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“Well he’s certainly well-mannered like you, if I remember correctly, I was a nuisance as a baby.” He said with a chuckle. He sat down on the bed then and watched Lexia feed. It was so easy for her and he liked to see how the two bonded, the way that Lexia looked down at Mason with such love and adoration. Soon Mason would be able to feed himself. He would be walking and running around and more than likely he’d probably reflect his father then, getting into trouble. He couldn’t wait for Mason to get older, sports games and college applications. Doing anything and everything to bond with his son as just the same as Lexia. What he didn’t want to deal with however was having to explain to his son about his half-sister. That was a conversation he didn’t know if he would ever be ready to explain. Did he need to explain it? He just didn’t want his son to think badly of him. Though he imagined that Lexia and him would still be together and his son would know that love always prevailed.
He was glad that Lexia agreed to the family date night, considering that their original date night didn’t exactly go as planned. This would be somewhat easier though, considering that Gianna would be out of the picture pretty much. He reached out and graced his thumb along Mason’s cheek. He was more than ecstatic at being given the chance to be his father. He kissed Lexia’s cheek then. “What’re you going to do when it’s time for him to go to school? You think you’ll be able to let him go to the public or homeschool?” He asked her then. He knew an appointment for Mason was coming up soon too. James wanted to talk about the suggestion of getting Gianna a place near them, but then he also didn’t want to ruin the mood. He could save that for later. Right now, he just wanted to decompress.
Lexia looked up from Mason to meet James' eyes, followed by his lips when he finished talking, the familiar rush coming over her momentarily as he kissed her. [B "Me? I don't think personalities are inherited."] She said with a smile as she watched him get undressed before Mason let out one of his endearing baby sounds that told her he wanted her attention. She glanced down at him and started to tickle his stomach gently and his wriggled slightly, kicking his arms and legs. [B "A family date night?"] She asked as she picked Mason up against her chest where he latched on to her to feed easily as she sat back against the headboard. [B "I think that would be nice."]
Lexia watched Mason while he fed. She wanted to cherish these moments while she could because soon enough he would be weaned off breast milk and eating solids and running about the place. It was true that this was the best way for a woman to bond with her child and she could never quite describe the love she felt for him as they locked eyes with each other.
[B "I'm so glad we have this little ray on sunshine in our lives. He puts everything into perspective."]
James sighed out then, trying to relax then as Lexia had come out of the restaurant then. He took the bag from her, not wanting her to hold onto everything. He gripped her hand tightly and looked down at Lexia. He knew he would have to tell her about him and Gianna and how they had come to an agreement. Would she be happy about that? He didn’t know. He knew from looking at the books that he didn’t really have the money to be paying for an apartment for Gianna and the baby, but at least she would be close which would cut down on transportation time and cost. Plus, he wasn’t sure if Lexia’s mother would allow for him to stay with her and he knew it would be awkward enough what with his affair becoming evident. While it was still his home, he didn’t want to be uncomfortable in it. Not to mention he knew both Gianna and Lexia would definitely not allow for Gianna to stay in their home if that would even be a suggestion that one could take seriously.
“A hotel?” he asked her then with a raised brow. Though he didn’t question Lexia any further and her reasoning was more than he needed to agree with her. He knew with the news of his affair being now known by her it would be tense and her mother would bring it up to stir further controversy that their marriage didn’t need. Especially after what had happened with Gianna. “Sounds god,” he said as he got into the driver’s side then. They headed to their house then and gathered their things. Fortunately her mother was not there and they were able to get in and out without conflict.
While on the way, James had booked them a room. They arrived, checked in and then headed to their room which would suit them nicely for the duration of their trip. They unpacked their things and crashed on the bed then, Mason more than awake from the nap he had taken earlier. He couldn’t hold his head up, but with some help had managed to roll over. He have a small smile then, his eyes searching the room and going back and forth to Lexia and him.
“One of a kind,” James said with a chuckle. He leaned forward and kissed Lexia’s lips deeply. “Both of you are. Think he gets that great personality from you.” James smiled then and sat up. He got off the bed and began to change. “I can take tomorrow off, maybe we can try the date night again? Mason can join us yeah?”
Lexia sat there for a moment before realising that James was outside. She could see the he was on the phone so she used the time to gather their things and settle the bill. While they didn't usually need to pay for food in their own restaurant she still did anyway. She always did in fact. The staff waved her goodbye and she knew that they would all be gossiping when they were gone but that didn't matter anymore, there was nothing she could do to stop it.
She adjusted the bag on her shoulder and made sure she had a good grip of Mason's car seat before heading outside. She had waited until she was sure the conversation was over before she joined him and she took hold of his hand. [B "Come on, let's stay a hotel tonight. I don't fancy my Mom being in our business and making things more stressful."] She kissed his cheek and started towards the car and strapped Mason's chair in before climbing in the passenger seat and pulled out her phone. Her mother was out for the time being so it was the perfect chance to grab their bags and head to the hotel and that's exactly what they did.
They got a nice room and were settled fairly quickly but Mason was wide awake which meant that they could enjoy some family time together. Even so young they could enjoy playing with him, watching his curious eyes take them in and try to learn what they were doing. [B "He's amazing isn't he?"
James sighed out then, watching as Lexia left to go change mason. Calling Gianna was not something he was in the mood for and despite how he had calmed down some, he wasn’t sure if Gianna would managed to get him all riled up all over again. He pulled his phone from his pocket then and stared down at the screen, his lock screen being a picture of Lexia holding Mason. Unlocking the phone, his thumb hovered over his messages, before finally he opened them to reveal Gianna’s contact and call her. The sound of the phone ringing continuously made him anxious and he wondered if she would even pick up. He tapped his fingers against the table then, awaiting for her to finally answer.
“I knew you would call.” She said then and he had to resist lashing out at her for the tone she used. “So have we come to an agreement?”
“No we haven’t. Gianna, you know what you are asking is ridiculous.”
“I don’t know why we are having this conversation if you and that [I woman] are not going to consider what I have brought to the table.”
“Lexia, my [I wife], Gianna, is doing everything in her power to accept your guidelines. You need to meet us halfway.”
“I don’t need to do anything. You knocked me up James. You left me. I am not going to allow you to give me mediocre sense of attention like you do your wife.”
“You know I love Lexia!” James, covered his mouth then and ducked his head, trying not to raise his voice. He was drawing a lot of attention though. He came to a stand and headed outside. “Gianna, all I am asking id that maybe you consider getting a place out close to us.” He hadn’t ran it by Lexia, but it would cut down on travel time. Though, he wanted his daughter to be around his son.
“And who exactly is going to pay for that?” James swallowed then, he was making a decision without his wife, but what else could he do. Besides, they didn’t have any money for a lawyer. James hadn’t told Lexia, but the new restaurant was barely making ends meet.
“I’ll pay for it.” He said. James looked over his shoulder, he waved some so Lexia could see he was outside. “Look, I need to go I’ll set everything up and tell you when all is set up alright?”
“Fine,” Gianna said after a long silence. He could see the look on her face. To some extent, she had won.
Ending the phone call then James sighed out, slipping his phone and his pocket and trying to relax. He was trying to keep everything together, but how long would it be before everything just fell apart? He knew one thing: he was not going to lose his wife or his son.
[B "I know you do love. I love you too."] She picked Mason up now that he was stiring and she held him close to her. [B "I'm going to change him and then I'll be right back okay? Perhaps you should call Gianna in the meantime."] Lexia smiled towards him and kissed his cheek before she made her way to the bathroom so that she could focus on getting their son changed. She placed him down and smiled down at him. He was the main reason she was so willing to putting up with Gianna's shit.
She spent the next few minutes talking to her son about anything that came to mind in that way of hers. Lexia loved these moments with him and she wouldn't give them up for the world. Once she changed him she held him close to her. [B "I love you little one."] She kissed his head and then made her way back out into the restaurant but before she made her way back to the table she stopped for a minute to catch up with an old friend who caught her on the way out.
It was nice to catch up briefly but she could see the sympathy behind her eyes and in the way that she spoke. Most would know about the fact that Gianna was carrying James' child. She decided to move away as soon as possible, unable to stand it much longer. Lexia smiled as she sat back down at the table.
Gianna was being unreasonable. Though, James knew that she was acting this way only because of how they had ended. It was a jerk move how he dropped her and of course James felt badly. He felt just as bad knowing that during Lexia’s pregnancy he was sleeping with Gianna and pretending everything was okay. The child had been conceived during his affair with her. He couldn’t believe the idea of protection, no matter what he thought never not once crossed his mind. James couldn’t change the past though and he just had to hope that maybe he could get Gianna to change her mind about what she wanted when it came to them co-parenting and sharing custody of their daughter. Lexia didn’t even have any conditions other than not wanting him to leave their son confused. She wanted his and Gianna’s daughter to know her half-brother and didn’t want gaps in the relationship between Mason and his father.
It wasn’t a crazy request and James himself was worried that he wouldn’t be able to spend enough time with both families equally where no one felt left out. This was exceptionally and even more harder considering they had just opened the restaurant and had finally gotten their house all set up. They couldn’t even move closer to Gianna which would also resolve the situation.
He knew he would have to bend his will some to convince Gianna not to take this to court, but he also knew that it was not right for him to stay in the same house as her. if they were going to do this co-parenting thing properly, there had to be a lot of give and take.
Full and honestly not anywhere close to hungry, James washed down the lump in his throat with the room temperature water. Mason was starting to wake some then, probably needing a change. He leaned forward and gave Lexia a kiss on her cheek. “I love you, you know that? I wouldn’t be able to do this without you.” It was there last day in the area, James really wanted to spend it with Lexia and Mason, but he knew he couldn’t leave without settling everything with Gianna.
Lexia finished as much or the food as she could stomach and then she pushed the plate aside to look to James. This was good. They were communicating in a healthy way. They were not fighting and that meant that they could work through this properly. She wasn't sure if she would be able to cope if they started fighting again. Perhaps if she had allowed him to storm out in his angry rage they might have ended up arguing but she knew that they both needed to handle this properly.
[B "James, my love...this really isn't about me. She is [I your] daughter. You need to get what you want and need out of this. All I want is for Mason to still have a Dad and for him to not be confused about why he has a sister he doesn't see or to wonder why Dad is away again. All I care about is him. Us and him. I will support you, I promise I will but...this has to be for you. You have to fight for you. But, she has to see she is being unreasonable. She..."] Lexia took a deep breath. [B "She loves you. You leaving her broke her heart and this is her way of either hurting you or getting you back."
Lexia of course was being selfless even though it hurt her and even though Gianna hadn’t been the kindest. Lexia could’ve been difficult and outright refuted everything that Gianna had asked for and yet she was willing to compromise because she loved him. That was why he loved Lexia. She was sensible and kindhearted, even when things didn’t seem to be going the way she liked it. There was not an evil bone in her body. She was holding up so well compared to him. Even after he had missed their dinner date, what really upset her was losing time with her husband.
He sighed out and finished his food then. He could tell that she was upset and trying to hide it. Though she wasn’t do very good. James wondered then. Would this be their life forever? Having to deal with Gianna and arguments and missing time with his family for his daughter and vice versa?
“I don’t want you to blame yourself.” He told her then. He turned to face her; his arm draped across the back of her chair. He didn’t want to have this conversation in such a public space but they weren’t argument and the flow of communication seemed to be going well enough. Lexia had always been the one with the answers. When it came to his first and second restaurant she was there to help, the birth of their son and being a new father even Lexia had helped him through that. All those times he had gotten angry, much like just now – she calmed him down.
“I just – it seems I can’t win. You keep putting everyone first. If I am going to talk to her and try to calm her down, I want you too to get what makes you happy. What’s good for our family Lexia. It’s not ethical I know and maybe you don’t agree, but if I’m not pitting my children against one another – I want you to know [I you] are my priority. What is it you want out of this? We need to counter her requests with our own.”
Only a twice a week. With the travelling it would take up at least a day and a half each time and in between work it would literally be at least half of the week gone. She didn't like it one bit but they didn't have the money for a lawyer and they couldn't afford for Gianna to force child support on them.
She started to eat her food when it arrived, although her appetite was gone but she needed to eat something to keep her energy up so that she could look after Mason effectively and so that she could breastfeed him properly.
Lexia sighed. [b "The last time you were alone, we had a date that you promised you wouldn't turn up late too."] She looked to him, but softly, not wanting to make it seem like she was too angry because they had already talked about this. [b "What is important is that you talk to her and figure out how you are going to raise you daughter with her."] She took another bite of her food and looked to Mason.
[b "I know you care about us, but you have to figure this out. I don't want you to lose your daughter because...because of me..."]
James didn’t like Lexia apologizing as it wasn’t her fault. She had every right not to accept the things that Gianna had asked of them. He knew that he could stay with her as it was just a way for her to weave into his life further and then plant further seeds of doubt into Lexia’s mind. This was tough he knew, but when Lexia put it the way that she did it made him feel even worse.
“It’s only twice a week,” he reminded her. Though James knew that it would mean he would have to leave early the day before and arrived late the next day which meant he was losing out of time with his family and of course that would upset Lexia. He sighed out then, the waiter returning with their food. James took to eating, though he was just trying to keep himself busy. He gripped his sandwich tightly, biting into it then. He was mulling over everything that had happened. God how he wished he could go back in time.
“Talk to her by myself?” He asked her then as he looked up at her and then to Mason. Mason was asleep peacefully which he was grateful for. James took a bite of the freshly made chips. “I don’t know last time me and her hung [I by ourselves] I came home late and you were unhappy.” James told Lexia. He leaned back in his seat then. He knew that they didn’t have enough money to even start worrying about a lawyer. They just had Mason and was paying off what wasn’t covered by their insurance. They had the new restaurant with more employees and two homes to pay for.
Even if Gianna couldn’t get her terms as she wanted she could still take them for what she wanted in child support. He sighed out. They were supposed to be leaving soon and tonight was his last night to convince her to stick with a plan. “I guess I’ll give her a call,” he said then with a reluctant sigh. “I just don’t want it to be like this all the time. You know you’re my priority Lexia. I don’t want you to forget that. Both of you are.”
Once they ordered their food Lexia looked to James and then looked down at Mason. He had fallen asleep now and she placed him in the bassinet next to the table and allowed a short silence befall them. He needed the silence to calm himself down and it appeared to work. Soon enough his hand was coming to rest on top of hers and she looked up at him. Yet another apology and she sighed out a little.
[B "I'm sorry I couldn't accept her terms...it just seemed unreasonable. It seemed like the only time Mason would see his sister would be holidays and we would have to figure out what to say to him about why he only saw you for half a week... why [I we] would only see you for half a week."] She sighed once more. A lawyer would be expensive and Gianna could easily take them for every penny then had as well as stopping James from seeing his daughter.
[B "Maybe you should meet her alone? She clearly didn't like me sitting here. She might be more reasonable with you."
He could see he was rattling Lexia and he didn’t want to upset Mason or cause a scene. She was right to assume that he was too angry to think straight and driving in this condition wasn’t safe. Even if Lexia drove, with him fuming, he was more than likely to lash out and he didn’t want to turn that energy onto his wife. He had already disrespected their marriage and now look where it got them. Now Gianna was trying to take them to court and he knew that she was doing this more so to make their life difficult. If she wasn’t going to have things her way then she wanted James to suffer.
“You’re right,” he said to her then. He sighed out, frustrated still as he rubbed his eyes then. The waiter came over then, greeting him though noticing his bad mood. This wasn’t unusual for him, everyone knew James could get intense but they knew he was a nice guy who just cared about his work and running a restaurant was stressful. He disappeared after taking their orders then. James reached for the glass of water then, taking a sip. He could feel himself calming down then, but James still was a bit wound up and mad about the outcome of the events.
“I’m so sorry about his Lexia,” he said. His hand lightly placed on top of Lexia’s. he was apologizing a lot and yet every time he apologized, it seemed something would come up only to push the couple back to square one. He just hoped that whatever Gianna was doing was not going to actually give results. He didn’t want her to get into Lexia’s head and cause her to change her mind about him and their marriage.
It wasn’t just about losing Lexia at this point either, he also worried about possibly having this effect his relationship with his son. “We’ll just get a lawyer, but I doubt she will get her way. I’m not staying with her.” He sighed out then, thinking if maybe Lexia still didn’t trust him.
This was already such a mess. Their life had once been so simple and so happy and now...now it was a series of stumbling blocks ready to trip them up. She was scared of losing her husband and she was scared that Gianna would get her way and force their marriage to end in divorce. It was far too soon for that and she wanted to fight. Gianna was making thay very difficult. She looked towards James as he explained that he wouldn't stay at her home and she almost held her breath when she waited for her reaction.
Gianna almost laughed when he spoke about respect and for a moment she had to look away from her. She was right. He had disrespected their marriage when he slept with Gianna multiple times and when he had got her pregnant. She only looked up again when James spoke and it was clear that was the final straw for Gianna and now she wanted to settle things in court. The only thing they were not happy with was that James had to stay at his house. It was unreasonable and the courts would also deem that unreasonable if she was to go that far.
She left then and James was angry, his fists banging on the table and he made Lexia jump a little. [B "James...you shouldn't drive like this. I don't want you to get into another accident."] She placed a hand on his shoulder. [B "Eat...we'll talk."
James looked at Lexia and then to Gianna. Of course this was going to be hard and he knew that this mediation was going to bring out some things that he wasn’t sure he could comply with. Though he had to compromise if he wanted this transition to be any easier for him and Lexia as well as Gianna who stood the end of the day was the mother of his child. He sighed out then, his hand reaching to run through his hair as though to ease any tension in his head. Honestly if he could just run away at this point he would, though that was probably not going to happen. James had to face the result of his actions and he owed that much to both women, especially his wife. He had made vows with Lexia and he had broken them which was why they were sitting here in the first place. Using protection hadn’t been on his mind and he swore that Gianna was on birth control. He’d not even thought to ask, this had started off as a fling and that’s how he ended it. He’d no idea that Gianna had or would develop feelings for him to the point she was trying everything to push Lexia out of their marriage.
“Gianna,” he said carefully then. “I don’t want to make this harder than it already is. I’m willing to comply with everything else and I’m sure Lexia is too, but out of respect for my marriage I can’t stay in the same home with you.” He cleared his throat and tried to proceed.
“Respect for you marriage?” Gianna asked with a chortle. “That’s funny James,” she commented under her breath.
“Listen Lexia’s mother is a great woman.” He knew his mother in law hated his guts but surely wouldn’t take out such hatred on a child so as not to allow her in his home. Besides, it was still his and Lexia’s names on the deed. If he wanted to have his daughter there then he had every right to make such a request.
“I don’t want her going back and forth.”
“Well we can’t really get around that now can we?” James said already getting angry. “I need you to understand that I love Lexia and I plan for this marriage to work despite a few . . . Bumps in the road.” He looked to Lexia then, hoping she could see he was sincerely trying.
“Well then maybe it best we settle this in court then?” She asked in a threatening tone.
“I don’t think we-“ Gianna threw her hands up, the meals arriving but hers would be left cold as she had lost her appetite.
“No James. I’m done being toyed around with. If you two don’t wish to comply than maybe it best the court settle this for us.” She came to a stand then, slow but finally at height. “Be on the lookout for papers from my attorney.”
“Gianna,” he said as he came to a stand, but she waved him off and there were already people looking their way. Defeated he sunk in the seat beside Lexia, his hands covering his face. This was not what he wanted but shockingly enough it did go as he thought it would. “Dammit,” he grumbled slamming a fist on the table. He was getting upset and didn’t want to cause a scene in his restaurant. “Let’s go.” He said finally after a moment of silence.
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