Drake grabbed her hands and held them. "I am so sorry Marissa. I promise, from now on, you'll never have to worry about the spot you hold in my heart."
Marissa felt tears forming in her eyes as she lay awake for the rest of the night, worrying about what she was going to do.
AN HOUR LATER
"Mom, I don't want to..." Dierk started to say before Vamsi shushed him.
"Be quiet, Dierk. We talked about this."
"Well maybe you'd better talk to me about whatever's going on," Drake interrupted. "You called last night & said you had something to discuss with me. I didn't know you were bringing Dierk."
Drake was shocked at this woman. He interrupted before Dierk could hear anymore. Glancing down and seeing the sobbing boy, he figured poor Dierk had already heard enough. Feeling angry at Vamsi for treating his son this way & anger at himself for not knowing how his son was being treated - Drake lashed out.
"It is of no importance to me what Cameron prefers. I will tell you what I prefer. I prefer to take full custody of my child. If, and when, you've proved to be anything other than a heartless, selfish wasp of a woman, I'll allow visitation. I will have my attorney contact you with the settlement." Drake could see her calculating her asking price.
"I want no less than..."
Dierk stared at his toes. "Yes, sir."
Drake put his arm around Dierk, fighting down his anger & awkwardness. His son needed him. He just hoped he was man enough to provide it.
"Hi, Dierk. Do you know who I am?"
Dierk shook his head as he pulled away.
"I'm Marissa. And we are going to be great friends! Did you know that?"
Drake watched Marissa talk to Dierk and put him at ease & felt a burst of love and pride. She was the complete opposite of Vamsi - she was so loyal, kind, and loving! He thanked his lucky stars that Marissa loved him enough to fight for him!
"Is the room okay for you? There's a few toys, but not too many."
"Thank you, sir," Dierk said softly.
Drake crouched down. "You don't have to call me sir. And you can let me know if there's something you want, okay?"
Dierk nodded quickly. "Yes, sir. I mean. Umm.. .yes..." Dierk trailed off.
Drake stroked the boy's hair. "Okay, well I'll give you time to yourself. We're right across the hall if you need anything."
Dierk watched his Father leave the room and sighed. Finally! A chance to relax! Tears dripped down his cheeks and he pulled his knees up to his chest as he worried about his future.
"She looks just like you!" Marissa grinned as they blew out the candles.
Drake laughed. "That's funny, I was going to say she looks like you with her fiery curly red hair!"
"What is it?" Drake asked, smiling when Dierk echoed him. It had been awhile now & Dierk seemed to finally feel comfortable with them. He didn't address them formally & didn't always agree with what they said. He'd been so happy the first time Dierk had told him that he didn't like a tv show because it meant he was comfortable enough with them to voice his own opinion!
"I'm pregnant again!" Marissa said happily.
Marissa & Drake caught each other's eyes and smiled. Tears misted in Marissa's eyes. "I don't know what we're going to have. We'll have to wait and see!"
"It's going to be a little boy because that's what I want more than anything! I'll pray every night!"
Looking up, Dierk frowned when he saw her watching him. "Why are you looking at me funny?" he asked.
Marissa smiled. "I was just thinking about what a wonderful son, you are."
Dierk's forehead crinkled. "Am I your son?"
Marissa hedged, worried she might say the wrong thing. "If you want to be, then you are. I know I would be proud to be your Mama."
Dierk was quiet for so long, Marissa worried she'd upset him.
"I think," he started slowly, "that a mom should be proud of her son. And since my mom always said I was a disappointment, then she probably isn't my real mom. So, that means that you are my Mama!"
Tears openly streamed down Marissa's checks; first because of the horrible things that witch had said to him & then because of his open & loving heart. Squeezing him tight, she kissed the top of his head. "Then it's settled. I'm your Mama!"
"Okay," Dierk said. He hated playing cops & robbers, but he'd do it for Madeline. She was his little sister! It was his job to make her happy!