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Hannah and Jack were waiting on the front steps when Nick's rented Ford Explorer slowed to a halt outside her building. Holding Jack with one arm, she picked up his bag and moved towards the car as Nick stepped out. Taking the bag from her, he ruffled Jack's blonde hair with his free hand.
"How's everybody doing today?" he asked, pulling the rear door open and sliding Jack's bag in alongside his own. "All set for the weekend?"
"I think so," Hannah replied. "I'm sure I'm forgetting something, though."
"Don't worry about it. We can get anything you need on the way," Nick said as he reached past her to pick up her bag. "I rented a seat for Jack with the car... I hope it's okay - I didn't have a clue how much he weighed. The guy at the rental company said it should be about right for a one-year-old."
Hannah watched as Nick attempted to cram her bag into the back of the car. When she'd found out she was pregnant, her mind had gone into overdrive. She imagined Nick coming home from his trip and the look on his face when she told him he was going to be a dad - the excitement and the fear she knew would flash briefly in his eyes. She imagined the kiss on her forehead as the grainy image of their child materialised on the ultrasound screen. The birth, the christening, the first birthday... In all of her imaginings, Nick had been by her side. In the weeks after she realised he wasn't coming back, Hannah had moved through the world in a daze, not eating or sleeping properly and sending her mother into a panic. Admitted to hospital in her second trimester, Hannah was told the baby was smaller than he should have been at four months and she was kept in for observation. Obstetricians, psychologists and counsellors all made regular stops in her room, finally deciding she was ready to leave after a week. Hannah had returned home and spent an afternoon clearing the apartment of any reminders of Nick. She had thought she was doing the right thing as she dumped the plastic bag of mementos in the dumpster behind her building and returned to her bedroom. Reaching under the bed, she pulled out a black photo album and held it in her hands as she sat on the floor. She thought about throwing it out the window, pretty sure it would land in the dumpster, but instead opened it carefully. Taped to the inside cover was a strip of photo booth pictures taken three days before Nick left. It had been his idea to use the booth and Hannah had protested strongly as he pulled her by the hand. Once inside, Nick had pulled the curtain across and tugged Hannah into his lap, kissing her as the camera flashed. Sitting on the bare wooden floorboards of her bedroom, Hannah's eyes clouded as she closed the album and slid it as far as possible under the bed. Getting to her feet slowly, she lay a protective hand on her stomach and left the bedroom. Half an hour later she ventured outside and retrieved the black plastic bag from the dumpster, stuffing it under the bed alongside the photo album.
Nick's voice pulled her back to the reality of Jack, Cassie and the trip to Long Island Sound.
"Are you okay?"
He was staring at her. Standing outside her building, loading his rented car with her bags, Nick was staring at her.
"I'm fine," she replied. "I was just trying to figure out what I've forgotten."
Nick smiled as he took Jack from her and turned to put him in the car.
"I told you not to worry," he said, reaching for Jack's safety belt. "Come on, let's get out of here."
Hannah opened the front door and climbed into the passengers seat as Nick snapped Jack's buckles into place.
"Okay... That's us," he said and closed the door.
Climbing in next to Hannah, he smiled as he buckled his own belt before turning the key. Hannah swallowed hard as the car started and they pulled away from the kerb.