“Shut up,” I say.
Grant chuckles and sits up.
“Bed?” he asks hopefully.
“Yeah,” I say thankfully.
We crawl up to the head of the bed and slip under the covers. Grant hesitates, and then reaches out to pull me toward him so I can snuggle against his chest. I smile at this show of trust and curl up against him.
Then, completely content, I close my eyes and drift off to sleep.
It’s still dark when I stir awake. Grant is lying beside me, his breathing deep and even. My body aches but my mind is light for the first time in years. I want to just stay here forever.
I gently lay my head on his chest, but the movement rouses Grant, and his breathing hitches before his eyes flutter open. I watch as the first thing he does is look down to see if I’m still there, and that makes me sad. But it’s understandable, of course. I have a long way to go in order to win back his trust.
“Hey,” I say.
“Hey,” he says, his voice rough with tiredness. He glances over at the clock and his eyebrow raises. “Why are you awake?”
“I don’t know,” I say with a yawn. “I think my mind is a little too active at the moment to let me sleep properly.”
He smiles softly. It gives me a thrill to see that smile, finally, directed toward me.
“Do you want to get up?” he offers.
“No,” I say instantly. “I’m happy staying right where I am.”
He chuckles. The sound rumbles pleasantly through his chest. I love the sound of his laughter. I love everything about him. How could I be so lucky as to get another chance with him?
He doesn’t say anything more and, eventually, his breathing evens out once more. I close my eyes, listening to the sound of his heartbeat.
“I’m going to make everything up to you,” I promise him. I don’t know whether he’s still awake, but I need to say the words. “Somehow, I’m going to show you how sorry I am for everything.”
“It’s not fine,” he says, and I start; part of me had thought he was asleep again. “It’s never going to be fine. But, I think it’s going to be okay, eventually.”
I remember telling Allison, what seemed a lifetime ago, that her guy was one of a kind. It seems I had forgotten that I have my own amazing man right here. My eyes burn and I smile as I press a soft kiss against his collar bone.
“I hope so,” I say. I pause. “I’m taking Owen to the park on Sunday. Would you like to come with us? We can go as a family.”
I feel his breath stutter in surprise.
“I’d like that,” he says. Then he laughs again. “I’d really like that.”
I smile again and close my eyes. Yes, somehow, we’re going to come out the other end of this. I don’t know how long this will last, or whether we’ll find it easier to co-parent Owen while just being friends, but regardless of what we decide, I can suddenly see a much brighter future for us both. We’re going to do the best we can for Owen.
And we’re going to do our best for each other, too.
One month later…
I hear a clatter in the kitchen and I make my way there, peering through the door. I blink when I see that Owen is at the sink, cheerfully washing his hands under the running water. He’s dragged a chair from the table over there to stand on.
“Hey,” I say, stepping fully into the room. My heart clenches when I realize that Jessica isn’t in there. I think I can hear her in the bathroom, so our mischievous son has taken the moment when she turned away to do this. “What are you doing there, Owen?”
Owen looks around at me. Guilt is written all across his small face.