Maybe he shouldn't tell her.
She had been so sure, so insistent that it wasn't true. ("My father is NOT having an affair!"—his ears were still ringing.) Maybe the kindest thing he could do was leave her illusions intact.
Yeah. That could work.
Why couldn't people just keep their damn promises? Marriage was no picnic, but if you were gonna put yourself under the yoke, you might as well live up to the whole "forsaking all others" thing. Not such a popular viewpoint, however, if Blue Moon's case files were any indication.
He would've expected better from Maddie's dad, though. Maddie herself had an ironclad integrity—it often drove him crazy, definitely limited their business opportunities… but he admired it anyway.
At first glance, David thought he could see the source of that integrity in Mr. Hayes: distinguished, nice suit, firm handshake, direct glance. Underneath his good-natured ribbing about the liquor cabinet, the older man was quick to appraise him. In the ten minutes he was in David's office, he managed to conduct a casual inquisition of their caseload, business practices, overall financial soundness… and throw in a subtle hint as to his paternal protectiveness, too. Mr. Hayes certainly wasn't taking his daughter's "partner" on faith (or on wit and bluster, either).
But it was such an old story… cliché, even. Midlife crisis, empty-nest syndrome, the thirty-seven-year itch—whatever you wanted to call it—the bottom line was that even the thought of it was making Maddie (and her mother) unhappy. David understood the attractions of a pretty redhead as well as anybody… but no amount of flame-haired vixen could be worth hurting someone he…
Maddie adored her father. David didn't want to be responsible for toppling her childhood idol, for revealing that the emperor had no clothes. So to speak.
He could just cruise on in, be noncommittal… he wouldn't have to lie, exactly…
But he thought of her blue eyes, snapping fire. Thought of her look as he left the office: confident, trusting—in him. Thought of another pair of blue eyes, older, but still beautiful, and the sadness they held.
David just hoped she wouldn't kill the messenger.