Happily Ever After and Other Lies We Learn From Fairytales

When Veronica came home to see her father sitting on the couch, in the dimly lit living room, she knew something was up. They'd been a little on edge around each other ever since she cut her hair and adopted her badass attitude, and to be honest, she'd been expecting a confrontation for a while now.

She just hadn't been expecting it to happen because she hadn't hidden her secret well enough. She hadn't expected it to happen because her father had found books on surviving rape in her bathroom while searching for toilet paper one afternoon.

"Veronica, sweetie, can you tell me why you had these books hidden in your bathroom cupboard?"

His voice was gentle, and he reached out and laid a comforting hand between her shoulder blades. She could tell he was terrified about what might have happened to her, and about how long she'd dealt with it without his help.

She looked up at his open, honest face. His eyes were deep brown pools of comfort, and she wanted so badly to get lost in them.

This was the man who'd held her through nightmares and monsters under the bed, the man who'd carried her carefully into the house when she'd fallen and scraped her knees. He'd always, without fail, known what she needed to be comforted, and he always gave it to her without reservation. He would walk through fire for her, take a bullet for her, do anything he could just to make her life a little bit easier.

He was her hero, once upon a time.

And once upon a time she'd have told him the truth. She'd have cried and fallen apart in his arms, and let him hold her and heal her, and, eventually, they would have lived happily ever after.

Veronica pasted a winning smile on her face. "They're just for a health project, dad."

Then she grabbed the books up off the counter as she walked back to her room, not really meeting his eyes.

Once upon a time had been a lifetime ago, and she no longer believed in heroes and happily ever after.