All copyrights, trademarked items, or recognizable characters, plots, etc. mentioned herein belong to their respective owners. No copying or reproduction of this work is permitted without their express written authorization.

prompt - rocking chair

not sure what my posting schedule is going to be like, but the ideas are in my head and i just can't ignore them. so, here we go.

"I don't want it."

Bitter words, sweet mouth. Tyler has a sweet mouth.

"And...I don't think you want it, either." Sighing heavily, he shakes his head and looks at me.

He's got such blue eyes. We've been dating for six months but those eyes, when focused so intently on me, still affect me.



"You know the deal. Come on."

Frowning slightly, I avert my eyes. "Well, I mean. It was never something we discussed."

"Because it was never supposed to happen. But, listen. I'm not angry with you. Okay? I'm not."

The confidence that once attracted me feels more like arrogance, and if I'm honest, it probably always was. "Thank God for that," I say, irritated, letting the rising tide of hurt and anger wash through my words.

Tyler shifts, folding his arms. "You're not considering keeping it, are you?"

"It's not really an it, is it?"

He sneers. "Don't start that shit."

I close my eyes, rub my hands over my face.

"I get why this is hard for you," he continues. "But it...we can take care of this. I'll go with you, if you want."

My chest tightens, almost unbearably. This is unfolding exactly as I'd expected, and yet, it hurts way worse.

Minutes pass. Tyler is silent now, seemingly lost in thought, scrolling through his phone, probably answering texts and checking his Facebook and making plans. He smiles faintly from time to time, probably already moving on. His phone beeps, and he grins, shaking his head at whatever he's just read.

Nothing happens, but everything happens: a silent snap, a perfect numbness, a perfect clarity. I realize that this thing with Tyler is already over, that I'm quite fine by myself, and it's such a blessed relief from the past couple days of depression and uncertainty and pain.

I stand up, adjust my bag, and smooth my hair back. I allow myself one last glance at the guy I thought I could maybe fall in love with, one day, despite our different schedules and his travel plans and his perfect hair. He is handsome, but he is empty, and it's not because of what he's done or said today.


"It's okay, Tyler. I think...this wasn't going to last anyway."

He's following me to the door, fingers tightening around my arm. "You're seriously ending this because I don't want to have a kid with you? What - what are you doing?"

I'm tired. This conversation makes me more tired. The euphoria I felt moments ago is fading, and I don't want to be in Tyler's stupid loft when it's gone. "I'm doing what I would've done eventually. We don't belong together."

"If you do this, if you have this kid, I don't want to have anything to do with it. I mean it, Bella. This isn't my choice; it's not what I want."

That's shitty, but understandable. After all, it's the freedom of choice, isn't it? I make my choice, and he makes his.


four years later

Sue smiles up at me, face tender with love. I tiptoe over and pluck Charlie from her arms, cradling my girl against me. She's growing so quickly, lanky legs and skinny arms, but she still loves being rocked to sleep and Sue loves nothing more than obliging.

"How long have you two been there?" I whisper once we're in the hallway, Charlie tucked cozily in her bed.

"An hour or so." Sue shrugs, closing the bedroom door with a quiet click. "I tried reading her bedtime stories in bed, but she begged for the rocking chair."

That's my girl. I have a lot of memories of falling asleep in that chair, both during my pregnancy and after, and my daughter loves it just as much.

"Thanks for coming tonight," I say, helping Sue into her coat.

"No problem, sweetheart. Gives me something to do when your father has to work late. I don't mind it."

"Okay." I kiss her cheek and let her kiss mine, then watch from the door as she makes her way through the snow to her car.

The night is stark and silent, as it tends to be when snowing. I breathe it in, enjoying the stars and crispness until it's just too cold.

Inside, where it's warm and smells like cookies - thanks to Sue - I sit down at the kitchen table and start going over my schedule for the upcoming week. We have a wedding next weekend, and Emmett runs a tight ship in terms of prep. While having him as a boss makes sense - God knows he bossed me enough when we were growing up - it still tickles me. He's driven and professional nowadays, a far cry from the jokester quarterback he was in high school and the stereotypical frat boy he was in college.

I'm lucky to have him. Having a college degree doesn't guarantee employment, and I easily could've slipped through the cracks as a young, single mom. But Em didn't let me. He brought me on board the day I got back to town, promising it was my culinary skill, and not that I was his little sister, that got me the job.

We both know it's a little of both, though.

Yawning, I eye the coffee pot. It's late, and I should sleep, but I have a lot to do.

Coffee and cookies it is.