“You are a liar young lady, I won’t allow you to ruin this,” his words flew as spittle hit me in tiny droplets, landing on my skin.
“I am not the one,” I began, I was not about to let him tell me that what I and Vinnie knew, was the truth.
“I am so glad his mother was not here to witness this. I knew I recognised your face. You have not changed one little bit, having to ruin your sister's life, because he would not give you what you wanted. We knew why you told him you were pregnant, hoping he would marry you. He was not interested in marrying you; you were just a bit of fun.”
A bit of fun, the words stung, slapping me in the face, he was wrong, he had no idea what we had. We were in love. I was sure of it, but he did run, ran as fast as could the moment I told him I was pregnant.
“You can look upset and innocent all you like, but that child is not his, and Vinnie never loved you, you can think he did all you like. I remember him telling me about you, the lies you fed him. Girls like you try and trap boys like him.”
“Boys like him…what is that meant to mean?”
“Do not play that game with me; you know who he is and what he is worth. I am telling you both, this is not over. Amy, you need to think about this, he is not who she says he is, he loves you and no matter what you think right now, know the truth that he is not that child’s father, he isn’t. Now, I will give you a few days to calm down, to come to your senses and then when you do, we will move past this, move on and the wedding will go ahead.”
All this time, Amy had not said a word, not since Vinnie walked out the door, did she believe them, I could see it in her eyes she was torn. Between believing Vinnie and what I know is the truth.
I took my daughter's hand, before my parents could say anything else to make this night worse, I already had a lot to explain to my daughter; she had a confused look on her face.
I clicked the seatbelt in place, all the time she was staring up at me, did she fully understand what just happened.
“Mummy,” she began as I moved to my side of the car and buckled up.
“Yes,” I replied, turning to face her.
“That man, is he my daddy?”
“Yes,” I said, how could I lie, I had just told them he was, she was not stupid even at four, she knew what was being said, that man was her father, regardless if they believed it or not.
“Okay, I always wanted a daddy.”
The words she said made me feel worse than I ever had. I had cared and taken care of her since the day she was born, from the moment he walked out of my life I had taken care of everything. My parents were happy at nineteen I had fallen pregnant, that had at least hoped the father would be in the picture, wedding bells, they expected it all. Not a single mother and no way to support myself, after all, I was meant to be in college starting the path to a career they chose for me.
Of course, none of that happened, the college course was intense and I could not keep up with it, not with the morning sickness in the first three months, I was asked to leave, I had missed too much. It did not matter to me, I hated the course, it was not one I wanted to do, not that I had a choice.
A week later I broke the news to my parents and then it all kicked off, they were not happy that I had ruined my life, they wanted so much more for me. I understood that, but this was it now, and I was not giving my child up, I would do what was right by him or her.
My mother told me they would not allow me to live off them, I had made this choice, I was welcome to stay living with them for a few months after the child was born, but then I was on my own.
No truer word was said, I had been ever since, living in a two bed house, one I paid for, it was hard, working, paying for child care, the bills, and debts, they were piling up, yet I kept my head above water, and did everything I could so my daughter never went without.
The house was not perfect, it was rented through the local council, and had when I first moved in, mould and paint peeling off the walls, but it only needed a good clean and new wallpaper on the walls, good enough for us.
Tucking her into her bedroom, painted pink with castles and fairies decorating the walls, she loved them all. She closed her eyes and fell into a deep sleep, not mentioning her father again.
Stood in the kitchen, I poured a large glass of wine and downed it, I only drank one bottle a month, money was tight and right now I needed it. I placed the cork back and leaned against the sink. All this time I thought about why he left me, did he really believe that she was not his, that I had pretended to get his money, money I had no idea he had.
How life would have been different, not that I wanted him because he had money, I loved him, and still did, I knew it was true, the moment I saw him, the feelings I had were there, but how could I allow myself to feel them, when my sister was the one who he loved. What if they had children, if she took him back, the thought broke my heart, I could not think about it.
I barely slept that night, and the next day, I dressed and drove Annie to playgroup before doing what I should have done all those years ago. I had no idea where he lived, he never took me to his place, we always met elsewhere. I had to do it, when I asked Amy if she knew where he lived?
“Are you kidding me, you want me to tell you that?”
“Amy, it isn’t what you think?”
“No, what then?”
“I need to talk to him about Annie, he has a right to know the truth,” I said.
“Is he the father, I need to know, is his father right, did you just say she was his, because they are loaded.”
“No, I would never do that; I could not just trap a guy for money, or force him to marry me.”
“Like you think I am?”
“No, I never thought that, I didn’t even know he had or came from money.”
“Who am I meant to believe?”
“Why would I lie?”
“Why would he?”
I knew my mother had been whispering in her ear, she hated the fact I had Annie so young, that I lived in a council house. It was not my fault, and there was nothing wrong with it, I had a roof over my head. I may not own it, but it was home.
“I am coming with you.”
“No, I think this is something we need to talk about alone, I don’t want him back if that is what you are worried about, I don’t love him anymore.” It was a lie, but I had to tell myself this, I could not allow myself to fall for him again, not with my sister in love with him too, I would never take a man from another woman, especially my sister. She took my hand and squeezed it.
“I know, I am just hurting, scared because I love him and I want to believe you I do, but what if, what if he isn’t the father and…”
“I know he is, Amy, I only ever had sex with one guy and that was Vinnie, I know that is not what you want to hear, but it is the truth.”
“Even now, you want me to believe that you have not had sex with another man?”
“When do I get time, and besides, what man wants to take on me with a child in tow, any dates I have had, the moment I mention her, they are gone. So no there has been no one else. He was and is my one and only sexual partner, satisfied now?”
“Not really. That is weird, maybe that is why you are so uptight, you need to get laid.”
“Is that what you think really?” I rolled my eyes.
“Yes, maybe then you would not try and get back with my fiancé and go and get your own.”
“He was mine first, just remember that.”
The moment the words were out of my mouth, I could have slapped myself. It was not what I mean to say even if it was the truth.
“There now you have said it, do you feel better, Jessica, god you are such a…”
“Nothing, look if you really think he is the father then get a DNA test done, because as much as I want to believe you, I…”
“Fine, sure, whatever you want, but first I need his address.”
She was not happy about scribbling it down and handing it to me, I could see her hand was shaking as she handed the piece of paper over, she leaned in and told me, she would be marrying him, but she needed time to process it all. She loved him and if it was true, he had changed and it was the past, this was their future.
“Do what you like Amy, the choice is yours…”
“It is, and like I said, he has changed, he loved me, and I love him.”
The address in my hand, I had to do what I should have done the moment she was born. I arrived at the house, not expecting the size of it, she was right, they were loaded, more than I could ever imagine. No wonder his parents thought that I was after one thing, his money.
Car locked, I stood staring up at the house that I now stood outside, and took in the surroundings. My mouth open, it did matter to me; I was here for one reason, my daughter.
Hand poised I took a long deep breath as I knocked on the door.
It was opened moments later by a woman, dressed in black, who looked down at me, a maid she assumed.
I opened her mouth to speak, when another older lady, dressed in exquisite clothing, hair neat, make up perfect. I knew instantly she was his mother.
“Leave now, how dare you come here.”
“I said, leave, go. Now before I call the police.”
“I need to see Vinnie.”
“No, go,” I said moving towards me and slamming the door in my face; the sound echoed and made a swarm of birds fly from their resting space.
I turned to leave, but I was not ready to go, I knocked on the door again, and this time, she was not alone, his father stood beside her, telling me to go, they were calling the police. I had no choice, but to leave.
I saw Vinnie behind them, he was told to go back to inside, I was not welcome here.