As the sun rose, Bill was glad he had left Washington early to avoid the peak hour traffic. He found himself thinking of the important work ahead of him. Years in the waiting, many new discoveries were bound to be revealed. Bryant was right of course, there was no way Bill could be missing for the opening. Streams of data would have to be collated and reviewed. Bill had thought long and hard about leaving Selena under someone else's care for the week. How would she handle being left without him, so soon after her mother's passing? Sure, he'd found someone that Selena knew, at least that brought him some comfort. Nevertheless, it felt so much like betrayal. As if saying to the closest one in your life, 'it's okay, I love you, but I'm going to leave you in your time of greatest need'. Bill checked the tears that welled behind his eyes just at the thought of it, the choices in life that you never want to be confronted with.
Bill had calculated that the journey would take just under four hours. He decided it was time to pull in at a service station after glancing at the petrol gauge on the Hummer's dash. The mornings double shot Latte' had also made its way to Bill's bladder, making it a very appropriate double purpose stop. Undoing his seat belt, Bill decided to fill up the Hummer first, knowing all too well that some service attendants might refuse access to the toilets if they thought you were not going to purchase gas. Bill soon regretted his decision to take the side of politically correct thinking as he remembered how big the tank on the Hummer was. Soon, Bill was crossing his legs and decided to cut short his tank filling process.
In a strange running manner Bill rushed to pay for his fuel, feeling pleased that there was no line up. The attendant simply smiled quizzically at Bill as he hopped on the spot whilst paying. After finally finding relief from his bulging bladder, Bill re-entered the store to obtain some snacks for the remainder of the journey. Coke, chips, and some chocolate bars should be sufficient he thought to himself. Bill headed back to the Hummer. Opening the door he smiled, and threw a packet of chips at Selena as she yawned and stretched.
"Wake up sleepy head."
Startled by the flying chip packet, Selena questioned, "Where are we?"
Getting into the Hummer, Bill Strapped on his belt and kicked over the engine. "Just around an hour and a half to go now, so we'll need to make sure these snacks last."
After yawning one more time, Selena opened the packet of chips as Bill drove on towards their destination. Looking across at Selena, Bill suggested, "You know, I can stop for a more nutritious breakfast, no problem, really."
Selena crossed her legs on the leather seats of the Hummer. Devouring another chip she replied, "Naw, dis is fine."
Bill Smiled as he thought to himself about the choices he didn't want to be confronted with. No, there was no choice as far as he was concerned. He could not leave Selena alone, no matter what the consequence. Besides, Bryant had already given him the option to bring Selena along, if necessary. As far as Bill was concerned, it was definitely necessary!
Selena and Bill both enjoyed the beautiful sunrise together. Looking out her window, Selena's thoughts wandered off to her mother. It wasn't the first time that she had gone with her father on a work trip, but now she had to start thinking that it may be a more common occurrence. She had taken for granted the times she had spent with her mother at home; cooking together, shopping together, and laughing together. No more she thought. How she longed for just one more embrace.
"I'm glad you're here with me Selena. I think I need your company at this time as much as you need mine. Just so you know, we make a great team."
"You're not going to leave me are you dad?" Selena asked with a heartfelt voice.
"Selena, I promise, no matter what happens, I'm never going to leave you." Bill's reply was equally emotional.
"Pinky promise?" Selena held out her finger.
Reaching across, Bill held out his little finger and wrapped it around Selena's. "Pinky promise," was his reply. A beaming smile came across Selena's face. "Hey dad, after this week, Silvia has asked if I can go over their place for a sleepover for a few days. Helen has already agreed, but I said I'd ask you first."
"So, uh, when did you two manage to arrange all this?"