Chapter 4

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"Delancy you're not serious are you?"

"Dad I-"

"Has everyone lost their mind today?" He said walking over to the table and sitting back in his chair until he was staring at the ceiling. "Delancy, how could you even think I would consider something like that?"

I hadn't thought of it before but I saw now that my father's pride was at stake. He worked tirelessly to provide everything he could for us and accepting help now wasn't something he was going to do.

"It was already so strange and insulting that Charles came and said that to me in my own house but now what you're saying just isn't right."

Hurt filled his voice and he seemed so stressed and frustrated. He even looked like he had aged a little over the few days.

"Dad, he can help us if I-"

"Delancy, I know we have problems but I told you I would take care of this. There's no need to say meaningless things."

"Dad-"

"I don't want to hear any more about this!" He snapped and got up from the table before slamming the door behind him and leaving the room.

***

Everything. Everything we worked hard for was going up in flames. We were going to lose everything.

I know I said that I would be willing to marry, but I was terrified of the idea. I didn't want to marry and I didn't want to leave my father but what was more terrifying? Leaving my father or losing him?

I contemplated the situation in the silence of my room, the dark shadows around me adding to the atmosphere of emotions building inside when I turned to the curtain-drawn windows.

I couldn't lose him.

The store didn't matter, I couldn't lose my father.

Asking him to accept this help would be like an insult to all his hard work. It was like I was disregarding all his hard work and telling him he could never accomplish anything by himself.

But we needed help.

My father was never a man to beg and ask for anything, or any favors.

I'd watch him work persistently night after night, doing back breaking work, even when the store was closed. Sleeplessly working so he could fix the smallest of things just so the store could run smoothly.

I understood the hurt in his voice and the insult he must have felt when I told him I wanted to marry his friend's son that he had let me down to a point where I wanted to resort to that.

He was upset and hurt that he had forced his daughter to even consider that alternative.

The helplessness he must have been feeling to watch everything he worked hard for slip away.

Ruining my future, being unable to provide for me.

The regret that there was nothing he could offer me beyond the store.

The feeling that he had failed me as a father and that there was nothing he could give me in life.

I understood it all but nonetheless, we still needed help and I was willing to sacrifice everything.

"Delancy."

I sat up and turned to the doorway. My father stood there sheepishly before trotting over to where I was.

"I'm sorry about earlier. I didn't mean anything," He said rubbing the nape of his neck.

"It's okay, I understand."

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