AN: I apologize in advance for this being such a short chapter, but that was how far my Muse decided to take me right now.
He shows up at my door the next morning, which takes me completely by surprise. In front of him are the bags I left behind at his place, and he has Lucas with him. Not really knowing what to say, I simply take the bags and hold the door open for him. Charlotte left for work an hour ago and she's agreed to pass on that I'm taking a couple of personal days before I come back to work, which was my plan all along. Of course, I believed I would be spending them with Lucas, rather than recovering from the shock of seeing someone else in my place. It's not that I expected Pete to wait for me forever, not with everything I put him through, but I simply wasn't prepared for what I saw.
Things ended awkwardly last night, and I think Pete is just as unsure as I am on where to go from here. I try to ignore the awkward tension and give Lucas a wide smile. "Hi," I tell my son, who's eyeing me with furrowed brows. At least he isn't crying. I'm almost afraid to touch him, not for the reasons that led me to stay away from him for so long, but because I feel as though I need Pete's permission to do anything when it comes to Lucas.
I finally look at Pete. "Could I..?" I ask, motioning with one hand halfway lifted in Lucas' direction. I am asking his permission to touch my own son. The irony is not lost on me. He nods and I reach out and carefully stroke Lucas' hand, his soft babyskin hand. "Hi," I whisper, not really sure what else to say. The boy eyes me with a mix of curiousity and skeptisism. I was prepared for it and I realize it's nobody's fault but mine, but I won't lie and say it doesn't hurt to know that he has no idea who I am, even worse is knowing he probably thinks of Addison as his mother. I feel like the most horrible mother in the world for being jealous of the woman who's been taking care of my son.
"You wanna hold him?" Pete asks, and I look up. I've tried avoiding looking directly into his eyes, but this time I fail. I swallow hard and nod.
I try my best to ignore the rush I feel when his hands momentarily brush against mine. I bite my lip and hold my breath and focus all my attention on Lucas. It amazes me how much he's grown, how all of a sudden he's become this little person. I try not to think about the many things I've missed and instead I hug him close to me and kiss the top of his head.
When Lucas begins to fuss a couple of minutes later, I try not to take it personally, but as I hand him back to Pete I can't stop the single tear running down my cheek. I try to hide it, but Pete notices and before I can do anything, he's wiped it away with his free hand. I close my eyes when he does this and I can't help but notice his hand lingering by my cheek for a couple of seconds before he withdraws. When I open them again he's not even looking at me.
I don't know what he's thinking and I'm afraid to ask. Instead my question becomes, "When are you meeting the nanny?" I at least assume he is only stopping by on his way to work.
"I took the day off," is his reply.
Before I can stop myself, I ask, "What about..?"
"She knows I'm here," he cuts me off.
AN: I think we can safely say there will be a couple of more short chapters before I conlude this story.