Joanie had promised Howard if Deena had a meeting with her dad, she would let him know in case Joanie was able to go with her, but since she had a test, she couldn't.
"Dad? Deena is going to meet her dad at 12:30." She told him what Deena was wearing, as well as the name of the diner which happened to be very close to his store. She continued, "Thanks, Dad. Bye." Joanie sighed nervously.
At the burger joint—
Howard arrived, made his order, and began eating his lunch when he saw Deena sit down with a man who sat across from her. She looked very nervous but he looked a little angry. Howard was two tables away from them so they didn't notice him peering.
"So you're Margaret's daughter, huh?"
"Yeah," Deena said nervously.
"I see." He was very standoffish.
"Where do you work?"
"Why do you care?" he growled.
"I don't know. All my friends have dads and I just feel left out."
"Well, it's your mother's fault." Howard looked towards them in shock then looked away from them.
"Mom doesn't like talking about you. I told my friends you worked for the FBI when they mentioned it to Mom."
"I see. Well, don't call me or anything because I want to have nothing to do with you." He got up and left.
Deena got teary eyed, so Howard got rid of his food, then acted like he just noticed her not in school and walked up to her.
"Deena, is that you?"
"Oh, hi, Mr. Cunningham." Howard sat down.
"Yeah, I met my dad and he wasn't happy to see me," she sniffled.
"I'm sorry. It isn't your fault that your dad can't handle responsibilities; that is, if he knew."
"He did seem very nervous when I showed up, looking over his shoulder and asking to meet me. My mom doesn't like to talk about him."
"He probably was nervous since he didn't know how his wife would react that he had another kid. Sometimes people don't like to talk about family who run away. I have a friend who doesn't like to talk about his dad, because his dad ran away when the friend was very young." She calmed down after a few minutes.
"I just wanted to see him, I guess it was a bad idea."
"Well, I can take you home since school will probably be out in an hour or two."
"Thanks." Howard left to take Deena home then went back to the store.
Joanie came home from school after her cheerleading practice and Deena called her an hour later. Deena told her she met her dad but she had a good visit with him even though Joanie noticed a sad tone in her voice then she hung up.
A few hours later—
Joanie was doing her homework, Marion was cooking, Richie was with Lori Beth, and Howard came home. Joanie came downstairs.
"Dad, what happened?" Joanie asked as Howard put his coat on the rack after taking it off.
"Can't a guy come home first?"
"Marion, I'm home."
"Hi, dear. I'm in the kitchen." He went to the kitchen to give Marion a kiss as Joanie sat on the chair.
"Well, things didn't go very well." Howard sat at the table with his back to the kitchen.
"No, he seemed very standoffish and I don't think he was very happy to have been talking to her."
"Really?" Fonzie walked in from the kitchen into the living room.
"Yes, really. Why?"
"She called me and she suggested things went well even though she did sound very sad."
"Who was sad?" Fonzie asked.
"My friend, Deena, who went to meet her dad."
"Oh," Fonzie said quietly as he sat near Howard.
"No, things didn't go well. Either he didn't know he had a daughter, or he and Deena's mother didn't have a good breakup and he's still angry."
"She was really looking forward to meeting him." Joanie looked sad.
"Joanie, I am very proud of you calling me." Howard kissed her on the forehead.
"Thanks. I don't know why but I did get a bad feeling about it and she was so excited. Does this mean that I might get the rest of my grounding reduced?" Joanie smiled.
"Well Joanie-," Howard started as he put his fingers on his forehead then was interrupted.
"No," Marion said as Howard and Fonzie looked towards her.
"Worth a try." Joanie smiled then went upstairs.
At Arnold's on Sunday—
While Marion had some friends over at the house, Richie was with Lori Beth, and Fonzie was on a date, Joanie and Howard were at Arnold's making up for the lost dance night.
"Dad, when did you think of this?" Joanie asked as they danced to the jukebox.
"A few days ago."
"Was that before or after my trip?"
"Before. Even though your mother told me that she was going to have friends over and I figured just keep it the way I had it."
"Did you have any friends who didn't have a mom or a dad?"
"Yes. They hated it but I always felt lucky to have Grandma and Grandpa."
Joanie sat down on the booth and Howard sat across from her.
"You never told me what happened the morning you went back to work and Harry was there."
Howard laughed. "Well, I did yell at him and some of my employees thought Harry and I were going to beat each other up but I'm glad they let us work it out and we did."
"Did you give Richie his car back?"
"I didn't know he and Lori Beth were there."
"You know Mom sent them because she was worried about you."
Joanie and Howard talked and laughed at the table, both glad they could catch up on what they missed.