Food Truck Hero ~ A Love in the City Romance by Dellani Oakes Part 32

“Why tell me? Why not Mom or my sisters?”

“Your name was in her emergency information, as next of kin.”

Nodding, I thanked him for the information and he left.

“We have to go to the hospital,” Mom said.

“No. Descending on the hospital is the last thing we need to do.”

That was an unpopular decision, but I stuck to it.

“She’s dead! What possible good will it serve? You can’t bring her back just by being there.”

“You should have talked to Steve earlier,” Maria scolded.

“I didn’t know they were having problems. It’s not like anyone tells me these things. If she needed me, she knew to call. You all do.”

“But still….”

“I’m not taking the blame here!” I bellowed. “You can’t always put everything on me. You can’t!”

I burst into tears. My sister was dead, my nosy, interfering big sister, who had gotten me in trouble more than once. She’d taught me to climb trees, picked me up when I fell and broke my arm. She’d introduced me to my first girlfriend—who later was my first lover. She picked me up again, after that relationship fell apart, and got me drunk so I could get over it. Memories of Dionne flooded my mind. Unable to breathe, I sank to the floor.

Strong, warm arms circled me. Soft breasts pressed against me, silky hair tickled my skin. She didn’t tell me to stop, she let me cry, holding me close. Just as I’d done for her, she sang to me, helping me get hold of myself. We were in our own little world, apart from the noise and sorrow of my family.

I couldn’t find the belief inside me. I knew that would take time. Part of me was gone with Dionne, and I knew I’d never get it back. I felt almost guilty that I’d been having the best sex of my life, while my sister bled to death.

“Don’t think it,” Rowena whispered, her breath warm on my cheek. “Don’t even think it.”

Funny how she could practically read my mind. I’d known her so short a time, and already she was so much a part of me….

“I need to call your father,” Mom said loudly.

That effectively yanked me out of my grief. “What?”

“He has the right to know.”

“He hasn’t got the right to know anything. He left us. Abandoned us, when I was a kid. How has he got any rights?”

“He’s your father.”

“He’s a sperm donor. A father stays. He raises his kids. Teaches them to ride a bike. Throws a baseball, tosses a Frisbee. He doesn’t up and leave one day, for no good reason.”

“I should call….”

“No. I forbid it.”

I never saw so many stunned females, as I did at that moment. I’d never put my foot down like that, exercised my authority over them. I didn’t recognize myself for a moment. I felt godlike, omnipotent.

“He can read about it in the newspaper, like anyone else. If he cared so much, he shouldn’t have left us. You can go or stay, I don’t care. I’m going to the hospital to see Steve, and find out what happened. One of you needs to tell Suzie, so that they can break it to Stevie.”

“I thought maybe….” Mom began.

“No. Hell no. I’ve done all the other untidy, awkward jobs all my life. I’m not telling a seven year old boy that his mother’s dead. Someone else can do that. Don’t wait up.”

My car was parked in, but Mom’s wasn’t. I grabbed her keys, slamming the door behind me. I was ready to pull out of the driveway, when I saw Rowena coming toward the car. She hopped in beside me, saying nothing. We made the twenty minute drive to the hospital in silence. When we arrived, I asked at the front desk for Steven Richards, and was directed to the orthopedic floor. After a few false starts, we found him.

Steve looked like he’d been in a train wreck. His face, arms and legs were bandaged and his left arm and leg were in casts. He was awake, tears falling. No one else was there, and I remembered that his parents lived about three hours away. I hoped they’d been called.

Sitting down next to the bed, I positioned myself where he could see me without turning his head, and touched his fingers. “What happened?”

A sob gripped him. “She was so angry. I don’t know why. What I did…. I never know, anymore. Just—anger. She came at me with a f**king knife,” he gasped, pain evident in his face. “The big one. Part of the set.”

I’d given them a set of expensive knives as a wedding present. Never figured my sister would try to stab her husband with one.

“What’s been wrong?”

“She thinks—thought—I was having an affair. I swear to God, Keir. I loved my wife! But work’s been killer lately. Big case. Brutal hours.”

He’s a lawyer, and I knew they were building the defense for a famous gay actor, accused of killing his husband.

©2021 Dellani Oakes

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