As soon as the car came to a stop Hannah unbuckled herself from her car seat eager to get out and meet their visitors. “Sweetie be patient and let Daddy help you,” Eddie admonished her.
“Want out” she cried finding her parents too slow for her tastes.
Laughing Rory shrugged “she’s your daughter.”
Eddie gave him a look but kept his mouth shut. He hopped out of the car and hurried to open the back door. As soon as he did Hannah had gotten herself out of her seat and climbed from the car. “Wait for Daddy” Eddie called after her but he may as well have been speaking to himself. Hannah was making a beeline towards their guests on the porch.
“Hi” she called waving her hands at the people on the porch.
“Hi Hannah” Tom knelt down to be on level with his niece “you remember me?”
Nodding she touched his nose with an index finger “Tom” she announced proudly.
“That’s right I’m Uncle Tom” he smiled glad for the temporary respite in his and Faye’s conversation.
Hannah turned towards Faye pointing “pretty”.
Nodding Tom grinned “yes she is. This is Faye,” he told the toddler.
“Faye” Hannah patted the girl’s knee “pretty. Come play.” She reached up grabbing Faye’s hand intent on dragging her inside the house to play dolls with her.
Faye glanced at the little girl tugging on her hand than up to Tom. She gave him a half desperate look as if pleading with him for help. What was she supposed to do now? While she was trying to decide what to do a yellow taxi cab drove up. “Um that’s my ride” she stood up “I need to go.” Breaking the hand hold Hannah had on her she hurried down the steps followed by the cries of an upset toddler.
Eddie looked on, horrified at Faye’s departure. “Wait!” He called out weakly.
She looked up at him, a frown marring her features. She almost wanted to apologize, but couldn’t bring herself to do it.
“Where to, ma’am?” The driver asked as she closed the door of the back seat. She was too frazzled to even open the trunk, having thrown her luggage onto the seat beside her. He looked at her luggage. “A hotel? Or an airport perhaps?”
She shook her head. “No. I know someone nearby. Can you take me to 467 Lights Blvd?” She tapped her hand on her knee nervously. She watched Tom approach the car. She tapped on the class. “Quickly please. I don’t want to see his face.”
“Breakup?” The driver asked, turning the steering wheel.
“You’d do well to mind your own business,” She nearly snapped. “I’ll leave a terrible review on your website and I’ll…” She dropped her voice.
“Ok, I get it lady,” The man said. “I’ll take you to your destination. Just calm down.”
She couldn’t calm down. Calm was for the cameras. Now, she was off screen and the person who was supposed to calm her down was getting smaller and smaller in the rearview mirror. But that was her own fault. She picked up her phone and shot a text to her dad. “I’ll think about it.” And then to the person she was going to see. It had been awhile and it was better she not show up unannounced.
Tom ran out into the street intent on catching the taxi before it took off. He was too late. It was already speeding down the road by the time he got there. He bent over breathing hard. He couldn’t believe this was happening. How could she leave like that? He loved her but the ache in his heart felt like he was being stabbed a hundred time in succession.
Eddie watched in horror as all this played out in front of him. He could hear his little girl screaming behind him yet his eyes were riveted on towards his little brother. Torn he didn’t know who to go to first.
Rory gently touched his shoulder “go to him. I’ll take care of Hannah.”
Eddie looked up at him “are you sure?” Eddie had always been better at soothing Hannah when she became upset. Rory had less patience for her whining.
“I’m sure” he insisted “your brother needs you. Hannah and I will be just fine.”
“You may need to play dolls with her” Eddie said with a hint of a smile. Dolls had become Hannah’s favorite toys recently thanks to the new dollhouse her Grandfather had given her for 2nd birthday.
“I’m aware of that” Rory said over his shoulder.
Eddie took a deep breath before moving towards his brother who was still standing in the middle of the road looking lost and forlorn. “Tom” he said his voice low not wanting to alarm him.
“What?” he growled his hands curled into fists as he stared helplessly down the empty street.
“Why don’t you come inside?” Eddie said gently put an arm around his brother’s shoulders. He could feel Tom’s shoulders begin to shake beneath his hand.
“She left me” he whispered “I thought she loved me.” He turned and fell into Eddie’s arms “I can’t believe she left.”