Alone in my room, door closed, I held my breath, worried any noise I would make moving in my room, would wake Annie. She was not usually a light sleeper, but with Wyatt on the sofa I was worried she knew, sensed he was there.
I opened my door and crept to hers, she was sleeping soundly. I inhaled, relieved she was still asleep. I could not sleep. I stood on the landing, unable to move, I could hear Wyatt sleeping soundly down the stairs. I needed to be doing the same, not thinking about him being down there.
I hardly slept, every time I thought I was ready to drift off, did something wake me. I managed maybe an hour or two, I had managed on that amount of hours in the past, today would be no different.
I made my way down the stairs at six, to find the sofa empty. The blankets neatly folded, a note on the table.
I did as you asked, left before our daughter woke. I never should have stayed, it was to soon. I never wanted you to feel uncomfortable in your own home. For that I am sorry. For me it was the hardest thing I have ever done, all I wanted was to come up to your room and be with you.
I will call you. I have a few things to sort today, but I want us to meet, I want to meet my daughter, if you will allow me to do that.
I stared at the letter, slumped down on the chair, hearing her stir. The letter thrust deep in my dressing gown. She climbed the stairs and stumbled into the room, and laid on my lap. We were both tired, we fell back to sleep.
I woke an hour later, Annie stirred.
“Are you hungry?” I said.
“Jam jam,” she said.
“Of course, I have jam,” I said. I put the telly on and made four slices of toast, and cut them up and carried them through.
“Mummy, where did daddy go?”
My mouth fell open, how did she? I sighed heavily. Placing the toast on the table, and sitting down beside her.
“How did you know he was here?” I found myself asking.
“I saw him?” she said, and bit into her toast.
Saw him, how did she see him, I had not slept well and was sure I would have heard her leave her room had she done so. Had he climbed the stairs and our daughter caught him?
“Where was daddy when you saw him?”
“Asleep on the sofa,” she said, before biting another piece of toast. Between mouthfuls she asked where he was.
“He will be back,” I said. How could I explain why he was there? She carried on chewing, staring at me. “It was very late when he came to see you and…”
She stood, plodded across the room and handed me my phone.
“Daddy,” she said. She was telling me to call him. I took the phone, stood and dialled his number and paced the floor as it rang. He answered after three rings.
“Wyatt, is there anyway possible you can come over this morning?”
“I can, I will be there in five,” he said, hanging up.
Ten minutes later, the sound of someone knocking on the door alerted me that he was there. I made my way to the door, opened it and found Wyatt on the other side.
“Hi, thank you for coming,” I said, allowing him to enter. “Annie saw you, on the sofa and…”
“Ah, I am so sorry,” he replied.
“It’s okay, I just never expected that she would see you, and…”
Annie stood and raced to Wyatt. He was led to the sofa and told to sit.
“I’ll make some tea, Annie would you like some tea too?” I knew she would she loved tea. I left them alone in the living room, while I stood in the kitchen watching. She did not hesitate to be near here, talk to him, she was soon situated on his knee, talking to him. I could not hear what she was saying, but he was nodding.
“Tea, I was not sure if you took sugar or not.”
“No, none, thank you,” he said, as I placed the tea down before him. I suggested she sit on the chair and finish her toast, drink her tea.
An hour later, Annie was still talking non-stop to Wyatt. I saw him look my way and smiled, he looked happy, they both looked happy. She had not stopped smiling. Would we have been happy had he stayed, watching them together I knew we would have been.
“How about we go for a walk,” I suggested, since it was not a day she went to playgroup. It was cold out, we I realised were still in our bed clothes. I took her to her room, helped pick her clothes, allowed her to dress herself she was getting very good at putting on her own clothes, socks were still a thing she found difficult. I helped her put them on and her shoes, then watched her decent the stairs before heading to my room and throwing on some clothes. Applied a little make-up, and headed down to find them both waiting. I was not sure we should go for a walk close to home, what if his brother was out there, watching us. I suggested we went to the park on the other side of town, Wyatt understood, nodded.
“How about I take you to one of my favourite parks, but it means a train ride, or we could go by car, I can drive us?”
“We have never been on a train, but not sure I can afford the tickets?” I began, I had spent most of my money already and did not like to say I knew there was no way I could afford to buy a ticket anywhere. He took my hand, and said it was his treat. I did not want him to waste his money, as he was about to be cut off, and that meant he would to have no money of his own.
“It’s okay, what my brother said, don’t worry. Let us have this one day, we need it.”
He was right, I agreed, and as he paid for our tickets, we waited for the train, boarded and found we were in first class. Annie was excited, insisted she sat on her father’s lap.
It was my first train ride since I was a child, we never took trains, it was not needed. My family would hire a car. It was amazing, the feeling of it all, we were alone in the car, we had it all to ourselves, Annie made noises ohhing and arhing as she stared out the window. The first hour she continued to stay excited. Where were we going? I wondered.
Annie fell asleep, we laid her across a double chair, laid a coat over her. Wyatt sat beside me.
“Thanks for letting me meet her. Today means so much to me.”
“I wanted you to, I never should have kept you away,” I said, taking his hand and entwining our fingers, a horrible thought crossed my mind, was he Wyatt. Should I be able to tell the difference by now?
“Jessica, I know that look, I promise you I am me, how can I prove it.”
I had never kissed Vinnie, or had I? Dare I ask that question?
“There is one way,” I said.
“And yet you still don’t know do you?”
“No, I am sorry, its hard, when you told me the story about how this all started. How I am meant to know which one of you I was with. I want to believe what you told me, I do. There has to be something different about you.”
“I don’t know how to prove it to you, Jessica, but I will do what I can to do it.”
“I would love that,” I said, holding his hand tighter, squeezing it. He took it as a sign and leaned in, laid his lips on mine. It was a brief and tender, but I admit it was familiar. He was Wyatt. I was sure of it.
“Now do you believe me?”
I had to admit yes, I did.
“Well, I hope I can keep making you realise I am me and I love you.”
“Promise?” I found myself saying.
I laid my head on his shoulder for the remainder of the trip.
We arrived at our destination, a total of three hours on a train. He took Annie’s hand and led her towards the bustling town. He quickly took mine too.
“Where are we going?”
“Its almost lunch time, lets eat first, I am starving.”
“Me too,” Annie said, “Starving,” she said mimicking Wyatt.
“Where shall we go?” I said, I had not been to London in a long time. Places we had eaten, may no longer be there. London was always changing.
“I was thinking we could eat at one of my favourite places on Trafalgar Road.”
“Okay,” I replied.
“It’s not far, this way.”
I followed him, not sure what kind of place I was expecting, it seemed it was perfect. A mix of foods were available. We ordered, the drinks arrived twenty minutes.
“This place, its very nice, how did you find it?” I asked.
“I have been eating here for a while now,” he said.
“Mr Wyatt…” she began. “We thought you may prefer a private table?”
“Here is just fine, thank you, now if you do not mind, bring our food when it is ready.”
“How often do you come here?” I asked.
“I should explain, but not here, first we eat,” I agreed.
The food was amazing, I had to admit, so much so, we cleared our plates. Washed it down with drinks before he paid and we were soon on the street. It was not until then I realised something about the place, the name, it looked familiar. I dismissed it and sighed, following them as they walked before me. Annie was so excited took everything in her stride, she was asking questions. The walk we went on was not just any old walk, he took us to a park, where we fed the ducks. We walked and walked, my feet were killing me.
“Can we sit please, I…”
“Sorry, let us go somewhere to rest up. I think Annie is tired too.”
I looked at my daughter and agreed as he led us to a building. I turned to look at him.
“Where are you taking us?”
“To a flat that I own.”
“You live here?”
“Well yes, I do, but I don’t live here every day of the week, I also have a house in our home town, not that my family know. There is a lot they do not know.”
“So, it seems,” I said as he led me inside, my mouth fell open.
“I don’t understand, you would have stayed at mine, when you have this and I can only assume the house is just as impressive.”
“It might be,” he said.
“Is there somewhere where Annie can sleep?”
“Sure, come this way,” he led us up a flight of stairs, into a room and I settled her into the bed, she was asleep as soon as her head hit the pillow. The room was twice the size of the downstairs of our house.
“Tea?” he asked, as he led me into the living room, told me to make myself at home. There was something he was not telling me. Something hit me, he owned the restaurant, he did not even need his family’s money.