Fiona fidgeted at the banquet table. Her cheeks hurt from holding the same smile for hours. Her father stood to finally take the podium and her smile dropped. Watching him take command of a room always inspired her. She tended to get a little choked up when he went into full-on patriotic mode.
The thing was, he believed everything he said. Despite the phoniness of the politics and the glad-handing, he made her believe. Over the years, he’d made a difference in the city and she wanted to think that even if he weren’t her father, she’d still vote for him.
He started every speech in much the same way: Chicago is a great city, rivaled by no other. She leaned forward and held her chin on her fist to listen to her dad. God, she loved to hear him speak. Emotion swelled and she began to think about what kind of jewelry she would make for this election. Ever since childhood, she made something special for the election, a bit of a good luck charm for her father to have while campaigning.
She remembered his first election. The flurry of activity around their family was overwhelming, but the first time she heard her dad speak, she’d recognized it as something special. Her chest filled with so much emotion, she had no way to explain it. Instinctively, she knew he belonged doing this. Most kids never understood that about their parents. They didn’t get to see them at work, doing something they were passionate about.
Brady Cavanagh was as passionate about the city of Chicago as he was about his family. When Fiona made him a flower out of tissue paper for election night, she figured he’d keep it safely tucked in his pocket for good luck, but when he took the stage, her flower stuck in his lapel, having replaced the rose her mother had put there.
Not only had Fiona felt special that night, but she also felt part of something bigger. For all of his faults, her father cared about many things. That caring reverberated every time he spoke to a crowd.