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(Father and son conversation)

Jackson left immediately after he put on his clothes.

While he drove on his way home, Jackson couldn't keep his mind off the possible people who rescued him. 'Who could it be? But it looks like they don't want me to know their identity or they would have been there when I woke up, ' Jackson told himself. 'I need to be careful. Cherry is pregnant. If I do something to anger them, they might hurt Cherry. Nothing can happen to her. I need to keep her safe.'

'I will discover them sooner or later. I'm a good observer. I will know who they are eventually, ' Jackson was curious and worried but he made a promise to himself. 'But for now, Cherry is my priority.

I failed to be there for her and Joe and I won't fail her again. I will make her feel happy and secure. I don't want to break her heart anymore.'

When he got home, the first floor was dark. No lights were turned on. Cherry must be already asleep in their bedroom upstairs.

Jackson turned on a few wall lamps to light his way as he ascended the stairs to the second floor.

He pushed open their bedroom door inch by inch and discovered the desk lamp was still on. He smiled at the sight of sleeping Cherry on the bed.

Jackson laid himself on the bed and wrapped his arms around Cherry.

Cherry stirred awake. "Jackson, did you just get here? It's so late," Cherry murmured, unable to keep her eyes open. She moaned as she breathed in Jackson's scent.

Jackson kissed Cherry's forehead. "I had to deal with some problems, Babe. I'm sorry I kept you waiting." Jackson hugged Cherry tighter.

"It's okay, honey. I was just wondering. I tried to wait for you but I was so sleepy. And I fell asleep early," Cherry replied.

She opened her eyes and looked up at Jackson. She took in his beautiful eyes, his muscular jaw, and his full lips. She would never get tired of looking at his face. She always felt secure with Jackson.

Jackson kissed Cherry on the top of her head. "You don't need to wait for me.

Sleep if you're tired. You need to take care of yourself and our baby." Jackson reminded her as he stroked her hair.

"Yes, Babe," Cherry answered. She inched closer to Jackson and continued,"Joe wanted to wait for you, too, but he fell asleep even earlier than me."

"My silly babies. Don't tire yourself out too much. If you need to rest, just rest. Promise me you'll do that? Both of you?" Jackson requested.

"Yes, I promise," Cherry nodded at Jackson. "Is everything okay at the bar now?" she asked.

Cherry assumed Jackson was at the bar because of the late hour.

"Everything's fine. You know I can handle any problem that comes our way. Don't worry about it. Do you doubt my capabilities?" Jackson joked.

"Of course not," Cherry replied. She always had faith in Jackson and knew he could take care of any problem.

"You always worry about me," Jackson teased with a smile. "But you don't need to, okay?" Jackson kissed her on her eyebrow.

"I won't," Cherry smiled and tightened her hand around Jackson's waist.

"Go back to sleep now, I know you're really tired," Jackson pulled up the quilt to tuck Cherry in.

"Good night, babe," Cherry cooed. Jackson gave her a kiss before she closed her eyes to sleep.

Jackson woke up the next morning with Cherry still in his arms. He moved to get up, careful not to wake Cherry but she still opened her eyes. Jackson gave her a kiss,"Just sleep a little longer. I'll take care of Joe."

Cherry nodded and closed her eyes. Jackson washed up before he went to Joe's room to wake him up.

Jackson opened the door to Joe's bedroom and found him still sleeping on his bed. Jackson checked the time on Joe's clock on the desk and shook him awake. "Good morning, Joe, it's time to get up for school." Joe groaned but didn't open his eyes.

"I'm still sleepy, Daddy," Joe slurred. He kept his eyes closed, with no intention of getting out of bed.

Jackson sighed. It was so hard to wake Joe up for school. He wondered how Cherry managed to successfully do it.

"Come on, Joe, wake up now," Jackson urged.

Joe buried his head in his quilt in reply. Jackson was unsure how to deal with Joe.

"Do you want Mommy to wake you up? I'll tell her to come here and do that," Jackson tested to check Joe's reaction.
With closed eyes, Joe yawned,"I'm getting up now."

Joe threw back his quilt, raised his head and squinted at Jackson. "Don't wake up Mommy. She needs to sleep some more."

Jackson laid Joe's school clothes on his bed. "You can get dressed by yourself now. Have breakfast downstairs with me when you're done, okay?"

"Yes, I can get dressed by myself now. I'll come downstairs when I'm finished," Joe replied and took off his pajamas.

"Hurry, or we'll be late," Jackson reminded Joe before he left the room. "You nag more than Mommy now, Daddy," Joe replied with a pout.

Joe joined Jackson for breakfast at the kitchen shortly. He sat at his usual seat on the table and Lily served him with his breakfast.

"Bill will take you to school today. Be good and listen to your teachers, okay?" Jackson reminded Joe. Now that Cherry was resting a lot and couldn't be present all the time, Jackson felt he needed to step and still remind Joe to be on his best behavior.

"But, Dad, you said I can do whatever I want. Why should I listen to my teachers?" Joe retorted. Joe was in a good mood since his mom wasn't always around. He believed he was free to do whatever he wanted.

"Look, Joe, I know I haven't really been there for you since the accident, but I need to watch over your mom until she gives birth. When your brother or sister arrives, you can do whatever you want, okay? I'll take care of whatever problem you might run into," Jackson explained.

He giggled inside, 'Was I really teaching Joe what he needed to learn? If Cherry found out what I was doing, I would get an earful from her.'

Joe thought about it for a minute before he looked at Jackson and gave him a thumbs up,"Okay, Daddy, you got it."

Lily giggled to herself while she listened to the father and son's conversation.

"Lily, why are you laughing?" Lily turned around and discovered Joe with his curious eyes on her.

"If your mom was here, she'd say something different," Lily replied.

Jackson knew what Lily meant but he shrugged it off. He knew it was true. Joe didn't know what Lily meant but there was one thing on his mind. He turned to Jackson with all seriousness and said,"Daddy, without Mommy here, we are now the ones in control. We are King Jackson and King Joe." Jackson almost laughed at his son's expression.

He corrected Joe,"I'm the king, Joe, and you're the king's prince."

Joe pouted at his father's words. He crossed his arms and declared,"I'm the king, Daddy, and you're the king's father." He didn't like what Jackson said.

"You know your mother is important to me. So whatever she says will be done," Jackson answered to change the subject. Joe was a very smart boy and Jackson needed to be always on his toes whenever he spoke to him.

"Mommy is also important to me too, Daddy," Joe said, his lips pursed. "She's the most important person in this house!"

"That's why we can't be the kings," Jackson stated.

"Fine. I don't care," Joe pouted. But then, a troubling thought crossed Joe's mind. He turned to Jackson and asked,"Daddy, am I having a brother or sister?"

"It doesn't matter if you're having a brother or a sister," Jackson forced himself to say. He wanted the questions to stop. He was okay with having a son or a daughter. If the baby were a boy, he'd welcome the chance to have another son. If the baby were a girl, he would be even happier. He assumed that she would be as pretty as her mother and he would have no problems looking for a good husband for her eventually.

Joe was confused about Jackson's answer. "But, Daddy, you have to choose," Joe reiterated. He wondered, 'How can Daddy not care about the baby? Would the baby exist without his sperm? No. But Daddy doesn't care. Is he really my daddy and our baby's daddy?'

"It doesn't matter what I choose, Joe. The most important thing here is that Mommy is safe," Jackson reminded Joe. Jackson spoke with conviction, to let Joe know what was more important. "But me and the baby, we won't be here without Mommy and Daddy," Joe whined. Joe's lips began to quiver. "But Mommy pays more attention to me and I learn more from her." "That's not a nice thing to say to your Daddy, Joe," Joe reprimanded his son. "How do you know that anyway?" Jackson was still shocked whenever his son spoke. His genius mind kept saying the most incredible thoughts and he wasn't sure where it came from. It's hard to believe these words all came from a five-year-old boy. If Cherry were there, she'd knew exactly what to say.

I am a genius, Daddy. That's what Mommy calls me, Genius Joe," Joe answered. Joe took the last bite of his food and stood up off his chair. He was leaving the dining room while saying to Jackson,"Dear Daddy, Genius Joe is now leaving for school. See you later, Daddy!"

"Don't let that get to your head, my boy," Jackson shouted at Joe's back.

"I can brag because Mommy's not here, Daddy. But when she's back, I will be a good boy again," Joe smiled at Jackson before he left for school.

When he heard the door close behind Joe, Jackson breathed out a sigh of relief. He returned his attention to his already cold breakfast and waiting newspaper.


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