The ride home was quiet. Greta liked when her dad joked, or when the radio was on, but she also liked how they could be quiet. A while back, when they were still feeling the effects of her mom leaving, they'd both felt like they needed to make noise all the time. But now they could show that they were both still here without announcing it.
This was different though. Her dad was quiet in the nervous way that he had, where he was so worried about saying the wrong thing that instead of spluttering and stumbling over his words, he'd hold them all very close to himself and not say anything. She didn't know what to say either, but she kept looking over, since it seemed like if anything, he'd want to start. Ten minutes slowly passed, and she was looking out of the window, watching the snow when he said anything.
“She told me to say goodbye to you, you know.”
“Yeah. Make sure you knew she was okay, that she was leaving today.”
Greta nodded. “That's good. Did she like the flowers?”
“Oh, yeah. And she was already up, you know, when I brought 'em? I mean, I walk in and she's up writing on the window.”
“I mean, she was writing about the case. Graphically, she said, I think. Like one of those things I seen in your homework, for the paper you wrote last month?”
“Oh, like a chart.”
“Yeah, that. Anyhow, I knock, of course, and she says to come in and she's hardly even thinking about flowers or the hospital. Just up and connecting things about...you don't need to be bothered with specifics about this mess, but, well, trust me, she's brilliant. Amazing.” He said the last word quietly, trailing off, and Greta smiled at that particular look on his face. It wasn't strange to see her dad looking happy, but this look was a new one, dating back to maybe a couple days after those milkshakes with Molly.
“Amazing, huh, dad?”
He tried to sober himself up, but he was still smiling. “As a detective, of course.”
“Oh,” Greta said, stretching the word. “Just as a detective.”
Her dad tried to frown, and she fought to keep herself from laughing. “Yes," he answered, and then looked a bit horrified at himself. "No, Molly's not just, or, I mean Deputy Solverson. She's not just an amazing detective, she's amazing, you've met her, but I prom--”
“I think she's amazing too, dad.” They were both quiet for a bit. “We'll see her again soon then?”
“Oh, I don't know, Greta. I mean, there's the inquiry and I'm not expecting anything good from that. I'll make sure we're taken care of, don't worry your head about any of tha--”
“I'm not worried,” she interrupted. “Just wondering, you know.”
He sighed. “I still don't know. These two jobs I have, I've never been, well, good at the second one. Especially not lately and you've seen what's happened, not that you need to worry about it, not that you are, but being honest, I feel terrible. I mean, I don't even know what a spleen does? And because of me, she's at home recovering with flowers when she probably could've already had this tied up. And still had a spleen to spare. I'm just in the way.”
“Did she say that?”
“Of course she didn't. But no one would say that."
“Yeah, I know, but did she say anything like that?”
He opened his mouth, and then closed it, frowning at the road very intently. She tried not to seem like she was waiting. Neither of them talked the rest of the way home.