She looked up at him with misty eyes. But not because of him. Never because of him. He was her daddy. He would never hurt her. No, what had caused the pain this time was her brother, Hugo. Him, she hated. How could she not? On a daily basis, he took longer naps than she did, ate more than she did, stole her toys without punishment, and (here's the kicker) got way more attention than she did. She couldn't even remember a time in her six-year-old life when he wasn't there, trailing right behind her, hogging the spotlight. He was her five-year-old brother, and she already resented him.
"Rosie, is this true? Did you really break Hugo's broom?" Her mother asked her, looking disappointed.
"No, Hugo did it, he's too fat for it!" Rose ran back up to her room, heart racing. She struggled to close the door, and soon discovered the cause of the problem: her own father. He held the doorknob on the opposite side, faking a tug of war over the door. He eventually let her win, and the door closed with a mighty slam in Rose's face.
Then, silence as she caught her breath.
She stayed in her room in a sort of self-enforced prison sentence, even through dinner and up until her bedtime. Her mother came round asking if she was hungry, and she answered no. I shan't be allowed to eat at all; she thought to herself, It's a hoax. They're cross with me for saying that about Hugo and they're going to stuff me a box and never let me out because I'm a horrible child and-
Her thoughts were interrupted by the creaking of the door opening. Rose lay stock still, the covers of her bed covering her face and body. There was a tense moment when all she could her was footsteps. Then something let out a terrible growl and she felt tickling fingers all around her. The little girl howled with laughter and excitement as her daddy picked her up and put her on his lap, proceeding with his tickle monster act. She giggled and turned away from him, arms clamped to her sides to protect her vulnerable armpits. Finally his onslaught ended, leaving a winded and still laughing little girl in her father's strong arms.
Smiling down at his oldest child, Ron said, "Rosie posie, where were you during dinner? Your mother's so worried you'll wither away without a good helping of her shepherd's pie."
Rose slowly stopped smiling, and shied away.
"Rosie?" Ron now looked concerned, "It's alright, peanut, you can tell me."
"I said Hugo was fat and I've been a naughty, nasty girl to him. I wish we could take him back to mummy's tummy," She started to cry.
"Why, Rose, dear, nothing's so bad," said Ron, smiling and hugging the child, "I quite understand how you feel. Don't tell her, but I used to always feel that way about your Aunt Ginny."
"Really?" she replied, cocking her head to the side.
"Well, not now, of course," her grinned, "But when we were younger? Oh yes. She was quite a nuisance. Once you're grown-ups, however, he'll get better. It's just for now. When you're my age, you'll be the best of friends."
"I didn't really mean that he was fat," he said after a moment, and, "But I really didn't break his broom," was hurriedly added right after.
"Don't you worry about that one bit. In fact your mother and I got quite a laugh out of it." He suddenly turned serious, "But do try and be nice to him. I know it's difficult, but you've got to set a good example. You are, after all, the older sister. He'll do whatever you do, so be careful." He smiled and winked at her. "Being a role model can be quite a responsibility, you know."
She now looked quite smug, and let out a little satisfied smile.
"Now, how about you and I go whip up some cookies, eh? Maybe, if he's nice, Huge-o can have so as well." He took her hand as they left he room, laughing.