“Daddy! Daddy! Where are we going?” I asked, licking my strawberry ice cream as I kicked my legs against the baby seat.
There was a long silence.
“We are going to visit daddy’s friend,” mom responded. “A friend, mommy really wants to meet because apparently, this friend was really close to daddy. So close, that-”
Dad pinched mom’s thigh, causing her to yelp. “Sweetheart,” his voice deepens.
Mom cleared her throat as dad stopped the car. “We’re here,” she flung the door open and walked towards me.
Dad sighed and went after her.
I pinched my lips and pushed the button beside the door, lowering the window.
Dad cupped her cheeks, “Sweetheart.”
“We’re seriously going to see your ex?”
“Look, she is just a friend now.”
Mom tilted her head and pushed dad away. “Kev, I’m not stupid. I know she is the one who got away and after all this time. You still care about her. Is she that important?” she said. She looks really sad.
I tap the glass with my finger. “Mommy? Daddy?”
Mom turns her back and mumbles something while dad sighs. She looked at me and smiled, then opened the door. “Come on, baby,” she said. She took off the uncomfortable but safe seatbelt.
Mom grabbed me, held me against her waist, and walked past dad. Taking a few blinks, a cute house appeared. It was so big! I smiled. “Mommy! Look! Swing!” I squealed and bit the last piece of my ice cream cone.
“That’s nice, baby,” she said, taking a step in front of the house. With a single deep breath, she rang the door with dad standing behind us.
I rested my head against mom’s chest, listening to her loud heartbeat. The door opened, revealing a strange tall, handsome man. I dug my face farther into her chest, feeling my cheeks heating up.
“Hi...Kevin,” he said.
“Hey...Matt,” dad responded, then cleared his throat. “Matt, this is Stephanie, my beautiful, kind, understanding, sweet down to earth wife and mother of my cute little daughter, whom I love and cherish.”
Mom’s face scrunched up as her cheeks turned really red.
Is she sick?
“Nice to meet you.” Matt and mom shook hands.
“You can call me Steph.”
“Steph, my beautiful, kind, understanding, sweet, down-to-earth wife and mother of my cute little daughter whom I love and cherish,” he inhaled a deep breath. “This is Matt...Matt is Nina’s-” he scrunched his fist and narrowed his eyes, looking like he needs to use the toilet.
“Daddy!” a voice shouted.
I tilted my head and saw a boy wearing a red cape. The cape covered his white shirt and part of his black jeans. Not too far down, he wore a red pair of socks. His cute smile disappeared when his ocean blue eyes met mine causing my chest to feel owie.
Matt picked up the handsome boy while I hid further into mom’s chest, taking a peek at him once in a while.
“Matt is Nina’s sons’ father!” dad said proudly, then clapped his hands together. “Yup, that’s it”
The boy glared at me.
“Joshua, say hi,” Matt said.
Joshua continued glaring at me. I match his glare.
Mom smiled brightly. “Oh, so you’re Matt. Nina’s sons’ father, who happens to be here, living together with her?”
Matt smiled, “Not exactly. I live in New York.”
“But, he comes here every weekend, every single weekend. On holidays, he stays exceptionally long. Plus, they just had another kid together. Where is that other kid?” dad said quickly, then peeked behind Matt.
“Matt! Is that-” a woman appeared with a pink apron wrapped around her body. “Kevin!” she said, reaching out her arms for a hug.
“Nina!” Dad replied and hugged her back.
Matt and mom stood there.
Nina smiled, then looked at me. “Oh! You must be Hailey and Stephanie. I heard so much about you from Kevin. I’m so glad you guys decided to move here. Welcome!” she said, then hugged us. “Come in!” she squealed. She held mom’s hand and dragged us inside the house.
My eyes met Joshua once more, and I watched as it narrowed. His nostrils flare while his red cheeks puff.
Mom put me down in the living room. “Josh! Play with Hailey!” Nina said, and Matt put him down next to me.” Awww... Aren’t you two cute together,” she smiled.
Mom smiles too. “They sure are.”
I turned my head to see Joshua glaring at me with folded arms.
“Stephanie, want to go tour the house? The food is still warming up, so we got some spare time,” Nina said.
Mom glanced at dad, then shrugged. “Sure.”
They left the room.
Matt and dad looked at each other. “Want a beer?” Matt asks.
Dad grunted. “Please,” They stood up. “Just don’t put anything shady in it this time.”
Matt stopped walking. “I thought we were over this,” he mumbled.
Dad smirked. “Yeah, but I like reminding myself you’re as imperfect as me.”
He rolled his eyes and tilted his head to the side. “Come on.”
They left the room too.
Joshua was still glaring at me with his ugly face, and I ignored it.
Yes, he’s ugly now.
When I see a red airplane, I smile and crawl towards it. Before I could pick it up, Joshua grabbed it from the floor. “Mine,” he said.
I wobbled towards a blue train set.
Joshua grabbed it. “Mine.”
I frowned and walked towards the toy cars. Joshua squatted down and pushed everything behind him. “Mine.”