Episode 598: IncompleteLucy hardly ever smiled, Paul thought, watching her with a frown. Well, she did smile, and laugh. Just not the way she used to. Not carefree. Not ever.
"You should see her," he said.
"What?" Lucy replied, her thoughts returning to him. Sheíd been studying while they ate lunch at a campus picnic table, but he knew her mind frequently wandered off to Hope. His did.
As much as it pleased Paul to think of Hopeís pretty little face smiling, it also hit hard that she wasnít smiling at, or for, him. He wasnít making her laugh, or holding her when she needed to be held.
"You should see her," he repeated.
Lucy shook her head. "Thatís not a good idea."
"The way youíre going is better?" He made a point of checking in on her like this, surprising Lucy with the occasional meal or phone call. Each time he hoped heíd find her different, or rather, the same as she used to be. Ambitious. Clear-eyed. Mostly happy. Not just going through the motions, but also really living. He wanted that for her, so much.
He couldnít help feeling to blame for her not having that anymore.
"You saw how addicted I was to that photo at Christmas." Lucy scrubbed her fingers over her face. "Itís only this past week when Iíve stopped myself from looking at it every hour, and when I look at herÖ"
"It fills you with nostalgia for moments youíll never share with her."
"Can you imagine how much worse that would be after a few minutes of touching her and smelling her?" Lucy shook her head. "Itís not a good idea. If I canít be her mom, and I canít, Iím not ready. And Michael so is. I need a clean break."
"Youíve tried that. Maybe itís time to try having her in your life. You could have those moments with her. The Gables claimed theyíd be okay with sharing her, right?"
She slowly nodded. "I donít know if I could be okay with it. If I could take the goodbyes."
"What if I was there with you?" When Lucy told him she was pregnant, he hadnít been ready to be a father. He still wasnít. However, he was ready to be there for her, as he should have been in the first place, supporting her. Even if he wasnít certain he could take the goodbyes either.