Chapter 25 - Julian's POV
I was headed into the hospital for just a few hours. I had a great time with my sister and niece but it put me so far behind with work. I tried to sneak into my office being unseen but was stopped by Dr. Moore as soon as I stepped into the elevator. “Hey Dr. Kiron you got a minute?” she said stepping into the elevator with me.
“What’s up?” I asked.
“Would you mind looking at a report for me? I’d really like to know if you concur with my opinion on this case.”
“Yeah, no problem.” Right after I get done with the million other things that I need to do.
“I really appreciate you taking the time to do this,” she said as the elevator finally reached the fourth floor and we stepped out.
“Not a prob –” I stopped myself mid-sentence when I heard a voice that I would remember for the rest of my life calling my name. My eye’s widened when I lifted my head and was staring into the eyes of the girl that I hadn’t been able to get out of my head for the past five years, Kat Vallia. For the very first time in my life I was speechless.
“Dr. Kiron, are you okay?” Dr. Moore asked.
"I'm fine, I'll have the report for you later."
I finally got over my shock and approached her. She was even more beautiful than I remembered. "How are you, Kat?" I gently placed my hand on her arm, and I could feel her trembling.
"I'm well, thank you." Her voice quivered as she focused intently on my eyes.
What are you doing here—are you here on business?"
"No, not really.” She had me totally confused, if she wasn’t here on business then why did she show up out of the blue after all of these years? "Julian I need to talk to you, somewhere private."
"Okay, I should be done here in an hour. There's a coffee shop right at the end of the street, do you want to meet me there at noon?" I asked as I looked down at my watch.
"Okay," she said very meekly.
“I’ll see you then.” I said as I gave her one last smile before I walked away.
I went into my office, closing the door behind me. I sat down at my desk, trying my best to concentrate on the reports that needed to be read over and the charts that needed to be updated, without much success. I finally put the report down after reading it about a dozen times and not comprehending a thing. Kat Vallia, the girl that crushed my heart, the reason that I had countless one nighter’s with women, trying to escape the memory of her. The girl that I was willing to rethink everything for had just showed up out of nowhere. I just didn’t get it. I took a deep breath, trying my best to get something accomplished. I finally focused on the work that I needed to complete and was so deep in thought that I didn’t realize that it was almost noon. I looked over the report one last time, signed off on it and grabbed my car keys.
I got out of my car and spotted Kat immediately. She threw her phone in her purse and stood up. "I really appreciate you taking the time to meet me."
"No problem, Kat; actually it was a really nice surprise seeing you. You want to go in?" I opened the door and entered behind her.
“Sorry for making you wait,” I said as we sat down. “I just had some catching up to do. I had just taken a few days off to spend with my sister and niece who were here visiting.” Her dark brown eyes widened and she looked like she was deep in thought. “So what have you been up to?” I asked.
“Nothing special,” she responded very timidly.
I finally asked the question that I was dying to know after all of these years. “Did you ever get married? She shook my head no, giving me a slight smile.
“What about you?” she asked,.
Was she kidding me? Did she not remember our whole reason for parting ways? “I barely have time to sleep, let alone maintain a relationship.” I leaned back in my chair and couldn’t stop myself from staring at her. She was still that same adorable girl that liked to eat chocolate cake for dinner.” “You look great, Kat.”
“Thanks,” she whispered.
I could see that she was nervous as she fidgeted around with the napkin and bounced her leg up and down.
“So how’s work?”
I nodded and couldn’t help but think how cute she looked twirling her hair around her finger. “How’s James doing?” I asked in an effort to break up the tension.
“He’s doing well. He and Tricia are engaged now.”
“Yes, I knew that. I haven’t talked to him in a while. I owe him a phone call.”
“So you’re Chief of Oncology now?”
“Well congratulations, I always knew you were destined for great things.”
“So what did you need to talk to me about?”
"Bone marrow transplants.” Her response was quick and sharp.
“What?” I laughed at her abruptness.
“What do you know about bone marrow transplants?” None of this was making sense. Kat was a doctor she knew enough about bone marrow transplants that didn’t warrant a trip to Chicago to ask me. I played along and explained to her the basics of bone marrow transplants. She listened, acting like she was clueless. “This is pretty common knowledge that you learn in medical school.”
"Yes, I know, I just wanted to get your advice, since you are one of the top doctors in your field."
"So you came almost one thousand miles just to ask me that? I’m sure you have doctors just as versed as me and a lot closer. That must be some special patient."
All of the color drained from her face. "It is," she said, biting her bottom lip. She took a deep breath and paused for a moment. "It's my son.” My heart immediately went out to her. "It’s our son.”
I was totally taken off guard; obviously I didn’t hear her correctly. "What?" I stared at her, waiting for her to explain what I thought I had just heard. She looked at me with tear filled eyes and it was finally sinking in. The shock that I was feeling just moments ago was quickly being replaced with anger. "Why didn’t you tell me?”
“Because you made it clear to me what you wanted out of life and that didn’t include a child.”
The waitress came over to take our order. "Not now!" I shouted.
I was dumbfounded. I had a son. A five year old son that I never knew existed. How the hell could she have done this to me?
She placed a picture down in front of me. “His name is Matty, he’s five-years-old, he’s a great kid, and he has leukemia.” Her voice cracked with emotion. I lifted the picture and examined it closely. It was all so surreal to me. But reality was slowly seeping in as I stared at that picture. It was if I was looking at myself thirty some years ago. “Almost like looking in the mirror, isn’t it?” she asked as if she was reading my mind. I couldn’t believe this was happening. I couldn’t take my eyes off the picture. A million questions raced through my mind. What had she told him about me? Did he know that I never knew about him or did he think that I just didn’t care? But I was too pissed off to ask her any of them.
"I know that I was wrong to have kept this from you, but what would you have done if I told you back then?"
“I would have taken responsibility for my son.”
“I’m sorry, but I did the wrong thing for the right reasons.” .
“What were those reasons?
I couldn’t believe the words that were coming out of her mouth. Nothing justified keeping this from me and at the particular moment I hated her so much for it. “Can you please tell me what your reasons were for keeping my son from me for the past five years?”
“You left and we never spoke again because you didn’t want kids, do you remember that?
Now, she was seriously pissing me off. There was no way in hell that she was going to place this on me. “Really? So you felt that gave you the right to do this?” he asked. “What, were you trying to punish me for not wanting what you wanted?”
“No, that’s not at all what I was trying to do!”
I shook my head in disbelief. I couldn’t even look at her and I wasn’t sure if it was out disgust or because it hurt so badly to know that she would have kept something so crucial from me without even giving me a choice. “I can’t believe that you just assumed I wouldn’t want to be in his life.”
“I’m sorry, I didn’t want you to feel trapped into something you didn’t want.”
“I missed out on five years of my son’s life because you actually thought that’s what I wanted. Why didn’t it ever occur to you to ask me what I wanted? Would I have ever known if he hadn’t gotten sick?”
She looked away and was silent. My stomach clenched, knowing the answer to that question already.
“Right before I found out I was pregnant I was planning on calling you to tell you that I would go to Germany. I was willing to uproot my whole life, forgo everything that I wanted just to be with you. Once I found out that I was pregnant that changed everything. There were days that I had wished that you would have called to tell me that you would be willing to rethink your plan for me, but you didn’t.”
“You told me not to.”
“Exactly. I thought I knew what you wanted and you thought you knew what I wanted,” she said very gently.
I had to get out of here. I had to just walk away from her and register all of this. I wasn’t sure what I was more upset about, the fact that I had a son that I didn’t know about or the fact that Kat, the girl that I held on a pedestal for all these years totally destroyed my image of her by doing this. “You had no right to just assume what I wanted.”
“I know that I was wrong and you can hate me if you want to.” The tears rolled down her face. “But Matty needs you now. Please, Julian, I’m begging you.”
I looked at her and all I could feel was resentment and anger. “I came here to ask you if you would be willing to be tested to see if you’re a match and to oversee his medical treatment.” She paused for a minute, grabbed a napkin and wiped her eyes. “I want you to be part of his life; to be his father. I want you to fall in love with him the same way I have.” I couldn’t respond. I knew I wanted to be there for my son but I was so repulsed by her actions that I couldn’t even look at her.
She reached into her wallet and held out a business card. I snatched it from her hand and stared at the girl sitting across from me. She wasn’t the same girl that I knew all those years ago. There were so many things I wanted to say to her and none of which were fitting to say to a woman. I needed to get as far away from her as possible. I quickly stood up and walked out the door, still grasping tightly to the photograph.
I sat in my car and stared at the picture of this little boy who was a part of me and a complete stranger. I ran my hand though my hair and shook my head I was so pissed at Kat and even more pissed at myself. So many times I had contemplated calling her. I was even thinking of paying her a surprise visit when I got home from Germany. Why didn’t I try harder with her? Why did I listen to her when she told me not to call? For once in my life why didn’t I break the damn rules and listen to my heart? I was entering uncharted territory and I was terrified. Strangely it wasn’t over the fact that he had cancer. It was because I was actually someone’s father, a thought that scared me half to death.