But, this also made her an alien to her older sisters who were her opposite. So, in Chelsea's eyes, the only person who truly got her was her dad. She could be herself with him, and now, he's gone and today her mother was going to marry another man. Sure, he was nice and all. But, he wasn't her dad.
"Chelsea, come down here right now."
"No," she said, kicking her uncomfortable heels to the ground.
"Great, Chels, you could've taken my heels before you climbed the tree. Now they're ruined."
"I told you I didn't want to wear them in the first place."
"Why are you being such a brat? Would you rather mom be alone for the rest of her life? Dad's gone and he's not coming back."
"I know that better than all of you. I still cry for him. You guys put him in a box and packed him away. I won't forget about him. I can't do that. I miss dad and Jeff will never take his place. He'll never be my dad."
"Is that what you think we've done?" Her sister sat on the ground, under the tree and leaned against the trunk. "I was eight-years-old. Some days I would come home with bruises. Other days I may have a black eye or two. Oh, and I'd come home starving every single damn day. Dad finally had enough and one Saturday morning at the crack of dawn he took me into this very backyard to teach me how to defend myself," she laughed. "You should've seen me. I was all over the place. But, hen ever gave up on me. He pushed me all day. I think I only had two breaks for a quick snack and water and then we were right back at it. After a while, Mom insisted that we stop. But, I had it down--the Sloan technique. When I went to school Monday, Dad dropped me off. We went over it one more time and sure enough, those girls tried to bully me again. But, I pulled my hair back and took them down just like Dad had taught me. I could never forget him. He taught us all so much. He made an impact. He will always be our dad and in our hearts forever."
"You know how to fight, Asia?"
"Oh yeah, I know to get dirty the same as you. Dad would want us all to be happy--even Mom. She deserves the chance at love again. She never dated after dad died. It took her almost ten years after his death to have coffee with a guy, and that guy turned out to be Jeff. He's been so patient and understanding of her. He's always with Mom at all your games. He puts our needs and happiness before his own. Now tell me that's not a great guy."
"I never said he wasn't a good. He just isn't my dad. I don't want to replace him. Am I wrong for that?"
"Dad is within our hearts. He's always going to be our dad. No one could ever replace him. You love Mom, right?"
"Yes, of course."
"Well, climb down from this damn tree and walk her down the aisle. She won't do this without you." Asia held her hand out. "If you hadn't run away so quickly you would've seen that mom had four bracelets made for us with Dad's name engraved on them for us all to wear at the wedding today. No one is forgetting about him."
A huge smile spread across Chelsea's sunkissed face. "I'm not putting those shoes back on my feet."
"Oh, you're wearing the heels, Brat. Love is an act of courage. Be brave young one. Be brave." She put her arm around Chelsea with a kiss to her cheek.