CALUM“Mr Dissick,” Cathy breathes out.
I shove my hands into my pockets to stop myself from drawing her into a hug. Our last encounter is still fresh in my memory. I look around for her protective bodyguard. I’ve imagined this moment too many times to count but it was nothing like this.
“Really?” I tease. “Why so formal?”
The scowl on Cathy’s lips wipes the smile lingering on mine. My mouth shapes into an O. She cut her hair. Why? Since when? Cathy crosses her arms under her boobs. The white gown she’s wearing hugs her upper body, tightens around her midriff, then flows downward to her knees. She’s as pretty as ever, maybe prettier with age.
Prettier but sad.
I want to pull her into a hug, if only this one time to remind her she’s not alone. But we are not the same Calum and Cathy anymore.
“Very funny.” Cathy wedges herself
“Your father is an asshole,” I tell Mace. He giggles. “No, don’t laugh, Macey. Let’s hate him together.”Someone clears their throat behind me. I jump and hide Mace from their view. It’s Dad. Walking around Mace’s crib, I try to smile at my father. He leans on the door, watching me like I would watch Mace.“I didn’t mean that,” I state to diffuse the tension. “Well, maybe. Only a little bit.”“Are you okay?” he asks from the door of the guest room in his London house. He might not have understood why I asked us to leave Wells but he drove us back to his house. I suspect Calum will check mine.“Why wouldn’t I be?” I reply.“Cathy.”“I’m fine,” I whisper. I just buried my best friend, and my baby daddy walked back into my life. Of course I’m okay, I’m cool. “I&
CALUMNerves. I’m a bundle of nerves and anger. Anger that hasn’t fully manifested. I ring the door again but it’s the same response. Silence. I look over my shoulder to the car waiting out front. Jason dropped me off. He insisted on waiting till I was safely inside.I may have treated him like shit but he’s exactly how Amelia described him in her letter. Plus, he took care of my babies.My babies. I have a son. Saying that to myself has no effect on me. Maybe it will when I see the blue eyed miniature of me.The knob twists as I’m about to knock again and the door opens. Unfortunately, it’s not the woman I want to see. I step back.“Pete.”“Calum,” he responds.It’s an awkward family reunion. I rock on my heels, feeling like the twenty-one year old kid he took into his home. What should I say?“Hi.”&ldq
Dad is quiet. I need him to say something, give me hell for threatening someone—my baby daddy on his property, but he doesn’t do any of that. I stop pacing and kneel beside Mace’s rocking chair. I should have let him see his son.What the hell is wrong with me? “What will you do?” Dad asks.“I don’t know,” I reply.Mace blinks at me. I rock his foot until his eyes fall close and his breathing evens out. We need to leave. I checked an hour ago, Jason’s car is gone and Dad volunteered to drive me home.“You should make up your mind,” Dad says behind me. I scoop Mace out of his chair. Dad is being too gentle with me. I know it’s the guilt. I also know I shouldn’t put him in this situation, but I can’t help it. “Whatever happens, he deserves to see his son.”“I know.” I close my eyes and my chest sags.
CALUMI didn’t think Pete would call me but he did to let me know they were in Cathy’s house. He wanted me to stay with her while he sorted out some things. That might have been the best thing he ever did because she was a mess when I came in. I could hear her voice from outside. It hurt then, even now, with her in my arms, it still hurts.Cathy whines in her sleep. Her hand blindly reaches for me as if to ensure I’m still here. There’s no respite for her in her sleep, she’s still scared. I plant another kiss on her temple. There’s nothing wrong with her. She’s perfect. I stare at her until my eyes can’t handle it any longer. I should check on Mace but I’m afraid she will wake up to see the bed empty and panic.A knock echoes from behind the door. Pete pushes the door open and his head pokes in. “Come in,” I tell him. He walks in holding Mace. There’s a crib beside the bed. I try t
7 am comes faster than I expected. I’ve hardly fed Mace when I hear the knocks from downstairs. We glance at each other, and I get out of bed sluggishly. I need to eat or I may slump. But I have no appetite. Since Mace can crawl, I let him down on the floor once we are downstairs and skip to the door. Calum is all smiles when I open up. “Hey.”“Hey,” I reply. I step back for him to enter. “He crawls?” he asks, his voice laced with excitement. I nod, but he’s already gone to his son. Squatting before Mace, he says, “Hey.” A spell of dizziness hits me as I stagger to them. Calum lifts Mace off the floor, coming to stand beside me. “Hey, are you okay?” “Yeah. I’m fine. Did you drive here?” He looks suspicious. “Yes. Have you eaten?” I don’t think I’ve had anything to eat in two days. If I have, I don’t remember. Whatever the case, I don’t have much of an appetite.“Yeah,” I reply. “You should sit down,” he murmurs. I don’t want to argue in front of Mace so I follow him to the couc
CALUMThe sound of the door closing follows me as I jog down the front stairs of Cathy’s house. There are not enough adjectives to describe how infuriating that woman is.She is not the only victim in all of these. I am too and instead of teaming up, she wants to be on the opposite side. Very well then, I can do that. But God knows a court mess is the last thing I want. I spent all those months without her, and now I’m here, I can’t catch a break.What’s her excuse? If she was so pissed, why didn’t she show up? Because she was scared and heartbroken. Because of that stupid email. Of course, it was that email. She already believed I would leave her and seeing that email solidified the fear. Still, it’s no excuse. Her trust in me and love for her baby should have superseded the fear.I take a few more steps to the fence and stop. Spending the night with her isn’t a bad idea. In fact, I was hoping she
CALUMCathy must have seen those pictures. If the email didn’t solidify her hurt, the picture did. I rub a finger over my brow and redirect my attention to the box on the floor. A different kind of fear wraps around me as I count up to fifteen bubble gums.The pieces of the puzzle fit into place, and a groan tunnels out of my lips. I broke her heart, but she was still hoping until Yani.These were her good luck charms. The first time I had to meet Scott, Cathy gave me a gum because she believed it was a good luck charm. Her mum would give her one before she sang. And now, she kept one each time we performed. There had to be more than twenty. We didn’t have up to twenty shows within that period. Or, was it for Sam, Lucas, and I? She was wishing us luck?My heart clenches. The sound of the water running shuts off and I hurriedly shove the items back to the shelf. My eyes dart to the bathroom, waiting for it to open. It do
CALUMI wake up to an ear-curdling scream and jump out of bed, eyes on the lookout for the danger. Cathy stands at the door, eyes wide open in horror. I reach her in five strides and grab her shoulders. She looks okay. I’m almost out the door to check on our son when she yanks me back into the room.“Is Mace okay?” I whisper.“What?” she sputters out. Her glossy lips purse as she tries to understand my question. “Yes, he’s fine. Why won’t he?”“I don’t know,” I reply, a bit disoriented. I place my hands on my hips, more confused than she is.First, she scared the shit out of me. Second, she dragged me out of a beautiful dream, an alternate reality where we both have a happy ending. Three, she looks so pretty. Four, she smells nice. Five, I love her.The blue eyes that narrow at me show she doesn’t appreciate my ogling. I back out of her space and drop down to t