Chapter Eighteen

Two weeks later...
Rose is in the park watching her children at play and thinking about what charity event to get involved with next. There was always the gala for starving artists. It'd be a perfect cause and maybe it'll even drag Jack away from the office. She sighed as she thought about her husband. It's been a whole week since they had said a full sentence to each other. He's been so busy. She wished he'd take time off and spend some time with her and the children. She was feeling more lonely everyday.
"Why I didn't expect to run into you here on my lunch hour," A male voice speaks up from behind her. Rose turns around to face Cameron. "What a pleasant surprise."
"Hello Cameron," Rose thinly smiles as he comes and sits by her.
"What are you doing here Rose?"
"I thought I'd take the children out for some fresh air," Rose shrugs. "It's such a lovely day."
Rose looks at Cameron and wonders why he had enough time to take off and Jack didn't. She decides to ask. "Cameron....why do you have time to leave the office as all hours of the day and Jack doesn't? I don't understand."
Cameron shrugs. "I don't know. For some reason the employees and partners have taken a liking to Jack and only wants to deal with either him or James. But he really should take time off for family. The family business can wait."
"He doesn't even draw anymore," Rose looks at the ground, a single tear falling from her eyes. "It's like he's a different person...not the man I married at all.."
"WEll Rose...people change everyday. Maybe Jack did too. You know, you two were just kids when you married," Cameron puts a comforting arm around her. "Plus with a family to support..."
"Rose? Cameron? What are you doing here?" Jack appears behind the park bench.
"Oh, I just arrived and Rose was here with the children. I decided to set down and keep her company til it's time to go back to the office," Cameron forces a smile, inwardly cursing his cousin's arrival.
"Rose are you crying?" Jack asked, spotting Rose's tears.
"She's just a little melancholy," Cameron answers.
"Cameron, if you don't mind...I'd like to talk to my husband alone please," Rose looks at Cameron.
"Sure," Cameron quickly hides his disappointment. "I hope you feel better Rose. I hate to see you so down in the dumps." Cameron tucks a red curl behind her ear before getting up and strolling out of the park, his back turned so no one could see his scrawl.
"What's the matter Rose? Why are you crying?" Jack asked, setting next to her and taking her hand.
"Because I miss you Jack. I mean you never have time for us anymore. It's always the office. I've tried to understand, I really have."
Rose holds her hand up. "No, let me finish. Jack, I'm afraid. I'm afraid for our marriage. I mean we haven't even really talked to each other for a full week and before that it was just a couple of words."
"Rose I know that I've been neglecting you and the kids and I'm sorry. But the office...there's just so much work to do..."
"I'm just saying I miss you Jack. I miss you terribly and so do the children. At times, this week especially, I feel like I'm not even married," Rose sobs again. "I just want my husband back! Is that so wrong?"
Jack sighs and places a arm around her shoulders. "No Rose. That's not wrong at all. Believe me, I miss you and the kids too. You three are all I think about. I'm surprised they even remember me as their father. They probably see more of Cameron then they see of me."
"Daddy!" Lindsey spots Jack setting next to her mother and rushes into his arms, followed by the other three children.
"Daddy!" Tommy reaches his arms up for Jack to take him.
"They remember you after all Jack," Rose smiled, picking up Daniel and Molly.
Jack smiles and hugs his children closely. He had almost forgotten how good it felt to hold them in his arms and hear them call him daddy.
"Hey guys, I've missed you so much," Jack laughed.
"Are you staying Daddy?" Molly asked, her blue eyes pleading for him to say yes.
Jack hesitates. He still had a lot of things to do at the office, plus there was an important meeting with one of the clients. Looking at his family, his family that he's missed so much, he makes up his mind. "Of course I'm staying. Let me just call Cousin James and tell him that he and Cameron are going to be handling things by themselves today. The rest of the day belongs to you guys."
"Yay!" The four children cheer happily.
"Thank you Jack," Rose grins happily for the first time that week. She now felt secure again. She felt like she had gotten her family back.
Jack smiles. "No. Thank you Rose," Jack leans in and kisses her gently.

That night Jack and Rose lay in each other's arms, each caught up in their own little world. Rose is the first to break the silence.
"Jack...I was thinking. There's this charity ball next Friday. It's for starving artists. I thought that since you're an artist yourself...maybe you'd like to attend," Rose nervously smiled up at her husband.
"Go to a party with my beautiful wife? Of course...and especially when it's for such a worthy cause," Jack smiled happily. "And I promise Rose, nothing will stop me from taking you. For now on family comes first. The office is just going to have to wait," Jack kisses the top of her head.
Rose smiles happily up at Jack, knowing that he meant every word. "And Rose...I just wanted to apologize to you for not being here for you and the children. Cameron told me about the Cal confrontation...I'm sorry...I should have been the one there with you...not my cousin."
"That's ok Jack. In fact, I'm kind of glad Cameron did take me. I saw a whole new side to him that night. For the first time he reminded me of you," Rose smiled. "Maybe you're rubbing off on him."
"Maybe," Jack laughed. "But don't expect him to begin drawing portraits anytime soon though."
"Don't worry. I won't," Rose kisses him lightly and cuddles deeper into his embrace. For the first time in months she's truly happy.