His son was in love. Truly and irrevocably in love, though he didn't seem to know it. To a father, it
was easy to see, and to identify as the type of love that could break a man into a million glittering
shards. It was the type of love that made the gentlest of men into monsters; where the neighbors say,
"They were such a lovely couple," as the Coroner chalks around the bodies.
This was a love that tragedies were written about, doomed for death, madness, or ruin. This kind of
love started wars, caused empires to fall, and destroyed everything around them. It made the
harshest of men weep and the most religious commit suicide. It caused nothing but despair and
Dad knew he should swoop in and, once again, save his son before it was too late. Close the plant
and send him back to school, or fake a kidnapping and never pay the ransom. Even making the term
"jailbait" literal was a better choice than allowing this love to happen.
But, for the first time, Dad was going to do nothing. He would let his son stumble around blindly
and without a safety net; let him make his own mistakes and apologies; let him realize his feelings
without distracting him and act on his emotions without censure.
Because this also was a love that storybooks were written about, ending in happily ever after.