Stay With Me – Part Ten


As Hank sat in the cafe, watching his own sister-in-law get kissed by her cheating husband, he debated whether or not he should intervene on them, but Hank knew there was a big possibility that Chloe has already told her sisters of the news that Hank might’ve fathered a child with an old friend of the family. He sat back in his seat against the window, sipping his morning coffee and watched them kiss like they weren’t on the brink of separation. Hank watched Brenda say something to John and then saw her get into the car alone and got a glare back in return from Brenda. When he watched her car drive away, he put his head down and moved his hands over his face. It had been twenty-four hours since seeing Nicole and her son James. He remembered the look of disappointment on his wife’s face. It was supposed to be a good escape for them after the hell of a wedding they went through just a week ago. It had just been a week. How was he going to make it in this family? He had known them for a long time. He wondered if Chloe would ever forgive him. Even though they were on a break, he didn’t that Nicole would get pregnant and automatically think the baby was his. There was so much on his mind that he just wanted to start their honeymoon over and hope for a better outcome. He took one last sip of his coffee before paying and leaving a tip for the waitress and left to try to think things through.

While he walked out the cafe, he’s started ringing off the hook. It was his mother. She had heard that the newlywed couple were home early and she had an unhealthy obsession to know why they were home so early. He tried ignoring her at first, but she kept calling and calling. Hank didn’t want her to give up on him and try Chloe’s cell, so he decided to answer his phone without knowing what he was going to say to her. “Hey, mom” Hank said, in a slow and soft voice. Sophie can notice a change of tone in her son’s voice almost instantly. “Hi honey, I heard that you and Chloe were back. How was your “short” honeymoon?” She replied back to him, in a happy tone of voice. “Yeah, we’re back. It was good, for the most part, but you know how Chloe doesn’t like being away from her family.” Which was a lie, she loved being away from her family. “Oh, yeah. Especially since her sister Brenda’s husband is cheating on her. Poor dear.” Sophie said in a sigh. Great, now everybody in town knew about John and Brenda’s personal life. Sophie had the biggest mouth in town, half of the community knew how to tell if she was telling the truth or not. Majority of the time, she was lying through her teeth, hoping somebody else had something juicy. “Well, I’m going to go now mom. I haven’t slept much in the last two days, so I’m going to go back to the house and rest up.” Hank said, as he began to unlock his driver side door and get in. “All right, honey. Get some sleep. Tell Chloe, I said “I love her” for me.” Sophie said as concluded, “I will mom. Bye.” “I He hung up the phone. Telling her the truth about Nicole and James just might be the worst thing he could ever do, that’s why everything needed to stay hush, hush for the time being, just in case.

After basically, getting yelled at by her older sister. Chloe pushed back her tears and tried to hide her emotions from her nieces. Brenda didn’t want the girls to know about their parent’s drama, they definitely didn’t need to know about their Aunt Chloe and Uncle Hank’s either. When Brenda took off, Claire put her hand over Chloe’s back as a comfort but it didn’t matter what she did because nothing was going to make her feel better. Even though Claire hated relationships herself, she tried her best to make things right with her sisters. She didn’t want to be totally heartless. That’s why she always offered to babysit her nieces. Chloe wanted to stay with Claire, to help her out with the girls. She helped feed the girls, while the oldest girls made small talk amongst themselves. Gracie sat in her chair, quiet as a cat. She could say a few words here and there, but mostly kept to herself. While little Ivy flung pieces of turkey at the wall and her Aunt Chloe. She got the biggest kick out of that. Let out the most contagious laugh that she’s ever heard a person do before. All around her was happiness and then Hank started texting her again. She wanted to ignore him, but she did miss him. Those same feelings she had when they broke up, that might’ve lead to Hank fathering a child, came flooding back. “Is he talking to you?” Claire said, in a quiet voice. “Yeah, well trying to, at least.” Chloe said as she didn’t answer him again. She laid her phone on the table away from Ivy’s hands. “You know technically, you can’t be mad at him.” Claire said as she cleaned Gracie face with a napkin. “Why not?” Chloe said as she looked up at her sister. “You guys were on a break.” Claire said as she cleaned off Tatum’s face. “Yeah, but I knew about the other girls, including Nicole. He just forgot to mention, he slept with her and might’ve gotten her pregnant too.” Chloe said in a whisper. “Ok, point taken.” Claire said as she got up from her seat at the kitchen and took the girls plates away.

The girls ran back into the play room. While Claire walked away from the table and to the kitchen. Chloe still sat in her chair with Miss Ivy by her side in her high chair. She kept looking at her phone, but Ivy didn’t like being ignored by her aunt, so she started getting fussy and Chloe threw her attention back on her youngest niece. Chloe gave her a smile, but her mind was definite somewhere else. She wondered if babies could sense something was wrong inside. Again, Chloe’s phone went off. The little buzzing noise freaked Ivy so bad that she started crying and instead of picking up the phone and ignoring the text, she cleaned off Ivy’s face, which was covered with pieces of  turkey and cheese. She continued to smile and giggle, but she looked so sleepy. Chloe felt the same. She didn’t get much sleep on the plane ride home. The last two days were hell for her mind and sleep wasn’t an option for her apparently. She carried her baby niece into her bedroom. She put her pacifier into her mouth and laid her into her crib. She resisted at first, but after a few minutes, Ivy fell asleep. Once she was passed out, Chloe slowly walked out of her room and closed the door slightly. She noticed the play room was extremely quiet. She peaked inside to find both Ava and Tatum tuckered out on the floor with Gracie sitting on the floor, watching Dora. She smiled again and walked away like she was never there. After making her getaway, Chloe grabbed her phone and put it in her back pocket and hugged her baby sister and left to go get some sleep. “Text me if you need me.” Chloe said as she headed to the door. “I will, and try to at least talk to Hank sometime today. You know he misses you and loves you, just as much as you do.” Maybe she was right. Chloe walked out the door and headed to the car.

After leaving the cafe, Hank turned on the highway to go back to the house. He really wanted to talk to Chloe, but didn’t think she would talk to him if he went to Brenda’s house. She and her sisters probably wouldn’t let him in the house, let alone talk to his wife. He really needed to get those tests results done and hope that will erase everything and maybe they can plan a second honeymoon and hope to stay there without any interruptions. He was also scared that would if he was the father of James. He didn’t think he looked like him, but that might be denial kicking in. It was a shitty move on Nicole to come out to their hotel while they were on their honeymoon. She never once tried to let him know about it before she gave birth. Why did she have to wait five whole years to make her move? He drove off the highway and into their little community of houses, turned to right and saw the signs and balloons from his side of the family, apparently his mother’s phone call was making sure he and Chloe were home so they could decorate the house. They bought their first home last year and now he was returning home by himself and he was afraid that Chloe won’t come home. He pulled into the driveway and opened his door. He walked out and untied the balloons from their sticks. He unlocked the door and walked into the living room, to find his wife lying on the couch fast asleep.

Her face looked so sweet, the dried stream of tears still cold down her cheeks. She had just gotten here. He didn’t want to awaken her, but he desperately wanted to kiss her. Knowing how either of them really talked last night or the day before after seeing Nicole and meeting her son James. Hank rubbed her left arm and fixed the blanket so she wouldn’t get cold. He started walking away and went into the kitchen and grabbed a water. He knew grabbing a beer wouldn’t make him feel better or make everything go away. He stayed smart and walked back through the living room to see Chloe now fully awake. The stream of tears wiped away from sight. They just stared at each other. Neither one knew what to talk about and that scared them both to the core. Hank walked by the couch and Chloe sat up and let him sit by her. Hank sat down on the black leather couch. He remembered the day they bought that couch. Chloe had thought that if they bought it, it would be a little bit of elegance to their home. Chloe seemed like the simple girl on the outside, but she liked things to stay classic. Even if he hated it at first, he grew to love it. He cradled her in his arms and she covered both of them in the blanket. He took his hand out of the blanket for a second to put the bottle of water on the side table and raise his feet up. He could stay there forever, with the love of his life. “I love you so much, Chloe Renee Cohen. I hope you always know that.” He said as he sniffled, he never cried, but he couldn’t bear the thought of one simple mistake could tear them apart.

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