I can’t believe it’s finally here!!!! It feels like this book took forever to write and then came together quickly. I can’t wait for y’all to read it and would love if you could leave a review at your favorite retailer.
The bartender is cute, and I may have a crush on him.
But it’s not like I’m going to do anything because I have David, my son, to worry about
Which is fine until my ex-husband walks in with a younger and thinner girl on his arm. Then I grab on to the bartender with both hands and introduce him as my boyfriend.
This is a small town and word spreads. What was supposed to be one night becomes a fake relationship to keep up the ruse.
Catching feelings, though? That can’t happen.
The door slams with a finality I never imagined I’d have to go through. But here I am. Staring through teary eyes at the door.
This isn’t how I pictured my life. My son crying in my arms while the man I thought I would spend the rest of my life with, walks out the door without a backward glance. No goodbyes, or we can work on things. Just gone.
Being a single mom is not what I had in mind when I said ‘I do.’ To make matters worse, I can’t afford this house on my own. Without another source of income, I’ll be forced to move back in with Mom. Disrupting the routine she has with Reaf and Bryce.
No. I will not do that. I don’t need to figure it all out right now, but I will soon. Full-time job and everything. It’s the only thing that will provide for us. I’m not sure what is going through Nathan’s head, but I need to do what is best for me and my child. If he comes around and wants to make this work, I’ll consider it. Even if it’s against my better judgement. If he was willing to do the work in the first place, he wouldn’t have walked out the door.
Standing, I walk around and pat David’s back. He’s teething and there isn’t much that will calm him down, but I’m hoping the movement will help. It has to at some point.
So many thoughts are running through my mind, and I can’t keep any of them straight.
I quit my job toward the end of my pregnancy, and I doubt they’ll take me back. They made it pretty clear where they stood when I told them I wanted time with my son because six weeks of maternity leave wasn’t enough. They didn’t bat an eye when I left. It was then I realized they weren’t as family friendly as I’d hoped.
David finally dozes off, and I bend over to place him in the pack ‘n’ play. There’s a knock at the door and I jump, waking him up.
His cries are deafening as I head toward the door. I have no idea who it could be. If it was Nathan, with a change of heart, he would have walked in, right?
Readjusting David to my shoulder, I open the door and sigh in relief. It’s not Nathan, but someone even better.
“Mom.” The word comes out as a sob, and she rushes in, dropping the bags of takeout, and wraps her arms around me.
“What’s the matter? Did I get my days mixed up again?”
“What?” Too much has happened today, and I can’t process what she’s saying.
“Dinner,” she says, letting go of me. “It’s Tuesday, right? Our weekly dinner night.”
She pulls David from my arms, and by some sort of magic, he calms down the instant he’s cradled in her arms. “I’m sorry, I completely forgot.”
Taking in my appearance, she glances around the house. All the rooms are dark except the foyer we’re in and the living room. “Where’s Nathan?”
That question does me in. I walk to the couch and sag into the cushions, trying to hold back my sobs, but the tears run down my cheeks. Traitorous emotions. Why can’t I be sad, or only angry?
I know he left less than an hour ago, but rage and despair fill my every fiber. I don’t even know where to begin, so I start with the simple answer. “He left.”
“Like he went to the store?”
“No, Mom.” I shake my head and take a deep breath. “As in walked out on me. On David. Our little family.”
David has fallen asleep in her arms, and she lays him down before sitting beside me and pulling me into her arms once more. “I’m so sorry, sweetie.”
“I don’t know what I’m going to do, Mom.” I sniffle into her arm. “I quit my job to be home with him and focus on our family. Now, I don’t have a choice but to go back to work.”
“We’ll figure it out.”
“I shouldn’t have to. He was it for me. I don’t know what I did to make him leave.”
She leans back and lifts my chin until my eyes meet hers. “You did nothing wrong. Him leaving has nothing to do with you, and everything to do with him.”
“All he said before packing his bags and walking out the door, was that he wasn’t cut out for this life. And that he wasn’t ready to be a family man.” I shake my head, trying to make it make sense. “It came out of left field. We were both on board with trying for David.”
“Nobody truly knows what is going through his head, but him. You can’t beat yourself up about it.” She waits a few moments for me to get myself under control. “Is this what you want? That’s the important thing. I’m here for you whether you’re done with him or willing to give him another chance. If he comes to his senses, that is.”
“I don’t know.” It’s the only answer I have.
“Pack a bag for you and David.”
“Because I don’t think you should be alone right now. You can stay in the guest room for a few days until you get your bearings. Then decide what you want to do.”
I shake my head. “I can’t do that. Reaf and Bryce shouldn’t have their schedules interrupted because my husband decided he’d rather have freedom from us.”
There’s the anger again. It’s like a pendulum swinging back and forth. Sadness and mourning to intense rage. I don’t know if it’ll ever stop. If I’ll ever feel normal again.
“Don’t you worry about them.” She stands and leads me down the hall. “They can handle anything. Who knows? Maybe they’ll enjoy having you around for a bit.”
“Yeah, because nothing says cool teenager like hanging out with your older sister and nephew.”
“Don’t be like that,” she scoffs. “Just get your bags ready. I’ll grab the food and take it to the car.”
I feel horrible our weekly dinner was ruined. It’s not my fault, but I’m certain this mess isn’t what she imagined walking into. At least, I don’t think it’s my fault. It could be and he was just giving me a bullshit answer to keep me from feeling bad.
A small part of me wonders if there is someone else. Someone who isn’t overstimulated and exhausted after a day of taking care of a baby. Someone who can give him what I obviously can’t when I pass out after David goes to sleep.
Mom must see the dark thoughts enter my mind. She must have had the same ones before Dad left. “Don’t go there.” She gives my arm a small squeeze before letting go. “Both of you need time to think. Giving in to your worst fears isn’t going to help matters.”
Easier said than done. She leaves me to pack and I can’t help from going there once again. It’s a black hole I should avoid, but it’s difficult when it’s consuming my mind.
In an effort to distract myself, I make a list of things we’ll need. Ticking each one off mentally as I add them to a bag. It helps…sort of.
With my bag done, I set it outside our bedroom door. No, not ours. I don’t know that it’ll ever be that again. I can’t dwell on it right now. I need to get through the task at hand. When we get to Mom’s, I can grab a bottle of wine and drown my sorrows. David will be in capable hands, and I can let myself break down.
I head across the hallway to David’s room. I throw as many clothes as I can into a bag. Grab a box of diapers and some of his favorite toys. My bag is already gone from the hall when I leave his room. Mom must have snuck back here to get it.
When I get to the living room, she has David strapped in his car seat. “I need to grab some bottles and formula.”
“I already did,” Mom reassures me. “If you think of anything else you need before you’re ready to come back here, we can take a trip to the store.” She pauses while I take in the house, we’ve made our home. “Are you ready?”
No. Not even close. I gaze around the rooms. Already they feel empty. Love is no longer filling the space. Only despair and heartache. I’m not sure what the future will hold. Reunion or parenting as a single mom? Only time will tell.
For now, I’m lucky it all happened tonight. Lucky my mom remembered our dinner night and showed up at the front door when I needed her most. With one last look, I nod my head. “I’m ready.”