‘Lilly, it’ll be ok.’ Jeph tried to reassure me, but I knew he was wrong. How could things get much worse. I almost wished this baby was Jeph’s, then I wouldn’t have to deal with Quinn’s shit anymore.
‘No, it won’t.’ I kept telling him over and over.
‘Yes, it will.’ He told me looking in to my eyes.
‘No.’ I cried. My vision was started to get blurry from the tears I was trying to hold back. I hated when people saw me cry. I didn’t want anyone to feel bad for me, it wasn’t their problem, it was mine. Before I knew it, I felt his lips touch mine. ‘Jeph…’ I sighed pulling away from him. I didn’t want to make Quinn’s accusations true.
‘I’m sorry Lilly.’ He said looking down.
‘It’s ok.’ I half smiled. I think he was only trying to make me feel better, ‘You can’t help what you do sometimes, right?’
‘I guess.’ He said standing up. He held out his hand to help me stand also, which I gladly took.
‘Are you ok though?’ He asked me seriously.
‘I don’t know.’ I answered honestly. I’ve never had to deal with Quinn getting violent before.
‘I’ve never seen him like that.’ Jeph muttered.
‘Me either. I don’t like it.’ I sighed.
‘I don’t want you to get hurt Lilly.’ He told me. ‘I hate seeing you cry because of him. I hate knowing that there’s nothing I can do because I’m not with you. I can’t make you love me like I love you. I hate not being able to just hold you and tell you everything will be fine.’
‘Jeph, I don’t know what to say.’ I said.
‘It’s ok, I don’t expect you to know. You’re following your heart right, time for me to move on.’ He told me, although it seemed like he was trying to tell himself more or less.
‘I knew it!’ I heard Quinn yell.
‘What?’ I asked turning around to see him suddenly standing behind me.
‘I was watching you two, I knew you were seeing him. You love him more than me, don’t you?’ He accused.
‘Quinn, what are you taking?’ Jeph asked.
‘What are you talking about?’ Quinn was suddenly less angry with me.
‘What are you taking Quinn?!’ Jeph said getting angry with Quinn, ‘I know there is no fucking way you would ever push Lilly down unless you were on something, now what have you been taking?’
‘Some pills...’ Quinn confessed.
‘No more.’ Jeph stated and I knew that was the end of that issue. I hoped with all my heart that Quinn was just experimenting, and wasn’t really taking it long term. I didn’t like the Quinn I was faced with right now.
‘Lilly, I’m not going to marry you. You are having Jeph’s baby, and you don’t even love me, so why should I?’ Quinn told me.
‘Quinn, you don’t know what you’re talking about right now, please stop.’ I begged, I could feel the tears coming again.
‘Lilly, I don’t love you, leave me alone. I love someone else.’ He told me plainly.
‘Who, who is it that you love then?!’ I cried.
‘You won’t like her.’ He told me.
‘Quinn, we’re still getting married?’ I more asked than told him.
‘No, I told you, I don’t want you.’ He waved me off and walked back into the house. It felt like my world fell apart. I completely lost it right then and there.
I don’t know what happened, but I woke up in Jeph’s room. I looked at his alarm clock, and it said 3:46 am. Great. I got up and went out into the kitchen. As I walked through the living room, I saw Jeph laying on the couch with Hayden at his feet. When I walked into the kitchen and turned on the light, I saw Quinn standing there puking in the sink. I didn’t say anything to him, just grabbed a mountain dew from the fridge and sat on the counter.
‘I’m fine.’ He told me.
‘Whatever.’ I said pretending not to care.
‘Lilly, I’m sorry. It wasn’t me talking earlier, it was the drugs.’ He apologized.
‘Quinn, that hurt so bad.’
‘I didn’t mean it, I want to marry you, I really do.’ He assured me.
‘Whose this other girl you love?’ I asked him.
‘Livvy, wait, what?’ He asked me.
‘You love Livvy!?’ I more yelled at him than asked.
‘No, I mean I do, but no I don’t. I mean, we only slept together a few times. I’m sorry Lilly.’ He said over and over.
‘Why do I put up with your shit Quinn?’ I was asking myself more than asking him.
‘I really don’t know Lilly, I honestly don’t deserve you at all. I’m an asshole, and I can’t believe I’ve kept you for as long as I have. I’m surprised Jeph hasn’t swept you off your feet, because he’s much better for you than I am, and you know it.’ Quinn confessed.
‘But, I love you Quinn. I can’t change how I feel about you. You have been my true love. And somehow, I still love you even though you’ve put me through so much. And, now I’m having another kid with you.’ I told him once again.
‘I’m scared to death about that one,’ He admitted, ‘I still feel so lucky to have you, even though I make tons of mistakes, and I never expect you to take me back. I would understand if you left me now for Jeph, it would hurt like hell, but I would accept it.’
‘Quinn, why would you do this to me?’ I asked quietly.
‘I really don’t know. Everything I do just seems like it’ll be ok at the time, but then you get angry with me, but I keep on doing things that hurt you, and I can’t stand myself for doing those things.’ He looked at me apologetically. I wanted to forgive him for everything, but I felt like I shouldn’t. I felt like he needed to know how badly everything he kept on doing hurt me.
‘Quinn, I’m not sure we should be together.’ I said before I could stop myself. I saw his face turn from hurt, to confusion, to almost understanding. He looked so hurt by those few words that I wanted to tell him I was kidding, but I couldn’t get myself to say it. Instead I began saying something completely different, ‘I think I need to move out, I don’t want to live with you anymore.’ I could see tears starting to form in his eyes.
‘I understand.’ He mumbled and turned to walk out of the kitchen. ‘You should leave soon then.’ He told me before exiting the kitchen completely.
I caught the last bit of Lilly and Quinn’s conversation as I walked down the hallway. I had stopped at the end of it before I turned into the kitchen to listen. It became quiet not long after and suddenly Quinn passed me with a glance. I rounded the corner and saw Lilly standing there looking at the counter.
‘I will not be the only girl.’ I told her simply.
‘It seems as though you have no choice.’ She said with no emotion in her voice.
‘No. You don’t have a choice. You can move into my room and Bert and Quinn can be gay lovers in Quinn’s room. Don’t leave.’ I suggested.
‘Livvy, I’m just going to get an apartment close by. I’ll probably be here all the time. I just can’t be around him right now.’ She sighed.
‘Thanks.’ I told her as if it didn’t matter anyway.
‘I think I’m going to sleep now. Possibly, well, no, on the couch.’ Lilly mumbled the last bit,
‘Good night Livvy.’
‘Night.’ I waved to her back as she left the room. I sighed and took a seat by the island and stared at the microwave clock. 4:16am.
‘Why are you up?’ I heard Jeph say as he entered the kitchen.
‘Woke up dehydrated. What’s your reason?’ I countered.
‘Had to piss, then was thirsty.’ He muttered to me.
‘I have nothing to say to that.’ I smirked as he took a seat next to me.
‘Life is so damn crazy.’ He told me, ‘Oh, why’s Lilly on the couch?’
‘She broke up with Quinn and is moving out in the very near future.’ I replied nonchalant. I knew that Lilly moving out would definitely make me sad, since I haven’t been the only girl since who knows when. So I didn’t really want to talk about it.
‘Oh.’ Was all he said.
‘She’s dumb.’ I told him as if he didn’t know. ‘Recent studies show that she doesn’t know what she’s doing.’
‘Why is she dumb?’ Jeph yawned.
‘Cause she’s leaving me.’ I pretend sobbed. ‘I really don’t want to have to put up with all of you guys by myself.’
‘Aw, come on now, you have Bert. We all know he’s really a girl.’ He laughed.
‘Thanks for that.’ I smiled at him. ‘Now you have me wondering how we were able to have a baby.’
‘He had a really good surgeon who made him seem completely like a guy, I know, I was there.’
‘Why didn’t I know about this then, huh?’ I challenged.
‘Eh, it’s a secret Bert really doesn’t want anyone to know.’ He shrugged, ‘Why does she want to leave?’
‘Because Quinn said he loves me but doesn’t. And by the way, it’s a sister love. I also think it’s partly because there’s a possibility that him and I might’ve done the deed last night.’ I said unwillingly. I didn’t like knowing that I’ve had sex with Quinn. It was weird.
‘I see. Is she done with him for good then?’ He wondered.
‘Aw you’re hopeful Jeph. It’s cute.’ I laughed. ‘Who knows with them.’
‘True true.’ He sighed looking toward the living room.
‘Ok, I’m off to bed now. Night bro.’ I hopped off my stool and walked to my room.
I walked into the living room to see Lilly and Hayden’s things in boxes and Quinn following Lilly around begging her to stay. I was guessing that it wouldn’t hit me that she was moving until she was gone. Over the next few weeks, Lilly was only really seen when she brought Hayden over to spend time with Quinn. I felt like our friendship was fading. She didn’t really socialize while she was here. It was obvious that she was only here for Quinn’s time with Hayden.
‘Anyone here notice Lilly’s been-’ I began.
‘A bitch lately.’ Quinn finished. It’s been three weeks since Lilly moved out and Quinn hasn’t made much of an effort to do anything. He just mopes all day, unless they’re around. People try talking to him about it, but he always changes the subject.
‘You could put it that way.’ I agreed. Quinn and Bert started bashing on Lilly as if she was to blame for everything that ever went wrong. Not long after they started Lilly and Hayden walked through the front door. Quinn stopped talking immediately, but Bert kept going like the idiot he is.
‘-seems like she was only with you for money and she caused all the problems.’ Bert finished as if nothing had changed. I sighed and rolled my eyes at him after a failed attempt at shushing him.
‘So that’s how you guys have always seen me then?’ Lilly asked looking directly at Bert.
‘No I wasn’t talking about you. I was talking about Branden’s old girlfriend Shaniqua.’ He hurriedly explained.
‘Why do I get the feeling that you’re lying to me?’ She asked, more so to herself than to any of us.
‘Because he is.’ I stepped in for Bert then turned to look at him. ‘Stop talking. You’re digging yourself a deeper hole.’ I whispered loudly and urgently even though everyone could hear. ‘And by the way Lilly, I don’t think that.’
‘Thanks.’ She said almost inaudibly. ‘Hayden wanted to see you guys.’ Quinn’s face lit up at the sight of his daughter. He had missed her, that much was obvious. He got up and gave her a huge hug after walking over to her. He brushed Lilly’s side as he knelt down to pick Hayden up. The feel of the room changed when that happened. It seemed to affect everyone there, since we all had seen what Quinn had been putting himself through the past few weeks.
‘Let’s play pirates again!’ Hayden told Quinn enthusiastically.
‘Sure honey, anything you want to do.’ He answered her as he set her back down. She bolted out the back door and Quinn followed happily. The room regained its awkwardness as soon as the slider door shut.
‘I need to use the bathroom.’ Lilly told us before walking toward it.
‘Daddy! Your ship is over there! I’ll send my pirate people to get you if you come any closer!’ Hayden yelled at me as I walked toward her.
‘ARGH! But ye’ crew has my gold!’ I played along. She laughed. This was the most fun I’ve had in a while, since Lilly didn’t bring Hayden over often. I was cherishing every moment when I heard the slider door shut and looked over to see Lilly walking up to me. She stopped a general distance away after hesitating to move closer, and Hayden paused what she was doing.
‘I just want to get this over with, before I change my mind. Because I was up half of the night doing so.’ Lilly said not meeting my eyes, ‘My parents offered me a job, you know at their restaurant, and I am moving in with them, and I’m bringing Hayden with me.’ She said quickly.
‘What?’ I asked her, not believing, then realization kicked in. ‘No no no. You can’t do that!’
‘I need to do this. Besides, my parents want to meet Hayden…’
‘You can’t take her with you. She’s the only one I have left.’ He pleaded, then looked to the ground. ‘You can’t take my daughter away.’
‘I want her to come with me.’ She whispered.
‘Hayden, please go inside.’ I told her nicely. ‘We’ll finish our game later.’
‘Ok Daddy!’ She said cheerfully and ran up and gave me a big hug before running inside.
‘Please tell me you’re kidding.’ I started again.
‘I’m not kidding at all.’ She said looking at her feet.
‘How can you be so selfish?’ I asked, looking directly at her.
‘She would visit you… or you would visit her…’ She told me still looking down.
I walked closer to her and lifted her chin up so she was looking me in the eyes before I spoke, ‘I’m her father, Lilly. How can you do that?’
‘Quinn…’ She sighed staring straight at me.
‘I’ve already lost you.’ I reminded her regretfully. ‘Please don’t take her too.’
‘I’m not taking her from you,’ She pushed me away from her, ‘It’s not like I’m saying I don’t want you to see her ever again.’ I swear I saw her eyes fill with tears before she pushed me away.
‘You’ll be living in France!’ I raised my voice a bit.
‘I know. I just need to do this Quinn, I need to, and I wa-’ She started.
‘You know what Lilly, fine. Go. I don’t want Hayden to go, but I don’t have a choice. So why not give up on everything good in my life?’ I stated as I walked past her and headed for the house. I looked back at her one last time before walking inside and she was sitting on the ground.
‘I’m sorry.’ She sobbed.
‘I hate to tell you that sorry isn’t the magic word. I found out long ago. Because if it was, I’d be happy.’ I told her.
‘She’d still be in your life.’ She said in barely a whisper.
‘I want her to stay. She’s our daughter. I love her so much more than I think you give me credit for. She’s from a happier time, of you and I. And she reminds me of you. So there would still be a part of you with me. If sorry was the magic word, I’d be happy with you. We’d be together. And I know that if you move to France you won’t be in my life. I want you there. You’ve filled a spot in my life that no one else can, even if it doesn’t always seem like it. I’ve never been happier with someone other than you. I love you, always and forever. No matter how cheesy it sounds.’ I let the words spill out as my eyes shifted from hers to the ground and back.
‘Somehow, you always know how to do that, you always sway me.’ She sounded like she was going to say more, but stopped herself.
‘Somehow, I always know how to tell you how I feel. Because, after all the mistakes I make, realization hits just as you’re about to leave, and I know I’m going to lose you.’ I mumbled and noticed what a nice day it was outside. The sun shone at just the right angle, and was exactly the right temperature.
‘I just don’t want to go through all that again. I don’t want you to cheat again. I didn’t ever want to leave you, I was just tired of dealing with everything.’ She confessed.
‘Because love isn’t worth it, it’s never enough.’ I sighed.
‘How is sleeping with other people behind my back any form of love?’
‘Those are mistakes.’ I stated plainly, starting to believe that I had no chance anymore.
‘Yes, but why did you do it? Why couldn’t you just stop yourself? Wasn’t I enough?’ She cried.
‘You’re always enough, I’m just greedy.’ I told her.
‘…things were so good back then…’ I heard her mumble to herself as she laid down on grass that looked warm.
‘Things can be good again, if you just let it happen. You’re too stubborn for your own good.’ I sat on the porch swing a mere ten feet away.
‘I’m not the only one who can be stubborn.’ She muttered as she ran her hands through the grass.
‘That may be true, but you’re stubborn at all the wrong times.’ I said watching her hands for some reason.
‘I know…’ She sighed, ‘I don’t know why though.’ She tilted her head back slightly so that she could see me. After a few seconds she looked away and closed her eyes. I stood up slowly, and made my way over to her. I sighed heavily before bending my knees so that I fell onto them next to her. I positioned myself over her, with one knee on her left side, and one on her right, as I hovered above. I touched her face lightly, which caused her to open her eyes. She tensed at the closeness of us.
‘I’m trying my hardest here. And I’ll leave you alone if you still don’t want me after this. But I want you to remember that I love you. And no French man can take that away.’ I looked straight into her eyes, and smirked at the end as I waited for her response. I saw tears form in her eyes as I felt her hands behind my head, pulling me down into a deep kiss. I started to lay on top of her, but the moment I did, she pushed me off.
‘I’m pregnant.’ She reminded me. I jumped up with a gasp.
‘I’m sorry.’ I apologized as I stood there awkwardly. I didn’t know what to do with myself.
‘Geez, just lay back down already.’ She laughed at me. Slowly, I laid down next to her, careful not to be too close.
‘You can move to France if you’d like.’ I surrendered. I’d said everything I wanted to say. It was all there, and if she still didn’t want me, at least I gave it my all. I braced myself.
‘You know, I never could bring myself to take it off.’ She said looking at her hand.
‘I’m hoping that it was because you never wanted to, not because it got stuck when you tried taking it off.’ I tried to humor the situation.
‘No silly,’ She playfully smacked my arm, ‘I wanted to keep it on. I would forever.’
‘I doubt that. If you were thirty and married to mister French moustache, I don’t think he would appreciate another man’s ring on your finger. Especially an American’s.’ I smiled looking up at the sky and all the light, puffy clouds floating above.
‘You’re probably right, but you know what, mister French moustache would get over it.’ She laughed.
‘That would mean you’re not truly in love with mister French moustache. Because if you were, you would do anything for him.’ I said. ‘So why move to France if you’ll never fall in love again?’
‘I honestly don’t know.’ She sighed looking over at me.
‘That sucks.’ I concluded looking at her out of the corner of my eye.
She looked back at the sky before talking, ‘I guess that just means I’ll only ever love one man.’
‘Two rings aren’t comfy on one finger.’ I informed her, agreeing.
‘Yeah, but two from you…’ She said quietly.
‘What? My good side and my bad side?’ I questioned with a laugh.
‘I feel like I’ve been trying not to burst.’
‘Well I hope it’s not a premature baby.’ I rolled on my side and rested my head in my hand.
‘Quinn, I love you and I still want to be with you. I probably won’t go to France, I pretty much decided not to go when I started talking to you again. That’s why I haven’t taken the ring off. I still want there to be an us.’ She admitted.
‘I’m glad I have a way with words. Otherwise I’d be lost.’ I smiled and rolled back on my back. It was quiet for a while, at least ten minutes. The silence was soothing. All I heard was the sound of the wind, and the sound of her hand move across the grass to grab mine. ‘So I take it it’s not a premature baby, right?’
‘No, I guess not.’ She laughed turning toward me as if she were expecting me to say something else.
‘Oh, I’m supposed to keep going.’ I pretended to think hard. ‘Umm, I love you. In case you forgot.’
‘I didn’t forget.’ She told me still looking at me.
‘Oh don’t lie. Mister French moustache almost stole you away.’ I accused her, looking back at her.
‘Oh yeah, for sure.’ She said sarcastically.
‘What’s the date?’ I asked.
‘June 26th, why?’
‘June 26th.’ I pondered for a couple minutes then regained my thoughts. ‘June 26th is a nice day. Don’t you think?’
‘Yeah, its very beautiful out and everything.’ Lilly looked at me confused.
‘It should be a memorable day.’ I smiled wide.
‘I think it is pretty memorable, but I guess it could be better.’ She said.
‘Yes, it could be better. If you decided to marry me.’ I offered.
‘Right now?’ She asked.
‘Well, there’s a couple hours of prep time. But other than that, yes. Right now.’ I chuckled at her expression.
‘I think we’ll need witnesses, just not Bert. I didn’t like what he was saying when I walked in.’
‘No no no. Bert is my best friend ever. He was just defending his best friend. Me.’ I grinned when I said the word ‘me’.
‘Quinn, I don’t want to wait anymore.’ She told me.
‘So, Bert’s gonna be there. Ok? Ok.’ I laughed and stood up.
‘Okay.’ She smiled and stood up with me, ‘I don’t want to tell them though, I want to get them in the car and surprise them, you know.’
‘Oh yeah. Anything will get those idiots in the car. I’ll just tell them we’re making a run to McDonalds and they’ll come running.’ He joked.
‘It’s worth a try.’ She laughed as she grabbed my hand and pulled me inside the house to face everyone.
‘Mickey D’s you fat fucks!’ I yelled out into the house and heard pounding footsteps down the hallway immediately. Branden skidded to a stop on the kitchen floor.
‘Hell yeah.’ He spoke out of breath, victoriously.
‘Why are you out of breath?’ Lilly asked Branden.
‘Fight club in the basement.’ He stated like it was no big deal, but obviously it was cause he was smiling like no other. ‘I won.’
‘You ASSHOLE. You’re doing FIGHT CLUB in MY ROOM without me?!’ I screamed at him.
‘Dude, you were busy and we were just like “lets do fight club” and I don’t know man. You were all making your move and shit. I’m pretty sure you would’ve killed us in fight club, literally, if we would’ve interrupted that.’ He defended himself, and the rest of the guys.
‘Hey, could you get everyone into the car so we can go?’ Lilly asked him.
‘MICKEY D’S!!’ Branden shouted nonchalantly and proudly strode out of the house with Hayden following behind him.
‘Can’t we go somewhere other than McDonald’s?’ Bert whined.
‘Uh, I-’ Lilly began.
‘Sure.’ I interrupted and winked at her. Not long after Bert complained, Livvy and Jeph came out of their holes and joined us in the kitchen with Max in her arms. ‘Let’s go.’ Everyone nodded their heads and followed us into the van. As we drove on, we passed a couple of McDonalds, and everyone was confused.
‘Uh, Quinn, I thought we were going to McDonalds?’ Livvy questioned.
‘Bert wanted to go somewhere else.’ I told her.
‘Oh.’ Was the last thing anyone said before we reached the courthouse. Lilly and I went in leaving them in the van. It didn’t take us long to get a marriage license. It was still such a beautiful day outside, it was perfect.