What Doesn't Kill You

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Chapter 30

“I’m sorry. What did you just say?” Jim asked. He put his mug of tea back down on the coffee table and shifted in his seat, looking at Scout. If the world could swallow her whole right now, she’d be grateful. “Scout Adele Daniels, what did you just say?”

He was starting to go a little red in the face and Scout’s heart thumped in her chest. She was a twenty-five year old woman. She had a life and was living it the best she could with all things considered. She should not be this worried about admitting that she was pregnant to her father but she was.

Lucky took her hand into his and she turned her head to look at him. There was no trace of worry or panic on his face. “Scout’s pregnant, Jim,” Lucky said. “We’re having a baby together.”

“No.”

“Dad,” Scout started.

“No. No. You stupid, stupid girl.”

Scout thought Jim might not be best pleased by the news but she didn’t expect this reaction. Displeased was a mild way to put it. Jim looked furious at the news.

“What have you done?” Jim asked.

“It wasn’t exactly planned,” Scout said.

“That makes it worse!”

“Jim,” Lucky said straightening up.

“You had a bright future, Scout!”

“I still have a bright future,” Scout argued.

“How do you figure that? How do you plan to dance with a baby?” He’d gotten up out of his seat and Scout stood up as well.

“Jesus, Dad. There are working mothers out there, you know. My life doesn’t end just because I’m pregnant. And… and… I’m not sixteen. I’m an adult woman who is in a committed relationship.”

“With a man who you’ve known for a few months.”

“So, if I was still with Scott and I was pregnant you’d be fine with it?”

“No!”

“Then what’s the issue, Dad?”

Lucky had pushed himself onto his feet and took her hand again. Scout didn’t want to fight with Jim. Not like this. She and Jim had always been close because it was only the two of them for so long. He hated the way she left wet teabags on the counter and she hated the way he never put his shoes away but they didn’t fight. They bumbled along because that’s how they were together.

“Scout,” Lucky said. “How about we leave for now?”

“No.” The word came out forcefully. “What is the issue here, Dad?”

“I think it’s pretty obvious, Scout,” Jim replied.

“Jim,” Lucky sighed. “I think we should talk about this at a later date. You’re both going to end up saying something you regret.”

“This is a conversation between me and my daughter. It doesn’t concern you.”

Lucky took a small step forward and said, “It concerned me the moment you upset her.”

“I’m looking out for her.”

“By turning our good news into an argument?”

“Good news? You’re deluded. Was this your idea? Did you talk her around into keeping this baby?”

“We both agreed, Dad,” Scout told him. “This is something we want.”

“Use your head, Scout! This is a stupid mistake that will affect your entire life.”

“Enough!” Lucky shouted. “I understand you might not be happy with our decision –”

“Not happy? Not happy?! I’m livid! I told her to think this through.”

“I did and I told you I love Lucky and I’m choosing to stand by him,” Scout said.

“She made a decision, Jim,” Lucky agreed.

Jim pointed his finger at Lucky and Scout moved towards her boyfriend and her Dad yelled, “No offence, son but I imagined Scout finding someone who could be there for her. Not someone who’ll leave her heartbroken, with a child before I even leave this earth.”

Scout’s mouth dropped open in horror at what her Dad had just said out loud. Lucky opened his mouth but Scout cut across him. “We’re leaving.”

“Scout,” Jim said quietly.

“No. We are done here.” She leaned down and swiped the keys from the coffee table. Scout was mortified that he Dad would say such a thing. Her Dad was a kind and understanding man not whatever this was.

“Babe,” Lucky said softly.

“Do not even try and get in touch with us,” Scout told Jim. “Because I am not interested anymore.”

Scout didn’t say another word before she shuffled out from between the couch and the coffee table. She slammed the door shit on her way out. Scout was halfway down the front path when she realised she’d left Lucky in the house. As she turned around she saw him closing the door and making his way towards her. They got into the car in silence.

“I am so sorry,” Scout whispered.

“You don’t have to apologise.”

“I really do. I have no idea what’s gotten into him. He should never have said anything like that to you.”

Scout could feel herself getting upset just thinking about it. Jim had gotten on so well with Lucky but things had been weird since her birthday. Jim asked after Lucky and his treatment but he asked about work a lot more. It was almost as if he couldn’t see that her priorities had changed.

She wasn’t just upset with him because of what Jim had said to Lucky although that made up 95% of her anger. The other 5% of her anger and hurt was at Jim’s reaction to the news. Even though she was prepared for him to be unhappy there was part of her that hoped Jim would come around. This was his first grandchild. His reaction was completely different to Chris’s, who burst into tears when Lucky told him.

“He didn’t mean what he said,” Lucky told her.

“Whether he did or not he should never have said it.”

“And you didn’t mean what you said to him either.”

“Yes, I did.”

“No, you didn’t.”

“Yes, I did. I did. I don’t want to hear from him.”

“Scout…”

“I mean it, Lucky. We don’t need that type of negativity in our lives. What we need is support and love to get you through to the end of your treatment and… and…”

“And to get you to the end of your pregnancy.”

Scout had never thought about having children. She had never pictured herself as a mother and maybe that was because she was focusing on dance or maybe it was because Scott and Scout had never been in a place where she felt like it was an option. Either way, she was pregnant now and despite the small well of fear that she lived with every day, she wanted this baby.

Chrissy’s words still banged around her skull. She needed to learn to go with the flow. Fear had been dictating her life recently and she didn’t want that to be the primary emotion in her life. She knew it’d still be there, hanging around in the pit of her stomach but there was other things as well that she’d been ignoring because she gave fear the main stage.

She was excited at the prospect of having a baby with Lucky. It was unexpected and a lot quicker than they would have liked but this was their situation and they’d make the most of it together. Scout was excited that she wouldn’t be going through it alone. Ava would know exactly what she was going through as they grew together.

She didn’t need someone in her life who told her that the decision she made were a huge mistake and that she was stupid for making them.


It was World Book Day at A Page A Day and the place was packed with people as they were open late and running a costume contest.

“Chris,” Scout said. “Honestly, you should head off.”

He’d been there all day because Lucky had a chemo appointment and she came to relieve him of his shift but he’d stuck around.

“I’m not leaving you with this load of trouble.” He gestured over to a bunch of kids dressed as Hogwarts students.

“I can manage.”

“When is my son giving you maternity leave?”

Scout laughed and finished putting books into a bag for a customer and waved them off. “I think we’ve still got a few months before that happens.”

Chris came to join her behind the counter. “How have you been feeling?”

“Tired. I could sleep for a million years at this point.”

He dotted a fatherly kiss on top of her head. “You know, I’m not sure how you do it.”

“It used to be through the magical powers of coffee. Now it’s on a prayer and thanks to you.”

Chris had always been a phone call away but he came around to the flat every other day to help out with whatever they needed. If they didn’t need help he’d have tea and chat.

“Not all angels have wings,” Chris said with a grin. Scout wasn’t surprised that Lucky had a decent sized ego when she looked at his Dad and the fact he was just a carbon copy. “How’s your old man doing?”

Scout took in a deep breath and shrugged. It had been three weeks since the blow out with Jim. He’d tried to call her a few times but she didn’t pick up. Lucky told her that she was being stubborn and that she should speak to him because this was getting ridiculous but she couldn’t do it. Every time she thought she might pick up the phone, she was filled with rage that she couldn’t swallow and decided against it.

“Lucky told me what happened,” Chris said.

“Your son has a big mouth.” Scout leaned back against the counter and folded her arms over her chest. She wasn’t mad at Lucky. He couldn’t get through to her so he was trying a different route. She appreciated the effort he was putting in but nothing would change.

“I have no idea where he gets it from.”

“Mhm.”

“Scout, love, don’t you think this is a time to have family close by?”

“Did you hear what he said?”

Chris nodded and placed a hand on her arm. “Your Dad is just looking out for you.”

Scout shook her head. There were ways of looking out for people you loved and that was not one of them. She rubbed her face and then dropped her hands to look at Chris again. “I just don’t even know what I would say to him at this point.”

“You both got very worked up by the sounds of it. Scout, love, listen to me for a second. Parenting doesn’t come with a handbook. You’d see that when this one comes along.” He gave a nod towards her stomach and Scout wrapped her arms around it. “All we want is to protect our children and make sure they get the most out of their lives.”

“I…”

“I know you and Lucky made a decision and it was yours and yours alone to make. But as parents we always worry. We don’t always get things right but it comes from a good place no matter how hard it may be to believe.”

Scout’s eyes dropped to the floor. She missed her Dad but she just couldn’t see how they were going to be on talking terms again after the stunt he pulled.

“You’re Jim’s little girl and he just wants to make sure you’re going to be okay when he’s not here anymore.”

“Chris… I just can’t talk to him calmly right now. I don’t even know what to say to him.”

“I’m not saying you have to speak to him. You’re an adult, Scout. You can live your life the way you want. I’m just saying that I don’t think your Dad truly meant any harm.”

Scout pushed herself away from the counter and gave Chris a hug. She thought he would be livid when he heard what Jim said to Lucky but Chris was calm as ever. She honestly wished she knew his secret.

“Just think about talking to him,” Chris said.

“I’ll think about it.”

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