I heard the sound of paws on the wood floor. I looked over at Saint who sat wagging his tail at me. I scooped him up as I heard movement in Mason’s room. He wagged his tail happily as I speeded off. Saint is growing up now. He wasn’t the small little runt we picked up. He was bigger, running around about half the size he will be when he’s older. I sat down on my bed plopping Saint on the bed as he rolled around. I looked up as there was a knock on the door. Mason stood in the doorway looking at me in just pajama pants. “Uh, hey.” I blushed looking down.
“Hey.” Saint sniffed over and sat on my lap wagging his tail at Mason.
“This is awkward.” He laughed clearing his throat. I nodded petting Saints head.
“A little bit.” I looked over Mason’s shoulder as EJ stood looking down at the floor. Mason gave a laugh.
“Well, uh, I was wondering, uh.” I raised my eyebrows at my brother. His neck was bright red as he tried to form words. “I need a, ya’ know?” He sounded like the rest of my family when we got nervous, like southern hicks. Mason is from Kentucky, but moved to Louisiana for his Dad’s job before we went to school together. We took the same bus to school, even though we weren’t friends till the next year.
“Y’all need a condom?” His ears turned red. I’ll take that as a yes. I opened my nightstand draw and pulled out a package of them. I wouldn’t need them any time soon anyway. You don’t need to prevent pregnancy when you’re pregnant. “Here,” I handed him the box. “A little advice?” He looked at me his eyebrows coming together. “Lock the door.”
“Shush up, Lightening.” He said slapping at me.
“I’m just saying! You think it’s awkward with me, imagine if it was Daddy or Sarah.” His face went white. “Yeah that’s what I thought.” We both shuddered at the thought.
“Yeah. Well, tell Tucker I say hi.” EJ looked up at me looking between the two of us. “You tell anyone you caught us and I’m going to dump fish guts and dog crap over your bed.” I stood up taking Saint with me.
“Sure, sure. I’d say don’t get pregnant.” He rolled his eyes. I loved kidding with him. “But I’d be a hypocrite then.” I patted my baby bump. “And I don’t think it could happen.”
“Shut up and get back to your Baby Daddy.” He winked at me. I picked up the movie I was bringing over to Tucker’s as I held my squirming puppy.
“Shut up, butt face.” He winked again before turning back to EJ.
“Come on, I’m not finished.” He laughed. “Not nearly finished.”
“Mason…” EJ whispered looking back at me as I patted Saints head. He was our little Houdini. He got out of everywhere we put him. Little bugger was my best friend.
“Come on.” He kissed him. “We have things to finish.” Mason pulled him away as I walked down the stairs.
“Be safe!” I called before walking out to Tucker’s jeep and getting in. Saint plopped on the seat before standing up to look out the window as the kids walked around the town trick-or-treating. Since there was the party, they planned it early so kids could still go trick-or-treating around. Not everyone goes to the party, only certain people. Dad went with Sarah as he had to be on duty going around town later to make sure everyone is safe and there is no trouble. We took the kids out to the side of town that doesn’t really go to the party, and if they do, the candy is on the doorstep. It’s a kid district, my dad told me. “Saint don’t do that.” I laughed as he licked the window. He barked at me wagging his tail staring at the kids. I pulled up to Tucker’s to see him giving candy to a couple kids who were at the door.
“Thank you Mister.” They smiled. He smiled at them before looking at me. “Bye.” They ran off to the next house.
“What took you so long?” He laughed as Saint jumped over me to run up to him. “Hey Bugger.” He laughed petting him as he jumped on him. “I see you brought a friend.”
“It’s a long story, really.” I smiled at him walking up the stairs to him.
“Do I get to know?” He asked raising his eyebrow. I shrugged.
“Maybe, but it’s nothing to worry about really.” I smiled as Saint ran into the house barking. He loved coming here. Tucker loves him as much as I do- me more- so he comes over all the times. He has a toy box down stairs in the TV room and he always goes there first. Dakota came into the room.
“Do you have it?” I handed her the movie. “Yay!” She grinned at me hugging my legs before running off.
“Come on, I have a movie ready.” He smiled picking up JJ to take him with us. I sat on the couch next to Tucker with my feet up on the ottoman. Tucker copied me with JJ on his lap lying on his stomach with his butt in the air as he napped. Saint crawled up onto my lap laying his head on my lap. I gently pet his head as he fell into a light sleep. If this was my future, I can’t wait for it…..
Harold had told me that he wanted to talk to me. I was a little surprised that he was coming up just to talk even though he said he had other business as well. I was told to be ready for a fancy dinner. Sarah was helping me get ready as Saint watched from my bed. “The dress is perfect Baby; you can’t even see your bump.” She smiled helping me zip it up.
“Thank you, Sarah.” I smiled as I put the earrings Sarah let me borrow in.
“You look beautiful.” She smiled at me putting on a necklace for me. She looked at me through the mirror. My hair was pulled up nicely with a butterfly clip.
“Come on, Sweet. I’m going to drop you off at the restaurant. You’re Daddy’s working so we’ll see you later.” I nodded standing up to follow her. I patted Saints head as I heard the other puppies running around the house.
“Have fun!” Mason called from the living room. We were at one of the nicest restaurants in the town.
“I’ll see you later, Sweets. Have fun.” I walked in the restaurant to see Harold smiling at me.
“Hello Carson.” He hugged me. “Come on, the table is ready.” He smiled pulling me gently to a table. “How are you, Sweetheart?” He asked as we sat down.
“And the baby?” I smiled my hand slipping to my growing bump.
“It’s good. I have an ultra sound the first week of January. We might even get to found out the sex.” I smiled just thinking of my baby finally being called he or she, not just it. Harold smiled at me, before sighing. “What’s wrong?” I asked him after giving my order to the waiter.
“I gave you’re mother the divorce papers.”
“I thought you did that when JJ was born.” He shook his head.
“I started the process after he was born. It’s just been taking a while. They were finally done a couple days ago.” He sighed. “I gave them to your mother the day before Halloween.” Well that explains the phone call.
“What’s bothering you, Harold?” I asked him tucking a piece of hair behind my ear.
“I just never noticed how bad she really was. How bad she must have been to your father.” I looked down. I always knew. “Carson, if you weren’t eighteen already.” He shook his head.
“She would have held me over you as well.” It wasn’t even a question. I knew she would. She found their weakness and held it against him. Me.
“I would have spent every dollar I had to get you.” I looked up at him. “I would have made sure you never went back to her. Not after everything you had been through.”
“She tried to hold me against you right?” He nodded.
“She thought you were still a minor. My lawyer already knew everything and had it ready if something happened. Your medical records, the hospital pictures, he had everything. I made sure of it.” I looked up at him.
“Why would you need them if I was already eighteen?” He smiled weakly at me.
“Sweetheart, I’ve wanted to divorce your mother for a long time now. Ever since you were younger.” I looked at him confused as the food was brought over.
“She would have taken you away from me.” My face dropped. “So I stayed married to her. I just kept her happy, and it kept you safe.”
“You stayed with her….for me?” He nodded.
“I had to protect you, and it was worth it.” I sighed. “What Sweetheart?”
“I don’t get it.” He smiled.
“I’ll always love you sweetheart. I just wish I could have my own kids. Not that I don’t love you, I just.” He sighed.
“You want someone to call ya’ Daddy?” He nodded sadly.
“When I found your mother, I thought I would. But then – but then I saw you. I heard the stories. I saw how she was with you.” He shook his head. “I would never, could never, condemn a child to it.” He laughed. “Now I’m glad I waited. Now I know she can’t hold a baby over me.” I looked at him.
“You’d be a great Dad, Harold.” I smiled weakly. “I’m so-” He shook his head.
“Don’t be baby. I told you, you didn’t have to call me that. You have your Daddy.” I nodded scrapping my fork along my empty plate. “I’ll always be here if you ever need anything. You will always be my daughter at heart.” I smiled at him.
“I’ll be right back. I have to use the bathroom.” He smiled at me.
“Take as long as you need.” He handed our dirty plates to the waiter. I found the bathroom easily and finished before going back to the table. Harold smiled at me as I got closer.
“What’s this?” I asked sitting down at my seat looking at the box on my plate.
“Well, maybe you should open it.” He smiled watching as I picked it up gently pulled the ribbon and unwrapped the paper from it. I opened the box before looking up at him. He shrugged.
“What did you do?” I asked him taking the key out of the box.
“Troy and Sarah said you needed one and well with the baby coming you’ll really need it.” I looked down at the key in my hand before looking back at him. “It was going to be your Christmas present, but I wanted to give it to you now.” He stood up as the waiter gave him back his credit card. “Come, come. I want you to come see it.” He smiled taking my hand and pulling me gently out of the restaurant and into the parking lot. He clicked the red button on the key making a car beep before pulling me to it.
“You have got to be kidding me!” I gasped at the shiny blue convertible mustang in front of me.
“Happy Early Christmas and Baby shower present.” He smiled hugging me.
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