***Author's Note*** I first of all want to say that I am SO sorry for the long wait. I finally have some time to sit down and think and write! I really hope everyone sticks with me, there isn't too much left of this story, and I hope to have it finished soon! Thanks so much for being patient! -Christine
Secrets with Ryan
“Morning Kitten,” Ryan whispered into Colleen’s ear.
She rolled over, and smiled. Her eyes were still closed.
“That was,” Ryan started to exaggerate, “pretty amazing last night.”
Colleen laughed a little, “Yeah, I’m glad you enjoyed it.”
He wrapped his arms around her, “It was good for you too, right?”
She nodded, “Yeah, it was just different.”
Ryan sighed, “Not exactly the answer I was looking for.”
She sat up and faced him, “It’s not you, things are just going to take time to be normal again.”
“You warned me of that.” Ryan got up and pulled some sweats on. He didn’t even bother to put on a shirt.
“Babe, what do you want to do today?”
Ryan shrugged his broad and tanned shoulders, “I don’t know.”
“Well that sure helps a lot,” she rolled her eyes.
“I just feel like we have a lot to do, getting the house ready and all.” Ryan opened the blinds, and peered out at the suburban lifestyle alive outside the window. “I just can’t believe we’re here.”
She walked up behind him, wrapped her arms around Ryan. She gently kissed his shoulder. “I love it.”
“I never thought of myself as a suburban-type. I always lived in the city.”
“Boston is a half hour drive. It’s hardly country living.”
“I know, just, everything is changing. You. Me. You’re little girl.”
“You’re not having regrets are you?” She questioned him, but tried to keep her voice calm and steady. She gazed out the window with him. There were kids out on their lawns, husbands washing their cars, and groups of wives chatting briefly.
“You think we’ll be like them?”
She giggled, “I don’t know, perhaps.”
“I guess we should do something productive,” Ryan closed the blinds again.
“Shall we introduce ourselves to the neighbors?”
“I guess so, but,” he nervous asked her, “what do we tell them?”
She bit her lip. “I, I don’t know. We’re not married, not engaged, and I have a baby with another man.”
“Well, it doesn’t really matter what everyone thinks. We can shatter their white-picket fence lives for all I care.” Ryan tried to muster her confidence.
“They’ll see that we love each other. Plus, we don’t have to tell everyone the details of everything just yet.”
“Surburbia gossip, that’s what it will be. No one ever takes it seriously.”
She wrinkled her nose, “Great.”
A few hours later, the doorbell rang. The couple looked at each other, finally Ryan caved in, “I’ll get it.” He opened the door, “Hi.”
A near Stepford-wife stood, perhaps in her late 30’s, “Hello neighbors.”
“Hello,” Ryan politely responded back.
“I’m Marilyn Rothchild, my house is right down the street.” She lifted a bottle of wine, “Welcome to the neighborhood! How is the moving process going?”
“It’s…going. Would you like to come in?” Ryan offered.
Marilyn eagerly stepped into the newly furnished house, and made her way into the kitchen.
“Hi, I’m Colleen,” she greeted the new neighbor.
“Marilyn. I just sincerely wanted to welcome you both to the neighborhood.” Marilyn spotted baby bottles on the counter. “Oh, you two have a baby?”
Colleen shot Ryan a look.
“My parents are visiting in town, and they took little Gabby for the weekend while we moved in,” Ryan was quick on his toes with a response.
Colleen breathed out, and mouthed ‘thank you’ to him.
“Well she must be beautiful coming from both of you,” Marilyn remarked.
“She looks just like her mother,” Ryan smiled.
In that moment, Colleen really found her comfort in Ryan. She saw that he did not only care for her, but found that he really cared about her daughter too. She only imagined the day when they could have a child together.
“About two months, but she was early.” Colleen finally chimed in about her daughter. “Can I get you anything, a glass of water, something to eat maybe?”
She shook her head no, “No, I was just being nosey! I want you both to know that you’re more than welcome to stop by anytime. Enjoy the beautiful day out!”
Ryan escorted their neighbor to the door.
Before Marilyn left, “You have a very beautiful wife Mr. Pavano.”
Early Monday morning, Colleen drove to her old house to pick up Gabby from Brad. She knocked on the door, and she heard Brad tell her to come in. The door was unlocked, she walked into the house once again.
“Brad?” She said quietly.
“In the kitchen.”
Colleen slipped off her shoes and walked into the kitchen. She saw Gabrielle in his arms, she couldn’t help but smile at the scene. “How was she for you?”
“An angel of course. She loves spending time with her daddy, don’t you baby girl?” Brad kissed Gabby on the forehead. “Let me just finish giving her breakfast before you take her. You’re welcome to anything to eat, if you want.”
‘This is a different Brad…’ Colleen thought, but she shook her head, “No, I’m fine.”
“Suit yourself,” Brad muttered.
There was still an awkward silence between the former couple, but Brad was curious. “So, how is the new place?”
Colleen didn’t want to rub it in that much, “It’s nice, but it’s different, you know?”
He nodded his head, even though he didn’t really ‘know’ what it was like.
Colleen felt fidgety, she glanced at the clock, “Brad, it’s almost 7:30, don’t you have to get ready for work soon?”
“Yes,” he sighed, “I’m not going to like Col, this is really difficult for me. I don’t want her to go.”
“And I miss her too. I need her.”
Brad put the baby into Colleen’s arms.
“Hey pumpkin!” Colleen was relieved to have her baby back in her arms. She looked up at Brad, “Thank you. I can see that you really love her a lot.”
“She’s my daughter Colleen, of course I do.”
She nodded her head, “I know.”
Before Colleen left, Brad had to ask her something, “Do you think,” she turned around to face him, “if you didn’t meet Ryan, that we would still be together?”
She shrugged her shoulders. “I don’t know Brad. Maybe. But I still feel that we would have grown apart.”
“Just, not as fast as we did?”
“I’m sorry, I really hope you know that.”
He laughed a little, “I’m starting to believe you. It’s just going to take me some time. But I want you to be happy.”
Colleen smiled, “That really means a lot to me.”
Brad walked her to the door, “Be careful, drive safe, and I’ll see you on Friday then.”
She nodded, “I’ll see you Friday then.”
Peace at last. It felt good to have her daughter back, but the actual compliance of Brad was stunning. For the first time, she saw that she and Brad could successfully raise their daughter separate, but still together. Maybe it wasn’t the happy ending Colleen was hoping for, but a start.
It took about a half hour to go from Brad’s house to Colleen’s suburban get-a-way. Once she pulled into the driveway, she glanced back to see her daughter fast asleep. She couldn’t wait to spend time with Gabby again, but felt a little depressed that Ryan was already into the city at work.
‘Work,’ she couldn’t help but sigh. She actually missed working, but she knew motherhood was her job now. Especially, since that wasn’t the easiest job to balance. Between learning how to be a mom, working on her relationship with Ryan, and trying to become civil with Brad once again, it was a large enough job for now, important too.
Colleen whisked the baby upstairs to her crib lined with colors of soft pinks and purples. Gabby still slept, and looked so peaceful.
She was happy to have her daughter back, but couldn’t help but look at herself in this new and large house. It was empty. There wasn’t life yet in this house. But more than that, she felt empty. Everything in the world that matter to her was resting three feet away, and yet she felt like she nothing.
Colleen curled up into the rocker, and waited for her baby to wake.
There was nothing else for her to do.
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