Me and Al might have taken Jayce’s baby on a little road trip to get burgers and forgot to get home until one this morning. He might have been a teeny tiny incy wincy bit mad when his pregnant girlfriend finally brought his car home.
Luckily I was flat out in my bed filled to the brim with fries by that point so Al took the brunt of it. Although I’m sure I’ll be getting a ear full when I see him next, and unfortunately I can’t use her method of getting him to calm down.
We were sitting on the steps outside the school waiting for Connor, I’d only snapped at the headmaster twice during the meeting so I think it was pretty successful. The guy sure held a grudge, it was like twelve years ago I left that dead fish in his drawer over summer break and he still wouldn’t let it go!
He deserved it! He’d given me detention after school for three weeks just for shoving Chad’s head through the handlebars of the climbing frame so far they had to call the fire service to get him out. If he hadn’t called Al a troll I wouldn’t have done it! We were the real victims there.
Anyway, we’d talked through the education plan Tara had agreed with the education board and everything seemed to be in place now for May to finally start getting the support she actually needed, hopefully getting her to go in every morning won’t be the fight it has been lately anymore.
“So how do you feel about spending time with Connor again now? Last night you seemed to want to avoid the topic...” Al wasn’t wrong, I just didn’t know what to say about him.
“I’m okay with seeing him, it’s the talking and being near him thing that’s the problem. I just don’t know what’s going on inside his head. Everything was going great before the whole Meg thing, he was happy to go slow and build but it’s like now I’m on eggshells that he’s going to make demands I’m just not sure I’m ready for or even want... it’s hard”
She rubs my shoulder reassuringly. “Is it harder now because of a certain coma-free cage fighting biker whose arms you seem to fall into so easily?”
Steve. I had been avoiding thinking about him entirely until his name would pop up on my screen and I’d forget anyone else existed in the world.
“Fuck babe, I just don’t know what to do with that one. He’s... he’s just different, there never seems to be any pressure there but still I feel like if we tried anything I could be hurting Josh if it all falls apart. He’s been asking when I’m going to go see him again but I’m not sure it’s a good idea. I don’t trust myself around him. He’s an anomaly to me, a guy that seems to be more resistant to my powers than anyone else yet I’ve never wanted someone more. Am I really that messed up?”
She pulls me down into her chest, my head resting on the newly inflated balloons that now sit there. “Babe you’re trying to decide things without all the information. You don’t know what Connors thinking, or Steve. Maybe one of them is the guy for you or neither of them, but you’ll never know if you just avoid them. Go out with Connor, ask him where he is. Whatever the answer you just have to deal with it. Then do the same with Steve, once you have all the info you can work from there... unless you just want to listen to your heart?”
I scoff. “Lost it sorry, think it’s still with that guy from around the back of Burger King.”
She shoves me from her, my body shaking with giggles just as Connor’s car pulls up. He smiles at us both, Al’s face beaming back at him. “Forget what I said, you just let me take this one. Jayce could use the break anyway.”
“I’ll tell him you said that.” She looks at me with horror before waddling her little ass down the steps and chasing after me as I throw myself into the safety of Connors car.
“I will murder you Brianna! I’m pregnant so I’ll get away with it too!”
He looks between the two of us as Al pounds on the window and I laugh my head off.
“There’s something wrong with you two.”
Probably. Al finally relents, shoving her middle finger up at me before smiling at Connor sweetly, then proceeding to make her way to the ice cream shop on the corner where I can already see Jayce waiting for her with enough food to suppress her appetite, well at least for the next twenty minutes.
Connor looks more relaxed today, his perfectly fitted jeans and open collar light grey shirt compliment the sense of calm he always seems to project. We travel in quiet for a bit, me leaving the window open enough the breeze begins to clear my clouded mind. I’d been spending so much time in work I’d almost forgotten what it’s like to just sit back and relax, letting the world pass you by.
“How did everything go at May’s school? Is she okay?”
I turn back from the window to face him. “Yeah she’s good, just fighting all the time to get her the support she needs. Tara did most of the hard graft but because I’m one of her official guardians I had to be there today just to formalise the paperwork.”
He nods. “How did you end up becoming her guardian? Where are her parents?”
“Prison.” He looks slightly shocked but doesn’t say anything. “Well at least one is, the others on parole but she can’t come anywhere near her. We didn’t find out about May’s Dad until a few years ago but my Mum took off before May even knew who she was. Granny had custody of us both but when she got ill and everything kicked off I applied for shared custody of her too, so if anything ever happened to Granny then no-one could try to take her away from me.”
“How old were you?”
“When I applied? Seventeen.”
He lets his body relax as we pull off onto the highway, I now realise I still have no idea where we’re going. “So you’ve been preparing to be a mum for a long time then?”
I laugh. “Not exactly. Having May was enough kids for one lifetime, even though I had so much support, it still taught me it’s not what I want to do with my life.”
He shuffles uncomfortably. “So you don’t actually like kids?”
Oh fuck... “No it’s not like that. I love other people’s kids, I loved all the kids that came to my classes and I can’t wait to spoil Al and Jayce’s little princess rotten, but I just don’t want to do the whole pregnancy and being solely responsible for making sure you raise a kid to be a successful member of society and not a psychopath. I couldn’t guarantee that with my genes, it’s just not for me.”
I know that’s probably hard for him to hear but it’s the truth. Hope is amazing, and if we were together I would be a part of her life definitely, I’d do everything I could for her, but I’d never want to be her mum.
“You’ll feel different when you have one.”
“No I won’t.”
“Yes you will.”
“NO I WON’T!”
My temper spikes but I can’t help it. Why do people always say that? Why can’t people accept that some women just don’t want to do the baby thing, it’s not a phase or an insecurity. I just don’t want to be a mum, end of.
The day I found out I was pregnant I was beyond terrified, I remember trying to dig my nails into my flesh trying to claw it out of me. People can call me cruel or evil but I took every fucking measure to make sure I never ended up in that position and I still fucking did. It wasn’t traumatic for me like it was for Kallie, I didn’t cry or mourn. I was just so relieved to have the option to end things before they began.
Had I been forced to go through with it I know I wouldn’t be here today, I would’ve taken my own life before I put myself through something that made me feel like my body belonged to someone else again. I had the right to choose and thank fuck for that.
Connor is looking at me in slight disbelief but I don’t respond, what he said wasn’t okay. You can’t force someone into being okay with that.
We drive further but this time the silence is less than comfortable, until finally we pull into a parking lot opposite a diner. It’s cute, very retro in its design and I think the waitresses are actually on skates!
There’s a board full of the burger specials outside and my mouth starts to water at the sight of them all.
I open the door but Connor pulls me back to face him before I can get out. “Look, I’m sorry. I didn’t realise it was something you felt so strongly about. I just find it hard to believe that someone as good with children as you are would never want any of your own. The way you are with Hope... I just thought you were kind of born for it.”
That’s sweet, I understand why he feels that way but I have my reasons and I’m sure of what I want. “Hope is special, being around her makes me happy. Not wanting kids has nothing to do with hating them, it’s just knowing what you want for your life. If you want kids then they should be your life, your whole life, anyone who doesn’t think they can offer that shouldn’t have them.”
He nods in agreement, his sad eyes focused on me.
“Do you want more kids?”
Sitting against the seat he rubs the back of his neck as he breaks eye contact with me. “I don’t know, I haven’t really thought about it.” He’s a terrible liar. Of course he wants more kids, why would I think any differently? If you made a child as sweet and cute as Hope then you’d definitely want more of them.
We stare for another moment before finally he breaks the tension with a smile. “I don’t know about you, but I could definitely demolish one of those Norma Jean burgers.”
I look at the board; Double beef patty – check, Bacon – check, enough cheese to cause a heart attack – check, plus unlimited onion rings.... “You’d better make that two.”