“Please, Forgive me.” I looked up as he opened his eyes.
“I’m not sure if I can yet.” I sighed. “What you did hurt so much, Kellan. I need time.” He nodded taking a deep breath. I put my hands to his smooth chest running my fingers over the tattoo on his left pectoralis muscle, right over his heart. “I love you so much, Kellan.” I shook my head. “We both need a break.” I ran my hand over his cheek.
“I screwed up. Please.” I bit my lip.
“I think we both just need to think for ourselves right now. We should just take a break from each other, just for a little bit.” He closed his eyes.
“I love you.” I took a shaky breath. All I ever wanted was for this man to tell me he loves me. But now it felt like a plea.
“You need to prove to me you do.” I wiped the tear away as it fell. “It will be for a little while. Not forever.”
“I really screwed up this time. I’m so sorry, Charlie.” I rubbed his cheek.
“It’s not going to make you take me back though is it?” I ran my fingers through his hair knowing this could be the last time I ever do it.
“For right now, it isn’t the best idea.” He nodded.
“I lost you.”
“You need to prove to me that you changed. Be a good Daddy, Kellan. We’ll get through his.” I leaned my head on his chest. He wrapped his arms around me holding me close to him.
“If that’s what I need to do to make it up to you, I’ll do it. I’ll do anything to make it up to you, Charlie.” He kissed my head holding me tighter. I took a deep breath breathing in his scent. “Let’s go put her nursery together.” I whispered as he breathed in my hair.
“Alright. Come on.” He let me go. We both walked up stairs to Jamie’s room and started to put the furniture together. I let Kellan do the heavy lifting and putting the metal of the crib together as I put the screws in. The dresser and changing table were ready to go. The nightstand was nestled into the corner. I got all the sheets on to the mattress as Kellan was hanging up decorations.
“I love this.” I smiled at it as he finished hanging up the curtains. “It’s beautiful.” Kellan looked over at me as I closed the draw to the dresser. I only took half of Jamie’s clothes knowing that she will still be coming over here a lot.
“You did well.” He smiled at me as I ran a hand through my hair. “It’s the perfect nursery.” I smiled before sighing.
“We have to talk visitation.” His face dropped. I didn’t want to bring it up but I knew I have to. “I don’t want to take her away from you. Please understand that.” He ran a hand over his face.
“I know. I know you could never do that.” I smiled weakly at him.
“You want her tomorrow? I can drop her off for the night.” He nodded.
“We can work around work. You know you can still stay here. You can live in the spare room. If you don’t like that, I have another room over the garage that has a study attached to it.” I shook my head.
“I think it’s better if I find an apartment. Don’t worry about me, I’ll be okay.” He took a calming deep breath.
“I’ll give you money.” I shook my head. “For Jamie. So you can take care of her without a worry.”
“Kellan…” He shook his head.
“You’ll take my money, Charlie.” He walked over to me kissing my head. “My house is always open to you. No matter what.” I nodded at him
“I’ll find an apartment soon.” He nodded. “I should get going.” Kellan nodded.
“I’ll see you tomorrow then, when you drop Jamie off.” I smiled at him. “Kellan?” He looked at me. “Promise me one thing?”
“Yeah, of course.”
“Don’t bring her around, Jamie. Please, no matter what.” He nodded his jaw tight.
“Bye Kellan.” I walked down stairs with Kellan behind me.
“Bye Charlie.” I walked out the door getting into my car. I took a deep breath as I made my way towards my office to pick up my work…..
The next couple weeks weren’t at all what I expected. I was able to get a cheap apartment with two bedrooms. They were extremely small and I could only just fit my full size bed. I bought a cheap crib set and had Jamie’s room as cozy as possible. I didn’t have anyone over like I used to as I was ashamed at where I was living. It was cramped and the outside was filthy. The building was full of people that would glare at me when I left or came back like I kicked a puppy in front of them. It scared me at night to have Jamie here, it was hell. The paint was peeling off the walls and the floors seemed grungy – no matter how many times I scrubbed them- I hated it here. But it was the only apartment that would take a single mother on short notice. I’ve looking for nicer places to go but no luck.
Kellan has been amazing with Jamie. He was being so good. She’s always a happy little camper when she comes home from Daddy’s. I try every time she’s away to fix up the apartment but it never works. Once I fix something the next thing brakes. I look every night for better apartments, maybe even a house. But nothing. Even if I do find one they always tell me no or they were way too expensive. I was getting desperate. Kellan kept asking about the apartment and about coming to see it or to come over for dinner and talk about Jamie. I still shot him down or went to his.
I was struggling and I couldn’t tell anyone it. I couldn’t admit I couldn’t afford staying home with Jamie, working for the Palmers, and trying to fix this shit hole up. I took a deep breath as Jamie cooed knowing where we were. “Hey Kid! What are you doing here?” Will smiled opening the front door to the fire house.
“Jamie wanted to come say hi.” I smiled weakly at him making him frown at me and usher me in.
“Let me see my little lady bug.” He smiled down at the car seat as Jamie gave another coo. She just loves her Uncle Will. He picked her up kissing her cheeks making her smile. “She’s getting so big.” He smiled at me.
“I can’t believe it’s been over two months since I had her.” I smiled at him as we walked into the front room. I cleared my throat. “Is the Chief here?” His eyes came together at my question.
“Yeah, he’s in his office. What’s this all about?” I looked down at Jamie pulling a bottle out of the diaper bag. I handed it to him.
“I won’t be long.” He nodded at me before tapping my nose with the nipple of the bottle.
“You better explain this to me, Missy.” I nodded walking down the hall to the Fire Chief’s office. I knocked on the door lightly.
“Sir?” He looked up from his paperwork.
“Hello Charlotte. What a lovely surprise to see you today.” He smiled at me taking off his reading glasses. “Kellan didn’t say you were coming by.”
“He doesn’t know I’m here.” He raised an eye brow at me nodding to one of the seats. I sat down taking a deep breath.
“You look like a woman on a mission.” I nodded.
“I need to ask a favor.” He nodded at me. “I need a job.” He gaped at me in shock.
“The Palmer’s fired you? I don’t peg them as the type to fire family like that.” I shook my head.
“No, I’m still working for them.” He looked at me confused. I bit my lip looking down at my hands.
“I need the money.” I spoke softly. I didn’t want to admit it. He sighed rubbing his forehead. “I know you don’t normally do this.”
“Have you asked Kellan?” I closed my eyes shaking my head. He took a lung full of air before releasing it loudly.
“I just need some hours, I can leave Jamie in the front room in her bouncer or I could come the nights Kellan has her. Please.” He sighed.
“It’s not the baby I’m worried about, Charlotte. It’s you.” I blinked at him. “You just had a baby less than three months ago. You are working a tough job already too early and now you want another.”
“Please, Sir, I need the money.” He gave me a sympathetic look.
“Okay. But if I think you are working too much, I’m cutting you off and I will tell Kellan and Will.” I nodded smiling at him.
“Thank you.” He smiled at me.
“Don’t thank me, Sweetheart. You’ll be the one cleaning this place and doing laundry. Have you smelled those boys’ clothes?” I laughed at him as his crow’s feet showed on his face. The Chief is an older man, thinning salt and pepper hair. One of the nicest men you will ever meet.
“I do Kellan’s laundry every time I drop Jamie off.” I shook my head. “Not pretty.” He shook his head.
“We can work out hours. Are you going to tell Kellan?” I bit my lip before shaking my head.
“Not till I have to.” He sighed. He wanted me to, but he’s too nice to tell me it. “I’ll cook occasionally as well?” He smiled.
“If you don’t mind. We might as well even save money having you around. These guys no next to nothing about house work.” I giggled. “Talk to Will about food.” I nodded standing up stretching out my hand to him
“Thank you so much, Sir.” He smiled at me shaking my hand.
“I mean it about not working too much here.” I nodded.
“I know.” I walked out as he got back to his papers and found Will in the kitchen with Jamie.
“How’d it go?” He asked me looking up from Jamie.
“It went good. I got a job.” He started to cough in surprise.
“Why do you need the job?” I shrugged.
“I need the money.” He gaped at me.
“Why didn’t you tell me?” I shook my head.
“I don’t want you to give me money. I can get it myself.” I picked Jamie up as she needed a burping. He sighed.
“Does Kellan know you need money?” I shook my head.
“I don’t want him to know.” He raised an eyebrow at me.
“And why is that?” I sat down on one of bar stools as Jamie started to play with my necklace.
“I don’t want him to think I’m weak. I feel weak; I don’t want someone calling me it.” I stroked Jamie’s hair as she cooed at something that was behind me.
“You think I’d call you weak?” I turned around so fast I thought I was going to get whiplash. Kellan stood there in his uniform staring at me. “Do you really think so low of me?” I looked down blushing bright red at being caught. “Answer me, Charlie.”
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