I wanted to meet with him before he saw Brooke again.
Wanted to set things straight, talk about what happened all those years ago. About Naomi, Brooke’s mom, and what led up to her leaving Mike.
“So you never knew I was the father of Naomi’s baby… Brooke?” he asked earnestly.
“I swear I never did. I was too wrapped up in football and the interest the professional teams were putting on me, to be the best. Right up until the reunion, I never knew. The last time I spoke to her was when she came to me for advice I wasn’t sure why she came to me but I just figured I’d do what I could for her. Naomi went to Canada from what I heard. And you? Well, you left about the same time I was made busy with other things,” I reflected.
“She’s half your age, Trent,” he still protests occasionally to this day, like today, but I think it’s more out of habit now. Once he saw how happy we are, once he saw the life I could give Brooke, the life we can all have as a family, well. I think it’s started to sink in.
“I saw the Dean just now,” I tell Mike, meeting him for lunch, a way to reconnect now that Brooke is in both our lives, mentioning I had to drop off some paperwork on my way here.
“Yeah?” Mike asks disinterestedly until I tell him who Dean Chambers has shacked up with.
“I dunno if you saw her that night at the reunion, you seemed to be preoccupied,” I add for effect, noting Mike blush.
“But that blond, the one who looked like a Barbie doll, tried to get her claws into me too, but I was—” I break off, not wanting the story to segway into how I met Brooke.
“Anyway, she opens the door at the Dean’s house wearing one of his monogrammed bathrobes. The old devil,” I exclaim, noticing Mike shifting uneasily.
The parallels may be too close to home.
“And how’s Tracey?” I ask him. “That reunion was a bit of a matchmaking night if ever I saw one,” I add, putting my foot in it all over again, but dammit. Mike has to get used to me being with Brooke, as much as she has to get used to him being with someone too.
“It’s different,” Mike says bitterly. “Tracey is my own age. She’s a grown up. She has a job,” he almost growls.
“For the record,” I let him know in my defense, “So does Brooke.” Making him look up.
“Really?” he asks sarcastically.
“Yep. She’s off today, a touch of the flu we think, but she’s been helping me with the apartment development I’m working on. You should be proud,” I remind him, knowing Brooke’s more than just a pretty face.
She’s been spearheading the whole development with a ton of great ideas.
It’s baby steps with Mike, and probably many more months before he comes around or even lets our friendship come back on the radar.
I leave him to make up his own mind though, apologizing again for any misunderstanding from years ago, but no way can I say sorry for falling head over heels for his only daughter.
Back home, Brooke’s still laid up in bed and not in a way I like.
She’s got a bit of a temperature but says she’s just felt off for a few days now.
“Maybe you’re overdoing it with work,” I tell her, noting her attempt at a smile.
“You call that work? Sitting on my ass all day looking at drawings of buildings?”
I have to laugh, and leaning over to kiss her forehead, it does feel kind of warm.
I’m halfway through telling her I’m calling a doctor in when she leaps out of bed, racing for the bathroom.
That’s it. I should’ve called one earlier.
I’ve never had a regular doctor, never been sick a day in my life but in between bouts of heaving, Brooke tells me she has a family doctor and I track his number down, giving him a call.
Turns out it’s someone else her dad and I went to college with.
Dr. Compton now. His office tells me they don’t do house calls, but after I have a word with him directly, he’s happy to oblige.
“Mike Wheatley’s daughter?” he exclaims. “Is she at home?” he asks, and there’s a brief silence after I explain things. “This is her home now. Brooke’s with me. Mine.” I spell it out to him, giving him our address and telling him I’ll buzz him in once he gets here.
Wondering if maybe we should just get some T-shirts made, run a newspaper ad, or something.
Jeez, I never thought two people getting together could be so hard for others to understand.
Brooke says she’s fine, doesn’t need a doctor. But I don’t like seeing her like this, and I tell her there’s nothing to worry about.