Gina’s mother was still in the powder room when she got there. They were the only ones in there. They hugged and then went to an area where they could talk.
“How are you doing, Gina?” her mother asked, looking her over.
“I’m fine, Mom. How are you?” She hadn’t seen her since New Year’s Eve.
“I’m fine. Is Cam with Matt?”
“You look lovely, Gina but you look sad too. What’s wrong?”
Gina didn’t tell her about her conversation with her father. “I’m dealing with a lot,” she said.
“You mean the divorce?”
“Divorce is never a good thing. It even says in the Bible that God hates it.”
“It isn’t what I wanted.”
“Are you sure it wasn’t?”
Her mother’s question surprised her. “What do you mean?” she asked.
“Well, I know that you didn’t love Matt.”
Gina turned pale. “Why would I marry him if I didn’t love him?” she demanded.
“Gina, I know you and I know that you didn’t love Matt even though he loved you.”
“All right. So, I didn’t love him when I married him. That could have changed.”
Her mother’s eyes were sad as she looked at her. “I don’t think that it did and that’s why you and he are getting a divorce. Poor Matt. He’s such a sweet man. He was such a good husband to you, Gina. You shouldn’t have married him when you knew that you didn’t love him.”
“If I didn’t marry him, you wouldn’t have Cam to fuss over.”
“Yes, Cam was the only good thing that came out of this. He’s such a special little boy. We love him dearly. He’s so much like Matt.”
“I guess that’s why he’s so special because he’s like Matt and not at all like me,” Gina said sharply, her eyes flashing.
“I didn’t say that. You’re a good mother, Gina.”
“Yes, but not a good wife.”
“No. I think Matt would have been better off if he had married someone else.”
“Well, he’s free to do that after the divorce.”
“And what about you?”
“I’ll be fine.”
“What about Cam? Have you and Matt worked out an arrangement for Cam?”
“Dad thinks I should give Matt full custody. He said that a boy belongs with his father.”
“I agree with your father, Gina. I think Cam will be better off with Matt.”
“Why? Don’t you think I can do a good job raising Cam on my own? I’ve been doing it since the separation.”
“I don’t doubt that you can raise Cam well but he’s a boy and he needs a father’s love and care. If you and Matt had a girl, she would be raised by you, not Matt.”
“Why do you always take his side?”
“I’m not taking any sides. We all want what’s best for Cam.”
“And you think Cam’s better off being raised by Matt instead of me?”
“Yes. Your father told me about the hot car incident.”
Gina swore under her breath. “I should have known that he wouldn’t keep it to himself.”
“He wouldn’t keep something like that from me. And I think I ought to tell you that if it weren’t for him, you would have been arrested and charged with child endangerment. You should be grateful to him. It was a lucky thing that he happened to be there in the parking lot and noticed your car. Fortunately, the window on the passenger was rolled down and he was able to reach in and unlock the door. He got into the car with Cam and stayed with him, giving him water to sip until you arrived. You’re lucky that nothing terrible happened.”
“Am I going to have to pay to have to pay for that terrible mistake for the rest of my life?”
“No, but it’s a mistake that could have cost Cam his life. God was definitely watching over him and it was He who had your father and not some stranger find him.”
Gina felt the tears well in her eyes. “I didn’t mean to endanger Cam. I just thought I would be in and out of the store in a few minutes. I left one of the windows rolled down so that some air to get inside the car.”
“Yes, but it was a hot day and there was not much of a breeze. When your father got inside the car, it was hot so he opened the door and kept Cam cool by putting his wet handkerchief against his forehead and giving him water to sip. He advised you to take Cam to a walk-in clinic just to make sure that he was all right. He told you what to say if they asked any questions. He covered for you, Gina.”
Gina almost blurted out that her father had used the incident to blackmail her but she held her tongue. It was her word against her father’s and she was sure that her mother wouldn’t believe her. “Can we please not talk about that day anymore? I wish I could forget about it.”
“We would all like to forget about it. Whenever I see Cam, I can’t help thanking God for His mercy.”
Gina stood up. “I think we should go to the reception,” she said.
Her mother stood up. “Have you seen your father?”
“Yes. I saw him at reception.”
“He’s probably wondering where we are. Oh, he mentioned that he saw you at the church. Why didn’t you come and sit with us?”
“I didn’t want to.”
Her mother sighed. “I wish you and your father got along.”
“It isn’t my fault that we don’t, Mom.”
“In spite of what you think, he does love you.”
Gina didn’t answer. What could she say? You’re wrong, he doesn’t love me because I’m not the son he wanted? She and her mother joined the other guests in the banquet hall. Gina went over to say hello to Natalie, Graham and their parents before she joined her parents at the table they were sharing with other relatives and friends.
There were toasts before dinner which Gina listened to without much interest. She had made up her mind that she would leave the reception shortly after dinner. Dinner was a sumptuous affair and Gina had to admit that whoever the caterers were, they were very good. She had said anything to her parents or to the other people sitting at the table. She wasn’t really being anti-social. She just didn’t have much to say to them. So, she sat there, listening to the different conversations.
Then, dinner was over and it was time for dancing. Her parents got up and made their way to the dancefloor. The others soon joined them and she was left alone. She didn’t mind. Glancing at her watch, she decided that she would leave as soon as her parents returned to the table. She looked at them and at the rest of the guests.
She glanced up and stiffened when she saw Tanner standing there. Tanner was the groom’s cousin. “Hello.”
“You look lovely,” he said, sitting down beside her, much to her annoyance.
“I saw you at the church. Why weren’t you sitting with the rest of your family?”
She was getting tired of being asked that question. “I didn’t want to.”
His eyebrows arched. “Family problems?”
She didn’t answer. Why couldn’t he just go away and leave her alone? And she wished he would stop staring at her.
“What’s wrong with it?”
“It doesn’t suit you.” To her chagrin, he removed it from her head and placed it on the table. “That’s much better.”
She glared at him. “Why don’t you go and dance with one of the bridesmaids?”
“I don’t want to dance with them. I want to sit here and talk to you. It has been a while since we’ve seen each other. We’ve a lot of catching up to do.”
“No, we don’t. As soon as my parents come back to the table, I’m leaving.”
“Why are you leaving? The night is still young.”
“I just don’t want to be there.”
“I’m sorry to hear that. I was hoping that you and I could spend the rest of the night together.”
“That isn’t going to happen.”
“Well, before you go, you owe me a dance or two.”
“I don’t owe you anything.”
He stood up. “Come on. Just one dance.”
She opened her mouth to refuse him when she saw her father heading towards the table. He was alone. Her eyes darted about the hall for her mother and espied her talking to Graham’s mother. Her gaze returned to her father. The last thing she wanted was to be stuck with him.
She stood up abruptly and said to Tanner, “All right, one dance.”
Tanner looked surprised but rather pleased. He said hello to her father who barely acknowledged him. “I don’t think your father likes me,” he remarked.
Gina glowered at him. “I don’t like you either,” she informed him coldly.
That didn’t seem to faze him at all. As he took her in his arms and they began to move to the music, he said, “That can change.”
After one dance, Gina disengaged herself from him and walked off the dancefloor. He followed her to the table where her parents were. While her mother and Tanner exchanged pleasantries, she picked up her handbag. “Good night,” she said.
Her father looked surprised. “You’re leaving so soon?” he inquired.
“Yes.” Reluctantly, she leaned over and kissed him on the cheek. She went over to her mother and hugged her. She said goodnight to the other people at the table and then, walked away.
Tanner went after her. “Can’t I persuade you to stay longer?” he said.
“You would rather go home to an empty house and to an empty bed?”
“Why don’t you go back to the reception and leave me alone?”
“When can I see you again?”
She glared at him as she pulled on her coat. “Never, if I can help it.”
“I know that you don’t mean that.”
She walked past him.
“Thanks for the dance.”
She didn’t answer.
“Goodnight, Gina. Until we meet again.”
After giving him a withering look, she pushed open the door and stepped out into the cold, crisp night air.
Source: NY Post