Disclaimer: I do not own these characters

Chapter 23: A Daughter's Feelings

"Mom, where's Dad?" 10 year old Taylor asked as she sat down at the supper table a short time later. Randee poured herself a cup of coffee and sat down at the table across from her young daughter.

"Honey, we need to have a talk after supper." Randee said, avoiding the child's question. "You'll see daddy a little later." Taylor immediately became worried.

"Did something happen to him? Was he in an accident?"

"No, nothing like that. Your dad is okay. But...well, we'll talk about it later. Eat your supper."

"Mom, what's going on? Where's Dad?" Taylor asked as she sat down on the couch beside her mother. They had finished supper and the dishes were done, and now Randee knew that it was time to tell her daughter the truth. She put her arm around the young girl.

"Honey, what I have to say isn't going to be easy. But I hope when I finish, you'll understand and not be angry with me."

"What, Mom?" Randee took a deep breath.

"Taylor, you know your baby sister is very sick, right?" Taylor nodded.

"Yeah. Is she going to die?"

"I don't know." Randee replied. "Dr. Delgado is doing everything she can for her. But your daddy...well, he said that he doesn't want to stand here and watch her die. He didn't think he could take care of a child as sick as she is, so he thought we should give her to someone who can take care of her."

"But Mom, she's our baby. We can take care of her. We can't just give her away." Taylor responded.

"I know, honey. That's what I told your dad. But he said that if I choose to keep her, then he will leave."

"You mean he will leave us if we choose to keep Mckenzie?" Taylor asked, wanting to make sure she understood what her mother was telling her. Randee nodded.

"Yes."

"But that's not fair. She's our baby. She needs us. Mom, please tell daddy that you won't give her away. I want my baby sister to come home."

"Taylor, I did tell daddy that I won't give her up. I told him that I can't turn my back on her when she needs me the most." Randee said.

"What did he say? Is he really going to leave us?"

"I'm afraid so, honey. He said he'd be back later to get his stuff and talk to you." Taylor immediately noticed the tears streaming down her mother's cheeks.

"Mom?"

"Yes?"

"Doesn't he love me either?" Taylor asked, a worried expression on her face.

"Oh honey. Your daddy loves you very much. It's just that Mckenzie is very sick and your dad feels that he can't stay here to care for her, if she should ever be able to come home." Randee embraced her daughter in a hug.

"If Mckenzie dies, will daddy come home?"

"I don't know, honey." Randee answered.

"Mom, I want daddy to come home, but I don't want McKenzie to die. Is dad going to make me choose too?' Randee shook her head.

"I don't think so, honey. He wouldn't make you make a decision like that."

"Then why did he make you make a decision like that?" Taylor questioned her mother. "Why would he leave us just because McKenzie is sick? I still don't understand. If he loves us, he wouldn't have left." Taylor pulled away from her mother and stood up.

"Honey, your dad will be here to talk to you a little later this evening." Randee said. Taylor shook her head.

"No. I don't want to talk to him. He's wrong, and nothing he can say will make it right. I'll be in my room." Before Randee could answer, her young daughter had disappeared down the hallway and into her room, slamming the door shut behind her.