Chapter 35

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Abby flashed her eyes to Will and softly said, “This is no time for games, Dad.”

“It’s no game,” said Will, “The answer is:  I deserve it.”

“You deserve it.”

“That’s the answer.  I deserve it.”

“Ok,” Abby was tiring, “why do you think you deserve it?”

“I deserve it because of what I did.  I can’t sleep.  I’m haunted knowing what I did.  I’ve told your Mother I’m sorry a thousand times but it doesn’t make me feel any better.”

“What you did, what did you do?  You’re right, I don’t understand.  What are you talking about?  What did you do?”

“Those boys, Michael and Thomas, I might as well have been driving the jeep myself,” said Will.

Abby rested her hands flat on the table, her jaw dropped open.  Was Will sincere or could he be trying to frustrate her.  Abby had heard her father voice this frustration after her brother’s death.  To blame ones self was an understandable part of the grieving process, still Will was going too far.  She spoke deadpan, “Really?  That’s the best you have to offer.”

“Really,” said Will surprised.

“Michael was drunk.  He hit a tree.  He died Dad.  You get it.  You didn’t put him in the car,” Abby was becoming disgusted with her father.

“You’re wrong, I did.”

“You did,” said Abby.

“To get beer,” said Will.  Abby looked at him and said nothing, “to get beer,” Will repeated.

“What?”

“To get beer.”  Will threw up his hands, “I sent the boys to get beer.”

Abby furrowed her brow, “Really Dad?”

Michael and Will had been drinking buddies long before that night.  To hear him speak now as if there were something that never occurred was hypocrisy and Abby knew as well.

Still Will was serious.  His cool blue eyes deepened as he subtly leaned toward his daughter.  His unwavering voice aged ten years, “We were tending the kilns the whole night and all day.  The Lee boy was there to help Michael out by moving stuff around out in the old kiln and chopping wood.  And we were drinking, drinking whiskey and beer.  The beer ran out.  I threw Michael his keys and told ‘em that we needed more beer.  I knew he was drunk.  We were all drunk.  But he was happy to go.  Said he’d be right back.  But he wasn’t.”

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