2:47 p.m.

Andy came around to open Michael’s door. “Want me to throw that away, Boss?” He gestured toward the bag that held the ring box.”

“Yeah,” Michael took the box out, stuffing it deep in his pant pocket as he handed Andy the bag. “Not here, though. Dispose of it where she’ll never see it.”

“Of course.” Andy nodded, crumpling the bag up and putting it in his pocket.

“I’ll be back.” Michael smoothed out his shirt and made his way up to Athena’s front door. As he knocked on the door, he looked down to make sure the box wasn’t visible. It was, so he moved it to his back pocket.

“Hey, baby!” Athena smiled that infamous 100-Watt smile of hers as she opened the door and pulled Michael in for a hug and a kiss. “Come in for a second. I’ve got to do one more thing, and then we can go.” She pulled him in by his hand.

Michael smiled to himself. She always had “one more thing” to do before they went anywhere, and that’s something he’d never grow tired of. When asked a year ago why she didn’t do whatever it was before they left, she’d just say, “every time you come, I’m in the middle of doing something. So when you get here, I have to greet you and hurry up and finish what I’m doing.”

Today, that something was finding the necklace for her ring and earring set.”

“Where’s Jayce?” Michael wondered after noticing there was no sign of the little one around the house.

“He’s with his father for the week. You know we just started that summer schedule.” Athena called from her bedroom.

Michael nodded to himself. “That’s right.” With the summer schedule, he could never remember which week was hers or not.

When it came to shared custody practices, Michael was glad Deborah did what she did.

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