Fiona made me promise to stop by more often and I said I’d try my best. I almost cried again when I saw the little remembrance plaque they’d put on the wall for Harley. Josh had told me they did it but it was the first time I was seeing it in person.
Connor hadn’t said much after I sat next to him, he kept Hope’s gym bag firmly on his lap until about twenty minutes after I stopped dancing, so I guess that means he enjoyed it...
We were now driving to take Hope to her Grandmother’s, she was so exhausted she’d passed out in the back seat five minutes into the drive. “Do you think she enjoyed the class?”
Connor smiled. “I think she loved it. Thanks for going in with her, it meant a lot. You’re kind of a celebrity at that place huh?”
I laughed. “Kind of, half the trophies in the case are because of me and the money the crew won is still keeping that place going. Plus I’m a fuck-tastic dancer.”
He smirks. “No arguments here.”
I place my hand on his thigh, his body tensing under my touch. We’d been so caught up with Hope I’m only now realising I haven’t even kissed him today. Leaning over I place a gentle kiss on his neck, leaving my lips linger for a few seconds longer than necessary until I sense the shiver I was looking for.
Connors hand leaves the wheel, holding onto my chin and glancing to make sure Hope was sleeping before turning and kissing my lips quickly.
“So you nervous about Hope seeing her mum today?”
The mood in the car shifts dramatically and I’m starting to think maybe the woman is like Voldemort or something and you should never mention her.
Connor runs his hand over the wheel nervously as we sit at a red light. “More concerned she won’t even acknowledge the girl is there. Last time Hope called me to come get her after Meg refused to even speak to her.”
What the fuck? “Why is she like that with her? Is this all because she’s deaf, seriously?”
He rolls his neck out, I don’t think he’s had to talk about this stuff in a while. “Yes and no. It’s complicated. The day Hope became deaf was just the final straw.”
I nod. “You don’t have to tell me about it. I get it’s hard to talk about.”
Letting out a deep breath he keeps his eyes on the road but continues to talk. “Meg wasn’t exactly mother material. She changed a lot after we got married and she never really showed much interest in Hope even before what happened. I thought maybe she had like post-natal depression or something so tried to get her help but she said that wasn’t it, she just didn’t understand why she needed to give up so much of her life for someone else. She started going out a lot and met all these new people, a baby just got in the way of that.”
Feels like my own life story all over again. “One day I asked her to watch Hope while I went to work. Usually I took her to the day care at the school but she’d been sent home the day before with a bit of a temperature so she had to have the next day off. Megs mum was on holiday and I knew I could get home early, all Meg had to do was keep an eye on her. She was teething so I thought that was why she had the temperature and was so grouchy... if I’d known the truth I never would’ve left her.”
His voice breaks and I take hold of his hand, interlocking our fingers and making him smile for just a moment. “I came home and I could hear Hope screaming from outside the front door, Meg was sitting on the couch with her headphones in reading a magazine and completely ignoring her cries. I went into her room and she was a mess, her hair was dripping with sweat and her mattress was soaked. She was so hot I couldn’t even touch her, I tried to pick her up and she just went floppy in my arms. I was so fucking scared, I thought I was going to lose her. The ambulance came, took her to the hospital and they said it was meningitis. Meg didn’t even stay with us, said she was exhausted and went home.”
I really don’t like this bitch. “I sat by her bed for four days waiting for her to wake up. When she did they said she was so lucky, most kids wouldn’t have survived what she did. It took them a few hours to realise she’d lost her hearing. I didn’t care, I was just so grateful she was alive. Meg didn’t come to the hospital, when I finally took home it became clear Meg hadn’t even been staying there. I told her things had to change or she had to leave, she didn’t want to change. She left and I swear it was like a weight had been lifted off her shoulders. She never learnt to sign, never took Hope to school, never watched her learn how to write or read. She’s missed it all. Now this is all Hope gets, random visits where Meg hardly notices she exists.”
I stare at the sleeping bundle of happy in the back seat and can’t understand how anyone wouldn’t want her. “She’s perfect. If this bitch doesn’t want her, then it’s her loss not Hopes. She’s got all the parent she needs.”
Connor squeezes my hand and we keep travelling forward, me trying to remind myself I can’t just walk into that house and punch the cunt right in the face. “I can’t believe she’s getting married again, what kind of man would want her?”
I feel Connors hand tense around mine. “Brie, how did you know she was getting married again? I didn’t tell you.”
Ah fuck! Brie just tell the truth, you’re a shit liar. “Um the other day when I left yours I forgot my keys, when I went back I heard you and Bethany talking... She really doesn’t like me does she?”
Connor pulls my hand to his mouth, kissing the back. “She’s protective, she always hoped that Meg would come around and we’d sort it out. I’ve told her a hundred times that it would never happen but I think now Meg is getting married it’s finally become real for her. She’s a good woman, I swear. Whatever she said ignore it, I’ve seen how you are with Hope and I know how much she cares about you already. Leave me to deal with Ma.”
I nod, I don’t really care what she thinks about my relationship with Hope, it’s only Hope’s opinion that means shit to me on that.
Pulling into the drive of the house I can see it’s a really nice place, this girl definitely comes from money. Not Thompson money but still.
Connor stirs Hope gently. ‘Princess, we’re here.’ She signs ‘okay’ then stretches her arms over to me.
“Beebee will you carry me in?” I smile and nod at her. Maybe if this rich bitch sees how good I am with Hope, she’ll give Connor a fucking break.
Connor knocks the grand front door and it’s pulled open by a face I never thought I’d see again.
I almost drop Hope as her eyes meet mine, her whole body frozen as she stares at me holding this precious little girl. Please tell me this isn’t...
“Meg.” Connors voice confirms my fears and my heart tries to leap out of my chest as I realise I’m about to destroy Connors world.
I knew Bethany looked familiar, she looks so much like her daughter. Meg smiles at me but it’s not a happy one, it’s vicious. “Never thought I’d be seeing you again.”
Oh god please don’t tell him. Connor snaps his eyes to me but I can’t bare to look at him as I keep Hopes head cradled into my shoulder so she can’t read anyone’s lips. “You two know each other? How?”
My lip quivers and I don’t want to say the words, not her, please why did it have to be her?!
Her smirk grows as she scans her eyes between me and Connor, barely noticing Hope. “We met a few weeks back... at an event...”
I grip hold of Hope, squeezing her tight knowing I may never get the chance to hold her again soon. “...really making your way through the family huh?”
Connor grips my shoulders, turning me to face him as the shock continues to bounce around me. “Brie, what the fuck is she talking about?”
Please don’t look at me with those eyes, those perfect emerald green eyes, it’s only making it harder. “I’m so sorry, I didn’t know who she was.”
My voice breaks as the night replays in my mind and Meg uses the silence to fill in the gaps.
“I fucked your girlfriend Connor.”
Shit. I slept with Connors ex-wife.