We walk hand in hand, following the girls outside where they ooh and ahh over the twelve-person tent with three bedrooms. The tent is shaped like a letter T. Two bedrooms on each side with a zip up door and another bedroom in the middle. Each room can be closed. I peek in and see that she bought them all memory foam blow up mattresses on stilts, and it looks like a hotel room instead of a tent. Each girl has their own bed with pink covers.
“This tent is crazy,” Samantha says, stepping inside as the girls choose their bed.
“Mommy, can we sleep here today?” Lizzie asks, and Daisy agrees with her.
She looks over at me, and I just shrug my shoulders. I honestly don’t give a shit where they sleep as long as they are with me, near me. “I’m dying to try out this bed,” my mother says. “The guy at the store said it was the crème de la crème.”
My father comes outside smiling. “Isn’t this the coolest tent you’ve ever seen?” he asks me, ducking to go inside and lie on the bed in the ‘master’ bedroom. “Joanne, this bed is amazing,” he says.
My mother drags the girls away from the tent to go inside and eat, where they hurry up so they can go back outside to sit in the tent. “I don’t think they are going to leave that tent today,” Samantha says, watching them walk outside, or rather run.
“Good, then my plan worked,” my mother says smiling. “Why don’t you two go and have alone time?”
Samantha looks at me. “That sounds amazing,” she says, “but I couldn’t burden you with them.”
“Burden us?” my father says. “Did you see that tent? It’s a condo.” He puts his elbows on the table. “Plus, she bought a television to put in there, and she has Netflix fired up.” He points at my mother.
“I haven’t had a Netflix and chill,” she says, putting up her hands, “well, since ever.”
“Mom, you know that’s code for sex, right?” I tell her, and she looks at me shocked while Samantha looks down and laughs.
“It is not.” She looks horrified. “Who made that up?” she asks.
“Probably the guy who wanted to watch television and have sex,” my father points out to her.
“Are you guys sure?” Samantha asks. “What if they get scared or on your nerves?”
“If they want to come home at any time, I will bring them to you in a heartbeat, and if you can’t sleep without them, you are more than welcome to come here and sleep in the spare bedroom.”
“Okay,” she whispers. “If it’s okay with them, I’m okay leaving them.”
My mother cheers like she just won the Super Bowl, getting up and going outside to yell for the girls. “She said yes. She said yes.” She runs into the tent and then runs back inside. “Henry, quick, get the television, the kids want to watch Tangled. It’s about Rapunzel,” she says with her hands together in glee. “I’ll grab the popcorn.” She turns and gets the popcorn ready while Samantha and I go outside to see the kids.
“Are you guys sure you want to stay here?” she asks them, and they both yell yes from their “rooms.”
We kiss the girls goodbye and walk out of the backyard holding hands. “So …” I turn her to face me. “What do you want to do?”
She walks to me slowly, putting her hands around my neck and going on her tippy toes. “I want to go home with you, lock the door,” she leans in and whispers, “and make out with you.”
I moan in agreement, leaning down and kissing her lips. “That sounds like a perfect day.” We get in the car and head home.
I walk in the house first, tossing the keys on the entrance table. “There is something I need to do,” I tell her and then walk to the bedroom and come back with Frankie’s picture of us. Standing in the middle of the living room, Samantha looks at me and then at the picture in my hand. Her face falls a little, but she tries to recover. “I’ve always slept with this picture next to my bed,” I tell her, looking down at the picture in my hands. “It got to the point I couldn’t sleep without looking at it, and then slowly, it became better.”
“Blake.” She looks down and up again. “You don’t have to choose.” She wrings her hands. “I know that you will always love her.”
“I will,” I tell her, “forever.” I look down at Frankie’s smile. “But I found out that my heart is big enough to love more than Frankie,” I tell her, and she gasps. “My broken heart got slowly filled; it filled with a new love.” She looks at me, smiling, but the tears are flowing. “It filled with a love that seeped itself deeper than my soul; it’s in my bones.” I walk to the living room and place the picture on the table beside the couch. “It’s time for me to live again,” I tell her. “I need to live in the present and not the past.” I look at her. “You make me want not only the present but the tomorrows.”