His accent was heavy. “No,” he said softly, after forever. “I didn’t kill him, Kat.” The tension in my shoulders subsided as the breath I didn’t realize I was holding released.

His face was still tormented when he slowly approached and reached for my hand. He focused intensely as his fingers skimmed the tips of mine before entwining our hands until our palms met. The tingling effect his touch had on my body was the same, though the superficial feel of his flesh was vastly different. His hands were like ice again today, and I wondered what happened to all of the warmth his touch once possessed. I didn’t want to protest, afraid that he would retreat all together. And then I would never get any answers.

A flitter of a smile crossed his lips as though he had mastered some feat, and then he slid his hands into his pockets.
In spite of my best efforts and the distraction of his closeness, doubt still lingered. “Promise?” I whispered.

The faintest light was captured in the dazzling green of his eyes, illuminating them like sun shine pouring over diamonds. “I swear, on all I love.”

I wished I could tell if he was lying.  But how could I not believe him? Every surviving Marine that was with my dad at the end, had the same story–‘Your dad sacrificed himself for us. He’s a hero.’ And though I stooped to begging, not a soul would reliquish a shred of detail.

I softened the cutting edge in my voice, but didn’t completely let him off the hook. “You have some explaining to do,” I said.
“Yes, but not now.” He turned away from me. “David’s awake.”
Faster than my heart could finish its beat, he was gone. Again. And I missed him already. I hated that I always ached to have him back.  It made me feel weak and pathetic, like I wouldn’t be me without him.

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