Once Madison and I were back in our room we got online and started digging for information on Mr. Phillips. It turns out he was telling the truth about being Robert’s half-brother. Apparently, they hadn’t spoken in almost six months from what we could find in his phone records and in his home computer. I felt like I was snooping on my own family but after everything that had happened with Robert I wasn’t going to take any chances with his brother.
Madison managed to find some drunk and disorderlys on his record but other than that he was clean. He couldn’t keep a job to save his life but definitely no threat there from him that we could find. After finding everything out, I called Mr. Phillips and told him to meet me on base at 2100 hours and I would have an MP at the gate waiting for him to bring him to me. He agreed way too quickly so it set me on edge. Maybe it was because he hadn’t heard from his brother in a while and was upset over finding out he was dead or maybe it was because he was planning something I don’t know but either way, if he was trying to make me suspicious, he succeeded.
A few hours later the MP I had waiting at the gate brought Mr. Phillips to the chow hall where Madison and I were waiting. As soon as he walked in he stopped short after seeing Madison with me. He smiled at her sweetly before he addressed me.
He said, “I can see what my brother meant by the most dangerous people in the world being very beautiful women that you wouldn’t expect.”
Madison looked at him then back at me rolling her eyes. I said, “Mr. Phillips, please sit down. You wanted answers so I’m going to give you what I know but I can’t guarantee you’re going to like the answers you get. Do you still want to know what happened to Robert?”
He shook his head yes so I started from the very beginning with everything. I told him everything that had happened with Robert and my team from the first day I brought him into my program to the day I took him out of it. The entire time he sat there quietly with almost a look of disbelief on his face. Madison kept watching him and trying to gauge his reaction through the story. When I was finished we all sat quietly for a few minutes before he spoke.
He looked at me then away before he said, “I never would have thought my brother was capable of all of that. Family was the one thing we both lacked. We never had it but always wanted it so it’s hard to believe he would have thrown all of that away and tried to hurt you and the kids just to be with someone else. I’m not saying I don’t believe you, because I do. It’s just that sounds more like our dad than him. I don’t know what to say, Rain. I’m so sorry he did that. There’s nothing I can say or do that will make up for his bad choices. I’m very glad I got to meet the kids, even if I didn’t know who they were. They’re good kids and I understand now why you have the bodyguards stay so close to them. I won’t bother you or them anymore. I could never ask or expect you to trust me or let me be a part of their lives after their father did that. Princess Diana said, ’What must it be like for a boy to read that Daddy never loved Mommy.’ I don’t think anyone could have said it better.”
After that, he got up and started to walk away he turned back when he got to the door and said, “Thanks for the answers”, over his shoulder before he left. The waiting MP escorted him off the base.
I was a little stunned at the way he took everything. I was expecting a little more drama with demanding answers or explanations, but he just swallowed the truth and accepted it. Maybe Robert had a bit more of a violent streak than anyone acknowledged. It’s the only explanation I could come up with for why he didn’t fight the inevitable. Madison and I looked at each other and shrugged and I could tell by the look on her face she was thinking the same thing I was thinking at that moment.
I looked at Madison and said, “When I remember my family, I always remember their backs. They were always indignantly leaving places.”
Madison just looked at me with the same look that she had before I said that, almost as if I hadn’t said anything at all. We’re so used to everyone putting up a fight with us for everything that Mr. Phillips just walking away without one was just plain confusing. Either way, we didn’t sit on it for too long. Instead we went back to our bay to get ready for the next morning. We were planning on waking the men up at 2 a.m. for a surprise night exercise so we had to get a couple of hours rest before we got up.
. . . . . . . . . . . .
Apparently our little ball comparison at the beginning of the week seemed to change the guys’ attitudes because they really started listening more and following directions.
Before dismissing them for the last time, at least for a while until it’s time to retrain, I said to them, “Muhammad Ali said, ’I hated every minute of training, but I said Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion’. Training may not be everyone’s cup of tea but if you want to be the best then you have to be willing to train harder than the next man and push further than anyone else is willing to go. We’d all rather start a family than to end one, but if the occasion arises very few people have the spine to take a bullet for someone else, however, that is the job you signed up for. None of you may like me and I’m fine with that, but I think now you may be a little better equipped to do your job in the face of adversity. Good luck men.”
With that they all went to go get their things to leave with the waiting MPs and we all did the same since we had a rehearsal and diner to get ready for. An hour later all four of us were in the SUV and headed back toward Atlanta. Ft. Benning was only a little over an hour away so it didn’t take us long to get back, especially since I had a lead foot.
When we walked into the church for the rehearsal everyone looked around at us surprised like we weren’t supposed to be there. Maybe because we were slightly early; I’m not sure, but I felt like turning and running the other way.
A few seconds later they must have sensed my hesitation because everyone started acting normal again and the rehearsal got underway. An hour later we were at Bone’s restaurant.
The rehearsal dinner was going great and was almost over. It really is an amazing thing to look down the table and see all the people in your life that mean so much to you at such an important event. When Logan saw me staring at everyone with a dumb grin on my face he leaned in and asked me if I was okay. I told him yeah I just never had a family, at least not one that was outside of my unit or the reservation, until recently so I was still surprised by the love and intensity of all the feelings you have with a family. He smiled seeming knowing what I was meaning and then we started to give out the gifts we bought.
We got Logan’s godmother a diamond necklace that said Mom on it. She loved it and for his godfather a new .223 rifle since he was an avid hunter. All the groomsmen and ushers got a flask with their name engraved on it along with the wedding date and what they were in the wedding as well as gift certificates for tattoos . The bridesmaids got a necklace, earrings, and ring set that was very extravagant. Jesse got what he asked for which was a pin to put on his tux that said ring bearer and a new camera so he can take his own pictures of the wedding and after. Rory wanted the same thing as the bridesmaids so that’s what she got. Everyone seemed ecstatic with their gifts. All in all, it seemed like a great day.
When all seemed like it was over and we were about to go home to get ready for the wedding the next day I found out why everyone was acting funny around me. They had been planning a bachelorette party for me and didn’t want to tell me since they knew I didn’t want one. That didn’t matter; the girls dragged me off and the guys dragged Logan off. Apparently neither one of us had a choice. We both laughed a little and went with them while Hazel and Gary took the kids home to put them to bed.
As we were getting into our cars to go our separate ways I noticed Gary kissing Becky good-bye. It looks like their secret is out. They’re together. Then, when I looked over I watched Madison kiss Ben and Christiaan kiss Katie. I looked behind the SUV and Justin was kissing Berdina. Man everyone’s been hooking up lately. It seems Jojo and Andrew were the only ones that weren’t with someone. I felt bad for them both because I knew why.
I would have to talk to them both when I get the time too. I knew why they were holding back. I just wished there was something I could do to change their pasts for them so they didn’t have to go through what they did. I guess that’s a matter for another day or time. A few seconds later we were being shuffled into the cars and on our way to some night club. Tongue and Grove I think it was called.
IT IS DURING OUR DARKEST MOMENTS THAT WE MUST FOCUS TO SEE THE LIGHT-ARISTOTLE