Unraveling — Part 128

by Elizabeth

“Yes, dad, I’ll be there; I love you, too.” 

Libby returned the phone to the cradle, and let the tears spill – there was no one there to see. 

She gazed purposely at left hand, her grandmother’s engagement ring now adorned her finger; flawless white diamond in platinum, Tiffany & Co – her grandfather’s taste had always been impeccable. 

Paul’s proposal had come suddenly, but Libby wasn’t surprised – their months apart had been difficult for him. The ring he’d given her was, however, unexpected – and it meant Paul had consulted her father.

Her father, the concern in his voice so evident in their conversation the past three evenings, and now he wanted to see her prior to the weekend – she closed her eyes and silently wished for strength.

Her beloved father, Ryan, was a reserved man possessed of enviable self-control, discipline and restraint. He commanded respect, thrived on hard work, and always acted in accordance with what he believed.  He’d been a Rhodes Scholar, was an accomplished lawyer and yachtsman, a fine son and nearly perfect father.  At twenty-three, Libby still thought he could slay dragons and walk on water. 

But she wasn’t looking forward to having dinner with him in … she glanced at her watch, two hours. 

He’d always been indulgent, but strict. To his mind, childhood had a clear purpose – to figure out who you were and discover your place in this world. His expectations of her were high, but he’d never asked anything of her he hadn’t prepared her to give.  Seldom, if ever, truly punitive, he had made her live with the consequences of her actions – always, never shielding or diminishing; he’d been tough but more than fair.  And he had inspired and mentored her to one accomplishment followed by the next; he believed in her, and somehow that was all she’d really needed. 

She had never lied to him, not even as a teenager – he’d never given her cause; she could be herself with him, and she trusted him implicitly. They had an understanding, “If I can say yes, I will, and I will never say no without explaining why.” She’d accepted this easily, realizing how remarkable it was that he had so much confidence in her maturity; as long as she understood and acted upon his final authority, he would treat her as an adult in all things – she found this priceless. Their relationship was unique and wholly wonderful, for both of them.

And now, as an adult, she was sure her ability to say she’d never lied to her father was about to change …

She was sure he was going to ask her why she had agreed to marry Paul …

And she wasn’t prepared to divulge that secret to anyone, not even her father.