Say I'm Yours (Page 27)

I start to pace as my mind spins. “There has to be something we can do.”

Someone coughs, and I turn to look at the doctor now standing there. “Trent,” he says, dropping a nod in my direction.

“Dr. Halpern, is he all right?” I move closer.

“He’s resting. His anemia is affecting his heart. The lack of oxygen and red blood cells in his body have started to cause other organs to struggle. We warned him this would be possible, but I think he pushed himself too hard today. He needs some other tests, and I’m recommending a blood transfusion immediately. If we can get the anemia under control we can assess what to do next.”

“What about the cancer?” Zach asks. “Is there a chance he can beat it?”

Dr. Halpern shakes his head. “Your father would need to undergo a great amount of chemo and then most likely would need a bone marrow transplant. Considering the fact that he’s allowed the cancer to grow for the last six months, I’m not sure that treatment is even an option at this point. It’s up to him now.”

Rage starts to boil in my blood. Wasted time we can’t get back. Things we can’t fix because we didn’t know about them. I can’t understand what he was thinking.

“All of this can be discussed later, right now, we need to focus on getting him stable. He needs a blood transfusion to control his anemia. I want to warn you all, this is when things start to move quickly. He’s going to need regular transfusions.”

“I want to see him,” I say quickly.

The doctor nods. “He’s exhausted and can’t handle much excitement. Just go in one at a time.”

I turn to my brothers, who both nod when I take the step closer. “I won’t be long. If you want to go get your blood drawn . . .”

Wyatt clasps my shoulder. “I’ll see you in a few.”

I nod. Zach looks away despondently and follows Wyatt. Zach is by far the closest to my father. He’s always been the most like him, and I hope Presley gets here soon. She was out by Knoxville delivering a horse for Zach and is on her way back. I hate seeing him so broken, you can tell he needs her.

Grace takes my hand and squeezes. “I’ll be right here.”

I pull her against my chest and kiss the top of her head.

With each step toward his room, my heart breaks. I don’t know what to say to him, but I know that I can’t let this be the end.

“Dad,” I say as I enter the room.

“Would you give us a few minutes?” he asks my mother.

“I’ll be back in five minutes.” Mama points to me. “Don’t make him upset or so help me God.”

There’s little chance of that. I try to remember he’s in the hospital and that I was performing CPR on him hours ago. I hate seeing the man I’ve admired my whole life looking weak and sick. He’s the one who always stood on this side of the bed when my brothers and I did some foolish stunt, now I’m the one hoping to talk some sense into him.

I need to stay calm and convince him why he’s going to do this. Why he has to do this.

“We’ll be fine, Mama.”

“I’ll go give everyone an update.”

When she steps out, I move around to the side of his bed. My legs tremble as I stand here. My father is sick. My father is dying, and I don’t know what to do.

“Thank you, son,” Dad says as I get close.

“For what?”

“We wouldn’t be talkin’ right now if it weren’t for you.”

And if I don’t get him to turn the boat around about treatment, I may not be able to save him next time. I need my father. I need him in ways I probably don’t understand. He’s the one who keeps me on track. He calls me on my shit, which there’s a lot of, and makes me see reason. If it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t be who I am today.

I need him to fight.

I need him to win.

More than that, I need him to stay alive.

“Dad.” I step closer.

He puts his hand up. “I know what you’re goin’ to say, and I’m not changin’ my mind.”


“You have to try.”

“I know all of what the doctors told me, and I’m not doin’ it. I won’t become a man who can’t get out of bed, can’t eat, doesn’t function. That’s what’ll happen. I watched my father die like that, and I won’t do it.”

“You’re not even willing to give it a shot? That goes against everything you’ve told us our whole lives.”

My father scoots up in his bed. “I know you think that, but for what end? So, your mama is forced to watch me be sick? She can’t go through that, and I don’t want to be that man. I won’t do that to her.” He draws in a deep breath, which sounds too much like a struggle, and points to the door. “That woman can barely see me with a cold, you want her to suffer through that?”

“And you think her burying you is gonna be better?” I cry out.

My father’s face pales, and I know I struck a chord. This is my opening and as much as I hate doing it, I’m going to use it. “You can’t do that to her. You can’t, Dad. You have to try. At least give it a shot. She won’t be able to survive you dying. None of us will.”

The man who doesn’t cry wipes his eyes. “I don’t think it’s an option anymore.”

I grab his hand. “We’ll find out. Because if you don’t try, I’m not sure any of us will be able to live with ourselves.”

Wyatt filters in, and I look at my father again.

“Pop?” I say the word but beg with my voice.

“All right.”

“All right,” I pat his arm before looking at my brother. “I’ll let you visit with Wyatt.”

“Trent?” he calls out. “Don’t tell your mama anything yet.”

I nod with understanding. He doesn’t want to give my mother false hope. None of us do, but at least I could get him to even contemplate fighting it. However, I know my father and it’s going to take a lot more to convince him. Once he makes up his mind, it’s almost impossible to change it.

I head back to the waiting room where Presley sits with Zach. “Hey,” she says as she gets to her feet.

“Pres.” I give her a hug and she sniffs back her tears.

“How’s he doin’?”

I look over at Zach, who still doesn’t move. “Are you goin’ in?”

“Nah,” he says, looking at the ground. “I’m letting Wyatt and Mom in for now.”

“Are you kidding? You know he wants to see you.”

“Trent,” Grace whispers, putting her hand on my arm and drawing my attention. “I’m sure your brother will go.” I glance over at her, and she shakes her head slightly. Grace’s eyes are soft and she bites her bottom lip. The way she looks at me, so open and loving, makes me pause. “Why don’t we sit?” Her small hand wraps around mine, and I nod.

Zach can be pissed, but not going to see Dad is unacceptable. He needs to man up and be there. I don’t have a problem reminding him if he needs it. This isn’t about him. This is about Dad.

Time passes with each of us taking turns going in an out. Zach, however, remains in the waiting room. It’s taking everything inside me not to punch him.

He’s acting like a selfish prick.

After another hour passes, I finally reach the tipping point. “Go in there!” I get to my feet and he glares at me.

“Don’t tell me how to act,” he fires back as he gets toe to toe with me. “I’m doin’ what I can. You don’t get to dictate how we all handle things. You’re not exactly the authority on doin’ what’s right.”

“Trent.” Wyatt steps between us and puts his hand on my chest. “Not like this. Not today.”

“He’s sitting out here! Dad is dyin’, and he’s fucking sitting there.”

“Dad understands,” Wyatt says, trying to get me to relax. “Don’t do this.”

I stare at my brothers as I push the air out of my nose. I’m fuming. We’re stronger in numbers and Zach needs to go in. “He’s the one he’d listen to the most.” I choke on the words. “He’ll listen to him.” I point at Zach, and his face pales. “If he tells him to fight—” My throat starts to close and my chest aches. “He’ll listen to him.”

“You don’t know that,” Wyatt tries again to reason with me.

I do know it. Zach has always been the one Dad hears. When we were younger, if Zach told Dad it was his fault, none of us got in trouble. I don’t think he had a favorite, but if he did, Zach would be it. Sure, he’s listening to Wyatt and me, but he’s waiting for him.

Mama walks through the doors and looks at the three of us ready to fight. “Not happenin’ here, boys. You three are goin’ to get along and that’s that.”

I see the fear in her eyes. She’s right. We don’t need to be doing this here. “Yes, ma’am.”

“Sorry, Mama,” Zach says and moves back to Presley.

“Good. Now, they started the first transfusion. He’ll be here a few days. I want you all to head home and get some rest. I promise I’ll call you if anything changes.”