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I watched lovingly as Jason kissed Caroline’s feet, then blew raspberry’s on them, making her giggle. She never took her eyes off her Daddy though. She was captivated by his face. I thought I was going to break into a million little pieces from how adorable they were. I just couldn’t take it. I couldn’t speak either, without crying, so I just filmed and filmed.

Jason smiled at Caroline, then looked at me. “You know it almost feels like a mistake.”
“What?” I asked, confused.
“Well it’s just… the judge just gave her to us when your sister skipped out with her druggy boyfriend. They were like, ok you’re totally responsible for this helpless, fragile little person and are in charge with not psychologically damaging her until she’s 18 have fun bye!. I mean…wow. I can’t believe it. How did we get so lucky?”
I move his backpack out of the way and scoot up to him. “I feel the same way. Every time I pick her up, I’m scared I’ll drop her, hurt her. I read every food label, watch for every sharp corner, check her clothes for loose threads even. And then I’ll go do something stupid like lock my keys in the car, forget to charge my phone, or break a dish or something, and I can’t believe someone let me have a baby.”
Jason chuckles. Caroline giggles with him and he tickles her. “Yeah I feel that way too. More than anything, I’m so glad to be home Ryan. Away from the desert. Away from loneliness. It was hell.” His voice gets still and distant.
I put an arm on his shoulder. “Well then this is heaven ok?”
The cold expression on his face melts. “Yeah. It really is. I got that new desk job at the base. 9-5. Gonna be home plenty now. I can pick her up from school when she’s older, sneak her out for ice cream, get us in trouble with you for spoiling our dinner…”
I chuckle. “God you are going to be a great father.”
“I hope I am. I can’t disappoint her.”
“You won’t. You haven’t. Look – she hasn’t taken her eyes off of you for a second. She’s smitten with you.”
Jason glances at me. “I think you have some serious competition, Ryan.”
I laugh this time, then lean in so I can kiss Jason. “Well, I think I’m going to get more kisses.”
“You think?”
“Well, she’s only been around what? A month? You owe me some serious make out sessions,” I tease.
Jason smirks. “And I am going to give them back to you tenfold. You’re going to have trouble walking for a year when I’m through with you.”
“I can only hope.”
“Hey,” Jason says. I lift my head up. “A military man always keeps his promises.”

Text is fictional.


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