“Okay, will you call me Dad now?”
Zachary wanted so much to hear the children hail him as their father. Never before in his life had he gone to this length to please anyone.
These days, he had his office lined with books on parenting, and invested time and effort whenever possible to research into how to interact with children.
All that work just to convince these three little imps to willingly acknowledge him.
“I don’t want to…” Ellie pouted.
Robbie and Jamie rescinded their own attempts when they saw their sister expressed her unwillingness.
“Is something wrong?” Zachary asked cautiously.
It could very well be the first time he had tried to be careful about what he said.
“Dad doesn’t sound nice.” Ellie tilted her head innocently. “I prefer Daddy.”
“Yes. Yes…” Jamie went along and said. “If we address our mother as Mommy, we should also call you Daddy.”
“Then Daddy it is,” Robbie declared with finality.
“Uh huh,” Jamie and Ellie concurred with a nod.
The trio exchanged looks between themselves before they looked to Charlotte, and Zachary.
However, none of them opened their mouth.
Zachary had his head in his hands. He yearned for them to hail him, but it seemed that much harder than he could have imagined.
“Well, hurry it up.” Even Mrs. Berry got impatient.
Charlotte merely smiled silently.
“On three.” Ellie waved her hand like an orchestral conductor. “One, two, three!”
The endearing qualities of their three voices were amplified loud and clear when they shouted in unison.
Zachary’s heart almost melted. He then drew them into his arms.
He wanted very much to kiss them the way Charlotte did, but he did not know how.
“Daddy, Daddy, Daddy, Daddy…”
The children crowded around Zachary as they kept calling, and even snuggled close to smother him with kisses.
Fifi was startled from her slumber and beat her wings until she landed on top of the man’s head. “Daddy, Daddy, Daddy!”
Overwhelmed by their fiery passion, he was at a righteous loss.
“Ha, this is just beautiful to behold.”
This scene had Mrs. Berry smiling from ear to ear.
Charlotte, however, was in tears.
She felt truly blessed for having something that she could not have imagined before coming to fruition so quickly.
If only she could continue to stay in this perfect moment. This was when a sharp pain shot up her right arm. It crept upwards until it reached her shoulders and then radiated outwards from there.
In an attempt to mask her discomfort, she picked up a cushion and pressed it against her arm.
The pain grew increasingly intense, as though there were tens upon thousands of ants gnawing at her blood vessels until it verged on exploding.
Unable to withstand it no more, Charlotte abruptly stood up and took refuge in the washroom.
“Huh?” The children were astounded when they turned to look in her direction. “What’s up with Mommy?”
“I guess she might be overjoyed.” Jamie clambered onto the couch and threw himself onto Zachary’s broad shoulders. “Carry me, Daddy!”
“Okay.” As his focus was on the kids, he paid little mind to it. However, he was concerned enough to turn to Mrs. Berry. “Could you kindly check on her?”
“Alright.” She nodded and smiled as she got to her feet. “I’m sure all the excitement must have been a little too much. She probably went in to dry her eyes.”
“Mommy’s wept till she got snot on her…” Little Ellie imitated the way Charlotte cried. “Like this, boo hoo!”
“Don’t do that. Bad Ellie,” Robbie chided.
The little girl made a face at him before she ducked into the safety of Zachary’s arms. “Hold me, Daddy!”