It was so hard to be heartless with her but I had to do it, I had to make a stand before she bullies me into taking the one day I have with Pao; I had to be heartless for my daughter.
That's why I kept a minimal contact when it comes to her. I didn't reply her texts, just keeping it as formal as I could which is to send a few pictures and be done with it. Or to avoid saying anything to her if it's unnecessary.
I punch the code of the digital lock while hearing her laughter. My heart drums to the sound that I miss so much I had to stop for a while to take a deep breath before stepping into the apartment.
"Hm Papa," Pao is still in her PJs, sitting with a bowl of cereal in front of her, "Don't ever eat the watermelon seed again. Listen to what I said or you'll end up like Mama."
My eyes turn to the lady next to her. I can't seem to look at anything but the small bump she has at her middle section. It's too big to qualify for a big breakfast so... She's pregnant?
She had another go at IVF? She had another go at IVF with another man's sperm? The one she failed to use last time? The six foot four European architect with the green eyes, blonde hair, and way more artsy than me?
"Awww congratulations, Elle," Nancy suddenly appears next to me, now walking towards Pao and her. How long have I been standing here?
Last time I checked I was in the elevator; the watch showed 7.50am. It must have been 8 now because Nancy's here.
"Thank you," she smiles at Nancy with her hand on that tiny bump; a product from her egg and that stranger's sperm.
"How far along are you?" Yeah, how far along are you. Did you have the IVF alone? Or were your bestfriends here with you to help with the injections? Did you have a hard time since you were taking care of Pao at the same time?
Thank God I had Nancy and Mia to be with her as well. That should've helped her a bit, at least.
Shit. Last week I made her run after me. I fucking made a pregnant woman, the one whom I love so much to the point of being an idiot every time it comes to her, to run after me. Shit.
"Just passed the first trimester."
She had a bad first trimester with our daughter back then. Was it bad too this time around? Suddenly it feels like I made the best decision to provide her the nannies despite being granted only one day a week.
"The first trimester is always the worst. Are you okay now? Or still having those bad nausea? Headache? Tiredness?" Weird craving to watermelon. Complaining a million times a day about having to pee every milisecond. Bad backpain-
"Nahh I'm okay now. Starting to enjoy my pregnancy," she smiles brightly and again my eyes focus on her stomach.
"I'm gonna get my bag then I'm ready to go. Pao, finish your breakfast quick." She reminds the little girl then turns to me, smiles for a moment before walking to her room, probably getting that bag she mentioned.
"See you later," she says to me after the whole goodbye thing with her daughter. And just like that she's out of here, leaving me speechless with what I just saw; a baby bump.
Which look damn good on her.
As usual, around 6 she'd pop up just in time for her to change her clothes and have dinner with us.
"Hellewww," Pao replies with a British slang then giggles, thinking she's funny imitating the show she's watching right now.
"Watcha watchin' mate?" She puts her bag next to the couch then sits beside her daughter, joining her watching the telly.
I try my best to focus with the food I'm plating, wanting to ignore her as usual but today I find it a bit hard. It's already an everyday struggle but now that I know she's pregnant, I can't help but want to steal a glance at her.
No Owen. No.
"Pao," I surrender and call my daughter.
"Can you come here?"
"But I'm busy."
"Why Papa? I can't. I'm too busy." Busy watching tv and cuddling with her mother, that is.
"So I can say goodbye."
She immediately turns to me along with the lady next to her, "Goodbye?"
"You're not gonna have dinner with us?" Come the voice that I'm about to ignore, again.
I look at my little girl apologetically, "I've got something to take care of. Come here so I can hug and kiss you, Sweetheart."
She frowns but walks to me anyway. I’m sorry Baby but I have to take care of my heart. It’s becoming too much now.
I’m already forcing myself to stay in such close proximity with her four days a week, I don’t think I can handle the thought of her carrying somebody’s baby while staying this close.
"I'll see you tomorrow morning okay? I love you, Princess."
"Okay..." she pouts but hugs me back, "I love you too Papa."
"Perhaps you can take some of these for dinner?" She suggests when I'm already reaching for my jacket.
I reply without turning to her, looking at Pao who's sending me at the door instead, "More for you, Princess. Bye bye."
This is hard.
This is so fucking hard.
I haven't said a word to her since two weeks ago when her bump made an appearance, not that I've said much even before that.
The most I've done these days is to text her which is just sending a few pictures daily to update about where our daughter's at, what is she eating, what is she doing, nothing much just a boring day-to-day update.
I don't have dinner with them anymore, afraid if I'd accidentally say something when the four of us are sitting at the table. So it's just her, Pao, and our nanny now, eating the dinner that I've cooked beforehand.
Honestly, I'm too mad she did it behind my back, eventhough it's rightfully her decision since we have nothing between us. We're just co-parenting.
The fact that she has removed me as her emergency contact the next minute she kicked me out of her place four months ago, is just how much of it telling we're nothing but a set of parents for Pao. I'm no longer someone she considers to be more than her daughter's papa.
"So I'll see you tomorrow morning, Mr Harris?"
"Yeah," I reply my assistant curtly as I open the door for him, "Make it a breakfast date."
Pierre nods while adjusting my hoodie, the one that I had to lend him since he spilled a generous amount of soup on his shirt earlier due to his clumsiness.
"Breakfast date it is," he echos what I was saying perhaps as a mental note to remind him to book a place for our client and I tomorrow morning.
"Hey." I'm caught off guard by the female voice. Both of us turn to her before I managed to register it's her. Which means I can-not look at her. I'm avoiding her, remember?
"Hey." Pierre is being his friendly self when he smiles to her.
She looked perfect in a fitted work dress, a tiny bump glinting with the light from the corridor. She must have just coming back from work since it's Tuesday so she’s not obligated to come home early. Forever a workaholic, even with that baby in her.
"I'll see you tomorrow morning." I quickly say to Pierre before he starts a conversation with her that I need to be a statue here, listening to their little chat.
"Yeah okay. Breakfast date." He repeats it again; mental note.
"Goodnight," he grins to Estelle before walking to the elevator, which she replies politely afterward with her sweet Good night to you too.
I don't wait for more words coming out from that pretty mouth when I close the door and maybe, just maybe slammed it at her face. Well, I already painted rudeness all over me since we started this co-parenting, this should be nothing. An asshole, is what I am.
And intend to be.