During the first week of May the weather started to get warmer again. Much of the snow was gone and Lucky could see the tulips starting to break through the ground. She turned from the window when her mother brought the last suitcase down the stairs.

"I still don't think its right to leave you alone for 6 weeks."

"You need a vacation mom."

"I know I know. I haven't taken a decent vacation since I've been on my own."

"The sun will be nice after this horrible cold winter."

"In more ways then one."

Her mother moved to sit next to her on the window seat. "I did tell you, that you would get hurt."

"I know you did. The baby wasn't planned at all."

"They seldom are."

"Are you saying I was an accident?" Lucky's mouth dropped open.

Her mother chuckled. "We were barely married a month when you were born, did you think the wedding was planned before we found out about you?"

"That's what Gramma always said."

She broke into laughter. "My mother always wanted to seem like everything was under control. No dear. We got married because of you, but the difference is that we were already engaged. We just moved up the date because we wanted you to be born with your father's last name…officially."

"How come you never had any more kids?"

"We only ever wanted one." She put a hand on Lucky's cheek. "I think we all got a pretty good deal the first time out." There was a sound of car horns out side. "That will be my taxi."

"Take care mom."

"I'll call when I land."

Lucky nodded and watched her mom pull the two suitcases toward the waiting cab. Lucky sighed as her mother waved from the backseat and it took off toward the highway.

She turned on the radio in the kitchen opened up a can of wet dog food for Sadie. She didn't seem the same after they had left Walker's house. She always sat at the front door with her tail wagging. She couldn't guess who she expected, Walker or Dakota.

She always got bored on the weekends. A couple times, Dakota had stopped by. She smiled and hugged her, but Lucky sensed the sadness in her eyes. In the last few months she noticed that she had started to get taller.

It was always Walker's mom that picked her up from her visits and besides seeing him at school, she hadn't had any contact with him since the doctor's appointment.

She heard the door opening and she walked into the living room. Dakota had come in. she was huffing.

"Did I miss Gramma?"

"Afraid you did honey."

"Shoot. I made her this good luck charm. It was supposed to help with her being scared of the plane."

Dakota dangled a key chain. It was made out of yellow and blue thread with white beads attached.

"Well you can give it to her when she gets back. Luck doesn't have to stop working after she gets back."

"Right." She put the keychain on the key hanger near the door.

"What are you up to today? Besides running 3 blocks from your house."

"It's our house mom."

"Dakota…how many times….."

"Not enough." She interrupted, "How come you won't come home with me and Dad?"

"Dad and I."

"Whatever."

Lucky was starting to appreciate the stage of transitioning from kid to pre-teen. In the last few months Dakota had starting forming more coherent sentences and she seemed to understand adult issues a lot more than she sometimes let on. 9 years old seemed to be a big milestone for her, including the anticipated growth spurt the doctors had always told her she would have. She had also lost the remainder of her baby teeth and all of her adult teeth were either grown in or growing.

"Dakota, I know I'm not your real mom, but please don't take that attitude with me."

"Well, Everyone asks why my new mom doesn't live with us."

"And what do you tell them?"

"I dunno. I make up something. I've been saying that Gramma is helping you with stuff for the baby and it's easier to stay with her. I miss you at home."

"Dakota, you know I love you."

Dakota nodded.

"Whatever happens I still want to be part of your life, whether I'm your mom or your friend."

"You'll always be my mom, Lucky."

"You have a mom."

"Yes but I don't think I could ever call her mom."

"You've certainly matured a lot since last fall."

"Dad says the same thing."

"How about we go for a walk?"

Dakota smiled. "To our house?"

Lucky rolled her eyes.

"I had to see if it would work." She shrugged her pre-teen shoulders. Her hair was longer and the curls had started to become waves. Lucky reached out to take a strand between her fingers.

"I'm thinking about cutting it short, for summer." Dakota said.

"Why?"

"I dunno. It's so heavy now and it doesn't curl as much anymore."

"Part of growing up."

"I'm only 9…don't parents want their kids to stay kids?"

"Sometimes. Let's go the salon. I'll pay for you to get your haircut."

"Really? Dad will be pissed."

"Dakota…where did you learn to say things like that?"

"Sorry…." She looked down at her feet.

"I'm sorry too. You don't realize how fast kids do grow up when you're not looking."

"Dad said I couldn't get a haircut."

"I don't know why he would say that."

"I don't know either. I asked him and he was all grumpy and said no."

Lucky felt a little guilty. She was sure the situation wasn't easy for Walker, especially where Dakota was concerned.

"I should phone Dad and tell him that I'm going out with you. Don't want him to try and track me down and go crazy."

Lucky smirked. Dakota disappeared into the kitchen to use the phone.

***

Dakota smiled at her reflection.

"You look very grown up." Lucky played with the short bobbed waves.

"And I'm not going to have to worry much about in the summer. Dad said I could go out for softball."

"You're just like your dad."

Dakota frowned.

"Well should we take you home and face the music?"

Dakota laughed. They got into Lucky's car and toward the house that had been hers for a short period of time. She pulled into the driveway feeling like something was missing from her heart. She missed coming home to this house.

Dakota opened the door and ran up the front stairs. "Come on Mom." She called.

Lucky wasn't used to moving so slowly, but now that she was showing so obviously it made her legs work a little slower.

"Dad…." Dakota yelled.

"I'm in the kitchen."

"I've got a surprise for you."

"Really?" He sounded like he was partly occupied. Lucky followed Dakota into the kitchen. Walker was looking at a document and Lucky's heart skipped a beat. She knew what it was. Divorce papers.

Walker looked up and saw Dakota and then Lucky.

He looked from her face briefly to her rounded stomach through the snug T-shirt that had fit better last fall. Lucky watched his eyes and she couldn't deny the regret in his eyes.

"Look at your hair." Walker said, looking back to his daughter's new blonde bob.

"You don't like it?" she asked, chewing on her finger nail.

"It will take some getting used to, but do you like it?"

Dakota nodded.

"Well then it's perfect."

"I'm growing up dad; I've even started getting taller."

"Soon you're going to be the same height as me." He smiled and tired to tickle her. She giggled and moved out of the way.

"I'm going to do my homework." She winked at Lucky before leaving the kitchen.

"You look good Lucky."

"I feel better than I have in a while. Morning sickness finally stopped."

Walker nodded.

"Did you get the sonogram picture I left on your desk?"

"Yes."

"They're pretty sure now that it's a boy"

Walker avoided her eyes. "Okay, I guess you've already got a name."

"I want to name him Dylan."

"Like your dad?"

Lucky nodded. "I haven't decided on a middle name, I'll leave that up to you."

"I'm not sure right now Lucky."

"You're sure about this divorce then?" she gestured toward the papers on the table.

"It's what you wanted."

"I was only preparing myself. I didn't want to get my hopes up that this would end up like my fantasies."

He looked up. "I'm doing this because you refuse to live here."

"I refuse to live here because you can't say you love me Walker."

"You're not even willing to let me try."

"So what? I have to live here, have a physical relationship with you in order for you to know if you love me? It shouldn't be this difficult."

Walker stood and walked over to her. "You don't realize that you've changed my entire world, the way I see things. Having you back in my life has made me happier than I've been in 10 years and these last 5 months of being without you has been pure Hell."

"So if you feel this strongly about me being in your life, why don't you know if you love me or not?"

"I don't want to tell you that and have it blow up in my face."

Lucky shook her head. She reached up and cupped the side of his face. "I love you more than anything Walker, that's why I'm letting you go." She turned then and kept walking to her car. She thought she saw Dakota looking at her through her bedroom window. If she had looked longer, she would have seen her sobbing.