The next morning, after calls to the security company and awkward glances over coffee, Daniel drove Eva to the hospital and headed for the airport to pick up his mother. Traffic was light, so he had no problem getting there. He even had time to spare.
He parked in the lot and walked into the overly conditioned air. He shivered and wondered why they still had the A/C running. It was pointless and a waste of money. Air circulation he could understand. But not air conditioning. He made his way through the crowd leaving the airport and stood near the escalators. It was several minutes before Dee rose up, seemingly through the floor, into his view. He smiled and walked towards her.
“Daniel!” Dee yelled, waving her scarf in the air. He swept her up in a hug and she laughed. “Put me down, young man!” An airport employee came up quickly behind her and set her suitcase beside her. “Thank you, sir,” she said, and gave a small bow. He tipped his hat and went back down to the lower level. “Let me took at you,” she said and stood an arm’s length away. Shaking her head she said with a smile, “You look more and more like your father, every day.”
Daniel picked up her suitcase, put his other hand on the small of her back and ushered her outside. “Wait here and I’ll bring the car.” He sprinted across the road and got in the car. On his way through the gate, he swept his credit card and scanned the parking permit he was given when he got there. The gate lifted and he pulled around to pick up Dee. Daniel got out of the car and walked around to open her door before putting her suitcase in the trunk. He was thankful Sadie has shown him how to work it yesterday, or else he’d be screwed.
After they were both in the car, Dee said, “Okay, take me to see my baby,” and looked straight ahead.
Daniel put the car in gear and said, “Yes ma’am.”
Eva and Sadie packed Sadie’s things after Dani was discharged from the hospital, even though there really wasn’t much to pack. They were talking about what to have for supper when Daniel and Dee came in, and Dee startled them by shrieking and pulling Sadie into a hug too tight for her tiny frame.
“Oh, my Goddess! Look how big you’ve grown!” Dee exclaimed and hugged her again. Sadie winced and Dee apologized many times before turning her grasp on a laughing Eva. Eva returned her embrace with as much force as Dee gave. Dee held her at arm’s length, a smile on her face and said, “My other favorite girl.”
“Hello, Dee,” Eva greeted her, still smiling.
Dee looked around and asked, “Do we need to wait for the doctor or are we free to go? I’m rather hungry and tired.”
Eva said, “No, we can go anytime. She’s been discharged, papers have been signed and we were just waiting for the two of you to come rescue us.”
Daniel rubbed his hands together and said, “Glad I stocked the fridge. Ladies, after you.” His arm swept out chivalrously and he ushered them out of the room.
Louis paced his room almost frantically. Eva wasn’t not answering her phone or responding to his messages. Something wasn’t right at home, he could feel it. Emily had gone out with the swinger couple they had met and Louis took advantage of having the room to himself, which included, in his opinion, stalking his wife. His usual routes of information seemed to be closed, as Michael and Susan barely spoke to him. He figured they probably knew about Emily and the phone call. “Fuck it, and fuck them.” He tossed his cell on the bed, turned on the television and pulled up the pay-per-view listings.
When Daniel pulled the car into the garage, he saw an envelope taped to the kitchen door. He popped the trunk and got out to get the envelope. It was from the security Eva contracted. “Wow, they work fast,” he said and handed it to Eva so he could get Dee and Sadie’s things from the trunk.
Eva opened the envelope and scanned it quickly. “Well, I have to call them using the automated system, input the code listed here and reset the code. Apparently, they weren’t able to do it because we weren’t here, which, by the way, is insane they were even available on such short notice to start with.” She sighed and put the envelope in her bag. “I’ll do it later since there isn’t a huge rush.”
“I’ll remind you after dinner,” Daniel stated firmly.
Dee had been watching Daniel and Eva interact, and was pleased at what she saw. She smiled to herself and the four of them went into the kitchen. Daniel took Dee’s suitcase and Sadie’s things upstairs while the women got settled in the kitchen. Sadie looked through the fridge and cabinets.
“Holy crap, Mom. Where did all this food come from?” she asked.
Eva fixed a pot of decaf and said nonchalantly, “Dad went shopping Saturday morning.”
Sadie and Dee looked at Eva and each other. “Okay, then” Sadie said and got a bottle of juice from the fridge before sitting with Dee at the table. “What are you making for dinner?”
“I thought I would cook tonight, and since Mom is the guest, she may decide,” Daniel interrupted.
Dee sat quietly and said, “Surprise me,” with a smile.
He clapped and said, “You’re on. I love a challenge.”
That night after Daniel had cooked an amazing dinner consisting of roast duck with orange glaze, a variety of vegetables and homemade biscuits, they all settled in the living room to play the at-home version of Words with Friends, a spur of the moment purchase while in Raleigh. Dee and Sadie against Daniel and Eva made for interesting word combinations.
After the first round, Dee announced she was going to bed and kissed everyone goodnight. Sadie watched her leave the room and said she was anxious to get started playing with her new iPad. She hugged her parents in turn and they all said their “I love yous”.
Daniel put away the game, grabbed two fresh beers and sat with Eva on the couch. He was careful not to sit too close, as it was getting harder not to touch her. She frowned and thanked him for the beer. They clinked bottles and looked everywhere except at each other. Daniel could feel the tension coming off of her.
“You alright?” he asked quietly.
Eva sighed, “Yeah. I guess.” She hesitated before adding, “Once Louis gets back from Salt Lake, you can’t spend the night,” a hint of sadness to her voice. “I’ve gotten used to you being here.”
He pulled her into his lap and said, “I know.” She leaned her head on his shoulder. Daniel said, “Mom and Sadie can stay with me for the rest of her trip.” He rubbed her arm and added, “Unless you want to put me in the garage apartment?”
She chuckled and said, “As much as I have enjoyed having you around, I really don’t think that’s a good idea.” She played with the hem of her sweater with one hand and twirled the beer bottle on her thigh with the other. “It would make things very complicated.”
Daniel hugged her with one arm. “I know, babe. And, things are screwed up enough as it is. We don’t need to create more trouble than necessary. He’s already gonna have kittens because you were with me at the hospital and whatnot.”
She waved her hand in the air and said, “Whatever. I’m not going to worry about that right now.”
They sat like that for a long time. She in his lap and neither of them speaking. Occasionally Daniel would shift beneath her and she would giggle. They decided they had had a long day and that it was time for bed. Eva made no move to get off Daniel’s lap, and he didn’t ask her to. Instead, they curled up together on the couch and watched the news.
Sadie woke up to the smell of bacon, eggs, cinnamon rolls, coffee and other delightful breakfast goods. She put on her robe and tiptoed down the stairs, hoping to catch a glimpse of Daniel and Eva making smooch faces at each other. They weren’t fooling anyone. Sadie knew what was going on, and was happy about it. Secretly, she knew Louis was an asshole. And even if she didn’t know what was going on, she knew Eva wasn’t happy with him, and hadn’t been for a long time. Sadie also knew, from the snippets of conversation she overheard, that their marriage was about over. And that meant Eva and Daniel could reunite. She smiled and walked in the kitchen.
“Good morning, parents and grandmother. How are we on this glorious morning” she asked with grand flourish and grabbed a cup of coffee before sitting at the table.
Daniel laughed. “Well, top o’ the mornin’ to ya, lass,” he said and flipped the bacon.
Eva and Dee said good morning at the same time and sipped their coffee. Eva had her day planner open in front of her and Dee pursued the newspaper. Sadie looked at the women and wondered if they felt alright. Both had been happy and lively last night. What changed?
“Mom, did you call the school and have my assignments for the week gotten together for pick up later?” Sadie asked.
“Yes, ma’am. Already done. Your Dad’s going to pick it all up on his way to the shop before lunch,” she answered. “My day is looking fuller than I expected, which sucks.”
Dee looked at Sadie and asked if she wanted to drive into Bangor and do some shopping for her upcoming college tour. “It could be a lot of fun. We could hire a car for the day, and be pampered like princesses. What do you say?”
Sadie looked at Eva. “Can I?”
Eva looked at Daniel, and asked, “What do you think?”
Still flipping bacon he shrugged. “You did just get out of the hospital.” He cracked eggs into a bowl for a quiche and asked, “How about tomorrow, Mom? She still needs to heal a bit more.”
Dee sighed dramatically and said, “Alright, fine. I’ll find other ways to amuse myself today.” She went back to reading the newspaper.
Sadie pouted. “Aw, okay. I guess I’ll just play with the iPad then.” She sipped her coffee and said, “This isn’t the kind you usually get, Mom. This is better. What is it?” she asked.
“Dad picked it up at Massimo’s. He’s pretty smart, that guy,” Eva said, gesturing to Daniel with her own cup. “Knows what I like.” As soon as she realized what she said, she blushed.
The rest of the morning passed with relative un-eventfulness. Sadie busied herself with showing Dee her writing and asked her opinion on which should be included in her portfolio. Eva spent several minutes on the phone changing the security code and scheduled the men to come out and install cameras. If she couldn’t be home for that, she’d ask Daniel to supervise. He’d know where they should be, as he’d already been out to scope the grounds.
Eva sat at her desk when Dee knocked on the door. “Mind if I come in?” she asked. Eva gestured to a nearby chair. Dee sat and watched Eva for a moment, mostly to decide how to proceed. “I’ve enjoyed the morning with Sadie,” she began. Eva nodded. “We talked, you know. About you and Louis, you and Daniel, and well, you in general.” That was as good a place as any to start, she decided.
Eva laid her pen on the inventory list Ginger had faxed over. “What about me?” she asked, looking Dee in the eye. “I didn’t realize I was such a popular topic.” Dee let out a barely audible gasp, but it was loud enough for Eva to hear. “I’m sorry,” she said, and laid her head on the desk. “That wasn’t called for.”
Dee reached over and placed a hand on Eva’s knee. “Sweetheart, you know I love you. I want you to be happy.” Pulling her hand back she admitted, “Sure, it nearly killed me when you and Daniel divorced, and you married that…Louis. But,” she paused with a deep breath, “I see how you and Daniel are with each other, even after all these years. Any fool with a thought process can see it.” Eva’s head snapped up. “Yes, that’s right. Even your husband.”
“Louis will be served with papers when he gets back from Salt Lake. What he did…it’s unforgivable,” Eva spat out. “Nobody treats me like that. He will learn this.”
“Have you spoken with him since it happened?” Dee asked gently.
Eva lifted her head and shook it. “Once or twice. It hurts too much, Dee.” She looked at Dee and said, “I want to rip his balls off.”
Dee stifled a laugh with difficulty, and said, “I’m sure you do, sweetheart. And, as therapeutic as that would be, I’m sure there’s a law against something like that. Sadie needs you here and not in jail. Not to mention I’m sure Daniel would be rather unhappy about conjugal visits.” Dee smiled innocently.
Eva let her head drop back and said, “Oh, Goddess. I can’t even think about sex right now. Let alone talk about with you.” She waved her hand in Dee’s direction. “We’ve always had a good relationship, but, uh, not that good. No offense.”
Dee laughed. “None taken, sweetheart.” She stood and said, “I’ll let you finish up in here.”
Eva thanked Dee and watched her leave the room. She moaned and put her head back on the desk with a slight thud. “Ow,” she said, her voice muffled by papers