Randy decides it’s time to have a heart to heart talk with his father. He asks him a series of very pointed and penetrating questions. The subject eventually comes around to what Kyle remembers about his father, which isn’t much. He’s never even seen a picture of his father.
“Mom wouldn’t let her. Your grandmother is a very scary woman when she gets angry. She told Granny not to show the pictures. She never has.”
“That’s pretty dick.”
“Yeah.” Kyle wiped off his shaving gel, checking under the toilet paper to make sure the bleeding had stopped.
“When do I get to shave?” Randy’s voice squeaked.
“When you’ve got more on your face than a milk mustache. Don’t start too early, you’ll end up with a rough beard. Women don’t like that. Soft and silky or smooth skin.”
“So you don’t chafe her thighs?”
“What?” Kyle spun on his son, horrified. “Where’d you hear a thing like that?”
“TV, Dad. Calm thyself.” He made patting motions in the air.
“Don’t say a thing like that in public. Do you even know what it means?”
The sheepish look on his son’s face told him he didn’t.
“Never in public. Okay? And not around Carmelita either, she’ll kill you and you won’t even understand why.”
“You ever gonna tell me?”
“Ask me when you’re twenty-one.”
“Brother! Did you know what it meant when you were twelve?”
“No.” But I sure did when I was fifteen. Not a fact he’d share with his son.
* * *
Before leaving the ship, Kyle went down to see Emily. She looked better than she had the night before, but she was still awfully pale. She managed a weary smile, holding her hand out to him. He leaned over, kissing her gently as he sat on the edge of the bed.
“How are you feeling this morning?”
“Like I want to go dancing.”
“I think they’d protest if I tried to take you out of here.”
“I’ll feel better if you kiss me again.”
He was glad to oblige.
“How are the kids?”
“Excited about going to Mexico.”
“I’ll miss you.”
“I wish you could go with me.”
“Will you go with me to Cozumel to visit the priest?”
“Of course I will. I want to watch you get your miracle.”
“Do you really think I’ll get one?” Her green eyes held such misery and doubt, he nearly lost control of himself.
“I do. I really do.” He touched her cheek tenderly. “I need that miracle as much as you do, Em. I can’t picture life without you in it. I know that makes me sound like some sort of sappy twit, but it’s true. The last few days have been really special and I want that to continue.”
She leaned her cheek against his hand, her tears falling silently. Kyle wiped them away with his fingers.
“Me too,” she whispered.
Taking his hand in both of hers, she held it to her cheek, rubbing her face against it. He felt his stomach lurch and his groin tighten. Even sick, she could make his body react like a hormonal teenager.
“Can I bring you anything from Cancun?”
“Just your sunny smile.”
“I can do that. I’d better get going or Lita will come looking for me. She’ll whoop my ass if I make her miss one minute of this trip.”
“Go. I like your ass just like it is.” She made pinching motions at him. “It’s so tight and squeezable.”
He chuckled, wiggling his ass at her from a few feet away. “When you get better, you can squeeze it as much as you like.”
“I’m holding you to that.”
“You can hold anything you want.”
Giving her a big, smoochy kiss he winked provocatively, dancing backwards out the door as she laughed at him. Still walking backwards, he nearly collided with the nurse. Instead, he spun her in a tight circle, humming Oye Como Va by Carlos Santana.
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