He laughed as he led Patrick into the living room, where Andy and Joe were sitting watching day time television.
"There's no baby." Patrick told him, suddenly.
"What?" Pete, Joe and Andy asked, simultaneously shocked.
"It was a false alarm."
"How do you know that?"
"Well, asides from the fact there's no morning sickness or the slightest hint of a bump?" Patrick asked. Pete looked confused.
"Addison's practically infertile." He told him. "The chances of us having our own baby biologically are basically zero."
"Oh, man. I'm so sorry." Pete said.
"Me too." Patrick said. A few seconds went by while he stared at his lap. "It's so unfair." He said, suddenly.
"I wanted to have a baby with Addison. I know four kids is a lot, but... it felt so right. I always wanted a big family and I thought I could finally have it. Now, it's..."
He broke off and threw his hands in the air.
"It's all ruined."
"So what are you going to do?"
With a shake of his head, Patrick sighed.
"I don't know. I just know I do love her and I would love to be a dad again. Yes, it's exhausting but when you go to sleep knowing you care for the people you've made yourself, it's wonderful. It's all there in their smile."
"Sure." Pete nodded.
"God, this sucks. I finally find someone I fall in love with again, and when the chance to be happy again comes along, it just... vanishes."
"Well, can't you get a surrogate?"
"We discussed it, but to be honest, I'd rather not."
"Fair play. Well, it wouldn't be such a bad thing."
"Pete..." Patrick started to argue about surrogacy, but thought better of it and shrugged again. "It's not right for us."
Pete nodded, staying quiet. He bit back the words forming on his lips. Patrick already had three children, what was his problem? He was lucky to have three, when he himself had one he would probably never see again.
"I miss Petey." He whined, before he could stop himself.
"Shit, I'm sorry dude. Here I am moaning about this and... y'know."
Pete brushed it aside with a shake of his head and slumped against the window sill.
"I wonder what he looks like now."
"You, I bet." Patrick grinned.
"Yeah." Pete returned it. "I wish he was here."
"I know you do, pal. If there was anything I could do... I would do it."
"Actually, there is something you can do." Pete said, standing up straight.
"What?" Patrick asked, shocked.
"Hand me that phonebook. I'm going to call my lawyer."
"I'm going to get my son back."
"I don't know. But I will."
"How do you know if this will work? Pete, maybe you shouldn't make things worse."
"They couldn't be any worse if they tried." Pete retorted. "Now stop asking questions and look up my lawyer."
Patrick sat cracking his knuckles while Pete conversed with his lawyer on the phone. With all Pete doing was muttering "uh huh" and "yeah", Patrick found it very hard to understand how the conversation was going.
Finally, Pete hung up the phone.
"Well?" Patrick stood up as Pete ran a hand through his hair. It stuck up in clumps and Pete shrugged.
"He's going to call Rachel's lawyer."
"So you'll find out tomorrow?"
"No, tonight. It's morning in Australia."
"Oh, right. I forgot." Patrick said.
"Hey, look." Pete pointed to the window. "It's snowing."
Patrick hadn't even noticed that in the few hours he had been at Pete's the snow had covered just over two inches of the ground.
"Wow." They stood at the window and both watched the snow falling. They didn't tell each other, but they were both absorbed in thoughts of their families. Pete's thoughts wandered to Australia, where it was probably scorching hot and Petey was outside in shorts. Meanwhile, Patrick's stomach churned at the thought of the chaos in his own home. The kids were probably insisting on running outside to make snow angels, or snow devils, as Pete had taught them to make last winter. Patrick's stomach did another flip as he thought of the awkward tension between he and Addison right now.
"I should go." Patrick said, turning away and blocking his thoughts.
"Why?" Pete asked. "Won't you stay with me?"
"Pete, I have to get back. Addison will want help to put the kids to bed. Besides, I don't want to get snowed in."
"Okay." Pete said, sadly. He sighed as Patrick let himself out and trudged through the snow to his car.
"I'll get you back, Petey." Pete said, turning back to the window. "If it's the last thing I do."
"I'm back." Patrick called, kicking the door closed. He shook the snow off his shoulders and waited for sound of six feet charging towards him. But there was nothing. Not a sound.
"Hello?" Patrick frowned. He had looked in every room downstairs and no one was there. The yard was quiet, there was no trace of snow angels or snowball fights yet.
He made his way upstairs and stopped as he heard whispering. Putting his ear against the door to Riley's room, he heard sobbing and Addison's voice. He opened the door to find Addison sitting on Riley's bed while Riley half-heartedly cried as she drifted off to sleep.
"What happened?" Patrick whispered. Addison stood up and walked past him without a word. Patrick shut the door quietly and followed her down the stairs.
"Addy... what's wrong? What happened up there?"
"You! You happened Patrick! Where have you been?"
Patrick stopped halfway down the stairs, shocked.
"I was at Pete's... I told you..."
"You missed dinner. They wanted to make a snowman with you and you weren't here. Just like the times you're playing shows and if they fall over you aren't there to tell them they'll be okay!"
"I'm sorry. I didn't realize you'd get so upset, I was helping..."
"They're losing faith in you, Patrick. You think since we're married I'll be okay with you just leaving all the time, because after all, I'm your wife! I'm supposed to look after the kids!"
"I never said..."
"Is that all I'm good for? Dumping kids on me? So you can go off with your friends and have fun?"
"Addison, believe me. What I saw tonight was not fun!" Patrick bellowed. He had probably woken the kids but he was too angry to care.
"You spent the evening telling the kids I'm be home soon. At least you knew I would come home. You know what I spent this evening doing? I sat back and watched while my best friend begged his lawyer to allow him to see his son. Do you know how heartbreaking it is to see that? We have kids to come home to. Pete has nobody! Only a dog! He doesn't even have anyone to yell at him when he gets in the door. To sit and watch that... a father unable to see his own child... it broke my heart. Because all I could do was sit there and tell him I felt sorry for him! And do you know what I realized? I realized how damn lucky I am to come home to a family. Because there are people in this world who have nothing, NOTHING left! Like Pete. Every essence of his life is fading away. And if I leave him now, his best friend, he literally has a dog, a house and a bottle of brandy. That's what he has to keep him going."
He took a breath.
"If you're asking me to see less of Pete, I can't. He's my best friend. I have to give him hope. The hope that someday he'll have what I have. Because our band is growing up, Addy. No-one sees us in the same way anymore. I'm married. I have three kids and a cat. Andy has a fiance. Joe has a girlfriend. Pete has nothing. We're all he has. We're not the in demand band anymore. I'm no longer the adorable chubby guy who sings. I'm a husband and a father and that changes us. Once you have a family, fans get bored. Because you put them before your band. You have to. And Pete is my family and I will defend him to the grave. If it wasn't for him, we wouldn't be together."
He stopped ranting, breathing heavily.
""Is Pete more important?"
"I beg your pardon?"
"Pete. Is he more important than your family?"
"He is my family, Addy."
Addison shook her head at him.
"This is where it starts. You start choosing your friends over your kids. Me, I can handle that. Not your kids. I won't let you forget about them."
Patrick walked down the last stairs and put his hands on Addison's shoulders so she would look at him.
"I don't know why you're upset. I'm sorry. I'm sorry for yellling. But Pete needed me. When you first met me you saw how much he meant to me. He's like a brother to me and if he needs help, damn it, I'll give it to him. I'm sorry I missed dinner. But those three kids are my whole world and there is nothing on this earth that can allow me to forget about them. You're my wife, I love you and I'm so very sorry I've upset you."
Addison looked at the floor and Patrick tipped her chin.
"Is this about me missing dinner? Or is this about the baby?"
"There never was a baby." Addison shook away from him and walked into the kitchen.
"You think I stayed late because I was avoiding you." Patrick said as he followed her, sadly.
Patrick stayed silent as he looked at her. The silence made Addison look up and catch his eye.
"No." He said, sincerely. "I wanted to give you space with the kids."
"I don't need space, Patrick. I need you." Addison said, her eyes filling up with tears. "I ruined this. I'm so sorry. I never meant to cause..."
"Shhh... shh." Patrick rushed over to her and hugged her. "You didn't ruin anything. These things happen. It's not your fault, now stop blaming yourself."
"I'm sorry. I take it out on you."
"You're allowed to. It's okay." He said, kissing the top of her head.
"I love you." Addison muttered, her head buried in his shirt.
"I love you too. We'll make this work, honey. We will."
"I was going to tell the kids." Addison told him, lifting her head up.
"We don't need to. They don't need to know. Come here." Patrick led her upstairs. He kissed her and gently bit her lip as she removed his hat and pulled off his shirt. They undressed each other and Patrick led Addison, their lips still locked, into the bathroom. He fumbled for the shower switch and turned it on.
"Let's wash it all away." He whispered, backing into the shower.
He knew his glasses would steam up, but he still didn't remove them.
While all of this was happening on one side of town, on the other, there was a completely different situation.
"Come on, man. Just arrange a meeting." Pete argued with his lawyer. He listened to the voice on the other end and rolled his eyes.
"Listen. I have to be in my son's life. I can't be the guy who isn't there for his kid. I'm not a bad guy. And I refuse to be made into one. I have to get him back."
After more advice from the other end of the phone, Pete hung up in anger.
"Asshole. He can't tell me I can't see my son!" Pete said angrily to Hemingway, who barked in response.
"You just wait. I'll be back with my son in no time." He said. Then he had a brainwave. Well, what Pete thought was a brainwave. He dialed a new number on the phone and waited for an answer.
"Hello? Yeah, I need one ticket to Australia. Whichever is leaving soonest."