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Sea of Destiny – Part 39 by Dellani Oakes

sea of destiny coverKyle 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?”

“Yeah.”

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.

“Hello?”

“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!”

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Sea of Destiny – Part 38 by Dellani Oakes

sea of destiny coverAfter healing Emily, Father Mike gives Kyle some news he wasn’t expecting to hear. It isn’t good news and sends Kyle into a tailspin. By some quirk of Fate, Kyle has finally found his long, lost father—the man who left when he was a kid. The story he tells greatly upsets Kyle.

He left the room, resisting the urge to slam the door. On the way down in the elevator, the pain hit. It felt like his heart was exploding, but he knew it was the anger and grief he’d been holding in for the last twenty-six years. He couldn’t break down and cry in public. He wouldn’t embarrass himself like that. He wanted a quiet place to get drunk and forget the man who had given him life.

He couldn’t bring himself to call the man his father. Maybe one day, but not today. Stumbling out of the elevator, he nearly ran over the young woman from the tour company. She caught him, helping him stand.

“Mr. Scott, are you all right? Is Emily okay?”

“Emily’s fine. The priest did what he promised. She’s healed.”

“That’s wonderful! But you don’t look well. What’s wrong?”

“Is there somewhere we can go for a drink? I need a drink.”

“Sure. Come this way. There’s a lounge. We can have a couple drinks and I’ll take you back to the ship.”

“Thanks. I can’t remember your name, but you’re a real peach.”

She smirked. “Thanks. My name is Vera. Let’s get that drink, Mr. Scott.”

“The name’s Kyle. So, Vera, how long have you worked for the company?”

They laughed and chatted through the dinner hour, sharing quite a few drinks. By 10:00, Kyle was very drunk and Vera was nearly as bad off. Kyle was amazed at how witty she found him. He didn’t think it was just because they were drunk, he was really being very charming. Vera loved to dance, so they took advantage of the dance floor in the lounge and he used his skill to seduce her. By the time the bar closed, she had invited him back to her place.

However, since it was obvious that neither of them could drive, they took a room at the hotel. Completely forgetting his children, his late wife and Emily, he took Vera to bed.

* * *

Kyle woke the next morning with the mother of all hangovers. Vera was gone, having left a note for him beside the bed.

“Had a fab time last night! You’re a great dancer and even better in bed. Call me next time you’re in Cozumel! Vera.” Followed by her phone number.

“Oh, God. What have I done?”

He showered, then realized he had no fresh clothing to put on. It was pretty wrinkled and he’d spilled something on his jacket that looked like it had left a stain. He walked back to the ship hoping that the morning air would clear his head, but it was already hot and humid. It only served to make him nauseous. He returned to his cabin while Carmelita and the children were at breakfast. Taking another shower, he dressed in clean clothing and ordered breakfast to be served in his room. He was just finishing when the family arrived.

“Cindy, you take them up to arts and crafts,” Carmelita said after one look at Kyle.

“Yes, ma’am.”

“I wanna see Daddy,” Mindy protested.

“You can see him later,” Randy responded. “Come on, munchkin. I’ll race you to the elevator.”

Their voices faded down the hall. Carmelita slammed the cabin door, hands on hips. Every line of her body radiated fury.

“Where the hell were you?” she bellowed.

“Don’t, Lita. No third degree. Give me a second for my head to stop spinning and I’ll tell you.”

“Don’t give me any lip, boy. Your kids were frantic when you didn’t come in. I thought little Mindy was gonna have a conniption this morning when you didn’t show up at breakfast.”

“I’m an irresponsible, insensitive prick. Okay?” He yelled. “Are you happy now?” He stopped yelling because it hurt his head. “Emily’s fine, thank you.”

“I know that already, Thad called last night. She woke up and was asking for you.”

“There were complications afterward.”

“With Emily? Is she okay?”

“She’s fine. The complications were with me.”

“You got drunk.”

“Yeah. Very drunk. I danced awhile and I’m pretty damn sure I got laid. Considering how my back feels, I overdid that too.”

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Sea of Destiny – Part 37 by Dellani Oakes

sea of destiny coverThe healing complete, Father Michael has to recover his strength. Although it seriously tests his faith, Kyle has to admit that Emily looks better. He can only hope and pray that she truly is healed.

“I’m not the one you should thank. Your Heavenly Father is responsible for this, not me. I’m just the conduit.”

Kyle dropped to his knees, praying quietly, giving thanks to God for Emily’s healing. He knew she was well, he could feel it. Underneath his joy, something lurked. There was the matter of payment that the priest had mentioned.

“You told me at the mission there was something I must do for you.” Kyle rose, his eyes wary.

“Yes. Gentlemen, I beg your indulge once more. I need to speak to Kyle alone.”

“Certainly, Father.” Pablo bowed respectfully, leaving immediately.

Sighing heavily, Dr. West followed him. Once the door was closed, Fr. Michael focused on the door for a moment before turning back to examine Kyle’s face.

“Before I begin, you have to promise not to lose your temper or raise your voice.”

“Why would I do that?”

“Because what I have to say is going to make you very angry.”

“If you’ve done something to hurt Emily….”

“No. No, son, nothing like that. If I had the strength to move right now, I’d take you outside, but I don’t. You have to promise.”

“Is it something I can talk to you about tomorrow?”

“No. This is the last you’ll see me.”

“For Emily’s sake, I promise.”

Nodding, the priest accepted the statement. Taking a sip of his wine, he tried to get his troubled thoughts aligned before he began.

“I have a story to tell you. It began, oh, about thirty-four years ago when I was a young man. I met a beautiful woman. She had hair like spun gold and the bluest eyes I’d ever seen. I fell into those eyes, drowning in her beauty. Then I did something very bad. I took that woman to my bed before we were married and she got pregnant. Both of us were Catholic. Determined to do the right thing, I married her. She gave me a son and we named him after me. I loved that child more than I had ever loved his mother. I was fond of her, but my son was the light of my life.

“A few years later, we had another son. By this time, the marriage was in trouble. We were so young when we married, barely eighteen, that we were completely different people by then. My wife and I had a horrible argument. We were furious with one another. I stayed out most of the night drinking with my friends. When I got home, she threw me out. I took a few possessions with me and left. I never went back, never explained, never apologized to my wife or my eldest son. He was seven at the time.”

Kyle’s lip trembled, tears fell from his eyes. His breath came in shuddering gasps as he heard the story. He said nothing, keeping a lid on his tumultuous emotions as he’d promised. He waited for the priest to finish, denying what he knew in his heart was the truth.

“I had our marriage annulled. There were grounds since we were coerced into marriage by her pregnancy. A short time later, I entered the seminary and became a priest. When this mission opportunity came available, I asked for it. I wanted to put as much distance between myself and my old life as I could.” He stopped, laughing weakly. “And then you walked in my study and my old life came back to haunt me with a vengeance.”

“Why didn’t you ever call? You never explained to Chris and me. Not that he’d have understood, he was three. You left me to pick up the pieces of our lives after you ran away. She didn’t even have a job!” He wanted to yell and throw things, but he’d promised not to get angry. “I always wondered what I would say to you if I ever saw you again. I had all these pretty speeches planned about how sorry I was that I drove you away. I blamed myself….”

“It was never about you or your brother. Your mother was a beautiful, selfish and demanding woman. Nothing I did was ever enough. Then I got the call to become a priest, something I had put off, thinking it wasn’t for me. It became too powerful to put aside anymore. God was calling me to do this work for Him. When I quit fighting, everything worked out.”

“Except for us.”

“I don’t deny that, son.”

“I’m not your son. You gave up that right when you annulled your marriage to my mother, declaring me a bastard.”

“I’m asking your forgiveness, Kyle. I need to hear you say it.”

“You can keep on needing it, Father Michael, because I’m never saying it. I thank you for what you did for Emily. That was the miracle she wanted. For that, I’m grateful. But I can’t find it in my heart to forgive you. If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go before I really lose my temper and break my promise.”

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Sea of Destiny – Part 36 by Dellani Oakes

sea of destiny coverAs promised, Father Michael comes to the hotel, along with his assistant. Pablo. He takes her confession, then begins the healing process.

Fr. Michael anointed Emily with blessed oil and chrism on her head, hands and feet. He prayed first in English, then Latin. Taking her head between his hands, he began to pray in a language Kyle didn’t recognize. His hands moved to her shoulders and down her body. Emily trembled beneath his touch, her breath coming in short, sharp gasps.

Kyle and Thaddeus moved toward her, but Pablo stopped them, indicating silently that she was all right. None of them said a word as Fr. Michael continued to pray. Emily grew flushed and began to sweat as the intensity of his prayers increased. Suddenly, she collapsed, falling back in her chair, limp and unconscious.

Fr. Michael stumbled, losing his balance. Pablo caught him expertly, laying him gently on the floor. Dr. West moved to take his pulse or check on Emily, but Pablo stopped him even more adamantly. He took them from the room, motioning that they must not speak yet.

Once they were in the study with the door closed, Dr. West showed his anger. “I have to insist that you allow me back in that room!”

“No, I cannot. And please to not yell. It is part of the healing process. They are connected right now, by spirit. If you touch them, break the connection, the healing will not take place. Your anger is bad, Doctor. If you cannot keep it under control, you must leave.”

“I’m not leaving.”

“Then I must insist that you remain calm. If Emily is to get well, you must.”

“If I don’t say anything and don’t touch them, may I go back in?” Kyle asked humbly. “I—I want to be with her.”

“Yes, of course. But you must promise, say nothing, and do not touch.”

“I promise. On my honor, I won’t interfere in any way.”

“You go in then. You stay,” he told Dr. West firmly.

Nodding, Thaddeus poured himself another drink. Scotch this time. Kyle went back in the other room. He sat on the love seat between Emily’s chair and Father Michael’s prostrate form.

Emily was still sweating, her face flushed. Father Michael was pale, his features drawn much like Emily’s had been. Dark circles had formed around his eyes. His body shook with tiny tremors. It was his hands that upset Kyle the most. They were darkly mottled, misshapen, swollen and a hideous shade of red. The sight nearly turned Kyle’s stomach and it was all he could do not to vomit.

He concentrated instead on Emily. Her color was returning to normal, her breath less shallow and ragged. Her cheeks and lips blushed with health, not fever. Her skin no longer had the waxiness he’d seen there the last few days. One last shuddering breath, she began to breathe normally, and he knew she was asleep.

Father Michael gasped, groaning. His body shook more violently terrifying Kyle. He left the room quietly, running into the study. Motioning to Pablo, he asked him to check on the priest with gestures. Pablo pulled him into the study, closing the door behind him.

“He will be fine in a few minutes. Depending upon now sick the person is, depends on how long he’s unconscious.”

“What’s wrong with his hands?”

“He must process what he takes from them. Not all healers do this, but it is Father Michael’s way. He will be weak when he finishes. May I order him some food?”

“Certainly,” Dr. West replied. “Whatever he requires.”

“Bread and wine. Some meat—grilled fish is best. I shall call now. He will be coming out of it when the food arrives.” He called room service, placing his order.

The food arrived moments after Fr. Michael regained consciousness. Dr. West met the waiter at the door, signing for the meal. Emily was still asleep. Kyle stood beside her, gazing at her helplessly.

“You may touch her now,” Pablo said as he helped the priest onto the couch. “Do not try to wake her, she will come around on her own.”

Kyle nodded his thanks, drawing a chair next to her. He sat vigil, waiting for what seemed like forever for her to wake, but began to think she wouldn’t anytime soon.

“She will sleep several hours,” Fr. Michael said. His voice was dry, rough. “She needs to stay here tonight and can go back to the ship at midday tomorrow.”

“Is she healed now?” Kyle asked anxiously.

Father Michael smiled at Kyle, his blue eyes glittering. “Yes, she’s healed. Your faith and hers will keep her that way. Never doubt, especially not right now.”

“She looks magnificent, so much better. I have no doubt she’s well. Thank you, Father.”

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Sea of Destiny – Part 35 by Dellani Oakes

sea of destiny coverOn behalf of Emily, Kyle goes to speak to the faith healer priest. After talking for several minutes, the priest seems willing to visit Emily at the hotel where he will do his best to heal her.

“Is she a believer?”

“Yes, Father.”

“Are you?”

“I’m trying. Faith has been a little shaky the last year. I want to believe, I need to believe. I need—something more. I’m not explaining very well.”

“On the contrary, you’re explaining extremely well. For me it was the calling to Holy Orders. I was married myself, had a couple kids. One day, I woke up and knew it wasn’t for me. It wasn’t what I was meant to do. I left and never went back. Cowardly of me, I know. I owed her an explanation, but I didn’t have the strength. By the time I did, it was really too late.”

“So, you’ll do this?”

“Yes, Mr. Scott. I’ll do this. Have Ms. Geraci at the hotel near the docks, the one her family owns, and I’ll be there at five o’clock. My evening service is at eight, but we’ll be done well before then.”

“Thank you, Father!” He shook the older man’s hands with both of his. “Thank you. Can I give you something for your time?”

“There’s one thing I need from you, son.”

“Anything.”

“Don’t be too quick to promise. I’ll tell you after I’m done.”

“Okay.”

Kyle thought it was a little strange, but he wasn’t going to argue. Grinning, wanting to dance and sing, he gathered up his family and took them sightseeing. Vera called the ship and gave Thad West the good news. He promised to have Emily at the hotel before four.

Riding an adrenaline high, Kyle couldn’t remember anything he saw in Cozumel. He was itching to get back to the ship to see Emily, but wasn’t about to break his promise to his children.

At 4:30, the company rep dropped Kyle at the hotel while Carmelita took the children back to the ship. He waited impatiently for the priest to arrive. When he did, Kyle took him up to her penthouse suite. The living room overlooked the ocean. He could see the ship in the harbor.

Emily was sitting in a recliner gazing out across the water. She had her prayer book and rosary with her. Soft music played quietly in the background. Kyle recognized it as Handel’s Messiah. He pulled a chair up next to her, taking her hand.

“You did this for me?”

“With Thad’s help, yes.”

“Why? You hardly know me.”

He kissed her tenderly, taking her fingers to his lips. “Isn’t it obvious?” His eyes held hers a long time.

There was a soft tap at the door. Thad West answered, greeting the men quietly. Kyle rose, smiling as he made the introductions.

“Forgive me for not getting up,” Emily said softly. “Thaddeus insisted that I remain in my chair.”

“Not a problem,” Father Michael said with a grin. “Pablo, I need the lady’s hands and feet uncovered. Mr. Scott, if you’d assist?”

“Sure.” He and the man he’d met at the mission helped Emily remove her shoes.

“There is a short service, a few scriptures read. Are you Catholic?” he asked Emily.

“Yes. Born and raised in the Church.”

“Excellent. Then I need not explain about the importance of the Host?”

“No. Father, may I have a moment for Confession?”

“Certainly, my dear. I anticipated the need. Pablo.” His assistant brought his purple stole, placing it around his shoulders. “Gentlemen, if you will.” He invited them to leave in no uncertain terms.

The three of them stepped into the study, closing the door behind them. Thaddeus offered them each a drink. None of them took alcohol, opting for Coca-Cola instead. Kyle was on edge. Something about Father Michael was familiar. He couldn’t place it, but there was a distinct vibe when the other man was around. Part of that, he knew, was power. This priest was decidedly a conduit for God’s healing. He had met a few people in his life who had spiritual gifts, and this man was stronger than any of them. Kyle knew that Father Michael could help Emily. But there was something else, an underlying, nebulous tingle he couldn’t identify.

They came back in after Emily’s confession and gathered around as Fr. Michael assigned each of them a scripture to read. The service itself was short, followed by Communion. Dr. West wasn’t Catholic, but Kyle and Emily were. Fr. Michael blessed the Host, placing it on their tongues. Afterwards, he began the Anointing of the Sick. It was a special sacrament that Kyle had never seen performed before.

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Sea of Destiny – Part 30 by Dellani Oakes

sea of destiny coverRandy 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.

 “How come?”

“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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Sea of Destiny – Part 29 by Dellani Oakes

sea of destiny coverFinally able to get some sleep, Kyle is woken very early by Mindy. She’s excited by the fact that she can see Mexico out the window. The family has a day of sightseeing planned.

  “I used to shower with Mommy all the time. I wanna shower with Daddy!”

“You can shower with me, munchkin,” Cindy offered. This distracted Mindy enough for Kyle to escape.

While he was bathing, Randy walked in the bathroom and sat on the counter.

“I wanna shower with Daddy!” He laughed, his voice cracking.

“Don’t say that around anyone else. Seriously. They’ll think I’m some sort of pervert.”

“Never a word. So, what do you think of that Adam guy?”

“He’s nice. He’s Emily’s godson.”

“Yeah? Cool. He was hitting on Cindy yesterday. I thought he’d shit himself when I told him to lay off.”

“Thanks for handling that. I was about ready to toss him overboard.”

“Like I couldn’t tell? I haven’t lived with you my entire life not to see that murderous frown you get. He seriously thought she was seventeen. I get the feeling that’s gonna happen a lot. She’s filled out some this last year. All my friends think she’s hot.”

“They say that?” Kyle wrapped a towel around his waist and put on shaving gel.

“They say a lot more that I’m not gonna repeat. I about broke Billy Wilder’s nose a week ago.”

“Son, what have we said about self-control?”

“Like you wouldn’t hit a guy who told you that about your sister?”

“I don’t have a sister and I don’t know what he said. Why don’t you tell me?”

“Cause you’d want to fucking kill him.”

“Randall,” he lowered his voice, frowning at his son.

“Kyle,” Randy countered in a surprisingly deep voice. “Look, the point is, you need to have Carmelita talk to her about how she dresses and shit. She’s gonna end up pregnant by the time she’s sixteen otherwise.”

“I hope you kids make better choices than that. She knows better than to fool around at her age.”

“You and Mom knew better. Did that stop you? I’m not stupid, Dad. I can add. You were married in June. Cindy’s birthday is December. It doesn’t take a math genius to figure it out.”

Kyle nicked himself. Cursing, he took toilet paper to staunch the blood.

“We made a mistake.” He shrugged. “No matter what, I loved your mother.”

“Was she a virgin when you two got together?”

Kyle nicked himself again. “I can’t believe I’m having this conversation with my twelve year old son.”

“I’ll be thirteen in two weeks. And I want to know.”

“Yes. Why?”

“So, was she your first too?”

Kyle didn’t look at him right away, concentrating on his shaving. Randy stared at him until he nicked himself again.

“No. Are you happy now?”

“So, when did you lose your virginity?”

“I was older than you by a considerable amount.”

“How much an amount?”

“Why are you asking me this? Sudden curiosity?”

“Because I’ve got your undivided attention. And I want to know. Why does it matter?”

“I made some dumb mistakes in my life, Randy. I grew up too damn fast. I hope that your mom and I provided a better example than I got.”

“Why did your dad leave?”

“I don’t know. I was a kid, a little older than Mindy. One day I woke up and he was gone. My world turned upside down.”

“Did he die?”

“No, son. He left us.”

“Just like that?”

“Yeah. Just like that. Your mom may be gone, sport, but at least you knew she loved you until her last breath. You’ve got memories you can carry of her the rest of your life. I can’t even remember what my father looked like. Mom threw away all the pictures. My grandmother says I favor him, but she’s never showed me pictures either.”

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Sea of Destiny – Part 28 by Dellani Oakes

sea of destiny coverAfter talking to Dr. West, Kyle puts the children to bed and tries to get some sleep. Unfortunately, sleep is hard to come by. Carmelita brings him a beer and the two of them chat for a few minutes.

 “Really?” He laughed, shaking his head. “That explains what Adam said.” He continued laughing softly. “Walked on like she owned it….” He took a sip of his beer, setting it against his forehead. “What am I doing, Lita?”

“We talked about that already.”

“I mean really? I’ve got no business falling in love with someone else. I’m here on vacation with my family. I’m not looking for another relationship.”

“That’s when love finds us, Kyle. Don’t you know that by now?”

“No, I don’t. Shit, Lita. I was nineteen when I got married. I was married almost half my life. I don’t know how to be single. When other guys my age were cruising the beach, I was home changing diapers. I loved Margo dearly, she was a wonderful woman. I really got lucky that the one major mistake I made turned out so well. But I’m lost here. I don’t know how to proceed.

“Until she collapsed today, I was having more fun than I’ve had in over a year. I was laughing and happy, feeling good about myself. I was enjoying a woman’s company—a woman who wasn’t my wife. I sat there thinking, ‘This isn’t so hard, this whole dating thing. I could get used to this.’ And then….”

“Then she collapsed.”

“Cindy asked me not to get involved with her. She begged me not to fall for a woman who’s probably dying. How can I put my children through that again? They already like Emily. Have you seen Mindy with her? She’s so animated. I can’t get over the change the last couple days have made in her.”

He rubbed his eyes with the heels of his hands, sniffling loudly. “I’m a wreck.”

Carmelita put her arms around him. “I think you need to go talk to the chaplain tomorrow. I think he could give you a lot of comfort.”

“I may just do that.”

“In the meantime, baby, you pray. You open your heart and tell God everything that’s inside you.”

“I’m not sure I even know how to pray right. I prayed for Margo to get better and she died. What if I pray wrong again and Emily dies too? I can’t do that. I can’t be responsible.”

Carmelita drew herself up, smacking him hard on the arm. “You stop that right now! Don’t you even think that God does that! He doesn’t go killing people off because someone else doesn’t pray right. God listens to everything. He hears all our prayers, no matter how we say them. And He answers everything.”

“He didn’t answer me with Margo. She died anyway.”

“Do you give your kids everything they ask for?”

“No, of course not.”

“Okay then. Sometimes you have to say no for whatever the reason. Sometimes God does too. We can’t know why, not unless He tells us. It was Margo’s time to go, so she went. It’s not Emily’s time, or yours or mine. But when it is, not a damn thing on this Earth that will prevent it. So keeping that in mind, you ask yourself if you’re making any sense at all with that whole, ‘I don’t know how to pray’ thing. If you ask me, that’s just selfishness and self-pity.”

Kyle wiped his eyes, sniffling again. “Have I ever told you how much I hate when you’re right?”

“Pretty much every day for the last ten years.”

“You’re my best friend, Lita.”

“You’re mine too, baby.” She kissed his nose. “Now you finish off that beer, brush your teeth and go to bed.”

“I will.”

“Goodnight, Kyle.”

“Goodnight, Carmelita.”

After she left, he did just what she told him. He had just enough alcohol in his system that he was able to relax. He slept deeply, dreamlessly, until Mindy woke him the next morning by jumping on his bed.

“Daddy, Daddy! We’re at Mexico! I can see it out the window!” She ran to the drapes, pulling them aside.

Bright sunlight lanced through his eyes leaving a shimmering trail behind. Prone to migraines most of his life, he wasn’t too excited about the sunlight blasting his eyeballs, so he got up and went to the bathroom. He looked grim. He realized he hadn’t shaved in a couple of days and decided that was his first order of business after a shower. Mindy tried to join him in the bathroom, so he sent her back to Carmelita.

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Sea of Destiny – Part 27 by Dellani Oakes

sea of destiny coverKyle visits Emily in the infirmary and encourages her to visit the faith healer, figuring it can’t hurt for her to try. Afterward, Dr. West reveals some secrets about Emily that shock Kyle. Emily is a very wealthy woman, the only heir of billionaire Edward Geraci, who was killed in a car accident just before her husband left her. It couldn’t be proven, but police suspected her ex-husband had something to do with the so-called accident.

  “And he left her. What a moron!”

“Indeed, the cancer could have done for him what he could not do for himself. Had he stayed, based on her will, he would have inherited everything.”

“And now?”

“No one has seen her new will, though we all know that she has taken Robert Blume out of it. He gets nothing if she dies.”

“And you all thought I was pulling a Robert? Thanks.”

“After talking to your housekeeper, I was relatively certain that I was wrong. She seems too open and honest to lie to me about something like that.”

“Carmelita is an honest, God fearing woman. If you ever insinuated that she was lying—well, I’d hate to be you. She’s got a mean right hook.”

Doctor West laughed, then turned serious. “Adam said he told you of her goal.”

“At least he can see how much I care for her, even if you can’t.”

“He’s young, trusting, easy to fool.”

“I see him as young, trusting and very astute. But yes, he told me.”

“And what do you think?”

“That if it will make her feel better, even if he doesn’t cure her, she should go. How long have you been a doctor?”

“Seventeen years.”

“And in that seventeen years did you ever see things you couldn’t explain? Miracles, if you will.”

“Of course. Every doctor has.”

“Then why can’t it be a real miracle this time? If you’ll excuse me now, my children are expecting me to tuck them in.”

“Of course. Mr. Scott?”

Kyle turned at the door, facing the doctor.

“I apologize for distrusting you.”

“As long as we’re square now, no hard feelings.”

“We’re square.”

“I’ll be by to see her tomorrow before I take the kids sightseeing.”

“Of course. Goodnight.”

“Goodnight.”

After getting the kids to bed, Kyle settled down for a long night’s sleep, but he couldn’t relax. He moved around restlessly, his mind too active for sleep to come. He had a lot to think about. There was a light tapping on the adjoining door. Carmelita was there with two bottles of beer in hand.

“I figured you could use this to help you sleep.”

“Thanks, Lita.”

They went to the sitting room. Neither of them spoke for a few minutes. Kyle didn’t know how much Carmelita knew about Emily and didn’t want to say anything until he did.

“I talked a long while with that handsome Doctor West today.”

“Single?”

“Yes.” She grinned. “That was the first thing I asked him before he told me why he was talking to me. He was worried about you and Emily. Of course, having you diving for her tonsils later didn’t make him feel much better.”

“It wasn’t like that, Lita. It was just a kiss. No one needs to make a big deal out of this. I’ve kissed her a couple times, we’ve been dancing.”

“Her ex-husband….”

“Yeah. I’ve heard about him. He sounds like a real winner.”

“What exactly have you heard?”

“He was creepy and manipulative and may have killed her father.”

“Did she tell you he’s threatened her? He visited her in the hospital before their divorce, making noises about suing for alimony, getting a settlement, keeping her from changing her will. He even threatened her life.”

“I hope they put the bastard in jail.”

“For awhile, but they can’t hold him forever. Did the doctor tell you anything else?”

“That her father was worth a huge fortune and now she is.”

“That one of the things she owns is this cruise line.”

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Sea of Destiny – Part 22 by Dellani Oakes

sea of destiny coverKyle feels foolish after Carmelita teases him about being a lustful male. He endures a lot of ribbing from her, but it’s a bit much on his male ego at the moment. Fortunately, Emily understands and isn’t deterred by his behavior.

“You look very pretty.”

“You look very wet.” Emily giggled, rubbing his face with the towel. “Thank you.”

Again, he was overcome with the urge to kiss her. She wasn’t more than a foot away. He leaned toward her, lips itching for hers.

“Daddy!” Mindy flopped down on his outstretched legs.

Wincing slightly, he grinned at his daughter. “Mindy! Having fun?”

“Did you see me win?”

“I sure did!”

“Adam heped me! He gived me a ride.”

“I saw. That was very nice of him.”

“He’s my boyfriend.” She nodded solemnly.

“Oh, he is, huh?”

He exchanged a look with Emily. She suppressed a grin.

“Gonna have to talk to that boy,” he murmured to Emily over his shoulder.

“I think this daughter is safe from his wiles for a few more years,” she giggled.

“Not long enough.”

“Daddy, are you gonna come wif me to music?”

“I didn’t know there was music. Do you want me to come?”

She gave him an appraising look. “But you can’t sing good. Miss Emily, can you sing?”

“I sing very well, Mindy.”

“Will you come? We’re gonna sing the princess songs!”

Emily raised an eyebrow, waiting for Kyle to explain.

“The Disney princess songs,” Kyle interpreted. “Jasmine, Ariel, Belle….”

“Ooh, those princesses. I’d love to come. That’s if Daddy hasn’t got other plans.”

“Daddy is thinking of taking a long nap after lunch. You wore me out with all that dancing. You aren’t too tired are you? Don’t let her wear you down.”

“I’d love to go. When is music?”

“We go eat and then we sing. Adam’s other girlfriend told me all about it.”

“His other girlfriend?” Her father looked puzzled.

“Yeah, her name is Maggie. Her’s older than me. Her’s the big girl with blonde hair.” She pointed across the pool.

Maggie was indeed a big girl, probably 5’9”, blonde, very pretty. She had a flock of teenage boys around her. Adam, he noticed, was surrounded by teenage girls.

“Damn,” he whispered, gaping.

Emily smacked his chin, clicking his teeth together painfully. She looked annoyed.

“Sorry. Remember what I said about nice earlier? That was nice taking a holiday.”

“I see that,” was her terse reply.

He brought her hand to his lips as Mindy hopped up and ran to her sister. Who was not, he noticed in passing, flocking around Adam.

“And this is nice returning. I apologize. I’m a man forced into celibacy for over a year. I’m gonna look, but I won’t touch.” No one but you.

His fingers brushed her cheek, bringing her face closer to his. The kiss he’d wanted a few minutes ago tingled his lips, making him smile. Opening his mouth, he teased her lips asking her to open to him. His kiss deepened then, possessing her gently but adamantly.

The none to gentle clearing of a throat behind him made Kyle stop. Turning around, he saw Cindy standing there, tapping her foot, arms crossed, frowning at him. She looked so much like her mother, he nearly choked. Margo had that same expression on her face the first time she saw him—and for a similar reason. He was kissing her younger sister in a more than friendly fashion. She’d been only a few months older than Cindy when they met.

Swallowing hard, he forced a smile. “Hey, baby.”

“Dad, please. Can you control yourself for five minutes? You’re embarrassing me.”

“Sorry, honey. I wasn’t trying to.” If I had been, I’d have broken Adam’s balls for flirting with you. “What do you need?”

“Lita said to come get you so you can get ready for lunch. They’re serving in about twenty minutes. That’s if you can drag yourself away?” She raised an eyebrow, arms akimbo now, foot still tapping angrily.

“I’ll be right down. Thanks.” He hoped she would leave, but she didn’t.

Kyle stood, leaning over to help Emily to her feet. She clung to him for a moment, swaying slightly. Concerned, he held her by the waist until her grip relaxed.

“Are you alright?”

“I’m fine. I sat too long in the sun. I’ll be okay.”

“I’ll see you to your cabin so you can change.”

“I’m okay, Kyle. Go with your daughter.”

“Sorry, you’re stuck with me. Don Quixote at your service.”

Gracias, Señor Quixote. I’m alright.”

© Dellani Oakes

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