We Can Be Better than Before
Donna was three months along and waiting for the day her child showed up. Sofia was being supportive as usual, and sometimes she found herself wondering why the woman was so caring towards her. They were complete strangers, but Sofia treated Donna like a daughter. It was nice, and Donna would often ask for advice when it came to motherhood.
"You can't keep avoiding it, doll. Call your family and tell them." Sofia caught her attention as Donna watched the band play in front of her. Donna knew she was right; Ruby deserved to know. Her stepfamily deserved to know. She couldn't just never tell them and keep the child a secret forever, but at the same time, nothing was stopping her. "If you don't, I'll call them myself."
"No. I'll do it. Later." Donna saw the look that Sofia gave her. It was that look where she knew Donna wasn't going to do it. Sofia seemed to know her so well even though they've only known each other since, what, July maybe? Donna felt herself getting sick and decided to go to the bathroom in case she needed to throw up soon. As she left the room, a family of three walked in.
The woman standing at the door scanned the room as a man behind her took a sip from the water bottle in his hand. There was a young girl in the middle of them, watching the band intently. Sofia noted that she was at least fourteen or fifteen years old. She looked to be around that age. The woman spotted Sofia watching behind the bar and walked over. "This is Kalokairi, right?"
Sofia gave her a kind of dumbfounded look. On the island, there was a sign that read Kalokairi. Either she couldn't read, or she just didn't see it. Sofia smiled and nodded. "Yes, it is. Is that your daughter over there? She's beautiful."
"That's my step-daughter." The woman looked over her shoulder at her husband and step-daughter before turning back to Sofia. "I am looking for my daughter, though. I heard that she was here."
Sofia decided to go check on Donna at that moment, so she excused herself for a moment before heading to the bathrooms. The woman took a seat at the bar as her husband walked over. They chatted about their plans after visiting Kalokairi, and his daughter Elaine continued to fangirl over the band as Lazaros started to sing Kisses of Fire again.
It wasn't until Sofia came back out with Donna trailing behind her. Donna ended up needing to throw up when she reached the bathroom and had to hold her own hair back until Sofia came to see if she was okay. Donna focused on checking for a stain until she heard a familiar voice, and the world seemed to come to a stop for her.
"Mom?" Donna stopped in her tracks. "What are you doing here?"
Ruby stood up from the barstool and started to walk over to her. Donna purposely moved to stand behind the bar next to Sofia to hide her growing belly. It wasn't huge; it just made her look bloated, but it still was better safe than sorry. Ruby paused, questioning her daughter's actions. She cleared her throat. "We've come to bring you home."
"We?" She looked around the room, spotting her step-father and Elaine standing in front of the stage. They were all staring at her, and she just wanted to crawl into a hole. For someone who wasn't that shy of attention, right now Donna was.
Ruby nodded. "You can't possibly want to stay on this island where you know absolutely nobody. London is your home; not this disgusting old place."
"Disgusting? Mom, you need to get your eyes checked. It's beautiful." Donna donned a small smile. "I don't belong in London; I've never belonged there. Greece feels like home."
"How could it possibly feel like home when you've only been here for four months?" Ruby reached over to grab Donna's hand. "Come home with us, Donna. Everyone's wondering where you went."
"Mom, when I said I was never going to come home, I was being serious. I did say I would come visit, but I would never come back to live there. Kalokairi is where I belong." Donna looked over at Sofia, who gave her a supportive nod. "And it's where I want to raise my child."
"Your child? What child?" Ruby pressed a hand against Donna's forehead. "Are you feeling alright?"
Donna swatted it away before stepping out from behind the bar. She let the baby bump show as she walked over to her mother, who stared at her with her eyes wide. "Yes, I'm fine."
"And I'm pregnant." Donna nervously chuckled. Ruby stepped back, acting as though Donna had the plague or something. Donna expected this reaction, or something along those lines.
Ruby swallowed. "What? Whose is it?"
Donna gulped, clearly guilty because she didn't even know. There was Harry, who was simply a lovely one-night stand. There was Sam, the man who made her fall in love with him and broke her heart in the process. She loved him so much, and now he was gone married to another woman after keeping that same woman a secret for God knows how long. And then there was Bill, another one-night stand. She didn't know, and she'll probably never know. Donna shrugged, because she had no words to say.
"You don't know whose it is?"
"No, I don't."
"Donna Rose Sheridan, what were you thinking? Can you imagine what the family will say?" Ruby's voice got low, becoming angry as she stood in front of her daughter. "This is an embarrassment. This is a mistake."
Donna got defensive. "No, it's not. Don't you dare try and convince me that this was a mistake. This child is mine, and it's your first grandbaby. I'm almost twenty for heaven's sakes; it's not that big of a deal."
"It's out of wedlock."
"Wedlock, my ass. It doesn't matter anymore. What's done is done."
"If you're going to be that way, I guess I've changed my mind about you coming home. Billy, Elaine, let's go. We're leaving." Ruby collected her things and they watched for a minute as Billy and Elaine walked out of the building. "You're an embarrassment yourself, Donna. So is your child. You're nothing but a reckless little slut. Don't you bother coming home ever again."
And with that, Donna's eyes stung with tears as she gasped and watched her mother disappear behind the doors. The words hurt, feeling like a knife to her heart. Donna wasn't sure why she was this hurt when she expected this reaction from her mother, but that didn't stop the pain. She looked down at her stomach and put both hands on top of the bump.
Sofia walked over, a hand on her shoulder before Donna swatted it away and ran to her room. She tearfully slammed the door behind her, sliding down onto the floor. She looked down at her belly once more and whispered, "You're not a mistake, angel. Mommy loves you so much."
She started to sing a little, "I'll always want you near. Give up on you, my dear – I will never."
"How long were you planning on avoiding me?"
Donna jumped at the voice and turned around to face the person behind her. She'd been watching the party from up the roof; she was with everyone for a while, trying her hardest to keep Sophie's pregnancy a secret, but then the minute her mother stepped out of the private jet, she disappeared from the crowd. It was weird, seeing her mother standing here in front of her after 25 years of never seeing or hearing from her. After Sophie turned ten, Donna just figured that Ruby was dead even though she'd never truly know.
"Until you left." Donna crossed her arms and stood tall and straight, chin high up in the air as she looked at her mom with confidence. "What are you doing here, Mom? Did Sophie invite you?"
"Sky did. He's a great man for Sophie."
Donna scoffed. "How could you possibly know? You've been gone for 25 years and barely know Soph. I love Sky, and he is great for Sophie. He never disappoints."
"Except for this one time." Ruby looked at her with a kind of sadness in her eyes that Donna didn't fail to see. "I noticed you flee when I showed up."
Donna said nothing. Instead, she just stared her mother down before turning back to look down at the party. Ruby stepped forward and reached over to touch Donna, but Donna told her not to. Instead, Ruby just watched her daughter under the moonlight. Her heart ached when she realized just how much she missed out on, how many milestones both Donna and Sophie went through without her getting to be there to see it. She regretted that day when Donna told her she was pregnant. If only they could go back in time.
"Donna. Please look at me." Ruby watched as Donna reluctantly turned around and faced her once again. "I'm sorry. I should've never called you or Sophie a mistake. It was wrong of me, and if I could go back and change it, I would. When Sky called me and told me all about you, Sophie, and the hotel, I couldn't not say yes."
"You're 25 years too late."
Ruby chuckled. "That's what Sophie said."
"People say she takes after me." Donna smiled a little, looking down and spotting her daughter in the crowd. They made eye contact and Donna blew a kiss to Sophie, who returned it before turning to her conversation with Sky. "What kept you from patching things up years ago?"
"Pride. And it's a deadly thing, Donna. Please don't let that keep me from missing out some more. I want to be in your life again. I've missed you, honey." Ruby reached out to move a strand of hair from Donna's face. "Please forgive me. Our relationship might not be the way it was before, but maybe it can be better."
Donna took a sigh. This reminded her of five years ago when the three fathers came back into the picture. She gave Sam a second chance, and it turned out to be one of the best decisions she's ever made. Maybe this time, it'll turn out the same. Donna smiled, nodded, and surprised Ruby by giving her a tight hug. Donna was usually stubborn, never willing to give in that easy, but after what happened last year there were no more risks to take.
"Welcome back, Mom."
Ruby smiled into Donna's hair. Having her daughter back in her arms felt so good. They were leaving the past behind them. Both mother and daughter rejoined the party. Donna and Sophie told her all about Sofia, about how the woman took care of both until her last breath. And Ruby smiled at Sky before the night ended. Donna did the same, glad that he did the same sneaky thing his wife did all those years ago.
Review! Obviously, this is the sequel with a twist. I'm sorry, I could never have the heart to kill Donna off.