"Isn't that highly dangerous?"
"It can be somewhat dangerous, but most police work is risky."
Sofia looked at him doubtfully and he admitted,
"Okay, yeah, it is a bit more dangerous, but then again a cop walking his beat can get involved in a family trouble call or walk into a convenience store and get hurt or killed. I'm good at what I do, baby, I don't take unnecessary chances."
Sofia nodded, but a worry frown still puckered her forehead.
After supper Pres watched, fascinated, as Sofia gave Dion his bath and got him ready for bed.
When they came back downstairs to, ostensibly, watch TV, Pres soon had his arm around Sofia. It wasn't long before he pulled her onto his lap, kissing her hungrily.
He paused after a few moments,
"Will you give me another chance?" he asked.
Sofia, who was breathless by then, whispered,
"You've always had more than a chance with me, Pres. I never stopped loving you."
When they made the move up to Sofia's bedroom, Pres saw that she'd decorated it just as she had her bedroom in her mobile home. The room was quite a bit larger but looked just the same and so it felt like home already to him. He'd spent many happy hours with her in that tiny pink trailer.
Over the next couple weeks Pres was over every chance he had, especially on his days off. He stayed at Sofia's on those days. He loved bathing Dion at night, getting him up in the morning and playing with him any time of day. His son was a happy child and he knew he could thank Sofia for that. Intelligent and inquisitive Dion asked many questions and Pres was glad to be able to answer most of them. Occasionally Dion said a phrase or two here or there that left Pres mystified, one eyebrow raised, and at those times Sofia or Auntie Thalia acted as translator.
"You'll learn Dion-speak soon enough," Sofia laughed, "Besides we need to gently correct him no matter how cute it is so he'll learn to speak clearly."
Because Pres was with Dion so much Sofia was able to put extra time in on her sewing and got caught up with all her orders.
A neighbor who had befriended Sofia, Elle Lomax, came by one day when Pres happened to have the day off. She was married to Dr. Courtney Lomax and owned an Art Gallery in Bluewater Village. The couple had a daughter just about Dion's age and Elle and Sofia were planning some play-dates for them and Sofia invited her to stay for lunch.
Elle and Sofia had been friends from just after the time Dana left so Elle had never met him and Sofia had not really mentioned him. In fact, she had only recently confided to Elle that Pres was Dion's father. So Elle assumed he'd been in the picture all along, although she was confused as to why he was not living there full time.
While all three of them were visiting in the living room Elle looked up at the composite photo of Dana and remarked with a smile,
"You told me you have a younger brother, Sofia, but said he's in upstate New York going to school right now. Is that picture on the wall of him?"
"I...you...he...no, that's a friend of mine," she looked quickly at Pres, "I mean, a friend of ours."
"Wow. Nice-looking guy," Elle raved, "I mean, woof! I have a single friend or two that would be fascinated by him."
Pres smiled really wide,
"Yes, he's very available. Sofia can probably tell you his phone number and address--I forget stuff like that."
He looked slyly at Sofia who now sputtered,
"Well he...you know...he," and she gave up, "Yeah, okay, but first I need to find out if he's interested in being set up with an unknown woman, of course."
"Oh, honey, he's a single guy of course he wants to meet women. Especially pretty ones as I'm sure Elle's friends are," Pres almost laughed. If Dana was busy with another woman, that would be fine with him.
Sofia looked back and forth between Pres and Elle and ventured,
"I don't think he likes real forward women though, so your friends might just need to go to the bar, I mean the restaurant, he hangs out in and hope to strike up a conversation with him rather than just call him up and ask him out."
Pres looked pointedly at the picture of Dana and then excused himself to go get Dion up from his nap. They were in the process of Dion learning a nursery rhyme.
Elle told Sofia a bit about the two women she was thinking of siccing on Dana and then she had to leave to get back home and relieve the baby-sitter.
Sofia felt protective toward Dana, like she would with a brother. While she hoped he'd meet someone who could love him the way she could not, she did not want to send some maneater of a woman after him. In addition she had not missed Pres' eagerness for Dana to get involved with someone, anyone. She hadn't seen Dana in a few months and for all she knew he was actively dating someone. Evidently Pres was jealous of him and this brought up another problem she would have to address.
She was almost done fixing supper and Pres had just finished work and come over.
"That picture of Dana," he said slowly as he undid the top three buttons on his shirt and unbuttoned his sleeves, rolling them up three-quarters, "I guess you're partial to it."
He should have gone upstairs and put on a pair of shorts and a tee shirt he'd left there, it was a hot day, but he was too anxious to get this subject out of the way. He'd been thinking about it on and off for days.
Sofia said nothing, just waited for him to continue. She put the food on the table and sat down and he joined her.
"I realize the guy was really there for you when I wasn't and you and Dion were tight with him but, all things considered, can we put his picture somewhere else? It's like he's watching me."
Sofia looked distracted,
"Oh, sure, yeah, I'll put it away for now and make sure that he gets it."
Pres look down and frowned and she said hastily,
"I mean I'll have Thalia make sure he gets it."
Pres nodded and went back to his steak.
"Pres," she said tentatively, "I get why you would rather I didn't see him, but you have to understand that he was everything to Dion for a while there and he's been asking about him. Dana hasn't been here in a while and I think it's because he's heard you and I are together. I feel bad cutting him out of our life especially since Dana and I were never more than friends."
She grew bolder,
"So I want to invite him to come over and see Dion and you can be right here with me."
Pres was quiet, he had always, since she'd known him, taken time to listen carefully to her, but this time it was making her a bit nervous as to his reaction. He finished his meal in silence.
"You're right, honey," he finally looked at her and spoke slowly, "Truthfully I need to thank him personally for all that he did for you and for Dion. I have no right to tell you what to do anyway."
"Yes, you do!" she blurted, "I mean, well, I don't want you to be miserable about this."
He reached for her hand,
"I guess I'm touchy about Dana for a couple reasons. One, I missed two years of Dion's life and I'm jealous that Dana got to have them, even though I know it was a good thing he was there. And two, I know that even though you were not in love with him; he definitely was and is in love with you. I'm feeling a need to solidify things in my life. That means you and Dion and me."
"I'm not in love with Dana present tense, either," Sofia corrected him, her full lips curling in the sweet smile he loved, "But you know you can visit here any time at all. You can spend as much time with Dion as you want and can spare."
"No, baby, I don't want to visit. I want you and our son to be in my life every day, I want to take care of you and be there for you. What I'm trying to say, in my awkward way, is that I want to marry you and i want us to make a home for Dion together."
He stood up and pulled her to her feet and rested his hands loosely on her hips.
"I know I don't deserve another chance but you just hafta give me one. Please. I love you both so much."
By the look on her face Pres could see she was still worried that the one he loved was Dion and so he would take Sofia in order to have the boy.
"Sofia, honey, I was in love with you before I even knew Dion existed. It's not just that I need to be a real father to Dion; I need you and your love so much it's killing me. Please, I gotta have you; I found out that without you I just don't work right."
With that he wrapped his strong arms around her and crushed her against his chest, bending her back and kissing her over and over. And Sofia had always been a fool for his kisses.
He lifted his mouth from hers and demanded, "Say it. Say you'll marry me."
One more scorching kiss and Sofia murmured in her breathy voice,
"Yes, I'll marry you, Pres."
He gave a deep sigh of relief and then a big smile came over his face,
"You just saved my life, honey."
The decided they would have a fairly small wedding--not as small as Perry and Lalique's, but it would be in Sofia's diminutive side yard. Meanwhile, Pres moved in with her and Dion and put his own smaller house on the market. He would put the money into new real estate as soon as possible. Pres was sure it wouldn't be that long until they would need a bigger place.