“What did he just say?” AJ asked.
“He said Dada.”
AJ felt like all the air had been sucked out of the room. He sank back down into the chair and looked at the little boy sitting in Kat’s lap.
“Why did he call me that?”
“Because you’re his father.” Kat said with a small smile.
“How does he know that?”
Kat took the frame away from Jake and turned it around for AJ to see. There was a picture of Kat and AJ from when they were first together. The bottom of the frame said “Momma and Dada”.
The picture floored AJ. It brought back so many emotions that he had buried and pretended to work through.
“Did you teach him that?”
Kat nodded. “You may not have known that he was yours but he knew who you were. I never kept that from him. I’ve had pictures of you all around his room since he was born so that he would know exactly who is father was.”
“His father is. Who his father is.”
“Who his father is.”
AJ thought about his next question carefully. “Can I hold him?”
“Of course.” Kat stood Jake back on the floor and told AJ to hold his arms out. He did as she told him and his son started to walk towards him. When he finally got close, AJ picked him up and held him close. The little boy smiled at him.
AJ’s eyes filled with tears. “Yup, I’m your dada.”
“Hey.” Brenda said quietly when she found Nick sitting outside.
“Can I sit?”
“You can do whatever you want, it’s your house.”
Brenda sat down in one of the two chairs. Neither one talked to the other for a little while. Nick finally broke the silence because he couldn’t stand the tension.
“Did you know that Jake was AJ’s?”
“I found out in March. Kat left after Michelle came to visit and only called every couple of months. I didn’t even know she had a baby until she showed up on my doorstep.”
“Wow. I thought you guys were close.”
“We are!” Brenda snapped. “She only left because she thought one of you was going to come looking for her.”
“Sorry.” Nick said. “I don’t want to pick a fight.”
“I don’t want to fight either.” Brenda sighed. “In fact, I’m glad you guys found us. We’ve been here for two months and I was getting sick and tired of trying to hide out.”
“Why did you move out here knowing that we were all living around here?”
Brenda hesitated. “Kat had her reasons. I came out to help her with Jake. She had struggled so long by herself and I didn’t want her to come out here with no support.”
“Ok.” Nick held up his hands. “Are you guys going to stay out here?”
“Yes. At least for a while I think.”
Nick motioned towards the house with his head. “Any chance those two will even be able to be in the same room?”
“Kat will do whatever it takes to make sure that Jake sees AJ, even if the two of them can’t work their issues out. She loves her son and she wants him to know his dad.”
“I guess that’s all we can hope for then.”