Benjamin woke to a slight feeling of pressure on his chest. Waking up, he found Micah hovering over him. His eyes opened wide as Micah spoke.
"Finally...you sleep to long dad...You said you'd take me to the park today because you don't have to work" Micah's eyes had always been a weakness of Benjamin's. Micah was his son from his previous marriage. Micah had been born before they were even married and to be quite frank, that was why they had gotten married, to try and give Micah a normal life. However, that didn't last long as Micah's mother had cheated on him only a few years into their marriage and she decided she wanted nothing to do with him or Micah. So they went to court over Micah and sole custody was easily given to him because of the mother's refusal to take care of her own flesh and blood.
Benjamin sat up, yawning and stretching. He looked over at Micah and smiled.
"I did say that didn't I? Let me get ready and we can go. You go get ready too"
Micah climbed into Benjamin's lap and looked up at him with innocent eyes.
"Can I get ready with you?"
Benjamin chuckled and hugged the boy from behind.
"Sure. Now go get your clothes and a towel, ok?"
The boy ran and fetched what his father told him to and they both proceeded to get ready for the day. After a couple hours of getting ready, both of the men in the house were ready to go out. Taking Micah's hand, he lead him out the door, locking it up. They they headed to the park which was only about a half mile up the road.
Gianna rested her hands at the edge of the counter as she leaned forward a bit, a cup of coffee resting right in front of her. The day hadn't exactly started out how she had planned. The landlord decided to come and inform her that he would be taking the rent Friday morning, no exceptions. If she failed to pay up then she and her daughter would have to move out. Gianna didn't want Elizabeth to witness that first hand. She was a young child and as her mother, she would never want her to be subjected to eviction.
"Mommy? Is everything alright?" A sweet voice resounded from behind her and Gianna immediately whirled around with a small smile. "Good morning baby. Did you sleep well?" Gianna questioned, trying to brush off her first question before walking over and gently caressing her cheek. The little girl nodded before giving her mother a gentle smile. "Here have a seat. I'll prepare you breakfast." Gianna straightened up and went to pull out a chair for her before going to the fridge. Pulling it open, she bit her lip noticing the small amount of food. She got three eggs and went to the stove. After a few minutes she pulled up a chair and handed her her plate with a fork. "Mommy... can we go to the park today?" The young girl asked, hope lacing her tone, before she dug into her scrambled eggs. "Sure, Liza. Just eat and we'll get ready before heading off, alright?"
Once they finished eating, they got dressed before heading out of their one bedroom home. The park wasn't far, it was actually a block away. Gianna couldn't help but to smile as she noticed the slight jump to Elizabeth's walk in excitement.
As they arrived at the park, Micah ran towards the playground, eager to join the few kids that were already on the playground already. Benjamin smiled and chuckled a bit. It was good to see Micah happy again. This was one place Micah always enjoyed and whenever the boy was feeling down or angry, Benjamin would take him here so he could play his worries away. His divorce had been hard on the kid. He was a bit nervous dealing with girls now, but he still talked to them.
Benjamin took a seat on the bench near the playground, pulling out his phone so he could take some video of Micah. He wanted Micah to always remember back on his childhood. Not about the divorce, but about the good things that happened to him. Filming Micah running around and having fun with the other children a bit, he stopped recording and decided he would show Micah after he decided he was done at the park.
Looking around, he could see some mothers arriving with their children, however, he paid no particular attention to any of them. He wasn't ready for another serious relationship at the moment. However, that didn't stop him from flirting with girls he thought was attractive. However, right now, he just had to make sure that Micah would cheer up. He hated seeing his own son so down. As he watched, a little girl ran up to the playset, having a hard time getting up on it. Micah went over and helped her up. Micah took the little girl's hand and started to play with her instantly. That was odd behavior for Micah. Normally, he was a bit nervous around girls. However, with this particular little girl, he wasn't. Micah brought the little girl over to meet him.
"Dad, this is Elizabeth. I helped her get on the playground and I told her about how cool you are so she wanted to meet you"
Benjamin smiled at the little girl.
"I'm Ben. Nice to meet you...Where's your mother?"
Micah spoke up again.
"Elizabeth said she wanted me to meet her mom. Can I go?"
"Sure. Go, just be safe, ok?"
Micah nodded and told Elizabeth his dad's answer. Micah followed Elizabeth.
Gianna took a seat on a bench near the playground. "Be careful, honey." She said before Elizabeth bolted over to the playset which caused for Gianna to laugh lightly.
Elizabeth always managed to make her smile, even when she was feeling horrible. Leaning back against the bench, she noticed a boy about her age come up to her up the playset. Gianna couldn't help but to raise an eyebrow since Elizabeth was shy when it came to meeting others, not that she was complaining though. It was actually good thing since it meant that she was opening up more. Knowing that Elizabeth and the boy were playing, she closed her eyes and began to relax.
"Mommy!" The familiar voice of Elizabeth caused for Gianna to snap her eyes open and she caught sight of her and the little boy coming along. A smile blossomed on her lips as they stopped in front of her. "This is Micah." She introduced him and Gianna turned to the little boy. "Hi Micah. It's very nice to meet you."
"I met his dad and I wanted him to meet you." Elizabeth added as she glanced to Micah with a small smile.
"Oh, your father is here?" Gianna questioned as she looked over to Micah.
"Yes. I can take you to him if you want" leading Elizabeth back towards Benjamin. Benjamin was surprised to see Micah coming back to him, this time, and older woman in tow. She looked to be around his age with beautiful mahoghany hair that fell to her collarbone. Her slender frame was very beautiful. He couldn't help but blush at the sight of her. Straightening up to look presentable, his son stopped in front of him.
"Elizabeth's mom wants to meet you"
"Does she? I would love to meet Elizabeth's mom"
Looking up, the woman stood in front of him. Ben smiled and offered his hand.
" I am Ben. Are you the mother to this beautiful little girl?"
Gianna gave Micah a small nod and followed after the two young kids. She wanted to have a talk with his father to possibly set up a play date for Elizabeth and Micah because that was the first time ever seeing Elizabeth get along and not be shy. Plus, her daughter didn't have many friends given that they were sometimes constantly moving around, so she hoped that she could at least have one permanent friend. Micah seemed like a good boy and surely he would be a good friend.
Suddenly she caught sight of the male they were approaching and her eyes widened slightly. He was handsome with a nice muscular body and he seemed to be around her age. Stopping a foot behind Micah, Gianna smiled slightly as the male straightened up and talked to his son before looking at her. "Yes, I am." She shook his hand before adding,"I'm Gianna." She tried to push the thought of how attractive he was, away. Surely Ben had his wife. Even if he didn't, she wasn't sure if she was ready to have another relationship.
"Mommy, can we go play?" Elizabeth questioned before she could say anything else. "Of course, go ahead." Gianna gave the her daughter and Micah and a warm smile. Turning her attention back to Ben, she offered a smile as well. "I was hoping that um, we could set up a play date for the kids. Elizabeth is really shy when it comes to meeting others but with Micah, your son, she had no issue. "
Ben moved over so Gianna could have a seat next to him. His eyes widened at Giannas words about Elizabeth. It was almost the same kind of story with Micah.
" Really? My son and I are just getting over my recent divorce. Ever since a couple months ago, Micah has been nervous around girls and women, but he doesn't seem that way around your daughter or you for that matter. I would love to set up a play date for them. I think Micah would enjoy that. Where would you like it to be? Here? Or did you have another place in mind?"
Ben felt so happy. First of all because of the beautiful woman sitting right next to him. Secondly, Ben had been trying to help Micah get over his fear of women however he never really thought that he'd find some women that Micah just instantly felt comfortable around. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity and he couldn't pass it up.
Gianna took a seat next to him yet kept a small and respectable amount of space between them. She was still under the assumption that he had a wife...that is until he spoke up again. "I'm sorry that both of you have to go through that." Gianna said sincerely as she looked at him. She could only imagine how tough it must be for both of them. "Here would be fine, unless if you have an idea of somewhere else." She said as she glanced over in the direction of the kids and saw Micah and Elizabeth running around having fun.
They had just recently moved into the area so she hardly knew much of what was around. Though she doubted that she would even go to places where she would need to pay, since she was living pay check by pay check.
"If you don't mind me asking but how long has it been since your divorce?" She questioned quietly, hesitant.
"It's ok. It's not like it's your fault I got a divorce. It's just, the mother wanted nothing to do with her only son...It was harder on Micah than me. He was the one that got scarred because of it. It was only a few months ago though that I had to go to court to finalize the sole custody case. I was awarded sole custody of my child because of her attitude towards her son...My divorce was finalized about a year ago, way before I was able to finalize the sole custody hearing...I'm telling you, it isn't easy raising a child, but, I'm telling you, it's totally worth it. He's my world now..."
He watched Micah having a lot of fun playing with Elizabeth. He smiled.
"Here is fine. It looks like Micah likes it here. If you don't mind me asking, what's your and elizabeth's story?"
He didn't want to pry too much into her past, but whatever she was willing to tell him, he was willing to listen.
Gianna glanced over to Micah with a small frown. How could his mother not want him? She carried him in her womb for nine months. It just didn't seem possible for that to happen, especially since she could never ever picture her not having Elizabeth by her side. Though as Ben described what Micah was to him, she couldn't help but to smile since that's how she felt about her daughter.
At his question about their story, Gianna grew tense and she began to mess with the hem of her shirt in nervousness.
"Well...Elizabeth's father wasn't exactly the gentlest of people. He was...abusive and I didn't want Elizabeth to keep witnessing that so the chance that I got we left and here we are. " It wasn't easy admitting stuff like that, much less to a complete stranger, but there was something about him that made it feel like she could trust him. "We're doing somewhat better now." Lie. They were probably living in worse conditions than they were with her father, but she preferred to live like this than to be constantly abused and taken advantage of.
Ben listened as Gianna told him the story about her and Elizabeth. He looked at her with a sad look on his face.
"I'm so sorry that happened to you two. Both of you are beautiful. I can't imagine that happening to you. I'm glad your here though, otherwise, we wouldn't have met you here today....Say, I know we just met, but let me give you my number so we can set up that play date"
He grabbed a receipt and wrote his number on it. He handed it to her.
"Also, I'm usually available. If you ever need me, you can call me"
He noticed that she seemed a bit nervous. It seemed to hurt her to talk about her previous relationship. He wouldn't blame her. He wouldn't blame her for not wanting to call him either. She had just gotten over her abusive relationship. Why would she ever want to get into another relationship?
"However, I understand if it takes you a while. I know that it can take a while to get over something traumatic like that..."
Gianna shook her head and offered him a small smile. "You don't have to apologize for someone else's actions." She murmured before she reached out to take the receipt from his hand and glanced down at the numbers scribbled down. "Alright, thank you." She gave him a small nod and folded the receipt before placing it in her jean pocket. She would surely call him since she wanted Elizabeth to make a new friend and there was surely no harm in befriending a male.
"Yeah...it can, but I'm slowly getting there." She gave him a small reassuring smile then glanced over to Elizabeth and Micah.
"They're really getting along." She commented, trying to change the gloomy mood brought on by the brief story of her life, though her thoughts were taking her elsewhere. It wasn't exactly her favorite thing to talk about but just this once wouldn't hurt as much and it brought many unfavorable memories or living nightmares. Every hit and every word was engraved in her head and she couldn't stop remembering it. No matter how hard she tried they wouldn't go away-it was like a scar. Something ugly marking your body that would never go away, but her most traumatic one was invisible. "You wouldn't mind having their play date this upcoming Saturday, would you? I'm off of work that day."
Ben nodded at Gianna's comment about the two children getting together. Ben smiled.
"Yeah, they sure are. I've never seen Micah so calm around a girl...at least not in the last few months. This makes me very happy. Also, saturday would be great. I don't have to work that day either. Maybe me and Micah can bring you lovely ladies some sandwiches and we could have a picnic too...I make a pretty mean sandwhich"
He wasn't the best at coming up with ideas, but that seemed like a pretty low key, yet fun event for both the parents of the children and the children themselves.
"I could have Micah make Elizabeth a sandwhich or we could have something else if you guys don't like sandwhiches..."
Gianna slightly smiled when he called them lovely, though her focus returned to the idea he had suggested. It was pretty simple, yet she liked it. "No, no, we love sandwiches. We'll bring the drinks and maybe some sweets? I could bake some brownies." Gianna suggested. She had enough money saved up from last month for food and hopefully for the rent. "If not, I can maybe bring something else." She added quickly. Yes, she was tight on money, but she wouldn't pose as a charity case or a freeloader to him. Plus, it didn't feel right to come empty handed. She may be poor but she wasn't poor in manners, dignity, and morals.
"Any preferences on drinks?" She questioned as she shot him a small yet warm smile. Who would have thought that she would meet this handsome and nice stranger at a park.
"It's settled then. Me and the Mikester will bring some sandwhiches for you lovely ladies and you bring the dessert. I'm cool with whatever's cheapest. I'm not picky. Micah will only drink water or koolaid....He's a bit spoiled. Just bring what you can and we'll make it fun!"
He was excited for this little playdate for the kids. He watched Micah play for a little bit more before calling the little boy back over to him. He smiled and put his hand on Micah's head, ruffling his hair.
"Hey there bud, how would you like it if we came back here with Elizabeth and her mom and have sandwiches with them on Saturday? Would that be ok with you little man?"
Micah nodded, a shy smile spreading across his thin lips. Ben laughed.
"Ok then. Sounds like we have a date!"
Ben chuckled a bit before letting Micah and Elizabeth go play for a little bit longer.
"Got it. Koolaid or water. I'm sure Liza will be happy to see Micah again." Gianna said before he could call over Micah, Elizabeth following in toe. When they came over, a genuine smile of happiness was on Gianna's lips and Elizabeth took note of it. It wasn't often that her mother smiled that way, surely it was Micah's father's doing. Elizabeth couldn't help but to grin from ear to ear, ecstatic to see her mom happy. Though when she heard about the play date, she couldn't get the smile off her face.
"It's nice to see them both happy." Gianna murmured as her gaze followed the two kids. "And it's nice to see you happy." Gianna added as she shot him a grin. She could tell that Micah made his day and that he cared deeply for his son, something that was unfamiliar to her. Seth, her ex boyfriend and Elizabeth's father, had never shown this type of love to her daughter. The closest he had ever gotten to that was when he tried to get her to calm down after witnessing him hit her mother by telling her small little positive things and even then, he had only did that so she wouldn't utter a word to anyone about what he did. Thank goodness she got her daughter out of that environment.
"I'm sure they will. It's so great to see them both happy. And thanks, your words are very kind. I appreciate your kindness. I feel like you love your daughter very much and that's very attractive to me"
He called Micah back over and told him they had to go so they could get some lunch. Micah nodded, reluctant to leave Elizabeth, but he wanted to be with his father also. He knelt down by Micah and put a hand on his head.
"Go say goodbye to Elizabeth. But make sure you tell her we'll see her again on Saturday"
Micah nodded and walked over to Elizabeth and told her in her ear like it was a secret. He chuckled a bit. Micah ran back to Ben and Ben waved to the two women.
"We'll see you saturday then! Call me if you need anything though, ok? I'm serious. For anything at all, no matter how small!"
Gianna's eyebrows shot up when he mentioned that her love for her daughter was attractive and she was rendered speechless. There were no words she could come up with in response to that, so she waited for Elizabeth to return to her side, though Micah whispered something in her ear first before she ran over to her mother.
"Thank you! I will! IT was nice meeting you both!" She called out and Elizabeth waved good bye.
"Did you have fun, sweety?" Gianna questioned as she pulled the little girl onto her lap. "Yeah, I did! Micah is so cool and nice" The young girl stated happily as she looked up at her mother, who smiled and placed a gentle kiss on her forehead. "I'm glad you had fun and made a new friend. Now come on. Let's go home, so you could do your home work." Standing up from the bench, she grabbed Elizabeth's hand and led them back to their one room home.
Going to get something to eat, the boys headed back home so Micah could do his homework. After finishing the homework for Micah, they played for a bit before having dinner. They then watched a movie and headed to bed.
As he laid in bed he went over the day at the park. He couldn't stop thinking about Gianna and Elizabeth. He and Micah had to get to know them better. Elizabeth and Gianna were the only women Micah felt comfortable around.
Thinking about that, Ben fell asleep, Micah right by his side.