He kissed me, lips pressed to mine, hands practically tearing my shirt off as he pulled it from my body. Phoenix and Storm were fast asleep, they had been for nearly three hours.
Was this really happening?
“Hey, you ready?” Taylor murmured his body sliding over mine as he started undoing his belt.
“Well, we haven’t been making out for an hour for no reason.” I said brushing my hand between his legs.
Taylor started at the buttons on my jeans when there was a quick but light knock on the door. Phoenix. The look on Taylor’s face was so comical, I couldn’t resist the urge to giggle a little bit crawling out from under him.
“It’s probably nothing Baby.” Taylor said getting up quickly and picking me up from behind.
“Taylor…” I said warningly.
He dropped me almost immediately, it was funny, the same strict voice I used with Phoenix seemed to work with my boyfriend too. Grabbing a T-shirt and shoving it on as Taylor pulled the duvet over him pretending to be sleeping, I opened the door.
I didn’t ever lock it, I was always paranoid that the lock might get stuck, or that I’d lock it accidentally in the night and then Phoenix wouldn’t be able to find me in an emergency. Instead of a lock, I'd just taught Phoenix to always knock first.
“You okay Phoenix?” I asked.
He looked up at me fearfully.
“I wet the bed.” He said on the verge of tears.
I turned the light on and could see a dark patch on his pyjama trousers. Whilst this wasn’t an ideal scenario, he had only turned 4 last month, only a monster would get annoyed at a 4-year-old wetting the bed. Besides, it was hardly a big deal, just a quick shower and changing the sheets.
“It’s okay, don’t cry, let’s get you cleaned up.” I said holding his hand as we walked to the bathroom.
I had gotten pretty good at changing sheets quickly, with the mattress protector it was a lot easier. By the time I had Phoenix all sorted out, Storm started crying in the nursery.
“Can’t you just give her a pacifier?” Taylor sighed kissing the side of my head as I cradled Storm in my arms.
If it were that easy, I wouldn’t be sleep-deprived. I could do that, but because of school, Storm was at day-care or with Wild’s parents most of the time, so I tried to spend as much time with her using physical contact.
I never even really liked using the buggy, it just felt unsafe. Even when Phoenix was younger I had carried him, Mum had never held them much, she never breastfed or anything like that. Even if they didn’t grow up hearing her heartbeat, at least they had mine.
“No Taylor, she just wants some attention.” I murmured rubbing her back.
“If I start crying will you give me attention.” He asked semi-seriously.
“Very funny.” I sighed gently putting Storm back in her cot as her cries died down to silence.
Taylor took my hand and we ran back into my room, he kissed me gently this time before I saw the time and pulled away.
“Taylor, it’s nearly 2.” I sighed.
“So, I have to be up tomorrow, I promised Phoenix I’d take him to the park tomorrow morning at 9.”
Which meant I had to be up by at least 6 to get breakfast prepped and Phoenix dressed. When it came to clothes, he had very odd taste, like he never wore matching socks, and one day he wanted to wear all blue and the next day all red. His closet looked like the pride flag.
“Blaze, we never get to do anything.”
Easy for him to say. I was busy. I was studying for my A-Levels exams a year early because my stupid teacher had put me in the gifted program, I also had two kids under 5, one of whom had just started school, and the other who had started teething.
Taylor was just living his life off his mother’s money, he had dropped out of school when he was 16, and his parents had bought him an apartment bigger than this entire house.
“Taylor, I’m tired.” I said.
“Oh but come on Blaze.” He said holding me playfully on the mattress.
But all I wanted to do right now was sleep.
“Taylor, some other day, okay?”
“But Blaze, it’s always some other day with you.” He said keeping one hand on my chest and the other was grasping at my jeans.
“Taylor, stop.” I said, trying to hide the building fear in my tone.
He was a lot stronger than me, I knew that, I had always known that. But I’d never been afraid of it.
“You’ll like it, just relax.” He said taking his trousers off and holding me down roughly.
Relax? How could I relax right now? Was he even allowed to do this?
“Please stop.” I whispered the fear clear in my voice.
And then he stopped, suddenly, as though he had been broken out of a trance. He looked at me as though he was the one who should be scared.
“Shit, Blaze, I…” He started standing up.
I sat up, despite knowing that that was still my boyfriend, I felt my knees curl up slightly, pure reflex. That was my boyfriend. Why was I acting like I needed to be scared? We were just playing around.
“I think you should leave.” I said uncertainly.
He nodded picking his clothes up from the floor, putting them on swiftly and leaving, I only realised I had been rigid and stiff when the front door closed and I relaxed.
“Daddy?” Phoenix mumbled padding into my room.
He and Storm both called me Daddy. Mum had been the one to encourage it, she said I was the man of the house even though I had only been 12 when Phoenix was born. I never minded it, even if I never got a Dad, at least they could.
“I can’t sleep.” He said climbing onto my bed.
And he wasn’t the only one who had trouble falling asleep that night.
“Daddy, Daddy, come on, we’re going to be late.” Phoenix exclaimed pulling my hand as I carried a restless Storm to the park.
There was another girl who I recognised from his class already there, she must have been Isabella. She looked a bit like someone I knew, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.
Her older brother was sitting on the bench texting someone in a black hoodie and dark jeans giving off a serial killer vibe. Totally appropriate for a kid’s playground.
“Daddy, can I go and play now?” Phoenix whined as I finished tying his laces up.
What kind of a 4-year-old had laces? I had practically begged him to pick the shoes with Velcro, but Phoenix had refused, insisting that he was old enough. And these were the only purple shoes he had, today he had decided on purple as his colour, hence why he was wearing one of Mum’s old purple jumpers that had shrunk massively in the wash.
“Fine, but don’t go past the red swings, okay?”
“Yes, yes.” He said running off and climbing up the slide with Isabella hauling herself up the one next to him.
Isabella had dropped one of her gloves and as I picked it up, I couldn’t help but notice the dainty name tag, Isabella Lopez. Wait, but that meant…
“Blaze?” An all too familiar voice said.
And there he was, looking like a serial killer, with his dark brown hair, hazel eyes and honey-golden skin. Chase Lopez. First school, now the playground?
Was there no escaping him?