As Romany slept, she dreamed about Jack. He was such a kind man. His laugh, so like her Dad's. She dreamed of the last time she heard her father laughing that rolling boom of a chuckle of his.
She had been dressed up to go out with Cedric that fateful night. Wearing a purple off the shoulder dress, with hair cut into a flattering feathered crop and black strappy gladiator heels, she knew she looked gorgeous and was so excited. Cedric was the son of her fathers friend and despite the geeky name, which she liked anyways, he was very down to earth and charming. Cedric lived near her father so she arranged to have dinner with her father and be picked up from there by Cedric.
She had gone to her fathers for around 7pm. He gave her a big welcome as always and complimented her on her outfit.
'That Cedric doesn't know how lucky he is,' her father had laughed, admiring her pretty face under the new hair do.
'Oh dad, you always know the right thing to say!' Romany had twinkled back at him. She had always been a daddy's girl. Hardly surprising considering she had never known her mother, Luna Pike, whom had died giving birth to Romany.
Sometimes Romany wondered why her father didn't hate her, and once she had asked him if he hated her for killing her mother. He had smiled in a sad way, crouched down, lifted her chin and wiped a tear and said, 'How can I hate my own heart Romany? You are everything your mother and I always wanted and she would be as proud of you today as I am. You didn't kill her, sometimes these things happen. I know she would happily have gave her life to give you yours. You are her legacy and look so very much like her.'
Romany had burst into tears and they had hugged for a good long time.
That fateful night, she had cooked them both macaroni and cheese. Her father, being quite the business man, was not much use in the kitchen, testament to the fact he only had a microwave to cook with. He was a real workaholic, throwing himself into his career with relish and determination of steel. The fact that he had managed to get to the top of his career and raise his only daughter alone, showed what a man Patrick Pike was.
They had sat together at his small table, chatting about the past weeks happenings then talk turned to more serious things.
'Dad. Why have you never married again after mother died?' Romany had asked gently. As she had grown into a young adult and been able to understand her father more than as a child, she had often wondered why he had never settled with another woman in time.
Her father had paused, put down his cutlery and fell quiet. Romany was beginning to think she should apologise when he spoke.
'Romany, your mother was everything to me. Absolutely everything. I loved her more than the air, the stars, myself. She was one in a million and there never could have been another woman for me after her,' He had replied softly.
'So there was never another woman after mother died?' Romany had probed.
'No Romany, not a single one. Why do you ask?' her father had queried.
'Well you aren't getting any younger Dad, and with Cedric and I getting engaged sooner or later, I worry about you. You need someone to take care of you!' Romany had rushed, knowing that would annoy him even though it was true.
'Oh Romany! Stop worrying about me. You sound more like your mother every day! I will be just fine, waiting for you to give me some grandchildren to love,' her father had laughed. Romany had been glad he wasn't angry.
Outside a horn had beeped. Leaping up Romany had kissed her father quickly on the cheek and rushed out to Cedric. If only she had known that it would be the last time she would see him alive.
Cedric hadn't proposed to her that night. Instead, over a drink in a bar, he had informed her that he had met someone else. That he didn't love her like he thought he had and needed to let her know. Romany had been devastated and there had been only one man she wanted to see. Her Father. She had rushed out of the bar, caught a taxi straight to his house.
It had been in darkness when she arrived. Where was he? He hadn't said he would be going out? She had looked through a window, but couldn't see anyone. Maybe around the back? Perhaps he DID have a woman after all and had gone out!
Making her way round the back, something caught her eye. Something soul destroying. The pool. And at the bottom of it, tied to a chair, was her wonderful, kind, handsome father.
She had screamed in horror and without thinking, stripped of her clothes and jumped in. She tried so hard to save him, but he was so heavy and she couldn't pull him up. She had only been gone two hours, how had it happened? Who had killed her father?
She had tried and tried to save him, until she was so tired she had been at risk of drowning herself. Finally she had dragged herself out of the pool and phoned for help. She had sat there, staring at him, in a state of deep shock, until the emergency services came. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
* * * *
Romany woke up to find Jack shaking her shoulder. Tears were on her cheeks and her heart felt like it had broken all over again. She had dreamed of Seth plenty of times before, but never of the night her father died. Why had he been killed? Whom had killed him in such a cruel way? She wondered if she would ever get any answers.