Deana stepped towards the kids. “Come on, guys, let’s go to the kitchen and have some juice.”
“I don’t want juice!” Cole cried.
“It’s okay, little man, mommy will take care of this,” she promised. She moved to the side and allowed Deana to comfort them. They remained fixed on the couch, refusing to leave the room, probably afraid their father would run like hell the second they did. She couldn’t blame them, he did have a history.
She folded her arms over her chest and focused on Jeff. He looked pissed, but not over his kids. It was over this woman. She forced herself to remain calm. “Jeff, what is going on? This is your scheduled visitation week.”
“I know but something important came up,” he said.
“You came all the way to California to tell your kids you weren’t going to spend time with them?” she asked, feeling really confused. A phone call or e-mail would have been a hell of a lot cheaper and would have hurt a lot less for the kids.
“Yeah, well and for our honeymoon. We eloped yesterday!” he said cheerfully.
Dana’s eyes went to their left hands, sure enough they were each wearing matching gold bands. “Why the rush?” she asked, trying to sound normal and not pissed that he was pulling this crap on her kids.
Jeff looked guilty. “Well, I had this week already planned for vacation and Bea wanted to come out and shop and stuff. So she-I mean we thought we should get married and make this our honeymoon.”
Elizabeth cried louder. “Jeff, this is your court ordered visitation. You aren’t even supposed to have her around the kids. You only have a week with them, the Judge said it was important that you make this week about just you and them, no interference.” She remained calm.
“Don’t be such a b***h,” Bea snapped. “He’s allowed to get married.”
Dana snapped her attention to Bea in an instant. “Watch your mouth in front of my kids.”
Bea rolled her eyes. She placed her head on Jeff’s shoulders and batted her eyes. “Jeff, are you going to let her talk to me that way?”
He swallowed loudly and nodded. “Show my wife some respect,” Jeff said firmly.
Dana was flabbergasted. He chose this woman over his own kids. It was more than obvious. What wasn’t obvious was why. The woman was fatter than Jeff and she looked cheap. All of her clothes were too tight and she was literally hanging out of them. She must be good in bed or stroke his ego. That was the only thing Dana could come up with because it certainly wasn’t her winning personality that held Jeff.
“Jeff, do not try fronting to me for her benefit. We both know I’ll tear you down to size,” she said harshly. Jeff flinched and then slowly nodded. He knew she wouldn’t play any games when it came to her kids.
“Mommy?” Cole said.
She looked back to see him sitting in Deana’s lap. “Make him be with us, peese!”
“Jeff, you need to tell them. I want to go! We have reservations,” Bea said coldly.
She ran her hand through her hair. This was beyond frustrating. There was no way her kids were going to bed without crying themselves to sleep tonight. Tomorrow would be even harder.
“Jeff-” She was cut off by the sound of the doorbell chiming. She sighed heavily, hoping whoever it was would be easily sent away. “Excuse me,” she said. Jeff and Bea took that as an invitation to sit down on the love seat.
She yanked the door open to find Edward standing in the doorway with flowers, two teddy bears and a large box of chocolate. She was slightly confused. He stepped inside and kissed her cheek. Make that she was pretty sure she was delusional. She heard Jeff and Bea gasp the very second his lips connected with her cheek.
Without a word he stepped inside. His eyes took in an overweight man with a nasty looking woman on his side. He suppressed a laugh. He was more shocked than anything that something like him had landed Dana in the first place, but his attention quickly focused on the two crying children on Deana’s lap. This was wrong. He knew the kids were excited to see their father. There was no way they would be crying right now not unless it was tears of joy and they certainly weren’t that.
Edward walked over to the kids and knelt down. “Hey, guys. I have these two teddy bears that need a home and I was thinking that you two would be perfect to take care of them. Could you do me a favor and take care of them for me?” he asked them gently.
The kids nervously reached out and took the teddy bears from him. “Thank you, Uncle Edward,” Cole and Elizabeth said through quiet sobs.
He felt his heart break. It had only been a few weeks since he met them, but he loved them a great deal and didn’t like seeing them hurt. If Jeff was the reason he was pretty sure he was going to strangle the man, but first he needed them out of the room. It was clear that they needed to leave.
“Cole and Elizabeth, I bought these pretty flowers for your mommy. Can you do me a favor and help Deana put them in a vase?” He handed the flowers to Elizabeth who hugged them. She gave him a weak smile. He handed Cole the box of chocolates. “Do me another favor and check out these candies and make sure they taste good, okay?”
Cole nodded. “I will, Uncle Edward. Don’t worry,” he said seriously, earning a smile from Edward. He kissed them both on the forehead. “Okay, off you go,” he said, standing up.
Deana mouthed “thank you” to Edward before she followed the kids out of the room. Then he turned his attention to the adults. Dana stood in the middle of the room, watching the kids leave. Jeff was wrapping an arm possessively around his girlfriend as if Edward wanted any of that. The woman was licking her lips, staring at him, making him wish for lead underwear.
“Dana, are you okay?” Edward asked. He took her hand into his and gave it a reassuring squeeze.
She nodded. “I’m fine.” She sighed and looked back at Jeff. “Okay, what’s going on for real now?” She tried to pull her hand away, but Edward refused to release her. After a few seconds she held his hand just as firmly.
Jeff seemed to be having a hard time taking in Edward holding her hand. “How long has this been going on?” he demanded in a jealous tone.
Before Dana could answer, Edward spoke up. “That’s none of your business. Focus on what she asked you. I want to know why those kids are upset.”
Dana answered him when Jeff wouldn’t. “Apparently they eloped yesterday and they wish to use this week as a honeymoon and don’t want the kids to interfere with that.”