Princess Rosie stared at Gary sitting quietly watching over her room and the hallway, while she was supposed to be sleeping. It really did make her feel better to know that he was there to keep her safe and sound.
But she couldn't get to sleep tonight, and she decided to talk to Gary about it.
"Hello Princess Rosie," Gary said when she sat up on her bed closer to her nightstand so they could talk quietly.
"Hello, Gary, how are you tonight?" Princess Rosie said.
"I'm fine. Things are very quiet in the palace this evening." Gary reported.
"Yes. I know. It's always quiet when King Daddy is out," Princess Rosie said, looking a little nervous.
"Is that why you're still awake?" Gary asked. Princess Rosie nodded.
"It's weird when King Daddy goes out to work at night. That's when Daddies are supposed to be home with their families." Princess Rosie said.
"Well, some daddies and mommies work only during the day, but there are lots of night jobs," Gary said.
"Night jobs? Princess Rosie asked.
"Well, I have a night job," Gary said. "I stay up all night and guard you. Many people do security guard work at night, watching buildings and people to keep them safe."
"But you don't have any children, Gary," Princess Rosie said.
"But I will someday. And most security guards have families. And that isn't the only nighttime job," Gary said. "Policemen, doctors, nurses, ambulance drivers, waitresses, store managers and workers, firemen, taxicab drivers, airplane pilots and airport workers, cleaning crews, and many other people work evenings, and sometimes all night."
"Why? Princess Rosie asked.
"Well, firemen and policemen, doctors and nurses work all night because accidents happen all the time. They have to be ready to help people who get hurt, or get into trouble of some sort." Gary said. "And people go out to eat in the evenings, so waiters and waitresses have to work whenever people get hungry. And stores are open in the evenings so that people can buy things that they need after they get off work at night, or on the week-ends. Think of the fun things you do on the week-ends like going to Oasis, or having lunch or dinner at a restaurant, or going shopping. The people who work in those places are working while you're playing, and while Queen Mommy and King Daddy are off from work."
Princess Rosie nodded.
"When do they sleep if they work all the time? Princess Rosie asked.
"Well, there are a lot of people who work at each job. So some people work hours during the day, and other people work hours during the night. That is called working shifts. Your daddy usually works the day shift, but sometimes somebody needs him to fix their plumbing in the evening or even way late at night if something big breaks. And sometimes he has to work part of the week-end for the same reason."
"I don't like it when King Daddy has to work on the week-end, or at night." Princess Rosie said. I miss him, and it doesn't feel right for him to be away then."
"That's because you're used to him working only in the daytime, but if he worked a night shift you would get used to him being away. And people that work week-ends all the time, get to have days off during the week, on Monday or Tuesday, or Wednesday, or Thursday or Friday. Because most people work five days each week, with two days to rest and spend time with their families and friends." Gary explained.
"Then how come King Daddy doesn't get to have a day off in the week when he works on Saturday? Princess Rosie asked.
"Well, that's because sometimes, when people work daytime during the week, they still need a little extra money. If someone needs help on a week-end day, they pay King Daddy extra money to take time away from his family to help them. It's called overtime. And even though it means King Daddy will be away from you in the evenings or on week-end days every now and then, the extra money he makes lets him do special things and go special places with you and Prince Joseph," Gary explained.
"It's still weird when he's out of the house," Princess Rosie said, looking a little nervous.
"That's the good thing about parents, though, Princess Rosie." Gary said. "Whenever one of them is out of the house, the other one is there to take care of their children and make sure they're loved and safe. And when both mommy and daddy are out of the house, they make sure there is a grownup to stay with their children and love them and keep them safe."
Princess Rosie said, "Like Grandma and Poppy, or Mimi and Poppop, or Nana, or Aunt Rachel, or Uncle Kodi."
"Yes. And I know something else that I'll bet you don't know," Gary said, mysteriously.
"What? Princess Rosie asked.
"Every time your daddy or mommy comes into the house if you're asleep, they come in just to look at you and give you a little kiss, because they love you and they missed you too," Gary said, and winked at Princess Rosie, then turned his attention right back to his guard duty, for it was his shift.
Princess Rosie leaned over and kissed Gary's cold, ugly little cheek, feeling much better to know his secret.
Sleep added weight to Princess Rosie's eyelids, and she stretched out beneath her covers, hugging Blankie to her, and sighed.
And when King Daddy came in a little bit later, she was sound asleep as he kissed her cheek and tucked the covers around her nice and warm.