A child's voice said, "Daddy?"
Dave was lost in Megan's lips, his hands buried in her hair. But Megan vaulted away and yanked her shirt straight.
"Hey, Eli," she said, trying to sound soothing but coming across, instead, as shaky.
Eli looked at her warily. If he were Joshua, he would just ask why she'd been kissing daddy. But Eli only sidled toward the wall, where he clung to a door frame, eyes downcast. He wore cotton dinosaur pajamas with a hole in one knee.
Megan glanced at Dave, her own eyes wide. Then she crouched next to Eli. "Hey, buddy. Can't you sleep?"
He shook his head.
"Did you count the stars on your ceiling like we talked about?"
"Are you scared of something?" She swiped a chunk of smooth, dark hair away from her face.
Dave went to the fridge and grabbed a beer from the case he'd bought on the way home from work. "We talked about this Eli," he said. "You just have to lie there quietly and you'll conk out."
Neither Megan nor Eli responded, so Dave shrugged and sat down at the table.
Eli said, "I'm scared of fires." He still couldn't pronounce his R's, so fires came out as fi-ahs. Dave thought it was the cutest damn thing.
"Let's go tuck you in again," Megan said, standing and taking his hand. Over her shoulder, as she walked away with Eli, she looked at Dave. Her expression was flat. Maybe a little disappointed around the eyes.
When she'd settled everything and Eli was once again in bed, presumably counting the glow-in-the-dark stars Tamara had once-upon-a-time stuck over his bed, she passed back through the dining room where she grabbed her iPod and bag. At the front door, Dave stopped her, knowing he had beer on his breath, knowing he must be coming across as a lecherous old man.
"You okay?" he asked.
A shoulder jerked up and she wound one finger through a belt loop. "Yeah, I guess. Why wouldn't I be?"
"Well, after, you know, what happened."
"What do you mean 'what happened'?"
Dave looked at her quizzically. Was she going to play denial? He raised his eyebrows and pointed to her, then to him and back again. "You know...I kissed you."
"No, you didn't." Her chin ticked upward.
"Ah, Megan. I think I did."
She was looking right at him as she scoffed and said, "In your dreams." She turned and left, her sixteen-year-old ass swaying the tiniest bit, her headphones going over her ears, one hand sliding into her pocket.
What the hell? Dave thought, cocking his head and polishing off the beer. What the freaking hell?