While I was waiting – somewhat impatiently – to be told I was free to go hobbling off on crutches, I resolved that I was not only going to make more of an effort with being a better husband, but more of an effort to be a better dad to Danny, too. Lily was fine; I got along with her like I do with Beau. It’s just Danny seems to prefer Hadley, so I let him do what he wants. I gotta admit, that’s a pretty lousy effort on my part. So there you are, I was gonna be a good dad too.
Easier said than done when he barely talks. Mind you, he did seem to sit with me more often than usual after I’d told him I missed him.
When I was finally released, Hadley was the one that drove me back home. I spent most of the journey staring absently out of the window trying to decide how I was going to be a better husband. I wasn’t entirely sure what else I could do other than keeping my dick in my pants to avoid fucking up what was clearly my last chance with Hadley.
"I don't want you seeing Cayden again," Hadley said quietly, breaking the silence for the first time. I looked around at him. "As far as this family's concerned, he doesn't exist.” I couldn’t really help the sadness I felt at that tugging at my face a little. I loved Cayden. Not like I loved Hadley, and not quite like I’d love a brother, but... I dunno. All I knew was I’d have a lot harder time cutting the guy out than Hadley would. He was silent again after that.
I struggled stubbornly out of the car by myself and hobbled inside. I didn’t quite have the hang of the whole crutches thing, and the amount of times I nearly fell over was humiliating.
"Am I gonna have to look after you again?" he asked with a small smile.
“At least until I figure out how to use crutches,” I laughed a little, earning myself a chuckle. He helped me get over to the sofa where I let myself fall into the cushions unceremoniously. I’d have gotten something ready for dinner but I’m not sure cooking when I can barely stand up would’ve been such a brilliant idea.
"Think you can manage hobbling with little kids around?" he asked when it was time to go get the kids.
“I think so,” I muttered.
Lily huggled me pretty much the second she saw me. Danny just stared, so I offered an arm out, inviting him to join the hugging. He shuffled over and hugged me too, making Hadley and me both smile.
“I missed you guys so much,” I told them, kissing them both on the tops of their heads.
"We missed you too, Daddy," Lily said. I hummed faintly, letting go of them so I could try and catch the crutch slipping off my arm so I wouldn’t have to bend to get it. When everyone was ready, we headed back to the car and Hadley drove while the kids happily told me all about their day. The kids seemed happy that I was listening to them, being appropriately enthusiastic about it all, and Hadley was smiling.
I dunno what someone fed those kids, but when they got out of the car, they were both way too hyper. While Hadley was helping me get back inside the house, Lily nearly ran into my leg, and Hadley had to tell them to "watch out for daddy, guys". I wasn’t that bothered, given that she didn’t actually run into me, and just concentrated on hobbling. When I got over to the sofa, I pulled the bed bit out so that I could have my leg up and out of the way without hogging the whole sofa.
The kids eventually calmed down enough to sit with me. I almost wished they hadn’t. Danny had put the Xbox on, but Lily looked up at me with big puppy eyes, "Daddy, I want to watch TV."
I glanced over at Danny, trying to decide what to do. “Let Danny have the Xbox on for half an hour, okay? And then Danny will come off to let you watch TV, won’t you Danny?” Danny stared, as usual, and Lily pouted.
"Can’t we have the TV on first?" she asked.
“Danny?” I was trying to get his attention, but he just kept staring and I wasn’t sure if he was listening or not. “Could we have the TV on for a bit, please?”
"I wanna play my game," he said, not taking his eyes off the screen.
“He's always playing games,” Lily protested, still pouting.
“Well if we don’t come to an agreement, neither of you will have TV or games all evening,” I threatened, “so what’s it gonna be?”
"Danny always gets what he wants," Lily sulked.
“Well if you don’t decide before I cut off the power, neither of you will have what you want. So come to an agreement, guys,”
"He can play his game," she relented sulkily.
“Good. Half an hour Xbox, then TV. Got that, Danny?” Danny nodded, intent on playing his game. Lily was sulking, and Hadley offers to play a game with her instead. She gave a moping ‘okay’ and went off to play some board game with him. I was half tempted to join them, but that would’ve involved moving, and that was not something I wanted to do.