“What was this little shit’s name again?” I asked Mom while we ate the lunch she had come over and cooked. This was a weekly thing for her; no matter how much I insisted I was capable of cooking for myself, she thought I only ate well when she cooked.
She rolled her eyes. “You’re not going to beat up a teenager.”
“’Course not. I’m gonna kill him.” I was only semi-kidding. As soon as I’d found out Nora was pregnant, I’d started seeing red. Not only had this little POS knocked my baby sister up, he’d essentially told her to fuck off. He needed a sound beating, and I’d be happy to be the one to give it to him.
“I better not have to bail you out of jail,” Mom warned.
“Loralee and Alison have both already offered bail money.” Truthfully, they had.
Mom got up and washed her plate, her demeanor changing once Alison’s name was brought up. She strongly disapproved of our relationship. She said she worried most about what other people might think, but I really thought she herself was just squicked out by it. Either way, I found the notion ridiculous. Alison and I were only related by marriage.
“How is she, by the way? I stopped by the house a week or so ago and saw Elaine. She seems to be doing better.” Being my mother, she couldn’t bring herself to let her disapproval dampen the maternal concern she had for Alison.
“She’s doing well,” I assured her. “She really threw herself into decorating this place.” I had hardly been in my new apartment a week, and Alison had already turned it from bare-bones furnishing to completely lived-in.
Mom sat down again at the bar, eyeing me. “Is she staying here a lot?”
She was sleeping over a lot, but I was hardly going to tell my mother that. I’d be perfectly happy if she thought I was as virginal as the day I was born. “We didn’t secretly move in together if that’s what you’re worried about, Mom.” She rolled her eyes and waved me off, but I could see relief in the set of her shoulders.
“I wouldn’t have to ask if you wouldn’t give me a reason to.”
Now it was my turn to roll my eyes skyward. “I’ve told you, Mom; we weren’t keeping our relationship secret – just private.” Was it really so much to ask to take a couple of months for ourselves before involving friends and family?
“I really liked Maggie.”
I rubbed my knuckles against my forehead. “I know; I did, too. Breaking up with her wasn’t about not liking her anymore. It was about being in love with Alison. But you love Alison, Mom. We’re happy – she makes me happy.” The past few months had been downright blissful. The transition from just friends to lovers hadn’t been the slightest bit awkward. It felt natural.
Mom let out a quiet sigh. “As long as you’re happy.” She got to her feet and headed for the door. “I’d better get home. I’ve got a casserole to get in the oven.”
I walked her to the door. “It was really great having you over to see the place, Mom.” I gave her a hug. “I’ll come over for dinner tomorrow.” Sans Alison. We were easing Mom in to seeing us together as a couple.
She smiled. “Good! I’ll roast a chicken. I’ve got a new spice blend I’ve been itching to try.”
“I’m looking forward to it.”
She left and I headed over to the couch to see if there was a game on. As I flipped through the channels, I paused on a show whose opening theme was just playing. A second later and the title flashed across the screen: Teen Mom: Bridgeport. I quickly flipped away from the televised version of junk food, but it immediately brought Nora back to my thoughts.
My own baby sister was pregnant and not even sixteen yet. I wanted to rip out the lungs of the little son of a bitch who’d done this to her. I wanted to protect her, damn it, and I felt so helpless. She didn’t deserve to have this struggle in front of her now.
Watcher, I thought suddenly, I’m going to be an uncle.
I’d always thought I’d be the first to pop out a crib midget. Mom had made no few hints about having grandkids when I was with Maggie, not that either of us had been of an age to be ready to have kids yet. I did, at least, know that I wanted them in the long run. I enjoyed children – loved spending time with Nathan and Theresa. One day, I’d like to have my own.
“Josh, I’m here,” Alison called as she let herself into my apartment. She may not live here, but she did have a key. Let’s not mention that to Mom just yet.
I smiled at her, drawn out of my thoughts. “Hey, there. Come here, you.”
Later, we sat on my bed after finishing dinner and getting ready for bed. I looked over at Alison, the girl of my dreams, and found myself asking, “Do you want kids, Allie?”
She looked at me with surprise. “That’s sudden. What brought this on?”
“The whole thing with Nora has just gotten me thinking. I’d like to have kids one day. Not now and probably not in the next few years, but one day.” I didn’t want her thinking I wanted to run out and buy a bassinet or anything – Watcher no. But, though I hadn’t planned to have this talk tonight, I supposed it couldn’t hurt to find out what her thoughts on the matter were.
Alison frowned and shook her head. “I don’t know, Josh. I like kids and all – I’m all for being Aunie Allie with Nora’s baby – but I don’t really think I want any. I mean, I’m not going to say absolutely no since I know a lot can change over the years but…” She shrugged. “I’m sorry. I know that’s not what you wanted to hear.”
Admittedly, it kind of stunk to hear. “It’s like you said – things can change.” Maybe I’d change my mind, even (though I doubted it). I pulled Alison under my arm, ignoring the ache in my chest at the thought of never having any kids of my own. “You’re my girl, Allie.”
She smiled and leaned in to kiss me. “And you’re my guy.”