"You have my number, if anything happens just call me and I'll come straight back." I explain frantically as I pour water into a pot to make macaroni and cheese. I'm not very used to leaving Charlie with anyone, plus I'm going to meet with Ben and his lawyer for lunch and I'm more than a little nervous. I really don't handle the idea of losing Charlie well at all.
Chuckling at me, Alex takes the pot of water from me and lays it on the stove, before speaking, "Christina, stop. Charlie and I will be fine, and you and Ben will come to an agreement. Now, you're going to be late if you don't go, so get out of here. I promise I will call you if anything happens, but nothing is going to happen.
Nodding back at him, I rest my head on his shoulder, before pulling away with a sigh. "You're right, you're right. I'm going. I already said goodbye to Charlie, I'll see you later. Thanks for everything." I smile over my shoulder, and grab my purse and jacket off the snack bar chair. With a final wave, I'm out of the door and headed to the elevator.
Once I arrive at the restaurant, I immediately see Ben and a woman sitting at a table by a window, but before I get out of the car, Doug, my lawyer, slides into my passenger seat; scaring me to death. "Sorry to scare you," he smiles, "Now, let's get some things straight before we go in there. Let me do the talking, Ben's probably going to say things that you disagree with, but let me handle it. We want you to look as good as you can. If at any point you feel uncomfortable or worried, then go to the restroom and give yourself a minute to think.
Nodding in response, I follow him out of the car, and toward the restaurant but then I take the lead to navigate to the table since he doesn't know Ben or who his lawyer is. "Hey, Chrissy," Ben speaks when we step up to the table, and we're all introduced to one another.
"Okay, let's get down to business." Loretta, Ben's lawyer, speaks, "Ben obviously deserves partial custody, and we're prepared to take this issue to court if we have to. We're also prepared to sign the agreement today saying that the two of you share custody 50/50."
"I don't want Charlie to have to be shuffled back and forth between us during the week." I answer, and Doug shoots me a warning look.
"Christina, you know that's not what I want, right? I want to be able to see and spend time with my son. I won't do anything that will hurt your relationship with him. What if we try to do this without our lawyers? We can figure it out, I know we can. Please just give me a chance to show you that all I want is to spend a little time with Charlie ok?"
Ben's words bring tears to my eyes, so I can't even speak a reply so I simply nod. After a few seconds, I finally add, "Ok."
"Can I come see him tonight?" He asks, and I nod back at him. Why not right? I mean how bad can it be to have Ben see Charlie?
As I pace the kitchen and try to focus on cooking dinner, I can't help but worry about what it will be like to have Ben in my apartment, with just Charlie and I. We haven't been alone in a room together in five years. "Mom!" I hear Charlie yell, so I sprint into the living room.
"What? What's wrong?" I ask, looking at him sprawled out on the couch doing some sort of worksheet. "And get your shoes off the couch." I add, but before he can respond, the doorbell rings, so I make my way toward the door.
"Jeez mom, it's only been ringing for like five minutes." Charlie laughs, then looks back at his paper, ignoring me as I open the door for Ben. "Sorry about that, I was in the kitchen." I lie slightly, as I let Ben inside.
"Dad!" Charlie yells with a large grin spreading across his face as he runs through the living room and to where Ben is standing.
Picking him up, Ben smiles at me lightly, "You probably shouldn't be running in here bud, and I heard that you have homework you need to make up? How about we go in and work on that while Mom makes dinner?"
Nodding, the two of them make their way back into the living room, so I make my way back into the kitchen. Looking through the fridge quickly, I pull out the bottle of tequila stashed in the very back and take a swig from the bottle, feeling it burn my throat as I swallow it quickly so I can take another swig before returning the bottle into it's hiding place. I'm guessing that with Ben back in the picture, that bottle will be coming out of its hiding place more frequently.