“I think he was scared,” Angela said. “He wanted both of his daughters in his life, but he knew that meant answering difficult questions about his past. So he kept putting it off, and eventually it was too late to make things right.”
“Until you came around,” Anita said.
“Oh, I didn’t do much,” Angela said. “My sister did most of the work.”
Frederica just stared at the ground. Anita smiled warmly.
“Either way, thank you both,” she said.
“Shall we head inside?” Simone asked. “I’m sure my father will be happy to see you, even if he can’t show it.”
Anita stepped forward and joined her daughter and Simone. They glanced back at Angela and Frederica.
“We’ll wait out here,” Angela said. “This is a family matter.”
“Okay,” Simone said. “I’ll be back out with my purse in just a minute.”
She ushered the Monteiros into the building. Angela and Frederica stood in silence for a while, watching the door.
“So if I did most of the work,” Frederica said finally, “does that mean I get a cut of your fee?”
“I’ll think about it,” she said.
The front door opened again and Simone stepped back out. Her eyes were red but she was smiling. Angela smiled back.
“Going well?” Angela asked.
“As well as can be expected,” Simone replied. “I wish Melanie could have met him in his prime, but I hope he’s at least taking some comfort from her presence.”
“I’m sure he is,” Angela said. “I wish there was something I could do to make him better. I can heal myself but I can’t heal others.”
“You did more than enough,” Simone said, and handed Angela an envelope full of cash. “You’ve earned this.”
“Thanks,” Angela said. “Well, I won’t keep you from your family any longer. You’re a big sister now. You’d better make the most of it.”