I took a deep breath raising my hand to knock on the door. “One minute.” A voice called as I clutched on my bag tightly. This is one of those moments when I was completely nervous. My stomach is in knots, it has been since I got onto the plane all that time ago. “How can I…..Lottie?” My jaw wobbled as I stared at my father.
“Daddy.” He pulled me into a hug as I burst into tears. “I’m sorry.”
“You have nothing to be sorry about.” He stroked my cheek. “Come in, come in. It’s cold out.” He pulled me inside the house closing the door behind me. “Hush baby, Daddy’s here.”
“Elliot, who was at the door?” My Mom’s voice came through the room. “Elliot?”
“Colin, we have a visitor.” She walked into the room as Dad sat me down on one of the couches.
“Lottie.” She gasped running in to hug me tightly. “Oh my baby’s home.” Dad took my bag from me.
“I’ll go put this in your room.” My mom rocked me back and forth as I cried. I haven’t seen my parents since they left to work overseas when I was 16 in my sophomore year in high school. They are research zoologists and have been since before me and my brother was born. They got their dream job researching endangered animals in South Africa.
“Come, let’s go lie you down. You look exhausted.” She took my hand pulling me up the stairs. I’ve never been in this house. They bought it after they got back from their research mission. My mom sat me on the bed.
“I need to take my pills.” I sighed rubbing my head. My mom opened my bag taking the bottle out of it.
“I’ll go make you something for dinner.” Dad sat next to me.
“You want to explain to us what happened?” I lay back on the soft pillows I remember from being a kid.
“It’s a long story.” I sighed taking my baby scrapbook out of my bag. My Dad lay next to me.
“I got time.” I looked at him clutching my book.
“Are you guys still mad at me?” He cocked his head to the side. “For not moving to Africa with you guys?” He stroked my hair.
“Charlotte, we were never mad at you. We gave you the choice. You didn’t have to come.” He smiled. “We love you. We didn’t want to drag you away from life here just because me and your mother got good jobs. We wanted you to be happy. That’s why we let you stay. Because you were happy.” He put his hand to my cheek.
“What about Joey?”
“He got his degree being a doctor. He’s still over there treating the villagers.” I’ve been there twice in the 6 years my parents ever over there. It just hurt when I had to leave and see my mom’s face. So I stopped going. I spent the holidays with the Palmer’s where I stayed. I guess that’s why I’m so close to Ella and her parents. I’ve lived with them for most of my high school career.
“How is he?”
“He’s good. I’m sure the next time he calls you can speak to him.” I nodded looking up at my ceiling. My parents didn’t go back to where we used to live. They another amazing job in New Hampshire in a conservation center. As far as I know, they love it. “So let’s talk about this baby here.” He gently tapped my stomach. “Who’s its Daddy?” I closed my eyes.
“Kellan.” I bit my lip as tears formed in my eyes.
“Kellan Palmer?” He asked shocked.
“I’m just surprised.” I sighed as told him everything that happened in the past seven months. I started from the party and ended on how I ended up here back at my parents’ house. I left out the details of the most amazing sex I’ve ever had. But everything was dotted to the t. Every word I remember Kellan saying. “How long have you loved him, Lottie?” He asked after a moment of silence. I sighed.
“I guess I’ve loved him since a little after puberty. I remember back in middle school I had this boy who wouldn’t leave me alone. I couldn’t go anywhere without him harassing me or pushing me. It was hell. I was telling Ella when Kellan came in the room. I had to tell him before he stormed out and left. The next day that kid never went near me again.” I smiled. “Turn out Kellan threatened him and punch him till he promised to knock it off. I guess I’ve loved him since then.” He gave me a thoughtful look as the door opened and my mom came in with a tray in her hands.
“Up, up Honey.” She put the tray on my lap. It was a flash back to when I was little; a glass of lemonade with a grilled cheese sandwich with my mom's ‘secret’ spices. She handed me my blood red colored pill as I picked up my drink taking it down shaking my head sticking out my tongue. “I know Hon, but it’s for the baby.” I took a big bite of my sandwich smiling at the memories it gave me.
“I remember when you were pregnant with Lottie here.” He smiled as I gobbled up my grilled cheese.
“Those pills aren’t good at all.” She shook her head as I filled up my stomach. “Taste nasty.”
“I’m tired.” I yawned pushing the tray away from me.
“Get some sleep. You look like you need it.” My parents left my room as I fell back on the bed falling asleep instantly from jetlag and pregnancy…..
I woke up a couple hours later when it was dark out. I walked down the hall way to go to the bathroom when I heard my parents talking. I could see them in the kitchen from where I stood at the top of the stairs. “What are we going to do Colin?” He asked her. I looked around the turn to see them both in pajamas drinking coffee.
“We take care of her of course. Poor girl.” My mom sighed pouring herself a tea. “Would you have ever guessed that Little Kellan be the one giving us a grandchild?” She smiled.
“Oh come on. When those kids were little you were planning their wedding. You aren’t surprised at all.” He shook his head. I knew my parents have been friends with the Palmer’s since before any of us kids were born.
“I remember them growing up too. I’m still surprised they even liked each other. Kellan is go wild and,” she wrinkled her nose, “not tame. Yet Lottie is so calm and reserved. I just could never see them getting married.” I frowned at her. I’ve never heard my parents like this.
“Opposites do attract. I bet that little baby is going to be a fine little cutie.” My Dad smiled at her. “Lottie always got to calm that boy down weather she knew it or not. She always was his rock.”
“I swear the looks he gave her made my heart soaring.” My mom giggled sitting down on my father’s lap. “He got her out of her shell too. Made her look out of those books and at people. He got to go out and meet people. I was surprised that they never got together. They even look cute together.”
“They’ll both see it one day. Hell, they have a baby now to think of.” Dad said putting his chin on Mom’s head. “But if he’s acting liking like this to my girls, I’ll beat him myself.” He shook his head.
“They’re grownups now Elliot. You need to let them solve this for themselves now.” My mom said rubbing at his cheek.
“We’ll see. For now we just make our little girl comfortable. We’re finally a family again. A whole family.” He smiled.
“Yeah.” She smiled standing up to put their cups in the sink. I walked back to my room lying back down. I’ve never really thought about how Kellan felt about me. Would he still like me? He can’t. He said he didn’t. Didn’t he?