Room for More(87)

By: Beth Ehemann

Piper dropped her backpack and sat at the island, propping her chin on her hand. “Can we have a snack?”

“Yes, in just a minute, okay?” I set Lucy down in the chair next to Piper and sat across from them. “We want to talk to you for a minute.”

My mom kissed my cheek as she passed through the kitchen. “Good luck,” she whispered in my ear.

I gave her a tight smile and looked at Lucy and Piper. Their little faces stared back at me, blinking innocently. In twenty years, they probably wouldn’t remember the conversation we were about to have, but I would never forget it. All of our lives were about to change, forever.

“So…” I took a deep breath, preparing myself. “Remember a few weeks ago when you said that there was a little boy at school who said Brody was your daddy?”

They both nodded.

“And remember how we told you that you could tell anybody you wanted that Brody was your daddy?”

“Yes, like we told the man at the hockey game,” Piper stated proudly.

“Exactly,” I answered. “Well, it wasn’t completely true.”

They both frowned in confusion.

“You guys know that I love Brody, right?”

They nodded again.

“Well, before I loved Brody, I loved another man… a long time ago. His name was Zach.”

Lucy’s eyes lit up. “The man from the park!” she exclaimed.

I flashed Brody a quick glance, thankful that he was so focused on the girls the park comment didn’t seem to bother him at all. “Yes, the man from the park. Like I said, a long time ago we loved each other. And we loved each other so much, we made you guys.”

Brody looked down at the table and took a deep breath.

“So Zach is our dad?” Lucy’s little face twisted with such confusion as to where she’d come from; it made my chest ache.

“Yes, honey. Zach is your real daddy.” I swallowed the lump in my throat that formed instantly as those words left my mouth.

“But I want Brody to be my daddy.” Piper’s chin started to quiver.

“I know you do, but—”

“Brody kills all the spiders and he’s really good at tying our shoes, Mom. He should be our daddy.”

“Listen,” Brody interrupted. “Just because I’m not technically your daddy doesn’t mean I’m going anywhere. I’ll still be here to kill all the spiders and tie your shoes and build your forts. Forever and ever, okay?”

“Pinkie swear?” Piper asked quietly, holding her tiny pinky finger in the air.

“How about we change it to Twinkie swear?” Brody grinned. “It’ll be our own secret way to promise each other something.”

“Yay!” Lucy clapped.

“And yes, I Twinkie swear. Forever.” They wrapped pinkies and Twinkie swore before Brody cleared his throat and continued, “Think about it. How cool is this? You guys get one mommy and two daddies! You’re the luckiest kids ever!”

Lucy searched Brody’s face adoringly, thinking about what he’d just said.

Piper, on the other hand, wasn’t affected as deeply. “Mom, can we have a snack now?”

I’d agonized over telling them about Zach for days, and the whole conversation was over in five minutes flat. They hopped off their stools and each grabbed an apple out of the fridge before they ran down the hall.

I puffed out my cheeks as I exhaled. “Wow. That was interesting.”

“Interesting is an understatement.” Brody patted the stool next to him, signaling for me to move around the island and sit next to him.

I walked over and sat, immediately leaning into him and resting my head on his arm. “I’m so sorry about that.”

He played with a strand of my hair but didn’t respond.

“I wanted you here and I know you wanted to be here, but I’m sorry you had to hear it like that, ya know?”

“Don’t sweat it. They’re little. It’s hard to explain all of this without freaking them out and giving them way more science than they’re ready for.” He laughed. “As they get older, they’re going to ask questions, but it won’t matter. They’ll already love me way more than they love him anyway.”