36 B A Week in Awkwardville

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Dane had no clue what she was going through. Sure he had broken her heart and he most certainly knew it but what he didn't realize was the pain she felt for Ethan. She didn't want Ethan to get caught in the middle but he was in this too. She just was going to do everything in her power to keep his precious heart from breaking. She wouldn't be a permanent fixture in his life now. Dane would settle into a life with Ana soon enough but until then she was still in this for Ethan. She felt Lily kicking and placed her hand over her stomach as she brought her thoughts back to the moment.

She stepped out of the car and made her way towards the front door. She knocked once then waited. Standing there she realized, she was on the outside looking in. She was where she belonged. Her shoulders felt heavy as she took a deep breath in preparation of who would greet her at the door this morning. She tried to give Dane time to leave before her arrival.

The door opened and Grace welcomed her inside. She felt both relieved and disappointed. She wanted to see Dane but she knew it was best that she didn't. Grace scurried back to the kitchen and the sound of footsteps descending the stairs caused her heart to skip a beat.

"Good morning." Dane said with hesitation. He paused for a moment in front of her.

"Good morning." She said quietly. She couldn't look him in the eye but she knew he was studying her closely. He stepped to the side and took his briefcase.

"Can we do lunch today, just the two of us?"

"I... I don't know if that is a good idea."

"Just think about it." He said before leaning in and almost placing a kiss against her cheek. "I'll call you later." He brushed past her and didn't look back.

The feel of his breath against her neck played upon her senses. She wasn't sure if she was up to this. She stood in the doorway and watched as Dane walked away. Her heart aching as he unknowingly took it with him. She lost her heart to him months ago. But it was at this moment that she realized she would never get it back. She heard the familiar rumble of one of his cars as she closed the door. Then the house was quiet.

Grace busied herself around the house and was quiet. Berkley was glad that she hadn't pushed her to talk and even more relieved when she left. Berkley preferred to be alone with her thoughts until she could sort them out. She had only been gone a few days but the rift that it caused was creating a vacuum effect in the home.

She went to check on Ethan. He was sleeping later than usual and she couldn't help but worry about how he had been last evening. She wondered if he had slept well during the night. Dane looked tired earlier so she was certain that Ethan might have been partially responsible. She went to her room and found that Grace had put her things away as if she were staying. She fell back on to the bed and sighed as she stared at the ceiling. She was broken inside, emotionally crippled. She willed herself up and packed another bag of clothes and placed them downstairs next to the door.

It was getting late so she woke Ethan gently and his bright eyes and growing smile were a sight for sore eyes. She spent the remainder of the morning playing with him. She tried not to think about all the things that had gone wrong. She focused on the few things that were right, one of which was Ethan. The little guy just had a way of making her smile. Berkley found him to be a pleasant distraction. She spent the past few nights crying until she fell asleep and going through the motions the rest of the time. Ethan seemed to be the only one who could make her smile. Grace had tried but with the strain of her mother's failing health and the fact they her heart was breaking over this too, she had come up short.

Today Grace would have the afternoon off and Berkley was surprised that Dane suggested lunch. Since he had, it meant he intended to make arrangements for Ethan. She wasn't sure if she was ready to have lunch with him. She dreaded the legalities that were to come. She didn't want Danes money and she wasn't planning to battle him in the courtroom. The only thing she had and would fight for was Lily. The thought of Lily and Ethan being raised in separate homes crushed her but there no way around it at this point. How would she ever explain to Lily that the Berkley was the hired help and that Daddy had another family?

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