"It was a long-distance phone call," I explained. "And it was really big and important. We couldn't wait one more minute to make the phone call and once we made the call, we couldn't stop or it would have been…painful. So that's why we didn't answer the door when you knocked. Yep, really big phone call. Your mom screamed when she saw how big it was."
Claire reached up and pinched my thigh for that one, but I couldn't help it.
"Your father is over exaggerating how big this phone call really was," she said dryly.
My mouth popped open and Gavin looked at me funny. Claire just knelt there giving me an annoyed look, not even realizing what she just let slip.
A swarm of butterflies started flapping around in my stomach, and I wanted to reach down and scoop both of them up and jump around the room. We hadn't talked yet about telling Gavin who I was. I wanted more than anything for him to call me "Dad," but I didn't want to rush things with Claire. She had done this all on her own for so long, I didn't want to step on her toes. I wanted her to come to this decision on her own, knowing that she trusted me with Gavin.
I could see when the realization hit. Her face got horribly pale and I was a little worried she might barf on my bare feet for a second. She looked back and forth between Gavin and me several times before her eyes landed on mine and she quickly stood up.
"Oh my God. I'm sorry. I have no idea why I just blurted that out," she whispered, glancing back down at Gavin to see if he could hear her. He just stood there looking at both of us like we were idiots.
"Shit. I'm sorry! I'll just tell him I was kidding. I'll tell him I was talking about the phone call or something. Oh my God! I am such a dumbass," she mumbled.
I rubbed my hands up and down her arms to calm her.
"Hey, listen to me. It's fine. Actually, it's more than fine. I wanted to ask you about telling him but I was afraid you would think it was too soon," I explained.
She let out a sigh of relief.
"Are you sure? I don't want you to do something you're not ready for."
"Baby, I was ready for this as soon as I pulled the stupid out of my ass and came to talk to you after that first week."
She leaned up and gave me a quick kiss before turning around to pick Gavin up.
"So, Gavin. Do you know what a daddy is?" she asked him.
He stared at me and thought about it for a few minutes. I started to get worried. What if he didn't want me as his dad? What if he thought I was too strict or too stupid? Shit, I shouldn't have made him clean up the toothpaste on his floor. Cool dads didn't make their kids do shit like that. Cool dads took their kids to strip clubs and let them throw big parties at their houses and smoked pot with them on Sunday afternoons while they picked their fantasy football teams.
"Is Papa your daddy?" he asked.
Claire nodded. "You are very smart, little man! Yes, Papa is my daddy. And Carter is your daddy."
We both stood there in silence while Gavin looked back and forth between us.
He is totally sizing me up right now.
"I'll take you to get a lap dance and smoke pot with you during fantasy draft week," I blurted.
Claire looked at me like I lost my mind.
"Can I call you punk-daddy?" Gavin finally asked nonchalantly, ignoring my outburst.
Gavin asked for a father and saw that he was good.
Yes, I quoted the bible and compared my son to God. Shut up.
Claire laughed at Gavin's request.
"How about you just call him 'Daddy'?" she asked.
"How about I call him 'Daddy-face'," Gavin countered.
This kid was bartering on what version of daddy he could call me. He was a genius. And I was concerned for no reason at all. I reached over and took Gavin from Claire's arms.
"How about we let Mommy go to sleep and you and I discuss my new name while I put you back to bed?" I asked.
Claire reached up on her toes to kiss Gavin's cheek and then leaned over to do the same to mine. Gavin put his head on my shoulder and wrapped his arms around my neck.
Claire and I both burst out laughing at that one. As I walked out into the hall, I turned my head and mouthed the words, "thank you" to her before walking Gavin back to his room.
I really didn't know why I was so worried about Carter freaking out when I called him Gavin's father. It proved to me yet again just how wonderful he was.
While Carter was putting Gavin back to bed, I reached into my overnight bag and pulled out the tank top and boy shorts I brought for pajamas and changed into them. I brushed my teeth and then got back into bed to curl under the covers and wait for Carter to come back. I just started to doze off when I felt the bed dip and his arms circle around my waist. I smiled and snuggled back into his warm body.
"Everything go okay?" I murmured sleepily.
"Yep, he decided he wasn't thirsty anymore but he made me read him a story. And we compromised on 'Daddy-o' for now," he said with a chuckle.
"You're getting off easy. Two weeks ago he kept referring to me as 'Old Lady'."
I lay there wrapped in Carter’s arms and it was the most comfortable I had ever been.
For about five minutes.
This just proved that everything they did in the movies was a load of bullshit. His arm was under my neck on the pillow which tilted my head at an awkward angle. I could already feel the beginnings of a kink. I was starting to sweat like a whore in church with his other arm heavily draped over my waist and his legs tangled with mine. With my sweaty ass and his itchy leg hair, it felt like I had a hundred mosquito bites on my legs.