“You’re what?” I asked my mouth wide open staring at him. I looked at Wyatt as he tried to pick his jaw up from the floor.
“I said I am quitting the Corps.” He nodded kissing Dillon’s head.
“Wha-wha-why?” Dad sighed looking at me. I couldn’t read the emotion on his face.
“Daddy?” Dillon whimpered raising his head to look at dad.
“What Dilly?” Dad said quietly turning his head to look at him.
“I want Bubba and I wanna go to bed.” He sighed laying his head back down.
“Alright Bud.” Dad looked at us. “I’ll be right back.” He walked towards Dillon’s and Bentley’s room. I followed him quietly. Dillon was in his day clothes so Dad went over to his dresser and got him some pajamas.
“Those are Bentley’s.” I said leaning on the door frame watching. He looked up at me from where he laid Dillon on his bed.
“But I thought right was Dillon’s side.” He asked confused holding up the superman fabric.
“It was but then Mom had Wyatt, Colt, and Jayden switch the beds.” Dad scrunched his face up. “When Bentley out grew his crib Mom thought it would be better if Dillon got a new bed and Bentley got Dillon’s old.” He nodded picking Dillon up.
“So…” He tailed off. I pointed to the other bed.
“That’s his.” I walked over to the dresser and pulled out a pair of camo pajamas and handed them to him. “These are his too.” Dad nodded undressing Dillon before redressing him in his pajamas. Next Dad laid him on his pillows pulling the blankets up so he was comfortable.
“Bubba.” He whined opening his eyes looking at us. “I want Bubba Daddy.” Dad looked around for him and on the floor.
“Where is he?” He muttered to himself. I walked over to the closet pulling it open finding Bubba sitting right on the shelf in front of my eyes. I picked up the raggedy dog and walked back over to Dillon handing it to him.
“Bubba.” He smiled snuggling up with is closing his eyes falling asleep. Dad looked at me with a questioning look.
“He got scared Maxi was going to take it again and rip his to pieces so he hid him in the closet because Maxi isn’t allowed in it.” Dad nodded. “Night Dill.” I smiled as I walked out.
“Night Bud.” Dad said following me out. I walked back into the living room were Wyatt was petting Harley as Maxi lay mindlessly on the couch. Wyatt looked over at us as we walked over.
“Dad why are you quieting?” He asked looking at him. Dad pushed Maxi off the couch before sitting down and looking at his hands.
“It’s time kids. I need to do this for your Mom and for me.” I looked over at him curling up on the chair as Harley trotted over and laid his head in my lap so I could cuddle him.
“But why Dad? You always deployed.” He nods looking over at me.
“I know Bailey but maybe it’s time I start putting our family first, before the corps.” Wyatt shook his head.
“But it’s always been Corps first Dad. That’s how we want it.” Dad shrugged looking at Maxi.
“Sometimes it’s what’s best for the family more than what we want.”
“Dad what’s up? What the hell is going on?” He looked over at me.
“Nothing Bailey I just think it’s time I watched my kids grow up for real and not from pictures.” He closed his eyes and looked down at his hands again.
“Dad but distance makes the heart fonder. We love you no matter what. We always have been like that.” He shook his head. “Dad what brought this on?” He shook his head.
“Bailey that doesn’t matter. What matters is I’m going to be home, safe, with you, your mom, Wyatt, Dillon, and Bentley. Don’t you know that?” I nodded.
“I do know that you love us. I know that I love you so much Dad but throwing something you love away is just stupid.” He gave a short laugh.
“No Baby I’m doing what’s best for all of us.” I shook my head.
“Dad I hate to break it to you but it’s not. Because you aren’t going to like being away from the Corps and you know it.” He shook his head.
“I should have listened to them.” It was my turn to shake my head.
“To who Dad?”
“To them. The people I have tried to protect you from since you were little.” I got up from my seat and crawled my way onto his lap.
“They don’t matter Dad. We matter. Your flesh and blood. Wyatt, Bentley, Dillon, and I. We are all that need to be in here with Mom.” I pointed to his heart. “Not Them. You’re my Daddy, My Marine not there’s.” He looked at me pulling me to him tightly.
“They don’t mean shit Dad.” Wyatt said quietly from where he was sitting.
“Bailey’s right.” We looked up at Mom. She was standing in the door way with her arms folded. “Your parents aren’t worth shit Tanner. Why didn’t you tell me about this?” He looked down rubbing my bad as he held me in his arms.
“I didn’t need you worrying about anything else. You had so much on your plate with Bailey being in the hospital and Dillon being sick, and me with my deployment. I didn’t want you to have to deal with anything else.” She came and sat done next to him.
“But you’re wrong. I’m a marine wife and a mother. Deployment is something I live through, and sickness is what Mom’s have TV and chicken noodle soup for. Those are easy. But you being in pain. Thinking about what’s best for us when it isn’t.” He shook his head leaning down to kiss my hair.
“I thought it would be better if I was home.” Mom shook her head.
“It won’t be. I have known life with the men in my life leaving me time after time. If you stayed home too long I would beat you. You tend to nag.” Dad started to laugh.
“And who could I boost to about how my dad is one of the strongest and the finest to?” I giggled in his arms.
“Who would I look up to if gave up?” Wyatt smiled petting Maxi’s head. “I would have lost my hero because life got a little too tough.” Dad nodded sighing.
“Your right. I’m just an idiot.” He sighed. I shrugged.
“But you’re our idiot.” I giggled at him. He smiled down at me. One of my favorite smiles….
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