The girl at the door

I looked round and was satisfied I have cleared everything, removed the evidence. You wouldn’t know what had happened a few days ago. I was ready to leave when there was a knock at the door. Thinking it might be the police I opened it cautiously. A young lady in her late teens stood there nervously smiling. I wondered how she had got through the security gates.

‘Hi, are you Paul?’ I noticed her pink Doc Martens.

‘No, sorry’ I paused and waited for her to speak but she didn’t ‘he’s not here’.

‘Oh I am sorry, I should explain I am Charlie, I have just turned up’ she held out her hand.

‘I’m Steve, his partner’ I said as I tentatively shook her hand. ‘you better come in’. I started to worry she would notice the lingering odours.

‘How do you know Paul?’

‘Well I don’t we have never met, I am his daughter’ she smiled as if I should be pleased. I wasn’t expecting that.

‘Oh, OK, let me get you a coffee’. I couldn’t possibly tell her the truth, making the drink would buy some time. ‘have you come far?’

‘Romford. I believe my dad lived there in the 90s. Hasn’t he mentioned me?’

‘Yes he did a few times’ I lied as I poured the coffee. This was news to me.

I sat next to her on the sofa and took her hand. ‘I am really sorry Charlie but your father died six months ago. It was very sudden and I didn’t know how to contact you’

She was visibly shaken and this had clearly knocked her for six. She looked smaller and less confident as if I had taken something from her. I knew I had done the right thing.

After a few minutes of quiet she asked ‘do you have a picture I could see’

‘Yes of course’. I went to the drawer and tried to find one where he wasn’t drunk or that wasn’t explicit. There was one of us at a wedding, before the bar opened. ‘Here’

She had a tear in her eye. I hugged her and started to cry. She felt warm and she reminded me of her dad. ‘he would have loved to have met you.

Looking at myself in the mirror over her shoulder I smiled. It would be better this way. He needn’t know about her visit. She would have more questions but I would be ready for them.

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