Warning: PG-13 for some NSFW in the first part of the chapter. Also, don’t read if you aren’t comfortable with topics of infertility. Also, kind of long (5k+ words).
Following David’s proposal, we’ve decided not to put things off for too long and to have a small ceremony with only our family and friends present. Luckily, the lodge where Gerald and Katy got married was able to squeeze us in within the next two months, and we were able to marry in record time.
My parents were incredulous – in the course of one year, both of their babies were getting hitched! They and Gerald wished us both the best of luck in becoming a family. The girls at work just chuckled when David and I announced our engagement – apparently they were both expecting it for a while now.
So, one evening very soon, the two of us said our vows, exchanged rings, and became a family. I was officially Mrs. Meadows-Collier, and David was my lawful wedded husband.
As the wedding party went on, with all of our friends and family mingling, we both found ourselves needing some space from the group and found an opportunity to sneak away to a more private area of the venue.
“So, Mrs. Meadows-Collier, how does it feel to be a married woman?” David asked with an easy smile.
“Depends. How does it feel to be a married man, Mr. Collier?” I joked back.
“Right. It feels right. Did I ever tell you how amazing you look in that dress?” he asked, pulling me close.
“You can really work a tux too, love,” I responded, leaning into him.
“I love you, Irene,” he whispered before kissing me fervently. Pulling away, he asked, “Hey, do you think anyone will notice if we sneak away right this instant?”
Looking back at our guests, I shook my head. “I doubt it. There’s cake and an open bar – the best distractions known to humanity. Let’s go?”
The drive back to David’s, or rather our, house was as quick as could be. Before I could open the door, David stopped me.
“Wait, let’s do this the right way,” he explained, before picking me up and carrying me over the threshold.
“But we already live together!” I laughed. It was true, the week before our wedding, I have officially moved in with him, which was mostly a practicality, since I was already here most of the time.
“Doesn’t matter. I’m still carrying my wife over the threshold on her first arrival here in that status,” he chuckled. “So, what are you thinking off?”
“The same thing you are thinking off, I’m sure. I mean, I like the tux but…” I teased.
“Oh yes. Your dress needs to go as well,” he agreed.
Neither of us needed any more prompting.
It was strange, really. I kept hearing about all these couples who felt less attraction to one another after being together for a year, but in our case it was quite the opposite. I never got tired of seeing David in bed next to me and judging by his behavior, he felt the same way about me.
After we got all the yearning out of our system, he and I fell back exhausted but happy.
“So. We’re really married, huh,” he whispered.
“Yeah… You know it’s funny, but before I met you, I never imagined myself getting married,” I admitted.
“Really? Why not?” he asked softly, nuzzling my arm with his lips.
“I don’t know. It just seemed like such a serious strange thing to do.”
“What about now?” he laughed softly, caressing me.
“Do you really need to ask?” I responded, trying to ignore his eyelashes tickling me.
“I guess not,” he chuckled. “I’ve always wanted to marry, to have a family. It’s probably strange considering my own family background, but the more aloof things were at home, the more I’ve wanted a family of my own. A real family, where the husband and wife feel strong affection for one another and go out of their way to make each other and their kids feel loved. That kind of thing.”
“I want that too. Mom and Dad were like that, always. Still are. I think they made me set really high standards for family love. Speaking of family, do you want kids?” I asked. Ever since David proposed, I’ve been thinking non-stop about what it would be like to have a child together. Or two. Or three.
“I do. Do you?” he raised his head.
“Yes! At least two!” I laughed.
“I’d like that,” he smiled. “When do you think we should start trying?”
“We are already married. Why not now?” I offered. Once again, David didn’t need to be asked twice.
As we fell asleep close to one another, he pulled me close and whispered “I still can’t believe we’re finally a family. Sweet dreams, love.”
I was as happy as anyone could be.
Waking up next to Irene each morning was the best part of being married. Every time, I would be reminded that this wasn’t some wishful dream, but reality. For the first time in my life, it felt as if life was absolutely perfect. We were still absolutely swamped with work at the company, but that was nothing when you had the love of your life by your side.
I never expected that the upset drunken girl I met at the bar almost three years ago would become the woman I wanted to spend the rest of my days with or that she’d be the guiding light that chased away most of my anxiety. But that she was.
I just hoped I could be the kind of person she needed, for all the time.
Getting up and circling the living room, a recurring thought popped up in my head – this place was small. Too small for a new family that was thinking of growing.
Of course it was small. This was the place I got cheaply when I first moved here with the sole idea of not having to live under my father’s room once more. I didn’t really care about space or fancy amenities back then, since the place was for me alone. As it was, it was lucky that it had a well-functioning bathroom and a full kitchen, but space was somewhat of an issue.
This was a bachelor pad, not a family home. We’ll just have to move, then.
And I knew just the place.
A couple of weeks later, once Irene and I have gotten off work, instead of heading home, I drove past it and instead towards the new house. I haven’t told Irene about the purchase yet, but I’ve notice that she smiled, whenever we passed by this place. As soon as I found out it was for sale, I’ve put in a bid and the house was mine. Or more accurately, ours.
“Where are we going?” Irene asked, seeing our current abode fade in the distance.
“Someplace I hope you’ll like,” I nodded towards the house we’ve just approached.
Helping her out of the car, I hugged her while she took in the building. “It’s ours,” I informed her.
“But it’s huge! There’s no way we can afford it right now, not while we’re still paying out fines for the company,” Irene protested.
“It cost less than you think. Apparently the person who ordered it built and chose the layout didn’t like the end result. So, the seller put in on the market, but apparently, too many people are unhappy with the lake-side location and he ended up lowering the price.”
“What?! That’s crazy. This place is gorgeous,” Irene frowned.
“That’s what I thought. Their loss, our gain, right? Anyways, let’s head inside! It’s starting to drizzle.”
Once inside, I showed her the house the same way the seller showed it to me.
“So, the kitchen is all finished, the walls upstairs still need some paint. The plumbing is all functional, of course, and much more modern than our current one. There are two bedrooms other than the master, and two balconies. Wait till you see the one in the back!”
I led her to the master bedroom that had its own entrance to the large backside balcony with an amazing view of the lake.
“So, what do you think?”
“I love it. It’s a little big for just the two of us, but the lake is right here and it’s conveniently close to my parents, and yeah, you’ve probably noticed me looking at this house so many times. You have, haven’t you?” she realized.
“It definitely was something that influenced my home buying decision,” I admitted.
“It’s perfect,” she smiled. “And I guess you can go swimming in the lake whenever you want now, isn’t that so?”
“You just know it!”
5 Years Have Passed.
We were having a house party, a thing that neither Irene nor I were fond of. However, when you have many friends, sometimes you have to make an effort to spend time with them outside of work.
In other words, our house was full of people. And people talk so much. Sometimes it’s overwhelming keeping track of all the conversations happening. At least how it is for me.
Irene was engrossed in a conversation with her sister-in-law. She has just offered everyone some cold beers from the fridge, but as it turned out, Katy couldn’t drink for health reasons.
“I’m not showing yet, but Ger and I are expecting,” she announced. “So, no drinks for me for the next while.”
“OMG, me too!” Lana chimed in. “I finally convinced Emmet that we can totally raise a child and I’m about three months in.”
“No way! We can be bump buddies,” Katy laughed. “What about you, Irene? When are you going to join the club?”
“Soon, hopefully,” Irene’s mouth curved in a smile that didn’t quite reach the eyes.
I saw Tia stiffen next to my wife. She was always much more intuitive to people’s emotions.
My mother-in-law also gave me a knowing look. She has also noticed Irene’s reaction, it seemed.
Talk about awkward.
Soon, it was over, as Gerald came back into the room and started asking Irene if we wanted to give an interview for his newspaper. After all our effort, we were now considered proof that a company in any condition could be pulled out of a rut.
At this point, Roman involved me in an interesting conversation about online media and I had to divert my attention away from Irene, although I could still see her mingling with Tia and Lana throughout the evening.
Eventually, the party ended and we were able to go to bed.
“Well, that was exhausting,” Irene sighed. “Why did we invite so many people, again?”
“Absolutely agreed. The next time people are hinting that we should have a party, we should make sure it’s hosted at their place!”
“Good thinking,” she laughed genuinely for the first time that evening.
“Hey, was everything ok back there, with Katy and Lana?” I ventured.
“Yeah, of course! Wow, Gerald is going to be a dad. My younger brother is becoming a father,” she smiled. “And I did wonder when Lana was going to get knocked up. After Tia and Roman had their Brannon, she wanted to start trying right away, but Emmet was freaked out about becoming a father…”
“Irene, that wasn’t what I meant,” I sighed. Why did she insist on pretending everything was fine?
“I know. But it didn’t bother me, really. I mean, we don’t have a kid yet, but it takes time, sometimes,” she shrugged.
“Alright, then. Just know you can talk to me about anything, ok?” I reassured her the same way she has always done with me.
“I know, I know. And that’s why I love you,” she smiled. “Well, goodnight, then?”
“Goodnight. Sweet dreams.”
The morning after the party, like I often did, I got up earlier than Irene. The weather was warm, meaning the lake would be perfect for a swim.
Swimming was something I did almost professionally in college and high school. It has always been something that calmed me down and improved my mood. Something about the water just had a healing effect on the soul.
Coming back from my swim, I could see Irene on the balcony, already awake and waving at me. She seemed to be in a better mood than the night before, which made me happy in turn.
“Had a nice swim?” she yelled from the balcony.
“Sure did. I’m hungry; will you have breakfast with me? I know you don’t have to go in until later.”
“Sure, I’ll be down in a bit,” she smiled, and headed back inside.
Waking up to an empty bed on summer mornings was never a surprise for me. I knew David loved to swim when the weather was warm, utilizing the free time before work to get the most out of the day. Knowing about his background in swim, I was happy he came back to this activity he has loved so much in the past. Not only did swimming help him control his anxiety, but it enabled him to once again quit smoking, a feat I knew he was proud of. As was I – it always worried me to see him with a cigarette before.
Besides, while I wasn’t a great swimmer myself, I could certainly enjoy the view.
“I’ll be down in a bit,” I told David when he called me to eat with him.
There was something I wanted to do first.
In the bathroom, I followed the directions on the box. I waited for 5 minutes, like I was supposed to.
Alright, Irene, here goes nothing. I didn’t want to look down at the little stick in my hand, though. The result was always the same, anyways.
Finally I forced myself to look.
After five years of marriage, five years of trying to conceive, still negative.
I threw the offensive object away, doing my best not to cry. I actually had some hope this time around, for whatever reason. We were making sure to have a lot of sex on the days I knew I was ovulating, I was watching my diet like a hawk, we were both in good health, we both wanted a baby… what else could we do? What could I do?
Finally gathering myself together, I headed downstairs to breakfast. The pro of having such a huge house was that both of us could have our space when we needed it. This was something I appreciated when I felt as terrible as I did right now. But at the same time, I couldn’t be alone right now.
“Hey, what took you so long?” David asked, sliding a fresh peanut-butter sandwich towards me. “I thought we were going to have breakfast together. Your coffee got cold.”
“Sorry, I lost track of time,” I lied. “But I’ve been trying to cut down on coffee anyways.”
“Alright, then. I guess I should get ready for work. I have about half an hour to shower and get dressed,” he calculated.
“Ok,” I nodded still focused on my sandwich.
He raised an eyebrow, but didn’t say anything on his way to the bathroom.
“What the hell?” I realized what he was hinting at in a minute. “I need to get my head in the game.”
“I see you’ve changed your mind?” he joked as I joined him in the shower.
“I’m so out of it today. So out of it,” I shook my head. “Thanks for jogging my memory, hon.”
Months passed. My sister-in-law and Lana were both showing in their pregnancies. I tried to ignore the ugly nagging feelings of jealousy this stirred in me. They were my friends, I was really, truly happy for them, I was. But at the same time, it hurt knowing that, for some reason, what happened so easily to them just refused to happen to me. All I wanted was a child, real healthy child to complete my family.
It didn’t help that the girls, despite their wonderful personalities, simply didn’t notice how I felt. Of course, I’d be the last person to tell them, but when they asked me for things like these…
“Emmet and I would love for you to be the baby’s godmother, Irene. Please say yes!” Lana asked with anticipation.
“Me, really? Are you sure?” I was taken aback.
“Of course, you! Why not, we’re friends,” Lana shrugged as if it was such an everyday thing.
“Sorry, I just wasn’t expecting this! Of course, I’ll do it,” I agreed, still feeling strange about the whole thing.
“Thank you so much, Irene! You are such a great friend,” Lana exclaimed pulling me into a hug.
I hugged her back, with my heart warming up to the idea. Hey, I was going to be a sweet little boy’s godmother. That was pretty awesome. And Lana was always so sweet to me; of course, I’ll do this for her.
“You’re welcome, dear. But I guarantee you I’ll end up spoiling the little one.”
“Oh, I’m sure you will. That’s what godparents are for, right?” she laughed.
On my way from her house to the company, I was still smiling at her reaction. Until I ran into the last people I wanted to meet on any day of the week.
Micah and Mona. They were passing right outside of Collier Enterprises, on their way to wherever they were going.
They didn’t notice me, of course. They were busy fussing with their baby.
But I certainly noticed them, with my jealousy resurfacing again and bubbling up the surface in huge waves, only to turn into deep, deep bitterness over the fact that practically everyone was having kids but me.
I barely made it into the building, running for the empty conference room where I knew I could finally break down and let it all out. Except, the conference room wasn’t empty.
“Hello, Mrs. Meadows-Collier, I almost thought you won’t make it in today!” Liam Upton waved at me from across the table.
Still feeling awkward from being caught in such a terrible mood, I remembered: of course, today we were supposed to go over our quarterly income reviews with the lawyer. And of course, in my distracted state, I forgot all about it.
“My apologies for being late,” I found my voice. “I have to admit I forgot all about this review and I was here to pick up the unfinished paperwork from this week. Good thing I was here, then. Let’s look at these papers.”
“Yes, of course. Is everything alright, though? You look rather upset, if I may say so,” the lawyer ventured.
“Thank you for the concern, Mr. Upton, but I’m alright, really,” I lied.
“Ok, then. Well, as you can tell by looking at these logs, your company is doing very well. And I can attest that all the income you are making is coming in as legally as possible. Congratulations. I, unfortunately, didn’t get to talk to Mr. Collier about it yet, but I think, sooner rather than later, we’ll need less and less of these reviews. I must admit, I’m impressed by your and your husband’s approach to business. If all the other corporations were as meticulous about their reputation, I would have been out of a job!” he laughed. “But really, this is the kind of thing a business should aspire to.”
“Thank you, Mr. Upton. It means a lot to me to hear that from someone like you. You’ve helped our company as much as anyone could, despite our former reputation and you’ve given us so much advice on getting Collier Enterprises out of the rut that you are definitely deserving of praise for our success as well,” I admitted to the older lawyer.
He smiled warmly. “I’m always happy to help when people are willing to accept the help. Be it for business reasons or personal ones. And I’ve dealt with people for a little too long not to notice that you were on the verge of tears when you walked in here and that you are still trying not to cry. Whatever it is, you’re bottling it and it’s going to keep bothering you until you deal with it. I may not be a psychologist, but life has taught me that much.”
I sighed deeply. He was right. The conversation about Collier Enterprises has distracted me from my previous thoughts, but only a little bit.
“You’re right. Something is bothering me. It’s just that David and I have been married for five years now and no matter what I do, I can’t get pregnant,” I admitted. “It didn’t bother me at first, I know it can take time, but it feels like whatever effort I make, whether it be watching my health, using those stupid calendars for planning my fertility, taking vitamins, it all doesn’t help. And it seems like all around me, I keep seeing happily pregnant people, people with little children… I’m not a jealous person by nature, but I’m so jealous. Why is it that the one thing I want from life right now, I can’t have?” I finished, taking deep gulping breaths.
“Oh, Irene,” he sighed. “I know how you must be feeling right now.”
“You do?” I looked up.
“Believe it or not, Kyla and I were in the same situation when we got married,” he explained. “We’ve been trying to conceive for almost seven years, with no luck. The doctors didn’t know what was wrong with us. All the checkups were coming up fine, no chemical imbalances or physical problems. Speaking of medical issues, have you gone to a fertility specialist yet?” he asked.
“Not yet,” I admitted. “I’ve gone to my regular doctor though.”
“You should see a fertility professional about this, though. They might know things that a regular OBGYN doesn’t,” he advised.
“I suppose. So, what did you do? How did you conceive?” I asked.
“We adopted,” he explained. “Kyla and I both wanted children and we decided that since nature didn’t want to cooperate, we’ll just have to accept that we couldn’t have them the usual way. So we adopted.”
“But your daughters look so much like you and your wife!” I exclaimed. David and I have met his family and we even noted to one another how strong the family resemblance was.
“They do, don’t they? Nora is biologically ours, yes. Kyla did, eventually get pregnant, without even trying, about six years after we adopted Betty. The biggest surprise of our lives. I guess, what I’m saying is, don’t give up. And even if things don’t work out the way you want them to, you and your husband still have options.”
“You’re right,” I realized. In more ways than one. It really did help me to talk to someone about it, since for some reason I couldn’t talk about it with David. “Thanks again. For forcing me to confront this right now.”
“You’re welcome. Now, enjoy your weekend and don’t let things bring you down.”
As I drove home, I felt lighter than I had in days, but eventually, the feeling passed, only to be replaced with more worry.
Liam and his wife were told there was nothing wrong with either of them, but they were still unable to conceive for 13 years. What if the same thing would happen to us? Or what if there was something wrong with one of us? With me in particular? What if our own biological children were never an option for our family?
We could adopt, yes. But would that be enough for me? Could I love a child that wasn’t biologically mine and raise him or her to the best of my ability? Would David?
What if, eventually, he’ll decide that he wanted someone who could give him a child of his own and leave me? I didn’t think I could deal with this.
This was how David came home from his meeting with an investor to find me on the floor, bawling my eyes out.
“Irene?” he ventured, sounding afraid to make it worse. “What happened? Are you hurt?”
I barely had the energy to shake my head “no”.
“Hey, talk to me, what is it? You know, I’m always willing to listen. But you keep it all bottled up inside,” he joined me on the ground.
“I’m sorry,” I whispered. “I just can’t take this anymore. I really want a child of my own. Of our own. Why isn’t it happening?”
“That’s why you’ve been feeling so down for the past several months, isn’t it?” he asked quietly.
“Yes. I feel like I’m failing. We’re here, all alone in this big house, and it just feels empty. I know you want a big family. I want a big family too, have wanted one since before we married. But it’s just not happening.”
He scratched his head, deep in thought.
“You’re right, I do want a big family. But I want it with you. And if that’s not an option, it’s fine with me, honestly. Because, most of all, I want you to be happy, and you aren’t happy if you’re beating yourself up over something that isn’t your fault at all. And I want you to be able to talk to me about the things that bother you.”
“I’m sorry,” I whispered again. “I’ll try. But communicating these things is kind of a work in progress for me.”
“I know, but for once you need to let me be there for you,” he pulled me up off the floor and into a tender hug.
“I want to go see a fertility specialist, David,” I admitted.
“Yeah, we can do that,” he agreed rubbing my spine comfortingly. “I think I’ve heard of a good one from Kyla Upton at one point.”
“I want to know if something is wrong with me,” I admitted. “The uncertainty is bugging me too much.”
“Nothing is wrong with you,” David hugged me tighter. “Hey, you know what, it’s Friday night and we shouldn’t spend it cooped up in here. Let’s dress up and go somewhere.”
“What do you have in mind?” I asked, brushing away the tears.
“Hmm, I think your cherry dress will be very welcome, that’s all I’m going to say,” he winked before going up to change.
“Is that the place I think it is?” I asked incredulously as we approached the building.
“Sure is!” David smiled smugly. “I thought it was high time we gave this bar another visit.”
Rusty Old Bottle didn’t seem to have changed at all since that night I got black-out drunk and passed out in David’s bed. The same dim lights, the same aura of alcohol, the people who were here to get as drunk as possible.
Only the bartender was different, but provided it’s been over seven years since then, she must have been working elsewhere by now.
“I thought we should come here and remember our first meeting, Irene. And really, we need to get our mind off of the things bothering us. For one evening, let’s just relax and enjoy ourselves,” he explained.
“I like that idea,” I nodded, sitting down at the bar, like the last time. “So, what will you do if some crazy drunken woman starts throwing herself at you this time around?”
“I’ll take my wife home and kiss her until she’s feeling better,” he smiled.
“You sure know how to make a girl happy,” I relaxed in my chair. Scanning the room, I noticed something that has changed from the previous time. “Hey, they got a jukebox. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t here the last time, right?”
“I don’t think so, no. Hey, come dance with me,” he invited, pulling me out of my chair. “I want to dance.”
“Oh, how the roles have reversed!” I laughed, joining him on the dance floor.
The slow soulful ballad was perfect for a sensual romantic dance, of course. While I didn’t have much experience on the dance floor, David had no problem with the moves, since he took the lead smoothly and without a hitch.
“You know, we should really thank this bar for bringing us together,” he joked.
“Yes, who knew that a small seedy bar could be so romantic? Better than the French countryside,” I joked back.
“Say what you will. I came in here back then to try and relax after a meeting with my father. Instead, I ended up meeting my future wife. I think that’s pretty romantic,” he pulled me close for a kiss.
At that moment, the jukebox music changed to something much more fiery and rhythmic.
“How well-timed!” he got a strange look in his eyes, “So, have you ever danced the tango?”
In response to my negative response he laughed and announced, “Well, this will be your first time, then! Follow my lead.”
To my immense surprise, it turned out that David was a pretty good tango dancer. Every step he made was smooth, every twirl and turn completely in step with the rhythm of the melody. I was trying my hardest to follow and despite not knowing even the basics of the dance, with his lead, I managed to follow all the moves and not miss the rhythm even once.
After a while, I stared to enjoy the dance. There is something captivating and entrancing about getting to dance the tango with someone you love. Every time our bodies touched sent a new wave of emotions through me and while I was aware of the other patrons’ eyes on us, I kept wanting this moment to continue forever.
With every step, David and I were one. He guided my moves and I followed, even adding my own twist on them when possible.
Eventually, the music came to an end and David finished our performance by pulling me close and kissing me.
The bar crowd erupted into a round of applause, the loudest belonging to the bartender herself.
“Wow, I never knew you could dance like this!” I looked at my husband with admiration.
“I do. And you make a great dance student. I look forward to continuing our lessons at home,” he smiled warmly.
As we got back to our seats, the bartender was ecstatic. “That. Was. Amazing!!! Are you two professional ballroom dancers?”
“No, we’re just having fun on a date,” David admitted.
“First date?” she asked.
“Married for five years, actually,” I informed her.
“Wow, you two just gave me major relationship goals, then! Drinks are on the house for the both of you,” she promised and rushed off to make them.
“Where did you learn to dance like this?” I asked incredulously.
“At boarding school,” he smiled. “My roommate and best friend there was the son of professional ballroom dancers. He always joked that they’ll disown him if he didn’t know how to dance these things. He taught the moves of these dances to anyone who was willing to learn them. Of course I took advantage of that opportunity!”
“What else is there that I don’t know about you? You aren’t a secret master of the arts too, are you?” I was impressed.
“Never tried any of it, so I can’t say. Who knows?” David laughed.
“Your drinks are here!” the bartender announced.
“I don’t know if I should,” I admitted, remembering my last interaction with strong beverages.
“I’m sure one will be fine,” David shrugged. “Besides, I’m here and I’ll take you home.”
Three hours later, I was once again plastered from what was probably the strongest drink in all of Hidden Springs, and David was helping me out of the cab, half-carrying me home.
“Wow,” he noted, “you really do have the weakest alcohol tolerance I’ve ever encountered.”
“Yeah, well, I think I deserved a drink. And you said yourself I was a good student, and good students deserve a reward,” I mumbled. “Hey, who are they?”
David followed my gaze to our front porch. On it were a woman and a young girl of about eight years of age.
“I don’t know them, but let’s see what they want. Besides it’s starting to rain pretty hard.”
As soon as we approached the woman looked up from the ground with relief in her eyes. She approached us before we even got to them.
“Thank goodness, you’re home. I’m Norma, I’m with social services. I’m sorry to just show up like this but… I’m extremely sorry to inform you, but Sharon Preston was involved in a terrible accident and… well, she hasn’t made it unfortunately. And Millicent’s birth certificate lists you as her father, Mr. Collier.”
My intoxication evaporated at her words. Father? David? To this girl?
Though all of this, she hasn’t looked up from her lap even once, but she had the same hair color and while her skin was lighter, there was definitely a resemblance.
Upon hearing these words, David’s face went almost white.
“I have a daughter?” he managed to get out.
“Yes,” Norma answered. “Once again, I’m really sorry to be dropping in like this, but we’ve tried to reach you for hours, ever since we’ve arrived here, but it seems like our number for you was wrong.”
“Sorry,” he mumbled.
“She doesn’t have any other relatives,” Norma quietly informed us. “Sharon’s parents have already passed away and she was an only child. It’s either with you or into the system for her.”
“Of course she’s going to stay with us,” I intercepted. “There is no way she’s going anywhere else if her father is here.”
“Thank you for understanding,” Norma seemed to relax. “I’ll be going then. Here’s my number if you need anything.”
And with that she was gone, leaving us with a young scared girl who seemed as shocked to be here as we were to see her here.
“Let’s get inside before we all catch a cold, come on,” I urged both the child and the adult.
The girl meekly got up from the porch and followed us inside. I didn’t know if she was in such shock over the loss of her mother, over being here, over meeting her father, or over all of the above. But she needed support at this time and I was going to give it to her to the best of my ability.
Well, that’s the end of this chapter.
The song they danced to is the Libertang0!