woman watched the scene unfold before her, standing silent and still at the
window. She was exhausted, having travelled countless miles and hours along
lonely stretches of road, in darkness and through storms, to reach this place
– this moment. She had been so sure of her purpose since she had made the
decision to return, but now, she found herself hesitating before taking the
final step. She knew, without a doubt, that she would not be welcome, at least
not at first. This hadn’t bothered her on her journey; if there was one thing
she could say for herself, it was that she had a knack for turning hostile
situations to her favor. She wasn’t always known to be the most patient
person, but in this she could wait out any bad feelings. And yet, here she was,
faltering as she reached the first meaningful checkpoint…
the warm house, Marina Cooper was hefting her son into his high chair, trying to
hold back an undignified grunt at the strain. The boy was growing larger and
more handsome every day, and she knew that soon she would be hard pressed to
carry him around like she enjoyed to do. “All right buddy, time to start
dinner,” she cooed, clipping the safety-belt and snapping the tray down into
place. Henry, who Shayne had taken to occasionally calling Hank, nodded
excitedly and laughed. No one would ever charge him with being a bad eater, that
was for sure.
Marina started as she caught sight of someone looking into the window. A knife
was in her hand almost before she considered picking one up, and she moved
forward, placing herself between the intruder’s line of sight and her son.
Henry whimpered, startled by his mother’s sudden movement. “It’s all right
buddy, it’s okay,” she assured him, looking back briefly before cautiously
the curtains and throwing them back with her free hand, she got her second
surprise of the evening. “Mom?” she asked, squinting in confusion. The older
woman sighed, breath fogging up the glass, and nodded, pointing towards the
front door. Frowning now, Marina inclined her head in agreement and moved
towards the front of the house. “This had better be good.”
the door, Marina resisted the urge to shiver at the cold air that immediately
blew into the house. The two women stared at each other silently for long
moments, sizing each other up, until, finally, Eleni looked away. “Aren’t
you going to invite your mother in?” The younger woman snorted, raising an
just why in the world would I do that?” she asked, all but sneering. Taken
aback, her mother blinked slowly.
know we haven’t always seen eye to eye, but, the last time I was here we…
weren’t exactly on the worst of terms…” she said, hesitating.
exactly on the best either,” Marina shot back, crossing her arms over her
chest, mindful of the sharp edge of the knife.
it was Eleni’s turn to raise an eyebrow. “Are you going to stab your own
mother, Marina?” she chuckled, shaking her head. The younger woman glared,
just barely holding back a pout.
it comes to Henry, there aren’t many people I can trust.”
cocked her head, smiling genuinely. “Is that my grandson’s name?” she
asked, pleased. “It’s a good, strong name.”
a good, strong boy,” Marina allowed, unable to stop the pride from filling her
voice and expression. “No thanks to his grandmother,” she added with another
I see him?” the older woman asked, her gaze shifting from her daughter to the
inside of the cozy house longingly. “I don’t want to impose, b-”
yet, here you are,” the younger woman sniffed. Eleni scowled, jaw clenching in
my grandson Marina, I have a right-”
have no rights here. If, and that is a big if, you get to see him, it’s
because I decide to let you.”
the wind gone from her sails, the former Mrs. Frank Cooper Jr. swallowed hard.
Shouldering a previously hidden duffle bag, she reached out with her free hand
and cupped her daughter’s cheek. “I had hoped,” she murmured, slightly
encouraged when Marina didn’t pull away. “That you would understand, now
that you are a mother. I love you, sweetheart, no matter what happened before.
And I love my grandson, even though we have never met.”
find that hard to believe,” Marina grumbled, trembling from the cold.
stubborn; you definitely get that from me. I’ll be in town for a while… if
you decide you want to talk…”
her head back, out of her mother’s hold, Marina shrugged, posture sagging a
bit now that she was sure there was no danger of a confrontation. “Don’t
hold your breath.” Nodding again, Eleni turned on her heel and walked away.
against the door in relief, Marina stared into the distance long after her
mother had gotten into her car and driven away; she shook slightly with both the
cold and the loss of adrenaline. Henry’s crying broke her stupor, and she
blinked rapidly, shutting the door and entering the kitchen once again. She
would find out what her mother was after later; right now, it was time to take
care of the most important person in her life.
buddy, are you okay? Oh, you’re freezing! Mommy’s sorry, little man!”
Removing the boy from his high chair and lifting him in her arms, she moved into
the living room. Sitting on the couch, she grabbed the throw and wrapped it
around them both, reaching for the phone once they were cocooned. She dialed
quickly, fingers accustomed to the familiar pattern of numbers. She got an
answer on the third ring. “Yeah, hi Shayne. Do you want to come over for some
pizza take out…have a movie night with me and the little guy?” she asked,
trying not to sound too hopeful. Pausing a moment, she smiled, holding Henry
closer. “Excellent, I’ll see you in half an hour.” Hanging up the phone,
she kissed her son on the forehead. “Hear that buddy, your daddy’s coming
over for a family night. Let’s not let mean old grandma ruin a perfectly good
evening.” Tomorrow…tomorrow she would find out what the woman wanted.
Tonight, she would lose herself in two of her favorite men, and try to pretend
that they really were a small happy family.