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Secrets
by Jamie Yarbrough

Chapter 23

Theresa had spent the evening with Ethan and Ivy taking care of Liam and chatting about everything except the situa-tion they were all in now.

Ethan had been uncomfortable with his mother crooning over Liam and following him through the house so he sent her home as soon as he could without hurting her feelings, and that only took three hours. He sighed as he flopped back down on the couch where Theresa held Liam in her arms.

"You look great with him." Ethan said.

Theresa blushed and remembered all the times she had imagined this, holding Ethanís child in her arms. Although in those dreams she was the mother, not Gwen. She leaned in and brushed her lips over Liamís silky cheek as he started to fuss and beamed at Ethan when the kiss quieted him.

"If I start to cry will you kiss me?" Ethan teased.

"Well, youíre almost as cute as he is, so I probably would." Theresa said as she smiled softly.

Ethan slid over close to her and wrapped his arm around the front of her, cradling his son with her. He had wanted this from the second he learned her was going to have a child, he had wanted to share that with Theresa.

"Theresa, I still love you so much, I donít know if I can let the other night go and just go back to being friends," Ethan said wondering what he was starting. "I know I donít want to and I donít think you do either."

"Ethan I love you too, I never stopped no matter how much that might have hurt. But I have learned that sometimes loving isnít enough." Theresa replied quietly, shifting Liam to wipe the tears that had slowly slid down her cheek.

"Theresa, I know you think now isnít the time and maybe it isnít, but I know loving you is enough, I know that we are meant to be." Ethan said.

"No Ethan, we WERE meant to be, but that has changed." Theresa whispered her throat aching at the words.

"We still are, Resa, I love you and I want to be with you."

Ethan leaned over and slid to one knee on the floor, he pulled the ring he had given Theresa over a year before out of his pocket as he did.

Theresa choked back a sob and the baby whimpered at the whispered chant she was repeating.

"Ethan donít do this... Ethan donít do this... Ethan donít do this..."

Ethan looked at her knowing he was making her hurt again and not able to stop from going after what he wanted.

"Theresa, I have asked you before and I let too many things get in the way, but this time, nothing and I mean NOTHING will get in our way. Theresa I know I am asking you for far more than I did last time, I am asking you to be a mother to my son, my lover, my friend, my wife," Ethan cleared his throat praying for a miracle he saw was impossible in her eyes, "Theresa will you marry me?"

Theresa pushed Liam into Ethanís arms and jumped up off the couch tears coursing down her face.

"Ethan, how could you?" She asked. Theresa ran from the room and down the step and flew out the door, slowing only when she felt the cool night breeze on her skin and Ethanís light was a spot in the distance.

"Why? Why God? Why now?" Theresa screamed to the sky.

"Why when I am finally beginning to live on my own, for myself do you have to do this too me?" She collapsed on the soft grass of the Lopez-Fitzgerald lawn. She had known it was coming, that Ethan would have asked now that they had been together, she had just hoped she would have had longer to be herself, to no be afraid of losing someone for once. She knew that if she turned him away he would understand, but something between them would change forever. She wept onto the grass, praying for an answer. She had lived for the last few years afraid of losing Ethan and when she did she thought she would die, she didnít know if she could live the rest of her life scared something else could take him from her.

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