“You’re lucky.” I reach out to grasp his shoulder. “You have a great mom.”
“Yeah, I know,” he replies. Sam tilts his head. “What about you? Where are your parents and what are they like?”
“Hmmm… my parents… let’s see. Well, they’re free spirits now that they’re retired. They sold their house a few years ago, bought an RV, and basically travel all over the United States. They’re currently down in the Florida Keys.”
“Cool.” Sam grins, pushing himself up in bed a bit more. “Do they… um… know about me?”
“Not yet, but they will soon,” I assure him. “I wanted to get through the transplant before I dropped the bomb they had a grandson. They’re kind of new-age followers, and I didn’t want them sprinkling sage leaves over you or something.”
Sam snickers, and I shrug. But it’s the absolute truth. My parents are going to be thrilled about Sam. They’re going to adore and spoil the shit out of him.
But they’re not over-resilient. Learning about Sam and Leighton’s past, Sam’s cancer—it will completely freak them out and they’ll just get overly dramatic about it. Frankly, I don’t want to deal with it right now. Besides, I don’t think Sam will suffer from holding off on meeting his new grandparents. His health is the most important thing, and he has enough emotional overload as it is. I’m thinking once we get him home from the hospital and settled, I’ll buy them a couple of plane tickets, so they can visit. I’ll drop the bomb on them face to face.
“So, on one side, my grandparents are hippies. On the other, I have an ex-mafia grandpa,” Sam says.
I can’t help but bust out laughing. My kid knows how to throw down on some comedic timing.
“It builds character,” I assure him. “Having weird family members, I mean.”
He fiddles with the edges of his blanket. “So Grandpa’s flirting with a pretty woman at a casino, huh?”
I frown at his tone. “That bother you?”
He shakes his head. “Nope. It’s just… I wonder if that means he’ll stay here or go back to Denver? He’s lost his government protection, so there’s nothing there for him if Mom and I stay with you.”
My stomach tightens a bit, as we’re getting into territory I haven’t had a chance to discuss with Leighton. We’ve been so focused on Sam’s treatment and recovery, as well as operating within a fragile truce among ourselves, that we haven’t talked about the future. While I’d told Leighton that Sam was going to stay in Vegas, I don’t necessarily have her agreement on that yet. While I told her I’d fight her for custody, I truly don’t know what’s in his best interest at this point.
All I know is I always want to be near him.
My priorities in life have radically shifted over the last few weeks, and I have to figure things out.
I poke gently at the edges of the subject. “Where do you want to live, Sam? When your treatment is over, I mean.”
He shrugs again, gaze dropping to his fingers where he picks at his new Star Wars comforter. “I like Denver and my friends there, but I like Vegas, too.”
Very vague. Not helpful in the least.
“Let’s try this another way,” I suggest gently. “What does your ideal future look like?”
Silently, Sam considers this for a moment, eyes pinned on Chewbacca. When he looks up at me, I see the unfettered hope and idealism that can only belong to a child who knows nothing of the world.
“My ideal future would be to live together with you and my mom. As a family.”
I’m not prepared for his answer. Never in a million years had I thought the kid would ask for that. I was more seeking a geographical desire while he was plotting romantic happily ever afters.
“Um… Sam,” I stammer, trying to set some boundaries. “Your mom and I—”
“I know,” he interrupts. “You’re mad at her for what she did, and you don’t love her. I get it. But you did ask what I wanted.”
“I’m not mad,” I rush to assure him.
He cocks one eyebrow, which is totally my move. He’s hammered down the Greenfield skepticism to a tee.
To clarify, I explain, “I understand the reasons your mom did what she did. She feels horrible about it, and she has apologized. I’m choosing to let that go to focus on us moving forward.”
“Together?” he exclaims, pushing up straighter in the bed with a hopeful expression.
“Um… well, together as in wanting to co-parent you,” I lamely throw out.
Sam frowns, his lips flattening. “I don’t understand why you can’t just fall in love with her again. She told me that you were the one true love of her life—that she has never loved anyone else.”
I’m stunned by his assertion.
“She did?” I ask, moving my chair a little closer to the bed. “When?”