I Still Love You
A free short story, following characters within the Starting Out Series now also available from eBook retailers.
© Jane Lark
Not to be replicated without the permission of Jane Lark
My head was thumping like someone was bashing on a wall to wake me up. Rach, had kept telling me I was drinking too much, but it was the first time I’d had a chance to drink like that in months. It had been good just to be able to do what I wanted. I know I had made the choice to get married and bring up Saint, and I was still all in for that, but I was still only twenty-three, we needed some time-out. She was going to have to get that.
“I made you coffee.”
I opened my eyes. Rach was sitting on the edge of the bed, wearing the shirt I’d taken off last night.
“It’s black. I figured you’d need it black, and I put three spoonfuls of sugar in it.”
I rolled over, my arm coming across my forehead. “What time is it?”
She smiled. “Eleven-thirty. I want to go home soon.”
“Saint’s okay?” I knew she must have called Mom. She’d called mom after we’d had sex outside just to double-check he was okay. He’d been okay.
“Yeah. But I want to get back. The only people left here are those girls who still fancy you.”
Oh my God. “Rach.” I was too hung-over to handle jealousy and have to start doling out reassurance when she had no need to worry.
I feel like you’re falling out of love with me…
When she’d said that, she’d kicked me in the chest. I was struggling right now, I mean we’d got together and made a lifetime commitment in a matter of weeks, and then Saint had come along within six months, and then she’d ended up in hospital, it was a lot to get my head around… But I loved her. I didn’t want her to feel uncertain about that. I just wanted her to be happy, and then if she was happy I could feel happy.
“I’ve got something I need to tell you. Will you sit up?”
God, she sounded all serious. Serious conversations weren’t good with a hangover.
I slid up the bed and the sheet and the comforter slid down to my belly, she glanced at my chest. We hadn’t just had sex outside last night, we’d had it twice in bed. We’d gone to bed when the party was still in full swing, claiming that us parents needed our sleep, that had been a complete lie, we had been escaping to get some alone sex time. I think some of the guys may have guessed, but the girls were fooled. It really had felt like old times.
I stuck a pillow behind my back and picked up my coffee. She stared at me for a minute then went for my jugular, “I got a letter from the solicitor, he’s heard from Declan.” She annihilated my newly found sense of calm with one blow to the gut.
I made a disparaging face, I hated that guy. “And.”
“He wants custody.”
“What the fuck. He didn’t even want a kid. He signed the statement saying he wanted nothing to do with Saint.”
“That’s not legally binding.”
I thrust my coffee down on the side, spilling some of it. I was ready to fight but there was no one to fight with. “Well, what did the solicitor say… Is he writing back to tell him fuck off.”
“No. He can’t, it’s gone to the courts, Declan’s claiming I’m an unfit mother. He knows I was in hospital. He knows what I did…”
“He paid for my medical policy, remember…”
“Oh shit, Rach.”
“He’s got access to all my records somehow.”
“Then we will be suing that fucking hospital as well.”
“He bribes people, it wasn’t legitimate. You know what he’s like. But now he has the information.”
Tears started streaming down her face.
“Come here.” I opened up my arms to her, she crawled across the bed and came into them. “Hang on a minute.” My fingers gripped her chin and tipped her face up, before she could lay against my chest. “How long have you known? When did you get the letter?” We weren’t at home, so it wasn’t today…
“The day before yesterday.”
“And you have been stewing on this since then. Why didn’t you tell me?”
“I didn’t want to spoil Halloween.”
“But it isn’t good for your brain to be holding onto stuff like that alone.”
I shook my head at her. “Why didn’t you tell me?”
“Because you kept going on about needing a break from Saint, and you didn’t sign up for this, I––”
“I don’t want to be without him, he’s mine as much as yours. That kid is my life too. God, last night when he laughed… Wow… I can’t tell you what that felt like. We are going home today and we’re going to get that on video.”
A smile broke her lips.
“I know your heads screwed up, Rach, I knew what I was getting into––”
“No you didn’t I didn’t tell you until after we were married.”
“I knew. You’d told me about Saint, you told me about the dickhead who’d fathered him, and okay, you never said you had bipolar, but I knew you had mood swings of a bionic standard, Rach. I knew what I was getting into.
“So, okay then, I know your head is screwed up worse than bad right now… and so therefore, I am letting you off with a little jealously and bit of loss of self-worth, and maybe some self-pity and a touch of suspicion, but whatever your head is telling you Rachel, the truth is, I love you and I love Saint, and we’re together. Properly together. You don’t have to worry about my loyalty, ever.”
She nodded, her chin still cradled in my hand.
“That guy is not going to get Saint. There’s numerous amounts of evidence against him. I won’t let that happen. Saint is ours. I want him to have my name. I’m his daddy.”
I let her go and leaned back and shut my eyes as the room span. “I wish you’d stopped me drinking so much last night.”
She laughed, straightening up, and turning to straddle my legs. “You said it didn’t matter last night.”
“I didn’t know last night, that you’d want me to make my brain work today. Oh my God, that guy! I am going to have to go back to New York. I am going to have to have it out with him. It doesn’t work fighting him through the solicitors, he has too much money. I am going to have to think of something…”
“If you go back to New York, I’m going too.”
“You’re in no fit state to go there.”
“You can’t leave me alone, though. I don’t want to be left here… If you go. I’m coming.”
I sighed. “We’ll make a solicitors appointment on Monday and decide after we’ve talked to him.”
She nodded. “Can you get up, so we can go home?”
“Yes, ma’am, getting up immediately.”
She got up, I’m going to take my stuff down to the bathroom and get ready.
I drank down the coffee. I was not up to driving. She’d have to drive the truck.
When I went into the kitchen into the living room to take the cup back into the kitchen, three of Lindy’s old girl friends were spread out on the floor, they had a music channel playing on the TV.
“I think she’s in the bathroom.”
I nodded at them. They were the three girls Rachel didn’t like.
“Jason!” Lindy called from the kitchen. I took the cup in there. She was tidying up. “Is Rachael feeling any better? She was upset yesterday.”
I didn’t want to tell Lind anything about Saint, I know Rach and her talked, but it was up to Rach to decide what she told Lindy. “I think so.”
“You know she needs a lot of reassurance still… She’s still down…”
I laughed at my ex fiancé giving me advice on my wife. “We’ve worked that out, thanks.”
She smiled at me. At least she’d found her peace with Billy, at least she didn’t hold a grudge anymore.
“Hey. You’re up. You made it.” Billy came in, I looked over my shoulder and smiled at him.
“Hey Buddy. It was a good party. Thanks for asking us.” I looked at Lindy again. “Thanks.”
“Anytime you want to break the tethers of a parent and want a night out, you know we are your people…” Billy said, smacking a hand on my shoulder.
“I think I’ve had my party dose for a while.”
“Are you ready?” Rach leaned around the door jamb, in a tight pair of pale Jeans and a light yellow sweater. She looked so beautiful––a dozen times more beautiful than any of the girls in the other room. She was crazy to think I didn’t want to be with her; every time I looked at her I had this knot tied up in my belly and my chest, and when I’d had to have her put into hospital, when I’d seen her then, it had been an unbearable pain.
“I’m ready.” I smiled at her. “Come on. I left our bag in the hall. You are going to have to drive though.”
“That’s okay.” She walked over and hugged Lindy. I wouldn’t lie, I found it a bit awkward and weird that they had got so close, but they were both happy with it, and it made it easier for Billy and I, so I kept my mouth shut.
When we pulled up outside Mom’s, Rach parked the truck up on the drive, then jumped out and ran up to the house leaving me to get the bag and follow. Mom answered the door holding Saint.
“Ah my little pumpkin’s still here. Have Granny and Grampy been looking after you? Did you sleep good?” He was gurgling at her as she took him from Mom. Then he gripped her hair. I took our bag down to the den, then went to find Rach. She was in the living room and she had already found out the trick worm in a can.
She looked up at me. “Get your cell!”
She popped it and Saint started laughing and I pulled my cell out of my back pocket, while I bent down and tickled his belly, before looking out the camera icon.
No one was taking Saint away from us…
The End for now...
The story will continue in 2015 in I’m Keeping You
Click on this for a soundtrack… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DKRRg150OYU
and if you want to read the beginning of Jason’s and Rachel’s story it runs throughout The Starting Out Series
Book One I Found You
Book Two Just you
Book Three I Need You