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"Did you hear what your father did last week?" Michael asked as I came into the portable office building wiping sweat and sawdust off my brow.
"Hear what?" I went straight to the cooler, downing two cups of cool water to soothe my scratchy, dust-coated throat.
"Mr. Watson sold the company."
I sputtered, dripping water down my grimy t-shirt. "He did what?"
Michael shrugged, "He sold the company."
I unbuckled my tool belt, dropping it on a nearby table and marched across the small room to my father's office. I didn't bother to knock. "What's this about you selling the company?"
Henry Watson looked up from his computer and muttered, "I'm going to kill Michael."
"Never mind Michael. You sold the company? Why didn't you tell me?"
"I was made an offer I couldn't refuse," he said, looking at me, his twenty-nine-year-old, tomboy of a daughter. "I've not made my retirement a secret. It's time. Your mother wants to travel. I've put this off long enough."
"Oh, Daddy," I groaned, slumping in a chair. "Is this why you were in Dallas all last week? I thought you went to visit Aunt Gracie."
"I did see Gracie, and I sold the company."
"If you really wanted to sell that badly, why didn't you offer it to me? I would have bought it."
He shook his head and leaned back in his chair. "You couldn't afford it, you know that. This company has been in the red for two years now. The construction business is not what it used to be."
"No butts," he sternly admonished. "I wasn't just thinking of your mother when I decided this. You can't slave away here forever. It's time you set up your own business. Do something with that degree I paid for."
I crinkled my brow. "What are you talking about? I have a degree in architectural design. I'm using that degree. Why the hell do you think I've worked here for the past five years?"
"Constructing bearing walls and lugging around insulation is not using your degree," he supplied.
"I help out where I can," I said meekly. "Besides, those houses out there are my designs. So there, I do use my degree."
"Those house designs were made four years ago. You haven't designed anything new since then. And I understand that. They are great designs and the reason we even secured the financing for this development. But look at you, Lily, you're a mess. I never see you in anything besides jeans, your hair's been in that ponytail for the past year, and your hands have enough calluses to use as a sanding block."
I opened my palms, seeing the rough skin and grimaced. My last manicure was...well, too long for me to even remember. Daddy kept talking.
"How am I supposed to have any grandchildren if the only time a man can stand to be near you is when you're hanging wallboard together?" That came out as a joke, but the truth still hurt.