BoneMan's Daughters

BoneMan's Daughters by Ted Dekker Page A

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Authors: Ted Dekker
ears.
    “Hello, Celine.”
    She answered. For a moment Ryan was too overcome by thankfulness to respond.
    “Hello?”
    “Celine?”
    “Is this Ryan?”
    “Yes… yes, hello, Celine.” The phone trembled in his hand but it quickly stilled when he placed his elbow on the desk.
     “It’s Ryan, honey.”
    “I was on the other line when you called, sorry about that. It’s been a while, hasn’t it? What, a month now since your last
     call?”
    “A month?” Had it been so long? “Yes, well… that’s not good. I—”
    “A lot’s happened in this last month,” she said. “Bethany got a cover from
Youth Nation
.”
    “She did? A cover?”
    “Please tell me you know what a cover is, Ryan.”
    He shifted his back toward the rest of the room. He had no idea what she was talking about. An organization called
Youth Nation
had offered Bethany a position, perhaps, he really couldn’t guess.
    “Celine—”
    “She’s modeling, you remember that much?”
    “Modeling? She… she’s going to be on the cover of a magazine?”
    “
Youth Nation
, a clothing catalog for teenagers.”
    “Wow. Wow.” He couldn’t think of what else to say to this news, so he said it again. “Wow.”
    “You might want to call and tell her yourself.”
    “I’ll call her right away. Maybe I can tell her. I mean, tell her…” Emotion flooded his chest, cutting him off. He leaned
     his forehead on one hand and gripped the phone with the other, choked by his own remorse.
    “On second thought, maybe it would be best if you didn’t.”
    What? What was she saying? He refused to reason through any answers to the question.
    “Celine.” Where did he begin? “Celine, honey, there’s something I have to tell you. Something happened to me this week.”
    “Hold on.” The line clicked off for a few moments before she was back. “Sorry. Just Janie and her stupid cats’ shedding. Never
     mind.”
    “Who’s Janie?”
    Celine didn’t respond right away.
    There was something in that silence that spoke with greater volume than anything she’d yet said.
You don’t even know my friends
. But that’s why he was calling. He was going to make all of that good.
    “Celine… I was taken by—”
    “Why are we doing this, Ryan?” she asked in a lower voice.
    “That’s what I’m trying to say. They… I was on a mission—”
    “Please, Ryan. Be quiet for just a second. You’re rambling.”
    What was she doing? Ryan’s face flushed with heat. What was she doing? He had to get to the point.
    “I’m coming home, Celine.”
    “I can’t do this any”—she stopped and then pushed for clarification—“what do you mean, ‘coming home’?”
    “I mean I’m coming
home
. That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you. The convoy I was in was hit, and I was taken by some insurgents. It wasn’t very
     … it was hard.”
    “When?”
    “A week ago.”
    She hesitated.
    “Sorry. You okay?”
    “Yes. I am now.”
    “They hurt you?”
    “No.” He decided then that he would hold back any details that might make this rough on her. They needed a clean slate, not
     emotional turmoil over the past.
    “I’m fine. Scary there for a bit but it all panned out. It made me remember, you know.” When she didn’t respond, he added,
     “Remember who I am.”
    “Tough to be an American these days.”
    “No, I mean who I am there. A husband. A father.”
    She went silent.
    “I know we haven’t been on the best terms, Celine, but I would like to change that.”
    Still nothing from her. She wasn’t buying it.
    “Celine, I’m coming home.”
    “It’s too late,” she said.
    “What do you mean, too late? It’s never too late.”
    “When are you coming back?”
    “They said three days. Maybe five days before I reach Austin.”
    “You can’t do this,” she said softly. “Not now.” And he knew in that moment that she was in love with someone else. He knew
     from her tone, from a long sordid history of affairs, it was his job to know and

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