When Jared returned to the hospital after the AA meeting, he found his daughter Jake and Ben’s girlfriend, Julianne sitting on either side of Ben’s bed. Julianne was holding Ben’s hand.
“Hey, baby girl,” he kissed the top of Jake’s head, noting her auburn curls were strawberry scented just like her mother’s had been. He still ached for Kelly, even after all these years. Many of his friends, including Marina urged him to date again, especially after nearly twenty years, but no one he met had ever made him feel the way Kelly had. Having Jake and Riley, a part of her, kept him sane, but he had met the love of his life when he was twenty-five and hated that he had had to learn how to live without her.
“Hi, Daddy,” twenty year old, Jake whispered.
Jared’s gaze fell on his son and he suddenly frowned. “What the hell? Why the fuck is he in restraints?” he demanded in a strained voice.
Julianne and Jake exchanged nervous looks. “He was agitated when he woke up, so the doctor gave him something and put those on him,” Jake explained.
Jared ran his hands through his hair, trying not to lose his temper. It broke his heart to see the padded restraints around Ben’s wrists but it also brought back memories.
“They said it was so he didn’t hurt himself,” Julianne added tearfully.
Jared nodded, letting out a long tense breath. “Any word from your brother?”
“What am I? My brother’s keeper?” she joked.
“Yes,” Jared smirked.
Jake rolled her eyes, “I left a message, I texted, nothing. He probably lost his phone again.”
“Did you try Zach? Or Zoey? Facebook?”
“Yeah. No one’s heard from him.” She bit her lower lip. “Riley will turn up. He always does.”