Ethan Phillips POV
Before I knew it, we were on a private plane and going to New York City. I had all my stuff packed and thrown on the plane as fast as I could. I sold my house, well I put it on the market, and it will be sold very quickly.
Lilly is sitting on my lap with a book, while Lukas is playing his keyboard with his headphones on. A pencil is on the table before him and so is a music sheet. Sometimes I see him scribbling down some notes, the kid is writing music…. How on earth did these kids become so gifted.
‘Daddy?’ Lilly asks with a scrunched-up nose. The same way Nina does as she is thinking about something. But with Lilly it’s so cute. ‘Mmm?’ ’What do they mean with this sentence: She had not known the weight until she felt the freedom.’
Okay, so Lilly just read “the Scarlet letter” in 3 hours. The book is complicated, how on earth did she do that. ‘What do you think it means?’ I wander the question back to her. She scrunches her nose up once again, making me believe she really inherited this trade from Nina. ‘I guess she didn’t know she felt like the weight of the world was on her shoulders before but didn’t realize it. Then she was free and felt more than free because of the relieve than came with it.’ I look up to Nina give her a look like what the fuck.
‘You are one smart little girl. What do you think of the book?’ Her smile widens, ‘I love it, I also loved Great expectations, I didn’t expect a lot of what happened in it.’ I shook my head, ‘We’ve been on the plane for about 5 hours. Are you telling me you read two books in thus little time?’ She laughs waving my silliness away. ‘Don’t be silly, I was reading in the car as well.’ She says shrugging her shoulders. Sure, completely normal.
‘I just get really stuck in a good book. Mum says I have that from you.’
‘That you do baby girl.’ I pick her book and put the bookmarker between it. I wrap my arms around her. ‘I love you sweetheart.’ I tell her. She lays back to me, ‘I love you too daddy.’
‘Mummy!’ Lukas shrieks. Nina’s head jerks up from her almost sleep. ‘Yes?’ She rubs her eyes trying to regain her focus because of her sleepiness. ‘I found a new melody. I think you could use it for your new song. The one we were writing the other day.’ She smiles, gets up and goes over to the place where Lukas is sitting. The boy needs room for his equipment. Nina removes his headphones so we can all hear the tunes.
‘Let’s hear it my little Mozart.’
He starts playing the tune and I have to say it sounds really good, ‘Try to change the B to an A flat.’ Lilly says with the same scrunching face as before, ‘I think it might sound a bit happier, the song is a happy song.’ She states. Lukas nods and tries it out. ‘Thanks Lil, it does sound better.’ I give him a wide smile as I give him a simple nod.
‘You did great buddy.’ I tell him parsing him a bit. He deserves the kind of compliments I never had. I would never pressure him into anything, I want him to develop into his talents and do what he wants to do. The things that make him happy. I can see Nina doesn’t force him either, she just forces them to go outside. The thought alone makes me laugh.
‘What’s so funny?’ Nina asks me. ‘I’m just wondering how on earth; we created such talented kids.’ I say with a smirk. ‘You think we are talented?’ Lukas asks shyly. ‘You guys are really talented, buddy. I don’t even know how you could be so good. I know it’s all your mums work though.’
‘Mum taught us to play the piano.’ Lukas explains. ‘When we were taught how to read, I started looking up ways to improve my piano skills. Lilly just dove into any book she could find.’ I shake my head, knowing Lilly has that from me. I recognize myself so hard in those kids.
‘You didn’t go to any music school, did you?’ I wonder. He shakes his head. ‘No, I don’t really like those people. We tried going, we really tried.’ He says pleading with me. Like he’s trying to defend himself. I arch my eyebrow looking at Nina.
‘You call correcting the teacher and calling her a stupid moron, trying? Are we doing that Lukas Avery Phillips-Clark?’ He looks away quickly. Realizing he made a big mistake. A chuckle leaves my mouth, God. These kids are just … oh, just great.
Wait a minute? They carry my name? After all I’ve done. I can’t believe it. She gave them my name.
‘Where did you go?’ Nina asks me, Lilly scootches away with her book and Nina sits down on my lap. ‘You gave them my name?’ I ask her shocked but still honestly. I know she can see the tears in my eyes. I burry my head in her chest, not believing I’m holding this incredible woman in my arms. ‘Of course, I did. You are their father. Whether I liked it at the time or not, that was never going to change.’
‘You were really mad, weren’t you?’ She shakes her head, ‘I wasn’t mad, I was heartbroken. You nearly ruined me, Eth. I found out the truth because of my mum. She told me everything. It was about a year after I left, but I was too stubborn to admit my mistake.’
‘Why didn’t you come back sooner?’ ‘Why didn’t you come after me?’ She fired back. ‘I was scared.’ I admit. ‘Me too, but I had to keep food on the table. I had kids to take care of.’ She explains and I understand. I really do, two stubborn people to scared to admit they still love each other.
‘So, what happens now?’ I wonder. I hope she’ll give me a chance, a real chance. Seeing she’s sitting here with me; I believe I got a shot at this. A real shot. ‘Now, we go home. You’ll be living with us, if you want to. And hopefully when you’ve forgiven me, we get a chance to be together again.’ She says looking me in the eye. A smile spreads onto my face. ‘God, I waited years for you to say that. You still want me?’ She nods, ‘I do, but out in the open this time. No more hiding. I’m older now and not your student.’
‘I didn’t want to hide in the first place.’ I tell her honestly. ‘But we had to, I know Eth. And even though you never told me. I know you loved me back then. I saw it in your eyes. I felt it every time we were together. I knew, it’s just, if you still feel the same way, like I know you did back then. I need you to tell me. I’m that kind of person who needs to hear those things. Not just through actions, I need to hear it.’ I nod, ‘I promise, I do love you Nina. I always have, and I’ll tell you every day for the rest of our lives.’
About an hour later we land in New York City. As we get off the plane, a couple of bodyguards surround us. ‘Nina?’ I ask her. ‘Hi, Roger.’ She says with a smile. ‘Hi. Ni! How was the trip with the guys?’ She smiles and looks at me. ‘Very good, the kids got their wish.’ She says pointing at me. The Roger guy looks up at me. His eyes widen, ‘You’re the dad?’ He asks and I nod, ‘Finally!’ He says before pulling me into a hug. ‘You’ve got some great kids.’ He says proudly, I guess he did spend a lot of time with them. ‘Thanks, I’m finding that very true.’
‘Ni,’ Roger says, walking us to the car. ‘Your uncle called when you were away. He’s coming over for dinner tonight, like he always does. It is Friday after all.’ Nina nods and gives me a shy smile.
‘Sorry I forgot.’ She says apologizing. So, the uncle in question should be my father. ‘I’ll just stay out of your way tonight. I want to settle in anyway.’ She lets a sigh loose, ‘Eth… Why would I want you to do that? I want you there, I’ll always want you there.’ ‘It’s not that easy for me, you know that.’ She gives me a nod, ‘I know, but whatever you decide. I’ll support you either way.’
And this right here, is the first reason I love that woman. She knew me better than anyone else in my life at the time. I pretty sure, she still knows me better to this day than anyone in my life. She’d never pressure me into anything. Sure, when I’m bottling my feelings up, she’ll smack my head and push me. But when it comes to the important things, she’ll support me in my decisions no questions asked.
About half an hour later, we pull up to a beautiful two-story house. It looks like a normal house on the outside, knowing Nina it must have one hell of a garden. She always loved the greens and flowers. With suitcases in hand, we enter the house. My new home, how homey it looked on the outside, it’s even more homey in the inside. It’s modern but very homey. First thing I notice is the beautiful wooden floor, ‘Wow.’ I say looking at it. ‘I know right.’ She says proudly of her home.
I walk into the living room to see a beautiful fireplace with pictures of the kids and Nina. There are a lot of little artworks on the walls. If you’d walk into this home, you’d never think thé celebrity of the century lives here. You’d think a stay-at-home mom, it’s just beautiful.
I walk in even further, the kitchen. ‘Holy…!’ The white marble countertop. The beautiful black cabinets, this is my dream kitchen. ‘Do you like it?’ She asks me from behind me.
‘This is like my dream kitchen.’ I tell her. ‘I know, I know how much you liked to cook. I guess when I had it installed. I was hoping that one day you’d be here with me. And now that you are, I’m happy I had it installed.’
I walk over to her and pull her against me, ‘Thank you!’ I can’t believe I’m here. I’m in the home that Nina always described she wanted, the kitchen of my dreams. The woman who I love and with our kids, this right here is how my life should’ve been from the start.