Kyle talks to Carmelita about what happened between him and Vera. He knows he must tell Emily, but isn’t sure how. Just when he’s feeling the most sorry for himself, his phone rings. It’s Dr. West giving him an update on Emily.
“That’s wonderful news! Can I talk to her?”
“She’s sleeping right now.” Kyle heard doors close and knew the doctor had gone somewhere private, probably the study. “What happened to you last night? She woke up about midnight asking for you and you couldn’t be found.”
“I’d rather not talk about it.”
There was an ominous silence. “If you did anything to setback Emily’s recovery, I may be forced to intervene.”
“I’m not talking to you about it until I’ve talked to her.”
“But you will talk to her about it.”
“Doctor, I had an epiphany last night, followed by the stupidest moment I’ve had in fifteen years. I care deeply for Emily and I’m worried sick because what I have to tell her is going to hurt her.”
“Has this to do with her healing?”
“No, sir. But it could damn well interfere.”
“I think you’d better tell me, Kyle.”
“I can’t do that, Thad.”
“If it concerns Emily….”
“Very indirectly. Look, I have to get outside and see my kids. I have to think of a good story for why I was gone overnight and that’s not going to be easy. So please, let’s table this discussion until I’m a little less hung over.”
“Alright. But we will continue this discussion.”
“Before you tell Emily.”
Kyle said nothing either to confirm or deny. Instead, he hung up, took a fistful of aspirin and went to find his children.
Mindy was delighted to see him. Randy was somewhat less enthusiastic. Cindy’s eyes held an accusation he couldn’t ignore. She had the penetrating blue eyes of his mother. He couldn’t lie to either of them because they saw into his soul. While she peeled away the layers of his psyche, he played with Mindy and watched Randy swim laps in the pool. His eldest child sat apart, talking to some of her teen friends, purposely aloof and withdrawn. To the casual observer she wouldn’t seem all that different from her peers.
Kyle could see she held herself a bit too erect, pitched her voice artificially high and squealed over things that Cindy would never get excited about. He noticed Adam hovering nearby and made a point of gravitating toward the young man when they were both alone. By the set of his shoulders, he knew something was troubling the kid. Did he know? Had he guessed? Had Carmelita or Cindy said something? Had his actions given him away? Full of questions, he walked over to the younger man.
“Better one for me than you. You look hungover to hell.”
“The way you were slamming back those shots of Cuervo, I’m not surprised.”
Kyle closed his eyes, shoving his hands in his pockets. “Busted.”
“You said you care about her,” Adam said through gritted teeth. “Falling in love, wasn’t that what you said? Then I see you all over another woman!” He wasn’t yelling, trying not to make a scene.
Taking him by the arm, Kyle led him further away from the crowd, looking for an emptier place to talk. They walked aft until they found a place free of people.
“I’m going to explain because I don’t want you saying anything to Emily until I have a chance to tell her. I will tell her, you have my word on that.”
“Like that makes any difference!”
“Look, kid. I don’t claim to be perfect. But I do care for Emily, a lot more than you might think. I was with that woman, I don’t deny it. I got drunk off my ass on tequila, something I do not recommend, and I lost my head. I had some of the worst news in my life and I wasn’t coping well.”
“But Emily’s okay?”
“It had nothing to do with her. She’s great. She’s better than great. And if what I’ve done hasn’t totally blown the chance I had with her, we’ll be great together.”
© Dellani Oakes