Glad to hear from you all!!
Just an FYI, I have another story that will soon be getting posted on Blogger!! I'll let ya'll know when it's up!! I wasn't supposed to be writing another full story, but if you have patience and don't care that it doesn't get posted overly regular, then we are in luck! :o) Until then enjoy this one!!
The whole ride to his house was filled with small talk about how his career was going and how my flower business was starting to pick-up.
“I saw your commercial on TV at the beginning of the baseball season for New Era and I had laughed out loud,” I informed him, thinking about that day. “It’s been a while since I’ve seen your hair that short.”
He laughed back, “Yeah, I like it longer I think,” he said as he unconsciously picked up his hat and readjusted it.
“I like it longer too. Your ears look too big when it’s shaved,” I said giggling.
He looked over at me and jabbed a finger into my side like he used to when we were younger. I grabbed at his hand to stop him and as I went to let go I found that he was not going to do the same. The rest of our car ride was in an electrically charged silence as his warm hand held onto my cool clammy one.
“Nice place,” I quipped when we pulled up to his house in the hills. It sat along the cliff edge, over looking the
Pacific Ocean, built in a modern, sleek
shape. It wasn’t overly large, but it
was definitely larger than what a bachelor needed; especially one who only
lived in it 4 months out of the year.
“Thanks, I bought it last year. It’s become a retreat of sorts. Mom, Dad and the rest of the family come up here to get away from things when I’m in
, so it gets
used,” he said with a proud smile as he turned off the engine and left go of my
hand. He quickly came around to my side
of the car and opened the door for me.
As I stepped out he took my hand in his once more and led me into the
“Do you want a drink?” he asked as he threw his keys on the kitchen counter.
“Sure,” I said nervously. I smiled and watched him pour me a glass of orange soda. “Ah, so you remember.”
He laughed lightly, setting the glass of my favorite soda in front of me. “Yeah, cause it’s still my favorite and I think of you every time I taste it,” he said as he sat down across from me, taking a gulp out of his glass. “Although sometimes I add a little vodka to it to make it better.”
“Mmm,” I said as I swallowed the fizzy drink that also would remind me of him and the warm winter
nights we spent in each other’s arms. California
“So were you ever going to tell me?”
I just shrugged. “I probably should have told you the day I read the pregnancy test, but I didn’t want to ruin your career, I didn’t want to be the reason you didn’t reach your dreams,” I admitted quietly.
He surprised me as he reached over and grabbed my hands. “Avery, you wouldn’t have ruined those dreams. I wanted you to be apart of them, it killed me to leave for
and not have you there with me. I wanted
to marry you, to give you the life I have now, to have you wearing my jersey,”
he spoke and tugged lightly on my jersey, “to have a family…” Tampa
“You know that it would have not happened that way, Evan,” I said flustered by his admissions. “You would have dropped out of college and gotten a job to support our asses, giving up your career because that is how you were raised. So, please, don’t sit here and tell me it would have been fine because you know damn well it would have not been.”
He took a calming breath and whispered, “Doesn’t mean things can’t go the way we want them now.”
I didn’t have words for what he was insinuating, I just looked at him and stared.
When I didn’t say anything he asked, “When was she born?”
“June 25th, 2005,” I answered. “She was 5lbs. 8oz. and 20 inches long. She came out kicking and screaming. She didn’t start sleeping through the night until she was almost 1 year old…”
“Do you have any pictures of her from when she was little?” he cut me off.
I thought for a moment, “Yeah I do if you have a computer. Although I guess that is a stupid question,” I said, instantly embarrassed.
“Come with me,” he said, as he walked around, took my hand and walked me into what seemed to be his living room. “Wow, is that your Rookie of the Year trophy?” I asked as I walked over to his trophy shelf that was illuminated with some recessed lighting.
I heard him chuckle as he came walking up behind me, “Yeah, I forgot that you never saw it.”
“I’m really proud of you Evan,” I said sincerely, only to turn to find him standing right by me. He looked nervous and broken at the same time. It broke my heart to see the normally happy man, so upset and it was my entire fault. “I’m sorry,” I whispered, reaching out and touching his beautiful face.
He lifted his hand and covered mine with his as we stood and stared at each other for what seemed like an eternity. “I’m sorry too, Ave. I would have given it all up to have you both in my life.” The words came out effortless and could have easily been construed into him just giving me a line, but the look in his eyes made me know that he had meant every word. The small place in my heart that had been locked for so long seemed to open with his warm look. After another long moment of silence he whispered with tears in his eyes, “Let’s look at pictures of my daughter.”
I signed into my flikr account and we sat together for a few hours while I told him stories about little
stories that he could have been apart of if I had told him sooner. Sofia
“So she is a hockey player?” he asked with a silly smile as I brought up the pictures I had taken last week of her in her new hockey uniform.
I couldn’t help but laugh… yeah, Joff helped me get her enrolled in one of the neighborhood programs. I think he created a monster,” I said thoughtfully.
“So how long have you two been together?” he asked while he looked back over at the picture of me, Sofia and Joff.
“A little over three weeks actually, even though it seems longer,” I said. Looking at the picture, I realized how happy we looked together, how much we looked like a family.
“Does he know about me?”
“Don’t you think he should know?” Evan asked quietly as he raised an eyebrow in my direction.
“I’m pretty sure he figured it out after the game tonight,” I mumbled as my heart ached, realizing I now had lied to the two most important men in my life. “I just hope he can forgive me…” I said out loud but to myself.
“He’d be a fool not to,” Evan murmured. Slowly, he reached out and touched my face.
I took a deep breath and quietly asked, “What do we do now?”
Evan took his hand off my face and sat back in the chair as the wheels in his head turned, “Well, I want to get to know my daughter this off season.”
“I’d say that we would have to take it one day at a time. I don’t want to confuse her by throwing this on her lap… she is still only a little girl.”
“I understand that,” he spoke softly, taking my hands back into his. “But I want to be apart of her life. I want to be her father and give her everything she should have gotten a long time ago.”
“She doesn’t need your money.”
“I know that. She deserves a father and I want to be that for her.”
I stood up and began pacing around the room. “Are you going to go after me for custody? Because I really don’t have the money to fight you on anything and I don’t know what I’d do if you took her from me, she’s my life, I don’t know what I would do without her…” I was still spouting off when Evan pulled me into his arms and held me.
“I’m not going to take
from you, Avery. Yes, I want my name on
the birth certificate and I want her to have my last name some day if she will
take it, but I will not be taking her away from you. As far as I’m concerned, nothing needs to be
taken to the courts. You and I might
lead different lives now, but once upon a time we created one life,
together. So, I think we can obviously
do what is best for Sofia together, without fighting like some stupid divorced
couple,” he consoled as he ran his fingers through my hair, calming my nerves. “So how do we want to do this?” Sofia
“How about you come to her game tomorrow night with me?”
“That sounds like a great idea.”
“Can you take me home now? I’m sure I have a very upset kid at home…”
“So I see she has your temper,” he chuckled as he walked over to the counter to pick-up his keys.
asked half asleep in
my arms as I rocked her back and forth in the recliner. Sofia
“You are supposed to be sleeping,” I growled quietly.
“I know, but I have a question,” she whined.
“Just one more question, grasshopper.”
“Are you going to be my daddy?” she asked innocently.
How can one innocent question rip me in half? I was upset with Avery in the fact that she did not tell me about Evan, feeling like she didn’t trust me enough to tell me her secret. Yet I think my heart exploded with joy, knowing that
loved me as much as I loved her. I took a deep breath, unsure how to answer
her question. “I will always be here for
you and I will always love you,” I said carefully. Sofia
A small, sleepy smile lit up her face, “Good, cause I love you.”
“Love you too, hunnie. Good night.”
“Night,” she said as she yawned and curled into my chest, finally falling asleep.
I must have dozed off with her because the next thing I knew Avery was home, gently scooping a zonked
out of my arms. Through half open eyes,
I watched her carry her into their bedroom and soon she came back out, closing
the door behind her. “Hi,” I mumbled. Sofia
“Hey,” she said with a small, nervous smile. “Can I curl up in your arms?”
I patted my thighs and opened my arms. She kind of surprised me when she actually came over and sat on my lap, curling up on the chair with me. “You’re a lot bigger than the other one I was just holding,” I laughed quietly.
“Gee thanks,” she said sarcastically. “What are you doing here?”
“Well, Nana called me and basically demanded that I come over,” I said with a smile thinking about the old woman’s phone call. She told me that if I didn’t come over, she was going to drive to my place and put
on my front porch. “Plus, for some
reason the one person I wanted to see after the game was not there to greet me
when I came out of the locker room tonight,” I whispered as I kissed her hair. Sofia
“I’m sorry,” Avery said quietly.
“What is going on Avery? Why didn’t you trust me enough to tell me everything?”
“You know?” she asked as she lifted her head and looked up at me with tears in her eyes.
“After putting a few things together, I figured it out…” I said, letting my annoyance show a little.
“I never meant to put you in such an awkward spot,” she said as she nuzzled back into my chest. “It’s not that I didn’t trust you Joff, it’s just been a secret for so long…”
“Why wouldn’t you tell Evan that he had a child? You could be living in a much better place and driving a truck that wasn’t threatening to break down every time you drove it. You could have Avery enrolled in a private school with the best teachers and she could be involved in whatever her heart desires. Yet, here you are barely making ends meet and keeping secrets from people who love you.” I instantly regretted how harsh my words came out but there was no turning back now. The battle lines were instantly drawn.
She sat up and got off my lap. “See! That’s exactly why I didn’t tell people. I didn’t want to ruin Evan’s dreams; I didn’t want
have a father that just paid for her. I
would rather we live like this and Sofia
grows up knowing more how love can make life than what money could offer her,”
Avery exclaimed with emotion as quietly as possible. Sofia
“You shouldn’t have to be the martyr and have to give up all your dreams,” I pressed, not 100% sure where I was going with it.
“I didn’t give up my dreams,” she said as her face twisted in some confusion. “I wanted the best for my daughter and at the time I thought I was making the right decision.”
“So what about your decision on keeping me in the dark?”
“Joffrey, we have only been together for a few weeks…”
“But you weren’t honest with me,” I threw back, hurting more about the untruthfulness than I initially realized. All my other failed relationships were based on dishonesty and here I finally thought I found a relationship where that wasn’t the case, yet here I was once again.
I watched her look down at the floor and then back up at me with a defeated look across her face. “I can’t stand here and make you believe that I never meant to hurt you or make you understand the decisions I made 5 years ago. I don’t expect you to completely understand that as a non-parent; I would do anything to protect my child from harm. It will just have to be something that you either get or you don’t. I’d love to say that I have all the time in the world to stand here and beg you to forgive me for not being perfect, but I don’t have time for that. So either you will look past all this and move on with me or leave me and Sofia alone so that we can move on.”
I cried myself to sleep after Joffrey walked out of the apartment and possibly out of my life. I had thrown up my walls of defense when he was obviously hurt. He had every right to be hurt; I should have been honest with him. Unfortunately after all these years of protecting my daughter I found it all to easy to just walk away and tell myself that I was better off being alone. It had been all too easy to tell him that I wanted to move on without him. I just kept telling myself that I had bigger things to worry about with Evan now in the picture. I somehow needed to bring him into
’s life without
confusing her even more. As long as my daughter is happy, that is all
that matters. Sofia
“You look tired,” Evan commented the next night as he took a seat next to me in the stands of the neighborhood hockey rink.
“I’m fine,” I mumbled, looking out over the ice was the kids came out from the locker room. “I just didn’t sleep well last night.”
“It wouldn’t have anything to do with this, would it?” Evan asked as he pulled out his cell phone with a text message on the screen that read: I won’t be in the way of you getting to know your daughter. Just please love her like she deserves to be loved. –Lupul.