Sweet Like Honey

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12

Harrison lays his head on my lap. He fell asleep. Apparently it's way past his bed time and he was doing everything in his power to stay awake. His hair color is like mine.

"Don't day things like that in front of him," I whisper, sneering up at Benjamin.

"Like what?"

"That I...abandoned him. You don't know whether he understands what that means."

"That's what you did—"

"Just don't use that word in front of me. Me leaving wasn't his fault. I don't want him to feel...abandoned. Like he was at fault for this. It wasn't his fault." I glare up at him. "It was yours."

"It was my fault?" He chuckled.

"You told me you loved me. I would've never had sex with you, if you hadn't lied. I wouldn't have listened when you said that if I loved you I—"

I look down, Harrison shifts.

I clear my throat, lowering my voice.

"We were young. I was an asshole, sure. I admit that. And I...did some things I'm not proud of. But you left him—"

"I couldn't take care of him. And my parents would've never let him lead a good life. I left him with you, because that was all I could do! I know I'm not a good person. Or a good mother. But this never would've happened, if it wasn't for you."

He swallows. "I was an idiot. The things that I said back then, I didn't mean them, Jessica. I was just trying to impress my friends. But I cared about you—"

I shake my head. "You didn't care about me, Benjamin. You cared about fucking the Prime Minister's daughter so you could brag to your friends."

"It just backfired. Your family wanted you to marry me. Get my family's money and status. And then...I got pregnant. All because you lied to me. All of it. All of it."

I look up at him. "So next time you want to tell me that I'm a bad mother, you remember, you are at fault for everything that has happened. For Harrison's existence."

His smile drops. He looks away. "If I'm such a bad person, why did you leave him with me?"

I swallow. "I thought you'd take care of him. Or at least your mum would. And you did. Now keep doing it."

I slide from under Harrison's head tucking him in. I kiss his forehead.

"Keep him away from my parents. They shouldn't know he exists, I'm leaving now."

Harrison opens his eyes, rubbing his eyes. "Mommy?"

I freeze. What do I say?

"Go back to sleep Harrison."

"Mommy don't go," he cries. "I'm sorry."

I swallow. "Nothing is your fault Harrison. You are wonderful. Such a good boy."

"So you're not leaving?"

"Well, I'm not leaving because of you, Harrison. I'm leaving because I'm sick—"

"Please. Can you be my mommy? I want a mommy. Everyone else has one. Can you hold me?"

I can't do this. I can't—

I snuggle him closer to me. "Oh Harrison."

"Don't leave, Mommy."

I glare at Benjamin, but by the look of surprise, he didn't expect it either.

"What happened to Ms. Jessie?"

"You're my mommy aren't you?" He yawns.

"Even if I was, I haven't been around. That means I'm not a good mommy."

"But you were sick, 'member? That's why you had to leave? But I'm a big kid now, and I got all my shots. So now I can with you."

He closes his eyes. "Right?"

I nod. "Right. You're right."

He falls back to sleep.

"He needs you," Benjamin stayed. "I found you years ago. And I wouldn't have reached out if it wasn't important. It's hindering his growth. You not being around...it's keeping him from talking, from growing."

"I've been doing this alone for 6 years. He needs your help. Please."

I swallow, nodded. "Yeah. I–I see. It's not like I don't care about him. I won't leave. Until he's recovered."

He smiles. "Thank you."

I shake my head. "Don't thank me. It isn't for you. It's the least I can do for him."

He sits down beside me. "Mum talks about you all the time. She'd be shocked to hear your American accent. Shocked and appalled."

I chuckle. She would. She never liked the Yankees. Never.

"Well, my family would have a conniption. Thinking their British royalty and all."

"Well, technically—"

I shake my head. "Don't even. They're already think their the creme del la creme of society. Don't even praise those narcissists in your head they can feel it."

He chuckled. "You father he...he had a heart attack some years ago."

"I heard," I clear my throat. "Made national news. I still don't care."

"You're cold like that. I'd never seen you that way. It shocks me still."

I roll my eyes in derision. "Yeah, I'm sure."

"No really. You were always that sweet, quiet girl. And the first time I'd ever seen you act so...standoffish was that night."

I scoff. "You couldn't blame me."

"I never did. Did you ever take any pictures? When you were expecting him?"

I shake my head. "No. I didn't have time to take photographs. I was running from one of the most power men in the U.K. Sorry."

He chuckled. "Yeah. I understand."

"He would've found me. But he didn't care to. He lost interest. Decided I'd give him more glory dead than missing."

Benjamin nodded. "Your mum isn't doing well either. Especially after you left."

I shrug.

"I think she knew," he whispered. "But when you left Harrison with me, my mum sent me to America. And I built a life here. A company."

"You've done well for yourself," I nodded.

"But not for him," he said. "Not well enough. I don't know how to take care of him. I don't know...I don't think I've been a good dad. I try to avoid him, because I don't what to do with him."

I smile, looking down at him. "He's beautiful. He looks like you."

"I always thought he took after you?"

I sigh, shaking my head. "No. He looks exactly like you. Always has."

Benjamin takes my hand. "Thank you, Jessica."

I shake him off. "I told you. It's not for you. Now show me his room. Won't do him good sleeping on the couch like that."

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