Daria impatiently looked through the candy bars trying to find the one that just had to have. The craving for this chocolate bit of goodness had hit her when she was on her way to see Jesse and Jane and discuss whether or not the arrangements had been made for the impending meeting.
Come on damn it! It has to be here. Ahhhh, there it is sweet deliciousness. I'm not even going to wait til I get back to Jesse's, I'm gonna eat one right in the car and save the rest until after…the meeting. I wonder if he'll bring her? I wonder what Jane told him… Is this meeting a mistake? He needs to know, but seeing me…
She looked down at her protruding belly and touched it protectively.
I hope that he can find some way to be happy about this. I know that this isn't ideal, but it is our child and it was created from our love. Love, a four letter word that carries a lot of weight; Don't worry little one, mommy will do her best to make sure that you always feel loved and secure…no matter whom is or is not in the picture.
She smiled with her hands still on her belly and looked up into the eyes of the couple standing a few feet away.
Trent and his wife! Oh no! No! Not like this.
The couple was looking at the belly that she was touching so lovingly and while the wife's eyes remained fixed on Daria's belly, Trent's eyes had come back to rest on her face. He had seen the love there before she had seen them and it was the most beautiful sight that he'd ever beheld. For a moment, it had taken his breath away. Then, in the blink of an eye, that beauty had been replaced with fear…
Surely she's not scared of me!
Daria turned abruptly and made her way to the front where she practically flung her money at the cashier before fleeing the store. The couple stood looking at each other now. Both understood that they had found out life changing news without even exchanging a word.
Trent entered Jesse's apartment looking around the room for the familiar face that he was there to see.
"She'll be out in a minute," Jesse told him and took a seat on the worn sofa. Trent followed suite and sat adjacent to him in the chair. "Just remember man, she's been through a lot."
Trent didn't have a chance to respond because Jane came from the room, followed by Daria- an in full bloom pregnant Daria.
…she's really pregnant…
"As you can see…" Jane motioned to Daria's belly.
Daria and Trent still looked at each other, neither moved.
"We're all here to decide the best way to proceed with things." Jane allowed Daria to pass by her and take a seat on the couch. She took the spot next to her and Jesse stood, arms crossed, behind them silently.
"How are you?"
How do I talk to him when I feel like I can't breathe?
"We thought it best to come up with some kind of guidelines for when the baby is born," Jane spoke up.
"Assuming that is, that you would want to be a part of the baby's life," Jesse added quietly.
Trent looked at him with a dangerous glint in his eyes.
"Of course I want to be a part of my child's life."
The two men stared at each other levelly for an uncomfortable amount of time.
"Jesse and myself are just trying to make this whole thing go as smoothly as possible. We've established that you want to be in the child's life, now what about your wife?"
He didn't miss the pain that flared through Daria's eyes and she didn't miss the same mirrored in his. Jane and Jesse looked on at two of the people that they cared about and felt helpless. Jane cleared her throat and continued.
"I could tell her with you…might make it easier." Jane suggested.
"She knows Janey."
"They saw me when I stopped for candy." Daria supplied. "I didn't have a chance to tell you." She looked at Jesse and Jane.
How could I when I didn't want to admit it to myself.
"Well what did she say?" Jane asked the question on everyone's mind.
"She needs time…to process everything."
Daria nodded without comment. Jane studied her brother.
"What about you?"
"I just want everyone involved to be okay."
"Well that's unrealistic," Jesse voiced quietly.
"You got something to say man, just say it." Trent shot at him.
"Don't lead her on."
"No open ended answers. Clear and concise about who you want to be with and what you plan to do. No giving her the moony eyes and sorrowful looks of longing of what could have been or might be if things were different. She deserves the truth." He finished looking at Daria.
He's in love with her.
"You sound like-" Trent looked from one to the other. "You're in love with her?"
Jesse gave a half smile.
Of course that would be what he thinks because he's in love with her.
"I love her man b-"
Jesse fell back against the wall from the stumble that he took caught off guard by Trent's fist against his jaw. Trent was on top of Jesse trying to take another swing but Jane had managed to wedge herself kind of in between them so neither could hit the other without hitting her.
"You taking advantage of her when she's like this, that's a low blow," Trent said angrily.
Jesse checked his jaw and feeling nothing broken he looked at Trent with just as much anger in his eyes.
"I'll let that one pass, but try that again and I will snap you like a twig." He rubbed his jawline and looked at Daria, who now looked more than a little upset. "She doesn't need this- from either of us. You can't get mad if some other guy falls for her. She deserves to be happy too and for the record I was going to say that yes, I love her, but not the way you're thinking. She's a great lady and I just want her to be happy."
Trent looked properly chastised and retreated to the other side of the room without looking at anyone.
"I'm sorry guys," he remained with his back to them. "I just- I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do here." He turned to face them with remorseful eyes. "I know that I don't want to hurt anyone-"
"Trent," Daria spoke and moved as quickly as she could so that she was closer to him, "go home to your wife and reassure her that it is where you want to be. I would never keep you from seeing your son-"
She nodded. They both gave a weak smile.
"I do think that visitation would be best handled via my parents. I'm sure that they'll agree to be the designated pickup and drop off point."
"And when they can't I'll fill in," Jane piped up.
"Yeah me too," Jesse added.
"Sounds like a plan," Trent said softly, reluctantly. "What about parent stuff that happens?"
"Well I have to do all decision making for the day to day stuff and anything major I'll contact you through text or something."
"Daria…" his voice was soft, like a caress to her ears.
"It's the best I can do right now Trent. I can't pretend that I don't still have feelings for you, especially with," she touched her belly protectively, "I just think that this would be best for everyone."
Her eyes pleaded with his for understanding. He nodded feeling the weight of everything trying to suffocate him in the enormity of their consequence.
I am so sorry that I can't share every moment with you. Jesse is right, you deserve to be with someone that makes you happy…even if it isn't me.
We have to think of what's best for both our children, because that's what good parents do.