“Thank you, Kyle.” She touched his cheek, kissing him fleetingly, embarrassed by the emotions flooding through her.
Nothing in her life with Bob had prepared her for Kyle’s tenderness, his warmth, free spirited nature, his fathomless caring. He was a limitless font of love. His family was the same way, welcoming her into their circle as if she had always been there, a member of the most wonderful family in the world. Lips trembling, she held the crucifix to her chest.
A little, warm hand touched her left wrist. Mindy stood at her elbow, dark eyes searching her face in a disconcertingly ‘aware’ fashion. She was a child who had seen much more than her tender years should allow.
“You’re gonna be okay. Nobody could fix what was wrong with my mommy, but they’re gonna fix you. You’re gonna be better soon.” She kissed Emily on the cheek, hugging her neck.
Emily gulped, fighting tears. It was no use. She hugged Mindy, kissing her. “Thank you, Mindy. I feel so much better now. Look, they’re bringing in dinner. What have we here?”
Wiping her tears, she got Mindy occupied with her meal. Kyle watched how she interacted with his children, chatting with them as if she’d known them their entire lives. And they did the same with her. They weren’t replacing their mother, merely making room for someone else. Wasn’t that what Margo wanted? For all of them to be happy?
“I couldn’t have chosen better if I’d tried.”
“That’s because you didn’t choose. You let God decide.” He heard Margo’s voice in his head as if she were standing next to him. “God is good and kind and loving, Kyle. He’s also generous if you let Him. Accept this gift you’re being given.”
“I want to, Margo. I miss you, honey.” He realized that although he missed her, that dull, emptiness that he’d been feeling was gone. Instead, he was full of warmth and laughter.
For the first time in over a year, he thanked God for His blessings as his family laughed and joked with their new mother. He knew by looking at them that was what Emily would be. Carmelita met his eye, grinning happily. She knew it too. He felt better about the visit to Cozumel than he had earlier in the day. He expected a miracle and he knew they were going to get it.
Kyle accompanied Emily to the infirmary. She’d been asking to go back to her cabin, but Dr. West still refused. He wanted her nearby under the watchful eye of his nursing staff. Kyle was surprised to see such an extensive medical facility on board a ship. He suspected Dr. West had beefed it up because Emily was on board.
He was allowed to stay and visit until 10:00. Dr. West came in, insisting that Emily go to sleep.
“I slept all day, Thaddeus. I’m not the least bit tired.”
Kyle yawned expansively and stretched. “Well, it so happens that I am. So, if you’ll excuse me, Ms. Geraci, I need to go. Not because the doctor insists, but because my kids won’t settle down until I tuck them in. They’re probably robbing Lita of her sanity even as we speak.”
“It would take more than three kids to rob that woman of anything,” Dr. West remarked as he
gave Emily an injection.
Kyle kissed Emily as her eyes drifted shut, leaving with the doctor. They closed the door, standing together in the narrow corridor. Dr. West looked grim.
“You can’t talk her out of this visit, I suppose?” The doctor said softly.
“On the contrary, I think she should go.”
“I hate the idea of her getting off the ship. God knows what the conditions are at that mission church.”
“Bring him to her,” Kyle heard himself say without thinking. “Take her to one of the hotels and bring him over.”
“I hadn’t thought of that. Do you really think he’d come?” The doctor sounded almost like a little boy, not a mature man.
“I bet he’d come under the circumstances, if you asked nicely.”
“I’ll call ahead. We have an office there. One of them can try to persuade him.”
“I have a better idea. Ask them to set up an appointment for me. I’ll go see him personally.”
“Why would you even consider such a thing?” Dr. West wasn’t angry, he was curious. “You hardly know Emily, but you’d do this for her?”
“Dr. West, I recently lost my wife to cancer. I couldn’t do anything to make her well. If this will help Emily, even by easing her mind, then I’m behind it 100 percent.” His impassioned statement took the doctor by surprise. © Dellani Oakes