Owen held the keys in his hand and sighed. It was his birthday and he had just been given a car. He should be happy, and he was. Part of him was sad also. It had been his grandfather’s car. They used to go for rides in it a lot before he died.
“I miss him too, Son. Try to think of the happy memories the two of you had.”
Owen hugged his father. “This is the best gift I could have gotten.
“So this is better than socks and underwear?”
Owen laughed and nodded. “Socks and Roo are pretty great though.”
Raelyn hugged her son. “Happy Birthday, Honey.”
“Thanks, Mom.” Owen looked at his parents. “Is it okay if I invite a few friends over to hang out downstairs?”
Zaiden looked over at Raelyn then nodded. “Try to keep the noise level reasonable. Your sister still isn’t feeling well.”
Owen nodded then looked at Patrick. “Would you like to hang out with me and my friends?”
Zaiden watched the boys go downstairs to their room.
“He’s a good kid.”
“Surprising considering his parents.”
Raelyn nodded but didn’t say anything. She didn’t know how much longer she could keep the secret from him. One visit from her mother could out her and possibly mess up everything.
“You should probably made some snacks for the kids. I will run to the store for drinks. I need to pick up the medicine the doctor called in to the pharmacy for Grace anyway.” She kissed her husband’s cheek, grabbed her purse and keys, and practically ran out the door.
Zaiden watched her leave.
“Daddy, you look confused.
“That is because your mommy is a confusing woman. “He looked at his daughter and smiled softly. “How are you feeling, Peanut? I still have some of that Magic Feel Better Chicken Soup if you are hungry.”
When he saw Grace nod he got the soup and warmed it for her. He sat it on the table and sat down with her. “Are you excited to start school tomorrow?”
“Oh, I don’t think I will be going tomorrow. Mommy said that if I am still sick I can stay home.”
“That’s too bad. You are going to miss out on the extra special ice cream sundae that daddies make for their daughters on the first day of school. It is only allowed to be made on the first day so if you stay home, you will miss it.
Zaiden could see that Grace was thinking hard about it.
Raelyn came in and stood back listening. Zaiden saw her and gave a small smile. She stayed quiet so Grace wouldn’t know she was there.
“You know what, Daddy? This soup is really magic. I feel all better. I think I will go to school tomorrow.”
“I am very happy to hear that you feel better. Now will you please tell me why you don’t want to go to school tomorrow?”
Grace looked down into her bowl of soup. “I’m afraid you won’t be here when I get home. I don’t want you to go away again.”
“Zaiden wrapped his arms around her. “I’m not going anywhere. I promise. I will be right here when you get home.”
“With my sundae?”
Zaiden smiled and nodded. “With your sundae.”
Owen introduced Patrick to his friends. He watched Patrick hang off to the side with the girls talking. Maybe he would make a love connection with one of them.
Derick stood beside Owen. “What’s his story?”
“My dad used to date his mom. His parents had some problems and he came here to stay with us for awhile.”
Derick looked Patrick over. “You dad and his mom, huh? You think that your dad might be…”
“No. Dad said they thought so for awhile but had one of those tests done. He’s not my brother.”
“Seems fishy that the woman would just give her kid to her ex-boyfriend.”
“Just drop it, Derick.” He didn’t want to talk to this. The last time Derick was convinced his dad had a secret he turned out to be right and that secret almost killed him. He didn’t want to have Derick tell him any more of his dad’s secrets. He didn’t want to fight with his best friend again. “Rematch on the table?”
“I’ll beat you this time.”
“You always say that.”
“Maybe someday I will.”