“Can I come in?” I asked after knocking twice on the door.
“You know, you can.” He replied, maintaining a straight face. I signed but enter, sitting on the edge of Chase’s bed.
“Are you okay?” I asked, stroking his honey-blond hair.
“Is Hazel gonna die?” His voice cracked, eyes full of crystal-like tears. I held my tears, shaking my head.
“No! she is strong like you, and nothing is going to happen to her. Come here.” I held out my arms and hugged him tightly. “She has the best brother anyone could ask for, and you guys have so many years ahead to annoy and love each other.” He chuckled, and I signed in relief.
“Can I sleep with you tonight? Like the old times.” Accepting his innocent request was the least I could do at that moment.
“Of course, sweety.” He cheered and ran out of his room to mine. I shook my head, smiling. I followed him right away and found him staring at Zach, who was holding Hazel in his arms.
“Is she having trouble sleeping?” I asked Zach to tuck her to bed earlier and went to talk to Chase.
“Uhm... she wanted me to sleep with her so...uhmm... I was taking her to my bedroom.” I nodded my head, moving forward where he was standing.
“Hey, baby. Sleep tight, okay.”
“Can’t we all sleep together? I want to sleep with Hazel too.” Chase said from behind.
“Yeah! me too.” Hazel cheered, liking Chase’s idea.
“No!” Zach and I said at the same time.
“Please, daddy... Please, mummy,” they pleaded, showing their puppy dog eyes.
This is awkward. I lift my eyes and found his staring at me already.
“You don’t have to agree to any of these.” I threw my hand, gesturing to Hazel and Chase. “Besides, Hazel is quite difficult when sleeping.” Hazel narrowed her eyes at me, pouting.
Zach turned his head, looking at Hazel, “Is it true, princess?”
“No, daddy. I promise.” She worriedly answered, showing her pinky.
“Let’s do it, then,” Zach said, shocking me.
It’s not a good idea. I thought again.
Zach left to change, and Hazel and Chase rush to settle on the bed. The bed was big, but it is going to be an uncomfortable night. Sharing it with Zach makes it even worse. What was he even thinking?
“Daddy!!!” I turned to find Zach standing by the door in a tee and sweatpants looking hot as always. His messy hair gave him a more youthful look. He cleared his throat, and I averted my eyes from gawking at his handsomeness.
“Princess, make some space for daddy,” he asked Hazel, who was lying on the right side of the bed.
“But it is my side, daddy. I don’t like sleeping in the middle,” I rolled my eyes at the obvious. Zach looked at me for help, and I shrugged my shoulder while sliding under the covers. Chase was settled between Hazel and me, holding a storybook.
“Where am I suppose to sleep then?” He asked Hazel, throwing his hand in the air.
“Daddy, sleep on the left side. It has plenty of space here.” Chase suggested, which made my body go stiff.
“Yes, daddy.” Hazel pushed, showing her teeth in a full grin.
I avoided his stare and started reading the book. I felt the side of the bed dip with his weight and shifted towards Chase to avoid any touch with Zach.
“Anna, you are squeezing me,” Chase complained, and I moved backward.
“Sorry,” I mumbled.
They fall asleep some moments later, but the sleep was far away from our eyes.
“She indeed is a difficult sleeper,” Zach whispered, holding his body with one elbow, admiring his daughter, whose one leg and arm was on Chase’s body and mouth slightly ajar.
“Told you.” I smiled, looking at his face. “Are you comfortable?” I know he is not.
“I’m good.” I nodded but side sleep to give him more space.
“Good night,” I said before drifting back to sleep.
I woke up with a heavyweight on my body. A tight grip on my waist, holding me close to his body. Zach’s leg was on mine, making it difficult to move. The kids were nowhere in the room. Glancing at the clock, it was 7 in the morning, still quite early, and I was still carving for a few hours of sleep. My body was aching by lying in the same position.
I moved Zach’s leg with much difficulty. He was still very much asleep. I tuned my body facing him and moved backward to create some space, but he shifted ahead and pressed his body with mine. He buried his face on my neck, and his breathing was warm and comfortable. I was too tired to complain and fall asleep again.
This is nice. The warmth, it’s comforting and familiar. The more I want to control myself, the more it is pulling me towards it. It’s been so long that I’m feeling like this, and it’s not in my control anymore. I can’t stay away from her; not now, not ever. I pulled myself from her neck and stared at her peaceful structure. The minute she returned to my life, I feared losing her again. I reminded myself of her betrayal over and over again, but it is impossible to fall out of love with someone like Anna.
She is like the ray of sunshine on a winter morning.
I wanted to hate her for the pain she gave me, but that pain is nothing in front of the misery I suffered, missing her. The hollow inside my heart was dreading to call her again and fix everything with her. Forgive her and forget everything related to that incident and start a new life with her and Chase. And now, Hazel being in the picture, it’s even impossible to stay away from her. Pressing my forehead to her, her lips brushing against mine.
“I want to make it right, Anna. For our kids and us.” I whispered, kissing the top of her head, and left her bedroom before glancing at her sleepy form.
After changing into my formal attire, I came downstairs, where the kids were having their breakfast on the table besides Mia and Samantha.
“Good morning, daddy.” They replied, munching their food.
“Where’s Anna?” Mia asked with a smirk that was lingered on her face.
“Sleeping,” I gave her a short reply and started to eat my breakfast.
I typed a message to Emily asking her to meet me for lunch. Before I start anything with Anna, I have to end things with her. She is my best friend before she became my girlfriend. I know she’ll understand my reasons.
Kissing the kids goodbye, I left for the office.
“Hey! Baby… I thought you have forgotten about my presence after the arrival of your ex and all,” her sarcastic remark made me question my decision of breaking up with her right away. Will she take it normally? I know it’s not easy, and being heartbroken is not something you can take for granted. But Emily deserves better, somebody who would love her completely, unlike me.
“Em, you know I care about you, right?” she rolled her eyes, walking forward to me. “I have something to tell you.”
“What happened?” She asked, worrying.
“I—I have this thing on my mind for quite a long time. Em, I think we should—we should remain friends, like old times.” Her face looked pale, and she turned around facing the door. “I’m sorry Em. I can’t do this anymore, not to you at least. You deserve better than me.”
I moved ahead and grabbed her shoulder, turning her around to face me. Her head bowed, and I know she was holding her tears. I cupped her cheeks and lifted her face.
“It’s Anna, right.” Her question sounded more like a statement. She stared at me, tears filled her eyes and a smile.
My guilty eyes avoided hers. Making some distance between us, she wiped her tears. “I get it, Zach. She is the one you love, and I could never take her place in your heart.”
“Em, you are my best friend, and no one can replace your value in my life,” she nodded her head and took two steps ahead.
“I hope she’ll not blow her chance this time, because I won’t give you up on you if she did.” I chuckled, nodding my head. I signed in relief, hugging her. It went better than expected.
“Thank you, Em, for being such an awesome friend.” I kissed her head.
“You asked me to have lunch with me and broke up, you better treat me a feast.”
“At your service, ma’am.” I gave the royal bow, and we left my office for lunch.
I was hoping to left my office early, but the last-minute meeting occupied my time. After three years, my mood was delightful, even the employees noticed it. I couldn’t wait to have Anna in my arms and start a family with her. She has been through a lot, and it’s high time, I move on with the past and start fresh with the love of my life.
“Dad! I have been trying to call you since morning. You were supposed to be in New York four hours ago.” I bombarded the questions right after picking dad’s call.
“Our flight got canceled due to the bad weather. But don’t you worry; your mom and I are fine.” I signed in relief.
“Thank god! I am missing you guys. I have some urgent news to share with you two. So please, be back soon. Tell mom I love her and love you too.”
“Love you too, son, and we will be there as soon the weather gets normal. Take care bye.”
“You too, bye.” I cut the call.
My eyes fell on the clock, and I cursed. It was 8 o’clock, already. I picked my laptop and phone, making my way to the elevator. Soon I was in the parking lot and was about to open the car door when I heard the awfully familiar voice.
“It’s been long, friend.”
Hmmm...Who this friend might be?
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