The next morning, Cyrus had gone to check on Tammy at his parent’s cabin across the lake and move some of her things for her. Tammy sat back in the recliner in the old cabin as Cyrus laid a blanket across her lap. The home was cozy with a mix of modern and rustic. Cyrus and his brother and sister had worked hard to keep the family home just as their parents would have wanted it. A home that was welcoming to everyone.
“How’s this? Are you comfortable?”
“Yes. Thank you. Will you sit with me awhile?”
Cyrus reached and took her hand in both of his. “I’m sorry. This is just a lot to process.”
“Of course. She’s a wonderful woman. Not many ladies would be okay with their man helping their ex.”
Cyrus looked into Tammy’s eyes. He had to be honest. “I do. It shows that much?”
“But not now?”
“No.” Cyrus blushed with a shy smile, looking away.
“That’s cute. Hell, Cy. I don’t think you were ever like this with me. It’s nice to see you truly happy.”
“You think so?”
“I know so. Cyrus. I need to be honest with you. I was never in love with you the way you were with me. I was just a clueless teenager when we met. We fell in love fast and married right out of high school. I wasn’t ready for that. You were ready to start a family as soon as you crossed the stage to get your diploma. It’s who you are. You are a nurturer. I loved you, but I wasn’t in love with you.”
“Wow. Thanks for making me feel like our marriage was a total lie.”
“Exactly. You just saw me as a charity case. Cy, I cheated. A lot. It started after you started wrestling for the pros and I went to college. I had found a whole new world, but I felt guilty for betraying you. After I started teaching, I thought it was time to settle down with you and really try. But the truth is, I felt empty inside. I was so alone while you were away and I went right back to those old habits. I started seeking out men to get the attention that I thought I wanted from you. Then I was asked to take care of Isis. She was so messed up then. I didn’t know what I was doing and sure had no business being responsible for her.”
“About the cheating. I knew. I didn’t want to believe it. I just thought as long as you came home to me at night, I could accept it. It wasn’t until Grayson that I couldn’t take it anymore. Tammy, why him? That broke my heart. Especially knowing what he did to me and my family. How could you do that to me?”
“Cyrus. Listen to me. You have to move past it.”
“No. I don’t. How can you? She was our daughter.”
“Because you were not living for you. You were living for me, Isis, Holly, Wraith, and all of IWX. It’s like your parents died and you died with them. The only thing left was trying to keep everyone around you in this bubble you created. It was suffocating. Even the girls always said how overprotective you can be. When I lost the baby, it was like a part of you died with her. Like another part of you died all over again. Just like when your parents were killed.”
“Was that what you wanted?”
“I do. I wouldn’t trust him to anyone else.”
Cyrus picked up the child and held him close, smelling his soft baby powder scent. Elias snuggled into Cyrus’ neck with a smile.
“Our daughter. Do you think she is looking down on us now?”
“I think so. Maybe she’s helping us both to heal and make amends.”
“I’m sorry I wasn’t there for you then. I’m sorry I shut down. I thought my last chance of having a child of my own was gone. I felt like I failed you. After all those years trying, and then we lose her.”
“I forgive you. I hope you can one day forgive me too.” Tammy smiled up at her baby boy.
Mia had spent the morning hanging out with the wives. She had been convinced by little Macy to take her to play outside and Macy was having a blast. The little girl was a sassy little bundle of joy.
“Shh… come on munchkin. Let’s go. I’ll hide with you.” Wraith scooped her up in his arms and took off running around the house. “Good luck finding us, Mia. Macy and I are the best hide and seek team in the world.”
“In world!” Macy giggled as Wraith ran with her.
The group stepped outside from the house, seeing Wraith running away. Slade and Colt shoved each other back and forth roughhousing, as usual.
“What do you say, guys? A group hide and seek game?”
“Next time, baby. We can invite everyone to Florida and do this again sometime.”
Just as Colt was about to take off running, Mia slapped him in the back of the head. “You’re it! The porch is home base. I’m safe.”
Isis just shook her head and laughed. “I’m going back inside. This little one needs a diaper change. Don’t you Madison? You smell like poo-poo.”
“Like Madison knows what I’m talking about. Move it, woman. Daddy needs his special time.”
Mia laughed as the couple flirted as they headed back inside.
Colt grabbed his wife’s hand. “Come on, Holly. We have a munchkin and a monster to find. Team up.”
As everyone ran in different directions, Mia watched the family play together with the little girl. She missed big family gatherings like this. Thinking back to her childhood, she remembered her cousins playing games in the backyard of her parent’s home. Those years had been long gone. Everyone had gone on different life paths.
There was something complete here with the Evans family and friends. Something she missed and craved. Family. All those lonely nights in her apartment back in Indiana felt far away. For the first time in years, she felt like she belonged.
“Hey, babe. Meet, Elias. I call him Eli.”
“He likes you. Tammy was having a bad morning so I agreed to take him for the day, so she can rest.” Cyrus pulled her to the patio chairs. “She’s bad, Mia. Tammy can barely stand up. I think she’s been holding on, hoping I would come around for the baby. I’m going to talk to her doctor first thing Monday and see what her prognosis is. Tammy says they keep mentioning Hospice.”
“I’m a big girl, Cy. I can handle it. Life isn’t always fair. Truth is, I think we were so caught up in each other, we have pretty much been ignoring the fact there is a real-world around us. Everything with us has been so… perfect. But, life isn’t perfect, is it?”
“No. I suppose not. You’re right. I’ve been living in this fantasy world with you. But, if we want to really make it, we need to start figuring out what our future means to us.”
“What does it mean to you?”
“And if that means, Elias is part of the package deal?”
“Human. It’s a big responsibility. The moment she mentioned you taking Elias, I saw your eyes light up. You really want this, don’t you?”
“You mean it?”
“Yep. I’m not giving up my chance to manage Doom. So we need to work out how to raise a child and be on the road too.”
Cyrus started to get excited and pulled the baby and Mia into his arms. “I love you, flower. I’m going to make this work. I promise.” Cyrus yelled to the sky. “I’M GOING TO BE A DADDY!”
Wraith ran around the house with Macy over his shoulder as she laughed hysterically. “Uncy Cy! Save Macy!”
“No way, munchkin. You’re Uncy Wraith's baby girl now. Uncle Cy can’t save you. You let the monster get you.”
The little girl giggled as Wraith spun in the air making her laugh even more.
“It’s nice to meet you too.”