“Your father and I are getting back together,” Lina told Katie when she arrived home from school.
“I know,” Katie said as she set down her backpack and opened the refrigerator.
“You talked to Logan?”
“No. Grandma told me you would.”
“When did she tell you that?” Lina asked her eyebrows pulled together in a frown.
“As soon as he left.” She set a carton of milk on the kitchen island. “She looked at your charts.”
Lina sighed. “I wouldn’t take that too seriously.”
“Why not? She was right. You just said you’re getting back together.”
“That’s true, but…” Lina trailed off when the mudroom door opened and Logan stepped into the room. “How was school?”
He mumbled an incoherent response as he crossed to the pantry.
“Do you want me to make you something to eat?”
“No.” He grabbed a bag of chips. “I want you to drop me at Brian’s.”
“Logan, your dad is coming back to—”
“I don’t care,” he interrupted. “I want to go to Brian’s.”
The sound of a car door closing had her turning toward the mudroom. “That’s your dad.”
Moments later, Phil was entering the kitchen, dressed in jeans, a dark t-shirt and running shoes, a large duffle bag slung over his shoulder. His gaze locked on Lina.
She breathed in at the sight of him. His eyes were bloodshot and his cheekbones were more prominent than she’d ever seen them, but he was hers and he was back. She was crossing to him without even being aware of it. “Hi,” she whispered, aware of only him.
He set down his bag and then he was engulfing her in his arms as he buried his face in her hair. She ran her hands up and down his back, savoring the feel of him, the beat of his heart vibrating against her chest.
The sound of a scraping chair preceded a loud thump and then Phil was lifting his head. “What was that?”
“Logan,” Katie said matter-of-factly as she brought a spoonful of cereal to her mouth. “He punched the wall.”
“What?” He lowered his arms from around Lina as his eyes focused on the hole in the drywall. “Why?”
Katie shrugged. “I don’t know.”
Lina silently cursed herself for not being more sensitive. “He’s just upset. He’ll get over it.”
“Upset about what?”
“You coming back,” Katie offered.
“What?” He frowned at Lina. “He’s upset about me moving back into my own house?”
“Just give him some time.” She ran her hand down his arm.
“No.” He shook his head and then he was headed toward the front of the house.
“Phil, stop!” Lina caught up with him at the bottom of the stairs and gripped his hand. “You going to make it worse. He’s still upset about the affair.”
“It’s none of his business.” He took the stairs two at a time and then he was at Logan’s door, attempting to turn the locked knob. “Open the door,” he said rapping on it with the knuckles of his left hand.
“Stop,” he said holding up hand. “I have this Lina.” He banged on the door again. “Let me in Logan.”
“I don’t want you to yell at him,” Lina said, gripping the waist of his jeans.
“I just want to talk to him,” Phil said turning and meeting her eyes. “Logan—open the door.”
Moment later the door opened and Phil disappeared inside Logan’s room.
Lina pushed her hair back from her face. She heard Phil’s muted voice but couldn’t make out the words. “You cheated on her!” Logan’s voice came through the door. “You expect me to be perfect and you’re a cheater!” She again heard the sound of Phil’s voice, low and controlled. “How could you do that?” Logan shouted and Lina heard the catch in his voice and brought her hands down to cover her mouth as she turned from the door.
When she returned to the kitchen Katie was placing her bowl in the sink. “He shouldn’t have done it,” she said. “I told Matt I’d kill him if he ever did that to me.”
“No.” Lina shook her head. “You wouldn’t kill him.”
“I would,” Katie insisted before leaving the room.
Lina had prepared dinner and was wiping down the counter when Phil appeared almost an hour later. “Something smells good.”
“How is he?” Lina asked spinning around to face him.
“Soft,” he whispered as he put his arms around her. “You made him soft.”
“Phil,” she said laying her hands on his chest, “don’t say that.”
“It’s true,” he said before kissing her cheek. “He’s fine. He got to tell me off for an hour.”
“What’s he doing?”
“Washing his face.” He shook his head. “Did I cry when I was his age?”
“Don’t.” She cupped the sides of his face as she looked at him. “You’re not him.”
“I know. He’s a good kid.” He brushed his lips over hers. “He’s going to come with me to pack up the rest of my things after dinner.”
“He said he wanted to go to Brian’s tonight.”
“He didn’t mention it to me.”
Moments later Logan entered the kitchen and it took everything in Lina not to go to him. His eyes were swollen and there were splotches on his face and it was obvious he’d been crying. “Did you change your mind about going to Brian’s?” she asked, stepping away from Phil.
“I was going to help Dad move his stuff.”
“Are you sure? You could wait until tomorrow.”
“No it’s cool.” He dropped down into a chair at the table. “What’s for dinner?”
“Lasagna,” she answered and then because she couldn’t stop herself she stepped up behind him and ran her hands down his arms as she kissed the top of his head. “I love you.”
“Did you make garlic bread?” he asked ignoring her words, but not shirking away from her touch as she continued to rub his arms.
“Yes.” She kissed him again and wrapped her arms around him. “I love you.”
“Mom, stop kissing me,” he groaned.
After a final kiss, Lina crossed back toward the stove but before she could get there Phil intercepted her hand and pulled her against him. “I’ll never say stop,” he said against her ear.