Sammy saw his name come up and called Gracie over from the island and hit the green button and handed the phone to her and simply said, “It’s your Daddy.”
She moved to the couch and gave them some privacy. She listened and tried not to cry as she heard her ask if he still loved her. They talked for a few more minutes and she jumped some when Gracie handed the phone to her and she quickly hit the end button, terrified that he wanted to talk to her.
They went about their day, cleaning and getting ready for Kevin, Ashley and Fish to arrive the next day. Sammy cooked some desserts and other goodies for the next week. They were going to stay with them and explore the surrounding area. Sammy and Gracie were going to be their tour guides for some of the days and next weekend they were going to have a cookout for them with Mike, Abby, Derek, Lynn, Matthew, Kate, Joey and Emma.
Gracie was ecstatic at the thought of the new people for her to talk to and was drawing pictures to give to them. She was sticking them everywhere and taping them all over the house.
Sammy was very excited to meet and get to know Ashley and Kevin. She felt a connection just talking to them over the phone and wanted to grow the relationship. She selfishly felt that if she was close to them, she was a little closer to Jake again.
The girls went to Mike’s house for dinner with him and Abby that night and had a wonderful night together. Mike carried Gracie to the car after she fell asleep on his lap as they sat outside on the patio in the wonderful night air. She was getting too big for Sammy to do this much longer and was sad at that thought. Her baby was growing up.
Ashley, Kevin and Fish arrived about 3:00 after taking two days to arrive with Ashley being pregnant and her ankle still in a boot. They got out and Sammy and Gracie met them at the door. Fish was a large Great Dane, who thought he was a lap dog; lovable and always wanting to cuddle. Gracie was taken with him instantly and he loved her too. They immediately went to play in the backyard with the balls that Gracie insisted that they get for him.
The three adults hugged and Sammy took them inside to show them where they would be staying. They quickly got settled in the guest room and were relaxing outside watching Gracie and the dog.
They talked, getting to know one another better and it continued all through dinner. Gracie went and brought a book out that she was reading and was showing off to Kevin.
“Kevin have you read ‘Harry Potter’? I really like it! I am on book two. Mommy says I can’t see the movies yet, cuz I am too little.”
“I did read them when I was in high school. Do you want me to read it to you?” Kevin asked as they sat on the couch.
“NO! I am going to read it to you!” She said indignantly.
Kevin smiled and told her to go ahead, and his jaw hit the floor when she opened her mouth and started reading the words to him. He was shocked and just let her continue for a good 20 minutes.
Ashley and Sammy were cleaning the kitchen and smiled at her, “She really is gifted isn’t she?”
“Yes, it can be exhausting trying to keep up with her. Her brain just doesn’t stop sometimes and it can be like dealing with a 20 year old as fast as she processes things.”
Her and Ashley talked about pregnancy and was happy to hear that Ashley’s was progressing well, almost in the second trimester. She still had the boot on from breaking her foot but was feeling good. Saying good night, they all went to bed.
The next week was so much fun! Sammy and Gracie took their guests up to some of their favorite places in the mountains and into Denver. They laughed, talked, took pictures and explored. Kevin and Gracie were quite taken with each other and she was always on Kevin’s shoulders as they walked. Wednesday when they stopped for lunch in downtown Denver, Gracie made Kevin melt.
“Kevin, do you like me?” She asked innocently.
“Oh my goodness yes! You are one of my favorite people!” Kevin said.
“Can I call you Uncle Kevin? I have an Uncle Derek, but I would like another Uncle and I think you would be good.”
Kevin looked at Sammy and she nodded her head slightly giving him the go ahead, “I would be honored Gracie if you called me Uncle.”
Gracie jumped up and hugged him and then made herself at home on his lap for the rest of the meal. Ashley could tell that the little girl was missing her father deeply and needed a male connection. It was right then that she was even more pissed at Jake for being a dumb ass.
They finished up and went home in the late afternoon. The mailman had left a box for Gracie and she was thrilled to see that it was from her dad. Sammy helped her open it and found an IPAD inside with a note.
‘Gracie, I got this for you so that we can video call each other. I have it all set up with my number and all you have to do is ask your mom and push the button and we can see each other and talk. I love you, be good! Love Daddy’
“Oh can I call now?! Please Mommy!!!”
Sammy relented, not thrilled to be able to see him, but she knew Gracie needed it, desperately. She set her up at the island and showed her how to push the button. It started calling and after two rings he picked up and Gracie squealed at seeing him. They talked a few minutes and then Jake asked what she had been doing in camp.
“Oh I am not in camp this week. Uncle Kevin and Aunt Ashley are here and we have been playing all over. We have had so much fun!”
“Uncle Kevin? Who is Uncle Kevin?” Jake asked, already knowing the answer.
“Uncle Kevin is your friend silly! He was with you when I saw you at the store Daddy! They are on vacation with us!” She replied with a giggle.
Jake was pissed and saw Ashley walk past in the background getting a bottle of water, making his blood pressure rise. They hung up a few minutes later and Jake immediately called Kevin.
“What the fuck? Why are you with my daughter and my-“ Jake fumed.
“Your what Jake? You threw Sammy away and left without a second glance to your daughter. Sammy, Ashley and Mike and I have been talking a lot since you left to check in on them! Sammy invited us out to continue our plans and we are having a good time! So don’t you DARE yell at me when I have had people telling me how you are out drinking and whoring around with Denise again!!” Kevin exploded outside so the ladies wouldn’t hear.
“What do you care? You kicked me out of your house!”
“I care because I love you! You are my best friend! We have been through everything together for the last six years! You saw me being an ass, finding Ashley, changing to be better for her and marrying her. You were my best man! And now I am going to be a father, something I hoped we could do together, but not if you don’t pull your head from your ass! Gracie is an amazing child, I love being around her! I get it if you don’t want to be with Sammy, that’s fine. I understand that feelings change and that you may not love –“
“That’s the thing Kev! I love her so much! So much it hurts that I am not with her and not helping raise Gracie! It is killing me! That’s why I have been drinking; I’m trying to go stop the pain!”
“Then what the hell is with Denise?!”
“I don’t know…She is willing…It helps get my mind off of Sammy…”
“Yeah and each time you stick your dick in her you are giving her hope that there is a future. Is there with her?”
“Hell no! It’s just sex…”
“Then you better make damn sure that she knows and understands that!”
“I will…Are they ok? I mean really? What about my Dad?”
Kevin sighed and told him his observations and how they were fairing after almost three weeks of him running out on them.
“Jake, have you thought about going to talk to someone? I mean like to talk about what happened and how you’re dealing with it?”
“I…Maybe…No, but you think I probably should, don’t you?”
“Yes, I think you should Jake. I think it will help give you clarity and you can decide about the future. Don’t keep messing it up Jake.”
Jake promised he would look into it and hung up. He sat thinking about the conversation and how Kevin was right and heard his phone ring. He ignored the ringing after he saw that it was Denise and instead placed a call to his coach, needing his guidance.
Kevin went back in and told Gracie goodnight as she went up to the bedroom where Ashley was sitting in bed reading waiting for him to come up, “What the hell was that?! Was that Jake?”
Kevin sat on the bed and looked at her and sighed, “It was…I don’t want you to get too optimistic, but I think I might have gotten through to him…I have him thinking about going to a therapist and ditching that whore again.”
“I am so happy! Way to go Baby! I’m gonna call Lexi in the morning and tell her. Maybe Smitty can reinforce what you said! Wait, did you tell me that we love him and just want him to be happy?”
“I did Love, I did… And that Gracie and Sammy are amazing and they deserve the best.”
Ashley pulled him in for a kiss, “You are perfect! Good job!”
They fell asleep hoping that a corner had been turned.