Chapter 23 (Lola POV)

I woke up in a familiar bed next to a familiar man. I turned over and I watched him sleep, somehow he looked disturbed in his sleep. I saw this light of hope but it wasn't as bright as I expected, things weren't as clear as I would like them to be. He felt my eyes on him and he awoke. "How are you?" I asked.

"I've been better, you."

"I really want an Advil, but other than that I'm okay."

"I'm gonna check on Olivia." He proceeded to get up but I reached over and stopped him.

"Let her sleep, why don't you get ready to meet your father and I'll make coffee."

He grimaced. "There is no food in the house. I think there's a bottle of water in the fridge and some ice in the freezer. There might be an orange too."

"Okay, well…I'll go out to get you coffee."

"I want you to be there when we go see my father."

I bit my lip. "It's not as easy as you think it is."

"You won't take me back."

"Nathan."

"Answer the question." He wasn't being aggressive, he wanted an answer and to be fair he deserved one.

I turned away. "I don't know."

"Yes you do."

"You don't understand, Nathan. I want to make this work but I don't know if I can."

"What if we don't try? Are you going to live the rest of your life wondering what could've been? I'm worth taking a chance."

"I'm not saying that you're not because you are but this isn't about me, I have be sure that I can trust you."

He remained silent and I could tell that he was upset.

"It's for our daughter. I admit it, you had the sense to fight the fight that I wouldn't. It's a mistake that I'll never forgive myself for and I'm so grateful that you never gave in."

"I'm not a bad guy."

"That doesn't mean you can't be. I thought we were done, I thought that couldn't forgive what I did and you have that right."

"I never – p"

"I didn't know that, I hadn't seen you, you said you were done."

He paused. "If you had signed those papers I wasn't going to forgive you. I loved you then and I love you now, but that was my daughter."

"I get it."

"It's different now."

"You made that choice for Mary and I'm doing the same thing."

"So you don't trust me?"

"I love you, I want to make that clear, but I love my daughter and I have to protect her, even if I have to make sacrifices."

"I can't say that I'm not disappointed and upset because I am. I guess there's nothing more to say" He went into the bathroom and took a quick shower. He got dressed and went out to the living room.

I wanted to come back to him but I knew I'd be foolish to do so. I cannot take a leap of faith because I can't trust that he'll be there for me.

I showered and got dressed. When I went out to join them, they had coffee in their hands and Nathan had given her some of my clothes and she'd showered while I was getting ready.

"My father is waiting."

I nodded. "I'm going to go see Mary."

"I'll see you later."

I caught his arm before he left. I hugged him and kissed him on his cheek. "I'm –"

"You made your decision, it is what it is." He pulled away gently.

I didn't understand why this had to be so hard. I was doing the right thing, I knew that I was. I didn't reply to what he said as he walked out of the door.

I looked around and I saw that the apartment was a mess. I began to tidy up and when I was done I grabbed my stuff and left.

I arrived to the hospital and saw someone at the NICU counter. "Sir, the parents haven't okayed you."

"My son has."

"Mr. Hilliard," I said cautiously. He turned around. "Aren't you supposed to be having brunch or something?"

"We already ate. They're at their mother's place picking up what's left."

"Oh, what happened?"

"Olivia will be moving in with Danny and me. Vicky and Brandon are moving in as well."

"Really?"

"Brandon wants a job in the company and Vicky is willing to transfer back to the college she was attending."

"That's great, Olivia needs a home."

He nodded. "I still feel like it's my fault, I made my wife leave, even though I know it wasn't. I did everything for her and it wasn't enough. I think that if I would've looked for her, if would've forgiven her for what she did, we would've had a chance but it's all in the past. It's far too late for that kind of talk."

He was killing me, I didn't know if it was on purpose but he was guilt tripping me and it was working. "Fire Nathan." I said abruptly.

"What?"

"Fire Nathan from his job, let him go back to the station."

"He lov–"

"I know that." I said with a knot in my throat. "I know that and it's not unrequited but it's not that easy and I wish everyone could understand that. I know that the logical thing to do is to take him back, everyone thinks so, my mother, who isn't very fond of him has told me to take him back but no one knows that he betrayed me. He betrayed my trust and it's not easy to regain that. I trusted him with my life, I thought he was my prince charming and that's not what he turned out to be, for whatever reason, it wasn't him. I can forgive that but I can't forget it."

"What he did was wrong, it was horrible and I resent it but it was a mistake."

"This is my decision and you can't make me feel bad about it. I'm not going to be that girl, the girl who takes him back and regrets it for the rest of her life. You may think you would've taken back your wife but you don't know that for sure."

"You're right, it's your choice. How about we go see my granddaughter?"

I smiled, happy that he would let it go. "I made good on my promise didn't I?"

That day I got the news that Mary would be coming home. While I got things ready at my place, Vicky made dinner for everyone. It was a small homecoming for Mary. Nathan and I picked her up at the hospital. We took her to my apartment where everyone was waiting for us.

People brought her all sorts of presents and the night winded down with some late night coffee. While my mother held Mary, Nathan took me aside to the kitchen.

"How are you doing?"

"My dad fired me this morning and said there was an opening waiting for me at the station."

"Aren't you happy?"

"I guess I am but why did you do it?"

I shrugged. "I now what you love."

"I love you more than my job."

"Do you love me more than you do Mary?" he hesitated. "It's okay to say no." I assured her

"She's a part of me and she…"

"I love her more, Nathan," I interjected. "I can admit that. I don't trust you and I wish it were different. I thought you were the one, I still do, you're mine. The problem is that I just can't base my decision on love, that hasn't worked too well for me."

"I get that, Lola, I do. I deserve it all but I just – I'll never love anyone the way I love you, I'll never hurt for someone the way I hurt for you, I'll never yearn for someone like I yearn for you, I'll never be sorrier for what I've done. It's cost me my family and I'll be around until I convince you that I'm still that guy you met. I wouldn't want you to choose to be with me out of pity, desperation or responsibility. I want you to know that you want to be with me, I'll be here when it happens."

"What if it doesn't?"

He smiled solemnly and put his hands on either side of my face. "I'll still love you, I'll still hurt for you, I'll still yearn for you and I'll still be sorry."


~Toodles.