"Are you guys still ready for some ice-cream?" Nadia asked, her face brightening as she forced a rather artificial smile to her face. It wasn't that hard for me to figure out that she had something else on mind but deciding not to ask quite yet about what had happened, I nodded and took a step forward, following her and the others in silence as they walked ahead of me on the sidewalk.
Dakota had no real choice but to follow, shooting something of an angry glare in my direction before setting step by the two others' side. It was clear that he didn't want to face me quite yet, I was fine with that. Afterall, we hadn't ended on the best terms in our last discussion. All thanks to me.
I sighed loudly, catching the attention of Nadia who looked over her shoulder curiously. She slowed down, letting the two boys walk ahead as she joined me in my rather sluggish pace.
"You okay dad?"
I nodded, not knowing how to quite answer that question. My mind swarmed with scenarios on how I could start a conversation with my son again so we could get to being the least bit 'normal' once again. But I had no clue. Yet ice-cream time was reserved for fun chatter and just relaxation and not meant to be puzzling over family issues. Nadia deserved the former.
"Are you okay?" I redirected the question back at her and like me, she gave me a similar answer: the lightest nod of her head. Suddenly, she smiled and turned to me, keeping her voice in the most minimal yet audible volume as she whispered excitedly, "Did you decide on a place where we could for our date?"
I grinned at the enthusiasm she held towards spending time with me and nodded. "But it's going to be a surprise."
A sigh escaped her lips but she shrugged. "All right. I hope not knowing is worth it."
My grin widened. "Believe me, it will be."