"Do it again, daddy!"
Flint opened up one eye for a moment and he smiled up at his daughter.
"Again? I just did it five minutes ago!" he asked, putting on an air of disbelief. "I'm exhausted!"
"One more time, daddy! Please?" she begged, falling down onto her knees and leaning over him, lightly shaking his arm with both of her small hands.
It was a few months after the incident at the construction site and Flint was now living in hiding with his mother and his daughter. He no longer stole from people, but at the same time he always felt useless in a way because his mother was almost as sickly as his daughter Penny was and their income came from his mother's health checks.
But then his daughter Penny would smile at him and in the end Flint's feelings of being worthless was thrown away and he knew that he was a good father.
"A much better father than yours was!" his mother would always point out when he questioned his fathering abilities. "That son of a bitch… he was always punching you and me when he felt like it! And then one day just up and leaving us both to sort out the pieces!"
Sometimes you beat me worse than he ever did, ma. Flint would think, but he never said it aloud, because he understood that his mother had been suffering just as much as he had been back then.
"With sugar on top, daddy?" she pleaded.
At the moment he and his daughter were at Jones Beach; choosing to stay in an area where no one usually went.
"Sugar on top, huh?" he asked with a laugh as he sat up then and smiled at her. "How about adding a cherry and some chopped nuts to that mix and it's a deal?"
"Deal!" Penny said with a smile and a nod.
"All right then!"
Flint rubbed his hands together for a moment, making a show of it as he rested the palms of his hands onto the sand. He then closed his eyes and concentrated for a moment and when his daughter clapped her hands and laughed, he opened his eyes and smiled.
He had made two large sandcastles; complete with knights, horses, princesses, and a king for each castle. With a few minor adjustments he soon had the two groups battling each other, sand swords clashing together and making soft puffs of sand with each blow.
Penny watched in delight this little show her father had made for her and when it was done and a knight soon had the princess in his arms, she wrapped her arms around his neck and gave him a peck on the cheek.
"I love you, daddy."
"I love you too, honey."