Font size: - +
“I’m so sorry.” It hurts to witness Liam's crestfallen demeanor. “I took you for granted. Even after you’ve told me several times that it was over, I still believed it was temporary. I thought I had time to figure this all out.
Truth is, I’ve been lost without you. I could always focus on the present because I knew you had the future handled. Now my whole life is in disarray. I’m screwing up everything in school and at the games. We won the playoffs but lost the championship. Now Coach is threatening not to put me back on the roster in the Spring if I don't get my head straight.
You were always a part of my life. We grew up together, but I never took the time to recognize all that you do and have done for me. You were my foundation and when you walked out…” Liam half laughs, “I crumbled, Cat.”
I am about to jump in and offer my help, but then he comes out with, “Of course, the last thing I expected is that you’d replace me so quickly.” Liam glances over at Alex. “If you’re settling for him, I must have been really bad.”
I press my lips together. Leave it to Liam. “You know you had me feeling sorry for you up until that last comment.”
“Come on, Cat!” Liam jumps up, pointing at Alex. “A stripper is going to be my baby’s daddy? REALLY!? This…” He waves his hand to encompass Alex’s entire form. “is what you want me to accept!”
“WE belong together,” he says, gesturing to the two of us, “I can do better. I know I can. Let me fix this! Isn’t that what you really want? For you and me and the baby… to be a family?”
His words hit me like a gut punch. “That’s exactly what I wanted.” I see Alex’s eyes close, in an attempt to block out Liam’s look of triumph. “I just don’t want it with you anymore.”
Alex's eyes spring back open and in a sudden rush, he exhales the breath he’s holding.
“You do this,” Liam declares, now pointing to Alex and me, “and it gets serious, all bets are off.”
“What’s that suppose to mean?” I demand, standing up, fully ready for a fight.
“I mean if you two get serious, like REAL serious, marriage serious, then I’m fighting you for custody.”
In the blink of an eye, I'm in his personal space. The look on my face alone makes Liam take a physical step back from me. He should be afraid.
I take my pointy finger and jab it into his chest, “This is exactly what I mean when I say you don’t love me! All you care about is that YOU lost. You don’t care about my happiness, our child’s happiness, or me. You think you can try and strip me of my own child just so you can flex your muscles to force your influence over whom I date?"
"Well, you listen to me, and you listen good! That man standing there has put me back together after you tore me apart. He held me when I went all to pieces. When your drama landed me in the hospital… it was Alex who was there to catch me when I fell. And despite his own feelings for me, he’s never once pushed himself or his own agenda on me. He has let me figure it out on my own. He gave me time to decide and I have decided.” With each word, I jab of my finger into Liam’s chest as I slowly enunciate, “I... LOVE... ALEX!... NOT... YOU!”
"You go right ahead. Just try and take this baby. I can’t believe you actually think you have a leg to stand on. Yeah, I’m sure a custody judge would love to hear that this child you suddenly can’t live without, you paid upfront to abort.”
“Yeah! And I’m just as sure he’d love to see the pictures of Alex sliding down a pole, too. It’s pretty obvious he ain’t no fireman,” Liam replies sarcastically, waving his phone at me.
Damn those pictures.
Knowing exactly what Liam truly wants, I quickly change gears. “You’re unbelievable! And to think I was going to help you?”
Alex looks horrified by our argument, but William is trying hard to hide his grin. He resorts to folding his arms and placing a hand over his mouth in a valiant attempt to appear contemplative. William knows what I'm up to.
“You were what?” Liam stops ranting and puts his phone back in his pocket.
I don’t turn around. “I was going to help you. I could have easily gotten you back on track with school and other stuff. Get you all caught up so you can get your head back in the game but now…” I shrug.
Liam grabs hold of my shoulders, spinning me around. “You'd do that for me? Seriously?”
“I would have, but not now! Not when you’re planning to blackmail me into not dating Alex, by threatening to take my child away from me!”
“Cat, I need you! Can’t you understand that?! I’m desperate! I can’t do this without you.”
“This isn’t the way to go about it. Can you understand that?” I ask him.
He flops back down. “I’m just at my wit's end here, Cat. I love you! I want you back! You love him! My life is falling apart and I don’t know how to put it back together. You have always taken care of everything. For the first time in my life, I’m on my own, alone.”
I sit back down across from him. “You don’t have to be alone,” I state simply.
“So, you’ve finally come to your senses and are coming back to me?” he asks. His look of hope would have been comical if it wasn’t so pathetic.