Disclaimer: MaryRose is an OC owned sa pamamagitan ng GrandOldPenguin. She is featured in his story, Beyond DNA as well as its short sequel, Operation: Fluffy kulay-rosas Sugar. While credit for the idea and Pagsulat of this installment is mine, MaryRose belongs exclusively to GrandOldPenguin. In addition, I highly recommend pagbaba both Beyond DNA and Operation: Fluffy kulay-rosas Sugar if you haven’t already.
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“Ugh! I can’t believe this!” MaryRose complained as she dropped into HQ, where Marlene was washing dishes.
Skipper dropped in behind her. “MaryRose, I told you not to go places without telling me first. What if something happened and I had no idea where to even begin looking for you?” he challenged, folding his flippers.
MaryRose rolled her eyes. “Dad, nothing’s gonna happen to me. I can take care of myself.”
“MaryRose, you’re fourteen years old. Even I could barely take care of myself at that age,” Skipper argued, shifting his flippers to his hips. “I don’t want to hear any madami about it. Go to your bunk.”
“Don’t ‘But, Dad!’ me,” Skipper interrupted. “Go on.”
MaryRose sighed heavily and climbed into her bunk, turning over to face the wall. Skipper sighed and crossed the room to Marlene.
“Where was she?” Marlene whispered.
“In the park,” Skipper replied, “with Archie’s kids again. I wish I could get her to understand why I don’t trust them.”
“Well, that was a long time ago,” Marlene replied. “How do you know he’s still untrustworthy? Kids can change a person, y’know.”
Skipper started to dry the dishes Marlene washed. “I highly doubt that, Marlene. A leopard doesn’t change his spots.”
“Really?” Marlene said. “You did.”
Skipper rolled his eyes. “That’s different.”
“How?” Marlene challenged.
“It just is,” Skipper insisted. “Whose side are you on? Our daughter is out following a bunch of delinquents and you’re pagganap like I’m the bad guy.”
Marlene handed him another dish. “I’m not on anyone’s side. I just think you should talk to her. You tell her what not to do without telling her why. If I told you not to do something, wouldn’t you want a reason?”
“No,” Skipper argued. “I would trust your judgement because I pag-ibig you.”
Marlene sighed. “Skipper, I’m sure MaryRose trusts your judgement just as much as I do, whether she admits it or not. I just think there’s some miscommunication here.”
“What part of don’t hang out with them is hard to understand?” Skipper shot back.
Although she was finished with the dishes, Marlene kept the water running to drown out their voices. “Skipper, why is it so hard for you to go talk to her? She’s your daughter. It shouldn’t be like pulling teeth to get you to have a little one-on-one with her.”
“Because I’m her father and she should just listen to me,” Skipper persisted. “First it’s this, then she’s dying her feathers and piercing her beak. And then she’s addicted to herring!”
Marlene rolled her eyes. “Skipper, you’re addicted to herring.”
“That’s not the point,” Skipper argued.
“Skipper,” Marlene sinabi before he could continue, “you know what I think your problem is? You’re so used to having your team follow your every command without tanong that you forget MaryRose isn’t some member of your unit. She’s your little girl. Exceptions need to be made.”
Skipper looked down to try to find a response, but couldn’t. He sighed and looked across the room at MaryRose.
“All right,” he said, giving in. “I’ll go talk to her.”
Marlene smiled. “Good. I’ll go topside and make sure the boys don’t interrupt. They’re out taking some security precautions, per Kowalski’s order.”
Skipper nodded. “Thanks,” he sinabi quietly.
Marlene turned off the faucet and stepped pasulong to halik Skipper on the cheek. “Good luck,” she whispered before heading to the hatch.
Skipper exhaled. Then he pushed a cinder block susunod to MaryRose’s bunk and sat down. After a few moments of awkward silence, he started.
“Look . . . I know I’m not the best at communication,” he said, watching MaryRose. She didn’t move. “I’ve been running my unit for a couple decades now. When I give an order, I expect it to be followed without question. And, well, sometimes I forget to turn that side of me off with you,” he admitted. He waited a moment, but she remained silent. “When . . . you were just a chick, there was a time I thought I’d Nawawala you forever.” He felt his puso wrench at the memory, but buried the feeling. “The thought of not having you in my life broke my heart. I couldn’t stand the thought. I couldn’t even begin to tell myself to let you go. Then, sa pamamagitan ng the grace of God, I didn’t have to. I found you right where I’d left you.”
MaryRose didn’t turn over, but in a small voice, she asked, “Where was I?”
Skipper smiled. “In my heart.”
Slowly, MaryRose flipped onto her back and stared up. “Why are you telling me this?”
“Because,” Skipper replied, “I want you to know that when I tell you to do something, it isn’t me trying to control your life or keep you from having fun or whatever you think I’m doing. I do it because I pag-ibig you and I want you to be safe. If I trusted those kids, I wouldn’t be quite as upset. Although I still need to know where you are.” He folded his flippers. “I know you won’t fully understand how I feel until you have your own children—way in the future,” he sinabi with a half-joking smile, “but you don’t know what goes through my mind when I think something’s happened to you. Just thinking what could happen drives me mad. I’m sorry if I get a little overprotective at times, but it’s just that I pag-ibig you madami than you’ll ever know. Do you understand?”
MaryRose was silent for a few moments before she sat up on the side of her bunk and nodded. “I think so,” she sinabi softly. “I’m sorry, Daddy.”
Skipper smiled and pushed off the cinder block, kneeling down in front of her. “You don’t need to apologize, sweetie. Just know that I tell you things for a reason. Okay?”
MaryRose nodded. “Okay,” she said. Then she wrapped her flippers around his neck. “I pag-ibig you, Daddy.”
Skipper hugged her back. “I pag-ibig you too, MaryRose.”