Needless to say, being on holiday in Australia was exhausting. I dehydrated about five times quicker than usual and the combination of heat, sex and looking after the kids was exhausting. But I was enjoying it, so as much as I complained, I didn’t really care that much.
I left Hadley to go pick up the kids on his own when we were done catching our breath and recovering, choosing instead to pick up the laptop and find out who’d bought the house Hadley grew up in. Just as I’d thought, it hadn’t been too hard to find out who it belonged to or how to get in touch with them.
Without saying a word to Hadley about it, I bought the house and got it fixed up on the sly when he was busy doing other stuff like entertaining the kids. I went over to visit and see how the work was going when I got the chance to, just to make sure it’d be finished before we had to go. Thankfully, it didn’t take quite as long as I’d expected, given that despite the appearance of the place, it was actually still in pretty good condition.
As soon as the builders and decorators and electricians and plumbers and god knows who else finished their job, I went in, tidied up and ordered a couple of beds and a sofa to keep us in some sort of comfort til I had the chance to sit down with Hadley and decide what we actually wanted in there.
Once all that was done, I got Ava and Ryan to look after the kids for a few hours while I took Hadley to go see the house all done up as a surprise.
He looked up at it for a moment before wrapping his arms around my waist in a hug, “it’s great. Thank you.” I hugged him back, not sure I’d got the decor right or if it had ended up ruining his childhood memories or something. I mean it was a pretty big thing, right?
"Does it look right? I dunno what it used to look like or anything, but I guess since it's ours now that's not so important." Realising I was rambling, I shut up before I made a complete twat of myself.
"It looks fine,” he smiled, making me hum. I was glad he liked it. He took my hand. "I'm still amazed that it's still standing. I thought it would've been turned into a golf course by now.” I chuckled at that, smiling to myself as he squeezed my hand and let him inside to go look around.
I sort of left him to it, hovering around downstairs with a glass of water, waiting for the verdict. When I heard him sit down on the floor in the room I had dutifully remembered he told me was Cay’s, I put the glass down and went to go see if he was okay. I knew I shouldn’t have left Cay’s room empty. I left it empty because I didn’t know what he wanted to do with it, and didn’t think it was my place to put anything in it just yet. I hadn’t meant to end up upsetting him because of it.
I sat down behind Hadley where he was on the floor and wrapped my limbs around him. He was sniffling. I felt like just carrying him away somewhere and making it all go away for him. I know he had worn a poker face ever since Cay died, but c’mon, Cayden was his fucking brother. He’s not that much of a bitch.
“Sorry,” he said quietly.
"What're you apologising for?" I asked.
"You did all this and here I am crying." I kissed him on the cheek as he sniffled some more, and played with his hair gently.
"I didn't know what you wanted to do with his room, so I left it empty. I hope that didn't upset you, that it's empty," I half mumbled, feeling vaguely relieved when he shook his head. I rested my chin on his shoulder, holding him just that little bit tighter.
"I guess I miss him, y'know?” I nodded slightly and he let out a tiny sigh.
"He's your brother. Of course you miss him, gorgeous,” I reminded him, kissing his shoulder. “There’s nothing to apologise for,” I told him when he said he was sorry again. After that he didn’t say anything at all. "Want me to leave you alone?" He shook his head. So I just sat there with my arms and legs wrapped around him, trying my best to telepathically steal his pain or whatever it was he was feeling. I don’t think it worked.