It isn’t until late Sunday afternoon that I finally work up the courage to phone Jessica. I asked Kyle to get Jessica’s number off Allison - who is still blissful
ly unaware that anything untoward has happened between me and Jessica - for me. I stare at it for a long minute before finally taking in a deep breath and dialing the number.
She picks up on the fourth ring.
“Hello?” she says.
Her voice is cautious. The paranoid part of me thinks that it’s because she already knows it’s me calling. The logical part knows that she wouldn’t know it was me because my number would have come up as unknown, which is why she’s wary.
“It’s Grant,” I grunt.
I hear a sharp intake of breath. Then she sighs.
“Allison?” she asks dully.
“Kyle,” I correct. “I had him ask Allison for your number for me. I’ll be apologizing to Allison for using her very soon.”
“I’m sure,” she says. She sounds bitter, but I don’t think that’s fair; she’s probably upset I left yesterday, but what right does she have to be angry about that? “I guess you want to meet Owen?”
“As soon as possible.”
She sighs again.
“I understand,” she says, and her voice softens. There’s a hint of regret that I refuse to think about. “Does Tuesday at around twelve work with you?”
I work the afternoon shift on Tuesday but…
“I can do it,” I inform her.
Fiona will be happy to switch with me when I tell her what’s going on. I’ll send her a message as soon as I get off the phone.
“Great,” Jessica says, though she sounds unenthusiastic. She pauses. “I’ve told him. About you. He knows you’ll be coming to visit him soon.”
I’m pleasantly surprised. I didn’t expect her to say anything to Owen about me at all, leaving me to try and explain myself to a three-year-old boy that has never known his father.
“What did he say?” I ask cautiously.
Then I kick myself. He’s three. He’s probably more confused than anything else.
“Not much,” Jessica says anyway. “He’s curious. His friend has a dad and…well, he’s curious, I guess.”
“Any tips?” I snort.
“He likes toy cars,” Jessica says, surprising me by taking my question seriously. “It might open the door a little if you bring him a car the two of you can play with.”
It’s good advice. I swallow nervously around a suddenly dry throat. This is it… In two days’ time, I’m really going to meet my son.
Suddenly, all the bravado that I felt yesterday seems to have flown out the window.
“Thanks,” I say gruffly. “I’ll see you Tuesday.”
“Bye,” she says softly.
I hang up. My heart is racing and my palms are sweaty. I’m anxious, I realize. I’ve just set a day to meet my son, and I have no idea what to do about that.
No, it isn’t about meeting Owen. I’m a father.