Kyle wakes the next morning to find Vera gone, but she left a note telling him thank you for the night, asking him to call her. He makes his way back to the ship, with a horrible hangover, only to find himself confronted by Carmelita.
“Michael Kyle Scott!”
“Don’t call me Michael. Don’t ever use that name again. Okay? Never.”
“What’s wrong with you?”
“I’ve done something really stupid and self-destructive. Can we just drop it? Please? I just totally screwed up the best relationship I’ve ever had and that’s all you’ve got?” He
shook his head, trying to figure out where he left his aspirin. “If Emily ever forgives me, maybe I can put it back together.”
“Why wouldn’t she forgive you?”
“Because I got drunk and screwed another woman. The first time in thirteen months and it wasn’t with her. It was Vera something….”
“The company rep?”
Carmelita slapped him. Once his ears stopped ringing and his eyes quit tearing, he shook his head to help his vision clear.
“I deserved that.”
“You deserve to be horse whipped! How could you?”
“I’m asking myself the same thing.”
“You say you’re falling in love with Emily, but go out and get drunk and fool around with another woman? The girl had cancer! You’re a total heel, Kyle. I don’t even want to see you right now.”
She started out the door, but he called her back.
“He’s my father!”
She turned, looking at him. “Who?”
“The priest. The damn priest was my father—is my father….”
“The healer? Father Michael?”
“Michael Kyle Scott, Senior.” He said each name slowly and distinctly.
There was a long, echoing silence as Carmelita digested that information.
“Does Emily know?” she asked quietly.
He shook his head. “I didn’t find out until afterward. He told me he wants my forgiveness. I don’t think I can do it, Lita. I don’t think I have any of that left in me. Obviously, I didn’t deal with the news terribly well.”
She didn’t say anything, but her expression agreed with him and then some. “What about you and Emily?”
“How am I going to tell her about this? I don’t mean about my father.”
“I know what you mean.”
“I have to tell her. I can’t just disappear out of her life. How do I tell her?”
“I don’t know. There’s no good way to say it.”
“Is she going to hate me forever?”
Carmelita didn’t say anything, looking away. Kyle’s eyes filled with tears. He’d cried more in the last four days than he had the last six months. Everything hurt, inside and out. He couldn’t breathe properly. Just thinking about how angry and hurt Emily would be when he told her about Vera made him want to puke.
“How could I do this to her? This is what he did to her! I’m a horrible person, Carmelita. I’m the worst kind of man there is.”
“You’re getting yourself all worked up, Kyle.”
“Maybe I should just hurl myself off the side of the ship.”
“Now you’re talkin’ crazy. What you did was lousy, but if I’d been through what you’ve been, why I might do something similar. Yes, it’s rotten and it stinks, but there are worse things you could do.”
“Like what? Kill her dog? Rape her cat?”
Carmelita faced him, arms crossed, full lips pressed tightly together. “Lying about it.”
She slammed the door behind her, stalking down the hall to the elevator. Kyle threw himself face first on the bed wishing that a hole would open and suck him to the bottom of the ocean. Lying there, castigating himself, he heard the phone ring. He didn’t want to answer it, but if it was Emily, he needed to talk to her.
“Kyle? Oh, thank God.” It was Thad West.
“Hello, Doctor. How’s our favorite patient today?” He tried to sound lighthearted.
“She’s great. I’ve got a few tests to run to be sure, but I’m convinced she’s on the mend!”
© Dellani Oakes