Walking her home, both couldn’t help but continue smiling, like they had nearly the entire evening.
Reaching the stairs to her front door, they spoke as they climbed up, slowly.
“Why don’t you come inside and … stay for a while? Maybe for a cup of tea, or coffee?”
“Tempting, but I really should pick up our daughter, or Evey is either going to spank me or just not give her back at all. Ha ha ha. She threatened both at times, and I am not certain which would apply today.” Heath grinned.
“We can pick her up together and have coffee at your home after putting Abby to bed.”
“Heather, please don’t misunderstand my reluctance. I hate having to tell you no. But please consider that I just got out of a relationship with someone I was going to marry. I do not want to rush in. Not again. We tried that before and failed miserably.”
“I know, but you have no idea how much I have regretted my choices and actions from back then. How much I have missed you. I am so glad – not to mention immensely grateful – that you are giving me another chance, Heath. I will wait forever for you, if I have to, as long as I know there is some hope.”
He pulled her into his arms.
“There is much more than just hope, Heather. I just need some time. We both do. I suspect it will be worth the wait – for both of us.”
He kissed her, she melted into his kiss.
“All right. Good night Heath. And – don’t you be a stranger, you hear!”
“Good night, Heather.”
“Hey Heath! Come on in, view’s even better looking out than in.” KC greeted him, and as he hesitated to enter he just pulled him inside with a handshake.
“Good evening KC.”
“Hi Heath! Sorry, but that baby is asleep. Looks like you’ll have to go get you a new one. I am keeping that one.” Everleigh came into view.
“No problem. I’ll get my things and just move into your downstairs.”
“On that really fucking awesome outlook, I will make like a baby and head on out. Time for me to go and earn the bacon. Bye Heath – keep your hands to yourself and bye baby! I love you.”
Evey went to kiss KC goodbye, who pulled her close and backed her against the wall for a long, intense and very demonstrative kiss before he left, grinning wide as he was closing the front door behind himself.
“Uh – sorry about that.” Evey blushed, Heath only smiled.
“I get it, newlyweds. Can’t say I blame the man. I’ll go get Abigail. I may have mastered moving her without waking her.”
“Oh no you won’t! You will sit your butt down on one of those chairs, you get your choice of beverage from me, and then tell Aunty Evey about that mysterious date of yours.”
“It was a date. And it was very nice.” he did as told, rolling his eyes.
“We’ll likely go out again.”
“Do I have to torture the full scope out of you?! The whole story, Heath!”
“What else do you want to know? Need me to Vlog the whole evening for you next time?”
“Didn’t know that was an option. For starters, I want a picture of the girl. And don’t you dare tell me you didn’t take one.”
“I didn’t. None needed. You already know her.”
“Now you know why I didn’t tell you.”
“So now Heather is suddenly your soulmate?”
“Then why bother? Go after Sam!”
“No. Samantha and I are most definitely through. At least romantically. I care about her, still and like her as a person, but after what she did to me, my daughter and in a way you, there is no coming back to it romantically. I am working on being friends with her.”
“So she is also not your soulmate?”
“OK, so find your soulmate then.”
“I already have.”
“I know you are a lot older than me in human years, so maybe this is dementia, but you just said Heather is not it.”
“That just leaves Catherine and I seriously doubt that. You have not even mentioned her in ages.”
“Not her either. You.”
“What the FUCK?! Heath, you know I love KC! I am not going to leave him and …” she jumped up and stared at him as he stood as well.
“Relax, Little Leigh. I know all that and I would never ask you or even want you to. I want you happy. He makes you happy. But after you and I last spoke, at my place, everything suddenly became so very clear to me. It became obvious to me that I no longer loved Samantha. I found out later that night that I still have feelings for Heather. And I finally saw what has been right before my very eyes all along. We are soulmates. You and I, Little Leigh. Always have been. And I think deep down inside we both have always felt that, even as children. All you have done for me, since we were both young. All the risks both of us have taken for each other. And I always knew I would give anything for you, and nothing could ever keep us apart. So we are soulmates that are best friends, not lovers. As long as that still means we are together, I am absolutely fine with that. Nobody can make me feel like you do, Little Leigh. I was a hot mess when we first met, broken, not the first idea how to function in society and truthfully I had not much interest in even attempting to learn after having only been treated with cold disdain by everyone I ever encountered. Except you. And later, your family, but we both know, the only reason they really helped was because of you. I owe everything to you, Little Leigh, every last iota of my being, the man I am today, whom I have become with your help, my home, even my daughter, in a way. I love you, Everleigh Rose, always have, and will for as long as I exist. You will recall how many times I channeled that love wrong. I also know that you love me too. A special kind of love. A true one, that will last through the ages. But we both love someone else romantically. I am totally fine with that and ever since this became clear to me, I have never felt better.”
Heath kissed Everleigh on the forehead, then let he be shocked, trying to digest it all. Heath gave her time and space, carefully watching her. His heart jumped when she finally nodded to herself, then looked up at him and smiled.
“Why can’t we just be normal?”
“Beats me. But it is what it is.”
“Soooo … when’s the wedding?”
“No wedding. At least not anytime soon. I have learned my lesson. We are taking things slower than a snail going the wrong way on a conveyor belt.”
“BWAHAHAHA – how did you come up with that!?”
“Seemed like a suitable depiction of my plans.”
“I hate to ask this, but any chance we could keep your soulmate discovery just between the two of us?”
“Aww, really? I was so looking forward to telling KC.” Heath smirked and winked at her.
“Jeeze, listen to our local comedian vampire! You really have changed all of a sudden! Even unearthed a sense of humor.”
“We have joked before.”
“Yeah, but this time you were actually funny.” Evey stuck her tongue out at him.
Heath wanted to retort when both heard
“DADDYYYYYYYYYY!” and Abigail came running into the dining area.
“The sleeping beauty awoke!” Heath said when he picked her up.
“Miss you daddy!”
“I missed you too, sweet angel! But at least you got to spent time with your favorite aunty, huh?”
“Can we sleep here? You too!”
“No honey, the couch is not comfortable enough for old daddy. I need a real bed.”
“Aunty Evey and uncwle KC have one! Upstairs! I sawwit! Big. We can all sleep there!”
Everleigh, shocked at first, then fighting to stifle her laughter, while Heath was trying to keep a straight face, unwilling to laugh openly at his little daughter, who was dead serious.
“But you know what we have at home, that Aunty hasn’t?” Heath whispered in the toddler’s ear.
“Bye Aunty! Luv you!”
Evey kissed the child, a peck on the cheek and a hug for Heath while she asked him.
“So what did you tell her?”
Heath just laughed and teleported home with his daughter.
Once he arrived he immediately heard the message alert on his phone.
The next day Heath was tense when he opened the door for the visitor and beckoned them inside, both standing around awkwardly until she broke the silence first with an attempt at some small talk.
“Oh, you’re planning on remodeling? Again?” Samantha said when she saw the brochures, sample images, drawings and handwritten notes on the small table.
“Yes. Evey and I talked about some room for improvement and she jumped all over it. She is happy to help while also being able to add things to her portfolio. She is doing a great job too with the planning. Can’t wait to see it all happen in reality.”
“Right. I suspect you did not invite me here to discuss interior design choices?”
“No. I wanted you to be present when I explain to Abigail why you moved out and why she will not be seeing you much anymore.”
Samantha inhaled, and visibly fought with the tears trying to well up in her eyes.
“Do you need a minute?”
She nodded, then labored out
“So we really are through? For good? No more chance?”
“No, there isn’t. I have been thinking a lot, I wished I could just get over it, but I would be lying to everyone, including myself, were I to claim I could truly forgive. Without wanting to hurt you, Samantha, which I honestly do not, I just do not love you anymore. It’s all gone. Just like with Catherine, what she did was too much for me to recover from. We can try to be friends, I hope we can be. My priority now is first and foremost my daughter. I need to make sure that whatever we do won’t affect her negatively.”
“Are you seeing Heather again?”
“What does that have anything to do with all this?”
“Okay. I probably should tell you to throw out the rest of the condoms in your nightstand before you … rekindle your romance with her. They may be … damaged.” Sam avoided looking at him and blushed.
“I did. Sorry. Again.”
“You are certain that you are not …”
“No Heath, I am not expecting your child. Now, give me a minute and then let’s get this over with. I’ll let you do the talking.” she swallowed hard.
Heath brought in Abigail, who was overjoyed to see her ‘Sammy’.
“I missed you sooooooooooooooooooooo much.” she explained stretching out her little arms as wide as they would go.
Her joy vanished and almost turned to tears when they told her that Sam won’t be coming back and they would only see each other on and off now. Sam was visibly fighting to keep her composure.
A tough sell, but Heath was a master at handling his toddler and avoided the worst.
After Samantha left, Heath could not help but think about the night they met at the supermarket, and then again at the flower shop. If only things had been different, they might well be married now. Still, Heath could not help feeling like everything was going the way it should be, he had figured out this soulmate thing and ever since that moment, he had felt elated.
He was about to go to bed, shut off most of the lights, when there was a light knock on the front door.
“Heather!” Heath could not even try to hide the surprise.
“Hi Heath.” she smiled shyly, a question very obvious in her eyes as he stepped aside to let her in.
“I know what you said, but I just couldn’t go to sleep without seeing you at all today. I’ll be good, I promise. Just want to spend a little time with you. Maybe a tiny bit snuggling, but no more. Girl scout’s honor!”
“All right, come sit down.”
“Unless of course you changed your mind on the rest. Just throwing that out there.”
Heath just looked at her and smiled.
“Still gonna pass, but to tell you the truth, I am glad you are here.”
He put his arm around her and turned on the TV.
Heath would stand by his word. Just light dating with Heather. Taking things nice and slow. Frequently they would go on double dates with KC and Everleigh, or meet Evey after work and visit KC at his job, bartending at the ‘Skyline’, the club that belonged to Everleigh’s great-grandfather Blaine.