Picking up the Pieces on AO3
Picking up the Pieces on TWCS
I didn’t sleep a wink. I stared at the dropped ceiling of my basement.
Why did I invite him for dinner? I’m not ready to have the conversation with John and Grace that I’m trying to go back to dating.
Smacking my head, I growled lowly. I was an idiot. I was exhausted because this week sucked. It sucked because of my new student, who was definitely going to be a handful until the end of the year. It sucked because Wednesday would have been Jake’s fortieth birthday. It sucked because John was withdrawing into himself as he worked on the family tree project.
I shot up and began pacing the basement. I tried to calm down, but my mind wouldn’t stop racing. Knowing that I wouldn’t be able to sleep, I went up to the kitchen. I didn’t want to cancel on Edward. The poor guy was probably going nuts with my constantly, whiplash moods. I also didn’t want to cause my children undue stress. Sighing, I began to bake. At three in the morning, I was making rum cake, enjoying the rum a little too much.
I also began the prep for the meal that I was going to make for us. I had a hankering for lasagna since I saw the woman across from us at Tuscany order it. I had almost everything for Italian delicacy, except the ricotta cheese. I could pick some up from the store on the way back from the library. I made the pasta sauce, browning some ground beef, adding sausage and some ribs I had in the freezer.
Turning the stove to simmer, I snuggled on the couch in the living room, trying to get some semblance of sleep. As the sun began to rise, I finally drifted off into a light sleep.
My rest didn’t last long. A couple of hours later, John padded downstairs, climbing right on top of me. His knee rammed my bladder and he elbowed my ribs. I tried to just lay with him but my bladder had other ideas. “Up, Johnny,” I said, patting his behind lightly.
“Noooooo,” he said, holding me tighter.
“Johnny, I love you, but your knee is pressing into my bladder and I really don’t want to deal with an accident,” I snickered, tickling his sides. He grumbled, getting off my body and curling up on the opposite side of the couch. I ruffled his hair, taking care of my bathroom needs before going back to the couch. “What’s up, buttercup?”
“Don’t call me buttercup,” Johnny pouted.
“It’s a phrase, John,” I sighed. “You’ve got the sour face on. Talk to me, little man.”
“I don’t know if I can do this family tree. Mr. Molina has been great, but whenever I try to write something about my dad, I get upset and sad. One of the boys almost saw me cry yesterday and I don’t want to be a baby. Then, I hear other kids tell how they do stuff with their dads and I get so angry. I want him back, Mom,” John sniffled, moving close to my body and leaning against my shoulder.
“I know you do, John. We all do. Unfortunately, Dad’s not here anymore, but he’s watching over us and loving us from where he’s at,” I soothed. “And you know that if it’s too much, Mr. Molina arranged for you to hang out in Mrs. Whitlock’s office. No matter what, she’ll be there for you, even if I’m unavailable.”
“Okay,” he said, snuggling closer. We sat there for a few moments. Grace shuffled down, her hair looking like a haystack. She saw the cuddlefest on the couch and eagerly joined, sitting right on my lap.