When Paul got home I was excited to show him the nursery that we’d completed, but when he looked in, he just gave a glance and shrugged.
“It’s okay I guess,” and walked away.
I was furious, all the crap that he’d given me, I just exploded.
“Okay! Fucking okay? It’s beautiful! That’s what it is. You inconsiderate, arrogant bastard! Bill didn’t have to do it! Any normal father-to-be would be desperate to decorate his daughter’s bedroom, but you? No not you.”
He stared at me, taken aback by my outburst, and he sneered at me, and calmly said that he would ignore that outburst, because of my hormones. I was raging, I picked up the first thing that came to hand, a porcelain figurine and threw it at him, it missed and smashed against the wall.
“Hey, you stupid bitch, that could have hurt me.”
I glared at him, “it was meant to.”
He stared at me, “I never asked you to get pregnant! I didn’t want kids yet, in fact, I didn’t want kids at all!”
I was shocked and upset, how could he say that about our babies, I put my hand on my bump.
“But you said when we were dating?”
He stared at me, his eyes penetrating mine, “That’s because I wanted your cherry you stupid bitch.”
Then I did the one thing that I didn’t want to do, I cried.
“Oh, here come the tears, well they won’t work on me, why don’t you go and cry on your friend Bill’s shoulder, it’s the closest he’ll get to a woman.”
I stormed into the bedroom and slammed the door shut.
He didn’t follow and I cried for an hour. But when I emerged, I knew what I wanted to do, and the best time to start was the present. I walked downstairs, he was sat watching TV, I asked him to turn it off, I think that he was expecting an apology, he didn’t expect what he got.
“Paul, I’m done, I’m done waiting for you to love me again, I’m done waiting for you to love these girls. If you paid us half as much attention as you do your mistress, then we’d probably be alright.”
He started to talk I stopped him.
“These girls will always be your daughters I can’t change that, and you have every right to see them, but I can change us. I want you to go upstairs, pack a bag and go.”
He was dumbfounded, he stared open-mouthed at me, nothing was said for a few seconds, I stared, “Now Paul, go!” He softened and smiled at me.
“But, babe,” I held my hand up.
“Babe nothing. I’ve done this pregnancy on my own, I can raise them on my own, now please, go. You can get the rest of your stuff when you find a place to stay.”
I turned away and sat in the kitchen, my hands were shaking, but I’d done it, and I felt free. Oh, it would be difficult, raising the girls by myself, but it had to be better than what I’d been through.
It took him half an hour, I think he was expecting me to go up and say everything was okay, but when I heard him dragging his case down the stairs, I met him in the hall.
“I’ll let you know how the check-up goes next week, that is if you’re bothered.”
He made to move towards me, I stopped him, I held out my hand.
“Your keys Paul.”
Suddenly, he looked tired, he looked like a lost little boy. He handed me the keys, I closed my fingers around them, and looked into his eyes, he was beaten, broken, but I didn’t care. I watched him leave then slowly closed the door behind him, then the tears began. I waited until he’d drove off then I picked up my mobile,
“Bill?” I cried, “I need you.”
Bill was round in a minute, and he held me as we stood in the lounge and I sobbed. Although he treated me so badly, he was still, the father of my daughters, and I was also sad for the marriage, which I believed in from the start, it was clear that he didn’t. Eventually, I calmed down and relaxed in Bill’s arms, he held me close, I felt so safe with him.
“Oh Bill, I don’t know where I got the strength to do that. It when he belittled your work in the nursery, I just lost it. But, no matter how tough things get, I will raise those girls on my own as best I can.”
He kissed me and looked into my eyes, “you don’t have to do it on your own.”
I frowned, what was he saying?
“I love you Lucy, and I will never leave you.”
I sighed, I had never felt like this with Paul, I lifted my head and kissed him, I knew how I felt about him, I didn’t care that he was older, I knew now what love felt like, and it felt like this. I melted into his arms and sighed.
“I love you too Bill,”
He took me to bed, and we lay in each other’s arms, I felt that a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders, and I was as happy as I could ever remember being. Bill got up to go to the bathroom, I again noticed the scars on his back, when he returned, I sat up and leaned over him, I kissed him and ran my fingers over the scar on his left shoulder, I was so gentle, afraid of hurting him.
“What happened Bill?”
He closed his eyes, he didn’t like talking about it, then he sighed.
“I got shot,” I gasped, my hand over my mouth.
“And the one on your back,”
He pointed to his shoulder, “that’s where the bullet went in, the one on my back is where it went out, the long scar here is where they went in to repair my shattered shoulder.”
I leaned down and gently kissed it, “I thought you had body armour?”
He nodded, “I was unlucky, that one went over the top, and the other through the side,” he pointed to the scar on his side.
I realised that I had never felt like this about Paul, ever. I leaned my head on his chest, I could feel his heart beating.
“Bill?” I whispered,”
He stroked my hair, he was so loving, the opposite of Paul.
“Is this real?”
He caressed my cheek, “is what real honey?”
I lifted my head, “us?”
He smiled, I melted, “it’s real for me”
I smiled and laid my head back down, “good.”
He hugged me, “I will stay as long as you want me to, I’ll leave when you ask me to.”
I kissed his chest, “I’ll never ask you to leave, we will raise these daughters together if that’s okay with you.”
He reached down under the sheet and caressed his hand over my belly, it felt so good, he was so gentle.
“It’s more than okay, I’d be proud to raise your daughters.”
I smiled, “our daughters,”
I heard him inhale and whisper, “our daughters,” then one of them kicked his hand.
I laughed, “she said hi daddy.”