“Once upon a time there was a lovely young princess named Frances who—”
“Frances is a boring name,” his daughter says. “She’s a princess!”
“Okay.” He clears his throat and begins, “Once upon a time there was a lovely young princess named Frances Michelle Arabella Valentine Cumulonimbus Pocketlint who—”
“Pocketlint? Come on.”
“I’ll have you know that Pocketlint was a very illustrious name in these parts.”
“May I continue? Because,” he shows her his watch, “we haven’t even started the story and it’s almost time for lights out.”
Her nod grows into a yawn as she burrows her head into his chest.
“So,” he begins again, “once upon a time there was this princess with a beautiful and fancy and very respected last name, but everybody just called her Frankie.”
A muffled, “Princess Frankie.”
“Of course. Princess Frankie lived in a land far far away. You’d have to take two airplanes, eight trains and transfer buses three times to—”
“And two taxis, three kangaroos, and a pogo stick,” she adds seriously. Well, almost. Her sleepy delayed giggles melt his heart.
“Hey,” he says, trying to sound stern, “who’s telling this story?”