Copyright 2021 Kate Stacy“Oh my god.” Her knees buckle, but Captain is close enough to keep her from hitting the floor. “Please let me hold you. I can’t stand seeing you like this.” She shakes her head and presses herself closer to her father. “I can’t. I… I need…” She’s damn near hyperventilating. Ignoring my pain, I sit up and swing my legs over the side of the bed, ready to go to her, but she stops me. “I need to sit down for a minute. Please.” My eyes meet Captain’s, and he nods again, silently telling me to stay put. I fucking hate it, but I listen. He leads Kaitlynn to the nearest chair while I settle back onto the uncomfortable hospital bed. I watch as Captain squats down next to her. He wraps an arm around her back and murmurs quietly in her ear. I don’t know what he’s saying to her, but I can see it’s working. She’s starting to calm down, but it pisses me off that I’m not the one comforting her. “Now,” Captain says sternly, “which one of you wants to tell me how long you’ve been together?” I look to Kaitlynn, not wanting to break my promise to her, even though there’s no longer a secret to keep. “Since a few days after we had that late-night conversation on the phone,” she admits. I expected him to be angry when he learned the truth, when he found out we were both lying to him. He’s not angry. He’s disappointed, and honestly, I think that’s worse. I’d rather deal with his anger. “Did you have any plans to tell me?” he asks, but the question is directed at me. “Yes, sir. When Kaitlynn was comfortable with me sharing our relationship.” “When Kaitlynn was comfortable?” “Yes, Dad. I asked Marshall not to tell you.” He pins me with a cold stare. “I thought you had more respect for me than that.” My mouth opens and closes repeatedly, but no sound comes out. “Don’t get mad at him. It’s my fault.” “He still should have told me.” It’s Kaitlynn’s turn to be offended. She cocks her eyebrow and pins her father with the same glare he just gave me. “You’re saying if you made a promise to me, you would turn right around and break it?” “Of course not!” he sputters. “Then why would Marshall?” Properly chastised, Captain drops into the other chair and leans forward on his elbows. “I wish one of you would have been honest with me. I don’t like being kept in the dark.” “I love you, Dad, but you and I are only recently mending the cracks in our relationship. I wasn’t ready for you to know.” He hangs his head and sighs before lifting it to look at his daughter. “You’re right, Kaitlynn. I have to earn back the privilege of knowing everything about your life. I’m sorry for the way I reacted.” She leans in and hugs him, and almost instantly, the air in the room feels less stifling. Captain doesn’t offer me an apology, nor do I expect him to. Despite the promise I made Kaitlynn, I was never comfortable with keeping our relationship from him. He has the right to be angry with me. He deserves better from me. A nurse pops in my room to check my vitals and leaves almost as quickly as she appeared. Captain excuses himself to get something to drink, disappearing when we both decline his offer to get us one as well. “Can I hold you now?” It’s all I’ve wanted from the moment she rushed into the room, but the expression on her face tells me I’m not going to get what I want. She stands, wrapping her arms around herself. She looks at me again, but whatever I saw in her expression before is gone, replaced with steely resolve. “I think I’m going to head home. It’s been an emotional day… I… I think I need some time.” I can’t say I’m not disappointed, but I understand. This has to be hard on her. “Okay, beautiful. Will I see you in the morning before I’m discharged? They’re only keeping me for observation, so I’ll be sprung first thing tomorrow.” She chews her bottom lip, then shakes her head. “I don’t think so, Marshall.” Her tone makes my blood run cold.
About Kate Stacy
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