I was in the world's most comfortable bed. Firm enough to support the back, squishy enough to make one relax instantly, supplemented with an excess of down pillows and comforters. It was a bed that, ten years ago, I frequented nightly. I loved this bed, falling into it nightly and unwillingly leaving it every morning.
Though I immediately recognized the bed, my sleep fogged brain struggled to grasp the how and why I was there. This bed, my favorite place in the world, the answer to that age old questions "if you could bring one this to a desert island, what would it be," was not mine, Most unfortunately, as I slowly tuned into reality, I remembered the owner of this bed.
I groaned as the events of the previous day returned. The reunion, the laughter, the dancing.
Keeping my eyes closed I strategized, figuring out how to deal with the horrible situation I was in. I was lying on my back, the cool breeze of the air conditioner tickled my naked torso. There was a pressure weighing down on my belly. A warm, steady breath grazed my navel. A arm was wrapped around my waist,
Escape was not going to be easy or go undetected
Mustering all my courage, I opened my eyes, facing what can only be described as one of the biggest mistakes of my life. And there he was, sprawled across my body, sleeping soundly. His copper, tussled hair fanning out around his face, concealing his strong jaw and crooked nose, He was my soul mate, the love of my life, the father of my child. And I hadn't seen him in nearly six years.
Ignoring the overwhelming peace that spread through me, I gently pushed myself onto my elbows while attempting to side out from under him. But, most unfortunately, Mr. Soul Mate was not a light sleeper. I froze; my escape plan foiled, and stared into to those achingly familiar, rich green eyes. He smiled his charming crooked smile, pressed his sculpted lips to mine, and that was it. Nothing had changed. I stopped thinking, forgot our years of separation, and focused on Edward.
"Nessie!" I called from the foot of stairs in my modest California home, "you better get down here right now if you are planning on eating before you go to school. "
It was a Monday morning. I hated Monday mornings.
"2 minutes! I am just listening to the end of Dad's new CD," my charming ten-year-old daughter called down to me from her bedroom. At the mention of her father my mood got even blacker. I roughly grabbed my cup of coffee, downed it in on scalding hot gulp, and wished it were something harder.
Even the allusion of his existence still brought butterflies to my stomach. It was pathetic, countless years later I was still enthralled with someone I would never have.
It was always worse when he would release a new album. They were always so good. Nessie didn't know I had stolen her pre-released copy last night and cried myself to sleep.
Jake didn't know either.
"Nessie!" I called again in an attempt to distract myself. "Seriously, I have a big meeting this morning that I will not be late for. I am not apposed to letting you starve." I was trying my best to do a stern mom voice, but I still hadn't perfected it.
'Jeeze Mom," my daughter said as she breezed into the kitchen, her brown eyes sparkling and her copper ringlets bouncing, "We have like ten minutes. Do we have any Cinnamon Toast Crunch or did Jake finish it?"
"I just bought a new box," I replied, reaching above her head into the pantry where the cereal was kept.
"Thanks mom!" She said enthusiastically. I smiled. My daughter had such a natural zest for life. Everything excited her, whether it was finding a particularly smooth rock on the beach or being severed Shirley Temples at the swankiest venues in LA, Nessie loved it all. "So today at school we are starting our unit on bugs, isn't that cool mom? We are going to get some cocoons for the class and they are going to grow into butterflies and then we all get to make our very owe terry-ums."
"Terrariums honey," I corrected her as she paused for one of her few breaths. I don't know how someone so talkative came from someone as quiet as Edward.
Gah, I thought his name. Now my stomach would be off all day. This was not a good way to start the week.
"Right that. And they are made out of two soda bottles that I have in my backpack and in the bottom we get a fish and in the top we have some plants. Oh and some bugs. Grasshoppers! And then we get to bring them home—"
"Nessie eat, we really need to go. You don't want to be late for your first day of the bug unit do you?" I leaned down and kissed her nose that was so like her fathers and she progressed to shovel Cinnamon Toast Crunch down her throat at an alarming rate.
I sighed; there it was no use telling Nessie anything. If I pointed out that eating so fast would probably earn her a stomachache, she would shrug me off and continue. She was always one to learn her own lessons and make her own mistakes.
I finished putting the breakfast dishes away as Nessie ate with a single mindedness that was a part of everything she did. With the quick, efficient movements of someone long accustom to the reunion, I loaded the dishwasher, handed Nessie her lunch as she packed her backpack, and took care of some last minute e-mails on my blackberry that needed to be addressed before I made it to work that morning.
If someone had told me ten years ago that I would be so good at this single parent thing, I would have laughed in their face and told them I would never, ever, ever be having kids. At least not until I was 35. Well I was still a solid 7 years away from that mark and I was doing pretty ok.
"Mom?" Nessie said in her i-want-something-that-i-know-you-won't-like voice of hers as she strapped herself in the back of my BMW. "I know it makes you angry but could you do this one little thing for me because you're my mommy and I love you?"
She learned at the ripe old age of 5 that her stunning eyes and natural charm could get her a long way. I almost felt bad about releasing her on the male population one day. Almost.
"What is it darling daughter?" I asked as I slid my Channel sunglasses over my eyes and backed the car out of the driveway.
"Can we please listen to Dad's CD on the way to school? It is so good, better then the last one, I think you will really like it."
I glanced at my daughter in the rear view mirror. She was pleading with her eyes and holding out the latest and possibly most brilliant to date, Coven album. My heart turned over. I wanted to hear it, hear his voice, and drive myself crazy trying to figure out what his lyrics meant.
I hated myself for wanting to, but I didn't have the energy to fight him or Nessie. Without a word I reached back, grabbed the demon disk, and popped it into the CD changer to the elated squeals and applause of Nessie.
My hands gripped the steering wheel tighter as I braced myself for his voice.
The opening cords of Seth's floaty guitar filled the car and it was soon accompanied by his voice. As usual, all the empty places inside of me seemed to fill up at the sound of it. So beautiful, so passionate, so tortured.
I couldn't help but smile as Nessie's voice joined her fathers. I closed my eyes at the next red light and pretended for a moment that he was in the car beside me. I knew I would pay for this fantasy later, when reality came back and I remembered that love is not the cure all, end all I once thought it would be. For this car ride I just enjoyed the music and let myself escape.