As Dan awoke he could not have hoped for better company. His daughter, his wife and his son were by his bed side.
They were smiling. That has to be a good sign. If they looked upset or devastated he would be wondering how long he had to live. He tried to sit up in his bed but a sharp pain in his left shoulder caused his arm to give way.
He scowled and looked down at his shoulder.
“Typical of you really,” said Jennifer.
He looked at her puzzled, but said nothing.
“You’ve just been shot, and you expect to just get straight on with things.”
“I suppose it takes a lot to slow me down.” He smiled at her, and then at his children. He breathed out, feeling at ease for the first time in a long time. “It’s great to see my family all together again, safe.”
“I’ll just be happy to get home,” added Abigail, squeezing his hand. She looked clean and happy. She had managed to get showered and changed into new clothes. She looked more like her former self. The contents of her head and her heart might be different, but she was still the same girl. Maybe I got to her in time to make a difference.
“So what happened?” his wife asked.
“The police haven’t told you?” He responded with his own question.
“The police don’t really know yet,” Abigail said. “They didn’t get there until it was all over.”
“In that case, the only one who can tell us everything is Abigail.” He nodded in her direction.
Abigail shook her head. “I don’t think I’m up to telling the whole story yet, but most of the people on that boat ended up dead, and Joshua went missing after falling into the sea.”
Dan laughed. His family stared at him as if it was hugely inappropriate. “Some of it’s coming back. Our little Abigail was beating the man to within an inch of his life.” He looked at his wife and raised an eyebrow. “You don’t want to get on her bad side if you can help it.”
He winked at Abigail, who smiled, looking embarrassed.
It was the first time in what felt like a long time that they had been able to laugh together. Their family life could commence the gargantuan task of returning to normal.
One look at Abigail now told him all he needed to know. She was very strong minded, just like her parents. She would, of course, have her troubles. Everyone did.
She was embarking on her teenage years, but he didn’t have any worries about the girl. He would rather have her at home as a stubborn, moody teenager than to not have her at all.