Waiting All Along Ch. 03bymoytalkstou©
"OK, no interruptions"
"I mean it Laura, you'll let me have my say until I'm through"
"It's Grace now, and I said OK, I'll let you talk no interruptions, but let me say that me doing that is more than you had given me."
"You're right, I deserved that. Maybe we should have a seat" he led her to the round table and they sat. "My dad passed away about five months ago." He said and stopped to look at her he could see the sympathy in her eyes and waited for her to say something, when nothing came he continued "the shock of it sent my mom straight to the hospital as well, she was in a coma for two weeks, when she finally woke she had amnesia, the doctors said she would recover from it and that her brain was only blocking the shock. When she came back around she was so depressed, so weak nothing that we said or did helped her. They kept her there at the hospital, we visited as often as we could. Until one night I was sitting with her talking about the past, you know when I was a boy and all that stuff. It really did cheer her up, I saw it in her eyes. Then she just started crying hysterically, she said she just couldn't live with me not knowing and that the guilt was killing her. Of course, I had to ask her what she meant, she said she realizes now that I had been most happy when we were together, and she was right, she said that she should had no idea and would have stood up to dad and made him leave me alone to make my own choices, if she only knew that he could have been so devious. I asked her what she did, she said it's what she didn't do that was most important and told me that the video was fake and photo-shopped. She said that dad hired someone and had her go around with all those guys and that he used some of the videos that we took when we went on our trip. So after nearly ten years I just came to apologize for everything I said and did back then and I want to let you know that I'll do whatever it takes to make it up to you and I want to be a part of your life and Josh's." he said sincerely, now he just waited for her response.
They sat there for several minutes, then Grace asked "are you done?" he nodded his head "see I just wanted to make sure cause when I make a promise I keep it and I told you that I wouldn't say anything till you were done. So since you are, then let me ask you, did you think after ten years all you'd come here and do was fuck me then say you're sorry and everything would be alright from there?"
That stung, it was much better to think about her rejection than actually having her say it out loud. "No, I didn't think that an apology would solve everything and I never meant to pounce on you the way I did earlier. But I promise Laura ___"
"Grace" she corrected.
"OK, well Grace I know it will be very difficult and highly unlikely that I'll make it up to you, but I've got to try"
She rose from the table then and walked to the sink, "Tell me Paul, is it only because you've found out that your family lied to you that you've come looking for me? Why have you never come before?"
He stared at his mug unsure how to answer that question, unsure what to say completely, "fear" he began "I was afraid that you'd never take me back, afraid that if you did a part of me would never trust you enough to not do the same thing to me again, I love you too much to have you endure a life a suspicion from me, you would know that you're giving me your all but I'd still have mistrust for you even though I wouldn't want to."
That would be true enough, she thought, she wouldn't be able to live a half life with mistrust, but she still would have given anything to have him "So then no matter what I said, you'd never believe me right?"
"What do you want me to say? There was a video tape and all, Laura, they had concrete evidence when you went missing and no one knew where you were. The guys said it was you, what was I supposed to believe? Really, what would you believe had it been me caught on tape screwing some other chick?" He asked, frustration clearly edged in his voice, he rose from the table and walked to where she was standing by the sink and gazed into her eyes. He was unaware of what she was thinking just now because he could not read her expression.
"I guess you're right, I wouldn't hear what you said so easily, of course I loved you too much to leave you but then you wouldn't have all of me no matter how hard I tried." She said and exhaled, wow, I guess he can come and just apologize and have me take him back. Damn I still love him so much, how is that possible after his betrayal all these years. "Tell me then, what is your course of action in setting out to become a part of my life again? Oh, I almost forgot, how is your mom doing now?"
"Mom's OK I got reports from Jenna and Michael that she's fine." His brother and sister, " Meanwhile, I thought I'd become your willing slave and earn your forgiveness a little at a time." He said with a smile.
"I hope you know it's been a while and I have changed considerably, I also do feel that life's a little too short to try living without you again." He felt his heart breaking at her admission, there was still hope for them yet and she was willing to give him another chance. "Far be it for me to keep Josh away from getting to know his father. How did you know Josh was your son? You know he could have been someone else's."
Before he could answer she heard the front door slammed and smiled, "Mom, we're back!" she heard Josh shout, he and Nick was approaching the kitchen and were bickering about cereals and not buying the right thing's on Grace's list, Grace muttered "I really hope you mean that, willing slave." Before the kitchen door was opened and the men walked in. They each realized that there was a visitor in their midst but it was Josh who spoke up first, once his gaze left from his mom to the man.
"Hey, Tommy and I saw you last night at the game, right."
"Yep" Paul replied, "that was me indeed just thought I'd see how the first game of the season would go."
Nick placed the bags that he brought in on the table, then stretched a hand out to Paul, "I'm Nick, and you are?"
Paul shook his hand and said "I'm Paul Tate" he released, Nick's hand and stretched the same arm to Josh after Josh's load was also placed on the table; Josh gave him the firmest hand shake he had.
At that moment Josh introduced himself, then they all stood in silence, waiting to see what would happen next, Josh and Nick wondering who the hell Paul was and why he was there, so sick of the silence, Grace walked over to Josh and laid her hands on his shoulders.
"Hey Josh, you know how you've always been asking me, well I'll let you know, Paul is your father." She blurted out and three pair of eyes went to Paul, all color drained from his cheeks, he stared at Grace in disbelief that she would just blurt it out like that. He should have known that there'd be no beating around the bushes with her but damn, the least she could do was prepare the little guy.
"Dad, do you think she'll like me?" Josh asked Paul
"I don't want to lie to you but I don't know" he answered truthfully.
"In that case, do you think you should have brought me along on her birthday party?" Josh asked genuinely anxious and wishing they didn't have to make this journey, but he would do it and be brave for his dad.
Paul pulled into the drive way of his childhood home and noticed that Jenna and Michael's cars were already there. He shut the engine off and exhaled. "Are you ready?" he turned to Josh and asked.
"No, but what choice do we have?" Josh responded.
They both emerged from the vehicle and Josh stared in awe, "this is where you grew up dad?" he asked
"Yep, and it was hell, I'd never live here again only visits." He said honestly, reaching out for his son's hand to lead him to the entrance of what could only be described as a castle to Josh. Paul swung his arms around Josh's shoulder and rang the doorbell. Paul heard his sister, Jenna, advice that she would answer the door. The door swung opened. "Paul!" Jenna shouted and jumped into his arms, he released Josh then to embrace his sister
"Jenna, you look great" he told her, the minute they untwined from the hug, his arm was back to Josh's shoulder, "oh Jenna this is Joshua, Josh this is your aunt Jenna."
Jenna stared down at the mixed boy, he really looked exotic, gold skin curly hair and those big green eyes, she reached out and gave him a hug as well, she'd definitely consider having mixed kids if they all looked like this. "Hi Josh, welcome to our home."
"It's nice to meet you too Aunt Jenna, thanks for having me.' He replied coolly, she was impressed.
Jenna ushered them into the house and Josh met his father's brother Michael, they all we sitting in the room filled with other guests, and friends, when finally it was announced that the birthday girl would be making her entry. Paul's mother scanned the crowd gathered at the foot of her stairs while she made her descent, all eyes on her as the applause echoed. She spent a rather enjoyable evening getting reacquainted with friends, playing the self important socialite. Until she eyed her children all three of them laughing genuinely happy, even Paul who seemed like he could never smile was laughing and she felt a string pull at her heart, she wished her husband had been here and could have witnessed the moment with her. She slowly approached them and realized that there was a boy in the midst of the conversation as well. A little dark boy, but she walked over anyways to find out what was happening.
As she approached she said "there they are, the three Musketeers. How do you do young man?" she asked the dark boy while appraising all her kids.
"I'm fine, thank you for asking. I've heard that it was your birthday and I want to wish you a very happy birthday" Josh said
"Yeah," Michael chimed in, "that reminds me mommy, happy birthday" then he leaned in to kiss her cheeks
"Happy birthday mom" Jenna said and proceeded to kiss her cheeks as well.
"Happy birthday" Paul finished and placed kissed on her cheeks as well "the gift is still in the car, we'll add it to the stock before we leave, I just remember you hadn't met Joshua. Josh, this is my mom and mom this is my son."
She stopped shock in her face, "what?" was all she could say.
"Let me guess dad, you forgot to tell her." Josh said looking up at Paul a smile on his face as he tried to easily diffuse the situation.
'Damn,' Paul thought, 'at nine years old I wasn't even this smart, he must get it from his momma' Paul was extremely proud.
"No, how could I forget to tell my mom something as important as that?" Paul reasoned with Josh
"But look at her dad, all the color's drained from her cheeks."
At the mention of her appearance, she brightened up and took control again "Well, I'm sorry about that, it not every day you find out that your unmarried son has adopted a child" she said lightening the air of tension that was buzzing around them, she smiled warmly at the Josh though.
"Aw mom" Paul said bringing his mother's attention back to him he raised his left hand to show her that there was a wedding band present "I am married to Laura and this is my biological son."
"But he's black." She said, Michael and Jenna had gotten ready to do damage control if she went on a rage, but that never happened, she threw her head back in a hearty laugh and screamed "I'm a grandma" she dragged Josh into a bear hug until he nearly passed out from the lack of oxygen. She released him but still held on to his wrist, she looked around at Jenna and Michael and said to the "what are you two waiting on, get me some grand kids already." They both looked at her then each other, never expecting this behavior. She turned back to Paul and brought her free hand to his cheek, "look I am sorry for what happened, if it's any consolation, I never had a problem with you and Laura, but your father was adamant about you two not being together, in truth he never told me about the scam video until he was on his deathbed, by then I'd have gone with him too. I really am sorry about that."
"It's OK mom, I'm happy now" Paul told her
Her face lit up "good, now if you'll excuse me, I have a grandson that needs to be introduced to everyone in this party. We'll talk about you keeping a secret of a marriage and a grandchild from me later." She said and walked off dragging Josh behind her.
'Maybe I should have told her that we have another one on the way' he thought, 'but it can wait.'