Stella 5 Years Later
Stella sat on her front porch drinking her morning coffee watching Cade play at her feet. She couldn't believe he was already four. It seemed like just yesterday he was born. She watched as he moved the toy cars back and forth crashing them into each other with a loud boom. Smiling she felt the pang of sadness that sometimes hit her. Cade was the spitting image of his father. With his dark hair and grey eyes he was a constant reminder to Stella of Levi.
She jumped hearing the screen door crash caught off guard by Jake. Ignoring her he went to Cade running his hand though his hair, "you be good for your momma ok."
Cade looked up at Jake grinning, "ok daddy." Jake looked up at Stella no emotion what so ever on his face before he turned and walked down the steps toward his truck.
Oh how she hated to hear Cade call Jake daddy. It wasn't that Jake was a bad dad to Cade. In fact he had kept every promise he ever made to Stella about being a good father. He treated him as if he was his own son. He spoiled the hell out of him. It was Stella that Jake treated like crap. Some things never change.
No that was unfair to say. Jake had been good the first year, maybe two of their marriage. He had been supportive of Stella. He had married her knowing she was carrying Levi's baby. Jake had even been an amazing husband during those first years. Then one day she found the hotel receipt in his jeans as she was washing clothes and knew he was back to his old ways.
She confronted him about it and he only denied it telling her she was stupid. He loved to throw Levi in her face when they fought. He had never told a sole that Cade wasn't his but that didn't stop him from using him against her. Telling her how the whole town would call her a whore if they knew she had fucked one of her students and ended up pregnant. How he would end up looking the victim when he would claim he had no idea and how he had believed that Cade was his.
Stella took his verbal abuse and on occasions when he drank too much she sometimes took his physical abuse to. She had thought about running away so many times she couldn't count. If only Cade saw his daddy for what he really was. If only she would have told him no all those years ago.
Jake had the potential to be a good husband, he just couldn't stay with one woman. Stella was sure if she had turned a blind eye to his affairs that they wouldn't be in the same predicament they was in now. Maybe she could apologize to him and make him belive she was truly sorry for last nights fight. Maybe if she could make him belive that she forgave him he would lighten up and things could go back to a semi normal existence. He could even keep seeing this girl whoever she was, the more he saw her the less time he would spend making Stella's life miserable.
Cade stood up climbing on the swing beside Stella. "You mad at Daddy?"
Stella sighed looking down at Cade's grey eyes looking up at her with sadness. "Mommy's and Daddy's fight sometimes baby. I still love your daddy." A lie, but one she had to tell to make him belive her. To keep him happy.
She had promised to take Cade into town that day for lunch before school started back from spring break. Loading him up in the car they headed to one of his favorite restaurants on the square. Stella wasn't much hungry herself but she sat in the booth watching her son eat his burger and fries excited by the possibility of going to get ice cream when he was done.
They left hand in hand walking. Cade babbled on about dinosaurs as they walked a few stores down to the ice cream shop. The ice cream shop was new and had all kinds of weird flavors and Cade was all about choosing a different ice cream every time they went. Today he chose fruity pebble while Stella chose her same normal safe butter pecan.
Not paying attetnion as they exited the store Cade walked straight into a man waking down the sidewalk. Stella quickly went to apologize. When she looked up seeing Levi looking at her she froze. His gaze went to the small boy who was currently looking at him and back to Stella's.
She could see the flash of recognition hit him. Recognition then anger. She wanted to deny it, but the fact was clear. Cade was the spitting image of Levi at his age. Stella had been sure all the town people would have known that, they would figure it out but no one ever put two and two together accepting Jake as his dad.
Stella felt her heart break just a little more knowing Levi must hate her in this exact moment. She opened her mouth to speak but couldn't find the words to say. Cade's voice brought Stella back to reality when he held out his hand to Levi. "I sorry. My name is Cade."
Levi shook Cade's hand. "No worries Cade. Can I ask you a question?" He waited till Cade nodded. "How old are you."
Cade grinned, "I'm four years old."
"You sure are a smart little boy." Levi's eyes went up to mine, "yes or no and don't lie to me because I already know."
Stella nodded her head feeling her eyes brim with tears. Levi took a deep breath before he looked down at Cade. "Nice to meet you Cade. My name is Levi." Looking back up at Stella his smile vanished. "This conversation isn't over Stella. Is your number the same?"
As she nodded Levi looked back down at Cade one last time before he walked off leaving them both starring after him. Cade pulled Stella's hand leading them back to their car, away from the direction Levi had walked. Stella's mind began to panic. Why was Levi back in town? What would he do? Lastly She thought dear God don't let Jake found out Levi is back in town."