What Doesn't Kill You

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Chapter 29

“What have you done?” Chrissy’s eyes went wide as I walked across the floor towards him. He got up out of his seat and pulled me into a hug and I gave him a tight squeeze back.

“I shaved it off.”

“I can see that.”

This was the first time she’d seen Chrissy in a while. He’d been busy with training and she’d been busy with Lucky but when he asked to catch up, Lucky had told her to go.

Scout noticed a small change in Lucky since they decided on keeping the baby. He seemed a little more like himself, a little more positive. There was still a giant boulder made of anxiety and fear sitting in her stomach but that was for Scout to deal with.

“I mean… I’m not sure how you manage to make bald look so good,” Chrissy said. Scout laughed as they took a seat at the table. “I got you a drink.”

“Oh, thanks.” She’d never been a big drinker because of dance so she hoped that Chrissy didn’t realise that she wouldn’t touch it.

“You did it for Lachlan?” Chrissy nodded his head and Scout flushed red.

“It’s really easy for someone to say it’s just hair.”

“You must really love this guy, Scout.”

“I wouldn’t have done it for someone I wasn’t sure about.”

“You could have brought him with you.”

“He had stuff he needed to sort out.”

The knot in Scout’s stomach grew a little as she told Chrissy that. Lucky was dealing with the legal side of his condition. Scout wasn’t sure that anyone in their twenties thought they’d have to sort out their will but Lucky said he couldn’t drag his feet about it anymore and so she dropped him at the solicitor’s office before meeting Chrissy.

“Next time. Okay, well I have something to tell you.”

Scout raised an eyebrow. Chrissy looked so bright eyed and like he was ready to burst. It was strange to think that other people were carrying on with their lives and plans whilst she and Lucky had been trying to navigate their way through his illness. It was a true reminder that she was not the centre of the universe and life was continuing around her.

“What is it?” she asked.

If possible, his grin grew wider. “I’m being transferred.”

“Shut up!” Her eyes widened at the news and Chrissy nodded his head, hair bouncing along at the movement. “Where? When?” He filled her in on all the details. Chrissy would be leaving Swansea in a few weeks and heading up North to Liverpool. “I’m so proud of you.”

He picked up his glass and Scout did the same before they knocked them together gently. “To new beginnings,” he said.

“New beginnings,” Scout echoed.

Chrissy sipped at his pint and Scout placed her wine glass back on the table. “Not drinking?”

“I… I drove here so…”

Chrissy narrowed his eyes for a second. “One drink wouldn’t put you over the limit.” He leaned forward suddenly, elbows on the table and staring at her intently. “Do you need to tell me something?”

Scout swallowed. She’d never been good at keeping secrets. She had this issue where every time she wanted to lie she ended up giggling nervously and it happened now.

“What’s going on, Scout? You giggled like that when Miss Jones from Geography caught you throwing paper airplanes at the back of the classroom.”

That seemed like a lifetime ago. Sometimes she wished she could be thirteen again with her only worries being about exams. You didn’t appreciate the simplicity of life when you’re younger.

Scout clamped her hands over her mouth to muffle the nervous giggle. Once it subsided, she dropped her hands and Chrissy still looked at her eagerly.

“You have to swear you won’t tell anyone,” Scout said.

“I swear, Scout.”

“I… I’m pregnant.” The words came out small and quiet and Chrissy broke into a huge grin.

“Congratulations!!”

“Shhh!”

“Sorry! Sorry. That’s amazing news!”

Lucky spoke to Ava and Ava was never going to be able to keep her mouth shut so they had ended up calling a James family meeting to break the news. Lucky looked so damn happy and proud all night. Chris was ecstatic that he’d have two grandchildren on the way and Ava was pleased that she wouldn’t be the only one in maternity wear.

“How far along are you?” Chrissy was beaming at her. He’d become an unexpected source of support. Scout was surprised how close they’d grown when she moved back home.

“Around nine weeks. I didn’t realise what was going on with my body considering everything else. You cannot say a word.”

“Who am I going to tell?”

“You and your big mouth…”

He mimed zipping his lips. “I bet your old man was chuffed!”

They still hadn’t told Jim yet. Lucky kept telling her that they needed to see Jim and tell him because he’d be hurt if he found out from anyone else. The problem was that Scout didn’t want to. She thought she’d forgiven Jim for letting it slip to Lucky about the job but there was a part of her that was still mad at him. She didn’t know if he’d see their news as good or bad so she dug her heels in a little.

“I haven’t told him yet. We’re going to see him tomorrow.” She couldn’t avoid it any longer. She was going to have to bite the bullet and tell Jim and see what happened.

“Scout, why am I looking happier than you are right now? You want the baby, right?”

“Yes. Yes, I really do. I’m just worried about everything surrounding it.”

Chrissy gave her a look and cocked his head to the side. “Talk to me.”

“Lucky is still going through treatment and we have to wait and see what happens.”

Chrissy took her hand from across the table and gave it a squeeze and she let out a sigh. Scout had no more tears to cry at this point because everything made her burst into tears. Her well was empty.

“You can’t think…” He didn’t finish his sentence. It hung between them.

“It’s a possibility.”

“Scout, you’ve got to stop letting that come into your head.”

“Says the guy who isn’t pregnant with a boyfriend who has cancer.”

Chrissy squeezed her hand again. “You don’t have control over life, Scout.”

“I know. I just –”

“You’re worrying over something you don’t have control over instead of enjoying life as it is.” She blinked a few times at what he just said. “You’ve got to learn to go with the flow a little more. You try controlling everything and you’re going to end up spiralling. Trust me on this because I wanted to control everything in my life. The moment I let go a bit was the moment I started enjoying it.”

“Chrissy, I think you might be a genius.”


“You’re being very quiet, Scout,” Lucky said.

“I’m nervous.”

A red light caught them at the last minute and Scout slammed on the break, causing the seatbelt to dig in a bit.

“Shit! Sorry, Luck! Sorry!” Scout apologised.

He shook his head and put a hand on her thigh, rubbing it gently. “I’m fine, babe. I’m not made of glass but I am taking over driving as soon as I can.” There was the shift in his attitude. Lucky had stopped discussing the future after his diagnosis. He’d stopped talking about this that would happen but now he seemed to see it again. “Why are you nervous?”

“I’m just not sure how my Dad is going to take it?”

If she could, she would continue to bury her head in the sand and just turn up with a baby on Jim’s doorstep so that she wouldn’t have to do this.

They pulled up outside and Scout took her seatbelt off and pushed back the chair, taking in deep breaths.

“Babe, you’re working yourself up. Just breathe.” Lucky leaned over and rubbed her back gently.

“I know. I’m sorry.

“You don’t need to apologise but you need to try and stop stressing.”

“I’ll try.” She leaned over and gave him a quick kiss before getting out of the car. Lucky took her hand and they walked up the path and into her childhood home.

Jim greeted them before they even entered the living room. “Hello, you two. Scout…”

“Hi, Dad.”

She let go of Lucky’s hand so she could give her Dad a hug. Scout was a little shaky as she dotted a kiss on his cheek. Jim hadn’t seen her since she took the clippers to her hair. With all of the baby news, she’d completely forgotten that she’d walked into the house bald.

“What have you done?” He held her at arms length and whispered the words. She felt like she might be sick. Jim’s eyes were welling up.

“It’s just hair, Dad.” She removed herself from his grasp and took a step back.

“Jim,” Lucky greeted him.

Jim broke his focus and looked to Lucky. “Son.” They hugged. “How are you doing?”

“It’s not been great but we’re looking forwards.”

Jim just nodded before turning around and walking back into the living room. There were mugs of tea on the coffee table and a selection tin of biscuits. Scout thought it was better not to spring the visit on him so she’d called ahead. Jim sounded happy that they were stopping by but she thought some of the shine had worn off the visit.

“I see the chemo is… working.” Jim rubbed at his own head and Scout was mortified.

“Dad!”

“I’m just saying.”

“It’s fine, Scout,” Lucky told her. “It’s doing something, I guess.”

Scout sat on the couch with Lucky. She realised she might be a fraction too close to him but Lucky was anchoring her. She felt less nervous the closer he was.

Jim sank down into his chair and picked up a mug of tea. “Did you really have to…” Jim gestured to Scout’s head.

“Dad.” They were on rocky ground and Scout felt like they couldn’t recover.

“I’m just saying, Scout. How is this going to look at auditions?”

“I’m not auditioning right now.”

“And I think that’s a mistake.”

The pair had this conversation before. Jim thought Scout should have taken the offer with Marco Lyton and they eventually dropped the topic because they were going around in circles.

“I’m not going to be able to audition,” Scout informed him.

“Scout,” Lucky warned.

“Because you’re too busy playing nurse,” Jim told her.

Scout shot back, “No. Because I’m pregnant, Dad.”

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