Dark Places

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Chapter 21

It was now Christmas Day and Elaine and Steve were spending the day celebrating at his parents. It was a full house so Elaine met Steve’s mum and dad properly and also met his brother Mark and many of the aunties and uncles of the family, all who she found were very friendly people and she felt at home being with them and they all seemed happy to welcome Elaine into the family.

The celebrations were well underway and plenty of drinks were flowing; except for Elaine of course. Steve’s mother, Lisa had thought it a bit strange that Elaine had constantly been refusing alcoholic drinks when they were offered to her. Lisa had an idea why Elaine was not up for drinking and so when there was a quiet moment she had planned to take Steve to one side and mention it.

Lisa was on her own in the kitchen when Steve walked in so this was her moment to ask the question which was on her mind.

“Do you and Elaine have something to tell me?”

Steve got a bit embarrassed by the question. He guessed being a woman Lisa knew the signs by seeing Elaine and he decided he would have to face the truth. In fact he was almost relieved that she had asked the question, it had put his mind at ease and he actually was bursting with the news but was not sure how reactions would go when the news was relayed, given his age.

“Yes I do…I mean we do Elaine is expecting my child. I know it will come as a shock at my age but yes you are going to be a grandparent again”.

“Well what can I say?” commented Lisa and she and Steve were probably wondering how to tell his twenty-year-old daughter, Charlotte the news at having a brother or sister on the way at her age.

“I know you are thinking the same as me of how I tell Charlotte about this but I guess I will just do it and let her decide what she thinks. Do you mind if I call her now?”

Lisa smiled “of course not” whilst Steve dialled Charlotte’s number and told her the news. Charlotte was of course speechless following what she had heard but was pleased for Steve and commented that she would have to see her old dad and meet Elaine soon.

Any fears that Steve might have had were eluded when he spoken to Lisa and Charlotte “I think we should go back to the lounge and tell everyone this good news”.

Lisa was sworn to secrecy until they were back in the lounge. When Steve entered the room he first went to speak to Elaine so whispered in her ear, “mum suspected what we know and so I had to tell her the truth about the baby and I have been a while as I needed to speak to my daughter, Charlotte with the news so if you are in agreement I am happy with telling the whole room our news”.

Elaine was a little taken a back, there were things that she did not know about Steve and this was the first time that it was mentioned that he had a twenty year old daughter. She would have to sit down so that they could have a deep heart to heart and discover more about each other.

Elaine replied with “I do not have a problem with that. What have we to lose?” In fact Elaine was quite pleased that Steve’s mother and his daughter had greeted the news with open arms and so this made Elaine want nothing more than to shout the news out from the rooftops. She was going to be an older mother but God had intended her to have another child and so she would welcome that.

The couple stood up and Steve announced, “I would like it very much if you all got glasses in your hands for what I have to say. Elaine and I have an important announcement to make”, Steve smiled at Elaine before continuing, “Elaine is having my baby”.

There were lots of congratulations and clinking of glasses so it was safe to say that Steve’s family approved of the announcement and were genuinely happy for the couple.

The mood stepped even more up a gear following the news that Steve and Elaine had relayed. In fact, Elaine sat back for a while and thought with a smile that this one of the better Christmas’ for a long time. She liked her times with Mike but with Steve there was something different and special about the memories they were sharing, which she had not always felt when celebrating with Mike and she could not help think what would Mike be doing whilst they were having fun?

Christmas was meant to spread a happy cheer but Mike was feeling anything but cheery. What did he have to be cheery about? He was spending his Christmas in hospital and just felt so lonely. He had no one special to share this magical time of the year with and Christmas’ at the Fears’ had always been a special time when the children were smaller but now did Mike really care? It was after all yet another day in the life with nothing good to look forward to.

The hospital made the effort every year to celebrate Christmas with its’ patients that were able to celebrate the occasion by providing a little cheer in the form of a full Christmas dinner and fun activities so that they did not feel they were missing out on one of the most magical times of the year.

Mike was not up to celebrating, however. The food was superb and the company funny but he had to be true to himself and know that things were bleak for him and he was trying to take control of his dark thoughts again but what did he have to live for? He had long lost Elaine. His second chance of love in Claire had broken down and he was due to leave the hospital but leave to what? He had his flat to go to, somehow he had managed to keep up the payments for it whilst he was ill but what comfort would that be when he returned? It would be as cold as he was feeling right now and he would be alone again, with only his thoughts to keep him company. That was something he missed, he confessed he was never comfortable in a situation in which required a lot of chatting but he did like being with people.

At least in the hospital he had the nurses and some patients he could talk to but at home there would be none of that. He would simply be returning to the life alone that he did not want.

He still knew that deep down he was the one to blame. It was no one else that made him a shy character behind closed doors. It was him who had lost Elaine when he committed that stupid act he had. The only thing he could not be blamed for was the situation that had taken place with Claire. The only comfort he could look forward to was returning home and trying to make that life he so longed for. He needed to do something positive because he knew he never wanted to get as low as he had when he took the overdose and then stabbed himself. He was not a completely bad man; he had made mistakes. He was convinced that if he did not want his dark moments to return he would have to sort his life out and move on. Why could he not be as happy as Elaine was? Why did all of his thoughts come back to Elaine? The true answer was that he would never stop loving her until the day they finally buried him. He missed having her in his life that much.

One of Mike’s favourite nurses came over to him and whispered “why the frown Mike?”

Mike was snapped out of his thoughts “I am sorry this is meant to be the season of happiness but I cannot feel that at the moment. I guess I do not know where my life is going and I do not know with whom and I am really not sure about the move tomorrow back home”.

The nurse wanted to keep what Mike had just told her in confidence so simply said, “we will talk more tomorrow before your release and then everything will be okay again”.

Mike wished he could feel as optimistic about his future as the nurse was but something positive had to happen to him soon and that was something he knew only he could do so could he hold back the dark places again and be more positive?

“Your friend Elaine will be here in half an hour to take you home”.

Friend? Mike supposed Elaine was only just a friend now but he did not want to ever see her just as a friend. He still loved her and the time away from her and knowing she had Steve and a baby on the way only made things worse for him, what was he to do?

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