Several months pass and I feel like I’ve not made any more progress with Gabe. The bedroom door stays unlocked now, but I’m too afraid to try the computer. He checks it every day when he gets home from work. I’m not sure how much longer I can keep up with this rouse. I hate Gabe with everything in me but, I know I have to keep playing the good hostage. I feel like my only chance is to get him to take us outside.
If I get him to take Grant and I out, then maybe we can sneak off and escape. I don’t know where I’d go but anywhere has to be better than this. Grant’s birthday is just around the corner, maybe once he’s bigger I can make excuses to be taken outside. It’s hard to believe that Grant will soon be a toddler and not a baby anymore, I guess they grow up too fast now. It will be easier once he learns to walk, that way we can make our escape.
I start talking to Gabe about planning a small party, of sorts, for Grant. While eating breakfast, I run down all the items needed to make a special birthday cake. Gabe seems annoyed by my requests but, he seems to be willing to pick some things up for me.
“So, don’t forget I’ll need fresh eggs, milk, flour, and vanilla flavoring for the cake tonight. Oh, and also frosting, it won’t be a birthday cake without the frosting and it would be so special to have balloons. I’d love to be able to get Grant a present but I understand if it’s too much. There’s so much that he will need once he ages up. I’ll need some more books so I can begin teaching him. We’ll need a potty chair and some toys to keep him occupied. He can sleep on the cot, I can sleep on the couch or in your room, but he will need clothes.”, I stop and stare at Gabe as a strange look crosses his face.
“I guess I never thought about how much a kid costs.”, he says looking around the small apartment. Almost afraid to bring the subject up, I slowly say,.” What about the money from Gil’s estate. I know he didn’t have much but with the sale of the house and his savings there has to be some left. I should have heard something about that, maybe we could use that for Grant.”. “There’s no money. Gil squandered it all, he never had any savings. That was all a lie.”, he says viciously standing up from the table.
“I’m going to work. I’ll try to pick those things up for you but I can’t guarantee everything”, he says slamming the door on his way out. I just don’t understand the things that Gabe just said.
I know Gil had money in savings, not a lot but enough to live comfortably. I know he’d want his son to have that money, I don’t understand what Gabe is up too. Why would he go through all this trouble to break me and Gil up, enough to drive Gil to his death? It doesn’t add up. I watch some television and busy myself with Grant and cleaning the house, almost unable to contain my excitement for Grant’s birthday tonight. I snuggle him and spend a little more time holding him, knowing that in just a few short hours he will no longer be a little baby.
Standing in the kitchen, I have the oven preheating and dinner ready for our party. I just need Gabe to get home with the ingredients for the cake. I made simple mac and cheese for dinner, knowing that even picky toddlers usually love that. I check the clock again and start to worry. Gabe is never late and even allowing extra time for the supplies, he should have been here by now.
We’re running out of time, Grant will age up in an hour. Unless, Gabe gets home now, it won’t be enough time for the cake to bake, cool and get frosted. Grant won’t have a birthday cake. I nervously pace the kitchen floor, listening for the jingle of keys in the hallway.
It’s almost time, I walk into the bedroom, my heart feeling sad that there’s no cake to celebrate, but I peer into the crib waiting for the magical time. At the stroke of 7, Grant leaps from the crib and there stands the spitting image of Gil.
He smiles and reaches his pudgy little arms up for me to pick him up.
I give him a long hug and lead him into the kitchen where his mac and cheese waits for him on the table. “I’m sorry, the cake is late. Gabe hasn’t gotten home from work yet. He must be delayed. I’ll make it as soon as he gets here.”, I apologize. Grant just smiles at me and looks at his plate before hesitantly reaching out for a bite of food.
I smile, wondering how much he understands at this age and can’t keep myself from glancing at the door. What has happened to Gabe?