Promise by Dani Wyatt Read Free Book Online

Book: Promise by Dani Wyatt Read Free Book Online
Authors: Dani Wyatt
I’m going to throw up all over the front row.
    Five thousand dollars is the only thing I think of as I round the turn in the stinking, back hallway, my clear acrylic six-inch heels click-clacking with each step. The spotlights blind me as I back myself onto the stage and plaster on a smile.

    I’m watching Dad sleep and wishing I could trade places with him.
    Just for a few hours.
    Bruce said Promise worked at 7 AM. I showed up at 6:15.
    I rang the after hours bell and waited in the dark until one of the care staff had eyed me nervously through the front doors at Windfield before opening it a crack.
    “You need to come back at seven.” The young woman said nervously. “I’m not supposed to let anyone in until seven.” She had clearly been covering her ass by stating the rule because as she said it, she’d opened the door wide enough for me to enter, locking her gaze on my three, large boxes of Looney Baker Donuts.
    “Where can I put these so everyone will get one?” I’d asked, holding out the boxes. Clearly my chosen currency had been valuable enough to gain me early entry.
    “I’ll put them in the break room.” Her hands quickly freed me from the sweet confections. With the exchange complete, she’d swished off, and I’d wandered down the hall to settle in next to Dad.
    After I’d left Windfield yesterday evening, I stopped in to see Louis. The dude works all the time. In addition to his near conglomerate-sized security company, EYEsOn Inc., he runs Moby’s, a slick, smallish, trendy bar down on Height Street. It’s a far cry from his days of volunteering at CPS all those years ago, helping out young men with no decent role models in sight. Either way, he seems to love his work.
    When I got to the packed bar, Louis had been busy, but he slipped me a key to his guesthouse, sliding it across the bar along with a shout that I should come back around dinner time to catch up.
    The guest house offer had been perfect because I’d needed a place to crash and hadn’t been in the mood for a chat. We’ve always seemed to be on the same page.
    I slept right through dinner last night, so I’ll go over to his office later. I’m looking forward to catching up. He and I have a lot to talk about. But right this second, as I watch my dad sleep, all I can think about is Promise.
    I’ve said her name so many times in my life, it doesn’t sound real anymore. The word has no meaning outside of her.
    Walking into my dad’s room yesterday and seeing her felt like someone had torn open a fresh wound. Last night, laying in the guest house, she’d floated into my dreams and tugged at me, reminding me of how I could have changed her life. How I could have been the one to save her.
    But, I didn’t.
    I hate the way she always looks away, how it looks painful for her to meet my eyes. To meet anyone’s eyes.
    I’d wanted to scoop her up and run. I have no idea where I would have taken her. I really don’t know anything about her, but I was in physical pain just being in the same room with her.
    On my way to meet Louis last night, I stopped in at a used bookstore where a pink-haired girl twiddled the stud in her bottom lip as she sat on a stool behind a card table. She hadn't looked up when the bells rang on the door and hardly acknowledged me when she took my five dollars and forty-seven cents, but I left with three, hardback books in my hands.
    Sitting here now, watching Dad sleep, I set the books on the bedside table. The loud, raspy breaths of my father are the only sounds besides the tick of the clock above his bed.
    Before the fire, he was a fanatical reader. He’d read to me, he’d read by himself, he’d read to all of us, to mom . I don’t remember the TV being on when I was little. Not when he was around. It was always a book.
    He loved mysteries. Sometimes an Asimov or other Sci-Fi for fun. He won’t admit it, but he’s almost blind now—his vision one of the spoils of the war

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