I watched as Harleigh was passed back and forth from aunt to aunt. Zoey's family was welcoming us with open arms, even his mom. When I first showed up, of course she gave me a dirty stare but when Zoey told her about Harleigh, she got so excited. She has been spoiling her ever since, I guess a way of writing her wrongs. I sat on the sofa with Zoey's mom next to me, holding Harleigh in her lap. Her small head bobbled around, laughing at Zoey across the room who was making silly faces at her.
"She's so gorgeous Savannah." She beamed. "Thank you for actually allowing me to even be in her life. I was so rude and nasty to you and I apologize for that."
"It's fine." I smiled. "I've matured and, it's only right for Zoey and I's child to be close to this side of her family. I wasn't raised around a big family like this so, I'm glad she'll have a strong foundation helping us raise her."
"Zoey's been so happy lately." She looked over at him. "He's been really trying to better himself for Harleigh. He's planning on getting his own condo downtown and he quit all that smoking and drinking."
"That's good." I nodded. "It's good to see him actually doing something with his life."
"How long are you going to be here in Atlanta?" She asked.
"We leave tomorrow night." I answered and her face immediately grew sad. "But I plan on coming back a few months from now."
"A few months?" She sighed. "We'll be missing a lot of important moments Savannah. I wish you could just stay here. Modeling is big in Atlanta too."
"I know, I know. But, my entire career is set in New York." I explained. "I would have to move my entire way of life here. That would be so stressful and I don't need that now."
"But Savannah, we've already missed out on enough. We don't want to miss more."
I sighed and rubbed my temples. I had a lot to think about, in a short amount of time. The gathering came to a closing and Zoey walked me out to my car. He buckled Harleigh into her carrier and placed her baby bag on the seat. He kissed her forehead and then shut her door. He looked down at me and then gave me a tight hug. The feeling I felt hugging him was weird, so I pulled away quickly. He gave me a strange look and then just shrugged.
"So, my momma told me you're leaving tomorrow night." He stuffed his hands in his pockets. "When am I gone get to see babygirl again?"
"Whenever you want Zoey, if you make the trip to New York to see her." I answered. "I'll send you my schedule so we can workout good meeting dates. I don't want you to just pop up because...." I trailed off, looking down at the gravel.
"Because what?" He questioned, leaning against the car.
"Nothing." I pushed a piece of hair behind my ear. "Just let me know before you show up."
"Something's wrong." He held my face up and looked into my eyes. "I can see it all over your face Savannah. Something ain't right."
"What are you talking about Zoey?" I put my head back down. "Everything's fine."
He studied my face a few seconds longer and then sighed. We said our goodbyes and I drove back to the hotel. I hadn't seen Travis since he was in his drunken rage so, I had no clue what state he was in now. I grabbed the key card out of my purse with my free hand and went inside. Immediately I was met with Travis's strong arms holding me close to him. He let me go and I could see his face was stained with tears.
"Savannah." He sobbed. "I'm so so so sorry!"
"It's fine Travis." I walked into the room and sat on the bed. "Just forget it even happened."
"I didn't mean to hurt you!" He pleaded. "I swear baby. When I woke up and saw you weren't here anymore I panicked. I called you so many times and I called Regina too but she never answered. I-I thought you had left me."
"I just needed a break." I sighed. "And I don't want to talk about this anymore. I just wanna go to bed."
He nodded and returned himself to the sofa. I got into bed with Harleigh and scrolled through my phone. I saw Zoey had texted me a few pictures from today. One of them was of me, him and Harleigh outside. I was holding Harleigh and Zoey had his arm around my shoulder. I couldn't deny the fact that we actually were a cute little family. I locked my phone and pulled Harleigh closer to me.
The next morning Zoey drove Harleigh and I to the airport. Travis took an uber.. I honestly couldn't deal with him being near me after what happened. The car ride was silent. Zoey would occasionally look back at Harleigh and just sigh. When we got to the airport, Zoey got my bags while I carried Harleigh's carrier. I put my dark shades on right as the paparazzi swarmed. Zoey walked in front of us and opened the door to go inside. The only thing on my mind was the look of hurt on Zoey's face whenever he would look at Harleigh.
He had just found out about her and here I was again, taking her away from her daddy. The way they had been bonding was so beautiful to watch. I was actually witnessing Zoey become a man when he was with our daughter. He was ready to change his entire life around for her. Would he go back to his old habits once we left?
I didn't want that for him. I wanted him to be something in life, and actually move forward. Not take 10 steps backward and start acting how he used to. The closer we got to bag check, the more my mind was racing. I didn't want to just rip our baby girl away from him. Who knew when I would be coming back to Atlanta for a photo shoot or fashion show. I reached out and grabbed Zoey's arm, catching his attention. He stopped walking and turned around to face me. By this time the paparazzi had stopped following us. I pulled him away from the busy crowd and over to a corner.
"I-I don't want to go." I said quietly. "I can't hurt you like that again."
"Zonnique, you gotta get back to NY. That's where all your big gigs are. Don't think about me. Just do what you gotta do."
"Zoey our daughter has been away from you for too long now. I don't want her to forget about you. You're her father and she should be around you and your family. I can get lots of modeling opportunities here in Atlanta."
"What about Travis? What he gone say when he get to New York and realize you ain't never coming back?" He questioned.
"He'll be fine. He lost me when he decided to put his hands on me. His drinking can only get worse Zoey and trust me, I can't go through abuse again. I've dealt with enough and I refuse to have my daughter dealing with what I dealt with."
"You sure you wanna do this Zo?" He looked into my eyes.
"Positive." I smiled.
A big smile spread across his face as he wrapped his arms around me tightly. I took in his familiar scent and wrapped my free arm around him. Harleigh squealed from her carrier, grabbing her attention. I sat her carrier down and Zoey picked her up, placing kisses all over her cheeks.
"You're home for good now baby-girl." He lightly tickled her stomach.
He placed one of his arms around my shoulder and I laid my head against his shoulder.
Here's to a new start.
YOU ARE READING
Savannah was just your average young 16 year old girl. She was the shy girl at every high school party, standing against the wall sipping punch. She was the girl that scanned the cafeteria fearfully during lunchtime. She was the girl no boys glanced...