Chapter 12: Dom

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"I'm bored. Can we go get Charlotte, Daddy?"

Settling one of the dozens of papers on Kat's case down on the hand-me-down coffee table a buddy at work had given me, I turned my stare to my daughters.

"We can't today, sweetheart. I'm sorry."

"Why not?"

I reached out grabbed Maya by the waist and set her on my knee. "Because it's just not that easy anymore. We have to get Ms. Layla's parents' permission and work it out with them first since they're watching Charlotte right now."

The pout that had guilted me on several occasions before protruded on her mouth. "I wish she lived with us again."

Sorrow filled my lungs and released in a heavy sigh through my nose. I rested my chin atop of Maya's soft curls on her head, wishing right alongside her that many things would go back to the way they once were again.

I wished that my daughter didn't have to experience the heartache of watching her parents separate at such a young age. I wished that Heather could go back to the girl I met back in high school, one who loved the same way that she laughed- freely and unashamed. I wished that Kat and Charlotte's mom was still alive.

The one wish that, had I any faith in the truth of shooting stars,  I would stand outside searching the night sky for falling stars until we found her was that the women I'd fallen into such a spontaneous, all-consuming love with was in my arms again, squeezing my heart back to life with her shocking remarks and explosive passion.

I wasn't dumb enough to put all of my hopes, or any for that matter into wishes. Wishes were for children and for birthday candles. The only hope I could have for them was that the smoke from the candles would travel through the wind to where Kat was and that she could smell my scent through the breeze and be reminded of my love for her.

"Can I at least go wake up Grandma?" Maya asked, breaking me from my thoughts.

"No, let's let Grandma sleep, okay? I think you've worn her out this weekend." I cracked a smile as Maya looked to me with a devious kind of pride in her eyes followed by a short fit of giggles.

"Plus, mom will be here any second to pick you up." A sour expression came over Maya's face at the mention of her mother. I knew Heather and Maya didn't have the best of relationships. I'd tried at every corner to bring them closer but to no avail so far. Though she wouldn't admit it, I knew Heather was jealous of the attention that Maya got from everyone around her- including me.

"Can't I just stay with you?" she whined.

Chuckling, I picked her up from my knee and set her on the floor. "Not this time, Munchkin, as much as I would love that."

Right on cue, two sharp knocks came from the front door.

Maya blew out a breath that fluttered through her bangs as she trudged towards the front door with me following shortly behind. I grabbed her jacket from the arm of the couch just as Maya opened the front door.

"Really? This place?" The first words out of Heathers mouth were condescending and expected, but still irritated me like only she could. Pushing Maya's jacket onto her arms, I replied.

"Hello, to you, too." Heather ignored my greeting and dropped herself down to Maya's level, flicking a strand of her lengthening hair over her shoulder.

"So," she began, adjusting Maya's jacket. "Do you like this house or do you like mommy's place better?"

Maya's mouth scrunched together as she thought too hard over Heather's unnecessary question. "Um, well, I like that Daddy is here."

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