Harrison sits on my lap, as we watch his favorite cartoon. I stroke his hair, a smile on my face. Soon. Soon we'll be—
He kisses my neck. I too my eyes, pushing him away.
Harrison looks up at his father. Benjamin rumples his hair, going into the kitchen.
Harrison leans back on my looking up at me. "Are you and dad...back together?"
I swallow. "Do you want us to be?"
He shrugged. "I just don't want you to leave again."
"I won't. I won't leave." I kiss his head.
"Honey, I need help."
I roll my eyes, getting up. "I'll be right back."
I walk into the kitchen. "Don't tell me you don't know how to make a grilled cheese—"
He kisses me hastily, his lips on my mouth, on my neck, his hands roaming.
"What are you doing?" I ask.
"I missed you," he whispered. "Honey, I missed you."
"It's been all of 53 minutes since I woke up."
He looks over me. I frown. Pulling back. I hold his face between my hands. Something isn't right.
"Is something wrong?" I ask.
He smiles, shaking his head. "Of course not. I told you I missed you. I couldn't keep my hands off you for a second."
I brush my fingertips over his eyes lashes. "Your eyes...something isn't right with them. Have you been drinking? Or worse?"
He glanced away, before looking at me. "Of course not. I'd never do drugs and it's 8 in the morning I haven't drunk anything but coffee."
Something isn't right. With his eyes. I step back.
"Maybe you should rest," I suggest hesitantly.
"I don't need rest. Rest keeps me away from you. I just...need to be near you."
I frown even more deeply. He pushes me against the counter, burning his face into my neck.
"You smell so sweet. Like—"
"Honey," I finish dully. "Fix your son his sandwich. And Benjamin? Whatever is happening to you? Address it."
He cocks his head and then smiles.
"Mom!" Harrison steps in the room his eyes on his father.
Benjamin smiles at him. "Sorry for the wait buddy. I'll get on it right now—"
"Mamma," Harry takes my hand, pulling me away from Benjamin. "Mamma come on. I want you to hold me."
I sigh, letting him pull me away. I sit down, and he climbs in my lap.
"I love you, Mama." He hugs me.
"Do you love your father?"
Harrison says nothing.
"Are you upset at your father," I ask.
He looks down. "Whenever dad talked about you and why you ran away...he always looked...guilty."
"He's why you got sick, isn't he? He's why you went away?" Harrison sniffles, "He did it. It's his fault I didn't have my momma around. It's all his fault."
"Because you weren't sick, were you Mama? You just left. Because of him."
"I hate him!"
"Don't say that," I hug him tightly. "Don't say that. Why I left...it's complicated. It's more than what you think."
"Is it? That's why you're not married like everyone else's mom and dad. Because you hate my dad. He did something bad to you."
True. But telling him that won't help him. Neither will hating his father. Sure, I can't stand that man. But it will only hurt him to hate his father like that.
"Don't hate your dad. He loves you. What happened between me and him happened a long time ago. And I left for lots of reasons. But he brought me back. Right?"
Harrison nods. I kiss his head. "You'll see my sweet baby. You'll be happy. Just focus on being happy. Let the grownups worry about the rest."
Benjamin hands him the grilled cheese. I elbow him gently.
"Thank you dad," he murmured.
• • •
I've decided to let him go back to school tomorrow. I'll start on getting another job. Everything will be fine and soon—
He will not go away!
"Benjamin, this isn't your house. You can leave. You've far extended your welcome."
He hugs me. "Honey, if I brought you a surprise. Would you be happy?"
He smiles. "I found out who ordered the Paparazzi."
"You were right about them. I should've listened to you, and I'll never make that mistake again. Honey, I...you knew best. I was wrong, taking their side."
I scoff. "Oh well. You live and you learn."
"They put our boy in danger. They put you in danger. I thought they were friends. But I should've known." He sighs. "I think I'm getting better at it though."
I take the bait. "At what?"
"Making people disappear. Would you like to add them to the list?"
I shake my head with a smirk. "You know, once you kill more than three people, you're a serial killer."
He smiles. "Kill? I didn't kill anyone. They just can't be found that's all. Besides, if they were dead, it's because...I was taking orders from you honey."
I sigh. "I don't need them to disappear. It anything I need you to disappear."
He looks slightly wounded. "I understand. But they did cause you pain. All of our childhood. And half the things I did, I did under their influence. And they've...they've said things about Harry."
My blood boils.
"They told me I should give him away. They said that he was nothing but a useless burden, and I should just leave him on the street—"
"You know what?" I smile. "If they happened to disappear, I wouldn't be upset."
"But would you be happy?" He insists.
I sigh, looking up at him. "I don't feel such things anymore, Benjamin. Sorry."
"And hypothetically, if I went away would that make you happy?"
I swallow. "Nothing makes me happy but my son. Now leave."
He backs away slowly. "I see. Your baby makes you happy."
I frown. "Benjamin. I know you're not the brightest bulb, but don't do anything stupid."
He smiles, chuckling. But he doesn't say he won't.