The Twenty Ninth Chapter
"You went through a lot," Tamara finally breaks the silence.
"Yeah. It wasn't easy. But I made it. And I'm glad I did. I would've never met Valeria. Or you," I smile. From there, Tamara, Jake, and I talk for hours. I feel like she's more comfortable knowing I've been through something similar. Then she backs me into a corner.
"Did Valeria ever go through anything?"
"Uh," Jake and I say in unison.
"Sh- she did. And, it was partly my fault. I had a friend, Peter, and he forced me to do something bad," I stumble over my words.
"What was it?"
"I had to hold her down while he hurt her."
"Is she okay?"
"Yeah. Just a little hurt on the inside."
"I feel bad for her."
"Me too." A few seconds of silence pass. "Well, I'd better get going. I have wedding vows to write." I stand.
"Can I come?" Tamara asks.
"It's up to your dad," I look at Jake.
"Jacob, please let me go," she pleads. If she ever calls me by my name when I get her, she's grounded.
"Yeah. Have fun." From there, I head home with my future daughter. I turn on 102.3. She won't stop singing. I switch to the auxiliary cord to turn on my music, and nothing changes. She raps to NF, Eminem, even Marilyn Manson. Finally, we get home. Valeria is nowhere to be found. Not a surprise.
"I would say "Honey, I'm home," but she's on a walk," I tell Tamara.
"A friend of hers just got out of the hospital."
"Oh. Do you have any vows started?"
"Yeah, but, I don't like them." I get my notebook out of the forbidden cupboard.
"Something happened. Something I don't want Jake to know about," she says.
"At the school he's sending me to. One of the girls from the orphanage is going there, too. She's the one that hates everyone. She's my twin. Maddy. She tried to kill me in the janitor's closet."
"Are you okay?"
"Yeah. A boy helped me. I think his name was Chad. He took me to the nurse's office. Just before I passed out."
"That's good." As soon as I open my notebook, Valeria and Alec come in. Alec has no hair, but a curvy body. She looks pretty fit. She wears a tank top and shorts. Her arms are scratched from wrist to shoulder. Her legs look no different.
"Hey, Jame," Valeria kisses my cheek.
"Hey," I slam the notebook closed.
"Valeria, right?" Tamara asks. The girls start talking, and I slowly fade away. Jake calls.
"This is Jame," I walk up the stairs.
"Yvette said no," he sobs.
"Wait, what? What did she say no to?"
"She's not coming back. She found someone else. She's going to mail the divorce papers to me. I've given her everything and it's never enough!"
"I'm so sorry. If you need to come over-"
"No. I called to tell you to keep the girl. She's nothing more than a bad memory. She may not be blood, but she looks exactly like Yvette. She's the reason my wife left!" He hangs up.
"He doesn't want me, does he?" a voice behind me asks.
"Come here," I turn to Tamara. She runs into a hug and starts crying. "It'll be okay. I promise. Valeria and I would never hurt you."
Valeria stands in the doorway, but soon joins in on comforting Tamara. Something hits our door.
I start to walk back downstairs. When I open the door, the adoption papers are at my feet. For the first time in years, I shed a tear. Not for myself, for Jake. And Tamara.
I take the papers up to Valeria. She helps fill them out. Tomorrow, I'll take them to him. I have a daughter. I also have wedding vows to come up with.
The next day, I leave to give Jake the adoption papers. Tamara and Valeria come with.
When we get there, I keep Tamara in the truck. Valeria knocks on the door and hands the papers to Jake. I watch from the driver's seat as they have a short conversation.
"So, who is my parent?" Tamara asks me.
I grip her hand. "Call me Dad. And Valeria is your mom. Are you ready to learn to use a bow?"
"I've always been taught with a gun, but sure."
"That's my girl."