Never Too Far (Chapter 40)
I hadn't been asleep very long when the phone rang. It was the middle of the night and only a few people had my number. My stomach knotted up as I reached for my phone. It was Rush.
"Hello," I said almost afraid of what he'd called to tell me.
"Hey, it's me." His voice sounded like he'd been crying. Oh god… please don't let Nan be dead.
"Is she okay?" I asked, hoping that this time God had actually heard my prayer.
"She's awake. She's a little disoriented but she knew me when she opened her eyes so her memory is good."
"Oh thank God." I sat down on the bed and decided I needed to try this praying thing a little more often.
"I'm sorry, Blaire. I'm so sorry." His voice was hoarse. I could hear the pain laced in his words and I didn't have to ask what he meant. This was it. He just couldn't say it.
"It's okay. Just take care of Nan. I'm really glad she's okay Rush. You may not believe that but I've been praying. I wanted her to be okay." I needed him to believe me. Even if there was no love lost between Nan and I she was important to him.
"Thank you," he said. "I'm coming home. I'll be there no later than tomorrow night."
I wasn't sure if this meant he wanted me gone by then or would we'd do our goodbyes in person. Running would be so much easier. Not having to face him. It hurt bad enough on the phone. Seeing his face was going to be so hard but I couldn't let it destroy me. I had our baby to think about. This wasn't just about me anymore.
"I'll see you then," I replied.
"I love you." Hearing the words hurt more than anything else. I wanted to believe he did but it wasn't enough. The love he might feel for me wasn't enough.
"I love you too," I replied and hung up the phone before curling into a ball and crying myself to sleep.
The doorbell rang just as I was getting out of the shower. I grabbed the clothes I'd laid out to wear and quickly got dressed before wrapping my hair in a towel and hurrying downstairs.
When I opened the door and saw my father standing there I wasn't sure what to think. Had Rush sent him to get rid of me? No. Rush wouldn't do that. But why was he here?
"Hey, Blaire. I, uh, came to talk to you." He didn't look like he'd slept in days and his clothes were rumpled. Seeing the daughter he did love in the hospital must have been hard on him. I pushed that bitterness away. I wasn't going to think about that. He was Nan's dad too. At least he was there for her now even if he'd screwed her over the first part of her life.
"What about?" I asked, not moving to let him in. I wasn't sure there was anything he had to say that I wanted to hear.
"It's about Nan… and you."
I shook my head. "Don't care. I'm not up for hearing anything you have to say. Your daughter woke up. I'm glad she didn't die." I started to close the door.
"Nan isn't my daughter," he said. The only words that would have stopped me from slamming the door in his face. I let his words sink in as I slowly opened the door back up. What did he mean Nan wasn't his daughter?
I just stared at him. This made no sense.
"I need to tell you the truth. Rush is going to tell Nan when she's ready. But I wanted to be the one to tell you."
What did Rush know? Had he been lying to me? I wasn't sure I could breathe. "Rush?" I asked, backing up in case I couldn't get a deep breath and passed out. I needed to sit down.
"I told Rush everything yesterday. He had been told the same lie you had but he knows the truth now."
The truth. What was the truth? Was there a truth or was my entire existence a lie? I sank down onto the steps and stared up at the man I thought was my father as he stepped inside and closed the door behind him.
"I've always known Nan wasn't my daughter. More importantly, your mother knew Nan wasn't my daughter. You're right, your mother would have never allowed me to leave my pregnant fianceand run off with her. Not for anything. She almost didn't let me leave my ex-girlfriend who was pregnant with yet another member of Slacker Demon's kid because she was worried about what would happen to Rush. Her heart was just as big as you know it was. Nothing you knew was a lie, Blaire. Nothing. The world you knew was not a lie."
"I don't understand. I know my momma wasn't involved in any of this. That was never a question in my mind. But I don't understand. If you aren't Nan's dad, why did you leave us for them?"
"I met your mother while trying to help my ex-girlfriend deal with her latest problem. Your mother had come to help her friend too. We both cared about Georgianna. She'd needed us and we tried to help. But while she was out partying and acting like she didn't have a little boy at home to take care of and a pregnancy she was ignoring, I fell in love with your mother. She was everything Georgianna wasn't. I adored her, and for whatever reason, she fell in love with me. When we left, Dean had come to take Rush and Kiro, the lead singer of Slacker Demon and Nan's real father, had stepped in to offer his assistance. Georgianna found out about Becca and me. She sent us packing and we gladly went. Your mother worried over Rush and called Dean to check on him for awhile."
"Mom knew Rush?" Picturing my mother taking care of Rush as a little boy stuck with two screwed up parents brought tears to my eyes. He'd known how wonderful my mother was once even if he didn't remember.
"Yeah. He called her Beck Beck. He preferred her overGeorgianna and that didn't settle well with Georgie either. Once Georgianna got Rush back she refused to let your mother check on him. Your mother cried for weeks worrying over the little boy she'd grown to love. But that was your mom. Always caring too much. Her heart was bigger than anyone I'd ever known… until you. You're just like her, sweetheart."
I held up my hands to stop him. We would not be bonding over this. I wasn't crying because I knew my mother was innocent of the lies I'd heard before. I was crying because she'd loved Rush once too, his entire childhood hadn't been lonely.
"I'm almost done. Let me finish, then I'll leave and you'll never see me again. I swear."
He knew I was leaving too. That this thing with Rush and me was over. The sharp pain in my chest was almost too much.
"Val's death was my fault. I ran that red light. I hadn't been paying attention and I lost one of my girls that day. But I lost you and your mother too. You were both hurting so bad and it was all my fault. I wasn't man enough to stay and bear seeing you both in so much pain. So I ran. I let you take care of Becca when it should have been me but I was too weak. I couldn't stand the thought of seeing my Becca sick. It would end me. I drank myself into a stupor. It was the only way to stay numb. Then you called and said she'd died. My Becca wasn't on this earth any longer. I was going to tell Nan the truth about her father and I was going to leave. I wasn't sure where I'd go but I didn't care if I lived or died.
Then you called and needed me. I wasn't even a man anymore. I was worthless. But I couldn't let you down. I'd already made you suffer so much alone. I sent you to Rush. He wasn't exactly the kind of guy a man wants his daughter around but I knew he'd see in you what I saw in Becca. A lifeline. A reason to live.A reason to fight.A reason to change. He was strong. He could protect you and I knew if pushed he would."
This was all too much. I couldn't make sense of it. He had sent me to Rush? The guy who adored a sister who hated me and blamed me for everything wrong in her life?
"He hated me," I told him. "He hated who I was."
My father's smile was sad. "Yes, he hated who he thought you were, but then he met you. He was around you and that was all it took. You are rare, Blaire. Just as your mother was. There aren't many people in this world as strong as you are. As full of love and willing to forgive. You always envied the way Val could charm a room. You thought she got the best out of the two of you. But what Val knew and what I knew was that we were the lucky ones because we had people like you and your mother in our lives. Val adored you. She saw that you were the one that had your mother's spirit. We stood in awe of the both of you. I still do and although all I've done is hurt you since the day we lost your sister, I have loved you. I always will. You're my little girl. You deserve the best in this world and I'm not the best. I'm walking away and I'm not going to bother you ever again. I need to live out the rest of this life alone. Remembering what I once had."
The grief in his eyes tore at my soul. He was right. He'd deserted me and momma when we needed him the most. But maybe we'd deserted him too. We hadn't gone after him. We'd just let him go. The day we lost Valerie had marked all our lives. Momma and Val were gone now and we could never get them back. But we were here. I didn't want to live the rest of my life knowing my father was out there somewhere alone. My momma wouldn't want that. She never wanted him to be alone. She loved him until she drew her last breath. Val wouldn't want that. She'd been a daddy's girl.
I stood up and took a step toward him. The unshed tears in his eyes slowly began to trickle down his face. He was a shell of the man he once was but he was my dad. A sob tore from my chest and I threw myself into his arms. When they wrapped around me and held me tightly I let all the pain free. I cried for the life we'd lost. I cried for him because he wasn't strong enough and I cried for me because it was time.