Broken Promises (Broken Series) - By Dawn Pendleton



Given the circumstances, I couldn’t exactly complain. The doctors were doing all they could for my cancer-ridden father. I knew he wasn’t going to be in pain for the remaining weeks of his life, but that didn’t make accepting his imminent death any easier.

My dad, the strongest, most alive man I’d ever known, lay in a hospital bed, thin and sickly. His eyes were sunken in and ringed with dark circles. His skin was pale, nearly translucent. Looking at him made me want to run as far as I could in the opposite direction. Not that I would. He’d been there for me for so many years; I couldn’t even imagine leaving him in his time of need.

Of course, he didn’t exactly think he was in need. Lucky for me, he was still perfectly coherent and had no qualms about dictating how exactly I should be living my life.

“You need to go back to school, Mallory. I don’t need a babysitter,” he insisted.

I hadn’t left his hospital room since I arrived a few hours earlier. I didn’t plan to, either. “You’re right. You don’t need a babysitter, but I’m not going anywhere. I finished my finals early. My professors were understanding about the fact that I needed to get home,” I argued. It was true.

I’d gotten the call from the hospital just three days ago at the university I attended in Boston. In a panic, I emailed all my professors, begging to take my finals as soon as possible so I could get home. Each professor responded in kind, allowing me to take my final almost immediately instead of waiting nearly a week before they were regularly scheduled. Taking them early meant I wasn’t exactly prepared for them, but I didn’t care. All that mattered was getting back to my dad.

I drove up that morning to my hometown, a place I hadn’t been back to for three years. After my freshman year of college, my friends and I rented out a place in Boston for the summer and got jobs. It worked out so well, we decided to stay in our apartment while attending school and save money on tuition. I’d always made my dad come down to visit me at my place in Boston rather than come home.

Casper, Maine wasn’t exactly the big city. In fact, there were only a few thousand people living in town, with several hundred in the outskirts. It wasn’t just small; it was tiny. I’d grown up there, had the same friends my whole life, and never once been out of the country. It wasn’t until I started looking out of state at colleges that I realized there was so much more to life than a small town.

When I’d told my dad I wanted to look at schools in Boston, I thought he’d have a heart attack, but he just smiled and made hotel reservations. He didn’t even question me, which made me feel guilty now. If I’d been home a single time in the last few years, maybe I would have noticed how sick he was.

“But you have your apartment in Boston,” he said.

He sat up in his bed, and I could tell he was exhausted.

“Leila and Sarah are going to sublet my bedroom for the summer. Obviously, I need to spend time here,” I smiled.

I was seated in the uncomfortable chair beside his bed but I refused to move. My ass was going to be planted in that chair until he was released from the hospital. I was still waiting to hear from his doctors.

“What about your job?”

“Dad, relax. I settled everything before I drove up. The bank granted me a leave of absence. You know I would never leave without getting things in order,” I explained.

He straightened up in his bed. “Speaking of getting things in order.”


“Mal, we have to talk about—” he tried again.

“No, Dad. Not now.” I shook my head.

Not ever. I didn’t want to think about his death. I didn’t want to discuss the matters of his estate as if it was a business deal and not the end of my world as I knew it. The time would come, but until then, I wanted to put it off. How would I ever get through dealing with it? My dad was my rock; he couldn’t just die.

“Okay, fine,” he muttered. He picked up a puzzle book and pen and ignored me.

I grabbed the remote and turned on the TV, changing the station until I found something I didn’t completely