A Rocker and a Hard Place

A Rocker and a Hard Place by Hunter J. Keane Read Free Book Online

Book: A Rocker and a Hard Place by Hunter J. Keane Read Free Book Online
Authors: Hunter J. Keane
that it was okay, that she understood things like that were going to happen. But I know it hurt her.
    The next day, she went back to school and even though neither of us said anything, something had changed. It was clear that we were living separate lives now, holding on to a past that couldn’t be our future. When I was offered an opening spot in a tour, I had to take it.
    I would be gone six months. Too long to expect Emma to wait.
    When I found out the news, I did something I had never thought I would do. I called Emma, and I ended our relationship.
    I wanted her to be free to live her life. It would’ve been selfish to ask her to put up with my crazy schedule. She’s already done so much for me. I thought I was doing the right thing, letting her go.
    Now I know it was the dumbest thing I’ve ever done.
    Emma waited patiently for me to let the news sink in.
    “Tyler?” I asked again, just to be sure. She nodded. “He’s my son?”
    She sighed. “Tyler, I know this a surprise. I don’t expect you to be able to say anything right now.”
    “Why didn’t you tell me?” That was all I could think, over and over. How could I have had a son for ten years and not know? How could she keep that from me?
    “It’s complicated,” she started.
    Suddenly, I wasn’t in love with Emma Wellington anymore. I hated her.
    “It’s not that complicated. When a man fathers a baby, you tell him.” I don’t remember the last time I felt that angry at anyone.
    The wheel had started to move without me noticing and we were almost on the ground. Emma put a hand on my arm and I shook her away.
    “Tyler, let me explain.”
    “I can’t be around you right now.”
    She was hurt, but she let me go. “Okay. When you’re ready to talk, you know where to find me.”
    I left her without a backward glance.
    The house felt emptier than usual when I got home. My footsteps echoed as I paced around the living room.
    I had a son. He was ten-years-old. He had his mother’s eyes. Emma was his mother. Emma had kept this secret from me for ten years.
    I was so mad at her. But I still loved her.
    I still loved Emma.
    Every part of my body hurt. Instinctually, I reached for the scotch and had taken a long pull before I remembered that I wasn’t supp osed to drink. It was too late.
    As I drank, more questions swirled in my head.
    Did T.J. know about me? Did he ever ask about his dad? What was his favorite color? Did he laugh like me or like Emma? Did he love to swim? When was his birthday? Where had I been the day he was born? Had he been a good sleeper or had he kept Emma up all night? What was his first word? Did he like school?
    Eventually, I couldn’t take it anymore. I needed answers, and I needed them now.
    The bottle empty, I set off for Emma’s house. She lived just down the road so I was able to stumble there in my inebriated state. It was late, but her bedroom light was on, almost like she knew I was coming.
    She answered the door with a resolved look on her face.
    “I thought you might come by tonight.”
    “I’m surprised you gave any thought at all to me.” I was an angry drunk and tonight was going to be no exception.
    “You’re drunk,” she said, annoyed. “Old habits are hard to break, I guess.”
    Now it was my turn to be annoyed. “You don’t know shit about me, Emma, so don’t pretend that you do.”
    “You’re right.” She shrugged and held the door open. “Come in.”
    Emma led me into the living room and turned on a light. “I’d offer you a beer, but it seems you’ve already taken care of that.”
    “Where’s the kid?” I asked, unable to say his name.
    “He’s sleeping over at a friend’s house.” Emma perched on the edge of a chair.
    I sank heavily onto the couch. On the way to her house, I had been fuming. Now that I was in front of her, I just felt like crying.
    “I can’t believe you didn’t tell me.” My elbows dug into my knees as I dropped my head into my hands.
    “I’m sorry.” Her

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