Craig's Confession

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Onyx's POV:

After having all my energy drained from running around with the girls, I decide to take it easy. My bones won't be thanking me for this tomorrow.

I walk into Craig's bedroom and see him sitting on the edge of the bed. He seems distracted. Which is very strange for him.

Craig: "Can we talk?"

Oh lord. It's never a good thing when someone says that. But I can't just turn him away.

"Of course." I sit next to him after shutting the door.

Craig: "So... I noticed something these past few weeks. And I feel the need to talk to you about it."

I only nod. My nerves are spiking already, my stomach is doing backflips, front flips, even two cartwheels.

Craig takes a deep breath, not looking at me. W-Why isn't he looking at me?

Craig: "Remember last week, when Ashley came over to pick up River while I was out of town with the twins?"

Again, I only nod. How could I forget? He and the girls had to go to Florida because they made it to the all-stars final. Which they won, of course. I wanted to go and be supportive but Craig didn't want to take River on a plane. Last time, she had a really bad time.

So he asked me to stay here with River since he didn't want her being uncomfortable again. How could I say no? She's an angel!

Anyway, point is the only reason Ashley couldn't take River right away was because she was dealing with a family emergency. But it seemed to get worse because she didn't take River with her...

Craig: "She finally called me back about that. And what she said about you only adds on to what I was already feeling."

Again with the long pause? You're killing me Cahn!

"Spit it out, man! You're scaring me." He finally looks at me, smiling. He takes my hand into his.

Craig: "I love you..."

I take a moment to internalize what he just said. He loves me? I feel myself begin to smile but it goes away when I realize something.

I look into his eyes, he's being serious. No sign of the jokey smirk he does when he's gonna make a pun.

"You... you didn't say 'bro' or 'dude' or anything like that... are you okay?" Admittedly, I feel a bit stupid asking that. But I need to make sure!

Now he's grabbing both my hands, caressing the back of them with his thumbs. He looks like he's thinking of what to say. It takes a while but then he starts speaking again.

Craig: "This isn't a 'bro' or 'dude' moment... When you first moved into the neighborhood, I never thought you'd mean so much to me...For years I had told myself to not get involved with anyone, that my girls had been through enough and didn't deserve anymore crap involving them. Which I still stand by, but I kinda alienated myself in the process... I had never trusted anyone with my girls other than Ashley. It was a miracle I'd let them sleep over at their friends' houses. Especially River, I'd always keep her with me."

That's true. When River isn't strapped to his chest, she's nearby or with Ashley. He's a very protective father, he just doesn't show it as much others do.

Craig: "I was nervous about leaving her with you. I know you're responsible but still. Anyway, Ashley told me how organized the house was and how happy River was. How you were being super sweet and adorable with her, trying to get her to talk-"

I smile again, remembering that. "She was close to saying 'mama' when her mother showed up. I still try every now and then."

Craig: "See! That's what I'm getting at, the way you treat my girls. You treat them like Amanda, you really care about them. Not only that, they love having you around! Hell, Briar referred to you as my boyfriend before we made it official. They accept you. Which is something I didn't think would happen.

The few times I was speaking to someone I was sorta interested in, I could tell they were just being nice to the girls to get with me. But with you, it's different. You're not faking. I know I can trust you. Not just with my emotions and well-being but with my family's as well..."

He lets go of my hands and walks to his drawer. He takes something from the inside then walks back to me, gesturing for me to give him my hand. I do and he places some keys in it. I scrunch up my eyebrows, looking at him for clarification.

Craig: "If it wasn't for the fact that you bought a house just a few months ago, I'd ask you to move in with me. Instead, I figured I'd give you keys to the house. You are welcome here whenever you want, no need to call or knock. This is your second home... I love you, Onyx Snow. I truly do."

He closes my hand before softly kissing it. I know this is a huge thing for him. The only other person who can drop by unannounced is Ashley. Not even one of the neighbors has a spare key in case of emergencies!

My heart wants to burst. I feel so... happy. Last time I felt this happy was before Alex passed. I know I'll never replace him and I still miss him. But I think it's time I move on. I haven't let anyone besides Amanda love me in years, I also haven't let myself love someone else. I don't want to miss out on something amazing with this man. I'm gonna love him and I'm gonna love him hard... That sounds kinda wrong but yeah, that way too.

"Craig..."

My voice breaks halfway into saying his name. Great, now I'm crying. I want to say it back but I just know all that's gonna come out is incoherent whimpers mixed in with snot and tears. Not romantic in the slightest.

He hugs me, which makes me sob into his shoulder for a solid three minutes. He rubs my back and plants a kiss on my left temple. God, here he is being vulnerable and letting me in, seeing a completely different part of him, and I can't even get a single word out. Why do I have to be such a blubbering mess?

Craig pulls away from the hug to caress my face and wipe away my tears. I lean into his touch. It makes me feel safe. Then he cups my face and kisses me. This one is different though. It's not the playful kind of kiss he gives me all the time. There's more feeling here. I like this Craig.

Though, if he doesn't say 'bro' sometime soon, I'll be convinced he was replaced by an alien clone of some kind.

After a while, I pull away from him. We stare into each other's eyes until I finally speak.

"I love you too..."

Craig smiles and a wave of relief and peace washes over me. Love's giving me a second chance. I'm taking it... Alex was right. Everything's gonna be okay...

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