Chapter 15-My Angel
Song: Who Am I To Stand In Your Way-Chester See
It felt like a dream, it had to be because standing in front of me is my angel and the girl I’ve been trying so hard to move from my mind and heart. Except now she doesn’t look like my Emily, her once long blond tresses have been cut just below her ears and died to a chocolate Brown.
When her eyes met mine I feel sadness inside me, her cornflower eyes that I loved and could get lost in are now a shamrock green. She’s still my beautiful Emily only more grownup. Motherhood looks good on her. I run my eyes up and down her body and see she has also changed her wardrobe, She’s wearing black legging with a gray turtleneck sweater. She always hated sweaters and leggings, but we lived in Texas so sweaters aren’t something we really need.
She sits on the edge of the bed and takes my hand in hers. I expected the spark to be gone but when her hand touches mine that old familiar tingling sensation reignites. I wrap my giant hand around her petite one and gently squeeze, her touch was always a comfort for me and at this moment I want nothing more than to get lost in her.
“Are you really here?” I ask and hear the crack in my voice. My throat aches and is dry, Emily notices and gets up to get me some water.
“Yes, Damien, I’m really here.” Her soft lyrical voice brings a calm over my wounded soul and damaged body. I lift my hand and play with a strand of her chocolate hair.
“You look different but always beautiful.” No matter how much she changes she would always be my beautiful Emily. “How are you here? Where is here?” That’s when I realize I’m not on base but in a hospital , I was so caught up with seeing Emily I didn’t take in my surroundings. “What happened?”
“What do you remember Damien?” I lay flat on my back and try to recall what I can but all that comes to be is being on a mission and getting shot.
“I don’t remember anything except being on a mission and getting shot ,” I tell her, then close my eyes and keep thinking but it all just gives me the start of a migraine. “My head hurts.” I lay my hand over my eyes and fight through the pain. The tingles spark again when she places her hand on my face.
“Damien, I’m going to get the Doctor. I’ll be right back.” Fear shot through me, what if she doesn’t come back? What if she really is just a dream and I’m trapped in the in-between. I reach out for her hand and hold onto her when our hands connect.
“Please don’t leave me.” I was ashamed at the emotion in my voice and when I felt the wetness on my face. “I’m scared.”
“Damien, I’m here now and I’m not going anywhere, I was a coward before and because of that I’ve caused you pain, I’m so sorry for all the pain I’ve caused you. I’m just going to go get the doctor and my parents.” Confusion hit me like a bucket of cold water
"“Your parents? Why would your parents be here? Why are you here? Then another pang of fear, sadness, and shame hit me all at once. My vision clouds as memories of the day assaults my brain one after another. More tears spring forth as I watch my best friend drop to the ground, then when I tried to revive him and yell at him for leaving. They were too painful and I begged for them to disappear.
“I killed him! I failed all of you!” I feel the bed sag on one side as Emily lays beside me, her arms wrap around me and she rests her head on my chest. Her tears soak through my shirt and I want to comfort her too but I can’t. I’m the one who’s brought on her anguish, how could she lay here and act like I’m deserving of her love and compassion? I’m a murderer and a monster.
“You need to go be with your family Emily and I want you to forget about me. I’m not the same person I was two years ago, I’m not good for you and I’m not sure I ever will be.” Emily lifts her head up so she can face me, her eyes are filled with unshed tears and her face holds more emotion then I have ever seen on her.
“Day, you didn’t kill Dan, he’s going to be okay.” I don’t believe her, I feel like she’s just trying to placate me. It’s impossible for Dan to have survived that kind of wound, I saw him take his last breath and the gaping wound in his chest; it just can’t be possible.
“You’re lying!” I shout and making her flinch. “I watched him die, Emily, there is no way I made that up.” Emily holds my gaze, but doesn’t utter a word, the only thing she does is move closer to me and press her lips softly to mine. I should’t want to kiss her back but old memories surfaced and I’m past the point of restraining myself. I’ve been so wrapped up in my own despair but kissing her was nothing compared to the emptiness in my soul, my heart felt complete again.
I want...I need more, she was and will always be my breath, without her I would drown. Yet, my brain told me to push her away because I’m only going to crash and take her with me. I pull away from her and the sadness written all over her face is like a punch to my gut. “You need to leave Emily, I can’t do this with you again. It won’t be me getting hurt this time.” She places her hand on my cheek and once again I’m lost to her touch.
“Damien, I told you I’m here and I’m staying. You can push me all you want but it won’t work.” I wanted to believe her but she promised me that before, and yet she ran.
“I can’t Emily, I’m only going to drag you down with me. You have no idea what I’ve done and the guilt I live with everyday, I’m a killer. I’m a monster Emily and all I will do is tarnish you and damage your kind soul.” She violently shakes her head.
“Damien Michael Reed that is the biggest load of bullshit I’ve ever heard come out of your mouth. I know you are broken but you aren’t unfixable, you are worthy of all the good things the world has to offer. I don’t care what you did in Iraq, because I love you for who you are in here.” She places her hand over my heart.
“You did what you had to do to protect this country and please don’t classify yourself as a killer because you aren’t. It was a fight to survive and you did what you had to do. Day, you have always been my protector and have always been there for me. I screwed up big time when you left but having been through the experiences I’ve been through I have grown stronger and I’ve decided that I’m done running from my past. It’s my turn to be here for you and that is not going to change.” I have to admit I’m amazed at the brazen attitude she has, this isn’t the same girl I knew.
That doesn’t change the fact that she needs to not be here even though I ache to hold her, to run my fingers along all the places I memorized in our years together and to get intoxicated on her rose and vanilla scent. No matter how I much I yearn to be in her arms and to find my home again I know she deserves better.
“Emily, I can’t...” She cuts me off by placing her finger to my lips.”
“Damien, I’m not asking for anything right now, I know you need to heal and so do I but I just want you to let me be here for you. I want to help you, and my family...our family wants to help you.” She smiles that enchanting smile that hooked me the first time I laid eyes on her. “You aren’t alone in Damien if you don’t want me then let Mom and Dad help you, but I really hope you’ll let me in.
“I can’t ask her to help me with my recovery and healing, she has too much already.”
“Em, I can’t ask that of you. What about your Son?” She giggles and I feel a little lighter.
“Well, we do have to keep up appearances while we’re here.” I raise an eyebrow.
“What do you mean?”
“Mom told your commander that you are Michael’s father.”
I was stunned speechless but then I thought I about it and at one time we had talked about having a family. We even agreed to name our first son after me, I guess she went and named another man’s child after me. Something Dan said struck me.
"He’s yours, Damien.” I brushed him off at the time. He was suffering from blood loss and shock so who knew what he was talking about. However, now I wonder if there really was some truth to it.
Could her son be mine? But why would she wouldn’t she tell me? Confusion swims around me again and my head begins to hurt even more. “Emily, I need you to be honest with me. Is Michael mine?”
“I can’t have this conversation with you right now. I promise when you are feeling better we will talk about it. Day, I just need you to trust me.”
“Can you just give me a yes or no?” Tears stream down her face as she nods her head, then fleas the room.