„Ladies and Gentlemen – this is your captain speaking. As you might have recognized the ‚fasten seatbelts’ signs just flashed back on. We experience some heavy weather outside. It might get a little wobbly but nothing to take serious. Please stay seated and follow the advice of our lovely cabin crew. Thank you!“
Brilliant! Nevertheless I try to close my eyes – shut myself down to the outer world – and strange enough it seems to work. When somebody gently nudges me at my shoulder I look a little perplexed – finding the stereotyped smile of an air hostess.
„We already started with the landing procedure. Would you please sit upright now and stay buckled?“
God, I need to pee! Having slept nearly all the flight there was no way to get to the lavatory. Before the luggage caroussel spits out my bag I dash for the next restroom. When I finally return my luggage is already circling around. Customs this time is a formality and I can quickly pass the barrier. Did I say I hate Heathrow International? At least there are enough cabs this time. Before I can make it to the Taxi stand a voice yelling obviously my name lets me freeze. Turning to the left I look into a pair of painfully familiar eyes.
„Gosh, Jack! What are you doing here?!“
„Waiting for you to save you from yourself.“
„Come to the car with me and I’ll fill you in.“
Hesitantly I follow him through the masses of people. When we finally are seated in a limo from the chauffeur service he finally starts talking again.
„Dad called me – after Mart did.“
He cocks his left brow – just like his damn father!
„Forget about the ultimatum concerning the annulation of your marriage. Don’t force yourself, your feelings now. Think of your and the baby’s health first. If you later discover it’s really unbearable to stay with Andy – then it’s fate and a divorce is what it is – an act. He might be a prick sometimes, but he loves you. I know him. He was like a back-up dad all those years. Grainne and him kept mom afloat and sane for a while – and he kicked my bum so many times, for the right reasons.“
„Hey, don’t forget to breathe!“
He blushes slightly and then smiles at me – and again I see so much Dave in his features.
„Where are we going, by the way?“
„Andy’s. What did you expect? You can’t escape facing the truth. I just come with you as your wing man sort of.“
He grins now.
„As neither Mart or Dad are available for obvious reasons.“
Sweet Lord, how much does he really know?!
As if to proove he inherited some more qualities he eyes me and winks.
„I know a lot, but don’t be afraid. It’s safe with me. Stays in the family anyway sorta.“
He turns serious again.
„Martin told me how Andy treated you – and that it wasn’t his first go at you I’m pretty aware of – witnessing it the last time when you hid at my mom’s.“
Taking my left hand into his he moves over the rings I still hadn’t got the heart to tear off again.
„Every other person would tell you to kick his balls and leave him at once. I’d say he deserves this ‚very last’ of last chances – considering the special circumstances you’re all in.“
„God, you’re really playing the devil’s advocate here, aren’t you?“
„I try my very best – cause I...well, I like you a lot.“
Rolling my eyes I can’t help so see a few images flicking through my mind again – and my body remembers those sensations still very well. This sort of recognition kinda bounces back at me when I am able to look straight into his eyes again. Oh, he’s definitely no youngster anymore – not in that sense. Accordingly his right hand quickly touches my left cheek.
„Siv, I...you still make me...want you...and you’re the same!“
I’m already alarmed but he keeps holding himself back. For how long? I seriously wish we would already pass those bloody gates to Andy’s – and now mine, too – property. There’s a wave of sadness in his olive eyes all of a sudden.
„Don’t be, Jack.“
I take his hand firmly into mine.
„Let’s just not complicate this even more. I thought we agreed on that a while ago.“
A few well placed kicks let me wince and a tiny yelp of pain escapes my mouth.
„Geez, this is going to be a soccer star for sure, oouch!“
„Arsenal or Chelsea?“
„Gosh, neither! Reds go! Liverpool!“
„I better warn Andy then.“
Fifteen minutes later the limousine slows down in front of it’s place of destination. It’s a little after midnight. I feel a lump in my throat and a slight dizziness makes it up into my head. Better take it slowly. Searching for the keys my fingers touch the cold metal and the sharpend edges of them, telling with a low clicking sound that they are still there where I put them last time.
„Why did you send the car away?“
„Look, you don’t expect me to leave you here all on your own? He might be still up and waiting for you.“
I insert the key and open the door. The hallway lies quiet and in a dim light. My suspicion is he’s still in his office. Passing it there’s no light visible on the threshold. Silently Jack follows me with the luggage and I open the door to the master bedroom. Turning on the lights the bed lies in front us – empty, the comforter neatly placed over it. With a sigh I put down my IT-bag and camera gear.
„I think I’ll go for a tea in the kitchen. How about you?“
Jack nods and a few minutes later the kettle is boiling. Some herbal infusion would be great to calm my tensed nerves. Where’s Andy?
„Where are you going?“
„Checking the bureau. Perhaps he’s sleeping on the couch. No, stay here, please.“
Again I make it down the long corridor and cautiously pull down the door handle. The room lies in the dark and it stays deserted with the lights flicking on. Hmh. Back in the kitchen I sink onto the wooden bench and stretch myself a little. My back starts complaining again.
„You’re OK, Siv? You look awfully pale.“
„Yeah, just very tired. And a little confused. Where’s he? He booked the flight so he knew when I should be back.“
„Did you really expect him waiting for you?“
I have to think for a moment.
„It might have been a signal – don’t know what I expected.“
My eyes flicker around the counter and the pin board. No letter or message. There wasn’t any on his desk or in the bedroom either.
„He might be out, drowning his fear and pain.“
„Very well, and what about my pain? My fear? I at least had the guts to return. Looks he already made his decision.“
„Sivvie, please! There’s for sure a reason! You’re drained! Come, l’ll let you in a bath.“
„Just like your dad! As if a bath miraculously could cure anything!“
„Well, it’ll help you relax for sure. Stop complaining!“
Having said this he gets up and gently pulls me with him.
„No, better don’t finish that thought, Jack!“
„Alright, alright. Wouldn’t look very appropriate in case Andy would walk in. I’ll disappear into the guestroom now, Mylady.“
„Shush, you better do! I think I can handle this on my own still very well. Have a good night.“
„Same goes for you, Siv.“
He’s fast – so I can’t hinder him to swiftly place a kiss onto my lips. Then the door of the bathroom claps shut.
The feeling is nice – very nice. A soft touch on my cheek. Again and again. I roll over to the other side in the huge bed, but the hand remains on my skin. A soft voice from far away.
„Siv, I hadn’t got the heart to sit around here hour for hour – the ultimatum kinda ticking away. I was praying to god the house wouldn’t be so deadly quiet any more when I would return.“
Slowly I open my eyes – to realize where I was – to take in the person touching and talking to me. Andy sits next to me on the edge of the bed. Realizing I’m fully awake now he quickly drags back his hand as if he’s done anything improper. Instead of an answer I take it and place it back onto my tummy. The baby is kicking again. Judging the expression on his face he can feel it very well.
„He’s not going to be a Chelsea man. I already told him his place is in Liverpool. So no false hopes!“
„We will see about that when it’s time. The toddlers outfit from the fan shop is in the 2nd drawer from the right. Tracksuits, nappies, socks...all the stuff.“
He points into the direction of the vanity. Never have seen this expression on his face before. Perhaps it was already there when his other kids were little. Then he lets his head sink down onto my meanwhile quite enormous belly and starts sobbing. Like a reflex my hand runs through his ginger hair. Looking up I see Jack standing in the door frame. With a little motion of my head I signal him to grant Andrew and me some privacy. He nods and turns to go.
- Five months later -
„Andy? Andy, please wake up!“
The man next to me in bed grunts and slightly shifts his body in the sheets.
„Andrew, I think it’s time. The baby doesn’t want to wait any longer!“
„Baby?“, Andy mumbles still half asleep. Then he shoots up in the bed, looking startled.
I have to snicker and pat his shoulder. Then my face changes for sure as another set of cramps hits me like no good.
„I’ll call the ambulance!“
„Relax, it’s still time. Just get my stuff and help me with the friggin sandals.“
During the transport to maternity hospital Andy still is a little off track. I clasp my hand around his, waiting for the next contractions.
„I should call Dave.“
He reaches for his mobile yet the medical assistant signals him ‚no’.
„He can’t do anything now. Better get him with the good news when it’s done.“
„Why shouldn’t he have some excited moments over the pond as well? It’s just fair.“
„Andy Fletcher, you’re not cruel at all, aren’t you?“
„Not that I’d know of...“, he’s got a smug grin on his face now. „I’ll call him before we get inside.“
I sigh and then have to concentrate on my breath again as the next avalanche runs through my body.
„Dave, it’s starting!“
„Geez, Andy! You know how late it is?!“
„Well, around 7 am.“
„London time! I just fell asleep!“
„Did you get it then? Siv’s in labour!“
„Holy Christ! You’re already at the hospital?“
„Yep, standing in front of the door. They just transfer her to the maternity ward. I better hurry as she wants me in there.“
„God, I so envy you! It’s your red face he’s going to see first. You take the cam inside, will you?“
„Sheesh, I forgot it!“
„Nah, I didn’t! Siv packed it into her bag – on top! She knows me! I’m so off the rocker at the moment I definitely might not have spent a single thought on it. She’s the pro concerning that.“
„Well, keep me informed. I want to know asap! Oh, and greetz from Jen, Rosie and Jimmy! The whole flat is fully awake by now.“
„Well, with your screaming that’s no wonder! OK, talk to you later! Cheers!“
„Are you ready for this, sweetheart?“
„Ready if you are, Siv.“
When I look into your olive-green eyes I can see all the wonders still inside – the power of innocence, the spark of life that is yet to ignite a whole universe ahead. Then I know it wasn’t a mistake. You are my son – the one with two fathers. Who is that lucky? Not too many. Blood of my blood. David, I will never forget those tears of joy when you first held our precious one in your arms. He instinctly cuddled against your chest and fell asleep at once. Rosie is a happy child- there’s no doubt about it – and so will be our son.
Andrew, I’m sorry but our son decided to pee onto your arm. I don’t think he was very amused about the Chelsea tracksuit. Told you so! He’s a Red!
My dear Martin – you’re always welcome to baby sit and brighten my day. You’re the best godfather I could think of. If my son ever should wear black or silver nail varnish you better be miles away though! At least I might blame Dave for the mascara abuse.
I have no idea what our all future or karma has in it’s sleeve, but I wish I could see it with the positive, innocent eyes of our child. No poisoned mind and heart – just love.