"Free day? I'm so surprised." Blake said, bumping my shoulder with his own.
I rolled my eyes. "It's the last day of the break and it's my only day off. Tomorrow I have to go back to school and work."
"School's gonna be over soon so you don't have to worry about it." He said, staring down at the coffee cup in his hand.
I sighed. "That's when I have to worry about where Gale's gonna go while I work."
"He could stay with me." Blake took a deep breath. "I told my parents... about him. They want me to help. Since I don't work during the summer, I can take him all day and you can pick him up."
Why didn't anyone make me take care of Gale all on my own? I felt like this was too easy. Like me, I added.
"That's... so nice of you." I said, surprised. I never thought he would want to help. So what if he was Gale's father? That didn't mean he would do anything. But this... this totally surprised me. I wasn't expecting this at all.
"It's the least I can do."
"I-I don't know how to thank you." I said, stuttering over my words.
"You don't have to. I don't deserve it."
"I'm not going to hate you or blame you for a mistake. Even though I'm sure you want me to." I said, looking up at him. I brushed my hair back behind my ear, feeling extremely girly.
He took my hand in his. "I want a second chance with you. So Gale can have a family."
I just stared at him. I knew that's what Gale needed but something inside me wanted to take time before I told him to be around all the time. He loved Gale and I saw that when they were together.
Should I tell him yes? Or would he think we had to be together? Was I even ready for that?
"I went out and did something without him just like you said. But I really need to stay with him." I said to Daniel.
"I might head out for a while."
I narrowed my eyes suspiciously. "You won't do anything... illegal?"
He laughed and walked away. That was most likely a yes.
I sighed and walked into my room. Gale was sleeping under only one blanket, his hair pushed back away from his face.
I sat down beside him and brushed his hair softly. His forehead was still hot and I could feel the heat coming off of it.
He whined a little before finding me and curled up against my side. I pulled him into my arms carefully and pulled the blanket over him.
"He's been sleeping like this all day?" Blake asked, sitting down beside me.
I nodded. "He's too sick to be awake. I wanted him to sleep so he'd feel better."
"That medicine isn't working."
I exhaled. "He tried eating it with but he couldn't hold it down."
Gale lifted his head, rubbing his eyes with his fists. "Mommy, I'm hungry."
"Let's go get a bath first, okay?" I said, looking at his sweaty hair.
He sighed but didn't argue back. I walked to the bathroom and started the water.
"Daddy." He said, yawning.
"Yeah, that's daddy." I said, confused by what he was doing.
"No. Daddy." He said, pointing to the bathtub.
"Oh. You want daddy in here with you."
He nodded. I set him to his feet then looked up at Blake.
"I'll be downstairs-"
He nodded. "I got it."
I sighed and left the room. I slipped my shoes off and padded downstairs.
"How's he feeling?" Mom asked, standing at the stove with a pot in her hand.
"Better, I think." I said, getting a can of soup from the cabinet.
"You're doing all you can."
I sighed. "He just doesn't look like he's getting better. I'm worried."
"Sweetheart, you've done all you can." Mom said, walking over to me. She hugged me gently.
"I feel like it's not enough." I said, wiping my tears away.
She took the can from me and held me back at arm's length. "Go upstairs and keep him company. I'll bring up the soup."
I nodded, sniffing. "Thanks, mom."
She kissed the top of my head before pushing me towards the steps.
I took a deep breath, wiped my cheeks dry, and went back into my room. Blake was holding Gale on his hip and Gale was using one of his old pacifiers.
"Ugh, no. Gale, I told you you were getting too old for these." I said, taking the pacifier from him.
He whined before he started crying.
"Gale, calm down."
He sniffed. "But, mommy-"
"Let's go lay in bed. Grandma's bringing you some soup."
He whined again and reached out for me. I took him in my arms and sat down against the pillows on my bed.
Gale buried his face in my chest, his wet hair soaking my shirt.
"Gale, sit up. You have to eat." I said into his hair.
Gale sniffed and lifted his head.
Mom walked into the room with the bowl of soup and Gale's medicine. Gale frowned.
"Take your medicine and you can eat this. Okay?" I said softly. Gale looked at me with big eyes. He nodded.