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Page 52


“Remember what in the morning?” she asked, looking adorably confused.

Chuckling, he asked, “Has Danny ever told you how he ended up a Marine?”

She shook her head, cringed, and flopped down onto her side with a little sigh.

“Danny was a cocky kid, but a good kid. I never had to ask him to help his mother or look after his brothers and sister. He always got good grades. Didn’t do drugs. Never caused any real problems, and then…….,” he looked off, shaking his head, still unable to believe how badly he’d screwed everything up.

“Then the first time he’d fucked up, seriously fucked up, I lost it. He’d scared the hell out of me and I reacted poorly. I was so determined to make sure that he never did anything so stupid ever again that I made everything worse. I dragged the poor kid out of the ER and made him take his SATs when he should have been taking it easy and getting an earful from his mother. Instead, I pushed him and when he fucked up his SATs I kept pushing him. I was so goddamn angry that he’d done something so foolish that could have cost him his life, cost me my son,” he ground out, flexing his fists and wishing like hell that he could go back to that morning when he’d found his son barely breathing on the bathroom floor and do things differently.

“When he joined the Marines……,” he paused, taking a deep breath as he locked his trembling hands together, “I was terrified for him and that didn’t stop until he was brought home three years ago when they shipped his body back to the States. Then my terror turned into something that there are no words to describe.”

He looked up to find her worrying her bottom lip as she watched him. “Did you know that they’d shipped him home to die?”

She shook her head against the mattress.

“He got shot saving his unit, and a medic unit along with a truck full of patients. He should have died in the shitty hospital they’d sent him to, but his CO called in some favors and once he was stable enough to travel they sent him home…to an even shittier hospital.”

“My son was dying, Jodi, because of me,” he said, rubbing his hands down his face. “I took him out of that hospital, brought him to mine, and for the next two months I put his body through hell to make sure that he not only lived, but walked again. I kept him in a coma so that he wouldn’t have to deal with the pain and to give him a better chance to survive what we had to do to him.”

“The best moment of my life was when he opened his eyes, but it was also the worst because I knew that there was nothing that I could say to make up for what he’d been through.”

“You love him?” she asked with a sad smile.

He met her gaze head on as he said, “More than my own life.”

“I see,” she said seconds before things took a turn for the worse and the small little woman that made his son smile for the first time in years showed him what hell on earth looked like.

*-*-*-*

“Stop crying! Please stop crying!”

“What the hell?” he asked, ramming his keycard in the reader as he struggled to hold all the bags of food in his other arm.

Terrified that she was in pain or that his father said something to upset her, he shoved the door open, walked into the room and nearly tripped over his own two feet when he spotted Jodi, bundled up in a blanket and curled up on his father’s lap, crying hysterically.

“What did you do to her?” he demanded, dropping the bags on the coffee table so that he could kneel in front of her. He ran shaky hands over her neck and arms, looking for a reason behind the tears.

“I didn’t do anything to her!” his father yelled, sounding a bit hysterical as he handed her over to him. He happily took her in his arms and stood up so that he could sit on the couch next to his father.

“Shhh, Tinkerbelle, it’s okay,” he said, throwing his father a questioning look only to find his father blindly stuffing french fries in his mouth.

“One minute she was fine,” he said, between shoving food in his mouth, “and then next she was crying hysterically and wouldn’t stop!”

“I-It….it was so…sweet!” she said, sobbing hysterically against his chest. “It’s so sad!”

“What’s so sad?” he asked, looking back at his father to see him taking a big bite out of one of the burgers he’d bought.

His father paused to shoot Jodi a nervous glance as he muttered, “Nothing.”

“So,” sniffle, “sad,” she mumbled, clutching his shirt in her small fists as she once again buried her face against his chest.

He glanced back at his father to find him chugging one of the shakes down. His father shrugged and returned to finishing off the shake while he sat there, holding Jodi and wondering what the hell he’d missed.

*-*-*-*

“Is it your Mom again?” she asked, shifting on her stomach so that she could look back at Danny.

He sat against the headboard, staring down at the phone in his hand. “It’s fine.”

No, it really wasn’t.

He was supposed to be here with his family, but instead he was here, spending his vacation trapped in this hotel room with her and rubbing antibiotics on her ass. It was really sweet, but he shouldn’t be here. He should be spending time with his family, making his mother happy and dealing with his father.

God, it was just so sad…..

“Are you crying again?” Danny asked, tossing his phone aside and quickly moving to her side to take her hand.

“No!” she rushed out, turning her head quickly and discreetly wiping at her eyes before she turned back around and plastered a big smile on her face. “I’m fine.”

“Do you want to rent another movie?” he asked, shifting on the bed so that he was lying on his stomach next to her.

“No,” she said, shaking her head and refraining from telling him that she was all movied out for the moment. “I thought I’d read a book or take a nap,” she said, deciding that a nap would probably be the best choice since reading a book like this wasn’t very comfortable and well, there really wasn’t anything else that she could do thanks to the rug burn on her ass.

“A book sounds like a good idea,” he said, nodding approvingly. “Do you want me to go find you something to read?”

“I was actually thinking about taking a nap,” she said, nibbling on her bottom lip as she looked over at him, a little terrified that he was going to bring up marriage again, but thankfully he didn’t.

“A nap sounds good, too,” he said, nodding.

“Well,” she said, clearing her throat uncomfortably, “I was thinking that while I took a nap that it would be a good time for you to go spend some time with your family.”

He shook his head as he laced their fingers together. “I’m fine where I am,” he said, smiling as he leaned down and brushed his lips teasingly against hers.

She nearly whimpered when he pulled away. After finally knowing what it felt like to really be made love to by a man, she was back to hand holding and chaste kisses that lasted less than a second and she hated it. She wanted to kiss him, to sit on his lap, to move on to all those sexual positions that she’d never tried, because Jerry had only been able to handle one, and he’d hardly been able to handle even that. She wanted to have sex in the bed, on the couch, in a car, against the wall, in the shower. Basically, she wanted to have sex, lots of sex with her incredibly hot boyfriend, but until her ass, back and arms were rug burn free that was wasn’t going to happen anytime soon.

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