If I Had You, page 12
“Oh, I’ll be waiting.”
Whirling around at his statement filled with suppressed fury, I head over to Wyatt, pick him up and my arms, and carry him back to the bedroom as he asks the one question I’m not ready to answer.
“Mommy, who is that man?”
“He’s mine, isn’t he?”
Darcy’s barely returned to the room after being gone ten minutes when I ask her the question, and she takes her damn time answering it.
Not that it matters, as I knew the moment the little boy tried to get her attention from the doorway and stared right at me with his thumb jammed in his mouth. He could’ve been me as a kid, for fuck’s sake.
But, why the hell wouldn’t she tell me?
She sighs from where she stands by the fireplace and grabs a picture before turning to me with watery eyes, her expression harboring the same devastation filling my chest.
“I didn’t know,” she finally croaks after a few moments of staring down at the photo clutched in her hands. “That is until I saw you in the store and realized it might be possible.”
Ah. “That explains your reaction.”
“Yes.” She walks closer, stopping about a foot from where I stand, and holds up the photo for me to take. “I did a test between the boys and…” She swallows, her eyes wracked with guilt as she finally meets my gaze. “Wyatt’s yours. I was trying to find a way to tell you.”
Hard not to be pissed, even though her sincerity in not knowing is plain to see, and I frown while staring down at a baby photo of my son. “How could you not know all these years, Darcy?”
“I guess Oliver and I just saw what we wanted to. We chalked his looks up to taking after me, which he does, a lot. And none of us ever questioned it. I mean, you knew I was pregnant. It’s not like any of us thought about the timing of it.” She steps back, grabbing a tissue from the coffee table and blowing into it before continuing. “And you pulled out. What was I to think? I know it can happen, but it didn’t even dawn on me at the time.”
Dammit, she’s right. Other than thinking about those moments with her for other reasons, none of those included thinking she might have gotten pregnant from it. She married Oliver, and I trusted the baby was his without a doubt.
“Wow.” Shoving a hand through my hair, I move to the couch and take a seat, my eyes glued to the picture as I mutter, “Fuck, we were stupid.”
She lets out a little laugh, one that is quickly followed by a sharp inhale, and I glance up to find her standing in front of me with tears streaming down her face as she breaks down into sobs.
“I’m s-sorry,” she wails and hides her face in her hands as her shoulders shake. “I should’ve thought…I can’t…”
Setting aside the picture, I reach out and take her into my arms, unable to watch her break down in front of me without comforting her.
“Shh. Don’t cry, Darcy. I’m not angry.”
It’s the truth. I’m not mad. Perhaps I should be since I’ve lost out on over four years of my son’s life that I wouldn’t have if I had known all this time, even if she were married to Oliver. However, that’s both our faults, for ignoring the potential repercussions of our actions while trying to deal with our past issues.
She curls into me, crying harder at my words, and leaving me helpless to do anything except hold her close.
I also understand her breakdown has nothing to do with me.
Yes, my entire night has gone differently than I imagined it, and my life is once again changed forever with this revelation. Shocked and elated simultaneously, I’m wondering how the hell we’re going to co-parent our son who doesn’t even know who the fuck I am.
But Darcy lost her husband and found out her oldest child belongs to another man. She has a child with me, after everything between us, which means we’re tied together forever despite the way we managed to cut the binds from before.
We share a past, and now, a present along with a future neither of us can ignore because we have a child who needs us both in his life.
And even if Darcy won’t admit it, she needs me right now, too.
So I’ll sit here and let her cry for as long as necessary because as of this moment, we’ve got plenty of time to figure things out.
When she finally sits up, I have no idea how much time has passed, but her eyes are brighter and less sad than when I arrived.
Grabbing her a tissue, she wipes her eyes and her face, then crumples it in her hand and blushes as the fact she’s straddling my lap registers.
She slides off to sit beside me and clears her throat while meeting my gaze with a hesitant lift of her lips. “Thank you. I’ve been so worried you would be angry at me; I wasn’t prepared for anything else.”
Reaching over, I grab her hand and squeeze to reassure her. “I’m not an asshole, Darcy. I care about what’s best for our son, and that’s it. Anger is useless here.”
She nods and tugs her hand out from under mine before standing up. “Honestly, I don’t know what to do. I mean, what do we do? Wyatt’s only four, but Oliver was his daddy. He doesn’t know you and he won’t understand.”
“Don’t make yourself sick over it. Those are all completely understandable fears.” Rising as well, I step closer to her and place my hands on her shoulders, waiting until she meets my gaze to speak. “We’ll start slow. For now, I’m your friend, and we’re all going to spend time together having fun. That’s all you have to tell him. Everything else, we’ll work out later.”
She swallows hard, her eyes searching mine. “I’ll have to tell my parents.”
Not what I expected her to say. “What?”
“My parents. I reconciled with them while pregnant with Wyatt. They’ve been helping out since Oliver died and will be back soon from their trip. They don’t know yet.”
Shit. Her parents never liked me. And for the longest time, I hated them for the ultimatum they gave her that changed our lives. The last thing I want is to deal with them.
But Darcy must know what I’m thinking because she laughs softly and shakes her head. “Don’t worry, Zach. They’re not anything like they were back then. All this may shock them, but we’re all adults here.”
Blowing out the breath I hadn’t realized I was holding, I drop my hands from her shoulders with a nod. “If you’ve forgiven them, then so can I. Difficult sometimes, having moments where everything feels as if it happened yesterday, not fifteen years ago.”
“I know!” She laughs and moves across the room, tossing the tissue in the tiny trash can before turning to me with a curious expression. “How’s Rose doing?”
“She’s great. We were having some issues with another girl in her class, but everything is good now.” I glance at my watch. “Shit. I need to get back; wasn’t planning on being gone this long.”
“Oh, okay. Sure.”
Her tone and expression are neutral, but I get the feeling she’s disappointed.
Or maybe that’s just my hope. Either way, I ignore it and say, “We should exchange numbers. We can work out what to do next another time.”
Agreeing, she pulls out her phone, and after that’s finished, she walks with me to the front door, her hands behind her back the whole way.
Because she’s not expecting it, and I can’t resist, I pull her into a hug after opening the front door. She doesn’t resist it long, reciprocating by slipping her arms around my waist, and relaxing into my hold with a sigh.
I kiss the top of her head and smile at the way she stiffens a little in my embrace from the unexpected affection even as her breath hitches. “I’ll call you in a few days.”
“Sure.” She draws away and avoids looking me in the face as she steps back and grabs the door handle. “See you later.”
The door shuts behind me with a soft click, and after I hear the lock slide into place, I head toward the car with a grin on my face.
Seeing her hadn’t gone at all as I expected, but having a son with Darcy makes
“Hm.” My mother sits back and takes a sip of her coffee, her reaction surprisingly underwhelming considering what I’ve just told her.
My father doesn’t say anything at all. He sits next to my mother with his chin resting on his hand and does nothing except stare at me thoughtfully.
Almost makes me want to fidget in my seat like a teenager in trouble because I can’t tell what they’re thinking.
Not that it should matter because Wyatt is Zach’s and he will be coming around to spend time with our son.
I’ve had to practice saying those words in my head and to accept them as the truth they are just to be able to say it out loud.
Finally, my mother sets down her cup, purses her lips, and then asks the one thing I should’ve known she would. “Is there a chance of you two rekindling your relationship?”
“No,” I respond instantly along with a huff. “My god, that hasn’t even crossed my mind.”
“Perhaps not yours,” my father says, chuckling. “But what about him?”
My mother nods in agreement. “You two have a history, apparently even more than your father and I knew of. It isn’t impossible, darling.”
My parents are the last people I would imagine wanting me to give Zach a second chance.
I truly haven’t thought about it except briefly and decided it wouldn’t be good for either of us to go that direction.
We have Wyatt to think of, to take care of. We can’t mess that up by trying to date again and seeing if things work out, can we? No. We’re in a good place, and we should stay there for the sake of our son. Anything else is just asking for trouble.
“It won’t happen,” I assure them, standing up as Landon’s hungry cries pierce the silence through the tiny baby monitor. “And that’s my cue to get away from this absurd conversation.”
Their eyes are on me as I walk away and my mother’s laughing comment follows me as I turn the corner. “It really isn’t that ridiculous of a thought.”
Perhaps the idea isn’t, but it is one I’m not going to entertain for even a moment.
In fact, I’m going to flat out ignore it, and hope Zach hasn’t gotten the same idea as my parents because I don’t want anything more than to be friends again.
A whole week has passed since my parents returned and although Zach asked how the discussion went, I didn’t tell him anything beyond their awareness of what’s going on.
He definitely tries to get me to talk to him. Every single day he texts me to say good morning, asks how I am in the afternoon, and says to tell Wyatt good night for him.
I haven’t, since Wyatt doesn’t know who he is, but that will change today when he comes to visit after lunch.
Zach decided he wants to wait to tell Rose about Wyatt and that means in order to spend time with him without leaving Rose with a babysitter is for him to visit during school hours.
Tried not to think about how this makes me feel better since coming in the middle of the day will keep him from running into my parents — both busy with their charity and related activities — and will leave us with no alone time thanks to the children.
Not that I’m worried about being alone with him.
Okay, that’s a bit of a lie.
I had been okay with hugging him, believing it nothing more than a friendly gesture, but the kisses from him really threw me.
And the way he took the news about Wyatt shocked me. I expected the Zach from five years ago — the one who considered me no different from our teen years and might think I lied about not knowing. Yet, he hadn’t.
Plus, the way he smiled and gazed at me was like the Zach who used to love me. I haven’t experienced that since I was sixteen and broke his heart, which is definitely something I don’t want a repeat of.
So if he does have the same idea as my parents, I’m going to have to nip it pretty quick, and hope doing that won’t make things awkward between us.
Glancing at the clock as the doorbell rings to see Zach is right on time, I pick up Landon and perch him on my hip before heading toward the front door.
He greets me with a bright smile, hands in his jean pockets as he stands on the porch. “Hey.”
“Hey. Come on in.” I step back and let him pass through, then shut the door. “Wyatt’s in the living room playing with the big legos, building his version of a castle apparently.”
“Nice.” His eyes move from my face to Landon, who stares at him with curiosity while chewing on his fingers. “Hey, buddy.”
Landon’s eyes go wide. He only stares at Zach for a moment before shoving his face into my shoulder and wrapping his free hand around my neck.
Zach laughs and looks at me once again. “Shy is his middle name?”
“Yep.” Rubbing Landon’s back, I step away and nod toward the living room. “Follow me.”
As we head that way, Zach is a step behind me, and when Landon giggles, I glance back over my shoulder to find Zach making a silly face.
He winks at me, relaxing his expression as we step into the living room, where Wyatt looks up at us only to freeze mid-play.
Then, he points at Zach and states, “That man,” making it evident he remembers him from the night he walked in on us.
“Hey, there,” Zach says without missing a beat, walking over to sit next to our son on the floor. “I’m your mommy’s friend. Can I play, too?”
Wyatt doesn’t even blink; just accepts Zach’s explanation with a nod and goes back to building, all while I marvel at the way they look so damn alike. They even have the same slight head tilt to the left side when they concentrate.
I truly had been in denial all these years.
Landon starts fussing because he’s hungry and I leave Zach playing with Wyatt while heading to Landon’s room to feed him. I don’t usually bother, but the idea of breastfeeding in front of Zach makes me a little uncomfortable, and at least in his room, there is a comfy chair, unlike in the kitchen.
Sitting down with a sigh, he latches on with a happy sound, then eats while I rock us back and forth gently. The food plus the rocking eventually lulls Landon into a nap, and when my own eyes beg to close for just a few moments, I recline the chair and give in to temptation for a little rest.
At the touch of a hand on my shoulder, I jerk awake to empty arms and my chest covered up by my dress once again while Zach stands over me.
He brings one finger up to his smirking lips and turns to the side, pointing at the crib where Landon sleeps peacefully in the darkening room.
Rising from the chair, I follow him out of the bedroom and leave the door cracked a little before heading toward the kitchen for some water.
When I enter, Wyatt’s at the table eating a fruit bar and waves at me after taking a drink of his milk. “Hi, Mommy! I want you to see the big castle we built!”
“After you finish eating, sweetie,” I say to him, only to glance at the clock, and wince at the fact nearly two hours have passed since Zach arrived. He stands nearby, his arms over his chest while watching me, as I drink from the bottle of water. “I didn’t mean to fall asleep. I’m sure you didn’t plan on being there this long.”
He shrugs. “I didn’t, but no big deal. Figured you needed the sleep, and we had fun, didn’t we, Wyatt?”
“Yep! I want to build another castle. A huger one.”
“Next time, buddy.” Taking a step closer, he puts his hand on the small of my back and smiles at our son. “Your mom is going to show me out and then she’ll come back to see the castle, okay?”
We’re all the way by the front door before he speaks again.
“Thanks for today. Think we can do it again the same time next week?”
“Uh, sure.” My face flushes at the smile on his face, realizing he had to have fixed my clothing when he moved
“No worries.” He lifts a hand to my face and cups it, ignoring my sharp intake of breath as he leans in to press a kiss to the side of my lips before drawing away with a bigger grin and a mischievous gleam in his eyes. “I came in earlier, and you looked so peaceful, I couldn’t wake you. Feeling refreshed, at least?”
“Y-yeah.” I step back, attempting to get away from the look in his eyes and the way his kiss and touch make me want things I’ve decided not to have… especially because he definitely fixed my clothing while I slept. “Thank you for letting me sleep when you didn’t have to. Hopefully, it doesn’t mess up your day too much.”
His hands slide back into his pockets as they were on his arrival. “Nah. I took the day off. And you’re welcome.”
“So, next week?”
“Yep. I’ll call you if anything changes.”
He opens the door and steps through only to look back at me with a question in his eyes. But when I ask, “What?” he merely shakes his head and says, “Nothing.”
Then, he strides toward his truck without looking back and drives away with a little wave.
For the rest of the evening, I wondered what he wanted to ask but didn’t, and whether my answer would be the one he desired.
Then, I remind myself I shouldn’t care, and resolve to make sure he knows where the boundaries are from now on.
Darcy sits next to me on the bench at the park, her eyes concentrated on where Landon plays in the sandbox nearby while Wyatt enjoys the slide and Rose squeals with delight while making her swing go higher and higher.
After three visits to her house to spend time with Wyatt, I decided it was time to tell Rose she has a brother, and yesterday told her everything I could that was age appropriate. It was more complicated than I thought, trying to explain how I have a son and she has a brother I didn’t know about but told her a mistake was made and left it at that. I also told her Wyatt is too young to understand, so we were just going to be his and his mommy’s friends.
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