Disclaimer; Not mine.
AN; I have strange thoughts.
"Who is my daddy?"
The question had just come out of the blue one day, while she was driving her to school. Later, when she looked back on the incident, Anna would curse herself for being such an idiot. Of course she was going to ask. Christine was five now, just about the age when she would notice the distinct lack of a father in her life. Not even Stepan, he had died when the girl was two, too much vodka finally taking it's toll on the old man. Anna should have expected it, should have prepared for it, but when she heard those four little words coming out of her daughter's mouth she had almost crashed the car. Her hands shaking in shock, she only just managed to park.
Anna turned round in her seat to look at her.
Christine, beautiful, beautiful Christine, looked up at her with the big, brown doe eyes she had inherited from her mother. Her real mother.
After as pause that seemed to contain years, she quietly told her that she'd tell her after school. With that settled, Anna got out of the car and walked her daughter through the gates into the playground.
She spent most of the day sitting in the kitchen, devising and rehearsing various stories, plausibility becoming weaker with each one. Anna wished there had been a suitable boyfriend in the past that she could affix the title to, but there had only been one, Oliver, and he was black. End of story. Of course, some fictional one night stand would cover all eventualities- a stranger, a bar, too much alcohol, no names- but that just didn't feel right, and Anna knew a lie like that would drill into her until she was mad with guilt.
Eventually she glanced up at the clock- half past two, school ended in an hour.
Anna almost screamed in frustration.
She couldn't tell Christine the truth, she just couldn't. She hadn't even told her she was adopted, and she didn't intend to, not ever, for fear that her daughter would repeat her own mistakes by trying to track down her family. But even if she had, what then? Tell her that her mother had been raped at fourteen? That she had been kept as a slave and injected with heroin? That she had died on an operating table, her legs soaked in blood? That her 'daddy' was a Russian mobster currently serving a life sentence?
But then, Anna thought, there was always him.
He had risked his life to save her, to save both of them. Anna remembered the last time she saw him. His face. The way his rough hands had gently cradled Christine's head as he whispered goodbye to her. She thought of the soft, quick kiss they had shared.
Did you love him?
Christine would ask that, for sure.
No, of course not, Anna told herself. But…
She had asked him who he really was. Told him she needed to know.
And she knew why.
It was because she knew he was not all he appeared to be.
It was because she knew, at that moment, if he had asked her to, she would have taken Christine and followed him back to wherever he called home.
It because she loved him.
This thought hit Anna like a stone in the stomach, and she realised why there had been no other boyfriends.
Later, when Christine asked the question again, Anna told her about her father.