The flight back to Dubai was long and tedious, but at least Daniella flew back with a sense of closure that she hadn’t had in years. There was only one thing she hadn’t resolved. She hadn’t let herself truly mourn her father. Since she’d been in Georgia, she hadn’t had much time alone, so it was just sinking in that her father was actually gone. After all, he hadn’t been so bad all the time. When she was little, he was actually pretty fun as a Dad. He took her and Leo to the movies every Sunday, as he wasn’t a big fan of church. She only had one memory of him ever setting foot inside a church, and he seemed very regretful that he’d gone after, but that was most likely due to all the people staring at him the entire time. Poor guy, she thought, when she remembered how the whole town was talking about his one appearance in church, especially when it wasn’t his “established” church, the one that was mostly for the rich and white.
Hadleyville was a place where everyone knew everyone, and Ross was often a victim of that. When he wanted to have fun, he went to Atlanta to find more like-minded people. Daniella remembered fondly all of the fun times that they had enjoyed in Atlanta, like going to Six Flags over Georgia. Ross was a great vacation Dad. It was almost like he became a different person when they were on a trip together. He went on rides, bought them treats and gifts, and made sure that they had all the fun that they wanted. Tears fell down her cheeks as she remembered a beautiful Teddy Bear that Ross bought her one time. He got it because she had just tried to win the same bear in a Carnival game, but lost. When she started crying because she wanted the bear, he presented it to her with a big smile on his face. That was a real Hallmark moment, she thought.
As the needed tears of mourning fell freely, she looked over at little Sadie, who was sitting beside her, and smiled fondly.
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