Episode 1134: DaylightIt took two tries but Hope finally managed to get the kickstand positioned so her cute vintage bike would stand upright on its own. No wonder she was such a sweaty, exhausted mess, she hadn’t even mastered how to make a kickstand work yet she’d ventured out on a bike ride to a whole other neighborhood.
Biking wasn’t something she was particularly good at just yet, but when you were only twelve and wanted to go places without anyone sticking their nose in your business, your options were limited.
It had been several years since she last rode her pink banana seat bike, but with time she’d get better at riding this one with its pretty basket and other old timey vibes. Her backside and her legs wouldn’t be sore forever, she wouldn’t lose her breath quite so thoroughly once she’d worked up her stamina and after a while she wouldn’t feel as wobbly on turns or as freaked out when she picked up downhill speed, it was just a matter of time and getting used to the bike and the route. Of course she would only be doing this on the regular if things worked out the way she hoped.
Hope just wished she didn’t look and feel this bedraggled at a time when she needed to feel brave enough to do this.
Before she had time to do a self-pep talk or tidy her hair, the door a few feet away from her swung open and out walked her biological father in the process of tucking a wallet inside his gray suit jacket.
He gave a slight jolt at the sight of Hope on the walkway, recovering from the surprise with a wide smile on his face. “Oh, hey! It’s the girl who was very much not impressed with my Halloween spirit.”
“I couldn’t forget the girl who changed my life, you have no idea how much better I am at holidays since I met you.”
That got a pleased giggle out of her. He’d made his daughter laugh. Kind of amazing. However, he frowned as he looked closer at her.
“Are you okay? You look kind of wiped out. Can I get you some water or something? Do you want to sit down?”
“I’m okay, I just haven’t done much bike riding since I was like, eight, and it’s a different bike than back then so I’m totally out of practice. Plus bike riding is way more exhausting than it looks. Water does sound really good now that you mention it. I should have thought to bring water. I have money, I can just buy some somewhere. I don’t want to make you late for wherever you were going.”
“No, no, it’s fine. Let me grab you a water. My meeting can wait.” Paul’s father had summoned him about who knows what, he definitely wouldn’t appreciate being stood up but Paul couldn’t just walk away from this opportunity, not even if it infuriated his father.
“I’ll grab water for myself, too. It’s a nice day, we can sit out here.” Paul gestured to the patio furniture he’d recently bought as part of his overall intention for his home life to never look as sad pathetic to this girl as it had last Halloween. “You let me in on why you stopped by today.” Odds were it was again just a coincidence that she’d shown up at his house, she was probably going door to door for a school fundraiser or something. That didn’t stop the niggling hope in his heart that maybe she was there to get to know him, her other dad. But really, how unlikely was that when she didn’t even know who he was to her.