Meeting Her Father
"Trust me, Phineas, Papi will adore you. Don't worry about it. I've told him all about you."
I knew she was trying to be helpful, but even Isabella's cheerful reassurances couldn't help me ignore the fact that I was going to ask him permission for his daughter's hand in marriage. And I hadn't yet forgotten the less-than-ecstatic response Ferb had gotten from his father-in-law.
I helped my lovely girlfriend out of the car, and together we walked up to her old childhood home, where her parents still lived. I nervously rang the doorbell, and Isabella squeezed my hand as I heard her mother cry from inside the house, "They're here!"
Mrs. Garcia-Shapiro opened the door and immediately flew into our arms. "Mi Dios, I'm so glad you're here. How was the ride over? Lots of traffic? My, don't you two look lovely together. Well, enough chat, come inside!"
We followed her in, and the second Isabella saw the aging brown-haired man on the couch, she cried, "Papi!" and ran over to him, giving him a giant hug. I walked over and sat down next to them, and they turned to me.
"Papi, this is Phineas. Remember? I told you all about him on the phone."
The man nodded, and shook my hand. "It's a pleasure to finally meet you, Phineas," he said with a slight Yiddish accent. "I can see you have been taking excellent care of my daughter, si?"
I nodded, afraid to speak. I knew I'd be a stuttering mess.
"Phineas is the best man I ever could have asked for, Papi. He's a lot like you," Isabella continued.
Vivian bustled back into the room. "Are we getting settled here? Should I get some snacks? Oh my goodness, I have some homemade chips and salsa right here." She set them down on the coffee table, and the rest of us dug in.
"So...Isabella told me that you are the head of the Hispanic Studies program at the University of Tel Aviv. That sounds really cool," I managed to say, making sure that I had finished swallowing my snack first.
Papi nodded. "It is a very fulfilling job. Unfortunately it does force me very far away from my family. I wish that we could all live in one place or the other, but citizenship is so hard to get nowadays. It was difficult enough for Isabella to become American!" He chuckled. "But I do get to come home twice a year. That is a blessing. I understand you do a lot of traveling yourself, Phineas."
Oh, great. What to say now? "Yeah. I go all over the place with my brother, Ferb. We're inventors, see, and we get requests from all over the world. Isabella usually comes with us, too. We haven't been traveling as much now that Ferb has a wife and daughter to look after, though. As soon as we get that new teleportation system active, we'll be able to build everything here and send it wherever it needs to go!"
I really hoped I'd impressed him with that. I wanted him to know that I'd never leave Isabella behind.
He stared at me for a long while, obviously deep in thought.
Isabella broke the silence. "Did you move into that new apartment in Tel Aviv yet, Papi? The pictures of it were so beautiful!"
"Hm? Oh, yes, I did, just last month. I like this one better, it's on the ground floor. No more climbing stairs for this old man!"
We both giggled softly.
"Now, Phineas, you are the same age as my Isa, right? Twenty-one years old?"
I nodded, suddenly scared of what he was asking.
"Then how is it that she is still in college and you are not? You do have a degree, correct?"
Phew. That was easy to explain. "Ferb and I finished our degrees in two years. I have a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Danville University. I'm still trying to find a good master's program that I can do online, since I really don't want to leave Danville."
"And Papi, I'll be done by the end of the semester. I've already got my internship lined up with TeenShine Magazine, right downtown." Isabella smiled at her father. "We like to travel, but Danville is our home."
She squeezed my hand again. "I'm going to see if Mom needs help with the matzo ball-rritos."
After she was gone, I took her father's hand. "I think you know what I want to ask."
"I know you do," he replied.
"Sir, I would be eternally grateful if I could marry your daughter. I know we're young, but we have an astounding future ahead of us, I know it. I would never do anything to put Isabella in harm's way, ever. I am proud to call her my love, but I'd be even prouder to call her my wife. Would you?"
I put on my best puppy-dog face, and it was clear that he liked me, but there was one thing still holding him back.
"The only thing, Phineas, is our difference in religion...I know Isabella is very proud to be Jewish. You wouldn't take that away from her, would you?"
"Of course not. In fact, Isabella and I have discussed it quite often, and I have decided to convert to Judaism myself."
There was a pause.
"Phineas, the words you say make me happier than any man I can think of. I can tell that you have been nothing but supportive of my daughter, right down to her faith...my boy, I give you nothing but the highest blessings Adonai may grant you. I would be glad to call you my son-in-law."
I gave him a hug, not really caring whether it was out of place. "Thank you so much, sir."
"Call me Papi, Phineas. Oh, and one last thing...schedule the wedding for a day I can be there."
I smiled back gratefully, with tears in my eyes.
Isabella came back in the room behind us. "Did I miss something?"
A/N: So how'd ya like it? I didn't want Isabella's dad to be dead/estranged from the family, since it seems like Vivian has no job yet they live comfortably in their little adobe house in Danville. But you never see him, so I figured...he works in Israel! Teaching Hispanic Studies, because that's what you do when your last name is Garcia-Shapiro. And I wanted somewhere to introduce that Phineas becomes Jewish. Sophia's going to mention it in the next chapter of The Miserable People, but I wanted to make it clear.
I might continue this into their whole wedding process, just because I like writing fluff. And I've always been curious about how a Jewish wedding works. All I know is the whole "step on the wine glass" thing. XD