I dropped down on the couch next to Alison and let out a frustrated sigh. “I don’t think I can find my father.” Alison and I had been doing all the digging we could, and I’d been looking solo, but we were both coming up dry. I’d thought for a while that I had a lead, but it had just gone up in so much smoke earlier today.
“We’re going to find him,” Alison said confidently.
I shook my head. “We can’t. I talk to my parents, and they’re going to pay to hire a private investigator.”
“Oh,” she said, relieved. “That’s different. I was worried you were giving up.”
“I’m not going to give up until I find him. But I guess this is just something that takes a professional.”
“Maybe when he’s done with you, I should hire him to find the romance between me and Josh,” she muttered darkly.
Shit, no, don’t talk to me about Josh. I couldn’t not respond to that, though. “Is something wrong?”
She sighed softly. “Josh and I had a massive fight a little while ago and now we’re not talking about it. We’re just pretending it didn’t happen. And I’ve been trying to just get back into the ease of being with him – it used to be so easy – but it’s like there’s a block.”
Watcher, Alison, can’t you tell I’m in love with you? I can’t give you advice about my cousin. “What was the fight about?”
“What else? Something he wants that I don’t: kids. I just don’t want to have kids, but he can’t accept that.”
“That’s kind of a big difference of opinion. Kind of…fundamental.” When she gave me a look, I smiled a little. “But you know that.”
“I mean, am I just a frigid bitch or something?”
I shook my head. “No. Unless I am, too. I don’t want kids either.”
“Finally, someone else without baby fever.” She sighed again and leaned back against the couch. “But this is really important to him. I just don’t want it, you know? I can’t make myself want to have a baby.”
“You shouldn’t, either. It sucks that you two don’t agree on this, but it’s really a bad idea to have a kid when you don’t want one.” Break up with him. You’re not compatible. I silenced the voice in my head and tried to focus. Alison was, first and foremost, my friend. “You have to do what makes you happy. If one of you isn’t happy, neither of you is going to be.”
“I guess,” she said quietly, subdued.
After she left a few minutes later, I got up and went into my room. I stood in front of the book shelf, staring at the titles of all the non-fiction books I’d collected over the years. None of the titles jumped out at me; they might as well be in a foreign language.
I gave up on finding a book to read and dropped down on the side of my bed. Alison… I wasn’t even totally sure when it had happened, but I’d fallen in love with her in high school. I’d always thought she was pretty, but then, at one point, she’d gone from “pretty” in my head to “breathtaking.” When we’d actually started hanging out, it was all over; she was smart, incredibly clever, and ambitious. One day, I knew she’d be right at the top of some billion-dollar corporation.
But it’s not like I could tell her any of that. She was my cousin’s girlfriend; I wasn’t going to be that guy. I did wish they’d figure it out on their own that they needed to break up. When they’d been happy together, I had been okay to stay quiet and keep my feelings to myself. What was important was that Alison was happy. Except that now she wasn’t happy, and it was painfully difficult to stay quiet on the matter. There was nothing I could do, though, except hope it would work out, one way or another.