It was his excitement that gave him away.
Though it was not clear to see, he commented too much on her pregnancy. He was too overjoyed at others' new roles of parenthood.
Try as he might, he could not escape the giddiness of his position- even though he knew he would never truly be able to relish in it.
That's what happens when you sleep with someone's wife.
That's what happens when you forgo the notion of work relationships.
She was a beauty. Tall and fair, and with a grace that came with knowing her place in the world.
She was strong and bold, and let no man tell her what she could and could not do.
Her tattoos gave glimpses of a wild past; her vibrant red hair of a fiery spirit that could never be quenched.
She was enthralling through and through.
He didn't know how it started. He just knew that he admired her, and really appreciated when she took him under her wing.
Her English, though not perfect, was fluid and understandable. When she was at a loss for words however, she did not ask for help. She would figure it out. Helping her made him realize he would have to work harder. None of that "I'm still learning" nonsense some of his co-workers were so willing to give. He worked longer, and harder, and faster than those by his side. It did not take long for him to leave his fellow youngsters' sides and join Her in the back of the store. The back where their exploits began.
She was older. A decade his senior, but her soul was young. He was a baby, a youth barely blossoming into adulthood, and ready to prove himself a man.
His love for her was anything but lustful. It was passionate, overwhelming, but so very innocent. All he wanted to do was appreciate her. Her husband didn't deserve her, and proved it time and time again. He belittled her. He talked down to her. He dismissed her. But he loved their children, and she loved their children. She would not leave them because of him.
And she would not leave him for Him...
Yes, his excitement gave him away.
As the months passed, and her belly grew, his fondness became more apparent. His paternal instinct started to rouse. He talked to children more often, and made sure to talk at their level and make them comfortable.
He didn't know he wanted to be a father until her.
And until Her.
His baby girl was the most beautiful thing he'd ever seen. She had her mother's vibrant red hair, and her father's soft lips. Her mother's long fingers along with those oh so delicate nails, and her father's just as delicate pale skin. But what really captivated him, what made it undeniable that this was his daughter, what broke his heart once it fully hit him: her eyes. She had the same docile eyes as him. His same peaceful look. Even though she cried as babies are wont to do, she never wavered in her demure composure when her needs were met. Even as her needs were to be satisfied, her tranquility never faded.
But oh, when she cried, she cried. She had a set of lungs that, on the occasion she felt the need to utilize, made her presence very well known.
It broke his heart when he heard his daughter cry the first time. Even more so because it seemed that her wails were caused not by discomfort, but by the separation from her father, her real father's arms.
The baby's mother was left alone in the hospital for a few hours. Her husband was tired, and he didn't want to leave the other children alone. He promised he would be back in the morning as he didn't want to leave "his" new baby for too long, but that was his only reason. Not for his wife. Not to be with her, nor to assure she was comfortable. He only cared about his children's well-being. It stung her a bit, but she accepted it. She knew there was nothing that could change their relationship. In any case, she had something better.
The moment he was gone, she sent word to her young lover knowing full well that her husband would keep his word and not be back till the following morning. And as fast as his car could take him, her lover with puffy pink lips and the softest hands that could push away all her worries with a gentle caress arrived.
It was past visiting hours, but he had a friend who worked there. This friend did not know the reason for his visit, but she knew his character and knew he would cause no problems. She let him in, and he found his way to his love like metal to a magnet.
When she looked up, suddenly feeling a heated gaze on her, she saw his lithe form leaning against the door frame. A small smile graced his lips, as did that uncanny grace of his everywhere else. His gray hoodie hugged his torso, and low cut jeans his hips.
"Quédate callado," she whispered, reluctant to break the stillness of the night, nor to disturb her daughter's sleep. Even so, as he quietly ambled forward, the little one roused as if sensing the half of her she would never get to know later. She struggled with the sleep dusting her face, until she finally opened her eyes, and that's when it hit him. Her eyes, his identity, their relationship.
This bond was strengthened when the youthful redhead, this seasoned mother, told him to sit and placed their child in his arms.
She knew it was selfish, her reason for doing this, but she knew he needed it too. When she had her first child, her husband was going to leave. He didn't care. He didn't want to be a dad, but she begged him to stay. He refused, and it took all she had to convince him to even just look at their daughter. Were it not for the nurse who came in to check on the young, weak woman whose vitals were showing distress, he would have left from her life without a second thought. But the nurse saw the situation and instructed him to hold the child. The moment he felt the baby's warmth in his arms and recognized himself as this child's father, he couldn't leave. It would destroy his heart worse than when he discovered the love of his life was to marry someone else.
Now, the redhead did the same thing the nurse did all this years ago. She instructed the young man to sit and gently maneuvered the little one into his terrified arms.
In all her life, she had never seen a more instantaneous bond. Yet now, her youngest child recognized her young lover as her father without hesitation. In moments, she wiggled around until getting more comfortable, then eased back under the covers of slumber. And he, for his part, eased off his mask of hiding.
Tears streamed down his face, though not a sound left his mouth. He blinked them away, desperate to keep his eyes on his child, to commit this image to memory. He wanted to remember her precious baby smell, her little baby breaths. He needed to memorize her baby feet and baby hands.
Were it up to him, he would keep her close even after he memorized the minute details of her finger prints, but he only had till morning.
To hold her.
To hug her.
To know her.
To love her...
Not all the time in the world would be enough, so he cried. And his lover, for as bold and as strong and as valiant as she was, could do nothing more for him than hold his hand and pray she could wipe his pain away.
The moon trekked its noiseless path through the heavens as he laid by her side, and with his perfect little love in his reverent grasp. When the sun was about ready to peak out over the day, he was forced to leave. Her husband would be back soon, and there was no way he could explain. His child stirred as he placed her back into her temporary crib. She whimpered as he let go. She took a broken breath in as he turned. And she wailed as he walked away.
There was nothing he could do. He could not stay. But a firm resolution stuck in his head, and in his heart. At the door frame, her turned and said "I don't care how. No se como. But I will get back to her side. Te lo prometo..."
It was his excitement that gave him away, but it was his love that gave him a way.