He headed out to his SUV and drove to his dad’s office to see if he was free. His secretary waved him through and went in to see Abby and his dad eating take out on his couch laughing.
“Hey Jake! How’s it going?” Mike asked as he got up to hug him.
“I need to talk to you, Dad…”
“I will get my stuff and will head out to give you two some privacy…” as she started to get up.
“No, please stay Abby. You can help…” Jake said as he sat down in the arm chair.
Jake started out telling them that Derrick and Lynn had the baby this morning and how he was there to see him. He stopped and took a deep breath and continued speaking.
“But then there was this moment that Lynn was holding the baby and Derrick was with her on the bed with his arms around them with this look on his face. I saw that look when Mom would look at me growing up; the look of pure love and contentment. I realized that Sammy didn’t have that. Yeah I saw the pictures of you and Marie around the bed looking at Gracie and Sammy had you with her. But it wasn’t the same and I was physically sick realizing that they had missed that because I was fucking moron! And the guilt is unreal right now!!” He finished with a sob in his voice as he told them.
Mike and Abby looked at each other, and then went over to him. Abby sat on the end of the couch and touched Jake’s knee. Mike was on the other side with his hand on his shoulder.
“Jake,” Abby said in a gentle voice, “I know that you realize you made some decisions in your life that you are not proud of. You hurt yourself, your dad and Sammy. You didn’t know about Gracie. Yes it was a choice you made, but you can’t beat yourself up over it forever! You missed out on some big things, but are you going to let that guilt make you miss out on more of Gracie’s life? On being with Sammy? Gracie is an exceptional child and she needs you in her life. ALL OF YOU! Not just you physically, but to love her and guide you and see that she grows up to be an exceptional woman. A father is the single most influential male in a girls’ life. Her relationship with her father will set up how she views men and relationships with them. Do you want her to succeed and be the best she can possibly be?”
Jake looked at Abby and saw the sincerity in her face and eyes, “Of course I do! She is my daughter; I love her unconditionally and always will!”
“Then put on your big boy pants, and be that man for her! Do you love Sammy?” She asked.
“With all my heart, since I was 14 years old,” he answered.
“Then talk to her! Tell her how you feel, how sorry you are and then move on. Dwelling on this will cause rifts in your relationship and sometimes harboring guilt makes things too difficult to move on from. I don’t want to see that happen to you and Sammy. You are a beautiful couple and I would hate for something like this to be the thing that drives you apart when you are just getting back together.”
“Son, just talk to Sammy. I know how much you have changed, so does she. You found your way back to her, you have a daughter and are doing an amazing job with her. Let that be your focus, the future. Not the past!”
Jake looked at the people in front of him, thinking and processing the things they were saying. He knew Abby was right. He did need to look forward, not backward and be the man that both Sammy and Gracie needed. He couldn’t let them down again. He didn’t want any more pictures of milestones to be taken without him in them. He was bound and determined to be better from that day forward. He nodded his head as he stood up. He ran his hands over his face and wiped away the few tears that had fallen as he was talking.
“Thank you Abby…” he whispered as she hugged him.
He then turned to his dad. His dad quickly hugged him and whispered, “I am so proud of you!”
Jake was shocked by the words and hugged him harder, letting the feeling of pride help wash away the guilt that was in him. Jake let go and smiled at them both.
“I owe you both big time for talking me off the ledge. I will make it up to you this weekend! I am planning something for Saturday night!” Jake said with a smile.
The both chuckled and waved him out the door. Abby went to clean up the take out boxes when Mike spun her around and kissed her passionately.
“You are an amazing woman Abigail. Thank you for helping my son!”
Abby was shocked by his words and blushed, “Thanks, I was just trying to help out.”
“And a damn fine job you did too. Thank you!”
She hugged Mike and kissed him again as they walked out the door together, promising to see each other in a few hours for dinner at her place.