If someone asked him what he fell in love with first, Phil wouldn't know where to start, would it be for her smile? By the way her eyes sparkled every time she talked to Daisy? Was it her rare laugh that was the best sound Phil had ever been privileged to hear? And now here he was, admiring them both as they adorned their Christmas tree, they talked about something and Melinda had a wide smile on her red lips, her eyes sparkling as Daisy laughed at something she said.
A few months ago, his 14-year-old adopted daughter nervously made him an unusual request, which he saw it coming at some point, but still took his breath away. Know her birth parents. She still wore her school uniform, her backpack slung over her feet, and he could remember her fearful expression very well, her fingers tapping lightly on the table in a clear movement of unease. As if that conversation was going on again, Phil vividly could remember every word of his daughter, who caught his habit of rambling on and on when she gets nervous.
“I love you dad, I love you so much and I don't want you to think you’re not enough for me, but I need to know. It seems like until I know at least her name, I don't know a big part of me. I cannot build who I am until I know my origins. I swear I don't want to hurt you with this, I don't want to see you suffer for it ... I just ... I don't know what to do with all this curiosity ... ”
Phil hugged a tearful Daisy, promising to run after information about her parents. He was glad that his daughter confided in him her insecurities and even if it hurt him, he would do anything for her.
"Dad?" - Daisy catches his eyes and he comes out of that bubble of memories with a small jump.
“Hi D” - His fingers caress her cold pink cheek.
"You were in the moon world right?" - He laughs, unfortunately he couln’t deny - "Can you convince Melinda to stay? There is going to be a storm and she keeps saying she doesn't want to disturb us.” - Daisy rolls her eyes, something Phil has already noticed is very characteristic of her mother. He smiles sweetly at his daughter, muttering that he will do whatever he can, receiving a beautiful smile of reward.
He found her near the door, putting on her scarf and couldn't help but smile at how beautiful she looked, her rosy cheeks, trembling lips, the coat much larger than her small figure made her look even more adorable, her straight hair were slightly disheveled and she seemed slightly breathless from the effort of putting on all the heavy winter clothes.
"Hey" - He tried to sound casual, but it seemed that whenever he had her eyes on him, butterflies in his stomach kept him from thinking clearly and he was eventually nervous in her presence - "You can't really be thinking I'll let you leave in this weather.” - She smiled, and Phil Coulson's poor heart beat faster.
“It's fine, Phil. I'll order an Uber and get home in a few minutes ”
"No way! If you're lucky that some transportation is taking a chance at this weather, it could end up in some kind of accident halfway there and we can't let that happen.” - He felt a tightness in his chest just at thinking of Melinda getting hurt.
"We?" - She asked with a smirk that made her even more attractive. Stunned, he stammered, his cheeks slightly pink, embarrassed.
"Yeah ... Daisy, she ... It's just... You can understand ..." - He stopped when he heard her melodious laugh and he was sure he would be happy to suffer this kind of embarrassment if in return he kept hearing her laugh like that.
“I don't want to disturb Phil. I'll be fine"
“You don't disturb anything. You can have my bed and I'll have the couch.”- He suggested -“ Daisy would be extremely happy to have you here for Christmas”- And then something went through his mind, and he wanted to slap himself for not having considered this before, then quickly completed - “Of course if you have any plans, Daisy will understand and I can accompany you home to make sure it will be all right, because I can't let anything happen to you , I mean, you're important to her and… that's it.” - He broke off as his blush washed over his neck and cheeks, why did he have to look and feel like a teenager in front of her?
“I have no plans, but it's Christmas Phil. You have to spend with your family.” - She had sad eyes and stared at her own hands for a few seconds until she met the blue eyes of the man before her again.
"You're family too, that’s way you have to stay ... you're Daisy's mother" - He declared.
"But I don't even have a gift for her ..." - She argued.
“You staying would be the greatest gift you could give her.” - His voice was sweet and his smile gentle. Melinda seemed to ponder for a few seconds, her eyes searching his for any sign of doubt, and finding nothing but certainty and kindness, she agreed weakly, removing her scarf again.
He grinned, happy to get this victory for his daughter. Only he knows how hard it was to get information about Daisy's closed adoption. By giving her little girl up for adoption, Melinda asked that the documents stating her origin be sealed in court and only after a long two-month process did they get a court order that allowed the seal to be broken. The tricky part came later, the call to the number on the register hoping it would remain the same, and surprisingly the phone was from Melinda's old residence, where the new owners had the asian's cell phone.
The first contact was made by Phil, and let's say it wasn't much better than he had imagined it would be. Days later, Melinda called him and they arranged to meet without Daisy's presence in a cafe near Phil's house. They found out that the woman lived relatively close to the two, a coincidence. By the way, Phil is still upset that he never saw or noticed her if they lived close to each other. The conversation was smooth and from then on, everything was so natural that it was no wonder they were there, months later, in pleasant mood around each other.
"Daisy?" - He called.
"Hi!" - She came running, an anxious expression adorning her face.
"Why don't you go take a shower while Melinda and I prepare dinner?" - His daughter smiled so wide that he was afraid her cheeks would break. The teenager jumped up and ran to him and threw herself into his arms for a brief hug and soon she was doing the same to Melinda, who clumsily returned the grip. Daisy thanked Melinda several times for accepting it and hurried upstairs to the bathroom.
Dinner was almost done by the time Daisy came back from the second floor, happiness exuding with every smile and every easy laugh. He could see so much of Melinda in his daughter and it only made his love for the teenager grow, as much as his admiration for the woman. Ah, who was he kidding? With each smile Melinda drew from Daisy, each moment of pure happiness between them, each time he looked into her brown eyes, Phil fell in love more.
“Dad?” - Called Daisy for the third time.
“Yeah?” - He answered absently.
"Are you ok?" - She asked, slightly worried.
“Sure, yeah. Why don't you and Melinda pick the movie and start while I clear the table? Tomorrow we'll clean it all up.” - He quickly got up and went to gather the plates, determined to pretend he wasn't absorbed in another world, a world where Melinda May clouded his every thought and his mind kept analyzing every little detail of each moment they spent together.
He took as long as he could in the kitchen, packed what he could, and put away all the leftover, did anything to give him a little more time and confidence to fight the feelings that were growing for his daughter's mother, and he knew that it would surface, just as it always did when he was in the same room as her. Phil knew Melinda didn't feel the same, how could she? She was perfect and he was just one more dork teacher in love with history. She is the kind of woman who could have everyone at her feet, if she didn’t already, and a mere man like Phil had no chance at all. So he kept fighting and deluding himself into believing that every day he was getting closer and closer to forgetting this crush and moving on.
When he arrived in the living room, the movie was already playing, so he sat away from both of them on the wide sofa. He watched their interaction out of the corner of his eyes, the way Daisy felt comfortable with Melinda and how May was slowly lowering her barriers to their daughter, it was beautiful to see, in fact that was the excuse he used today to stare the asian without pain in his consciousness. The movie went by in a blink of an eye and he couldn't even tell what it was about when it ended. By the end, Daisy was already yawning in sleep and after a brief kiss on her father's cheek and a hug on Melinda, she ran up the stairs.
Awkwardly, he offered her pajamas consisting of a blouse that would look like a dress for her and shorts, and Melinda gave him a shy, grateful smile and disappeared into the bathroom. Phil took the opportunity to pack everything his daughter's mother would need and carried his pillow and blanket to the couch and settled in as quickly as he could, the more he could avoid being alone with her, the better. But it seemed that tonight he couldn't escape her.
"So?" - She asked as she sat beside him on the couch.
“Are you going to tell me why you're avoiding me?” - He stared at anything but Melinda's eyes, unable to explain what she wanted to know.
"What? I'm not doing this! ”
"Phil ... If you think I'm going too fast with Daisy, or spending too much time with her, you can tell me!" - She asked, her voice betraying a mix of emotions that Phil didn't understand and couldn’t quite identify.
“No, no,” - He denied, shaking his head to emphasize his words. - “You're perfect with Daisy, I've never seen her so happy and comfortable this quickly with anyone before. And besides, you're her mother, you have the right to see her every day if you want. ”
“You're very kind, but I lost all right about her when I put her up for adoption, so I need you to tell me when I’m over the line.” - She touched his hand and the mere contact made the body of the man tremble. He hated having the barriers he built around his heart every day, melting with just one contact. Couldn't this woman see how much he was in love with her?
"It's all right, Melinda," - He said quickly, hoping she would withdraw her hand from his as he found himself unable to ward off her heat from his own.
“So what's going on?” - Her fingers caressed his palm lightly. - “In the last few days I've noticed you far away, both physically and psychologically, you're here, but you're not… I want you to know that if you want to talk I'm a great listener.” - The smile she gave him showed her bright teeth and made Philip's heart skip a few beats.
"I don't ... I ..." - No good explanation crossed Phil's mind, as he was too busy saving that moment as a picture, her smile, the scent that came from her hair, her closeness and the way she made him feel. Neither of them seemed to be paying much attention to what was going on around them, both very involved in that bubble of tension, so neither of them saw that Daisy had left her room after a glass of water. The teenager quickly descends the steps, but interrupts her steps, her eyes widening and she catches her breath to find her parents so close. The girl was sure that a kiss would happen at any moment. Trying to be as discreet and silent as possible so as not to disturb that moment, she tiptoes into the kitchen, stopping at the door and crouching as hidden as possible, still watching the scene before her.
“It's just… my stuff you know?” - He smiled shyly, he was completely trapped in her eyes and barely blinking his blue ones out of fear of missing something that those brown orbs were trying to tell him - “I'm in a sea of emotions and I'm just trying to deal with them ”
"I understand" - She shook her head and some strands of her hair that were once behind her ear fell into her eyes - "But anyway, I hope you see me as a friend you can talk to" - He nodded, momentarily uncapable of finding his voice. Without his consent, his fingers touched those unruly strands and placed them back behind her ear slowly, enjoying the softness of her hair. His fingers slid from her ear to her cheek, feeling the delicacy of her skin and he only let his fingers leave her face as he ran down the side and reached the tip of her chin.
Melinda had her eyes closed when his eyes left her skin to stare at them again. The bubble of tension widened and shattered as she opened them and realized she leaned even closer to him. Quickly she backed away, got up as quickly as humanly possible, she murmured a good night awkwardly and almost ran to the second floor, preventing Phil from noticing her reddened cheeks and the way Melinda pinched her lower lip between her teeths, nervously, but from her position, Daisy could see everything very clearly.
Phil was stunned by the speed she left and stayed stupidly staring ahead, where a few she was a few seconds ago. Daisy watched him shake his head as when many thoughts come to mind and he was trying to clear it, and finally her father lay down and covered himself with the covers.
Daisy knew three things at the moment: one, her parents were in love with each other. Second, she was very happy about it, but thirdly, she knew she would have to help them because clearly they could not see what was right in front of their eyes. Daisy went up to her room in her tip toes and went to sleep wondering what would be enough to get them together.