“Wow,” I say.
“It’ll all work out,” Allison says confidently. “You guys just need to talk.”
Considering our track record, I hope she doesn’t mean we should talk alone; we’re more likely to end up in bed if we try. I cough at this thought and give Allison a tremulous smile.
“Yeah,” I say.
Still, I feel more relaxed now. I take in a steadying breath. Allison is right. Communication is going to be the key here. Even if we only ever talk about Owen, that’s okay. After all, our son is now the only thing that needs to be holding us together. Anything else can wait.
“Alright,” I say aloud. “I’m ready to do this.”
Of course, right at that moment, the doorbell rings for a second time. I freeze.
“Want me to get it?” Allison asks sympathetically.
It’s tempting, but…
“No, it’s fine,” I say, and march toward the door.
It’s Grant this time. Last time he showed up on my doorstep, his expression was hard and unforgiving. This time, however, he’s shuffling his feet, and his eyes are flickering everywhere. It was one thing to know that he would be nervous… It’s another thing entirely to see just how anxious he is.
“Hey,” he says, passing a plastic bag from hand to hand.
“Hey,” I return, stepping aside. “Come in. He’s waiting for you.”
He gives me a slightly scared look, and I feel myself relax even more. Grant is terrified.
“Don’t look so worried,” I say to him. “It’s going to be fine. He’s going to love you.”
He visibly smiles.
“Right,” he says. “Living room?”
I nod, and he marches forward, looking like he’s heading to the gallows. He nods at Allison, who smiles back at him, obviously harboring no ill feelings for his manipulations, and disappears through the door.
“He looks so nervous,” Allison giggles quietly as I approach. “I’ll have to tell Kyle about this.”
“I’m not sure Grant will appreciate that,” I say with a small smile.
Grant is approaching Owen carefully, clutching his plastic bag. I can see the top of some sort of toy box, and I realize that he took the advice I gave him on Sunday. He’s halfway there when Owen notices him and looks up.
Grant freezes. I almost want to take a picture of the expression on his face, which is equal parts startled and worried. Owen blinks up at him with large, brown eyes that are so much like his father’s.
“Daddy?” he asks, tilting his head curiously.
“Y…” Grant clears his throat. “Yeah.”
“Okay,” Owen says with a shrug, and goes back to coloring.
There’s something ironic about how the three adults in the room are tense and waiting, while the sole child couldn’t care less about anything. Grant looks back, his expression panicked, not sure what to do now that he’s been dismissed.
I could step in, but… I make a shooting motion, telling him to keep going, not intending on helping him at all. It’s only partly petty. Grant does need to get to know Owen on his own steam, after all.
It has nothing to do with Grant making it clear that he wanted nothing more to do with me unless we’re talking about Owen. Nothing at all.
Grant wavers uncertainly. Then he slowly sits on the floor.