9. Changes The next couple weeks were awesome and seemed to fly by. Emily and I hung out nearly every day, sometimes alone sometimes with Jack and Sam. About every third day she came into the back yard and pricked my finger and we shared our secret. She never took very much, but everyone noticed a difference in her. She was stronger and less pale. On overcast days she could sit safely in the window and look outside safely in the indirect light. We had a week till school started and our plan was to increase the frequency of her treatments so maybe she could start her freshman year with Sam, Jack and I. Things were going so well we were blindsided when her Dad walked in one afternoon to the double parlor where we were playing cards and announced the jig was up. “Emily, Coby, I know what you’ve been doing, and frankly it makes me sick.” He looked at us sadly. I stood up ready to defend our actions but Emily was faster. “Daddy, how can you say that? I know you fed Mom, her whole life, and especially when she was so sick. How is this different?” Emily said. “Oh Emily, she was my wife.” He said tears glistening in his eyes. “And she’s my best friend.” I said. “Please sir, it’s just a pin prick and can’t you see how much better she’s doing? I just want to help Emily, you must understand that.” He nodded gravely, “Of course I do. But I can’t allow you to be used in that way. I did not raise a parasite.” He turned to his daughter. “Emily, your mother tried to use the blood trick as rarely as possible. I forced it on her, convinced her to try, but you saw how it ended.” Emily wrapped her arms around her father’s waist and started to cry. Then he turned to me. “Coby, it does help for awhile, but she will always need more, and when you give more she’ll need more. Emily you need to know this, remember when I was in the hospital?” She nodded “Yeah Dad with that awful flu.” He shook his head and held his daughter by the shoulders staring into her eyes. “No honey, that’s what we told you. It was blood loss. Your Mom was in pain, it was after she went outside and got that burn, she took too much from me. Sweetheart I almost died.” He looked at me. “Coby I loved my wife and I would have given her every drop of life in my body to save her, and ease her pain, to make her strong. But it didn’t work, you and Emily are so young and accidents can happen. You’re a good person, you have a future ahead of you, and I don’t want an accident to ruin both your lives.”
“Can we still see each other?” Emily asked. “Of course.” He gave us both a smile. “But only here at the house, and only supervised.” “You don’t trust me?” Emily looked hurt and frankly I was pretty angry. “I know how addictive it can be. To take care of another person, to give a gift of one’s self fully, I do trust you both, but what I don’t trust is your emotions, and your affection for one another. If you were sneaking kisses out on the back porch that would be one thing.” He laughed as we both blushed. “But this could get you really hurt ok?” “Yes sir” I said. Emily nodded. “Ok Dad.” “I’ll leave the room door open and check on you a little later.” We watched him go and then I looked over at Emily, the tears shown in her eyes and I wanted to wipe them away. “It’s ok, I understand what your Dad’s saying, and we will just find some other way to get you stronger ok?” She nodded. “Cody?” “Yeah?” “Do you want to try Dad’s other suggestion?” she asked. I felt my cheeks go hot and a moment later her lips were pressed against mine. It only lasted a few moments but it felt like forever, like I was flying. I gave her a goofy grin, and she grinned back. I went home and hour later thinking about my first kiss and about Emily. We may not share our secret anymore but we had something else.
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