Saturday, 23 February 2013

The Lighthouse; Chapter 3: Confessions

"Erm Hi". Claire had stood outside Connors door for 15 minutes before she worked up the courage to ring the bell. She half wished he wasn't home but she knew he was from the car in the driveway and she'd almost chickened out when she heard his feet coming down the stairs. Now she was inside, she had no clue what to say. He'd invited her up to the living room but she politely declined. He asked how the baby was, fine she replied, he asked if she knew what gender it was was, no, she said, not yet, he asked when the baby was due, in three days she answered. She thought she saw a flicker of something cross his face when she said this, but it was gone as quickly as it came. She took deep breath and realized Connor was staring at her, one eyebrow raised, waiting, intrigued. Opening her mouth to speak, Connor interrupted her, "Is it my brothers baby?". She stood there, wide eyed and speechless, "Wai- wha- how did you know??" she couldn't think straight, the only people she'd told were Buster and Bessie and she'd sworn them to secrecy, she knew they would never tell, and as far as she was aware, Jared had no idea, so how did his brother know? She composed herself and asked him. He shrugged, "Its just, you said that the baby is due in three days, and I saw him leaving your house one morning. . . around nine months ago. No disrespect to you, but I know my brother, he wasn't making a friendly house call and he definitely doesn't think with his head, not the right one anyway" he muttered. "And why else would you be here?". Claire stared at the floor, her cheeks growing hot. "Well?", he continued, "It's his, isn't it?"

Claire waited for the denial, the name calling, anything, but it never came. She looked up and Connor was lost in thought, smiling, "I'm going to be an Uncle" he murmured, and pulled her in close for a hug. Claire didn't know what to make of it, but she certainly wasn't expecting this. "Can I touch it? your stomach I mean". "Um, sure, I guess" she said. Connor leaned down and gently placed his hand on her swollen stomach, the baby shifted. "Wow", he whispered "I really am going to be an Uncle".

"Wait" he said abruptly, "Does Jared know?". Claire didn't know what to say, how did she explain that the father of a baby due in less than 72 hours, had no idea that the baby even existed. She knew she'd been stupid, at least if she'd told him when she found out, he could have had 6 months to get his head around it but now. . . she'd kept telling herself she would tell him but every time an opportunity presented itself she'd chickened out. Then she'd taken maternity leave from work and hadn't seen him at all since. She'd found his email address on Simbook and decided she'd email him but she never worked up enough courage. Besides, how exactly do you word that, 'Hi, remember me? great news! your gonna be a daddy!'. Connor carried on speaking, "Because it wouldn't surprise me if he did. The way he's been walking around here the last few months, you'd think..." he trailed off when he saw Claires face, "Listen, Don't worry about him, I can tell him if you want? Try to reason with him?". Claire shook her head, "No, I have to do this. But thanks anyway, do you know when he'll-" she stopped herself as they both heard the low rumble of his truck pull into the drive way and cut off. "Never mind". Connor looked at her, "You sure you don't want me to tell him, give him a heads up? Or at least be here?" "No" Claire said firmly, "Its my responsibility, I'll be fine honestly, don't worry", she gave him a weak smile. Connor nodded, and pointed to his room, "Well I'll just be in there if you need me" Connor was so nice and caring, maybe if she'd met him first. . . but no point wondering what if now. It was too late for that. The front door opened and there he was.

He almost bumped into her, took a step backwards, and then looked at her like she was something he'd stepped in. "Um...can I help you?" he questioned. She felt her legs turning to jelly and took a deep breath to steady herself. She cleared her throat, "You probably don't, well, um, you clearly don't remember me. We met at Toby's, the bar on Mountain Road, almost 9 months ago, and, well, um, we had a few drinks together and went back to my place and, um..." she trailed off, he had looked her up and down twice, the second time his eyes came to rest on her stomach and hadn't moved since. It was like a light switched on in his brain as she saw the color slowly drain from his face and creep down his neck into his shirt. She carried on, "Well, as you can see I'm pregnant and,um, your-". "Oh no you don't" he interrupted, "Don't you dare try and pin this shit on me, look I don't know who the father of that baby is but it sure isn't me". She raised her eyes to meet his and instantly wished she hadn't, his eyes were as dark as coals, burning with an intense dislike, his top lip was raised into a scowl, daring her to disagree with him.

He gestured violently towards her stomach, she took a step back and raised her hands to protect herself, "How far gone are you anyway, you look like your ready to-" And there it was again, that flicker of recognition as his brain started to put the pieces of the puzzle together. "You're a lying bitch" he sneered "That kid ain't mine and you are not about to pin it on me, anyway, I always use cond-" "You didn't Jared. Not this time" Claire said, her voice barely above a whisper. "Well how do you know its mine?" he countered, "I mean, that was the first time we actually had a conversation and you slept with me? God knows how many other dudes you've slept with". She was quiet for a few seconds before she whispered "I was a virgin". His eyes almost popped out of his head and then he burst out laughing, he laughed so hard he lost his breath. When he found it again he said "You, you expect me to believe that you were a virgin? AHAHAHA that is the funniest thing I've heard in foreve-" He stopped himself when he saw her face. Her eyes hadn't moved from a spot on the floor and they were brimming with tears. "oh Shiiiiit your serious?!" She didn't answer him, she couldn't, she was afraid to even blink, she felt she might start crying and never stop but the tone of his voice soon snapped her out of it.

"Here's what gonna happen" he growled, his voice low and menacing, "Your gonna get the hell out of my house and I never want to see you or that thing again, I don't care if it is mine, as far as I'm concerned? It isn't, you got that? It's your problem, you deal with it, you hear me?!" Claire jumped as his voice raised in a deafening crescendo. "I don't, I don't want anything from you" she faltered, "I, I just wanted you to know", "Yea? Well now I do and I really wish I didn't, I mean it Claire" he spat her name out like it was bad taste in his mouth, "You, and your little brat can just stay the hell away from me, or I won't be held accountable for my actions, you understand me?!" Claire just stood there, shell shocked and incredibly confused, she had thought it would be bad, but not this bad, she truly didn't understand why his reaction was so explosive, she'd thought he would deny it but she wasn't prepared for the harshness of his words. She nodded, and he strode past her into his room, slamming his door so hard the floor shook. Claire felt herself becoming light headed. Before she could fall she felt someone grab her and hold her up. "Claire, Look at me" a concerned voice said, her vision began to clear and she recognized Connors face.

"Connor I didn't want anything from him I swear that's not what I came here for I just wanted him to kno-", "Claire calm down its okay, I know you didn't, when he's calmer I'll try and speak to him, but I cant promise anythin-" He pulled her into a tight hug and stroked her hair while she muffled her sobs with his chest, "Shhh, Shhh now sweetie, you have to stay calm, everything will be fine, I will help you even if he won't, I don't turn my back on family, ever, and your family now regardless of what he thinks. Don't you worry, everything will be fine" he murmured above her head, staring at his brothers bedroom door. He could hear him pacing around, slamming things and cursing every two seconds. Suddenly his music came on, at an ear splitting volume, the bass shaking the plant plot in the hall way. "Everything will be fine," he repeated, but he wasn't so sure.

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