“How’s my princess?” he asked as she squeezed him tight. This was the part he’d loved the most,

The Lucky Charm

Part 3

Alex Hoyt didn’t believe in fate. Not since he was a young man. There was just something about the notion that didn’t gel with him. Now watching the news while he waited for his wife and daughter to return home, he wondered why others were so open to the idea of a higher power having influence over his life.

To him, there was no higher power, just an accumulation of hard work and dedication, a result of applying yourself to get things done. That’s the way his entire life had been, ever since leaving his wild youth ways behind him.

Of course meeting Olivia had been the biggest change in his life, the pair hitting it off the moment they laid eyes on each other. With the birth of Miracle a few years later, he’d begun planning their future the moment Olivia had accepted his proposal, despite her parent’s objections. But parents wasn’t something Alex had ever been open to. He’d gone that long without them.

Now with Miracle slowly growing up, the 5-year-old kept him busy, both with work and play. He needed her to have the best future possible, one he never had as a child and thus worked 3 jobs, while Olivia worked one. Pooling their money had given them the best possible start in life, already paying off their first home.

But the delivery job he’d taken on the previous week was already proving to be nothing more than soul-draining. The money paid to him for the 5 hours he put in each night barely covered the fuel used for the job. He’d only accepted the job after his friend Josh had suggested it. That friend had himself done the job for a year or 2, saying the couple of hundred dollars a week all added up at the end of the month.

That’s how Alex thought as well. Success came from an accumulation of work and effort over time. Fate had nothing to do with it. It wasn’t fate that had introduced Josh to Margie, the woman he’d proposed to 3 months after delivering food to her home. It had been Josh’s willingness to work an extra job that had brought them together.

***

Alex went to the window as headlights flashed behind the curtains. He watched Olivia’s Corolla slowly pull up the driveway. He’d made it to the door just as Miracle began to bang on it, hoping for him to greet her.

She squawked with delight as he picker her up, then watched as her daddy kissed mummy. Her smile only expanded when he kissed her own cheek.

“How’s my princess?” he asked as she squeezed him tight. This was the part he’d loved the most, welcoming his family home. Needing to go out again is what hurt him the most.

But he had a plan. Alex guessed that all hardworking parents had plans. But his would surely succeed, driven by his own ambition to make things right. While his own upbringing had often been difficult, he would make sure that his little girl would always have the best of everything.

***

Alex waited for his little girl to start eating her dinner before he kissed her goodnight. It was time to go to work and he knew that despite the downside, there was a definite upside to the time away from his family.

“I love you, princess,” he said as she chewed on a piece of broccoli. She smiled a toothy grin at him and he laughed a little. Olivia walked him to the door, hugged him tight and whispered her own love into his ear. It both filled his heart with warmth and tore at it. After a final squeeze, he turned and jumped into the Corolla, his office for the next few hours.

***

As Alex began to pick up food from the restaurants around the northern suburbs of Melbourne, his mind returned to the thought of fate. ‘If fate was real,’ he pondered, ‘then maybe it can bring my family closer together by helping me not need this job.’ Delivering for Uber Eats had not been easy and the more homes he visited, the more he wanted to quit. There had to be a better job.

***

As he picked up another delivery, he made a promise to make it his last, sure that a better opportunity would show up. As he drove with the pizzas beside him, the smell reminded him of Miracle and her love for them. Maybe he had made the right decision.

It was her smile he pictured as he rang the final doorbell. A woman greeted him kindly, then accepted the boxes. A man who might have been her husband took them, smelling deeply as he grabbed them. The woman handed him a fifty and as he handed her the change, dropped her purse as she gasped.

The purse hit the steps, coins exploding all around their feet as another woman rushed out to the noise. But she too froze, the pair now staring at the five dollar bill he was holding out. Wrapped around his wrist, tied by a piece of black leather, was part of a bracelet, the letters F and A dangling beneath. Alex Hoyt was about to discover just how real fate really was.

Produced by: Eugenio Zorrilla.

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