Sorry for the delay! I really have no excuse, having been awake most of the day, but ah well.
“I’m… sorry,” he said in a hoarse whisper. It was all he had the breath to say, though he knew all he’d done in the past twenty-three years warranted much more in the way of apology and nothing in the way of forgiveness. He heaved himself, with one last great effort, onto his back, and he kept the phone to his ear as he looked at the stars and waited, with his daughter’s quiet breathing in his ear, to die.
Torn between hating him and hating herself, between clinging to pride and comforting him as he died as she knew Mick would have, Brenna stayed silent, and paid him respect in the only way she could: silence, not forgiveness but not condemnation, until the horrible rattling and wheezing of his breath had stopped and she knew his heart had as well.
It wasn’t until the line went dead that she realized the wet, soft breaths she was now hearing were her own. She, who’d thought it would be easy to let her father die, was crying for him.