Straddling his bike, he took off toward the hospital.
When he arrived at Robin’s room, he saw Bishop was already there. Rather than taking the chair, his son sat beside her on the bed, eating her food, and he wanted to strangle him.
“Hey, Pops,” Bishop said.
“He was just telling me a story about how you chased us all around the clubhouse when we were kids.”
“Dad, do you remember the summer we were four and we’d opened the beer cans into the inflatable pool? There was nothing for you guys to drink and you were so pissed?” Bishop asked.
It was a memory he’d forgotten about. Around the time Rebecca was taking care of the kids and bringing them around. It was before he’d killed Bishop’s mother. A lifetime ago when his life hadn’t gotten complicated and when he didn’t want to kill his son for invading his life.
“It’s safe to say I don’t remember. Wow, we must have been so sticky with the beer.”
“It was your idea,” Bishop said. “You wanted to go for a swim. Your parents wouldn’t take you out to the lake and the only best thing was the beer. We snuck down into the basement and brought up so many cans, and no one was paying attention to us. Until they wanted their beer.”
She chuckled. “It’s great to see you again, Preacher. Can I offer you some dessert? I think it’s a chocolate cake.”
“The food is there for you to eat to gain strength.”
“They feed me so much. I feel a little sick. Bishop was helping me finish everything.” She wrinkled her nose. “Did you have a good morning?”
“Ah, I’m doing fine.”
“It was … painful. They took another x-ray of my foot this morning. It doesn’t look good.”
“Randall says it may not heal right,” Bishop said. “I’m going to grab me some coffee. Do you want anything?”
“A hot chocolate sounds good.”
“Just like always.” Bishop got up, leaned down, and kissed her head.
Preacher’s hands clenched into fists.
It’s not good to hit your son.
If Robin hadn’t been struggling with her memory, he’d have taken the son of a bitch out. Instead, he had no choice but to watch, force a smile, and wait.
Bishop took her tray and left the room.
Preacher took a seat.
“I missed you,” she said.
He noticed her cheeks heated.
“I don’t know why I even said that.”
“I missed you too.”
“Oh, good. I mean, I think that’s good. I hope it is.”
He stared at her, wanting to ask her so many questions.
“Bishop was here when I woke up. He took me for a walk and then he was there with me in therapy. It was hard with him there.”
“Yeah, he’s very … encouraging. I don’t know. My physical therapist has been telling me to take my own pace, you know, gradually build up until I’m ready.”
“You need to listen to your therapist.”
“I know. With Bishop there, I feel he wants me to get better as soon as possible. If you guys visiting me at the hospital is a great inconvenience—”
“If it ever is, I would understand. You could tell me and I can deal with it. I hope.”
“You’re always going to have someone with you, Robin. You won’t be alone again, I promise.”
“I believe you.” She tucked some hair behind her ear. “So he was with me through therapy and stayed for my lunch. Now you’re here. He’d only told me about the beer pool story.”
“It was a fun story.”
“I don’t know. I bet we really annoyed you when we were kids.”
“Nah, it was good to have you around.”
She licked her lips and glanced around the room.
“What is it?” he asked.
“I don’t suppose … no, forget it.”
“I can’t help you if you don’t tell me what it is. I’ve got more chance of being able to give you what you want.”
“I want to go home. I know I need to do therapy and everything the doctor has ordered, but I don’t know where home is. Do you think I could go home?”
“I think that sounds like a wonderful idea,” Bishop said, joining them. “You can come back to my place. I’ll be able to help you. I’ll get you to all the necessary appointments.”
“Oh, I don’t know,” she said.
“Don’t know what?” Bear asked, arriving.
Preacher was pissed off. He’d wanted to have the morning to himself and instead, he was sharing her with Bishop and Bear. Now his son was trying to get her to move in with him.
“I want to go home. I really appreciate all the staff and the hospital, but I don’t want to stay here, not for longer than I have to. It’s not that I’m ungrateful or anything.”
“You can have your old room,” Bear said.
“No, she can stay with me. She’s my wife.”
“Bishop, you know that’s not a good enough reason for her to stay with you,” Bear said. “You’re rarely around and she’s going to need someone to take care of her.”