“Watch me,” she said, holding down the power button. “You’ll get it back in New York.”
MY PHONE VIBRATED just as I was leaving the office.
“Why haven’t you answered my texts?”
“I was hoping you could come by after work. We need to talk about what happened between us.”
“I’m already on my way there to see Chloe.”
“Alright. We’ll see you when you get here.”
The last thing I was in the mood for was to rehash the other night with Genevieve. Up to my ears in work from having been preoccupied over the past few weeks, the last two nights I’d skipped going to see my daughter again because it was way past her bedtime by the time I left work. That couldn’t happen again. I planned to have dinner with Chloe before heading back to the office after hours.
Rain drops were pelting the windows of the town car. Almost every night on the way home, I’d instinctually go to text Soraya, forgetting for a split second that we were done. Then that awful acidic feeling of reality souring in the pit of my stomach would linger. It angered me that I’d trusted her so fully. After what happened with Genevieve and Liam, I was probably the least trusting person around. But I would have trusted Soraya with my life. How could I have not seen a change of heart coming? The whole thing just didn’t make any fucking sense.
“Not sure how long I’ll be here, Louis. I’ll text you when I’m ready to head back to the office,” I said as we pulled up to Genevieve’s brownstone.
Genevieve greeted me, taking my wet jacket and hanging it up.
She stood there awkwardly, playing with her pearls. “About the other night…I—”
“Can we please not discuss this until I’ve seen my daughter?”
“Okay.” She looked down at the floor. “She’s in her room.”
Chloe was playing with her dollhouse. “Graham Cracker! I missed you.”
Bending down and pulling her into a hug, I said, “I missed you, too, smart cookie.”
“Are you still sad?”
“What do you mean?”
“Why do you ask?”
“Your smile isn’t as big as it usually is.”
She was so perceptive. Apparently, she didn’t take after her clueless father. The last thing I wanted was for my daughter to think that something was seriously wrong with me or that it might have been her fault. Trying to wrack my brain for a way to explain, I ultimately decided that it was better to just be honest.
“I am a little sad, Chloe, yes…about Soraya. But that’s not why I wasn’t here over the past two days. I got out of work very late, but I won’t let another two days go by without coming to see you again, okay?”
“My daddy used to work late a lot.”
I wondered how much of that was actually work or Liam just fucking around on Genevieve.
“He did, did he?”
“So, when will you stop being sad?”
“Not sure, but you know what? I already feel better just being with you.”
“That was how I felt when I met you. After my daddy died, you made me feel better even though I was still sad.”
I AM your Daddy.
And I love you so much.
Pulling her into me, I kissed her forehead. “I’m glad I could do that for you.”
Chloe and I played with her dollhouse for a bit until Genevieve entered and knelt down to join us. I could feel her staring at me, knowing she was eager to discuss things. After the other night, I was apprehensive about being alone with her again. Although with Chloe home, not much was going to be able to go down.
“Dinner will be ready in five,” Genevieve said before exiting the room.
Genevieve had baked a homemade prosciutto and fig flatbread pizza for us and a plain cheese one for Chloe. She kept filling my wine glass with Cabernet, and I let her, knowing it would help take the edge off of whatever discussion we were going to have later.
After I tucked Chloe in and read her a bedtime story, Genevieve was waiting for me in the kitchen, polishing off the last of the wine.
Before she could open her mouth, I said, “There’s really no need to get into it.”
“I need to apologize again. I came on too strongly. I don’t know what came over me. Seeing you lying there so comfortably in my house, it just took me back. That, coupled with the fact that we’d had too much to drink—”