Brad is waiting when Kai gets home. He wants to have a chat about Paisley.
I know,” Kai said quickly. “She told me that too, Brad. Look, I have no illusions about complications. But I can’t help….”
“You can’t help falling hard. I saw it in your face. You’re hooked already. You’re too much like me, kid. That protective gene kicks in on you, and you want to hold and comfort…. Yeah, been there a few times.”
“That’s what makes you good at what you do.”
Brad was a patient advocate for elderly people who’d been abused by their families.
“It’s also hard as hell—I don’t want to see you hurt. You’ve got your own baggage, way too much for a man your age.”
Kai blinked hard, dropping his chin as he gazed at his hands. “Yeah. Well…” He gulped, trying not to cry. “That was a long time ago. I was a kid.”
“It wasn’t that long ago, only five years. And it still hurts.”
“Do we have to rehash ancient history?” Kai got defensive and angry when anyone got this close to a tender subject. This was the most tender he had.
“Kai, you’ve never really dealt with this. Your girlfriend aborted your child, and came after you with a butcher knife. That isn’t something you can bury.”
“I’m dealing with it my own way, Brad. I appreciate your concern.”
“But you aren’t dealing with it, not really. You might like to think you’re over it, but what Brianna did to you, left its scars.”
Kai raised his shirt and shoved his shorts down a couple inches. A pale scar showed on his abdomen just below his navel.
“Much lower, she’d have Bobbetized me.”
“Not something to joke about.”
“I’m not joking. She nearly made me a eunuch! What do you want me to say? That I still freak out when I get around people with sharp objects? That it’s hard for me to make a permanent relationship with a woman, because I’m afraid she’ll try to kill me?”
“Are those real fears, or are you jerking the psychological chain for effect?”
“Jeez, Bradley. I honestly don’t know right now. I’ve met a girl I really like, that I could have something good with and she’s got more baggage than an airline. And dear God, she’s sexy as hell and doesn’t even know it! Her skin’s like silk and she tastes like vanilla….”
“You force her into anything, and I will personally take you out.”
“Whoa! I’ve kissed her.” And felt her up. “It was voluntary. I promise.” And I wanted to do so much more!
“Is this going to make working together difficult?”
“Why would it? We’ve decided to try dating. If it works, great. If not, that’s fine. But we deserve a shot, Brad. We’re going out tomorrow night.”
“Dinner and a movie. Is it okay? Do I have your permission?” Kai was getting angry and that made him surly and sarcastic. “I promise to keep my dick in my pants, and my hands to myself. Are we done?” He got up, walking rapidly toward the stairs.
“I’m not trying to be a hard ass. You know that, if you’ll let yourself. I see two young people very attracted to each other, with a whole lot of hurt potential, if things go wrong. I don’t want that to happen. You’re like my own son, even if you’re not my blood. Your mom and I have been together since you were three years old—married since you were four. I’ve always tried to be a good father to you. I hope I’ve been successful.”
Kai sat back down, calmly listening to the older man speak. He nodded. “You’re a great father, Brad. I’m sorry. I know you’re saying this for my own good. And I appreciate it. But I have to give this a shot. I can’t explain how she makes me feel!”
“The way your mother does, every time I look at her.” Brad nodded. “God knows she had her own baggage to contend with. I had to fight my way through quite a bit to convince her to go out with me. Once I did, there were all these fears and worries to overcome—and I wasn’t dealing with a virgin. Do you even have experience with a virgin? I mean other than your first?”
“My first wasn’t a virgin. Neither was Brianna.” Kai snorted.
“I thought Brianna was your first.”
Kai smirked. “Nope, she was third.”
“Jeez, kid. When did you start having sex?”
“Fifteenth birthday, out on the boat, when we were supposed to be watching fireworks.”
“Do I want to know who with?”
“Bill and Maxie’s daughter.”
“Jenna?” He chuckled. “Might have known. That girl has no morals at all.”
“Nope. Oh, it was sweet. I remember it like it was yesterday.”
“How did you hook up with Brianna?”
“Met her at a party after Megan dumped me.”
© 2019 Dellani Oakes