3 Years Later...
It’s been three years, and I’m still not used to the extremely hot weather of California. Many things have changed over the years. I left New York. I left Boston, and here I am, staring at the blue sky, sipping my chilled juice, blinking back the bitter past that I left behind. Moving on from the memorize of Zach and Chase was awful, but my best friend Mia and her boyfriend Nick helped a lot. But you can not forget those people who you don’t want to forget.
And the irony, the hazel eyes that hunted my dreams from the last three years never left my side at all.
“Mummy!...” the little morning voice fell on my ears, making me turn her way.
“Yes, love,” I smiled, looking at my 2 and a half years old daughter, Hazel.
“I’m hungry,” she said, running my way, holding her little duck. I picked her up and placed her on the Island.
“You sit here and I’ll make you pancakes,” I said, kissing her pink lips.
“Ok, mummy.” she smiled, showing her missing teeth.
After breakfast, Hazel and I had a quick bath, and we changed into our clothes for the day.
“Mummy, make the bade,” she said, miss pronouncing braid.
Hazel has long dark brown hair, just like mine. She has inherited most of my features except her eyes. They are the replica of her father. ZACH.
I named her after her eyes, light green and orange in the center, pure beauty.
When I first came to California, it was horrible at the beginning. I was still crying over my broken relationship and was not sure what to do with my life. But Mia was by my side.
Nick and her helped me settle down. I rented a small apartment in the same building as theirs. After one week in California, I came to know that I was 5 weeks pregnant. I remembered that day as if it was yesterday.
“Oh my god! Anna. I’m going to be an aunt.” Mia cheered, jumping around. “Hey! Are you not happy about it?” She asked, staring at my stunned feature.
“Happy? I am thrilled, Mia.” I wiped the tears on my cheeks, rising from the bed. “But what am I gonna do?” I asked uncertainly.
“What do you mean by that? Of course, you will tell Zach about it and patch things up. I am sure he will be excited after hearing this news.”
I shook my head, not liking her suggestion.
“You think I don’t want that,” I said, taking a deep breath, “He hates me, Mia. I doubt he will ever accept this child as his own. The way things went between us, I don’t blame him either.”
“For how long will you blame yourself for that stupid night? Anna. That was just a mistake.” Mia yelled, throwing her hands in the air.
“And that stupid night changed my whole life, Mia. No matter what, I am still to blame.”
Grabbing my hands, she made us sit on the bed again. “What do you want to do then?”
“I can’t tell Zach about this baby for sure.”
“Don’t you think that’s a very absurd thing to do?” Mia said.
“What do you want me to do, Mia? He hates my guts. If he finds out the baby is his, he will take its custody but will never forgive me. And the last thing I want is to be separated from my baby.” I said, placing my palms on my now flat tummy, protecting it.
Mia gave me a look of pity and wiped my tears. “I’m sorry. This baby is yours, and I am here to help you no matter what.” She pulled me in a tight hug, stroking my back when I poured all my misery in the form of tears.
“Done,” I said, kissing the top of her silky hair. She ran to the mirror, observing my work in detail.
“It’s beautiful, Mummy,” she ran back to me and kissed my lips.
“Okay, Hazel. Aunt Mia will be here any minute so, promised me to be a good girl and don’t trouble her like last time. Am I clear?” I said in a strict tone. But as usual, she holds out her tongue and left the bedroom.
“Hazel! Come back here. I’m not finished talking.” I shouted, running after her. Hazel is a mannered girl, but sometimes she just doesn’t want to be one.
“Catch me, Mummy,” she laughed, running behind the couch.
“Hazel, stop. You’ll hurt yourself.”
“I’m strong, Mummy.” she ran towards the kitchen when the doorbell grabbed my attention. I turned to look at Hazel and found her sneaky head tilted to monitor my move behind the Island. I shook my head and walked to open the door.
“Took you long enough,” Mia said, shoving the bags in my arms.
“All thanks to your niece,” I said, rolling my eyes.
“Where is my favorite niece?” she asked, turning her head my way.
“She is your only niece,” I said, settling the bags on the central table. She rolled her eyes, and I point my finger to Kitchen.
She put her finger on her lips, and we tiptoed to the kitchen. Mia moved to the left, and I moved to the right side of the Island. But the scenario made me pale.
“Hazel!” I exclaimed, kneeling in front of her. Her nose was bleeding, and she was using her tiny hands to wipe it.
“I’ll get the tissues,” Mia opened the cabinet and pulled out the roll, and passed them to me.
“Oh god! baby, what happened? You hit your nose somewhere?” I asked, wiping her nose. I lifted her face upward and stuffed the nose with the tissue carefully. Her eyes were moist and that pained my heart.
I carried her to the living area and settled her on my lap. The bleeding got stopped, and she hides her face on my chest.
’Baby, Did you hurt yourself?” I asked again, stroking her hair.
She shook her head, and I sign in relief.
“Maybe it’s the weather. I sometimes get the nosebleed too,” Mia said.
I nodded my head, hoping for the same reason.
“You’ll be late for your work, Anna. She is fine; I am here.” Mia assured me, and I handed Hazel to Mia after kissing her head.
“Baby, Mummy will back soon, okay,” I cooed, and she nodded her head.
Thank god, Mia had a day off today; otherwise, I would have to take Hazel to the school. Nikkie, Hazel’s nanny falls sick today, and Mia came to my rescue.
After driving for ten minutes, I parked my car in front of the Elementary School, where I work as a teacher. My dream of opening my company faded with other responsibilities. But I don’t mind because I have Hazel, and she is worth all sacrifices.
Around three o’clock, I packed my bags, done with my day. “Anna!” I turn after hearing my name.
“Matt,” I called his name when he ran my way. He is my colleague and a good friend.
“Hi. I wanted to talk to you,” he said, quite nervous. Rubbing the back of his head.
“Yeah, sure,” I replied, wishing it’s not what I think it is.
“Can I take you out on dinner tomorrow night?” He asked with pleading eyes.
I cursed under my breath; this is the hard part. I don’t want to break his heart, neither want to give false hope.
“Matt...” I trailed off.
“Anna, I know. You are not ready for a relationship, and I totally get that. But I think you deserve happiness, and I wanted to be the one to give that to you,” Matt said, holding my hand. He is your average good looking guy with dark blonde hair and blue eyes, with a nice fit body. He is sweet and helpful, and I like him but as a friend.
I may have moved on in my life, but loving somebody apart from Zach is not something I’m capable of. Zach just ruined me for anybody else. I can’t imagine loving someone the way I loved him. Love Him.
“Anna!” he waved his hand, pulling me out of my thoughts. “Will you give me one chance to prove my worth?”
“Matt, No matter what my decision is, you are worth so much more than you are giving yourself credit too,” I said, squeezing his hand.
“Then why not give it a try. You don’t want to spend all your life alone, right?” I stare at Matt but didn’t say anything.
“You know what, just think about it,” he said and left.
“Matt asked me out for dinner.”
“Again?” Mia whispered yelled. Hazel was sound asleep while we were having choco chip ice cream. I nodded my head at her question. “And what did you say?” She asked, all curious.
“I didn’t, actually. He asked me to think about it, but I know what my answer will be.” I said, licking my spoon.
She rolled her eyes, putting her empty bowl on the table. “And what that would be?” She stared at me, folding her hands across her chest.
I lifted my eyebrows, silently giving my answer.
“Come on, Anna. It’s been three years. Stop grieving for your failed relationship,” I shot a glare at her, not liking her tone at all. “I’m sorry, but it’s high time you get out of this apartment and start living a life for real.”
“I am living quite a life,” I answered.
“School to Apartment and vice versa is all you do, Anna. At least do it for Hazel,” she pleaded.
The mention of Hazel made me freeze for some movement, and she continue. “She is still a small kid, but later in the future, she will ask about her father. She will need a father figure in her life. You have already deprived her of the fatherly affection, but the least you could do is give her a new one.”
I didn’t realize when a small drop of tear fell from my eyes, and I wiped it away. I processed the words Mia said and closed my eyes. Hazel deserves all the happiness in the world, and for her, I would do anything humanly possible.
“I think you are right. For Hazel, I have to do it.” Mia gave me a proud smile and hugged me tightly.
“Give me your phone,” She asked, and I hesitantly gave it to her. She typed something on my phone and gave it back to me.
“What did you do?” I asked, looking at my phone.
“Well, I think you just agreed to go on the dinner date with Matt tomorrow.” She replied innocently.
My mouth hangs open, and I threw the cushion on her face and chased her. “I will kill you, Mia,”
“I love you too,” she replied, dispersing from the front door. I locked the door and found her bag by the table.
Perks of sharing the building, you can leave your things overnight at your friend’s place.
I shook my head and opened my message board to see the conversation between Matt and Mia. He had send a heart emoticon and said goodnight to me. I exhaled and made my way to the bedroom and lie beside my little angel. Kissing her head, I drifted off to sleep.
Well, three years does change so many things for Anna.
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