She was crying…

Marybeth was crying and for the first time in his life, he had absolutely no idea how to fix this.

“I can’t!”

“Tell me!”


“She needs a hysterectomy,” their father said as he walked through the door and joined them on the landing while Darrin tried to wrap his mind around what he’d just said.

“W-what?” he asked hoarsely as his grip around his brother went slack and his legs gave out.

Before he could hit the floor, his father and brother had him. They dragged him over to the stairs and helped him sit down.

“You’re fine,” his father promised, sitting down next to him as he put his arm around his shoulders. “Everything’s going to be fine, Darrin. I promise. She’s going to pull through this.”

“Dad, we shouldn’t be talking to him about this,” Aidan said, sounding miserable.

“We’re not, so go take your mother out to lunch for me so that Darrin and I can talk,” his father said, his meaning crystal clear.

“I’d love to,” Aidan said with a slight hesitation that told him everything that he needed to know.

His brother wanted to be the one that told him.

“It’s fine,” Darrin said, scrubbing his hands down his face. Aidan hesitated for a few more seconds before he reluctantly turned around and left, making sure to close the heavy steel door behind him.

“Are you okay?”

He chuckled weakly as he shook his head. “Not even close.”

“She’s going to be fine, Darrin. I promise.”

He turned his head and stared into eyes so much like his. “You don’t know that.”

“I know that I’d rather die than see anymore of my children hurt, Darrin, and since losing Marybeth would kill you, I plan on doing everything within my power to make sure that she lives to be a hundred.”

Shaking his head, he looked away, needing a moment to clear his head. “You should talk to Danny.”

“Don’t change the subject,” his father said, giving his shoulder one last squeeze before he pulled his arm away.

“He misses you,” he said, needing another moment to prepare himself for whatever his father had to tell him.

“I miss him, too,” his father admitted softly. “I just have no idea how to fix this, besides letting him beat the shit out of me for what I’ve done to him.”

“Have you tried talking to him?” he suggested, hoping that his father took the first step so that they could put this bullshit behind them. He hated the estrangement between his father and brother and would give anything to fix it.

“I can’t seem to stop fucking up where your brother is concerned.”

Darrin glanced back at his father to find him staring down at his clasped hands. “You still blame yourself for what happened to him, don’t you?”

“Every day of my life.”

“He doesn’t blame you, Dad. He knows that he fucked up, but I honestly think joining the Marines was probably the best thing for him,” he said, wondering when his father would stop beating himself up over what happened to Danny.

“That doesn’t change the fact that I should have handled things differently,” his father said, shaking his head.

For several minutes they both sat there, staring at the faded marble tiled floor until Darrin said the words that he prayed wouldn’t destroy him.

“Tell me about Marybeth’s condition.”

Chapter 33

“Can’t we watch something else?” Duncan asked as he held the ice cream sundae out to her that room service had graciously delivered along with over two hundred dollars worth of food thanks to Lucifer’s credit card.

“No,” Aidan said from her other side where he sat, devouring an overstuffed shaved steak and cheese sandwich with the works while she shook her head and took another bite of the rather delicious spaghetti and meatballs dinner that the guys had ordered for her.

“There’s a game on,” Duncan pointed out, taking one last bite of his ice cream before he set the glass dish carefully on the nightstand and returned his attention to his meatloaf dinner.

“We’re watching a movie!” Aidan snapped, throwing his brother a murderous glare that dared him to change the channel.

“It’s boring,” Duncan grumbled with a pout as he shoved a large forkful of mashed potatoes in his mouth.

“Then leave!” Aidan snapped a tad bitchily and if she wasn’t so depressed she’d probably tease him over his unhealthy obsession with Lifetime movies.

Duncan didn’t say anything else as they sat there watching some really horrible movie, but he did continue to pout as he finished off his dinner. As for Marybeth, she just sat there eating her spaghetti as she stared at the television with absolutely no idea what she was watching. Every now and then she was forced to slap a large tan hand away from her spaghetti, but for the most part they just sat in silence watching what was most likely a really horrible movie.

When she was done, Duncan grabbed her plate and set it aside before he wrapped his arm around her and pulled her close. As soon as her head touched his shoulder she closed her eyes and tried to figure out what she was going to do now. She should leave Darrin and give him a chance to have a family, but unfortunately she’d finally come to the realization that she could never let him go and probably never would have been able to walk away from him, which meant that she couldn’t go through with the surgery, at least not yet.

Darrin had been right, she thought with a sigh as she curled up in Duncan’s arms. On some level she’d always known that they would end up together, but she hadn’t been able to accept that because that would have meant accepting the truth about herself.

She was flawed.

Maybe damaged was a better word. The nurse that had explained exactly what it meant to have endometriosis after the doctor and her mother left to talk in the hallway had certainly seemed to think the word fit her situation. After twelve years of dreading doctor’s appointments and phone calls, the bad news had finally come, she realized numbly, wondering why she wasn’t terrified.

Actually, now that she thought about it, she was surprised at just how quickly she’d managed to stop crying after Aidan and Duncan had showed up and started shoving food down her throat. One minute she felt like her world was about to end and the next….nothing but peaceful thoughts as she contemplated taking a nap while Aidan got his Lifetime movie marathon fix in.

Tags: R.L. Mathewson Neighbor from Hell Young Adult
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