For as long as Darcy Lewis could remember she knew she had two dads, even though she'd never met one of them, and didn't even know his name. She had no memory of anybody actually sitting her down and saying "oh, by the way...", nobody ever pointed to Paul Lewis and said "that guy isn't your real/first dad". It must have come up at some point, but she really couldn't remember. It was just a fact, one of those facts that you just know, even if there's no real moment you can point to and say "Ah, ha!". Like the fact that houses have roofs, and cats have whiskers, and putting tabasco sauce in your little brother's mashed potatoes will make him cry and get you grounded -- she didn't need to do it to know she'd be grounded, but she did it anyway, because some things are just worth doing at least once, and that's another one of those Things You Just Know.
The Other Dad Situation wasn't something they talked about a lot, but it wasn't a secret, either. It just was what it was. Her mom would answer questions on the rare occasions she was curious -- it wasn't that she wasn't a curious child, because, oh man, was she ever, but it really didn't cross her mind a lot. She had Paul Lewis who was, without a doubt, her daddy, and a dad in all the ways you'd want a dad to be -- like teaching her to ride a bike, coaching her soccer team, taking her to movies, cleaning out her skinned knees, calling her his princess even when she thought she'd die of embarrassment when he did that in front of her friends, or grounding her for putting tabasco sauce in her little brother's mashed potatoes. Dad stuff. She didn't really feel like something was missing.
When Darcy was eight, her best friend Darren got a new mom. For some reason he found this really traumatizing and flatly refused to go to the wedding, so he spent the day with the Lewis' instead. Darcy thought his soon-to-be new mom was super nice, and it wasn't like he didn't have his other mom anymore, so she really didn't know what got up his nose about the whole thing. Sure, his real mom lived in Chicago, but he got to go see her all the time -- he even flew by himself once (only not really, because Darcy knew his aunt was a flight attendant and so that totally didn't count), and always brought Darcy back his plastic pilot's wings, which was really pretty cool, even if she kind of hated him because sometimes he got to go in the cockpit with the pilots and she'd only been on a plane twice and she didn't even remember the first time.
"What's the big deal?" She asked, picking through the box of wings and trying to find a pair that matched her barrettes.
"She's not my mom," Darren grunted and held out a pair of silvery wings he dug up from under all the gold ones.
"Well, no." Darcy considered for a moment, then tugged out one barrette and clipped the pilot's wing in its place. Turning her head in the mirror to see the effect, she decided it looked pretty awesome. "Is there another silver one?"
"The Delta one's kinda silvery?"
"Close enough." Taking the other set of wings, she swapped it in, then nodded at her reflection. Excellent. Makeover complete, she turned to make squinty eyes at Darren, who was slouched on her bed, head hanging over the edge, one arm stretched out towards the wing box, and who also seemed determined to mope for the whole afternoon. Which was just not going to happen. He'd be fun, or he could go to the wedding, that's all there was to it.
"Okay, so she's not your actual mom, but she's now a mom-like person, and moms can be cool. Sometimes." She shrugged. "So, now you've got two."
"You don't understand."
She pfft'd at him and waved a hand at his frowny face. "I've got two dads."
"No, you don't." This was apparently not one of the things that Darren Just Knew.
"Yes, I do."
He looked extremely skeptical, and almost a little mad, like he thought she was lying to him. "Since when?"
"Since always?" Darcy waved her arms vaguely in the air. "I don't know, like, just since forever. Since I was born."
"I don't believe you. I've never seen two dads."
"MOM! HEY, MOM!" Darren clapped his hands over his ears and scowled. She could be really, really loud. Which worked to her advantage on the soccer field more than you might expect. Suddenly shouting like a lunatic at the other team's player when they got the ball could really freak them out. Her dad approved and called it psychological warfare, with a little warning to "just keep it clean."
Darcy's mom appeared in the doorway looking a little irritated and wiping her hands on a dish towel. "Darcy, what? Did you break your legs? Are your legs broken? Should I call an ambulance?"
"Then, next time, you can get up and walk out of the room to come talk to me instead of shouting."
Darcy slid her eyes to Darren. "Sometimes," she muttered at him.
Slinging the towel over her shoulder, Darcy's mom sighed and leaned against the door frame. "What did you want?"
"Tell Darren I do so have two dads."
"Darren, Darcy does so have two dads."
Triumphant smile on her face, Darcy held her hands out towards her mother in a game show hostess pose. "Told you."
Mom rolled her eyes, but smiled and patted her daughter on the shoulder. "I like the wings, Darcy, very stylish."
"Now go outside and play," she grinned down at the pair with what Darcy was sure was an evil glint in her eyes, "or I can find something for the two of you to do."
At the implied threat of chores the pair scrambled out to the backyard and up into the playfort, hopefully out of the reach of dusting, vacuuming, or weeding.
"How come you've never talked about your other dad before?" Darren asked, hanging upside down from the top cross beam.
Darcy was sprawled on her back, staring at the sky, kicking her sneakers against the railing. The fort used to have a canopy, but there was an unfortunate, ill-adivsed attempt to create an emergency exit -- because the fireman's pole and the rope ladder were far too boring and besides those would be the obvious exits if the bad guys were approaching, duh -- using two holes punched in the canopy, and a pair of sheets tied together. The whole thing ended with the canopy torn to shreds and Darcy dislocating her shoulder.
"I don't know. I don't know him."
"Is he dead?"
"I don't think so. Mom just says he wasn't ready to be a father. Like there was a test or something." She rolled her head over to look up at Darren who was still upside down and trying to look like the fact that his shirt had fallen into his face wasn't bothering him in the slightest, but since he kept trying to blow it away from his mouth and tuck it under his chin, he kind of failed. "Do you think there's a test?"
"I don't know. I guess I could ask Hannah."
"I think if there is she probably passed, you know. I mean, it's weird she's going to be your new, second mom, but you've known her since you were like six, so she's not really new. Plus, she makes the brownies with the marshmallows in them, and she lets us stay up late on the weekends."
"And she has a medal from the Olympics! Who has that?"
"Lots of people," Darren grumbled mutinously. "And it's only a bronze."
"Nobody we know except Hannah, and so what if it's a bronze, it's awesome. She went to the Olympics!"
"I guess," he muttered again.
"Whatever." This was clearly a topic that was only going to make him surly and un-fun and that was not to be tolerated. "I wanna do pirates. We can call Becca. Think we can get her to wear the hook?"
"I think if you hit her with a sword again nobody's going to believe it's an accident anymore."
"The first time was an accident."
"The second time?"
Darcy pursed her lips and glared up at the passing clouds. "My hand slipped. A lot?"