'Hi baby.' I say to Hannah as I come out of the bathroom after my shower. 'What's wrong? You look deep in thought.'
'Matt, I want to ask you something but I don't want to upset you.' Hannah says gently and immediately I feel my skin start to prickle.
'Sure baby, anything you want.' I say with much more confidence than I feel.
'When we go back to Seattle would you mind if I moved back home with mom. I know we didn't get on for a while but things have improved between us and when I eventually move out to live with you because of the baby I'd like to do it on happier terms than what I left in before.' Hannah says. I can see she is nervous about my reaction but I breathe a sigh of relief. I'd been expecting this.
'You were worried about asking me?' I ask and she nods. 'Oh baby of course it's OK.' I say as I go to hug her.
'Mom said you would understand.' She says as she hugs me back.
'Did she say anything else about it?' I ask.
'No why?' Hannah says.
'No reason.' I mutter.
'Matt, what aren't you telling me?' she says and starts to tickle me, I try to grab her hands but fail.
'OK I'll tell you but stop tickling me, please.' I plead. When she stops I add. 'When we stopped at the florists before we flew here I said that you'd been missing her and thought you'd move back home.'
'That's why she said you would understand when I told her I was worried about your reaction.' Hannah says as she hugs me once more.
'Baby enjoy the time you have with her. I would give anything for just one hour with my mommy, for one last hug, for one last kiss and to tell her I still love her.' I say. I turn away and walk out onto the balcony to stare at the ocean and fight the unshed tears. I feel Hannah behind me and then at my side. I take her hand in mine. 'It still hurts, even after all this time. That's why I don't like any friction in the family, I want everyone to get along. In the past if something happened that upset me it was easier to lock myself in my own world until whatever had caused the argument or hurt had been forgotten about.' I pull her towards me and kiss the top of her head. 'That's why I want you to move back with your mom. Do you think she'd let me stay over occasionally on the weekend?'
'I'm sure she will.' Hannah says.
'Are you almost ready to leave for the zoo?' I ask changing the subject.
'Yes, I just need to get my purse.' She says.
'Good, you'll also need something I bought for you yesterday.' I say as I head back into the bedroom and search in the bottom of the closet. I pull out the box of things that I bought at the electrical store and hand them over. 'Just a small gift.' I say with a smirk.
'Matt.' Hannah exclaims. 'What have you been up to?'
'Nothing, I was just occupying my time when you were at the spa yesterday.' I say as I continue to smirk at her. 'Come on, open the box.'
'You're like a small excited child.' She says.
'I want to see your reaction.' I say as she finally lifts the lift and then closes it again.
'Matt no, it's too much.' She whispers.
'No it isn't.' I say as I open the lid and start taking things out for her. 'Your own camera so you can do photography, a mac because you don't even own a laptop, the camcorder is actually to share so we can start making some memories as is the small point and shoot camera cos it's easier to carry everywhere.'
'Wow Matt, I don't know what to say.' Hannah says.
'Thank you would be a start. Just learn to accept the gifts Hannah, it's what I do with Christian as it's easier that way.' I say.
'Thank you.' She says shyly. 'Have I got time to sort the camera out before we leave?'
'Sure, there's a bag for it to go in as well. I'll leave you to it cos I want to give dad a quick call.' I say.
'Not your mom.' Hannah says.
'No, I want to ask his advice on something I did earlier and am now having doubts about.' I say and see a look of alarm on her face. 'Hey don't worry, it's nothing to do with you. It's just about a phone call I made while you were phoning your mom. I won't be long.' I kiss her head and make my way downstairs to the study. I take a deep breath and picking up the phone call dad on the phone in his study. He answers straight away.
'Dad.' I say.
'Matt, are you OK?' dad asks.
'Yes fine.' I say.
'It's just you never call on this phone and Christian told me what happened last night at the burger bar.' Dad says.
'It was nothing dad, it could have been anyone. At least we had security with us.' I say as I try to brush the incident off. 'It has made me a bit more wary though and I'll get Jonty to come here later rather than going to his house.'
'OK.' Dad says.
'Dad the reason I'm calling is I spoke to Uncle Nick earlier and asked to meet him when we go to London and now I'm having doubts.' I say.
'You want me to advise you.' Dad says.
'I don't know, yes I suppose I do.' I say uncertainly.
'Matt I'm not going to say yes you should or no you shouldn't meet Nick, you're old enough to make that decision yourself. All I'll say is that if you're worried and nervous about it then Nick will be feeling the same if not worse. Remember he's your other godparent, if things had been different between him and your daddy then he could have ended up being a dad to you and having you as a son. He'll want to make amends and do anything he can to make sure you're OK with the situation and comfortable at all times. If you're unhappy just walk away, you'll be in control. Does that help?'
'Yes, thanks dad.' I say.
'No problem.' He says.
'Dad, did you know that he came to the coping together ball with Gamma.' I say. I hear him suck in his breath.
'I had my suspicions. Your mom doesn't know though, I didn't want to make a scene about it. They haven't been for about three years as your Grandma was getting too frail to fly. They always bought tickets under her maiden name.' dad says.
'Gamma said she used a different name.' I say. 'Dad why did you suck in your breath when I said Gamma before?'
'It just took me back to when you were small. The things you used to call people. Your mommy's parents were ganny and gangan, mom was always Gracie and I was Wick and then mom's parents were gan Rica and pop pop Theo. Even now while the other's say grandmother and grandpa you call them Gran and Pop.' Dad says.
'I always had to be different.' I say.
'You most certainly did.' Dad says but I can tell he's smiling.
'How's mom?' I ask.
'Keeping herself busy. She's gone shopping to look for an outfit for the wedding but at breakfast I had to eat your share of pancakes.' Dad says and I smile at his comment.
'I made pancakes as well but they weren't as good as mom's.' I say.
'She missed you at the theatre last night as well.' Dad says.
'I know, Christian told me. You've been to the theatre on your own together before though.' I say.
'Yes but you've either stayed at home or been out with Christian and Elliot and not thousands of miles away and always on her mind.' Dad says.
'She's that bad.' I say.
'Yes but each day it's getting easier.' Dad says.
'I'm feeling guilty now.' I say.
'Don't be, this is good for you and will be for her. The other three all went on school residential trips and the first time with each of them she was always at her worst. You've never been away before and only recently started staying at Escala so it's the first time she's dealt with it for you. Also when the others went away you were still here to distract her.' Dad says.
'I was always too scared to go in case I had a nightmare and the other kids laughed at me and I never wanted to share a room with them anyway.' I say. 'I had a nightmare last night, the first while I've been with Hannah. The girls were watching TV downstairs and Mia came to wake me.'
'What triggered it?' dad asks gently.
'I think the incident at the burger bar followed by playing a car racing video game before I went to sleep.' I say. 'I did manage to fall back to sleep and slept straight through.'
'That's a positive and at least you seem to know why it happened.' Dad says.
'I suppose. I'd better go now dad. We're going out and I can hear the girls are ready. I'll call mom later.' I say.
'OK son, have a good time. Dad says.
'We will, speak to you soon.' I say.
'Bye.' Dad says as I click off. I stand and head into the hallway where I find Mia and Hannah waiting for me.
'Are you ready Matt.' Mia asks.
'Yes I was just speaking to dad.' I say.
'Sawyer has the car ready for us, I think the others are following in the car behind again.' Mia says.
''OK, you can sit on your own this time Mia, I want to sit next to my girlfriend.' I say with a smirk as I take Hannah's hand and we walk out of the front door.
'Would you like me to travel in the other car so you can have privacy?' Mia asks.
'No but we'll sit behind you so you don't have to watch us kissing.' I say cheekily.
'Matt Grey stop teasing, you know we can't even kiss properly yet.' Hannah says laughingly as she climbs into the car.
'I know but I can do other things to you.' I whisper in her ear.
'Not in the car on the way to the zoo you can't. You'll find yourself on your own in the back seat and I'll sit next to Mia.' Hannah says in my ear. 'You can wait until tonight.'
'Is that a promise?' I ask.
'If you're a good boy then yes.' Hannah replies. I smile at her and take her hand to kiss it.
'I promise to be good.' I say.
'I don't know what you're making a promise to be good about but you sound like you're little again when you used to say that when we went out places or were sat having dinner. I wouldn't believe him Hannah because most of the time he never was.' Mia says as she interrupts our conversation.
'I was good, if I promised.' I say to Hannah. 'Well maybe not as bad as I would have been had I not.'
'Don't forget I know your version of good, it's not the same as everyone else's.' Hannah says as she grins at me.
'That's you told baby bro.' Mia says.
'Thankfully this is a short journey, perhaps I'll travel in the other car on the way back.' I say and they both laugh at me.