Veronica wasn't sure why he'd bothered, but she couldn't help but smile at the sight of her balding, slightly overweight father wearing a bright pink party hat.
"Well, if it isn't my favorite little birthday girl," he said, removing his cooking gloves and cha-chaing over to his daughter. He kissed her on the forehead, pushing back the bangs that she'd cut a bit too short when she'd chopped her hair off. "Am I allowed to sing?"
"Not since you got rid of that Bruce Springsteen shrine in your closet," Veronica yawned.
Keith blinked, pulling another party hat out and clamping it on her head. "What makes you think I got rid of it?"
Veronica swatted him on the arm as she walked past, moving to go check on the chocolate chip pancakes he made for her birthday. It would be interesting to see what he’d do to them this year.
“Hey, honey,” he said, moving up beside her. “You know, if you want to skip school today, it’s all right by me.”
Veronica should have been ecstatic. She’d begged him to let her stay home every year, but he always said no. This offer normally would have been appreciated and unexpected.
But Veronica knew that the only reason he was doing this was because her mother had left the week before.
“I should go,” Veronica said. She meant that she needed to go.
And somewhere, there was a third party hat that wasn’t going to get worn.