"AeroExpress flight 212 is arriving at gate 16C," announced a chipper, disembodied voice.


"Oh sh--." I shifted Melissa higher on my hip, did an about face, and trotted in the other direction.


My daughter lifter her head from my shoulder and squinted up at me. "We at Mommy's plane yet?"


I brushed a few silky strands of her auburn hair behind her ear. "Not yet, pumpkin."


"What she like?"


"Oh, she's the most wonderful woman I've ever known. Jack seems like a pretty nice guy too."


"Mommy told me he could be my daddy."


I quickly swallowed the lump threatening to choke me and put on my best smile. "I'm sure he'd make a wonderful father."


"That mean ya ain't gonna be my daddy no more?"


I froze, ignoring the angry muttering of those passing me. The pain in Melissa's voice and the lost look in her eyes broke my heart. "Sweetheart, I'll always, always be your Daddy."


My assurance was rewarded with a tiny, brave smile.


"You know what else?" I asked as I brushed a tear from her delicate cheek.




"You'll always be Daddy's little girl."