The man who just returned from his morning jog stops drinking his water immediately, eyeing his daughter who's busy making a bead necklace with Mia at the kitchen island.
"Hmmm? Which part?" She asks, still focusing on her art.
"The boy part."
"Boy?" I knew he'd react this way, "What boy? Why? What happened? And which boy is this? Do I know him? What happened, Pao?"
"Relax, he didn't do anything." I jump in before he over-reacts further making all of us uncomfortable.
"Yeah, he just kissed me." The little girl answers nonchalantly to which his Papa raises his voice in shock, "What?!"
Okay, maybe it’s not a good idea to rile him up this early. I should've let him shower or finish his drink first instead of poking him rightaway.
He's already walking to his daughter, "Why would you let him kiss you? Where did he kiss you?"
"Here," she points to her left cheek, and I can see relief by the movement of his chest, along with the softening of his facial expression. I giggle silently, trying to watch this without ruining the father-daughter scene.
"Did he ask permission?"
"Why did you allow him to kiss you?"
"Because he's cute, Papa."
He takes a deep breath before over-reacting again, this time with sarcasm, "Ohhhh so you'll let anyone kiss you if they're cute?"
"She's just a kid," I interrupt before he's making this worse. It's supposed to be a funny thing, not to be taken seriously as he is now, "Chill, Papa."
But of course, he ignores me, "If a boy asks you to do something you don't want to, just say no. Okay Princesa?"
"Or tell him my Papa would be happy to try it with you." It all went out before I managed to stop myself.
Owen turns to me in disbelief as Mia's eyes widen once she heard my comment. Luckily Pao seems to still be clueless.
"Mia, can you bring Pao for her morning walk now?"
Whoaaa where did that authoritative voice come from? Because the nanny quickly stands up and brings our daughter to get the coat eventhough she's protesting to finish up her necklace first.
"You get a chocolate bar if you leave now," was his bribe to make Pao runs to the main door and within three minutes there is just the two of us in this place.
"I'd appreciate it if you keep all your gay jokes or any sex jokes to yourself from now on, none of it in front of her." That tone remains, only now he can speak freely without alerting anyone else.
"Yeah okay." It's supposed to be a hilarious situation, having fun with your family kinda thing, being cool, joking around. Why does he have to turn this around. Party pooper.
"Come here if you want me to fuck you now," he then looks at his watch, "We have twenty three minutes before they're back."
"Excuse me? You just ruined the mood." To do anything. He's like that person who always ruin people's mood by being moody and difficult.
"And I'm gonna ruin your ass next. Come on Mama."
"I love her but I have to say," he stops cutting the steak and lifts his eyes to look at me, "I'm glad we're here just the two of us. I miss eating with you without having a distraction."
I chuckle hearing him call our daughter a distraction. It's Sunday evening so she's with Hugo until it's Owen's turn again on Tuesday. We've been hanging out at my place whenever it's Hugo's days.
In case you're wondering if we've gotten back together, no. We haven't. We're still figuring things out. As of now we both agree to work on our issues; trust and communication. We're not putting a label to this relationship. Friendship. Anything you wanna call it.
To be honest I'm leaning towards being on my own once the baby arrives. Like he'll still be in the picture but as a Papa to Pao and maybe, just maybe, to her too.
I love being with him but I don't see myself being with him for a long term. Maybe we can co-parent while being with other people.
There's a reason we're an ex. And the only ex I wanna have in my life is extra money, not this ex who stirs my emotion all the time.
And to be super honest, he deserves better. I’m not gonna live my life doubting myself the entire time if I’ll ever be good enough for him. I don’t wanna keep running just to catch the train, maybe it’s time to accept the fact that I’m meant to be at this stop.
But like I said, we’re still figuring out. He knows about this view, and I know about his too. We both want different things.
“What about Spanish name? Perla?” He has been suggesting names for the baby because I complained about not having any, “You know, Paola. Perla. Paola-Perla, sisters.”
“Nah,” I shake my head, “Told you I want a stand-alone name without being connected to Pao. She doesn’t have to be her sister’s shadow since day one.” Because I’ve been my sisters’ shadow since day one. Believe me, it’s not fun to be compared with all the time.
“But it will be so cute. Two blonde girls, running around the park, and when it’s time to come home you just shout, Pao, Perla! Let’s go! See. Isn’t it cute? If you name her Ruby, it’d be like, Pao, Ruby, let’s go. Isn’t it like, you have to roll your tongue the other way just to say her name. Pao. R-rrrruby.”
I laugh at his attempt to show his twisted tongue, “No it’s not. You’re making it difficult! And please, who’d name their babies Ruby. This is not the 50s.”
I was at the office that Monday when he rang me to let me know he's in front of the building. It was weird, considering I just saw him three hours ago at home, and we'll be seeing each other again later after work so why is he so adamant about seeing me this very hour? He didn't even wanna tell me when I asked why, and just ordered me to come down, ending the call abruptly.
"Hey," I smile at him the moment I see him in his winter coat, standing next to the car.
I approach him for a kiss as we usually do when we see each other but his words throw me off, "Did you, or did you not, ask your lawyer, to take the two days?"
He's obviously furious, glaring at me with a tight face. He looked more attractive when he's mad like this. The forbidden fruit is always tempting.
But yeah, I did. Right after I came back from the lunch last week, I asked my expensive lawyer to send a request to Hugo, to relinquish his two days with Pao to me the entire time he's away from her or until whenever he wants to.
And yes, that means I'll be taking six days a week instead of just four, with two of them are the entire weekend.
"Unlike you, he had the courtesy to come to me and ask me to discuss this with you."
Hugo did ask the same thing six days ago, to sit down with Owen and let him know the outcome of our discussion. Because he doesn't wanna get in the middle of us, since he'll be too far from here in case something happens.
"There's nothing to discuss." I hug myself, somewhat grateful that Pao isn't anywhere near here.
"What do you mean there's nothing to discuss? I'm not gonna give you the entire weekend! The least you can do is to give me one day."
"Don't push it Estelle." The warning he's giving doesn't scare me, but makes me more determined to fight him.
"I deserve every single day for four years in a row. But I'm nice so I'll give you one day a week. But no, I want those two days. If you want to negotiate, come back after four years!"
I turn to walk to my office building but he grabs my wrist, "You have another daughter. Pao is all I have."
"Too bad then." I pull my hand and continue walking, leaving him there all on his own. Guess I'll be sleeping alone tonight.
Or from now onwards.