Twisted Roses

Page 30

I move on to Dad last. On the opposite end of Marcel, he’s our anchor, our captain. He wears a broad grin in his tailored suit and tie, his arm thrust up in a polite wave of acknowledgment to voters.
His hand.
His hand.
I squint. It’s difficult to tell, but he’s wearing a ring on his right hand. A silver band of some kind. Since when does Dad wear another ring?
I had never noticed when I was younger. Then again, I’d never paid attention if he had, even if occasionally.
My insides twist until they’re tight and knotted.
I might not be able to see every detail of the ring in the photograph, but I can sense just what ring it is—
“Delphine,” Dad says suddenly, from the doorway. “What are you doing in my office?”
The photograph fumbles between my fingers, almost slipping through to the floor before I save it last second, and set it back on his desk. “I was… I remembered how I used to come in here all the time to read. Then I saw the picture on your desk and went down memory lane.”
A warm smile crosses his face. “I remember when I used to find you curled up in the armchair over there. Sometimes you drooled on the pages of the books you read.”
I’d find the memory amusing if I weren’t so thrown off by my discovery. I’m not sure why I’m surprised to find out Dad might be in possession of a Neptune Society ring. I’ve always known he’s a club member.
But it’s the thought he’s worn that ring—the same ring my attacker wore—that’s left an unsettling ripple inside me.
Dad ushers me out of the room and we return to the other half of the house.
We sit down to dinner with more campaign talk. Marcel’s taken to offering ideas for voter outreach.
I find myself drifting off. First with a fixed stare across the table at the seat that would be Mom’s. Then over at Dad as he enthusiastically engages with Marcel. I’m staring so long without even blinking that he notices and calls me out.
“What do you think, Delphi?”
I finally blink. “Sorry, what was that?”
“Dad asked you about your campaign,” Marcel says slowly. He and Dad bear an uncanny resemblance in this moment—dignified and polished in their matching golf polo shirts, their thick brows drawn close. Take away his dimples, and Marcel is a younger, slightly brawnier version.
“Yes,” Dad says, frowning, “I asked what Medjine and you have planned. You were staring right at me.”
“I was, um, daydreaming. Actually, Dad, I was thinking about that photograph in your office.”
He raises a solitary brow. “The one I caught you staring at earlier.”
“Anothertrip down memory lane?”
“What was the ring you were wearing?”
“You mean my wedding ring?”
“I mean the ring on your right hand in the photograph. You were wearing one. I never noticed before.”
Marcel glances between the two of us as though contemplating how to interject himself. He settles for guzzling down his iced tea.
“The ring in question, Delphi,” Dad says in a perfunctory tone, “is my membership ring to the Neptune Society. That was a club sponsored campaign event. Perhaps you were too young to remember.”
I let my silence answer him, unsure how to process whatever it is I’m feeling.
“Any particular reason you’re asking?”