Dream catch me when I fall. Or else I won't come back at all.
"Night, honey." He whispered, and quietly left the room. Halfway down the stairs there was a loud knock at the door, while whoever was at the door rang the doorbell several times.
"Alright, alright, I'm coming." Patrick said, jumping the last few stairs and unlocking the door to stop Danielle and Josh waking up with the noise. He opened the door to be faced with Rachel, who, surprisingly had a face like thunder while she waited.
"Hey, Rach! What's..." He was cut off when Rachel walked past him into the house.
"Where's Pete?" She asked sharply.
"I thought he was out with you..." Patrick said, then remembered. "Oh! He's asleep in the living room."
Rachel disappeared into the living room and came back with the baby carrier.
"Is everything al...?" Patrick asked, as Rachel walked back past him out of the door.
"Thanks for baby sitting." She called as she disappeared into the night, leaving Patrick frowning and wondering what was going on.
"No... problem." He trailed off as he lost sight of her in the dark. He kicked the door closed and frowned as he sat at the kitchen table. He payed no attention to the TV as it played, while he wondered whether Pete and Rachel had managed to come to a decision, but by the tone of Rachel's voice, he sensed that things were worse than they had been. He stared into nothing for a few minutes, before a knock at the kitchen window startled him and he jumped up, unable to stop a squeal escaping from his mouth with the fright.
"Open the door." Pete's mouth moved, but Patrick could only read his lips as he turned to go to the front door while Pete ran to the other side of the house.
"Is your doorbell broken?" Pete asked, pressing it over and over when Patrick opened the door.
"No." Patrick said, pushing his hand away as the doorbell sounded repeatedly. "I just don't expect visitors at this time of night."
"What's up? You were staring into space like you'd seen a ghost." Pete said, and paused. "Shit, I'm sorry."
Patrick didn't answer, leaving Pete to follow him into the kitchen.
"Where's Pete?" Pete asked, looking around the room.
"Rachel already came and collected him."
"I knew she would." Pete sighed as he he flopped down onto a seat.
Pete didn't go home that night. The nauseous feeling in his stomach was enough to inform him how much he loved his fiance and his son. It tore him apart to stay at Patrick's, but he knew deep down, if he stayed at his own home, things would regrettably become even worse than they were. If that was possible. And Pete was sure it could be.
"Uncle Pete! Wake up!" Josh yelled, clambering onto the bed and jumping up and down. Something caught Pete in the eye, and his chest pounded with Josh's movements.
"Ouch!" Pete opened his eyes, winded. He caught his breath as he sat up and realized where he was, and why Josh was bouncing around on his bare chest. He noted the reason for his eye throbbing was Josh's teddy.
"I'm up, I'm up!" Pete said, grabbing him gently, stopping him dancing but not hiding the grin on Josh's face.
"Do you live here now?" He asked, breathlessly and excitedly.
"No." Pete said.
"Josh! What did I tell you?" Patrick asked. From the open doorway, Pete could see out the hall and downstairs as Patrick ran up them, holding onto the banister.
"Go downstairs and eat your breakfast. I told you to let Pete sleep." He scolded him, slightly out of breath, and Josh turned to Pete, perfecting the pout on his lips. Patrick's eyes warned Pete to show him the right thing to do.
"Uh, Josh, you should do what your dad says." He said, seriously, watching as Josh's face fell, and he slid off the bed and padded out of the room slowly, edging away from Patrick as he turned to make sure he went, his arms folded and a frown on his face. Patrick turned back to Pete and sighed. There was a 'thump, thump' as Josh descended the stairs slowly, the second thump each time being his teddy sliding down behind him as he held it by the paw.
"I'm sorry. I told him a million times when he woke up to be quiet because you were asleep. Bad idea - he wondered why you weren't awake."
"It's okay." Pete said, rubbing his eyes. "I guess I should get up, anyway."
"You can stay in bed if you want." Patrick said, with a shrug. "But I'll leave you some breakfast, anyways."
"Thanks." Pete replied, as Patrick smiled at him and turned to follow Josh down the stairs.
"Hey! Back!" He barked at Josh, who tried to creep back up the stairs before realizing Patrick was about to come down. He scuttled away and Patrick shook his head while groaning as he went downstairs.
Pete looked around at the guest room, the only room in Patrick's house that was never used. Every other room had some evidence that children lived there, whether it was a shaky crayoned drawing of an unidentifiable object or person, or some sort of toy or teddy, despite Patrick cleaning the house everyday. He was very house proud, but it was hard for him to keep it clean when he was just as messy. Pete looked at the bedside clock, 8:57AM. Rachel was bound to be up. He braced himself as he dialed his home number and waited for it to connect and ring. He vowed he was going to stop his relationship being destroyed by a problem that they could overcome. He just needed Rachel to listen to him. If she did now, she would be thankful in the long run that Pete was by her side, willing to help her overcome the problem.
"Okay, don't hang up." Pete said, quickly. "Did you get my text last night? The one saying I was at Patrick's because I thought you needed to cool off?"
"Look, Rach. I hate doing this over the phone but I think it's the only way you'll listen to me right now."
"Okay. I meant what I said last night. About the depression. But look at me, you've made me happier and it was easier for me to get better. It's a lot easier to overcome depression when you have someone there to help. It's a million times worse if you're on your own. And you should be thankful that I'm here, offering to help you."
"I know that."
"But why won't you accept the fact you're depressed?"
There was silence on the other end, and Pete desperately thought of anything to stop her from hanging up.
"You can't deny you're depressed. I'm not saying this to make you feel bad. I know you'll be a great mother - you're an au pair, for Christ's sake." He said, gently. "You'll be amazing, and I'm so lucky to be marrying you. That is, if you still want to get married."
He waited, his heart creeping further up into his mouth as it beat faster and faster.
"Good. Honestly, Rach, honey, I love you, and I just want us to be able to be a family, and overcome this, 'cause that's what families do."
"So will you let me help you?" He asked, quietly. On the other line, Rachel made a sound that Pete could only take as a yes. He couldn't hide the sound of his own smile as he spoke.
"Thank God. I worried about you, baby. I just want you to know I'm here and I'm here to stay, alright?"
"Good. Can I come around now?"
"Uh, actually... right now's not a good time."
Pete frowned. Since when wasn't it a good time to go to his own home?
"Because I'm cleaning. And some old friends are coming to see the baby later on. I figured you wouldn't want to be around then."
"So it's like, a late baby shower... thing." Pete said.
"Yeah, I guess."
"Alright. Well, I'll come around tonight. I have my cell. You have fun and I'll see you later."
"Bye, I love you."
"I love you too. And... Pete?"
"You're welcome." Pete said, relieved as he put the phone down. He smiled to himself as he jumped out of the bed and grabbed his T-shirt from the end of the bed, making his way to the bathroom.
"If you don't eat that, I'll open your mouth myself and make sure you swallow it." Patrick said, sternly to Josh as he played with his food and refused to eat it. Pete hid his laughter as he walked into the room, his T-shirt in his hand and a towel around his shoulder since he'd come out of the shower. Patrick growled as he turned back to the sink, while Danielle poked her tongue out at Josh from across the table. She always thought it was hilarious when Josh got into trouble, and she sat responsibly, watching him as he misbehaved.
"Oi, I saw that." Pete said, sitting down next to her. She grinned at him and pressed her finger to her lips.
"You know, if your Dad catches you doing that, he'll probably put mustard on your tongue."
"Yuck." She said, screwing her face up.
"I know. He used to do it to me, and now I can't stick my tongue out."
"Really?" She asked, believing his lie.
"Yup." Pete nodded as he pulled his shirt on. "He has a special 'daddy's mustard' that makes kid's tongues stick in their mouths."
Danielle looked away, shocked, and kept her mouth shut as she did so. Pete chuckled to himself as Patrick came over.
"Stop lying." He said, with a slight laugh.
"Well, you have to tell your kids little white lies, sometimes. It's the only way they learn." Pete said. "You know, like the tooth fairy or Santa."
"Santa!" Josh yelled at the mention of his name. He'd loved Christmas, all the lights and presents, and the amount of people who payed attention to him at Christmas made him hyper and over excited. Last Christmas, he'd become so over excited that Patrick let him stay up late on Christmas Day, that he'd been sick. Patrick noted not to let him stay up around such a gathering of people the next Christmas.
"Is Santa coming?" He asked, excitedly.
"No, he's not. Not for a few months." Patrick said.
"Aw, why not?" He yelled again, banging his fist on the table with excitement, mixed with defeated hopes.
"Because it's not Christmas, yet." Patrick said, frowning. "Stop it, Josh."
"Make him come!" Josh said.
Patrick bent down in front of Josh and looked at him, that 'look' on his face again.
"Do you want me to leave you with Andy while I go shopping?"
"Alright. Then sit down and /eat/." He told him, standing up and facing Pete.
"What did I tell you? Nightmare." He said, exasperated. Pete chuckled and looked at Danielle, who was pressing her lips together as if to keep her mouth shut.
"You don't need to keep your mouth shut all the time." He told her, and she stopped, blushing slightly as he laughed at her.
"He's just kidding, Danni." Patrick said to her.
"I'm not." Pete said, shaking his head while he mouthed it at her, when Patrick turned away.
"Oh! I called Rachel." Pete said, jumping up and joining Patrick at the sink. He hoisted himself up onto the counter while Patrick washed the dishes, and Patrick looked surprised.
"She said she'd let me help her get rid of the depression!" Pete said, happily.
"So what are you waiting for? Go do it!" Patrick replied.
"Oh, I can't. She's got friends around to see Pete."
"Ah." Patrick nodded.
"Yeah. It'll just be discussions about baby clothes and no doubt she'll probably tell them about the birth. I don't fancy being there for that, to be honest."
"Says the man who was there for the /birth/." Patrick said, with a slight sigh. "You're mature, Pete."
"Hey, I may be a father, but I don't have to be mature." He said, grinning at him.
"Don't sit on the counter!" Danielle told Pete, who looked shocked and then shrugged.
"I'm grown up." He said, simply. He turned back to Patrick. "I feel bad, though."
"For leaving. Like, all the fights we had and stuff. I should be there."
"Well, if you were there while you were both angry, you could have done some things you really didn't mean. Like before when you both took your rings off."
"True." Pete replied.
"Anyways, maybe it's better that you gave Rachel some space. 'Cause she probably realized how much she needs you. And it would give her some space to gather her emotions again."
"So I'm guessing you'll want to join me on the best day of the week?" Patrick asked.
Pete looked at him, puzzled, and Patrick explained.
"Saturday. Big shop day." He said, rolling his eyes.
"Sure. I'm in." Pete shrugged.
"Oh, you do not know what you just let yourself in for." Patrick laughed.
Patrick was right. Pete went with him when he took Danielle and Josh to the mall, first to get new clothes and any other things they needed before going grocery shopping. Pete donned his hoodie and sunglasses, so no one would recognize him. It was easier for Patrick not to be spotted, he was a pretty private person and easy to walk past without recognition. Patrick had to take Danielle and Josh's stroller, because they got tired easily when he went shopping, and at least he could put them in it if they started acting up or, if Josh decided to play at having his screaming fit to attract attention, which Patrick hated.
"Haha, check all the housewives. I bet they battle over the bread as soon as it comes out of the oven." Pete laughed, watching a group of women.
"Hey, I'm a house husband." Patrick argued.
"Oh yeah?" Pete laughed at him, shaking his head.
"Okay, okay. I'm a house husband... without a wife." Patrick said, leaning his weight on the trolley as he pushed it along while Danielle sat in the seat looking around.
"Then, technically, you're not a house /husband/." Pete said, pushing the stroller with Josh in it, leaning his own weight on it as it moved. Patrick shrugged and continued.
"It's weird. I always thought I'd be doing this with my wife." He said, gesturing around him. He stopped and Pete skidded to a halt with the stroller, nearly falling off as he tried to stop it crashing into an old woman. He couldn't help but laugh as he walked back to Patrick, Josh laughing in his seat.
"You're really lonely, huh?" He asked Patrick.
"Yeah." Patrick admitted. "It'd just be nice to have someone, you know?"
Pete nodded, feeling guilty he complained about his relationship problems, when Patrick had his own problems because he didn't have a relationship.
"I don't want to sound too much like Joe here, but, there's also the fact I haven't gotten laid in /three years/." Patrick said, shamefully.
"Oh my God, you just referred to it as something other than 'making love'!" Pete exclaimed.
"Exactly why I didn't want to sound like Joe." Patrick told him. "It's just... I want someone to go home to and cuddle. You know?"
"Tell me about it. You must be very horny. Stay away from me."
"Oh, come on, Pete. You have your problems, but, at least all throughout them you still have someone who loves you."
"Yeah, and you have about a million girls in the world who love you." Pete added.
"I don't want a million girls. I just want one. And it's hard to find one who isn't with you for the money, or the fame. Or just because I know all these other people. I want someone who'll take on me and my kids. 'Cause if they don't like my kids, then they don't get me. Maybe that's a little picky, but..."
"You have a right to be." Pete told him. "Come on, Patrick. You're a great catch. It's not like every girl out there finds you unattractive."
"Alright, you might not be me in the looks department," Pete laughed as he teased him and earned himself a glare, "but you're the sweetest guy ever. Seriously. And any girl will be lucky to be with you."
"I can't explain it, Pete. I want Amanda, but obviously, I can't have her back."
Pete nodded as he followed Patrick.
"And I know Amanda wouldn't want me to be this lonely."
"But, I thought you said she was the only one for you."
"Maybe she is. Or was. I don't know. All I know is I still love her, and I guess I'll only know if I'm with another woman." He said.
"What will you know?" Pete asked, lost.
"If I'm capable of loving anyone else. Because there's plenty of desperate girls I could take advantage of..." He was cut off by Pete stopping dead.
"My God, are these words actually coming out of your mouth?"
"Let me finish." Patrick said. "I could take advantage of them, but I'm not that type of guy. I'm the type of guy who just wants one woman to care for me as much as I care for her. Like, I want her to be there when I get home, and I don't mean like in the 30's, like have my dinner on the table. I mean, I want someone to be happy to see me when I get in the door. Or someone who'll accept me and my kids, who'll be ready that our time together as an intimate couple would only begin once these two went to bed."
"And someone who wouldn't mind that when they're with me, my top priority is whether Danielle and Josh are okay. Or that they won't mind helping me bathe them or put them to bed, or give them their dinner. You know?"
"Well, I won't lie to you, Patrick. It'll be hard to find someone who has all those qualities."
"Exactly. I thought that being loyal to Amanda was my one priority. I swore to myself I wouldn't be with another woman as long as I loved Amanda. But she's..." he lowered his voice, out of ear shot of Danielle and Josh, "she's dead. It's hard to spend the rest of your life loving someone who's died, and you won't see again until you die yourself. But I want someone to love. Even though I still love Amanda."
"I understand. What about Libby? You liked her, didn't you?"
"Yeah, but I said to Amanda I couldn't see myself with Libby."
"You only went out with her once."
Patrick opened his mouth but then thought the comment over. Maybe he should give Libby a chance.
"You think I should go out with her?"
"I'm not going to tell you what to do, Patrick." Pete said, looking around the shelves while Patrick watched him.
"All I know, is that you're a very lonely guy. You have everything you want except that person you can go to bed with every night, and guarantee that they feel the same way about you."
"I know." Patrick said, almost shamelessly. Pete turned around to him.
"And I think, if you're serious about finding someone to love again, you should start looking around you and realizing your options, and what can happen if you give those options a chance."