Outtake: Dad #CrossCatherine
The schedule kind of got messed up a bit, but hopefully we’ll be back on track with outtakes on Fridays as usual. I actually got the idea for this particular outtake from a post in my reader group. It was kind of perfect for Cross and his kids, so I thought you might all like to see that be brought to life. 😊
Onto the outtake, loves.
Cross + Catherine
“Can I? Can I do it, Papa?”
Catherine followed the voice of her four-year-old son, letting it lead her to the rear French doors of their three-level home that took them to the veranda. Standing in the doorway, her gaze scanned the large backyard at the same time she heard Cross reply to Naz, “Yeah, jump. I’ll catch you.”
She didn’t have to search for long before she found the source of their conversation and the fucking answer to her question. There stood her husband, fifteen or more feet down on the ground from where their son currently waited. In this fledgling treehouse. Right then, it was nothing more than the bones of what would be the treehouse. Likely by the weekend, it would be finished once all the guys came back over to help Cross put in the walls, the roof, and a better way up than the boards nailed into the side of the tree and a plank they walked up like they were currently using.
The better question, though?
Why was Naz up there?
They had already agreed the kid wouldn’t be playing in the treehouse until it was fully safe and ready to do so. Hell, the thing didn’t even have walls.
He shouldn’t be up there.
Never mind talking about jumping.
The second the kid let it slip that he and Cece might like a treehouse, Cross had shit planned out before he laid his head down that same night to sleep. Though he held everything in his life in high regard, the one thing he took most serious was being a dad.
Catherine loved him so much for that. Her father had been the same way as she grew up—always willing to put less important things aside so that his kids never forgot like they were an afterthought to Dante. It was the same reason why she knew that if today, or on any other day, the only thing she wanted to do was call and talk to her dad, she could do just that. Dante wouldn’t make her think anything else.
Their kids would be the same with Cross, she knew. Catherine didn’t think he understood how much that would mean to them in the future, but someday he would. Hopefully.
“Are you gonna jump, or what?” she heard Cross call.
“Yeah! Like, fly, right?”
Cross chuckled, his gaze darting toward the house before snapping right back to where Naz was still hanging dangerously close to the edge of the platform. Fat too high. If he noticed his wife standing at the rear doors, she couldn’t tell. Not that it mattered. Surely, Cross wasn’t really going to let him jump down from there.
“Hurry, before your Ma—”
Catherine opened her mouth to shout out to Cross and Naz that nobody was going to be jumping down from that goddamn treehouse. But she didn’t get the chance to say anything at all. Naz took three quick steps back in his little Timberland boots, and then he darted forward just as fast. He didn’t even think about it. Didn’t look the least bit scared or worried. In fact, he was nothing more than a blur of a smile with arms stretched wide as he flew off the side of the platform and fell fast to his waiting father before.
She felt her heart drop.
Swore it jumped right back up into her throat at the same time.
Catherine didn’t even get the time to appreciate how thick her anxiety could become before everything was fine and okay again. Because Cross caught Naz and just as fast, the boy had two feet on the ground. His little toque with the furry ball on top bounced the same way he did while his pealing laughter echoed over the backyard.
“Again! I wanna do it again!”
Cross looked toward the house once more, but this time, his gaze did land on Catherine. While she felt something akin to amusement, she was also sure her face didn’t look like it. “Probably not, buddy.”
That was that.
Naz headed for his tree swing.
Cross followed right behind.
It was still taking time for her to get used to the fact that their son wasn’t anything like their daughter, in a lot of ways. Her husband didn’t have a problem with that—that morning he snuggled with Cece after breakfast until he heart was content. This afternoon, he was letting their boy jump out of a treehouse like the kid had wings.
Later, he’d probably dangle Naz upside down by his ankles before he played pretend tea with Cece like he usually did in the evenings. When their daughter had been Naz’s age, Cross wouldn’t even let the girl look at a street without looking like he might kill anything and everything that dared to move in her direction.
He just let the kid go.
Catherine didn’t get it.
That was Cross, though.
And he was just being a dad.
She knew that.
Even if sometimes it scared her to death.