The draft of Swimming Naked is now in the hands of my editor. I should have it back in about four weeks.
Opening scene of Swimming Naked…
“Just a second, buddy.” Phil was at the sink, screwing the top onto a baby bottle.
Lina watched Liam’s small hands yank at Phil’s pant leg, his demands to be picked up increasingly loud. She rubbed her hand across her forehead. “I think I’m going to go upstairs.”
“What?” Phil scooped up his son, handing him the bottle he’d just prepared as he turned to Lina.
“I have a headache. I’m going to go lie down for a minute.” Her eyes were on the almost one-year old sucking on a bottle as his head rested on her husband’s chest. She swallowed down the lump in her throat.
“Do you need me to get you anything?”
“No. I just…I can’t,” Lina whispered before rushing from the room.
“Katie?” Phil called out as walked toward the family room. “Katie?”
“What?” Katie paused the television screen.
“I need you to watch Liam.” He set him on the couch beside her.
“What?” Katie retreated to the corner of the couch, her eyes widening. “No way. I’m not watching him.”
“I’m not asking.”
“You said it wouldn’t affect us if you brought him here. I don’t want to be a baby sitter. I don’t even like kids.”
“Watch him,” he said firmly, pointing at Liam. “I’ll be back in a few minutes.”
Lina was sitting on the edge of the bed when she heard the bedroom door open. “I can’t do it,” she said. “I thought I could but I can’t. I’m sorry.”
The mattress shifted as Phil sat down beside her. “It hasn’t even been an hour.”
“I can’t look at him. I know it’s not his fault, but he’s the result of what you did—a living, breathing reminder.”
“Lina.” Phil stroked his hand up her back. “It’ll get easier. Once you get to know him, you—“
“I don’t want to know him.” She came to her feet and headed toward her wardrobe. “I’ll go to Adele’s or my mom’s for the night.”
Phil cursed softly, leaning forward and resting his elbows on his knees as he gripped his head. “You said you would try. Forty-five minutes isn’t trying.”
Lina finished packing a small bag with pajamas and clothes for the following day before leaving the wardrobe and crossing to the bathroom. “I tried,” she said when she felt Phil’s presence in the doorway. “You have no idea how hard.” She began to toss toiletries into the bag.
“One night. All I’m asking for is one night.”
“I can’t.” Lina shook her head. She’d thought she could. She’d even picked out a crib and decorated a nursery for Phil’s son, but the reality of him was so different than the imagined.
“I’ll leave,” he said, his voice sounding defeated. “I’ll take him to a hotel.”
“No. All his things are here. It’ll be easier if I just go to Adele’s.” Lina lifted the bag and turned from the sink.
“You shouldn’t be the one leaving.”
“This is the best solution, Phil. I’ll be back tomorrow.”