She looks at me after she looks around. “You made a home for your girls; you gave them this. Not him. So it doesn’t matter what he says, it doesn’t matter if you made him or that Hailey completed him because, in the end, you complete those little girls, and it’s so much better than him.” She nods her head like she finally gets it.
“I can’t believe you’re here,” she says, smiling. “You came all this way.”
“I figured I could see up close how bad the seafoam green is.” I smile at her, and she finally laughs.
“It’s really fucking bad,” she says. Grabbing my hand, she pulls me to the bathroom. She wasn’t lying; it’s horrible.
“Let me make some coffee,” she says, leading me back to the kitchen. She makes a cup of coffee, giving me the cup she once sent me a picture of. I sit here for the second time in my life, but this time, it’s different. This time, I’m not here for Hailey; I’m here for Samantha and only her. She sits next to me with something in her hand. “I need to choose a color for my bedroom,” she says, and for the next hour, we laugh over paint shades while she checks Pinterest for ideas. For two hours, we do nothing but talk about her bedroom, not one of us bringing up Eric. When I finally walk out of the house and head to my truck, I wave back at her. As I pull off, the phone rings, and the Bluetooth picks it up.
Her voice comes out softly. “I figured you could use some friendly conversation while you drive home,” she says with amusement.
For the next two hours and a half, she tells me stories of what a horrible cook she is. How she once made meatloaf, but it was so soppy it looked like meat soup. I laugh as I tell her stories about the recipes that I do know, which aren’t much. When I finally pull up to my house, it’s almost five a.m. “Are you going to go to bed now?” I ask her.
“No,” she tells me. “I think I’m going to make a big breakfast, and then when the kids leave, I’ll go to bed.” She yawns.
“Okay, call me when you wake up,” I say, getting out of my truck and disconnecting. I take off my shoes, fall on my bed, and sleep for six hours straight. Getting up when the alarm rings, I walk to the coffeemaker, pour a cup, and drink it with my eyes almost shut. After taking a shower, I head to my truck and drive over to my parents’ house.
I knock on the door then walk in and see my mother in the kitchen, taking out an apple pie from the oven. “Guess I’m here right on time,” I tell her. I kiss her cheek and grab the coffeepot to pour myself a cup.
“You look tired,” my mother says, putting down the oven mitts.
“Yeah, I had a rough night,” I tell her and don’t go into more detail.
“Anything you want to talk about?” she asks me, and I just shake my head. “Well, you know that if you need to talk about anything, I’ll be here.”
“I know, Mom.” I smile at her. “Where is Dad?” I ask, looking around.
“He’s in the shed already,” she tells me, so I walk out to the backyard. Going into the shed, I hear him curse. Through the open door, I see him trying to get a shelf to stay in place.
“Guess I came at the right time,” I tell him from the doorway as I hold up one side while he tries to nail the other side. I grab the hammer from him and push him aside so I can nail it in and it doesn’t fall on his head. We spend two hours putting up shelves and fixing the one shelf he put up crooked.
When we finally finish, he looks over at me. “There is a reason I went into law.” He smiles. “Because I fucking hate this shit.” He takes off the gloves he has on to prevent getting a splinter in his hands. “You look weird,” he says to me. “Something is off.”
I shake my head. “Nothing is off with me.”
“It’s in your eyes,” he tells me, and I look down at my feet, not sure what the fuck is in my eyes. He doesn’t say anything; he just walks out, and I follow him.
When we walk in, Mom has lunch ready for us. “Your sister is in love with the beach,” she starts telling me while I take a bite of the sandwich she made for me.
“I heard from Crystal that it’s going well,” I tell them. “Looks like everyone involved is finally moving on.” I don’t catch the words before they slip out, and I know for a fact my father caught it, but he doesn’t say anything when I look up at him. He just gives me a sideways look and then looks to see if my mother noticed. She didn’t, so I take another bite and pay more attention to every single word that comes out.