An awkward silence dragged on in the room for what felt like a minute until he approached me again.

"I shouldn't have been upset with you. You didn't mean anything so I'm sorry."

"Dad," I said pushing myself to the edge of the bed.

"What is it?"

"Please allow me to do this."

My father stared at me incredulously, unable to believe that I was still considering the offer.

"Delancy, have you gone mad?"

"Please dad, I want to make everything better." I said leaning forward until I was touching the ground. "I already understand what you are feeling, but please listen to what I have to say."

"Delancy! Enough of this nonsense!" He said heatedly through gritted teeth. "Didn't I tell you to stop thinking like this? Nothing is going to happen, so there's no reason to talk like this."

"Dad, don't you know?"

My father's expression pulled into one of confusion. My question hung in the air around us like a blanket.

"I can't allow this."

"It seems that you don't know me very well, but I'm a very selfish person."

"What?"

"I can't live in this place knowing that something can happen at any minute. I won't be able to live with myself if I know you're in trouble and I don't do anything to help you when I know I can. How can I face my friends and everyone if they knew we were in ruin? Do you see Dad, I'm very selfish and I only want this for myself."

My father looked appalled as I spoke, my words seeming to stir something inside him.

"Dad, understand. I have to save you for me. I can't live without you."

My own words hurt and shocked me but in all sense they were true. I didn't want to marry, I didn't want any of this, I wanted to bury my face into my pillow and cry. I wanted to run to someone and tell them how afraid I was and beg for help. I wasn't strong enough to stop my legs from shaking and hiding how much I wish we weren't in this situation. But I needed to be strong for us.

From the moment my father had told me about his friend's offer, I felt burdened by the decision. I knew I had to make a choice.

I was trapped and being forced between two painful decisions I didn't want to take. Burdened by the fact that I could help my father or let him suffer.

Leaving my home or losing it.

Moving on to a new life or staying in this one forever.

It was all my choice and I was suffering between the decisions.

"Delancy," he said, his tone strong and harsh, jolting me. "You have so many opportunities waiting for you. You are young, beautiful and smart. I know there's an amazing person inside you waiting to take on the world but for now let me fix this. I'm supposed to take care of you, you're supposed to rely on me. If anything comes our way or if anything happens to me, I will take care of it, you don't need to worry. Struggling, difficulties, problems, that's what a father is for. You're my daughter and I'm your father. This is my problem so let me take the fall."

Tears welled in my eyes and my hands clung to my father's shirt as I buried my face into it and sobbed.

It was unfair. My father didn't deserve this. He was a good person who worked too hard all his life. There was no way we were going to survive this. I was going to lose him.

"Please," I said desperately, hating the way my voice sounded weak and the helplessness I felt. "Don't do this alone."

"Delancy-"

"Please," I said stronger this time. "Don't tell me you can fix this and you don't need my help."

"Delancy-"

"Please," my voice was trembling. "I don't want to lose you. I already lost my mother. I can't lose you too." I swallowed the lump that had formed in my throat and pulled my face away from his shirt.

I stared into his eyes with blazing determination and strength. "Let me save you this time, I can take the fall."

I couldn't say exactly what transpired in that moment but my father took the back of my head and pushed it forward until it was resting against his shoulder.

"You've already given up your dreams for me. I can't allow you to give up your life."

"Dad, you're my life. You've taken more falls for me than I can even account for. Let me do this."

"To give you away to a stranger... For what the price of a store? Delancy, I don't care about anyone but you. Not the store, not Charles, You."

"I won't always be with you."

"I know but-"

"I'm old enough to take this step and I won't allow you to prevent me from doing so. It's my turn to pay the price, I can take the fall."

Silence filled the air as he stared at me quietly, his expression masked by the dimness of the room.

"There's nothing I can say to stop you is there?" Silence filled the air yet again as he spoke. "Delancy," the emotion in his voice unable to be masked. "You are a very stubborn girl. Your mother would've been proud of you."

"I know."

"I can't say I'm happy with this or that I think it's right but-"

I dived forward and hugged my father, not holding back any of the tears or emotions brewing inside me.

"I know," I whispered through his tear riddled shirt. "I know."

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