Andrew was sitting on the bench outside their home in Sitka, watching the sun blend together with the blue waters. He was just there, thinking to himself quietly, when his eight year old daughter, Mandy, sat next to him.
"Daddy," she started, "what are you thinking about?"
"Nothing, really; just enjoying the view."
"Can you tell me again about the other woman that you fell in love with? Other than Momma?"
"Again? This is going to be the millionth time I've told you this."
"But it just sounds too nice to be forgotten about."
"Who says it's going to be forgotten? Fine, where do you want me to start?"
"From the beginning... the place and how you two met," she smiled.
"Andrew! Mandy!" they heard, "the dinner's going to be ready in a few minutes. Don't eat anything else, okay?"
"Okay, Gert! We'll go in a few!" Andrew called back.
"Daddy, hurry and go tell the story."
"Okay... I just came to New York, and I was looking for a job in a book company, since I loved books. Then I saw an ad on the newspaper, there was an opening for an editor's assistant. And I thought..."
"And you thought that you should start from the bottom to the top. Yeah, dad. What happened next?"
"Sheesh, it's not like you haven't heard this before."
"Go on with the story, daddy! How did you two meet?"
"I was there, dressed formally, ready for the interview. I opened the glass door to the editor in chief's office and I was shocked that it was woman."
"How was your face when you saw her? Like this, right?" She mimicked the face that he made when he told her the story many times before.
"Yes, like that," he laughed, "And then, she told me to sit down. And I did."
"You sound like a scared little puppy."
"I'm just going to ignore that comment. So, she asked me questions and I thought that that went great. At this moment, I didn't notice her physical features as much..."
"What are 'physical features' again?"
"It means what she looked like on the outside."
"The next day, I got a call from her secretary, and told me that I got the job and I could start in three days when she leaves."
"I'm serious, Daddy. The secretary quit because of you."
"Do you want to hear the rest or do you want to be the one who tells it?"
"Fine, go on..."
"I started working for her; three years, I lasted. Did I mention that she was a terrorist?"
"A very beautiful terrorist, you told me last time."
"She was. She was stunning. She's got curves, and you can clearly see them under those tight dress suits she wears everyday. And her hair was always up in a ponytail. Well, most of the time. But I liked it better when it was down, so that her chestnut-colored tresses are seen better."
Mandy touched her hair, "We have the same color of hair, right?"
"Yes, yes you two do," he smiled.
"And then what happened?"
"Well, after three years, she heard bad news from our bosses. She was getting deported."
"De-por-ted? What's that?"
"It means that you need to go back to your own country."
"So, she wasn't from America?"
"She's was from Canada."
"Oh, right! Now I remember!"
"She told me to get her in ten minutes, so I did. I opened the door to Jack and Edwin's office at the right moment when she was stuck in the middle of coming up with an excuse to be not deported."
"I love this part," she grinned.
"She told them that we were engaged! Of course I was in shock, so I just went along with it."
"Ha-ha, you're her slave."
"Well, yes. And we went here, to Sitka, to pretend that we were boyfriend and girlfriend. We hated each other so much during the entirety of the flight."
"It's because you made her go to the small airplane!" she giggled.
"We kind of have to ride the small airplane to Sitka. After that, she was so awkward with Gammy and Mom that it was so adorable. I was trying not to laugh."
"And she got all of those bags too!"
"Yes, and she was having trouble carrying them. But I couldn't help her because Mom and Gammy are on each of my arms."
"No, you didn't want to help her, that's why!"
"Maybe, maybe not. She was so scared of the water, I tell you. She almost slept at the pier because she didn't want to get in that boat."
"She was the only one wearing a life jacket on our way to the fort. Gammy, Mom, and I tried not to laugh."
He smiled when Mandy started laughing.
"She met Ramone. You know who, right?"
"Of course! He's crazy, you know? And you skipped a whole part."
"Yes, that's what she called him too. Fine, here's we go. At first, she was weirded out with the family and the fifty friends and neighbors that your grandparents brought in."
"Why was she weirded out?"
"Because she's not used to it," he smiled, "she had always been such an introvert. And you know what, in the living room, that was where our first kiss happened."
"Your forced kiss," she laughed.
"Well, yes. It's because we hated each other and then there were, being forced by fifty something people to kiss."
Andrew looked down at Mandy; he could tell that she's enjoying the story. This was the story that she heard thousands, even millions, of times and never gets tired of it. This was her own personal fairytale. She even said so herself.
"And then what happened?"
"And then, the people weren't fooled by our first forced kiss so that we had to kiss again. This time, I actually felt something for her."
"Yeah; then we were introduced to the baby maker."
"Daddy, why won't you tell me what the baby maker is again?"
"Because I can't. Your mom will kill me."
"You promised when I'm older."
"I promise, but not right now. Then she made me sleep on the floor even though the bed was spacious enough for the both of us."
"She didn't like you, huh?"
"Arguable, but honestly, I don't know at that time. We went around town after I saw her dancing and singing in the woods with Gammy."
"I wish I saw that."
"It was an interesting sight, alright. Then I don't know what happened with her when she was with Mom and Gammy, but she hijacked the boat. She was in the verge of tears and was panicking. She got me worried when she fell off the ocean. It was freezing too."
"But you saved her."
"Thankfully, she was still afloat. I was so scared, Mandy. I thought I'd lose her right then and there. Then something bad happens, again, I won't tell you."
He heard her sigh. "I'd rather not tell you. One day I will. The next day was when our wedding was going to happen."
"Tell me again how she looked," she smiled up at him.
"She was... breathtaking. And that's an understatement. She looked nervous, too. She was wearing a very old wedding dress that Gammy re-made, her hair was sleek and straight, and the hundred something year old necklace was on her too."
"She smiled at me anxiously, and I gave her a reassuring smile too. Ramone was the person who's going to marry us, and she stopped him. When she started talking, the only thing I told her was, 'Margaret...'"
"This part makes me sad."
"I know. And then she left. I ran after her, but she was already on the plane. I was really hoping that she got off, but she wasn't there when were arrived. So, at that time, my mind was going crazy. Mom told me to go after her in New York."
"You got on a plane too?"
"Yep, and I went as quickly as possible. There was traffic, so I got off the taxi and had to run three more blocks to get to Colden books in time."
"She asked you why you were panting," she laughed.
"I was tired, but I caught my breath. Then I had a whole speech— it was unplanned but it just came out. I told her how I used to dream about her dying..."
"That was so sad," she pouted.
"Well, it wasn't, not by much at least. Then I told her how much she meant to me. To how I was left at the barn, wifeless, when she went with Mr. Gilbertson. She was shocked when I told her that she was the woman I loved."
"At least you said that part. Or else she would've stopped listening to you."
"She wouldn't stop talking, just like you right now," he teases.
"Then she told me she was scared, and I was too. But I know what I'm getting into at that time. I asked her to marry me, and I think she said yes. Then..."
"Then you kissed," she squirmed.
"Ha. Yes, yes we did. She even told me to get on my knees."
"That was a great ending, Daddy," she smiled.
"You know what, that wasn't really the ending."
"What? But that's when you always stopped at."
"Yeah, but there's more to that; this ending is bittersweet."
"So, we got married again and she didn't get deported."
"How was this new wedding?"
"Well, uh. She was dressed in simple ivory, with the necklace that Gammy gave her. But now, she doesn't have a worried smile, she was just grinning and I got her arm and helped her up the platform."
"I'm glad she's all happy at this time."
"Yeah, me too; she's the best. In her vow, she told me that she would do everything to make me happy more than miserable. That earned her a lot of laughs from the audience. I told her that she's the one who deserves every ounce of happiness in the world."
"Then we had our honeymoon in Canada; we went to her hometown."
"Then what happened? Did you guys see her house?"
"Well, sort of. It was all renovated and other people were living in it. A few weeks after... you're not going to believe this..."
"What happened? What happened?"
"I can't forget the day she told me she was pregnant. I was busy, just as almost every single day, and she just barged in my office and threw a pair of baby booties at me! And after that, she said, 'You're gonna have to start picking up ice cream and pickles on your way home from work! And no coffee, okay?' I was so confused, and then it hit me."
"That was her way? She must be very awesome."
"She is," he smiled, "she was perfectly imperfect. Going back to the story, when I realized that that was her way of telling me she was pregnant, I leapt over my desk and knelt down on my knee. I asked her, 'do you mean that...' and she said, 'yep!' You have no idea how happy I was at that moment."
"You know that she was pregnant with you, right?"
"Yes, I think I do."
"Okay, just checking. And then, months passed by, her stomach was getting bigger and bigger. She became much moodier than she already was. But the best part was when she gets all cuddly and just wants me to be next to her, hugging her."
"How were her hugs?"
"Like this," he hugged her, "she was one heck of a hugger. She didn't do it much in her life, she said. Just at those times, when she was pregnant. Those were some of the best moments of my life."
"I wish that I can get a hug from her."
"But you did, Mandy! You were in her for months, for Pete's sake!"
"And... this is somewhat of a sad part, okay?"
"It's fine, Daddy."
"It was at four o'clock at dawn, and she started shaking me and telling me to wake up. She said that she was in labor."
"You'll see. So, I was frantically trying to make sure that everything was okay before we leave— I got the things that we need for the stay in the hospital and all. She was in a lot of pain, because she's giving birth to a big kiddo."
"Ha-ha, I'm exaggerating. You weren't that big. I was next to her when she was giving birth and I had one of the nurses take photos and videos of the process. They accepted, thankfully."
"I saw those! Well, the baby pictures. Momma showed them to me."
"Ah. The doctor told her to keep pushing, because the cord was around the baby's neck. She pushed, and you finally came out. When we heard you cry for the first time, we started crying together. And then I kissed her and told her that I love her. She told me that she loves me too and our daughter."
"I love her too."
He smiled. "I know you do. She looked exhausted, but she still pulled off a small smile. Then..."
Mandy looked up at his father, she saw that his eyes are starting to get glassy. "Daddy?"
"Then the machines started going crazy. I was there when she... I was there and saw how she... how she was gone."
"I'm sorry, Daddy. It's all my fault. I didn't mean to..."
"What do you mean? Don't ever say that again. It's not your fault. It never is or was."
"It was meant to be this way and Margaret and I knew it. Stop blaming yourself. We might have lost her, but I know that she's still with me... You're the last part of Margaret, Mandy. I value you more than anything in this world."
"Do you think that she'll like me?"
"I don't think that she'll like you. I know that she'll love you."
That elicited a smile from Mandy, "I wish I met her."
"You will... One day."
Margaret had been gone for eight long years, but in return, he got Mandy, his daughter with her. She was a carbon copy of her mother, the same chestnut-colored hair, golden brown eyes that are wonderfully expressive, and the smile that would get you to smile with her even though you're really trying not to. Andrew loves Margaret, and he knows that he always will. And that love will live on to their beautiful daughter, Mandy.