Valerie woke up the next day feeling awful, but she had work to do in her garden so just pressed on with it. Luckily, nobody was around to hear her muttering under her breath. “Plumming Plumhead… Tells me he’s going to use protection, but guess Plumming what!? I wouldn’t Plumming be here if he did! Useless Plumming… piece of Plum…”
But at the end of the day, no matter how angry she was at him, she couldn’t avoid responsibility altogether. It was her own romantic urges that drove her to him in the first place, normally she would never have jumped into bush with the first man she saw. And no matter who she blamed, or how angry she was, she was still in an awful situation. She had no money, and she was about to have a baby. She couldn’t afford to expand her tiny shack yet, so either her bed or the crib would have to go outside, and there’s no way she’d be allowed to keep her baby if she made it sleep outside.
There was only one option, and she didn’t know how it would go, but she knew it was what she had to do.
Reluctantly, with a forced smile on her face, she picked up the phone, and dialled.
It was clear from his face that he could tell by looking at her what she’d called him to say.
“Hey, there… you,” Valerie tried awkwardly. “How’ve you been?”
“Valerie, I can tell why you’ve called me. I’m not an idiot,” he deadpanned.
“Well, you could’ve fooled me,” Valerie replied, her anger hidden beneath a thin layer of hilarity. She found if she didn’t laugh at the situation she would explode. “I thought you said it was safe! I thought we agreed to WooHoo! I mean, hey! What’s up with that?”
He moved on to desparation very quickly. “Valerie, we did WooHoo, I swear! I don’t know what happened–something in the water, maybe? But I didn’t want this! I wouldn’t have risked it if I thought there was any chance, please, believe me?”
“I mean, you’re not the one who has to carry this… this thing around, you know? It’s not comfortable,” Valerie explained, beginning to lay her cards on the table. “On top of that, of course, I have no money to raise it on my own… I’d need help.”
“I–I see,” the man whose name she still couldn’t place responded. “So, what do you want, then? I live in a trailer, Valerie, there’s not a lot I can offer unless I make myself homeless, and I’m sorry, call me a bad father, but I’m not going to ruin my life for the sake of… it. Him? Her? I don’t really know what to call… that yet.”
“It’s okay! It’s still early,” Valerie replied. “Honestly, I’ve just been calling it ‘it’ myself until now. You’re fine. But I have an idea for how we can make this work out, if you want to hear it?”
“What is it?”
“Sell your caravan. Move in with me. Then none of us will starve, hoepfully by the time the baby’s born it’ll have its own room but at the very least it’ll have a roof over its head. I don’t expect you to stick to the limitations I’ve been put under, like never leaving Newcrest. I don’t even expect you to stick around forever, if you don’t want to. Just help me give this baby a chance to live. What do you think?”
He stood and thought for a minute, his face unreadable. “Only until you had enough money to pay me back, right? And then I could buy my caravan back, and you can… be a good mother on your own?”
Valerie smiled. “I think I’ll be able to do that. Seal it with a kiss?”
And it was an awkward, uncomfortable kiss, but it was settled. And finally, with all the paperwork from his moving in, Valerie finally knew his name: Johnny Zest.
A Note From the Author: Hope you liked this chapter! It’s a little shorter than the others because I’ve had a bit of a full-on week with work but hopefully will be able to schedule a few more in advance so that I’ll be able to spend a bit more time on future ones. Next chapter coming on the 21st at 7pm GMT!