Aubrey and Chloe are divorced and they had a six year old kid name Joshua Posen Beale whom they share a custody. Though Chloe gets Joshua every weekday because he has school and Chloe continued to live in their family home in the suburbs. Aubrey gets Joshua every weekend because she lives in the city. They remained civil with each other, not wanting to make it harder for their kid who's starting to question their set up.
"Mom, what time will Mama arrive to pick me up?" Joshua asked as he watched her redhead mother fix his weekend bag pack that he will bring when her blonde mother picks him up.
Joshua has two moms, one is a redhead who is a teacher but not with kids like him. His mother teaches adult kids about music and his mother has a really wonderful voice, he hears it every time she tucks him in and instead of reading a book, his Mommy would sing to him.
Chloe checked her watch, 5:30pm, Aubrey would arrive in exactly fifteen minutes. They've decided that every Friday, Aubrey could pick their son up around six pm since Chloe has a class until three and she picks Joshua around three thirty. It leaves Chloe enough time to feed her son and take her for a nap. But Aubrey being Aubrey, she always arrives fifteen minutes early.
It wasn't the setup that Chloe envisioned for her son, but at least this is better than either one of them getting sole custody over Joshua. They both wanted to be there for him and let him grow up as normal as possible. Their fallout should not affect their son, at least that's the part where they could agree together.
It has been two years since the divorce and they're both getting by. They inform each other of anything that could affect their son but they don't share anything too personal. Chloe likes to think that it's a silent agreement that they both have because if Chloe knew that Aubrey has finally found someone else, she would have lost it.
She knows she still loves the blonde lawyer with all her heart but they must have grown apart while they're trying to stay together for their son. Having a son was everything that they thought it would be; they're very happy and satisfied with their lives. But Aubrey got sidetracked with her ambition and started neglecting their family with the thought that she's working for the future of their son.
At first Chloe has let her, supporting her and thinking that Aubrey would come to her senses that there's a lot more important than money. But they continue to grow apart and their irreconcilable differences is what pushed Chloe to ask for the divorce.
Chloe's heart broke when Aubrey didn't object but only asked for shared custody. She asked if there's somebody else but Aubrey didn't answer her. She thought she's going to lost it but Joshua saved her from her misery, he helped her to move on and be a parent that he needs and will need.
"Mom?" She heard her son called out. She looked over Joshua's bag pack. Her son that got her Mama's dirty blonde locks but got her baby blue eyes. He took after her Mama about being curious about anything and was not afraid to ask. He's naturally smart and sharp, he likes to read books over playing and he wants to be a lawyer that fights the bad guys.
She smiled sweetly at her son, he's always excited to see his Mama, Chloe guessed that it's where they're the same; they're both smitten by one Aubrey Posen.
"Well little boy, your Mama will arrive in fifteen minutes so you better get your little bum ready before she gets here", she ruffled his messy hair as she walked passed Joshua.
Joshua, like a cute little puppy that he is perked up to know that his Mama will arrive soon, checked his appearance first at the mirror before running to the living room to watch cartoons. Chloe smiled at her son, sometimes she thinks that he's too mature for his age.
Chloe followed her son at the living room and sat beside him. She draws him near to her and lean his head on her chest while she smooths out his hair, this is Chloe's favorite sitting position.
"Mom, can I ask a question?" She heard Joshua, she knows he's still watching but that's how smart he is, he can already multi task.
"You already asked one, silly" she smiled even if she knows her son can't see her. "But go on, what is it honey?" She urged her son.
"Why does Mama live in the city and not with us?" Straight to the point, didn't even stutter, a true Posen. She knows this kind of question will come since Joshua is quick to pick up on things.
"Honey, you know Mama has to work on the city and you have to study here and your friends are here and my work is here", she answered just like how she practiced. She's prepared but it doesn't mean that the guilt is not there. It's not far from the truth, that is really the reason for their current set up; Chloe does not want Joshua to grow up in the city, and she wants to give him a proper childhood. Aubrey cannot leave her law firm and it would be impractical for her to live with them since they're already divorced.
Joshua nodded his head like he understands it and just accepts it but Chloe could see the wheels still turning in his head. "I love you, Joshua", she said. She likes reassuring her son that no matter what happens she loves him.
"I love you too Mommy. So much." He grinned at her as if he didn't ask anything that is depressing. It took all of Chloe's strength not to tear up in front of her son because she knows it would just upset him to see her sad.
"Do you love Mama too?" Chloe was taken by surprise by his question. It's a complicated question for her but for her son it seems like a very simple one so Chloe just leveled with him.
Her phone chimed and interrupted their moment and Chloe knew it's a text from her ex-wife, she cringed as she thought of the prefix ex. There was a time in her life that she was so happy and excited to call Aubrey her wife and she thought no one and nothing could take that away from her. Boy, she was so wrong with that assumption.
Aubrey: I'm here. Ready whenever you guys are.
Aubrey texts like she talks, short and concise.
Chloe: be there in a minute :)
Chloe still tries her best to be as friendly as possible. She knows between the both of them, she's better at making friends than Aubrey. She just wants to make it work for Joshua.
"Buddy, your Mama's here!" Joshua perked up and ran towards the door before Chloe had the chance to stop him. She caught up to him, at least he knows not to open the door on his own even if he knows it's his Mama on the other side.
Chloe opened the door and like always, Aubrey is already standing on their porch with a smile on her face.
"Mama!" Joshua shrieked and jump on his mother's open and waiting arms. Aubrey nuzzled on her son's neck, she cherishes the times that she can still carry her son, he's growing too fast for her liking.
Aubrey looked up and she saw her ex wife watching them with a tender smile on her face. She's wearing a tank top and sweats, she still looked like when they were still in college like she haven't aged at all. It made her heart flutter.
Aubrey noticed the red rim on Chloe's eyes and she already knows that the redhead was crying or were trying not to. She wanted to ask if she's okay or what made her upset but she was unsure if she's allowed to.
"Hey" she settled for a greeting instead. Chloe just nodded her head and invited her in. It's still so weird for her to get invited into her own house, well, the house she used to live. She gave this house to Chloe and Joshua so that she could have the peace of mind that her family is safe and sheltered.
Their fallout still feels like yesterday for her, coming inside the house always gives her nostalgic feelings of how this house was her home, how Chloe was her home.
"Busy day at work?" Chloe asked her as they went to the kitchen after she left Joshua at the living room with his cartoons. She always picks her son up fifteen minutes early so that she could have this extra fifteen minutes with Chloe.
"A bit, you know how being a partner is" she answered Chloe then shrugged. She waited on the kitchen counter as Chloe prepares her coffee and some cookies.
She's not into sweets but Chloe's cookies are the best.
Chloe looked up sadly at her, of course Chloe knows, it might be the reason why they are in their current situation. Her pained expression tells Aubrey that she has upset Chloe. She has seen that look a million times on the redhead to be mistaken. Mostly before they signed the divorce papers.
Aubrey mentally smack herself for even in just being friends she still manages to upset Chloe. It's the last thing that she wanted to do but end up doing anyway.
Chloe quietly hands her the cup of coffee and a plate of cookies then busies herself for her son's snack that they will bring. Aubrey wanted to ask how the redhead was doing but she's afraid that it might be too personal to ask.
Most of the time they will just mention to each other their schedule and appointments that might affect their son but they never ask each other. They share things in their own accord so Aubrey is reluctant to ask.
She's not really good with making friends or being a friend. It was just Chloe who always crosses the bridge for her, always willing to go that extra mile for her and get to know her. She loves with all that she got, she's open and warm and all that Aubrey needs and more.
Aubrey might face different bad guys at her profession but outside of court, Chloe is so much stronger and courageous that she could ever be. She was the one who carried Joshua for nine months, she's the one who mostly wakes up at ungodly hours of the night to tend to their son. She keeps their little family together and at the end it was also Chloe who had the strength to face the reality that it's not working for them anymore.
Now, looking at her ex wife, Aubrey can't help but noticed that she looked tired but seems happy, she lost weight but not too skinny, her hair is shorter but bright as red as she remembered.
She fought the urge to come to Chloe and wrap her into a hug. She was just so tired; physically, mentally, and emotionally. When they were still together, Chloe's hugs were what she looked forward to everyday. She felt loved and cared for every time those arms are around her. Oh how times have changed for her and Chloe.
She can't help the moan of appreciation as she sips her black coffee, just how she likes it. She heard Chloe chuckled and it helped the knots in the blonde's stomach to loosen up.
Joshua came in the kitchen with a big smile on his face. "Mama time to go!" He said and when Aubrey checked, her heart sank since she doesn't want to leave yet. Joshua already knows how to tell time after she thought him for a few times and she could not be more proud of him.
Aubrey noticed Chloe's smile fell too, a twinge of hope arose in her heart that Chloe might have felt the same way. And quickly as that came it was also crushed since it might be for their son and not for her. It must have been hard for Chloe to see Joshua go since she gets him most of the week. But as much as she wants Chloe to be with Joshua all the time, she also needs her quality time with him.
"Okay little buddy. Here's your cookies and this is for Norman too", Chloe handed Joshua two jars of cookies; one for him and one for the old guard at the condominium that Aubrey is staying.
Chloe is still kind as ever and Aubrey felt like slapping herself again for letting this wonderful woman go and choose her career over her family. She regrets it every day since the divorce was finalized.
They were happy and she was very much content with her life when they had Joshua. She has a wonderful family and her heart was so full.
But she got sidetracked, she thought that she was missing a huge window of opportunity if she let the offer of being a partner pass her up. Chloe was supportive at first but it came to a point that Aubrey was so busy and went home only once a week or once in every two weeks. Chloe asked her if she's having an affair but she just scoffed. She thought it was stupid at first because she would never cheat on Chloe.
Dismissing it is the biggest mistake she has made, yes she's not really having an affair but some reassurance would have helped Chloe's suspicion and before she knew it, Chloe was asking her for a divorce.
She gave it to her because she saw how unhappy Chloe has become. Her eyes lost that glint of joy and was replaced with tears, her bubbly personality became dimmed. Chloe was going through a lot and Aubrey was too busy to notice it. All her insecurities came back to her that she could never make Chloe happy. She just asked for shared custody because she would have gone crazy if she would lose Joshua too.
"Okay buddy, say goodbye to your mom then we could go" Aubrey forced a smile to her son. She turned away and went to wait on the living room. She knows Chloe always tears up every time she says goodbye, even just for the weekend, to Joshua and she can't stand to see her cry.
After a few minutes Chloe and Joshua emerged from the kitchen, and just as Aubrey predicted Chloe shed some tears again. She were wiping her cheeks and Joshua has scrunched nose and a pout, indicating that he just cried.
For a moment she felt bad because she blames herself for their sorrow, for Chloe and Joshua's misery of being far away from each other. It's all her fault,-
Soft tugged on her hand tells her that Joshua is ready to go. She kissed the top of his head and walked with him to the door, Chloe was right behind them with Joshua's back pack on hand.
"Bye Joshua, be good for Mama okay?" Chloe bid last goodbye to their son. Aubrey is already on the porch and Chloe is kneeling in front of their son so they could be face to face.
"I love you", Chloe pulled him for a hug that right before she finished her phrase, Aubrey caught her eyes. She held Chloe's gaze a while longer before looking away. She was startled as she hear those words from Chloe, but as much as she tries to shake it off, she can't erase the fact that she's affected by her words.
She bit her tongue for the automatic response that she has every time she would hear it from Chloe.
Three words that she used to hear and always towards her. Be it in bad days or good days of her life, those three words from this woman always seem to ground her back to her reality with her. How times and circumstances have changed but its effect still remains as powerful.
Chloe kissed his cheeks and the top of Joshua's head before urging him to walk with Aubrey. Chloe reached Joshua's bag to Aubrey and she tried not to gasp as she felt the ghost of touch of their hands.
"How about Mama, Mommy?" Both woman was startled and confused by Joshua's question and just stared at him. Sometimes Joshua thinks his mommies are weirdos, he got that word from her Aunt Beca one time when they were walking and he heard her calling someone that.
"Won't you give Mama a kiss?" He clarified his question. He was always curious as to why his mommies don't kiss every time they would leave. He asked them individually if they love each other and their answer is both and always a yes, so why can't they kiss?
Both women were reluctant, looking at Joshua then at each other. Joshua took the matters in his own hands and tugged his Mommy closer to them. Chloe stumbled as she stands closer to Aubrey.
The blonde was checking in with the redhead if she's really okay with it because the last thing she needs is to force Chloe do something that she doesn't want to do. Chloe nods subtly at her and it's all the permission she needs.
This would be their first physical contact since the divorce, as far as both of them remembers. Aubrey's hands were shaking against his son's and Chloe's hands were clammy. Joshua was confused on what's taking them too long.
They both leaned simultaneously both aiming for each cheek but since it's been a while since they did this they were both bad at it. Not knowing which cheek they would get, they ended up in each other's lips.
It was done the soon as it happened, both of them quickly lean back as they both realize what happened. Aubrey's heart is beating so fast, like she has ran a marathon and every thing around her must have froze.
Chloe chewed on her lower lip and looking down on the ground rather than on Aubrey. She was the one who cleared her throat and came out of being stunned by what happened.
She looked down on Joshua and she saw how big his smile is, looking pleased at what he has seen. "Happy little kid?" Chloe asked and ruffled his hair, again. She likes feeling the smooth and silky locks against her hand, so sue her.
"I'm not a little kid anymore", his mood quickly changed and cross his arms in front of him and cute scowl on her face. It made Chloe chuckled, he's indeed their son, he got a lot on both of their antics.
"Okay Joshua, Remember how I told you about reacting that way when someone said something that you don't like?" Aubrey's voice is calmed and collected but she made sure her son recognize her authority.
"It's rude and not nice" he answered as he lowers his arms and looked apologetic. Aubrey don't like reprimanding Joshua but she knows he needs it. "I'm sorry Mommy for acting that way, I won't do it again." He apologized on his own.
"It's okay, Josh," Chloe said and reached out to squeeze his shoulder. She smiled at him so that he'll see that he's already forgiven and Joshua gave her a toothy grin.
"Come on, let's go." Aubrey took her son's hand, nodded politely in goodbye at Chloe and walked towards her car.
"Bye Mommy! I love you! See you tomorrow!" Joshua shouted over his shoulder while waving at Chloe.
As soon as the car was out of sight, Chloe's smile fades and her lips turned downwards. She sighed one last time before going back into an empty house that is too big without her son.