This is the follow-up to our Day 2 Short Father Christmas. You should probably read that first 🙂
Before introducing our next short, a bit of a shout-out to one of my favourite bloggers: K.J. Chapman! She wrote a brilliant short fiction from a prompt I gave her. You should definitely check it out HERE
I have mixed feelings about this one. I think it got a little away from me, but I know how it’s all going to conclude. So stick around for a third part.
Otherwise, I hope you still enjoy. I apologize for any melodrama that might ensue.
Father Christmas?, Part the Second
It was a surprise to see Timothy’s number appear on the screen of her phone. She hadn’t expected it, despite what she had said, though she had hoped.
“Hey, Sax. You meant it, right? Me calling, that is?” he asked before she could even utter a greeting. “I mean, you weren’t just saying that to shut me up this morning, right?”
She paused before granting him a reply, considering now if she had meant all that she had earlier. “I think so.”
“Okay, ‘cause I didn’t think I needed anything else in my life until I saw you today, with Max. I never realized how much I wanted a son.”
Sam pondered his words. He’d always been good with them, always able to say the right thing to make her forget that he could be a complete idiot too. She had to tread carefully here. Her son’s happiness depended on the decision to be made.
“Let’s meet up,” she suggested. That couldn’t hurt. It wasn’t giving him a yes, or a no. it was just an offer of possibility.
“Now.” His reply was also a suggestion.
Max would be in bed soon, she reasoned. And her mother would be quick to come if she called. “Okay. Give me half an hour.”
They met at the same place they always had: that small café on the corner of Bradbury and Atwood.
Without the Santa suit, Sam could better appreciate how handsome Timothy still was. She had forgotten how sexy he was with his long brown curls and golden hazel orbs and boyish charm, forgotten how he could make her flush with just one glance.
“Hey, Sax.” He jumped up and reached for her.
She held out a hand to stop him. “This is about Max. Not us. Clear.”
“Sure.” He wore his disappointment well. “I ordered our usual,” he added, pulling out a chair for her to sit. “I hope that’s not overreaching.”
“It’s a little presumptuous,” she chided him, but could not complain when their waiter deposited a peppermint hot cocoa for Timothy and a salted caramel latte with whipped cream for her. She could not conceal the delight in her eyes when she took a sip of the goodness.
“I guess I’m lucky that some things don’t change.”
“Thank goodness for little miracles,” she agreed.
“Like us meeting again today. That was a miracle. I’ve never been so…grateful for a second chance. I’ve been thinking about you. A lot, lately.”
“Now, about Max.” Sam forced them away from that conversation, straight into the business of their meeting. She was scared by how easily she could imagine slipping back into this relationship. She had been certain that he would be the one, before he had run off with the harlot.
“He’s gorgeous. Another one of those little miracles. God, I messed up bad.”
“You think?” Bitter resentment filled her response.
“God, you have no idea how much I hate myself for it.”
“Good.” Sam didn’t care if he was in distress over it. She had been certain that she had no more emotions left in this relationship, had moved passed the heartache long ago. It was easy to despise him now for reminding her of the love they had had, of how deeply she regretted how they had fallen apart. That anger clouded her mind, and a new shame settled in her, rooted in her decision to have given him this opening at all.
“Stop calling me that,” she warned him.
Sam. I don’t know how to apologize—“
“Then don’t,” she pleaded with him. “I came here for Max. He wants his Dad and… I don’t know what I was thinking. But there you were, playing Santa, making kids laugh, making kids happy. I thought it was destiny. You know how we used to… Well, it was stupid of me.” She took another sip of her latte, hoping the hot liquid would fortify her resolve. She would need another shot of whipping cream for that.
“Okay, so let’s make this about Max.”
“Do you think you can do that?”
“Because once you’re in his life, you can’t back out. You can’t leave when it gets bad. He wants his Dad. That means someone who’s going to stay in his life, not someone who’s just going to show up when they feel like it. Can you promise me that?” Even as she said it, she could feel her resolve breaking, convincing herself that this was the worst possible idea.
“Just like you promised me a ring?”
He scoffed. “You won’t believe a word out of my mouth, will you? So what does it matter what I say?”
“And I shouldn’t resent you, because I forced you out of our relationship.”
“She was my ex, Sax, I—”
“I told you not to call me that.”
“C’mon, Sam. I messed up, okay. I shouldn’t have left you. I know I’m the idiot in this situation. Cut me a little slack.”
“It’s been almost five years. If you really wanted to make amends, why haven’t I heard from you before now? Shit, why did I come here?” She rose up from her chair then, cup in hand. “I can’t do this. Not to Max.”
“Sam!” He called her name only once, but didn’t pursue. He knew her well enough to know it would be futile.
Into the falling snow, she fled, without tears, without regret. Sam only knew anger built from the frustration of having tried to make something work, something that she and Max didn’t need.
They were fine just the two of them. Max deserved a father, but he deserved better than Timothy. He could wait for a proper substitute who could love him faithfully, who could love her.
She checked her watch. It was a quarter past nine. There was still time to buy Max something special. It would be a tall order to find something extraordinary enough to make up for the lack of a dad under the tree.
The challenge would be welcome after this latest debacle.
An hour later, she would be longing for another round with Timothy as she returned home empty-handed.
When had Christmas become so complicated?
May inspiration flow like ink upon your quill,
© 2015. Faith Rivens.