Say I'm Yours (Page 22)

He has a point. “Still, it would make this a little more fun. We could make a drinking game out of it.”

“Yes!” Wyatt agrees.

My father starts to sway a little, and I grab his arm. “You all right, old man?”

He yanks his arm away. “I’m fine. Focus on fishing and maybe we’ll actually catch something.”

I go back to my line after casting a look at both my brothers. He suffered a stroke a few years back, which is what caused Zach to stay after his injury and run the ranch. I debate questioning him, but think better of it. He does not do well with us worrying about him.

At all.

“I’m getting the boys quads,” Zach pipes up.

“Oh, that’s a great idea. We never got in trouble on ours.” Wyatt adds.

Dad shakes his head and starts to pull in his line. “I got something.” Like the lifelong fisherman he is, he reels the trout in with finesse.

I still haven’t caught anything.

I hate fishing.

He walks out to the edge of the dock and puts it in his bucket. My brothers and I turn back to our conversation and joke about the lack of sex Wyatt must be having. Angie has been sicker than usual and will barely let him near her. I swear her child has turned her into the devil. She threw something at my head when I stopped by a few days ago, and all I did was say she looked pretty.

She told me I was a liar and to get out of her house.

“She’s crazy!” Wyatt complains. “Presley came over yesterday and told me to call a priest to come extract the demon from her.”

“Pres said she’s never seen her so miserable.”

“I don’t know what to do with her,” he admits. “I love her, but I don’t like her much right now.”

“She’s scared,” I tell him. “She went through hell the last time she was pregnant. The last thing she wants is to be happy.”

“When did you become all in-tune with women and their thoughts?” Zach looks over with a smirk.

“It’s not rocket science! I get fear. Fear can make you do some stupid shit.”

Wyatt smiles. “Like letting the girl you love date someone else?”

“Yes, asshole. Like that.”

“Keep talking like that and Dad will have your ass,” Zach warns.

Where is he? He usually can’t get back here quick enough so he has a chance at winning. “Dad, I could use some backup.”

“Pop?” Zach calls, but he doesn’t respond.

I look over by the buckets, but he isn’t there. I start scanning the shoreline, trying to see where he went, but when I find him, adrenaline rushes through my veins. I drop my rod and rush toward him. “Dad!”

My brothers are on my heels as we rush to where he’s lying on the ground. “Dad!” I call again, but he doesn’t respond. “Call 911!” I scream to Wyatt who already has his phone out.

I roll him onto his back and check for a pulse. “Trent?” Zach asks as I search for any sign of life.

“He’s not breathing, I’m starting CPR. Call Mom!”

I push on his chest and blow air in his mouth. Wyatt and Zach get the Gator out of the way for the emergency crews on their way, and I keep going. I check for a pulse and still can’t find it. I don’t know how long it will take, but I don’t relent.

“Come on, Dad!” I yell as I do another round of compressions. “Come on, don’t give up!” I blow another breath and start right back.

My arms begin to cramp. My chest hurts, and I’m out of breath, but there’s no way I’m letting him die.

“How long has it been?” I ask Wyatt.

“Four minutes. I hear the sirens, they’re almost here.”

“Let me,” Zach tries to get me to move, seeing the sweat dripping down my face.

“I got it!”

My brothers stand ready to step in, but the trees are now filled with emergency lights. The two EMTs, Beau and Thom, rush over, and I start rattling off what I can remember about my father’s medical history. Both of them worked on Angie last year. I pray to God that we have a better outcome.

“Ride with them,” Zach yells to me. “We’ll be right behind you!”

I run toward the ambulance, hop in the back, and watch as they try to revive my father.

“Where is he?” Mama rushes through the doors with Mrs. Kannan.

“He’s with the doctors.” Zach grabs her arm. “They haven’t said anything.”

Mama hurries to the counter and starts yelling about needing to see the doctor right now. “You need to call Dr. Halpern here! Right now!”

“Mama.” I touch her shoulder.

“Now! Go get him!” She scolds the nurse and turns to me. “Boys.” Her eyes fill with tears. “I-I—”

Wyatt rushes forward, wrapping his arms around her. “It’s going to be okay. He’s going to be all right.”

“No.” She cries in his arms. “It’s not going to be all right.”

“He’s strong.” I rub her back. “He’ll pull through.”

Her head lifts and she cries harder. “He won’t, honey. He won’t, and I can’t . . .”

“What do you mean?” Zach questions her. “Why do you think he won’t pull through, Mama?”

She steps out of Wyatt’s arm and starts to shake a little. “I’m so sorry. I shouldn’t’ve listened to him, but your daddy was very firm on what he wanted.”

My stomach drops as she starts talking in circles. “Ma?”

The three of us stand in line as her tears spill down her face. “This isn’t how I planned to tell you, but I don’t have a choice.” Mama shakes her head and straightens her back. “Six months ago, he was diagnosed with Leukemia. It’s incurable, and he begged me . . .” She grabs my hand and Wyatt’s, forming us into a huddle. “He made me promise not to tell you. He told me that he didn’t want you boys to know, and he was goin’ to spend his time the way he wanted. I fought him, but you know your daddy.”

I take a step back. “No.” I shake my head. “No way. He’s young! He’s not even sixty-five yet. There’s no way he’s dyin’. You can’t believe this is true.”

“When they explained the possible side effects and risks of treatment, he refused it. It’s stage four, and there’s very little chance that anything would work.”

“So, he’s going to just die?” Wyatt’s voice rises in anger. “No second opinions? We’re just takin’ what he heard as Gospel? Are you serious?”

“Baby.” She tries to comfort him. “It wasn’t an easy choice, but Dr. Halpern explained his options, and he wanted to live his life without bein’ sick from the treatment.”

Zach remains quiet as Wyatt and I keep going back and forth. “There are other doctors. There are other options, and if you’d told us, we could’ve helped!” I grow angrier by the second.

“Mrs. Hennington,” the doctor calls to her, and she wipes the tears away before turning to my father’s primary care physician.

“Thank you for coming, Dr. Halpern. My sons didn’t know, and I wanted to be sure that you were called right away. Is it the cancer?” She walks away with him.

I sink in the chair with my head in my hands. How the hell could this be happening? My father is the strong one. He wouldn’t just lie down and let his life slip away. Not when he has a grandchild on the way, my mother, and his sons.

He wouldn’t do this.

He can’t.

There has to be a way to save him.

Chapter 11


After I left Cooper at my parent’s house, I was filled with nervous energy. I stopped at the store, grabbed everything I needed for my dinner, and tried to convince myself this was still a good idea. When I got home, I was a woman on a mission. I stripped my bed, getting rid of the evidence of last night, and started cleaning. Not a light clean, either. I’m talking hands and knees scrubbing of every inch of this place. Hours later, I finally got everything in its proper place.

I’m not too proud to admit that I called and texted Trent, too, but both went without response.

I guess he really did make his choice.

I wasn’t sure what to do, so I called Emily and told her the story as she went from hysterical to stunned silence. She encouraged me to have dinner with Cooper and see what happens, but she also said I needed to figure things out with Trent.

However, he’s apparently not talking to me. It’s ironic that when I don’t want him around, he’s everywhere, but when I do need to talk, he’s ignoring me.

I push my wayward thoughts aside. Cooper is due here in about two hours. I’m going to fix his favorite dish, which my mama happens to also be famous for making. Her pork chops are a town favorite, and I know Cooper loves them along with her potato salad and green beans. For desert, I’m going to bake an apple pie.

I love cooking, and I know this meal is filled with all the things he enjoys. I’m grateful for everything he did today, and I’m hoping he appreciates this.

I get everything prepped, the pork chops are marinating in the whiskey, and the pie is assembled. I grab my phone and see a text from Cooper.