13

You delete the message and go to bed. Usually you stay up later on the Internet, but tonight you’re not in the mood. Then you see Henry’s toy on the table. Maybe you should take it round to his house tomorrow morning. At least you can leave it on the doorstep with a note, even if you’re not allowed to see him. It can’t sit here in your apartment—it’s too depressing.

You wake the next morning, have breakfast, and at nine thirty a.m. you pick up the toy and head down to the parking garage. You get in your crummy car, start the engine after a few tries, and drive out. You used to have a BMW, but you had to sell that as part of the settlement. Now you drive a fifteen-year-old domestic with a temperamental attitude.

You pray the damn car won’t die on you on the side of the highway like it did last week. You were late for one of your anger management sessions, which won’t sit well with the judge at your appeal.

It’s a fifteen-minute drive to your ex’s house. The neighborhood couldn’t be more different from where you’re living. The houses are huge and are spaced far apart. Beautifully kept grounds of at least half an acre per lot surround each immaculate oversized building.

You park your very-out-of-place lemon outside number 23, next to an enormous Acura SUV. Alex’s Mercedes isn’t here.

You ring the doorbell and, as expected, Sam answers, looking for all the world like the sexy new lover.

“You? You’re not supposed to be here.” Sam’s tall. Sam’s sickeningly good-looking. You hate the fucker.

“Can I see my son?” you ask, trying to remain civil.

“You know what the judge said. Go away.”

“I wanted to leave this for him.” You hand over the toy.

“Fine, I’ll give it to him. Now, go before Alex gets back.”

“Where is the former light of my life?”

“Meeting you at Starbucks, I thought.”

“Me?”

“Yeah, left you a message last night. You didn’t get it?”

“Why does Alex want to see me?”

“To tell you we’re leaving this afternoon, for Italy. We don’t know when we’ll be back. Could be a while. I said you guys didn’t need to meet up, leaving a message was enough, but Alex thought you should hear in person. I’d better call to say you’re not coming.”

Sam closes the door on you.

This is really bad news. You’re tempted to sneak around the back and see if there’s a window you can crawl through, but again, breaking in to your ex’s house wouldn’t be the best way to win over the appeals judge.

Reluctantly, you get back in your car and drive away.

Make your choice...
If you go home, go to 25.

If you go to your local Starbucks to see if Alex is still there, go to 25.


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