Don't need the sun to shine to make me smile...
"If I wasn't, you really think I'd be here?" He flashed her a cheeky smile.
"Well, you know..." Libby trailed off. "So how does a guy like you remain single?"
Patrick snorted as he took a drink and tried not to spit it all over her.
"Uh, excuse me?"
"You were always the type to have a family. How come you're single?"
"Well, I do have a family. Just not a whole one."
"So why don't you date?"
"You try dating when you have two little people constantly clinging to your knees. One of them being Pete."
"Is it hard?"
"Being a parent."
"It's exhausting." Patrick nodded. "But it's... the best feeling in the world. When you look in their eyes and you can see traces of you in there... it's just awesome. I mean, it's not easy being a single dad."
"So do you still see Christina?"
Patrick shifted his glass from side to side, biting his lip.
"You know what? I really think that's... third or fourth date conversation."
"So this is a date now?" Libby asked. Patrick blushed.
"I, uh..." He stuttered, and Libby laughed.
"Relax." She told him. She leaned closer. "Well, I would love to meet your kids one day."
"Really?" Patrick asked, taken aback.
"Sure. I absolutely adore kids."
"Yes, Patrick! Why do you think I work in a maternity ward?" She laughed again.
"Oh. I never thought." He said, sheepishly. "That's cool, though."
The end of their dinner approached quicker than both of them would have liked. They seemed to have to many things to say to each other, it was only until the restaurant practically emptied that they looked around and decided they should leave.
"So, tonight was fun." Libby said, as she and Patrick walked down the street.
"Yeah, it really was." He said with a smile, when they came to the end of the street where Libby had an apartment, and Patrick had parked his car. They stopped and looked at each other.
"We should do it again." Patrick said.
"Yeah, we should." Libby replied. Patrick was suddenly at a loss for words. He wanted to go home but he didn't want the night to end.
"So... maybe next time it should be more like a... date, sort of, thing." He mumbled.
"I'd like that." She told him. "Although, I sort of counted tonight as a date."
"Good. 'Cause I did too." He replied. "So... call me." He said.
"I will." She said. She waved to Patrick as he stood by his car and watched her, always the gentleman, to make sure she got in her apartment safely. He waved back and got into the car. Replaying most of the conversation, he cursed himself. How much of a girl was he? She was going to call him. That was so lame. He was meant to call her.
Driving home, he couldn't get the night out of his head. His favorite thing about her was definitely the way she laughed. Or was it the fact she wasn't perfect? She was no Amanda, that was for sure. At the thought of Amanda, Patrick shook his head and muttered to himself. He had to get over himself. It was three years ago. She would want it to be this way. But did he? Yes, it was hard being a single father but, he wasn't sure if he had it in him for another relationship. His kids and his music were both the number one priorities in his life. He shook his head again.
"You're an idiot, Patrick." He said to himself. "It was one date. She might not even call."
And is she didn't... how would he feel then? He wasn't even sure if the butterflies in his stomach were real. Maybe it was just because it was the first girl he'd basically spoken to in three years. Or maybe it was because Libby wasn't perfect and he knew it. She wasn't tall like Christina and Amanda had been, she was shorter than him. It made him protective of her. He'd never felt like that with a woman. It was always like they were protecting him. Maybe that's what he really needed, though. She didn't look like she'd come straight out of a modeling magazine. At the thought of models, Patrick bit his lip. Unfortunately Christina was even more popular with time. It wasn't uncommon for him to still see her face in a magazine. Even if her face wasn't showing, whether it was just her legs or her hands, Patrick knew. He'd taken in every single detail of her whenever he'd been around her, there was no chance of him forgetting her features.
Maybe Libby would be good for him. She liked kids... so did Patrick, naturally. She was lovely, he'd known her since high school. Perhaps this could be something special.
"Shut up!" He looked at himself in the mirror. "You dissect things way too much."
Once he got in the door, Danielle was already attached to his leg.
"Hey, you. Did you miss me?" He asked, giving her a kiss and placing his car keys on the hall table. She nodded into his chest and rested her head against him.
"You alright?" He asked her. She nodded again, and he knew that look. She was exhausted.
"Where's your brother?"
She shrugged half heartedly and Patrick looked into the living room. Pete, Andy and Joe were sitting down, watching the TV.
"Evening." Patrick said, looking around the door, Danielle still clinging to him, half asleep.
"Hey, Mr Hot Shot. How was your date?"
Patrick gave Pete a warning glance and looked at Danielle.
"Sorry. How was your d-a-t-e?"
"I'll tell you in a minute. I'm going to put her to bed." Patrick said. "Seeing as it's way past her bedtime."
"She wanted to wait up for you." Pete pointed out, and Andy and Joe nodded in agreement.
"Where's...?" Patrick looked around the room for Josh, but stopped when he saw his strawberry blond hair hiding behind the vacant couch.
"Nice try, Joshy. Lovely to see you too. I'll be back down for you in a minute." He said, pointing at him.
"Don't point!" He called, pointing at Patrick, who simply raised his eyebrows in that authority manner he had, and Josh hid again.
He walked up the stairs gently with Danielle, so he didn't disturb her, and he gently laid her down on her bed. She opened her eyes as he stood up straight and looked at her.
"At least they got you into your pajamas, huh?"
She nodded and Patrick chuckled. He drew the covers up to her chin and kissed her. He pulled up the safety railing and sat at the end of her bed until she fell asleep, watching her eyes close and her chest rise and fall. It was hard to believe that only three years before they'd been three quarters of the size they were, that they never talked, and had no idea what he said to them. He was proud of how far the three of them had come.
"I love you." He whispered, as he flipped the light off and the night light on.
"Sweet dreams, baby."
"Oi, you. Get your butt over here." Patrick said, pointing to the carpet next to him.
"Aww, let him stay up for like, ten minutes." Pete said.
"Your kid is going to be severely sleep deprived." Patrick told him. He looked at Josh and shook his head in defeat.
"Alright. Ten minutes. But no more."
Pete groaned several times, as if waiting for attention and someone to ask him what was wrong.
He groaned again.
"Shut the fuck up." Joe said, who was busy in an important game of 'Junior Scrabble' with Danielle. Josh sat next to them trying to knock pieces off the board, and Patrick had taken to grabbing his collar and sitting him on the couch instead.
"Hey! Watch your language!" Patrick said severely. "And you, keep your mouth shut." He said to Josh as he opened his mouth.
"What's wrong?" Andy asked Pete.
"I want Rachel to have twins. Because then, I won't have to go through all these pregnancy hormones again." Pete said.
"Yeah, I noticed your nipples were swollen." Andy teased.
"And twins look cute, but they make you want to put a bag over your head and tape over their mouths." Patrick added.
"She told me missing the appointment was 'minorly acceptable', but if I miss the birth, she said she would cut off my balls."
"Hey!" Patrick said again.
"So what's so bad about that? You are gonna be there, right?" Andy asked.
"I want to. Well, not if she's going to shout at me the whole time."
"That's her job. It's no walk in the park." Patrick said. "You might want to take your own painkillers... your hand gets pretty damn sore."
"Okay, so if she does yell at you, you're gonna stand in the waiting room handing out cigars like the 50s." Joe said.
"No. I mean, I do want to, but what if something happens that gets in the way?"
"Uh, like our job? These shows we have coming up, anything could happen during that time."
"So call a code red. I think the fans would understand if you didn't turn up at a show because your kid is being born."
"I want to keep my balls."
"Everyone except women." Joe pointed out.
"Right, you. Bed." Patrick said, picking Josh up before he could run away.
"I'll be back." He told the others, and carried a kicking Josh upstairs.
"My God, boy. You're strong." Patrick said, grabbing his legs as he wrestled with him in the bathroom.
Somehow he managed to brush Josh's teeth, change him into his pajamas and get him into his bed. He had no idea how, because Josh screamed bloody murder and kicked Patrick. Downstairs, Andy, Joe and Pete winced and stifled their laughter as they imagined Patrick getting beaten up by Josh. Upstairs, Patrick rarely got angry, but the fact Josh had no decent reason to be acting like a brat irritated him.
"Hey! Josh. Stop it. I mean it." He said, sternly, causing Josh to surrender and let Patrick pick him up and put him in his bed. He was shocked to see tears running down Josh's face as he lay in his bed.
"Aw, pal. I didn't mean to make you cry. Honest. You just can't kick people for no reason."
"Sorry." He mumbled into his fingers. Patrick's father instinct sensed there was a lot more to it than the fact he had told him off.
"What's wrong?" He asked. Josh wriggled away under the blanket, but Patrick pulled it backwards and looked at him.
"Tell me." He said, wiping his tears away, which were only to be replaced with more.
"Petey." He sobbed.
"Aw. Look, Josh. Wait here. Okay? Don't go anywhere."
"Pete?" Patrick asked, standing in the living room door.
"What? If it's about the toy... Josh broke it himself. He's blaming it on me!"
"No, it's not that. Come here." He said, waving him upstairs.
Pete followed Patrick into Josh's room, where he was sitting curled up in his bed with his teddy.
"Oh, Josh. Why're you crying?" Pete asked, crouching down next to the bed. Patrick leant against the doorway watching, his heart breaking.
"I'm your boy!" Josh wept, inching away from Pete.
"Yes, you are. Is this about my baby again?"
Josh nodded and Pete put the safety railing down so he could sit on the bed. He patted his knee and lifted Josh onto it when he refused.
"I keep telling you, you'll always be my boy. Yeah?" Pete said, rocking him. Patrick came in and sat on the end of the bed.
"Pete's not going anywhere, Joshy." Patrick said, quietly.
"Yeah. I'm still gonna be here, like, every single day." Pete said with a grin. "How about that?"
Josh nodded and held onto Pete.
"Alright, good. Now promise me you won't beat yourself up about this?"
Josh nodded again and Pete lay him back down in his bed.
"That's a good boy. Now you go to sleep like your daddy says."
He patted Patrick on the shoulder as he left the room, and Patrick sat down next to Josh.
"Josh, I don't like it when you're like this." He said, tipping his chin up to look at him. He looked away.
"I know what'll cheer you up." Patrick said. "You wanna spend a few nights in different hotels?"
"Why?" Josh asked.
"Because Daddy has to go and sing for all the lovely people who support him. What do you say?"
"Yeah!" Josh said excitedly.
"Okay, you got it." Patrick said, pretending to steal his nose.
"I got your nose." He told him, standing up.
"I got yours." Josh said, copying him. Patrick grinned and kissed him.
"Sleep well, kiddo."