In the last year, I'd lost so much of what I based myself on as a person- as a man. Yet, how much of a man was I really if I was so content being told what to do, how to do it, and when to stop? How could I be a man if I was incapable of helping the people who really need it just because I was afraid to get in trouble?

A man provides. A man protects. A man doesn't let anyone or anything stand in the way of what he wants.

"Believe me, don't believe me. It doesn't really matter either way. Can I go now?" I have a date with a certain ex-wife to attend.

The Chief sighed and sank back into his chair, crossing his arms over his stomach. What he perceived to be my failure was written all along the lines of his face and pinned into his stare. "I'm really disappointed in you, Dominic."

Here we go.

"You have so much promise in you. You were a prime example of everything an officer should strive to be. You were responsible and well-disciplined. You never talked back, always got the job done on time."

"No, I was compliant and that's exactly the way that you and Heather liked me best," I shot back.

Kat, for the many things she opened my eyes to, her helping me to find my voice again was invaluable. I was too complacent letting the world drag me wherever it wanted. I was sleep walking through life with my eyes wide open.

Not anymore.

"Dominic, I'm going to ask you a question and I want an honest answer." Chief leaned forward, resting his chin on his hand and looked at me with such scrutiny in his stare, that I was pretty sure whatever he was going to ask would be insulting. "You've known this girl for what, six months? In that time you've lost your marriage, nearly lost your life, and you're close to losing your job. You're miserable. You're not yourself. Nothing good has happened to you since that girl came into your life. That's a fact. That girl is-"

"Sir," I stopped him. "Are you asking me if she's worth it?"

With the utmost serious look in his eyes, he nodded. "Yes. Yes I am."

There were a lot of things I wanted to say to him in response. I could act out of anger and let the bull inside of me seeing red spots dance across the Chiefs face charge in defense of the condescending monologue he had just recited about Kat's impact on my life.

Instead, I chose to swallow down my hateful words and let my conviction rise me from my seated position. Now, I was staring down at the Chief as I set the record straight once and for all.

"You're wrong about her. I'm sure to you or anyone else it looks like my life has taken a turn for the worse since Kat came into it. Everything that's changed in my life happened when she came along. She changed everything."

My head shook almost on its own as my love for Kat rattled through my mind and pulled my lips up into a smile I didn't even intend on.

"And I am so grateful that she did. I was miserable before that girl came into my life and now I'm miserable again because she's gone from it. I didn't even realize how miserable I was before that girl showed up and took over my life. That girl has given me more happiness, more laughter, and more life than I deserve. She's given me a second chance and a kick in the ass that I didn't know I needed but my God, did I need one.

And that girl... her name is Kat Sanders and she's worth it all."

I thought, possibly, being the old sap that he was known to be in the past wherever romance was involved, that my speech about Kat might sway his mind about us. I loaded up my hope on the fact that he could see mine and Kat's love burning a flame in my eyes fixed on his. But as the disappointment drew the wrinkles on his forehead more prominent, I knew I had thought wrong.

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