We lay in bed for a few moments, Luke's arms around me. I was about to cry. We'd just had the worst fight, about absolutely nothing of any importance, and then when I couldn't think of a witty retort, I'd just kissed him. And then suddenly we were ripping each other's clothes off. We both had known it was for the last time. And maybe we were feeling just a little too safe, and had had a little bit too much beer to remember what exactly we were doing, too safe to even stop to think about what could happen. I rolled over, ran my fingers through his hair, and sighed. "Luke, it just doesn't feel right."
He nodded. "Why don't you just go?'
"That's it? No talking?"
"Anna, you're great. But you're not happy with me. You're better off with someone who wants to go to parties with you, and to pay attention to you every second. You deserve adventure."
This sounded just a little too familiar, and I remembered what I had comforted him over for the first two months I'd known him. "Let's get this straight, Lucas, I am not Rachel. I'm not leaving you because I want to go off and photograph the world. I'm sorry that I couldn't be her replacement. But I'm not sticking around hoping that that will change."
He didn't say anything, just got up and put his clothes back on. I slowly put my clothes back on, and looked back, hoping that he would maybe kiss me, or beg me to stay. But he was Luke. And Luke Danes never begs. He avoided my eyes, and I left his apartment.
Two nights later, my friend Brianna called. "Anna, you can't just mope around. You broke up with Luke because you're tired of waiting. Come party with me."
I had nothing else to do, so why not? At the party, my friends kept shoving drinks in my hands, to wash away Luke, they said. I didn't tell them that I didn't want to wash away Luke. Instead, I complied, and after a few drinks, I found myself dancing with a stranger. He was cute, and a good distraction from the past few days. The old Anna wouldn't have even kissed a stranger. The new, brave, Luke-less Anna just wanted to feel okay again. So I took this man by surprise, and kissed him. I woke up that morning not remembering anything more than a kiss, finding myself alone in a bed, naked. I scrambled to find my clothes, and as I was getting dressed, the stranger walked in again. "Morning, babe." In the daylight, I saw him for what he really was, scum. With my voice shaking, I asked him his name. Harry Compton. He then walked out of the room, leaving me even more alone than I was before. There was no way to confirm it, but I'm pretty sure that he had no reason to care if we were safe.
But my troubles weren't over. I tried to move on. I met up with my old friend, Chase, and, who knew? He'd been in love with me for years and was too afraid to tell me. I was too vulnerable to say no to him, even though I knew at a glance that he was not my type. So, why? Why did I invite him up to my room, and why was I too lazy to stop him when I knew we were unprotected? That was me at my cruelest, lying there, Chase's arms around me, and me telling him that this wasn't going to ever happen again. His hurt face, him leaving me as I lay in bed, naked and scared for the third time that week.
And now I'm sitting here, staring at a positive pregnancy test. Why was this happening to me? I'm not like those other girls. I don't sleep around. I'm not like that. So what on earth had Luke Danes done to me? He was my first, and in the week after we broke up I had already hooked up with two other guys.
I might feel better if I knew it was Luke's baby for sure, because I had fallen in love with him from the very moment I met him. We weren't right. I never saw Harry again. I should have been worried. After all, I was drunk, and who knew what had happened? But I was too stupid. I wanted to go back to Luke, but that one look on his face as I left made me vow to never speak to them again. If he had really loved me, he wouldn't have let me go. He wouldn't have given me that look and nodded, not even saying goodbye to me.
This baby, whoever it belonged to, would be mine, and mine only. No one would find out especially not the three men who I had given everything to. This was mine. With this baby, I could survive. Someone would love me.
Somehow, I managed to get completely over Luke. Only my two closest friends knew that I was pregnant, and they helped support me and my shop. I named my darling little girl April. She was the spring. She represented hope and a new start. She was my everything. And the system worked well.
Then, when she was twelve, she came up to me. "Mom, I finished my science fair project."
I smiled. "That's fantastic! What did you do it on this year?"
"I found out who my father is," she said in a matter-of-fact tone.
My heart froze. "You what?"
"Well, I needed a great project this year. I thought this might be interesting enough to win."
"But…how did you know where to look?"
April reached down into her backpack and pulled out a piece of paper that I'd put away, long ago.
Dark hair. Blue Eyes. Muscular. Baseball player. Used to be the most amazing man I ever knew. April has his eyes, and a bit of his complexion, but then again, I have dark hair as well. She is quiet and serious, just like him, and she tends to have the same social skills, though, like him, once you get to know her she can make a wonderful impression on you.
She's just…not his. I really don't see any resemblance. For example, she's not a complete jerk. He's tall and blond and she just looks nothing like him.
We used to be best friends. He would always be the smartest in the class. April is extremely smart. Chase and I barely talked until I was in my twenties, then he professed his love for me, and voila, April could be his. I'm just not sure.
I looked up from my old diary page. "You had no right to go into my private belongings, April. Why now? Why were you looking for your father?"
"I told you. Because I can't let Samuel Pilotski win this year. Do you want to know who it is?"
All these years. All the times I could find out who it was, and something had stopped me. And now my daughter had found him. Had I lost her? Oddly enough, she cared more about the science aspect than the fact that she had found her father. It's just biological, I reassured myself. I'm all she needs. I took a deep breath, already knowing the answer. "Who?"
April smiled at me. "It's Luke Danes, the diner guy. Which is good, right, because it seems like he's the only one who you actually liked. He did seem a little grumpy, but the diner was busy."
Well, if I had to have gotten pregnant, Luke is the best choice. "April, how did you get the DNA?"
"Oh, I just reached up and took some of his hair."
I stifled a laugh, thinking of Luke. He must have been utterly confused and most definitely not in the mood to deal with a twelve year old girl. Besides, he hates kids. "April, I just want you to know that I completely regret everything I did with those three guys. I don't want you to think of me as the person that would …"
"It's okay, Mom."
What else could I say to a twelve year old girl? That the world was harsh and cold and that I'd let myself get caught up in it? That I hadn't really fallen in love ever since then, always ending the commitment before one of us got hurt, or before April got too attached? That, no, I didn't pine after Luke but I couldn't find anyone else? "Does Luke know yet?"
She looked a bit surprised. "No. I told him when my science fair was. I don't really know if he'll come."
And there it was, the complete disinterest in the fact that she'd just found another parental figure. He was just science to her. And that's how it would stay. "You know, April, he is your father, but you know that you already have everything right here."
She nodded. "I know. I'm going to go see if I can add anything to my report."
April walked away. Right now he was only evidence in a DNA test. I had a feeling that if Luke went to that science fair, that would change. And I wouldn't have her all to myself.