Christine had nearly forgotten that when Chad left that morning, she had been curled up and non-responsive. She remembered, though, as soon as the doctor left and she saw the hurt expression on his face. He had not even sat down or taken her hand yet, but was just standing looking at her. He had brought a small boquet of flowers, and used them as an excuse to not look at her, turning and placing them on the windowsill instead.
She could not think of anything to say to him, either, so she just waited until he turned back to her and patted the chair again.
"How are you?" He finally asked.
"Um, I am ok. They made me eat lunch and get up to go to the bathroom. My headache went away but my leg really hurts where the stitches were put in."
"hmm. I went ahead and ran some errands and caught up with a few things so taht I could stay a while this evening. I can stay the night, too, if you want. Your Mom is going by your place and then coming around 8pm. If you want anything, I can give her a call." His sentences were short and impersonal.
"Chad... I am sorry about earlier. I just did not know how to react to the cop. I... I had no idea there was someone else in the accident and... i guess I was just scared about what it all could mean. I do not know hoe to handle this and I guess I just... clammed up. You knwo? Do you forgive me? I do not want to be like that with you... I want to trust you with everything!"
He took her and and looked into her eyes. "Christine, I know you are scared and confused. Thank you for telling me that." He looked down and cleared his throat, "Honestly, though, that is not the only reason I am ... miffed with you." Stressing the end of the sentence, he looked back at her face and then bit his lip. She waited, knowing he was the type to say what he wanted to when he awas ready.
"Last night... Christine, you were supposed to pick up Michael yesterday. Did you know that?"
Her face regsitered a look of shock and tears welled up in her eyes yet again. "Michael? I forgot about Michael? Chad, I am so sorry! Oh my God... I... I... But, I just... Oh my God." She covered her face with her hands and sobbed.
Chad sat looking at her for a few seconds before he reached out and pulled her into his arms. "Christine, he is ok. i need you to calm down, please. Just talk to me. Tell me what really happened. You should have been there at six o clock but they said your accident was closer to ten o clock. So somthing else must have been going on."
She cleared her throat and wiggled to get him to loosen his hug. She did not look at him right away but took a few deep breaths to get a clear head and voice. "I do not know how I could have forgotten him, Chad. I really.... I guess I just was not feeling like myself yesterday. I... I left work on time, I think, and then I just kept driving. I had a lot on my mind... Mom called at some point and asked if I was coming over, so I started to go that way. I did not know what time it was or how long I had been driving, but then I was not thinking about it, either. Are you sure Michael is okay?" She finally looked up at him, to find him studying her face.
"Yes, he is alright, but I am in big trouble with Georgette. The instructor called me while I was in class and had my phone off. So he called her... She is making a really big deal out of the situation. I am sorry Christine, but I just need you to know how important it was for you to pick him up yesterday. I am having a hard time trusting you."
Once again her face registered with shock and the tears came to the surface. He was still looking directly into her face as he spoke matter of factly to her. She refused to let the tears fall or to look away this time. He was such a solid foundation in her life, and if everything else was dissapearing, she had to at least hold on to him. Softly, she formed her reply.
"Chad... you know that I care very deelpy for Michael, and for you as well. I do not know how I forgot about him. I do not know how I got in that accident last night. Maybe i could talk to Georgette and explain that it is my fault. You know that I would do anything to make things right."
"Christine, Georgette does not want to talk to you. She still thinks that you are the horrible little woman who took me away from them. We know that it is not true and that she has problems. But it also means that she is going to use this to against us. Use it as a way to keep us from seeing him or at least make it more difficult. He is my son but she holds the keys right now. When you did not pick him up at six last night, the fencing instructor waited for thirty minutes before calling me, and another 15 minutes before calling her. She had to leave a meeting with her boss when she could not get ahold of me. She picked Michael up at seven thirty and the instructor apparently chewed her out. He is asking that we pay him for having to stay longer and keep him from his family. It just turned into a big fight when Georgette finally got ahold of me last night. Of course she was yelling while Michael was still in the car, and that made me really upset. Especially since it was then eight thirty and i had no idea where you were since you were not there to pick up Michael and I had not heard from you, either."
Christine was getting a little overwhelmed with feelings of guilt, but she took another deep breath, knowing that Chad would still want to finsihe the conversation so taht it did not have to drag on into another conversation. "Yes, I think you called while I was talking to Mom. I really do not know what elase to say. I mean- Chad, I know I caused a problem. It is obvious that Georgette is going to hold it against you... but honey, that means she is holding it against us! I am not just a random person in the lives of you and Michael. I am a dedicated part and one day we will be a family. I can see that I caused a problem. I am aware that Georgette is going to be more difficult now because I caused some grief. Please... please accept my apology for this!"
Chad knew that she was being sincere. He still did not understand how he could learn to trust her after forgetting to pick up his six year old son, but he wanted to with all his heart. On faith in her and in their relationship, he leaned forward and gave her another hug, awkawardkly because of the neck brace, and replied, "Christine, I do forgive you. I am sorry if I came across hard on you, but we have to be able to trust each other, because Michael needs to be able to trust us. I know that you love him, and I know that you aer committed to becoming a family one day. just keep talking to me and let me know if there is something that you can not do or even something you will not do. I need to know these things because it is my job to keep my son safe. Do you understand?"
"Of course I understand. I will make sure that we keep communicating- I do know that it is very important to you, and I want to do everything possible to keep that up."