“I’m leaving,” he finally says as he turns away.
“All right,” I reply, “I’ll talk to you sometime tomorrow then.”
He grabs my arm, getting my attention. “No, Luc. I’m leaving town. I don’t know how long—or even if I’ll be back. But I have to go.”
My heart squeezes as the pain bleeds through his words. He’s so lost and I don’t know how to reach him. “Aidan, please stay. We’ll find a way—”
“I can’t,” he says simply. “I need to get far away from here. I don’t know who I am anymore and I won’t find that here…with her all around me.” Before I can protest, he adds, “I’ll be disconnecting my number so don’t bother calling it. I’ll keep my email though and check it sometimes. Please don’t use it unless it’s an emergency.”
I pull him into my arms and feel his shoulders shaking along with mine. Lesser men I know would hate me right now, but not Aidan—my brother for life. Even though I want to beg him to stay, I know he needs to go. “I love you,” I say, almost choking on the words. “No matter how long it takes, your family will be here waiting for you.” He turns and leaves as silently as he arrived.
I pick Lara up, bringing her back into my arms. She lies against my chest as I cry. A new door has opened for Lia and me today, but another has closed…and my heart breaks. I allow myself this time to grieve and to pray Aidan will find what he seeks. Tomorrow I’ll move forward, being the best husband and father I can be. However, as each day passes, I know there will be countless moments when I’ll look at the doorway praying to see my friend there—coming home to stay.