Zaiden worked on getting the flowers planted. The landscaping was all he had left then the house would be completely finished.
He got the last flower planted in the ground then smiled. “I hope you three like the flowers I planted for you. I worked hard on them, so please don’t use any spirit mojo or spirit voodoo to kill them.”
He moved on to getting the fountain set up. Raelyn had seen it at the garden shop and loved it. He went back after he took her home and bought it as a surprise for her.
The fountain wasn’t as easy to install as he thought it would be. He realized after the second leak that he should have hired someone to do it.
He didn’t give up though. He got the fountain running with no leaks. He was proud of himself.
He moved the bench into place then sat down for a break. He looked around the yard and smiled. It was looking good. The only thing left was the toys for Patrick and the children that he hoped to have in the future. There was time to do that later. Patrick wasn’t ready for that yet.
Zaiden took Raelyn with him to pick out the new kitchen counters. He wanted her to take part in the decision since he was hoping she would be living with him soon.
Zaiden had found his mother’s ring and planned to use it when he proposed to Raelyn. He just wanted the house finished first.
“What about this one?”
Zaiden shook his head. “The counter top is alright, but the cabinets are too dark.”
They looked around a bit more and didn’t find anything they liked. They ended up ordering custom cabinets.
The problem with custom cabinets is that they took longer to be installed. That pushed Zaiden’s plans back a bit also. He had waited this long, he could wait a little longer.
“Do you want to pick out the tile for the back splash while we are here?”
Zaiden nodded. “The shower also. I can work on the bathroom while waiting for the cabinets.”
After everything was ordered and the delivery date and time confirmed, they headed home.
“I hooked the TV up today. Would you like to stay for a movie?”
“I can stay for awhile, but I cannot guarantee I would be watching the movie.”
“We can do something else if you want.”
Raelyn shook her head and smiled. “For someone with a kid, you are slow picking up signals.”
Zaiden was just getting ready to paint the kitchen when Emma and Hope arrived to surprise him.
“Where’s the munchkin?”
“With Max. I didn’t think the paint fumes would be very healthy for growing lungs.”
Zaiden agreed with Emma. It was why he was trying to get the painting done while Patrick was with Rowana.
“We came to help paint and to talk to you.”
Zaiden opened the paint cans and handed the girls paint brushes. “Which one of you is pregnant?”
“Neither of us. Are you?”
“Of course not!” Zaiden looked at his two sisters. “What is going on girls?”
Hope looked at her brother. “Ross and I eloped. We are married now.”
“Rowana signed the consent form.”
“Hope nodded. I think she was glad to be free of us.”
Zaiden frowned hearing that. He hoped she wasn’t planning to take off with Patrick.
He sent a quick text to Tony asking him to watch her.
The three of them worked together on the painting and finished the entire downstairs.
Zaiden pulled a small table and two chairs out of the mess stored upstairs. He found some candles and nice dishes.
Raelyn was coming for dinner. He wanted it to be nice.
He had just finished cooking when she arrived. “Perfect timing. Dinner just finished.”
Raelyn followed him inside. “I hope you are desert. I’m starving.”
“Well I made…” Once he realized what she had said he stopped talking and smiled. “I think there could be a change in the desert menu.”
He held the chair for her as she sat down. “Your father told me that your favorite food is spaghetti.”
“I love all pasta. Daddy says that pasta sauce runs in our veins. I guess it’s the Italian in us.”
“I enjoy all food. My step-mother was an amazing cook. I used to help her a lot.”
“She did a great job. This spaghetti is amazing. Did you make the pasta sauce yourself?”
Zaiden nodded. “Boxed pasta has no flavor. Canned pasta sauces are full of nasty unhealthy stuff.”
Raelyn was actually surprised by Zaiden’s response. I never would have thought that you were this fancy chef. Are you planning to go to culinary school?”
Zaiden shook his head. “My priorities right now are getting this house finished and being a good father to my son. I was lucky enough that my father left a nice bank account. This house was my first purchase from the account.”
Raelyn looked around. “It is very cozy.”
Zaiden wasn’t sure that was how he would describe it. “It was my parents house when they were married. I am remodeling it. The last owners didn’t take very good care of it. It needs a lot of work done.”
“I can help you if you want.”
Zaiden nodded and smiled. “I would like that.”
Zaiden read the text again and smiled. She wanted him to meet her in the park.
She was already there when he arrived.
He sat down beside her wondering why she wanted him to meet her.
“I was afraid you wouldn’t come.”
“Never worry about me wanting to meet you. I would drop everything to see you.”
She smiled when he said that. “Hopefully not everything. Dropping your baby would be bad.”
He couldn’t help but laugh. “I wouldn’t drop Patrick, but I would bring him with me.”
“I can’t wait to meet him. I bet he is just as adorable as his daddy.”
Zaiden blushed when she said that. “So, why did you want me to meet you here?”
She moved closer to him. “I thought that since you are now free of that woman, you and I could hang out. I like you, Zaiden. I have liked you for a long time. Since you were dating Anne. I was waiting for you to be single again, but then you disappeared and showed back up with that woman.”
Raelyn covered his hand with hers. “It’s my turn now, Zaiden. I want a chance to try to make you happy.”
Before Zaiden could say anything, Raelyn was kissing him. After the kiss she looked at him. “I’m being very rude. I don’t even know if you like me.”
Without saying a word, he wrapped his arms around her and kissed her.
Zaiden looked around his new home. He knew that this was the house his parents lived in after they were married. This was also where he spent the beginning of his life. First with his father, then with that judge that murdered his mother.
Now it was his home again.
He had all of his things in the upstairs bedroom for now. He planned to remodel the house starting with the downstairs.
Zaiden locked up the house and walked over to his aunt’s house. His Aunt Paisley was at work, but his Aunt Diana was home and happy to see him.
“We heard that you bought your parents’ old house. You didn’t bring that woman with you, did you?”
Zaiden shook his head. “The only connection I still have to her is Patrick. She has gone back to her husband.”
Diana was happy to hear that. “How is the baby?”
“He is doing great. I can’t wait to bring him here.”
Diana was glad to see her nephew so happy. “Will you be getting custody of him?”
“Joint custody. They have him this week. I will have him next week.”
“I hope things go well for you, Zaiden. If you need anything, we are here for you.”
He gave his aunt a hug. “Thank you.”
After finding out the truth about why Hope moved out, Zaiden was confused. He still planned to leave, but he was afraid to leave before the baby was born. He was afraid that she would disappear with the baby.
He wasn’t happy in that house, but he didn’t trust her.
He looked at the graves of his father, mother, and grandmother. He had come here hoping to find some peace of mind.”
“I am sorry that I have fucked things up. I wish I knew what to do.”
Since the house seemed to be empty, Zaiden spent most of the day there just talking to the graves.
“Emma and Hope are both happy now. I guess that is one good thing. I wish it wasn’t the only one. Can one of you please give me some sign of what I should do? Any sign would be helpful.”
As Zaiden was leaving, he noticed the sign in the yard. He couldn’t help smiling. “Thanks, you guys. I know what to do.”
He pulled his phone out of his pocket and called the number on the sign.
Hope got home from school and could hear the two of them fighting again. That was all they do now.
“I can’t do this anymore.” She knew that she was the only reason he was still there. He wouldn’t leave without her.
She picked up her phone and scrolled through the contact list until she found his number. After talking to him, she went to find Zaiden. All she had to do was following the yelling.
“I just wanted to let you both know that I am moving out.”
Zaiden looked at her both shocked and confused. “What? Why? Where are you going?”
Hope looked at Rowana then back at her brother. She didn’t want Rowana to know too much, so she lied. “I’m pregnant. I know that I can’t have my baby here, so I am going to a home that I found for pregnant teenagers.”
Zaiden followed Hope to the elevator. “I’m going to miss you.”
Hope hugged her brother and whispered in his ear. “I will text you later with the truth.”
Zaiden watched her leave then heard Rowana’s voice. “I guess this means you will be leaving too.”
He shook his head. “I will be here when my son is born.”
Zaiden sat with Tony talking. He knew that if anybody could help him, it would be Tony.
Unfortunately Tony told him to stay put.
“Wait until your sister moves out. Then apply for custody of the baby. I have a lawyer that I will set you up with.
As much as Zaiden hated having to stay in that house with that woman, he knows Tony’s right. He needed to stay with Hope.
Zaiden sighed and nodded. “How do I deal with Rowana? Every time I see her I just want to…”
“I understand, Zaiden. Just try to put up with her for now. If it gets too bad, you are always welcome here. I know my daughter enjoys seeing you.”
Zaiden smiled when he thought about Raelyn. “I enjoy seeing her too.”
Tony saw the change on Zaiden’s face at the mention of his daughter. “Is there something between you and my daughter?”
Zaiden shook his head. “We are friends. One of the only friends that I have.”
Tony leaned back in his chair. “Friends are good. You need to get your life straightened out before you get involved with anyone else.”
Zaiden couldn’t agree with him more.