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   Chapter 34 No.34

My Sister's Keeper By Bill Benners Characters: 6786

Updated: 2018-05-28 11:04


WE GOT THE CALL about four o'clock that Dad was awake and the three of us raced to the hospital as quickly as we could. They let us spend a little time with him separately. Mom went first, then Martha. I stood at the window and watched as he held my sister's hand and cried with her. There was something very strong between them and I realized that Dad could never love me in the same way he did Martha. I was not his child. Tears blurred my vision. A part of me was relieved that I wasn't. Yet, a part of me wished I was.

Later, sitting next to him holding his hand, I saw him differently. I saw him as a man instead of my father. I judged him differently.

I spoke softly. "I found a photo of Uncle Charles and Mom." He didn't say anything, just looked away and nodded. "I was wondering how he died."

"Christ, boy." His voice was tired.

"Do you know? Were you there?"

He covered his eyes with his free hand. His breath whistled out of him like a kettle just pulled off the fire. "Don't ask me to go through that. Not right now."

I squeezed his hand. "Okay."

"You straight with the police yet?"

I exhaled through my nose. "Working on it."

"You're your mom's favorite. Don't break her heart. If you don't do nothing else worthwhile in your life, please get this fixed."

"I will."

"I'd like to see it done before I die, so don't take too long. I ain't got much time."

It was odd to feel important to him, to feel something for him, to care about what he wanted. I squeezed his hand. "I'm working on it." I kissed his forehead, left the room, and took Martha for a walk around the hospital grounds. I parked her chair next to a bench outside and told her what Dad wanted. "I want to get it straight before he dies and I'm going to need some help with it."

"Sure. Anything you want." She lit a cigarette, dropped her lighter in her bag, and took a long pull on it. "But I need you to do something for me, too."

"What?"

"I want you to find out who these people are at that beach house."

"How d

re he belongs?"

I didn't wait for his answer. I shut the TV off, hurled the remote against the fireplace, and hoped Mom was still at the hospital and had not seen any of that.

I poured a scotch, gulped it, and poured another that I carried out on the deck. The sun had set, but the clouds still had a bright pink glow to them in the west. Settling into a chair, I brought the glass to my lips, but before I could take a sip, my cell phone rang.

"Hello?"

"Hi." The female voice was low and depressed.

"Sydney?"

"Yeah, " she whispered.

"What's wrong?"

"Everything."

"Tell me."

"The parents want me to get another photographer."

I closed my eyes and exhaled. "I was afraid something like this might happen. I'm really sorry."

Her voice dropped back to a whisper. I could tell she was crying. "I've got to go. My next class is waiting."

"Okay. I'll call you later."

"Okay."

"I'm sorry, Sydney."

"Me, too." She hung up.

My heart ached for her. I only agreed to do the photographs in the first place because I wanted to make things easier for her. Now I'd turned into a bigger problem than she'd had to begin with.

I rose from the lounge chair, slung the liquor from my glass into the yard, kicked a broken limb off the deck, and gathered together the things I'd need to go back to the house at the beach.

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