The drive to the parade ground felt like it hours instead of minutes. I took a deep breath looking at all the happy families awaiting the homecoming of their loved ones. I didn’t know what my
father was going to say to me. I haven’t felt right since I talked to him 2 weeks ago. I looked at my knuckles as they were white from gripping the steering wheel. Audrey looked over at me putting
her hand on my arm. I looked over at her before taking my hands off the wheel and turning off my truck. “Come on lets go, they should be getting here soon.” I nodded my head looking out of the
window. I opened the door and looked at Audrey. We walked over to were Mom stood pacing back and forth while Aunt Kirsty stood there crossing and uncrossing her arms before doing it again. TJ and
Logan looked over from where they were talking.
“Hey Sis.” TJ smiled. I smiled back at him laying my hand on top of my bump.
“Hey TJ, did we miss anything?” I asked leaning against him. Logan shook his head.
“No nothing at all, don’t worry. How you feeling?” I looked over at him.
“Well I’m in my 2nd trimester so I’m not really throwing up so much.” I nodded rubbing my belly through my shirt. TJ laid his head on my shoulder.
“You miss him.” I nod my head tears stinging my eyes. “It will be okay.” He whispered pressing his lips to my cheek. I felt his arms wrap around my waist pulling me gently to him before he turned
me around. He hugged me tightly rubbing my back. “I love you Ryan.” He sighed putting his chin on top of my head.
“I love you to TJ.” Logan put a hand on TJ’s shoulder.
“T the buses are here.” I looked over and sure enough the white buses were pulling up as the noise level increased. I took their silently waiting for this to be over. I watched as all the marines
got off the buses and formed the lines they always did. TJ still had me wrapped in his arms as we watched Dad step off the bus with Uncle Jesse behind him. We all waited silently for those words to
be said that let us have our marines back. I heard those words but I couldn’t move. My body was locked in place. TJ didn’t move either, or Logan, or even Audrey. We all stood were we were. I
watched as Mom ran to Dad. He scooped her up into his arms and spun her around kissing her. Aunt Kirsty smiled as Sam ran up to him throwing his arms around his father. Dad looked around still he
found us standing were we were. He kissed Mom whispering something to her before coming this way.
“Go hug your Dad Logan.” I smiled at him. He looked at me than his father. “Go.” He kissed my head before running off to hug Uncle Jesse. Dad looked at us as Audrey slipped away to were my Mom
stood talking to the others.
“Do I get a hug?” he asked looking back and forth from TJ’s face to mine. I shrugged.
“Do you even want one?” He took a deep breath and rubbed the back of his head.
“I guess I deserve that.” He looked at me. “Come here.” I looked at TJ as he unwrapped his arms from around me. I walked over slowly and right when I got into arms length he pulled me into a tight
hug. I closed my eyes as the tears fell down my cheeks. I wrapped my arms around his neck and squeezed him tightly needing the comfort from my Daddy. I felt him start to rub my back gently.
“I love you Daddy.” I almost sobbed at him burying my head in his uniformed shoulder.
“I love you too Baby Girl. I always will.” He said holding me as I cried. He moved his arm and opened it so he could hug TJ. TJ walked over into Dad’s arms hugging him. Dad held the two of us
tightly; making it feel like it was only us left on the parade ground. Dad let us go, as I wiped the tears off my cheeks.
“I’m sorry Daddy.” I whispered to him. He looked at me before he looked down at my belly. I put my hand on it.
“I had a lot of time to think about everything I said to you. I was being an ass hole. I thought about everything. You growing up, getting pregnant, not even being done with High School.” I looked
up at him from under my eye lashes.
“But Dad I will be out of High school when the baby is born.” He nodded.
“I know that now. Ryan I love you and I don’t want to lose you. I’m going to be there for you no matter what. The thing that got to me is that you are growing up. You’re my Baby, my little girl. I
don’t you to be someone else’s baby. I was being selfish. Now I see that. You have to leave the nest eventually, I just always thought it be later.” He pulled me back to him.
“I love you so much Dad. No one can take your place. You’re my Daddy. Tanner can never take your place. Not even if he tried his hardest. I’ll always be your Baby girl.” I smiled. Dad pressed his
lips to my head.
“I know that now Baby. That’s what counts.” He whispered. I nodded as Uncle Jesse came over and hugged me.
“Come on lets go out for dinner.” Mom smiled. I nodded.
“Good because I’m starving.” I said rubbing my belly. Aunt Kirsty laughed.
“I know the feeling. Come on lets go.” She smiled. We all walked to the cars. Dinner was fun. We were all laughing and it was nice to have half the family home. When we got back we were in the
living room when the door knocked. I opened the door smiling till my face dropped and my knees felt weak.
“Ma’am.” The marine said to me. I looked up at him grabbing the door getting a good look at the black car parked on the street……….
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