The oak door swung open, and a frantic man charged into the office. “Jack! Jack! My child is sick! The school just called me, I have to go pick her up immediately!”
Until then, it had just been a normal day. At his desk, Jack head whipped around, flinging papers to the floor.
“Oh Jesus, Simon! Is she okay? What happened?” He could hardly believe his ears.
“It’s … it’s nits!” Simon’s eyes were bloodshot.
Jack’s mouth was agape. “Simon, I couldn’t bear the burden of responsibility if something happened to her. You must go. And here – take this.” Jack reached into his filing cabinet. “I won this when I played for the Under 10s, but now it’s yours.” He slipped the trophy into his employee’s pocket.
“Oh Jack, who knows how long she’s been in the sick bay, waiting for me, a comb in her hand?” He began to sob, loud and wet. “She’s only fourteen.”
Jack inhaled sharply and took Simon’s hand. “Take all the time you need -” He bit his lip to stop the trembling. “- soldier.”
“Thank you, your support means everything to me!”
“Simon, you are her father! It is a duty and a privilege to serve side by side with you. A father. Being there for his child … in her time of need …” Jack wiped a falling tear from his cheek.
“Okay Jack, I’m going. I don’t know when we’ll meet again.” Simon looked ferocious, fierce, determined, Jack thought.
Jack let himself relax into his leather armchair. What a terrible time for all involved. He poured himself a double cognac.
There was a light tapping on the doorjam.
“I’m sorry to disturb you, Jack. My son has fallen from the play equipment and been knocked unconscious. I think I should meet the ambulance at the hospital.”
“Fuck off, Nancy.”
P.S. You guys, I really love men. And my employer is always so adorable and supportive if I need to leave for some reason. Just sayin’.