The house was really very impressive. Particularly considering the housing market at that time. I figured that she must live with Aria and maybe a couple of other people to afford rent.

I pulled up into the driveway and went around to open Lila’s door before getting Billy, who was already half asleep. He lay flat against me, his cheep pressed into my shoulder. I tried to keep my eyes off of Lila’s gently wiggling hips and beautifully curvy ass as she lead the way up to the door.

The house was empty when we went in. I had expected to at least see Aria and get around that awkward social roadblock, but no such hindrance was presented. It was just the three of us. I couldn’t help but feel really at home. I got a brief glimpse of what it might be like if we were actually a family with our own house. The only thing that would make it perfect would be to have Lucky running around in the backyard with his own yard.

“This way,” Lila said, leading me down the hall. The room was small, yet had a bed as well as an antique crib squeezed into it. The crib had a picture of me from a few years ago tapped to the inside of it.

Leaving me standing there holding our son, Lila slipped out, leaving us to it. Lila and I might not have been together anymore, but I was bonding like mad with our son.

“Night, Daddy,” Billy said, waving his hand in front of my face instead of in front of the photograph.

I leaned down and kissed him on the cheek, making him squirm and giggle with delight. It really was nice to see him so happy. I also noticed how he looked even a little more like me when he was smiling.

“Silly, Daddy.”

Yes, I was. Both silly and his daddy. I decided right then and there to become a proper dad and be in my son’s life. Not just as a part-time dad but for real. I had a job with regular hours and didn’t tend to take my work home with me. Other than Lucky, I had no other responsibilities and would have a lot of time do dedicate to him. Which I was sure would make things easier for Lila too.

I had to find a way to get us all back together. Life was rarely so perfect as to allow me to get back with Lila and have full access to Billy, but I was still willing to give it a try. To that very day, I always wore the medallion I had gotten at First Communion, bearing the likeness of St. Jude. Patron Saint of Lost Causes.

I watched until Billy was asleep and slipped out of the room, which Billy and Lila clearly shared, trying not to think about how rough their lives must have been up until that point. I was still trying to hatch a plan for us to be a proper family, which I honestly wanted more than anything.

I found my way back to the living room, where Lila had already poured herself a drink and was sitting on the couch, her lovely legs crossed in a very enticing way. I took a breath and went to sit with her, curious about what might happen next.

Chapter Eleven

Lila

I had been astonished at how Carl had been acting all day. He had always been kind and gentle. However, I hadn’t been expecting the level of responsibility and forethought he had been showing on our outings. He was terrific with Billy, who really seemed to love his father.

I had known the house would be empty when we got there. Irene was at her usual weekly bingo game, which she attended like clockwork. I had begun to worry that she was getting addicted, but Aria’s grandmother always pointed out that she had been doing it for years, and it was one of the few pleasures she had left since she quit smoking. I found it difficult to argue with this logic. Not only because there wasn’t a single known instance of bingo giving someone lung cancer. I really wasn’t in much of a position to say anything anyway, being a guest in her house.

I tried to do my best to help out and pull my weight, even though Irene never seemed too concerned. We had known each other since Aria, and I had become friends, and it was more like she was my grandmother as well. Which would go a long way in explaining why she let me and Billy live in her house rent-free for the last year with no question about when we might be leaving or suggestion that we should. It had been a rough go, but I was finally starting to enjoy my life.


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