“Good morning, Bailey.”
When he spoke her name she turned in her chair and looked up at him. Don had prepared himself to see the same sparkle that she’d had the last time they were together. But it was not there. If anything, her beautiful, full-of-life greens eyes were filled with pain. What did I do to you that makes seeing me so damn hard? I thought we had a connection. I was so wrong.
“Hello, Don. Do you want to join us?” Bailey’s voice was sweet and enticing, but her bottom lip trembled as she spoke, hinting, almost begging him to decline her offer. Are you afraid Kevin will pick up on what we once shared? Don’t worry, sweetheart; I won’t say a thing.
“Do you want coffee, Don?” Hannah asked.
Without breaking contact with Bailey, he nodded. “Strong and black.” Normally he didn’t like it strong, but his gut told him he was going to need it. Maybe more than one cup.
There was an open seat next to Bailey, but Don decided to take the one next to Kevin so he could keep his eye on Bailey without Kevin noticing. Not that I give a shit what he does or doesn’t know. Why torture myself? She’s made her choice.
Hannah brought his coffee then went back to sit by Mark. They were chatting about the wedding. Mark warned him the topic would be girly and emotional, and he was right. Hannah was speaking a mile a minute about some poem she’d read online that made her cry for almost an hour. When she grabbed her phone, Don worried she was about to pull it up and start reading it to them. I’m going to need something a lot stronger than coffee.
Thankfully Mark and Kevin seemed to feel the same way. “Why don’t I show you to the room you’ll be using while you’re here?” Mark asked.
“Let me help you with your bags,” Kevin offered.
Although Don didn’t want to hear the poem, he also wasn’t ready to leave Bailey yet. So he reached into his pocket, pulled out his keys, and tossed them to Kevin. “I appreciate that. Why don’t you bring them in for me? I’ll find my room on my own later.”
Kevin caught the keys mid-air and looked like he was about to throw them right back, but Mark got up out of his chair and said, “We’ll put you in the same room you stayed in the last time.”
Kevin glared at Don but got up and was about to follow Mark, then abruptly turned back and kissed Bailey on the top of her head before leaving the room.
Although he was glad Kevin was no longer in the room, part of him wished Hannah would follow suit. He wanted to speak to Bailey alone, yet he remembered the signs of someone recovering from chemo. His mother had the same pale look. Bailey had only the slightest hint of color, which probably wasn’t any more natural than the blonde wig she was wearing. Seeing her like this made his stomach turn. Not from her appearance, but from knowing what she’d been through.
Sweet Bailey. I know you’ve been through hell and back. There are things I want to ask, need to know, yet you’re trying to avoid looking at me, so I know it’s too soon. You’re not ready. I’m here for the week. The conversation will happen, but when we’re alone.