“Immie! Are you ready to go, babe?” I call out, scanning the drawer for my appointment card. Jax had a meeting first thing this morning, so I’d offered to run Imogen into school. I have an appointment with the midwife at ten am, and I’m excited to hear our girls heartbeat.
“Yes, I’m ready. Isadora.”
I look up at Imogen to see her head buried in a baby name book. “Isadora, hmm? You want her name to begin with an I like you?”
“I just like that name. What’s your favourite name?”
I pause, finally locating my appointment card at the back of the drawer. Crazy how everything ends up there. “Um, I like Evangeline.”
“Oh, I like that. But it’s very long.”
I tug open the door, keying in the alarm code before ushering Imogen out. “Lunch?”
“Yes,” Imogen holds the bag up proudly, before turning to show me her backpack. I've done her hair in cute plaits today, complete with ribbons that match her school dress.
“You are so beautiful, Immie,” I coo, stroking her face. “You really are.”
“I’ve got gorgeous parents.” she shrugs, with a smile. “So does my little sister.”
My heart warms at her words, and I can’t help but pull her into my arms, her sweet scent making me smile. She’s a bundle of perfection, and I adore her.
“Your little sister will love you,” I say honestly.
“I hope she likes dolls.” Imogen wrinkles her nose up as she climbs into the seat beside mine.
“Aww me too.”
“I’m saving my dolls for her,” Imogen declares, with a proud smile. “Nanny is knitting her the cutest cardigan ever. Wait till you see it.”
I reverse the car out of the drive, enjoying listening to Imogen as we make the drive to her school. Slipping out of the car, she rushes to meet Grace who is standing beside Nicole.
“Hey, Nic,” I smile, as Nicole glances up at me. She does a double take at Imogen, then groans.
“I forgot you’re with the hottest dad to ever grace the school gates,” she jokes. She pushes her hair back behind her ear, focusing on her phone as we walk towards the girls classroom.
“He is hot,” I admit, remembering his lips on mine this morning.
“You’re so lucky. I think you and Larah are the most envied women here.”
I smile, wondering how Larah feels about that. “It’s like being at school all over again.”
“How so?” Asks Nicole, furiously typing on her phone. “Sorry, emails. Work. Bleurgh.”
“That’s okay. This,” I wave my hand around the groups of parents that are in deep conversation, giving people side looks before continuing. “It’s cliquey.”
Nicole nods, frowning at her screen. “I know what you mean, it’s a bit daunting. You’ll get used to it when you have to come every damn day.”
“Good news about Lauren and Jorge, hmm?” I muse, as Nicole’s face changes.
“Oh, I’m so happy for them both. They are the cutest couple. Are you ok to watch Grace in if I dash? I’m so busy today,” Nicole sighs as I nod, waving Grace over.
Both girls weave through the throngs of people, holding hands and giggling as Nicole kisses Grace on the head. “Love you baby.”
Nicole makes a swift exit, and some time later the children are called into class. I walk back to my car, a strange sense of accomplishment overtaking me.
I’ve just taken my boyfriend's daughter to school! It feels good. Stroking my bump, I ease myself into the car, taking a moment to catch my breath. It was becoming more difficult to fit behind the wheel with my growing bump, but I couldn’t be happier.
Becoming a mother is an experience unlike any other. The baby that grows within me takes all of my energy, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. It makes me sad to think my own mother went through this, and still didn’t care about me.
Pushing the cloudy thoughts aside, I drive to my appointment, humming away to the radio as I try to distract myself.
The appointment goes well, and I get to hear my girls heartbeat. I could listen to it all day, the soft thud that beats faster than my own. I call Jax and leave him a voicemail telling him all about it, and drive home.
My heart leaps into my throat when I see the motorbike in my rear view mirror. It gleams beneath the winter sun, and I instantly lock the doors of the car, wondering if I should call the police.
The driver draws up beside me, and lifts his visor up to reveal an older face, rugged, but handsome. I recognise him as the guy with the sunglasses.
“Sorry to scare you, love,” he drawls, cutting his engine. He tugs off his helmet, gazing at me.
“Jax isn’t home,” I say stiffly, still wondering what the hell this guy is doing here. Surely if he wants Jax, he should go to his work or call him?
“I’m not here to see Jax,” the man says, dipping his head low. There’s a scar that runs across his cheek, all the way to the lobe of his ear. It’s curved so perfectly it could be mistaken for some kind of tattoo. “I’m here to see you.”
“Me?” I echo, glancing around us anxiously. “I don’t know why you want to see me, but I’d rather you didn’t show up when I’m alone at home.”
My tone is crisp, and he nods respectfully.
“I appreciate that,” he says. “But I need to tell you something.”
“Tell me something?”
“You’re like a damn parrot with your repeatin’.” He chuckles, tilting his head to look at me. “You don’t look a jot like your mother, kid.”
My heart stills, and the roof of my mouth becomes incredibly dry. “I don’t know how you know my mother, but I don’t want to talk about her. Not to you, or anyone else. She’s as good as dead to me.”
“Listen, Jolie,” he says, rubbing his forehead with one grubby hand. “I used to see your mother on a regular, some years back. Twenty eight years, to be exact.”
“Now I’m not saying it’s for definite, but the first time I saw you a couple of weeks back, you knocked me for six. You’ve got my mothers eyes, and her blonde hair. You don’t look much like me, but then I look like my Daddy. I guess what I’m saying is…” his words fade away as tears fall down my cheeks. “I think I could be your father.”