“Mommy, can I play on the swings for a little bit?” Abby asked as we walked up the driveway. “Uncle Wes said he’d give me an underdog.”
“Five minutes, okay? We have to get you in the tub soon.”
“Okay.” She grabbed his hand and led him around the house into the yard.
I went inside, tossed my ice cream in the sink, and threw away the cup. Through the window, I watched as Wes pushed Abby on the swing, ducking beneath it as he ran forward and she squealed with delight.
My legs wobbled. It was all so perfect—the sunset and the ice cream and the swing and the first school night of the year and my daughter and this man, this beautiful, kind, smart, sweet, sexy, adoring man here making her laugh. Why couldn’t I feel it? Why wasn’t I a part of it?
Make me laugh too, I begged silently. Make me smile. Make me feel things again like you did yesterday. Take this pain away. Take this loneliness. Take this suffering. I’m so tired of being alone.
For a moment, I let myself fantasize—not that Wes was Drew, but that Wes was my husband and Abby’s father. That it was Wes who’d asked me out all those years ago. That it was Wes who’d swept me off my feet, married me, shared my bed every single night.
It was Wes whose hands would undress me later, whose mouth would roam over my bare skin, whose body would move over mine until we were shuddering and clinging and crying out in the dark together—
Together. Together. Together.
My heart began to pound. I could hardly stand still. My hands were trembling. When they came inside and Abby asked if Wes could read her a story after her bath, I hid them behind my back and nodded yes without thinking.
“I have a quick phone call to make,” he said, looking at me a little strangely. “I’ll be out on the porch. Give me a shout when you’re ready.”
Upstairs, I put Abby through the motions of her bedtime routine, unable to think about anything other than the fantasy I’d concocted at the kitchen window.
I knew it was wrong.
But I wanted it. I wanted it so badly.