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Give Me One Good Reason

Chapter 17

Cody got an early start the next morning; he began with a quick workout in the gym of his condo complex and then he woke Tucker up so they could go on over and check on Grace. Cody had barely been able to sleep last night with thoughts of Grace dealing with Liam's bullshit.

The two boys were out the door before nine and stopped at the donut shop, as Cody promised Tuck, before pulling into Grace's driveway.

Tuck had been curious why they were visiting mom, but Cody didn't want to tell him all the details so he simply told his son that she had had a bad night last night and needed some company.

Cody twisted the knob on the front door and shook his head disappointedly when it opened without him having to use Tuck's key. He motioned for Tuck to be quiet when he walked in, Cody followed, making sure to lock the door behind him. He set the kid up in front of the TV with a donut before he headed upstairs, taking them two at a time, with a donut wrapped in a napkin in his hand.

Once he reached Grace's door he stuck his ear to it, listening to see if she was awake. Figuring he wasn't going to walk in on her naked or scare her or anything he quietly opened her door, closing it silently behind him. He turned around to see her curled up in her bed, her blankets wrapped tight around her, only leaving her head sticking out. He walked around to the other side of the bed and smiled when he saw her with a small smile on her face, her eyes watching him.

"You could have hinted you were awake," He said softly, setting the donut on the bedside table next to him as he sat down on the empty side of the bed.

"I heard you guys walk in," She explained as she pushed herself up to sit against the headboard.

"How'd you know it was us? It could have been a robber," He challenged, watching as she ran her fingers through her hair, trying to get rid of any tangles she'd created while sleeping.

She grinned at him. "Do robbers break into houses at nine in the morning these days to watch TV?"

He leaned his head back to rest on the headboard and let it loll to the side as he grinned back. "Ok, you got us," Then he got serious as he remembered something. "But it wouldn't be breaking in because you left your door unlocked. Anyone could have just walked in through the night," He lectured.

She frowned. "I didn't even think about it. Just wanted to get in bed last night," She told him.

"How you feeling?" He asked, using his hand to brush away some of the hair that fell in her eyes.

She sighed but smiled anyway. "Not too horrible." She paused for a few moments before elaborating. "You know…truthfully…if I'm going to be honest with myself, when I look back on the past couple months, it's pretty clear that our relationship was over. And really, it's not even that our relationship is over that hurts. It is really the betrayal. That's what hurts the most; the fact that he's been cheating on me for who knows how long with his receptionist instead of just breaking up with me," She confessed.

Cody wrapped his arm around her shoulders, pulling her close. So it was the receptionist he was cheating with; Cody had had his brief suspicions when he'd visited Liam at the shop, but he hadn't known for sure. "He's an idiot Grace," He whispered as he pressed his lips to her temples to comfort her.

She turned to face him. "I'm sorry I didn't believe you. I should have trust you were just looking out for me,"

"Don't be sorry. You trusted Liam and had no reason to believe he would be cheating," Moments of silence passed between the two and Cody couldn't help himself as he pressed his lips to hers. He didn't attempt to deepen it, and neither did she, but he did feel her reciprocating, a feeling of pressure on his lips as they both relaxed into the kiss. "Have I mentioned that he's a huge idiot?" Cody asked as they separated, their foreheads pressed together.

She smiled then changed the subject. "Did I see you bring in a donut with you?"

He grinned. "You did," He told her before twisting to grab the donut. He was about to give it to her but pulled it just out of reach before she could take it. "You can have it on two conditions,"

She raised an eyebrow in interest. "I'm listening,"

"Ok, number one, I would like another kiss," He told her with a smirk.

She rolled her eyes with a smile then leaned forward and pressed a kiss to his lips, pulling away before he could take it further. "And your second condition?"

"You come with me and Tuck to the zoo,"

For a split second, Grace felt her heart stop. Not at all the condition she had expected. This totally proved to her this was a completely different Cody than the Cody she had once known, and really for the better. The fact that he didn't suggest a date or sex or something equally as "Cody" shocked her. He wanted her to spend time with him and their son; an actual family outing that, considering months ago Cody was barely around to spend a day with Tuck, showed Grace his priorities had changed and he had finally come into fatherhood and wanted to share it with her. She never in a million years could ever dream of asking more from him. Near tears, she told him, "I wouldn't want to spend my day any other way," She said before placing her hands on either side of his jaw and pulling him for a passionate kiss that she never wanted to end.

A surprised moan escaped Cody's mouth when their lips met but it quickly turned into a satisfied groan as he pulled her closer, dropping the donut on the bed and pulling her on his lap. Cody didn't know where this reaction had come from but he wasn't about to pull away and demand an explanation for her sudden passion. Right now, them sitting in bed, her lips on his, her desire for him obvious as her tongue continues spearing into his mouth and exploring, took him back to six years ago when they'd first met and their desire for one another was unquenchable. He knew for himself, whenever he wasn't with her he was thinking about her wondering what she was doing, what she was wearing, who she was with, where she was, and how quickly he could get there. She was a constant presence in the back of his mind always and after he had left years ago suddenly with no explanation, it had taken him months to ease his desire so he could live without being lovesick.

Before Cody even knew what was happening, Grace had pulled away and reached for the donut, sliding off his lap to sit next to him, her leg tossed over his. "Thank you," She said before taking a bite of the maple donut.

He blinked at her, dazed and lusting for her. "Uh….thank you," He told her back.

She sighed as she leaned her head on his shoulder, chewing her donut thoughtfully. "It touched me that you wanted to share your day with Tucker and with me,"

He put his hand on her pajama shorts clad thigh. "I want to spend all my days with you and Tuck," He told her honestly, baring his soul for her.

Grace held her breath as she looked up at him, tears in her eyes but not falling. "You're killing me," She said, her mouth full of half chewed donut

Cody grinned. "You just ruined a romantic moment," He teased her.

She swallowed and pressed another kiss to his lips. "I want to spend all my days with you too." She told him and paused. "I fell for you again the moment you showed up for your weekend with Tuck after a long absence. I hated myself for it too, knowing how you just left me and how you couldn't be there for Tuck. But it was like on the inside I knew, I knew you were capable of changing and becoming a better man and father," She confessed, their faces inches apart. "I'm so glad I didn't just count you out."

"I never stopped being in love with you," He told her. "I know you might not believe me, but I used other women to forget about you. I didn't want to come around to see Tuck because it hurt to be around you, and my visits became less frequent when Liam was around because it tore me up seeing you with another man when I knew you were made for me," He saw the confusion in her eyes and knew what she was going to ask. "Why did I leave you in the first place?" She nodded. "I was young and dumb, Grace. I wasn't expecting to fall in love with you, I saw you at the bar and thought you were attractive and I just wanted a fling. But you were always on my mind and I couldn't forget you, even after you'd blown me off…multiple times," He smiled at her and saw her lips tilt up a little at his words. "But I did not think I would fall in love with you after three dates. I was too young to fall in love; I was just starting my professional career and I didn't want to be tied down to someone at home. I wanted to travel the world and be able to hook up with anyone I wanted. I didn't want to be responsible for hurting someone at home." He paused, thinking of how to phrase his words. "But during that third date, I knew I would do it for you, I would marry you and leave you every week to travel for work, only to be home a couple days each week. I knew I wasn't ready to be with one woman, and I knew I would hurt you, betray you in ways that no one deserves. Truthfully Grace, not only was I scared of the feelings I had for you…but I knew I would hurt you years later, heck even months after getting together and I couldn't do that to you. I thought it best if I just leave, let you find someone else, someone who would treat you better and could be with you every single day of your life."

She sighed as she caressed his face. "I should have had a choice in the matter,"

He shook his head, leaning into her touch. "I didn't trust myself. Like I said, I was young and dumb. I knew I didn't have the self-control to stay faithful to someone at home, no matter how much I loved them." He let out a sigh. "I thought I was protecting you. But I was only hurting myself and you in the process. I can't believe you didn't think I loved you then," He told her, remembering the conversation they had had at his parent's house weeks ago.

"You left without any word," She defended, not mad, but frustrated now that she knew why he left. "You just left me. What was I supposed to think?"

He stared into her eyes meaningfully. "I'm so sorry Grace," He said, running his thumb under her eye when he saw a single tear fell. "If I could go back…I would have done so much different. If I could take away the hurt and doubt I caused you…I would,"

She held the hand he had on her cheek and a small smile came to her lips. "We can't go back and we can't change the past. We can only go forward,"

"I can't wait to go forward with you," He told her. "And Tuck,"

She smiled. "Me neither," She said before pressing her lips to his.

Before their kiss could intensify they heard Tuck at the door, "Mom? Dad? Can I come in?" The broke from their kiss, their lips still touching as they both smiled.

"Come on in buddy," Cody announced, pecking her once more before pulling away, both of them leaning back on the headboard, his around wrapped around her shoulders as she cuddled close to his side, taking a bite from her donut.

Tucker pushed open the door, smiling when he saw his mom. "Mom!" He yelled, even though he had only seen her yesterday, he loved his mom, and he had been sad when his dad told him she had a bad day yesterday. "You feel better?" He asked as he jumped on the bed, sitting next to his mom. She looked at Cody quickly, wondering what he had told their son. "Dad said you had a bad day yesterday, are you ok?"

She smiled at her son, leaning forward and placing a sloppy kiss on his forehead. "You are the sweetest boy a mom could ask for. I am feeling much better, thank you Tuck,"

"Tuck, mom's going to join us at the zoo today," Cody said before taking a bite from Grace's donut when she offered it to him.

The child's eyes widened in excitement. "Yes! Mom, it's going to be so fun, we're going to see the gorillas, and the giraffes, and the elephants, and the rhinoceros, and the lions, and the flamingos, and the petting zoo, and the hippos, and the….." Tucker continues listing all the animals his brain could think of as Cody and Grace smiled at each other in happiness.

A/N: Sorry for the wait guys! I graduated, then the holidays occupied me, and now I've been enjoying some much-needed free time before I get an adult job (scary!). I planned on having a few more chapters after this one, but as I read this one, which I wrote a few months ago, I realized I don't want to force anything else. I think I have a nice ending planned, and I hope you all are still reading, even though I totally wouldn't be surprised if I've lost some readers with my spotty updates. Anyways, so happy people continue to enjoy this story as much as I do, and let me know what you thought of this chapter! :)