True to his word, AJ called the next morning. Kat told him to come over and got Jake changed and dressed. They had just gotten downstairs when the doorbell rang.
“Hey.” Kat said letting him in. “I was just about to give him breakfast. You wanna join us?”
“Uh ok. What are we having?”
“Pakes!” Jake said with a smile.
“Pakes?” AJ asked.
Kat laughed. “Pancakes.”
“Ok.” AJ said with a smile. “It’s been awhile since I had to decipher little one speak.”
Kat saw the sadness behind his eyes and knew he was missing Ryan. She felt even worse for not telling him about Jake. He had lost one son and she was hoping to give him back another.
“I’m sure it’s like riding a bike. You’ll remember.”
Kat put Jake into his bouncer and started cooking breakfast.
“They smell really good.” AJ said. “I miss your cook……….” He trailed off not wanting to finish the sentence.
Kat ignored the statement not wanting to make anything more uncomfortable. “They’re blueberry. I hope you don’t mind.”
AJ was grateful for the save and turned his attention back to Jake. “Let me guess. They’re your favorite.”
Jake nodded and continued to play with the spinning blocks.
“Can I help you with anything?”
“No, these are almost done.” Kat thought for a minute. “Actually could you grab some dishes and clean Jake’s hands? There are some baby wipes in the bathroom.”
“Sure.” AJ pulled out some plates and went down to the bathroom to grab the wipes. He returned a minute later and found that Kat had settled him into his highchair. AJ cleaned his hands and they settled down to breakfast.
“Ummy!” Jake said laughing.
AJ had to smile as he watched his son eat. “Is he always like this?”
Kat nodded. “I..we got lucky. He’s a really happy baby.” She had to remind herself that he wasn’t just her son anymore.
“It seems like it.”
They finished eating without talking too much more. AJ cut up Jake’s pancakes and watched as his son giggled and interacted with them. He had never gotten to do this with Michelle and Ryan. She never made breakfast and it was usually just him and Ryan for all the meals.
“I wanted to take Jake to the park today.” Kat said breaking through AJ’s thoughts. “Maybe you could take him?”
“Yeah by yourself.”
“I don’t think that’s a good idea. He may know me by my picture but he’s never been alone with me.”
“You’re his dad AJ. He’ll get used to it.”
“I know but I’m not ready to do it by myself yet. Can you come with us?”
“Sure.” Kat said and started cleaning up the kitchen. “Can you put a sweater on him? I know we’re in California but its October so it might be chilly.”
AJ got a jacket on Jake and Kat told him where the diaper bag and the stroller were. He dug everything out and by the time Kat was done, he had everything ready and Jake was in the stroller waiting to leave.
“Wow. I think that’s a record.” Kat chuckled.
“This is one thing I can do well.” AJ said quietly.
Kat surprised AJ by putting her hand on his arm. “You can do a lot of things well AJ.”
Well keeping you around is not one of them, he thought to himself. “Thanks.”
They spent the next few hours at the park playing in the sandbox. AJ watched as Jake laughed when he was swinging in the baby swings and Kat took a picture of them coming down the slide together. AJ finally convinced her to get on the seesaw and she took another picture of them when their side was up in the air. It was a terrific day and AJ even stayed for dinner again that night.
“Are you coming by tomorrow?” Kat asked when she walked him to the door. They had put Jake to bed and she was getting tired.
“I don’t want to be here all the time.” AJ said not admitting that he didn’t want to invade her space.
“How about I bring him to your house in the afternoon? I have to get a few things done for work and run a couple of errands.”
“Sounds good.” AJ said with a grin. “Night Kat.”
AJ got in his truck to leave and was hit by the thought that his house wasn’t set up for a baby anymore. All of Ryan’s things were gone and there weren’t many things that were baby compatible. He called Nick and asked him to come over in the morning. Nick agreed and AJ starting making a mental list of things he had to do.