Horrified with what he’s done, Kyle decides he needs someone to talk to who may be able to offer him some advice. He decides to visit the ship’s chaplain.
“What can I do for you, Mr. Scott?” The minister shook Kyle’s hand, inviting him to sit.
“I know you’re not a priest,” Kyle began without preamble. “But I need to make a confession.”
“Have you committed a crime?”
“No, sir. But I have committed a sin.”
“I can’t give you absolution.”
“I know, but I need to talk to someone.”
Kyle told him everything that had happened the night before, in as great detail as he could remember, leaving out Vera’s name. It was making the other man extremely uncomfortable, but he didn’t care. He had to get it off his chest. When he got to Fr. Michael’s confession, the chaplain stopped him.
“Back up a second. Father Mike’s your biological father?”
“Yeah. He was married to my mom until I was seven. Then he left. Understandably, I harbor some resentment.”
“Yes. So it was rather a shock to hear this from him.”
“I see. Wow, I can see why you did what you did. Not that it excuses it, but in your position I’d have probably done the same.”
“Even the woman?”
The chaplain shrugged, nodding, then shaking his head. “I’m not a priest, I’m not married. Honest answer? Yeah, even the woman. Not to belittle what you’ve got started with Ms. Geraci, because she’s a wonderful woman and a great boss, but Kyle, you aren’t married to her. You aren’t engaged, you aren’t even officially a couple.” He held up his hand to stop Kyle’s protest.
“That doesn’t mean that what you did wasn’t sin, it doesn’t mean that she’s not going to be pissed, cause she is. It doesn’t even mean that you can forgive yourself, or she can forgive you, but it gives you a perspective.”
“Yeah, it shows me what a dick I am.”
“It shows you that you’re human. You had a very human reaction to a lot of stress, more than most people ever have. You’re still grieving and you find yourself in a new relationship that could potentially end as tragically as the first. You have three kids who need you. You’ve just found your father after twenty-six years. Man, I’d have fallen apart months ago. In a moment of desperation and weakness you reached out to another person who reached back. You aren’t a saint, Kyle. Don’t expect to react like one.”
“Thanks, Daniel. You’ve put it in perspective for me. I appreciate that.”
They shook hands. Daniel held his hand a moment longer, gazing into his eyes. “Emily has a temper and she is going to get angry. Be prepared for that. But know too, no matter how mad she is at first, when she calms down, she’ll find it in her heart to forgive you.”
“How do you know that?”
“Cause she’s my cousin and I’ve seen it happen more times than I can tell you. Be patient, ride out the storm. I guarantee it will work out. And call me if you ever need a sympathetic ear.”
Kyle spent the rest of the day in a daze. The only good thing that came from it was the fact that he didn’t notice his hangover. He ate lunch on automatic, hardly paying attention to what he was eating. Cindy’s eyes held less of a reprimand. He wondered if Adam had spoken to her or if she’d just gotten over it. Not that it mattered. She was going to be plenty pissed at him soon.
* * *
Emily was due to arrive in about half an hour. Kyle took another shower and changed into fresh clothing. She was just being brought to the gangplank when he came out. Waving, he started down the ramp and walked beside her wheelchair as Dr. West pushed her up.
The crew and many of the passengers gathered on the deck to welcome her home. A fancy reception, to which everyone was invited, was held in the dining room. Emily sat at the captain’s table officiating over the party like a queen. Kyle could hardly get near her because of the crew members and other guests, many of whom knew her.
Dr. West made a point of taking him aside when Emily was busy with a large group. “Now talk.”
Kyle sighed. “I’ve been through this way too many times today, Doc. I want the next person I talk to about it to be Emily. But you need to be there.”
The doctor frowned. “It’s that bad?”
© Dellani Oakes