“You want to take Storm on as your own, have him live with you? Why?”
I’m surprised she even has to ask. “He’s Jonny’s flesh and blood. That makes him mine—ours.” I flicker a glance at Bob, who gives me a subtle nod of encouragement. “Jonny would have done the same for me, if I weren’t here. He would have taken care of my kid. I want to take care of his.”
Then, she bursts into tears, and I honestly don’t know what to do.
I flick a panicked glance at Bob.
“Here, don’t cry.” He pulls a handkerchief from his pocket and hands it to her.
She dries her face. “I’m sorry.” She sniffles. “I just…thank you.” She meets my eyes and then Bob’s. “I can’t tell you what a relief it is to know that you want to do this for Storm.”
“And you, too.” Bob pats her hand.
“But…how will this work? Of course I want to take you up on this offer—for Storm—but Marie…she’s my friend. She’s been my family for so long. I don’t want to leave her.”
“Don’t worry,” I tell her. “We’ll figure things out with Marie.”
“And Storm…moving him from everything he knows is going to be hard on him.”
“Things are already hard on him.” At the wince on her face, I say, “I don’t mean to sound harsh, but we need to be realistic here, and being realistic means, there will be changes, changes that will affect him. But if we implement those changes now”—I put the emphasis on now because I really don’t want to say, While you are still alive to help him—“it will help to make this transition as easy as it can possibly be for Storm.”
“That’s all I care about,” Tiffany says, looking me in the eyes, “that Storm is okay.”
I wrap my arms around my chest. “He will be okay. I don’t have all the fine details worked out. And I don’t know exactly how this will all work, but it will work, Tiffany. Storm will be okay,” I promise.
Tiffany said she would call after she’d spoken with Storm about moving to LA. I didn’t hear from her last night after we’d left her apartment. I assume, if she had talked to him then, it might have been too late to call me.
Not that I slept great. After calling Tru, followed by a quick call to Stuart, I spent the night tossing and turning.
A lot was riding on this for me. I didn’t want to let Jonny down by failing Storm in any way.
And I like to be in control of everything. I haven’t felt a lack of control like this since Tru’s accident, and it’s not a feeling I like to be reminded of.
My cell starts to ring just as I’m making coffee.
It’s early. Bob and Dave aren’t up yet. I think Bob needs the sleep. This last week must have been exhausting for him.
Picking up my cell from the counter, I see Tiffany is calling.
“Hi,” I answer.
“Morning,” she says. “I hope I’m not calling too early?”
“I’ve been up. So…how did it go?”
“Not as bad as I had expected.”
Relief seeps from me.
“I mean, he kicked up a little fuss to start with, but then he got excited about the idea of living in LA. And I might have sold him on it with…well, I said that he could probably meet your band, Lennox—the one he loves—more than once, if he were living in LA.”
I let out a small laugh. “Bribery—it always works with my kids. I’m beyond glad that he’s on board. I spoke to Tru last night, and we’re going to sort out a place for you guys to live and schooling for Storm. You don’t need to worry about anything.”
“What about Marie?” I ask. “Have you talked to her yet?”
“Yeah. She…she wants to come with us. She wants to be there for me when…you know.”
“Yeah, I know. I can arrange for someone to run her bakery while she’s away, if that would work for her.”
“She mentioned bringing someone in. Maybe talk to her about it?”
“I’ll have Stuart call her. He’ll sort it out.”
“Stuart, your old PA? He’s still with you?”
“I’m not easy to leave.” I laugh. “He couldn’t live without me.”
“Somehow, I think that’s the other way around.”
“Totally,” I concede, chuckling. “And Stuart will be in touch to arrange getting your stuff packed up and moved there.”
There’s a pause.
Then, she says, “Thank you…for all of this. I can’t begin to tell you how much of a weight has been lifted off my shoulders, knowing that Storm’s going to be…well, that he’ll have you taking care of him when I’m gone.”
“Whatever he needs. And you, too…anything you need.”
“Thank you. Again. And I guess I’ll see you in LA soon.”
-Uploaded by Em's EORD-
I watch as the car pulls up the drive.
I feel Tru’s hand tightening around mine. “Nervous?” I ask, glancing down at her.
“What if Storm doesn’t like me?”
“Impossible.” I brush my fingers over the soft skin on her cheek.
Her lips lift a little at the corners.
Dave picked Tiffany, Storm, and Marie up from the airport and brought them straight here.
This was Tiffany’s idea. She thought it’d be best for Storm to come straight to the place that would eventually, hopefully, be his home and meet us before going to their new place.
I wasn’t sure she would be up to it after the flight, but she assured me she would be fine.
They get out of the car, Marie helping Tiffany, and my eyes are on Storm, watching his reaction.
Tru is the first to approach them.
“Hey, Storm. I’m Tru.” She smiles that big beautiful smile of hers. Then, she clasps ahold of his upper arms and kisses him on the cheek.
Right then, in that moment, I see that she has him. His eyes light up with surprise and then soften on her.
“Hi.” He smiles back at her wide and warm.
He’s never smiled at me like that.
For a split-second, I actually feel jealous of my wife.
That’s all she has to do, just smile, and she has the kid like putty in her hands. Then again, that’s all she did to me to get me all those years ago.
Tiffany comes to stand by her son, and I stay back a little as I watch Tru move from Storm to Tiffany.
“Tiffany, I’m Tru. It’s really nice to finally meet you.” She greets Tiffany in the same way, kissing her cheek.
“It’s great to meet you,” Tiffany says. I hear a touch of nerves in her voice. “This is my best friend, Marie.” Tiffany gestures to Marie, who is standing beside her.
“Nice to meet you.” Marie sticks her hand out to Tru.
Tru glances down at her hand and then shakes it.
Guess Marie isn’t down with my wife’s greeting style.
“Dada!” Belle’s squealing voice comes from behind me, and then her arms are wrapping around my leg. “Is Stwowm here? Is this them?”
“I tried to keep her inside, but she broke free.” Stuart laughs.