The streets were dimly lit and the shadowy figure of a man walked alone in the dark of night. Lizzie Morrison's last words to him rung in his ears "Take care, 'Davey'."
He sighed, his shoulders heaving. He knew that those two days as little Frankie's "father" had opened his eyes to a world he had never truly realized. Too long had he wandered in the grim, grey "winter" of life, far from the warm love of his family. The family he had left so long ago. His brother, his mother, the sister who had brought him here, all of them.
He looked up at the door to the flat and sighed. This was it. He reached up and rapped his knuckles on the wooden door. It creaked open and a petite young woman stood there, a baby on her hip.
"Sean McShane. How nice of you to drop by."
He nodded, "Amanda."
But she did not invite him in, "What brings you by at this time of night?"
He sighed, "I came here to stay. I mean, I came here to ask to stay. Please, Manda. I know I was stupid. But I don't want to be the absent father anymore. I want to be here, to watch Erik grow up. To be a good father to him, and to be a good husband to you."
She opened the door a little wider, allowing the six-foot Scotsman into her flat, "And what brought this on?"
He explained his reasons for coming back, "A friend of Marie's. She's been writing letters to her son, posing as his father, for almost ten years."
But Amanda was not truly paying attention, "Do you really mean it, Sean? Are you really going to stay here with us?"
He nodded, "Amanda, I know that I've made many mistakes in my life, but I don't want losing you to be one of them."
She smiled, tears glistening in her eyes, "Oh Sean! I love you!"
Wrapping an arm around his neck, she sobbed into his chest as he caressed her hair and whispered, "I'm so sorry for all that I've put you through. I love you."
The following day, around noon, Amanda pushed Erik's stroller into the cafe that Marie worked at. Lizzie Morrison had been in the back washroom and was just walking out when she saw the young mother and toddler sitting down for lunch. She smiled, thinking back on the times she and Frankie had done the same.
Frankie walked up to her from their table and smiled, signing to her "Are you all done?"
She nodded before signing back "Come on, let's go."
But as she looked up again, the toddler's eyes caught her attention. Those eyes, those green eyes. She stood frozen and Frankie looked up at her, a curious smile on his face as he tugged at her sleeve. She gasped out loud as Sean walked up to the table and smiled, kissing his wife and son.
Frankie looked over in the direction that his mother was staring. Then he saw the man that had pretended to be his father and a smile grew on his face. He was tempted to run up and hug the man who had given him the best two days a boy could ask for, but stopped himself short when he realized that he would be rude to do so. Nana always got on his case about manners.
Marie McShane walked up to the table and pulled out her notepad, until she realized the patrons at the table were her family. She cried out, surprised to see her brother back together with his wife and hugged the three of them. They all chatted in unison for a moment, all of them excited to be together again.
When Sean sat back down in his seat, he glanced out of the corner of his eye and saw Frankie, standing outside the Ladies' Restrooms, his mother bent over his shoulder, brushing off crumbs from his shirt. She looked up for a brief second and her eyes made contact with those green eyes across the way. The green eyes that spoke volumes of Sean's regret and apology that she had to find out this way. The corner of his mouth turned up in a semi-smile meant for Frankie and then he turned his focus back to his family.
Lizzie smiled, turning Frankie to face her so that she could sign to him. "Come on, let's go home." He skipped after his mother as they walked out of the cafe. She smiled as she heard the honk of a very familiar car horn beside her. She turned around and shook her head, "Rick, you're late for lunch. We've eaten it without you."
The man in the car put on the brakes and rolled down the window, "Well then, I guess I'll have to treat you two to dinner tonight then."
Frankie smiled and hopped in the backseat as his mother got in the passenger's side door.
She smiled, "You are too kind for me, Rick."
He laughed, "I know." Their lips joined in a simple kiss and he revved the engine, sending the car down the road towards his home.