It was the end of a very long and very tense afternoon. David wanted to make this a perfect day for his daughter, Maddie, and his new girlfriend, Catherine, and felt he had failed miserably. He had hoped the first time they spent together would be a pleasant experience for all of them; it hadn't been. He realized he tried to do too much in too short a time, and now they were all tired and grumpy.
"Daddy, she has a big ass."
He looked down at his six year old, horrified at her brutality. Maddie gave her opinion in the forth right and inappropriate manner that only a child can. David felt his cheeks redden, and bent down to speak to her.
"That's not a nice thing to say, darling."
He tried to reply sotto voce, in order not to call any more attention to themselves. Catherine appeared at his side, slipping her arm around his waist and gently kissing him. She looked down at the small slip of a girl, possessively holding on to her father's hand, and offered a demure smile.
"It is big, isn't it? No matter how much I exercise, it's still huge!"
"I think it's perfect" he whispered as he returned her kiss, balancing his desire to protect her feelings with the need to protect his child, who was feeling threatened by this perceived new menance.
"My mommy has a really little ass. Maybe you shouldn't eat so much."
Maddie looked up at her rival, a provocative glint in her eye, not giving a damn if her words offended. David grabbed her by the shoulder, loosing his temper, and placed his hand under her chin, raising her face to his.
"That's enough. I won't have you being rude to Catherine. You need to apologize for your behaviour."
The three of them stood silently, staring at each other, the tension unbearable, on the cusp of a volatile situation . Catherine gave him a sad smile and kissed him once again.
"I guess we're rushing this. I'll give you a call later."
She looked down again at her antagonist, and crouched to her level, looking Maddie straight in the eye.
"Bye Maddie. I had fun hanging out with you today. Hope we get to do it again sometime."
Maddie kept her gaze down, hiding partially behind her father's leg. As mad as she was with this interloper, she was even more upset with her father for the way he was treating her. Hadn't he always said she came first in his life? Now there was this trespasser encroaching upon their lives.
"I don't," they heard her mutter.
David and Catherine exchanged glances; she started to leave when he grabbed her suddenly, hugging her with all his might, trying to hold on to something he needed so badly.
"I love you, Cath. I'll call you later."
Catherine returned his hug, and glanced over his shoulder to gaze at Maddie, sobbing into a stuffed bear.