“Can’t wait,” he beams.
My heart elevates.
I made him happy, and that makes me beyond happy.
Look at me, total expert at fixing my kid’s problem.
“Put your mom back on for me,” I tell him. “And, B? I love you.”
He pauses and smiles again. “Love you, too, Dad.”
Seriously, there is nothing like hearing your kids tell you they love you. Nothing.
Tru’s beautiful face appears back on the screen.
I can tell she’s walking, so I ask quietly, “You out of earshot, babe?”
“Gimme one sec.” I hear a door shut, and then she says, “Okay, go ahead.”
“What did Billy do at school? I’m dying to know.”
Her eyes fill with mirth, and she bites her lip. “Don’t tell him I told you.”
“I swear, I won’t. Now, tell me.”
“Well, he…accidentally killed the class goldfish,” she whispers, humor in her voice.
I hold back a laugh. “And how did he manage that?”
“He fed it his lunch ’cause he thought it looked hungry.”
I can’t contain the laughter anymore, and it bursts from me. “How in the hell does a goldfish look hungry?”
Tru’s eyes are shining, her lips trembling. “He said it was…skinny!”
Laughter erupts from her. By this point, I’m belly-laughing.
God, I fucking love my kids.
“Ah, fuck.” I press my hand to my stomach. “I miss you guys.”
“We miss you, too.” She wipes the tears of humor from her face. “But you’ll be home tomorrow, yeah?”
“Yeah. If all goes well, I’ll be home tomorrow—hopefully, with good news that Storm’s gonna come live with us.” And that right there brings me back to the now.
Her face softens, all traces of playfulness gone. “It’ll be fine, Jake. He’ll just need time to adjust to the idea. But who wouldn’t want to come live with us? We’re awesome.” She smiles.
“And this is why I love you,” I tell her.
“The only reason?” She bites her lip again.
“Oh, no. I love you for a lot of other reasons, too—especially that amazing rack of yours. Now, take your top off, and show me your tits.” I grin.
She laughs, deep and throaty. “Perv.”
“Yeah, and you fucking love it.”
“Wouldn’t have married you if I didn’t.”
Then, she moves the phone back, so I can watch as she slowly starts to unbutton her shirt.
This is what I’m talking about.
My hand immediately goes to my dick over my jeans.
“Mama!” Belle yells out in the background.
For fucks sake!
I let out a groan of frustration, and Tru’s eyes lift to the heavens as she chuckles.
“Tomorrow,” she says. “And don’t worry about Storm, babe. Things will work out exactly the way they’re meant to.” She presses her lips to the screen, sending me a kiss. “I love you,” she whispers.
Then, she’s gone, and I’m back to being alone in Jonny’s bedroom, my hand on my dick.
I flop back on the bed. Lifting my arm, I look at my watch, seeing that it’s five p.m.
I sit back up and speed-dial Tom’s number. I’m hoping Denny’s with him, so Tom can put me on speaker, and I can tell them at the same time how things went with Storm.
I just want to get this conversation over with, then get showered and changed, and head back to Storm’s place, so I can try to actually spend some time with the kid.
-Uploaded by Em's EORD-
We’ve just left Bob’s house, and we are on our way to see Storm. The Rolling Stones’ “Paint It Black” comes on the radio station.
Closing my eyes, I press my head back into the seat. I remember when Jonny used to play this rift on his guitar, and we’d jam to it. That was back in the earlier days before we started writing our own songs.
Opening my eyes, I turn my head to look at Bob. “I was thinking we could stop by the cemetery. I want to visit Jonny.”
“When?” he asks.
“Do we have time?” He glances at the clock on the dash.
“I won’t be long. I just…want to see him.”
His expression softens. “You don’t have to explain it to me, son. I know.” He pats my arm with his hand.
“Dave”—I lean forward in my seat—“change of plans. Woodlawn Cemetery first and then Queens.”
Nodding, Dave indicates his understanding, changing lanes.
It doesn’t take long to get to the cemetery. Dave parks the car, not far from where Jonny’s buried.
I remove my seat belt. Reaching for the handle, I see Bob’s not moving.
“Are you coming?” I ask him.
He shakes his head. “I was here a few days ago. You go and have some one-on-one time with him.”
I give him a grateful smile.
Leaning forward, I say to Dave, “Stay here with Bob. I won’t be long.”
He looks back over his shoulder at me. His expression is one of concern, as it always is when I suggest solo trips. “I should come with you, just in case.”
“I’ll be fine. No one is around,” I assure him, nodding at the almost empty cemetery.
Only one guy is here, a good distance away, tending to the surrounding gardens.
“Are you sure?”
“I’m sure.” I pat his shoulder before getting out of the car.
I shut the door, and I get my ball cap from my jacket pocket and put it on. I pull the peak low, more out of habit than anything. I’m not exactly at risk of being mobbed here.
I walk the short distance down the tree-lined path, and then I cut across, heading for Jonny’s grave. I slow my pace as I approach, my eyes landing on his mother’s headstone.
Lyn is buried next to Jonny. Bob has the plot on the other side of Jonny for when he—
I don’t want to think about that right now.
Coming to a stop at the foot of Jonny’s grave, I crouch down, getting to my knees, and I press my hands to the grass. “Hey…so I met Storm earlier. God, I can’t believe you have a son, Jon, and you never even got to meet him. It just feels…wrong. But I’m gonna take care of him. You don’t have to worry. Your dad and I, Tom and Den, too—we’ve got his back. Anything he needs…”
Driving my hand through my hair, I blow out a breath.
“He’s so much like you…it…” I turn my eyes away from his headstone, my fingers curling into the grass. “It fucking hurt to look at him. How crazy is that? It hurt to look at a kid. And I know, if you could right now, you’d tell me to shut my pussy ass up, get the fuck out of here, and go see your kid.
“I just…I wanted to see you before I saw him again. I was kinda hoping you’d show me a sign or some shit at how to best handle this with Storm. He’s angry, Jon. He’s thirteen, and his mom is dying. He just found out about you being his dad, and he’s pissed.
“Honestly, I’m pissed for him. I’m…fucking mad at you for dying. I’ve always been mad at you for that—now, even more so. Why the fuck did you get in your car that night.” I grit my teeth, shaking my head. “I just wish…I wish you’d known about him, Jon. Maybe it would have changed things. Made you stop using drugs. Maybe you would never have gotten in your car that night—no, not maybe. You wouldn’t have. I have to believe that. I have to believe that, if you’d known about Storm, then you would have sorted your shit out and got clean for him.”