile, bird-like grasp. “I’ll be okay. Please, daddy. You have to go home before she finds out you’re here. Please.”
Squeezing her tiny fingers, he shook his head.
“I’ll be here. In case you need me.”
He didn’t tell her where he’d be, but she knew.