Dax: My life ended six years ago. No, really. I was dead on the side of the road following a gruesome motorcycle accident. From what I’ve been told, it’s only because of one stubborn man that I have another chance to make something of my life. I no longer hate him for screwing up what I thought I wanted. I want to thank him. NEED to tell him what his actions mean to me.
Now, I’m headed back to the town I’ve never set foot in even though it’s a huge part of my life. I’m not thrilled about that, but the job offers haven’t exactly been flowing in. They’ll probably think I’m crazy, because there’s no way I won’t be able to look at every guy I walk past, wondering if he’s the one who saved me.
Michael: My entire life, I wanted to save lives. I’d earned a full-ride scholarship and had been accepted to med schools across the country. I was so close to making those dreams a reality until the night I held a dying man in my arms. I’ve never been able to get the images of his lifeless body, caked in mud, out of my head. Even when the paramedics tried to take over saving him, I couldn’t let go. I never let go. Eventually, my guilt over not doing more cost me everything but my son. And now, I worry I’ll lose him if I don’t get it together.
I’ve often thought that if I could find him, maybe I could get some closure and finally get my life back on track. Now he’s here and I’m more of a mess than ever. Once the truth comes out, will he keep trying to save me or will he realize that it’s too late?
The doorbell rang and I rushed to the front of the house. When I opened the door, I was met with a smug looking Dax and a very sheepish looking son. “Lose something?” Dax asked as he pushed his way into the house.
“Jagger, did you go to Dax’s house without me?” I asked, crouching down to hug him. My entire body shook and I nearly lost my balance, but Dax reached down to steady me. I offered him a quick smile before turning my attention back to Jagger. “What do I have to do to get you to see how much it scares me when you do shit like that?”
“I just wanted to help you.” Jagger’s explanation was muffled as I cupped the back of his head, pressing his face into my shoulder. “You were worried you’d be late for work, so when you got dressed, I ran down to talk to Dax.”
A boulder settled in my stomach. My kid was once again running to my rescue. God, what type of parent was I? “That was nice of you to do, but you still can’t leave without me,” I reminded him, every bit of anger seeping out of my body. I wanted to be pissed at hell with him for what he did, but he wouldn’t understand that it was only because he’d scared me so damn much.
“We had a talk on the way back down here,” Dax told me. “Now, if what the kid says is right, you need to get your butt to work. He and I have big plans tonight, and you’d just be the third wheel.”
It may not have been his intention, but that cut deep. I hated knowing that I was getting ready to go deal with a bunch of drunks for the night while he stayed and took care of my son. Again, my job not his.
Sensing the drastic drop in my mood, Dax reached out a hand to help me up from the floor. “Hey, you know I didn’t mean anything by it,” he said softly once Jagger ran off to start pulling blocks out of the bins in the living room. “I know you’d rather be here with him, but that’s not possible. And kids don’t like changes in their routines, so I’m going to do whatever I can to make sure he has a good night. Plus, he told me he’s worried about your mom. Is everything okay?”
“Yeah, she’s got a fever and a nasty cough. It’s probably nothing, but my dad wants to take her in to get checked,” I told him, even though I was still struggling to convince myself that it wasn’t anything serious. Somewhere along the way, I’d lost the ability to think rationally and I’d become convinced that everyone I dared to care about would leave me eventually. “Are you sure you don’t mind staying with him tonight? I know you already gave up most of your day for us.”