We walk into the house, and the smell of roast fills the air. That and apple pie. I hear the hustle coming from the kitchen and walk with them. “I’m here,” I say, and my mother turns around and takes in me holding hands with Lizzie.
“Oh my God,” she whispers as she blinks tears away. She takes off her apron and comes to us. “You are so beautiful,” she says to Lizzie who smiles at her. “My name is Joanne,” she tells them as she looks at Daisy, “and you. I’ve never seen a more beautiful five-year-old.”
“I’m almost six,” she says, and my mother laughs. My father comes to her side.
“Hello, girls, I’m so happy you could come and have dinner with us,” he says, holding my mother’s shoulder like he always does.
“Are you going to be the one who is going to fight for Mommy?” Lizzie is the first to ask, and my mother has to look down, and I know why because the tear falls. “I want to stay with my mommy.”
“I’m going to do everything I can to make it happen. I promise,” he says, and then I hear Nanny in the background from somewhere in the house.
“If that doesn’t happen, we can go underground.” Samantha looks shocked and laughs as my grandmother comes in the room with tears in her eyes as she spots me with Samantha. “My name is Nanny,” she says to Samantha. “It’s a pleasure to meet you. And your beautiful girls.” She looks at them and then at me. “Look at you. I never thought I would live to see the day.”
She turns around. “Who is going to help me set the table?” she asks, and Daisy squirms out of Samantha’s arms.
“I do the forks at home. But not the knives. It’s dangerous,” she says, following Nanny. “Lizzie does the glasses,” she informs Nanny, but Lizzie doesn’t leave the kitchen as she looks at my father.
“Mommy said you need to ask me questions,” she says, and he nods at her. “Can we do it now?”
“Yes,” my father says and walks to the study that he converted into an office. I follow him with Lizzie and Samantha.
“Is it okay that your mom and Blake stay in the room, or would you like them to go?” he asks her, grabbing a yellow legal pad.
“They can stay,” she says, and my father points at the big couch he has against the wall. Samantha sits with Lizzie next to her and me on the other side of Lizzie. “I know who you are,” she tells us quietly, looking down and then looking up.
“You’re Hailey’s brother.” I sit here shocked, but not more shocked than Samantha, whose mouth is hanging open.
“I heard Uncle Ethan and Elliot talk in the garage about Hailey’s brother, Blake.” She looks down at her hands. “Are you still going to make sure I stay with Mommy even if Daddy hurt Hailey?” she asks my father the question.
“Yes,” he says right away. “You didn’t do that, and your mom didn’t do that. But your dad did. It’s no one’s fault but his.”
“Okay,” she says, and then he starts asking her questions. She answers them perfectly.
“Can I go see if I can set the table?” She turns to Samantha, and I answer for her.
“Yes. If not, I’m sure my mom will give you something to do.”[email protected]@@@[email protected]@@@@=======
We wait for the door to close, and then Samantha looks at us. “I had no idea she would piece it together. I knew she heard them, but …”
“Doesn’t matter,” my father says, getting up. “I meant what I told her. This isn’t on you; it’s on Eric. Your daughter loves you, and from what she told me, you’re a great mom.”
“Thank you.” He nods and walks out. “I don’t think I can ever thank him enough.” She looks at me. “Or you.” She smiles and looks down.
“It’s nothing,” I tell her, and it’s the truth. We would do it for anyone, but she isn’t nobody. She’s somebody.
“Come and eat!” I hear my mother yell, so I get up and hold my hand out to her. Dinner goes off without a hitch, my father taking the chance to ask Daisy questions without her knowing.
When everyone is finally finished, we look at the clock and see it’s already past eight. “We should get going. By the time we get home, it’s going to be past eleven,” she says from beside me.
She thanks my mother for the meal and is a little bit shocked when she hugs her. The girls are all giggly when Nanny tells them the next time, she is going to take them for ice cream.
The kids change right before we leave and are asleep within thirty minutes from leaving my parents. “I think I’m going to sleep for a whole week when this is over,” she says. Leaning her head on the window, she too falls asleep. I pull up to the house, just after ten forty-five, and look over at her. She is softly snoring. I take my finger and rub her cheek softly; she is so beautiful and strong. “You’re home,” I say when she blinks her eyes open. “Go open the door, and I’ll bring the girls in,” I tell her, and she opens the door as I carry in first Daisy and then Lizzie.