As Daisy’s Due Date Draws Nearer, The Moment Of Truth Approaches…
Spring, Year 6
Ethan is 26, Gerald is 26, Hollie is 25 and Daisy is 23
The snow had finally given way as spring had sprung. Ethan was walking Cherie one morning in Willow Creek, enjoying the crisp air and the colour beginning to pop back into the world now that winter was finally gone.
Daisy’s baby was due any day now and Ethan was feeling a little nervous. As yet, neither of them knew whether he or Gerald was the baby’s father and the thought of an angry showdown with Daisy’s ex-husband was beginning to fill him with anxiety.
Daisy was a little nervous herself. Gerald had given strict instructions to be told when the baby was born and it was making everyone nervous. She’d been busying herself knitting but mostly, she was praying the baby was Gerald’s, if only so he didn’t cause a scene when the baby was born.
To counter his anxiety, Ethan decided it was time to hit the gym. Apart from programming, it was the only thing to take his mind off of his worries about the baby.
He was also a little worried because he hadn’t heard from Hollie much since he’d been to see the children on Jareth’s birthday. It was an impossible situation but Ethan was still very much in love with both sisters. How could he really choose between them?
Back at the flat, Daisy almost fainted with relief when she saw a text on her phone from Hollie. A short, one line message but it was enough for Daisy to feel that everything was okay. The last six months without Hollie in her life had been awful and not something she wanted to repeat. She’d missed her sister and knowing that Hollie didn’t hate her was incredible.
She felt a twinge.
She realised with a jolt it wasn’t relief causing the twinge. She’d gone into labour. The baby was coming!
After a few hours, Vanya Davies was brought into the world!
Daisy knew that, realistically, she couldn’t avoid inviting Gerald over to see the baby so, reluctantly, she phoned him. The conversation was stilted but Gerald agreed to call round as soon as he could.
Taking a deep breath, Daisy hung up the phone.
Sure enough, Gerald arrived within an hour. Nervously, Daisy invited him into the flat. Ethan was at work, so there was no chance of the two men coming to blows.
“So it’s mine then?” Gerald said as they sat down on the sofa.
“Yes, ‘she’ is.” Daisy sighed. “You got my message? Vanya’s definitely your baby, Gerald.”
Gerald was indignant. “Yes, I got your message. So nice to have THAT confirmed.”
“Gerald, I am sorry for how things turned out.” Daisy winced slightly. “I know it stung but let’s be honest here. You didn’t love me anyway.”
Ignoring her, Gerald made a move to stand up. “Where is she, then?”
“Here she is!” Daisy said proudly, holding baby Vanya up. “Gerald, this is your daughter.”
Gerald stared at the baby. “Oh. Okay then.” Suddenly, he had no idea what to say. The thought of having a child hadn’t really sunk in until now. For the past several months, he’d been more indignant that the paternity of the baby had been in question that the ramifications of having a baby hadn’t occurred to him until the moment he laid eyes on Vanya.
“Would you like to hold her?” Daisy asked but Gerald shook his head quickly.
“Gerald, what’s the matter?” Daisy was getting irritated. “You’ve made a big enough fuss over who Daisy’s father is and now you know she’s yours, you act like you’re not interested. What are you playing at?”
“Did it ever occur to you that I wasn’t expecting this?” Gerald shot back. “By the Watcher, Daisy, I never wanted children; I thought you knew that. It was a shock enough to realise there was no guarantee I was the father; to find out I am and she’s now half mine is a lot to take in. Have a bit of bloody compassion, yeah?”
Daisy knew she’d been beaten. As frustrating as it was that Gerald wasn’t even trying to bond with Vanya, she knew he was right. It had been a lot for him to take in and after all, she had been the one to have an affair first. A part of her wanted to point out he’d only married her for money but another part was drained from the argument and just wanted him out of the flat.
After he left, Daisy fed Vanya and settled her down before hitting the mat for a yoga routine to calm her down. Something about Gerald these days really rattled her. Every time they spoke, they seemed to launch straight into battle. She knew it was partly guilt for the ways things ended but it was partly rage too. Rage because at the end of it all, he’d never loved her and had married her solely to grab an inheritance. He didn’t care about Vanya any more than he cared about Daisy.
As Gerald sauntered away from Daisy’s flat, he smirked. Daisy had capitulated easily when he’d brought up the baby and how they’d never discussed having children.
As he strode confidently towards the train station, he felt quite elated. This divorce thing was a piece of cake.
Ethan felt bad when he got home from another busy day at work. He knew Daisy had been dreading inviting Gerald over to see Vanya and to see her looking sod ejected made him feel awful.
He logged onto his emails and saw he’d got a couple of freelance offers in his inbox. Delighted, he quickly typed out acceptances and logged off. More work meant more money – it was time to celebrate.
“This is lovely,” Daisy said as they sat down at a table. Ethan was treating her to dinner at The Tudor Tavern in Windenburg. The restaurant was well known for its romantic vibe and Daisy adored it. “I still can’t believe we’ve never done this before!”
Ethan smiled. “I’m sorry it took so long. I should have done this ages ago.”
“You look gorgeous, by the way,” Ethan said as their meal arrived.
“Oh stop it,” Daisy replied, embarrassed. “You don’t look so bad yourself.”
Ethan smiled. He loved watching Daisy enjoy the atmosphere, the food, the wine. Everything about her captivated him and made him love her more. Unfortunately, it was those qualities that also frequently made him think of Hollie but he pushed the thoughts away. Hollie had made it clear he couldn’t have them both; at least, not yet.
Instead, he drank in the atmosphere himself.
After their meal, the couple strolled out of the restaurant. Ethan leaned over and kissed Daisy. Giggling, she nudged him away. “Hey, wait until we get home,” she said laughing. She was content. Things were beginning to settle down and now the baby was born, she could hopefully start relaxing properly.
The following day felt even brighter. Ethan was working from home and baby Vanya was sound asleep, so Daisy grabbed the opportunity to take Cherie out for a walk. This part of the city was surprisingly bright and serene and she enjoyed her daily walks with her dog.
Suddenly, her phone buzzed with a text and to her shock, it was Hollie.
Daisy cautiously approached Eden. The text from Hollie had been an invite to lunch and nervously, Daisy had accepted. She’d missed her sister a lot since Hollie and Ethan had divorced and Daisy still felt incredibly guilty for her part in the breakdown of her sister’s marriage.
She found Hollie and sat down with her. The sisters ordered lunch and, to Daisy’s surprise, slipped into conversation as easily as ever.
Even when the waitress dropped their food, the sisters barely noticed.
“So you’re not angry with me?” Daisy ventured at last. She had to know how Hollie felt.
Hollie sighed. “I was. At the time, I was furious with you Daisy. Eventually, I realised that you two can’t help how you feel. I don’t agree with you both sneaking behind my back and lying to me but ultimately, you’re both happy now.”
Daisy winced. “But you’re not.”
Shrugging, Hollie sighed again. “No, but that has nothing to do with Ethan. Well, not directly. I’m unhappy because I’m stressed; Ethan leaving didn’t help but anyway.” She shook her head. “I’m fine, honestly.”
Eventually, it was time to leave. Hollie pulled Daisy into a hug.
“Look, it’s still tough for me to take in,” she said. “I’m still adjusting to the idea of you living with my ex-husband but I’ll get used to it, okay? I just don’t want it to tear us apart forever, deal?”
“Deal.” Daisy smiled as she hugged her sister tightly. “I insist on you coming over to see Vanya soon.”
Hollie nodded. “I’d love that. Just…not when Ethan’s there, okay?”
Feeling another twinge of guilt, Daisy agreed.
Meanwhile, Ethan’s stress levels were rising. His job was really taking its toll on him lately and with no possibility of a better offer after having to drop out of his degree, he began to feel a little hopeless. He was good at the job and most of the time, he enjoyed it. However, he could do without crisis at the moment.
That went for every aspect of his life. Knowing Daisy and Hollie had been out to lunch together that day filled him with dread as he arrived back home.