“On behalf of every man
Looking out for every girl
You are the god and the weight of her world
So fathers, be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do” – Daughters, John Mayer
[f/n] watched her fathers as they slept.
Père Francis was seated on the couch, his head hanging towards the ground, while he his arms snuggled one of the cushions closer to his chest. He had a little bit of drool coming from the corner of his mouth, and every once in a while he’d laugh in a strange way, tossing and turning on the small sofa. The girl didn’t know how he hadn’t fallen on the ground yet, though he would land on papa Antonio if that happened.
-Ohonhonhonhon… So lovely... Don’t be shy… Ohon. – The sound was interrupted midway, the chortle becoming a snore, and a few more mumbles left his lips before he turned the other way, burying his face on the couch. His blond hair was facing her now, a tussock defying gravity and standing perpendicularly to his head. She scratched her chin, analyzing the view. A little more to the side… Yes, it definitely looked like Uncle Mathew’s curl. She knew it had something to do with papa.
She climbed the stairs up to her room, where she took her blanket, the [f/c] one she liked the best, because it was so warm and fuzzy, that she’d sleep with every night. It was also a present from her Père.
Papa Francis was always so strange, she thought while smiling.
Papa Francis was teaching her to make crepe suzette. [f/n] was delighted to be allowed to mix the ingredients in the big bowl, the one he’d always hold so dearly while cooking. Every time he picked that vessel, wonderful things would be sure to come right to the girl’s happy tummy. It was an honor, and she was feeling so grown up for that. So she moved the wood spoon around with a renewed vigor, splashing batter over herself, the table and a little on Papa’s black apron, the one that’d make his look like a waiter of a bistro. The women always loved when he wore it, swooning and sighing, and being loud and saying that she was such a cute little thing and… Oh, how [f/n] detested them.
She liked her father all to herself. Because he’d be the gentlest person in the world, and it would make her feel like she was capable of anything, even if she couldn’t even hold the kitchen’s utensils properly.
She continued to mix the raw batter, pacing her movements with the childish song her daddy once told her, humming it gleefully.
She took a breath before starting singing again, and a masculine voice joined her, making the silly tune turn into something melodic, as anything would turn into when he was singing in his own language.
-“Sonnez les matines,
Sonnez les matines
Ding, ding, dong.
Ding, ding, dong.”
After they stopped, he picked her up, and sat her on the balcony, where he picked the next few ingredients to be added. He chopped some strawberries, and gave a piece to [f/n], while taking one for himself. He took the bowl out of her hands.
-Do you like this song, ma fille? – He asked, while mixing in a much more skillful and graceful way.
She thought about the question for a few seconds.
-Oui, Papa. – She answered. -I like it because you started to teach me French with it. – She added, and then stopped for a moment. – No, I don’t like it, - his face became sad, but she kept talking before he could say anything - I love it. Because it’s French.
He seemed surprised, but also happy.
-You like French, chérie?
She shrugged, as if it was something very obvious.
-It’s your language, papa. Of course I’d love it. They say that French is the language of love. And I agree. Every time I sang in it, I can feel your love for life, beautiful things and – she whispered the last part, as if she was a bit embarrassed – for me too, while you were teaching me. And it’s my way of saying ‘I love you too’, papa. Je t'aime, mon père.
He blinked, stunned with her words. And then he hugged her. It could be her imagination, but [f/n] thought his eyes were a bit wet. But why he would cry? She had only stated the truth.
Père Francis was strange indeed.
She went down again, and entered the living room, dragging the [f/c] cover along the wooden floor. Carefully, she covered her Père, though only his tummy and shoulder were under the blanket. The girl shrugged. Oh, well, she had tried.
Papi Antonio moved around in his sleep, almost hitting his head on the coffee table, bumping on an empty bottle near him, which swayed back and forth dangerously before stopping on its place once more. She took it between her hands, before he could knock into it once more.
-Fusosososos… You liked it, amor? – He grinned in his slumber, hugging the leg of the table. [f/n] ruffled his hair, taking the bottle to the kitchen.
Papá Antonio and [f/n] were planting tomatoes. Papa Toni dug the holes, and she planted the seed in them. They were also picking the already ripe ones, and watering the plants. All the tomatoes were put on a basket near them, brought just for that reason. Though it was a little on the empty side, since they both kept eating them whenever they could.
On one of those small snacks, Papi called her.
-Niña? – The girl looked up from her half eaten fruit.
-Si? – She put the tomato aside, sitting next to him under the big apple tree.
-Why do you like tomatoes, cariño? – He asked while taking another bite of the one he was holding.
She nodded, as if it was a really meaningful question, her [h/c] ponytail bouncing up and down.
-They have Vati’s eye color, and Père’s roses. Red is my favorite color in the whole world.
His smile was a little disappointed, yet happy.
-Really, chica? And that’s why you like it?
The girl shook her head.
-No, Papi. What I really love about them is that they’re sweet. Just like you, Papá.
Papa Toni blushed in the exact same shade of the color she loved the most.
Her third father was a bit more difficult to find, but eventually she saw his white haired head on the bathroom upstairs. Vater Gilbert was embracing tightly the toilet bowl, a stupid smile in his face, which was followed by a frown every now and then, his legs spread in strange angles on the bathroom floor.
-Ngh… Yes, frau… So… No, not the frying pan! – The last part was said in a louder tone. [f/n] put a towel over his shoulders, even if it was a little wet.
[f/n], the brave, was exploring the house with her faithful companion, Gilbird, the mighty (and awesome) bird. They had accomplished very difficult and honorable quests so far. They had escalated every surface possible, spread toilet paper in every corner (to avoid worms and fairies), and even tried some of father’s clothes (Papa’s pants, Vati’s shirt, Papá’s shoes, though she did find some panties and others pieces of cloth stained with lipstick. She wondered why.). But here it was, the biggest mission: find her hidden birthday presents.
Every year, they would hide them around the house and she’d frantically search for it. In one year, she had seen the gift wrapping paper over one of the houses closet. It was a glorious feeling, and she wanted to do it again. Unfortunately, both she and the little bird had searched all around, but no such luck as finding gifts and presents casually lying around.
[f/n] sighed. Where could it be?
A smile illuminated her features. The office! Of course it’d be there!
She ran to there, her eyes devouring the place all at once. But… The shelves were too high. She pouted for a few seconds, puffing her cheeks, before she gave a toothy grin to Gilbird.
-The chair! –She chirped, dragging the furniture around the room and placing it next to the cabinet.
But, somehow, something went wrong.
Her foot slipped over the leather surface, twisting in a weird angle, a sharp pain traveling up her leg and making her scream. Gilbird flew from her shoulder, startled, and she lost her balance. She fell, hitting her arms and head on the process. [f/n] began to cry.
Soon enough, there was a ruckus in the hallway and Vati showed up, looking worried.
-[f/n]? What happened? – He put her over his lap, a troubled expression on his face.
-I-I t-tried to s-see what was over the s-s-shelf a-a-and… - The girl started sobbing, and her dad held her in a tight embrace.
-Shhh… I know exactly what to do. – He picked her up, taking her to the living room, where he left her over the sofa for a few minutes. When he came back, he was holding a bag of frozen peas in his hands.
[f/n] rubbed her bruises, the pain forgotten for a second while she stared the package in Vati’s hands.
-Frozen peas? – She questioned, the tears in her eyelashes making the girl blink to clear her vision. Dad chuckled at her reaction.
-Ja, schatz. Peas are unawesome, but they’ll make that even more unawesome boo-boo go away, alright? – He placed it over her forehead, the chilling sensation numbing the area quickly. [f/n]’s sobs quiet down. –See? Almost ready to go and make another.
She giggled, pressing the bag on her head.
Vati smiled at her, with an expression in his crimson eyes she couldn’t quite decipher. He kneeled beside her, his face on her eye level now.
-Schatz? – He called in a soft voice, the one he’d only use with her on some occasions and only when they were alone.
-Ja? – She looked at him while expecting a response; her little fingers becoming cold and almost as numbed as the small injury were because of the temperature of the package. A few drops of water were already dripping from it.
He kissed the side of her head that wasn’t covered by the bag.
-Don’t scare me like that again, okay? – He whispered against her hair. [f/n] hugged him the best she could with just one arm while managing the peas.
-I won’t. I promise, Vati. – She mumbled.
Dad Gilbert ruffled her hair, grinning like he usually did.
-Wunderbar. – He got up, taking her in her arms.
-What do you say if we took Gilbird for a little walk? And maybe a popsicle or two?
She adjusted the bag, making it look like a beret, a soldier on a new mission.
Vati Gilbert hugged the toilet bowl closer.
[f/n] smiled. She knew exactly what she should do.
Gilbert grumbled in his sleep. There was something over his shoulders. It was wet.
He slowly cracked his eyes open. A humid towel was over his shoulders, giving off a nasty smell of wet dog, alcohol and sweat. He frowned, the pounding headache he was having making his sense of balance a poorly told joke. He tripped his way downstairs, where he found Francis and Antonio in a similar state.
-How did we get home? – He asked, sitting on the couch and nearly over the Frenchman’s legs too, which he quickly moved out of the way.
-Don’t remember. – Toni tried to sat down, but hit his head on the coffee table. –Hijo de…
-Watch your tongue. [f/n] should be up by now. – Francis warned, rubbing his temples.
Both of them groaned, still half asleep, and Gilbert even started snoring once more. Antonio soon following him, the coffee table being hugged furiously again. Francis was about to do the same thing, until he noticed a [h/c] head, and [e/c] eyes observing them.
-Hello, chérie. – He smiled at her, leaning back on the couch. –Why won’t you join us?
With the eyes only slightly open because of his headache, he watched as she came closer and sat on his lap. He grinned at her.
-So, princesse, how are you this morning? Did you sleep well?
-Oui, papa! – The girl kissed his cheek, like she did every morning (well, afternoon). –Papi Toni and Vati Gilbert are funny when they’re sleeping. You too.
The French laughed whole heartedly at that.
-Really, enfant? And why is that?
She scratched her head, as if organizing her thoughts.
-Well, you all say funny and hug funny things. – She came closer to him, whispering in his ear. – You were hugging a cushion. I think you drooled on it.
His snickers shook them both, and with the hand he wasn’t using to hold the girl, he held his forehead.
-I see. – When he recomposed his posture, he turned to her. –So, let’s wake them up?
[f/n] fumbled her pockets for a moment, taking a camera out.
-You don’t want to use this first?
His smiled widened so much he felt his face would crack in two. Yes, she was his daughter.
-That’s my fille.
After the little photo shoot (that made [f/n] learn several interesting new words in German and Spanish – she’d be sure to ask her daddies about what those meant), the two grumbling men joined them, teasing each other every once in a while and tickling the girl.
And that continued until they smelled something slightly different coming from the kitchen. [f/n] looked a little pleased with herself.
-Hm, [f/n]? – They called, a little bit curious.
-Oh, yeah, I made breakfast for you! – She said in a proud tone. The three smiled. She was just too cute. –I’m even trying a new recipe.
Francis ruffled her hair.
-What are you making for us, chérie?
The toothy smile she gave him was so adorable and bright.
-Scones. Uncle Iggy taught me.
As if it was on cue, the fire alarm went off, beeping loudly around the house.
Let’s just say it was an interesting meal.