Valerie woke up from her nap before Johnny came home, still hurt and desparately lonely. It wasn’t long she had to wait before he came home, though. She was ready to beg him for forgiveness, but before she could say anything he slammed the door and stormed up to her with such intensity that Valerie was sure he was going to push her down. He didn’t, but the thought certainly crossed his mind.
“Do you have any idea how much you’ve ruined my life, Val? Do you?” He was screaming at her, and it was all Valerie could do to keep from crying. Still, she knew that wouldn’t help. “I had a good life in Oasis Springs, but you didn’t know that, you don’t know anything about who I am. I’m a good man! I love laughing and having fun with my friends, but you took that away from me by getting yourself plumming pregnant!”
Johnny paused for breath, and Valerie was deeply shaken by his aggression. She wanted to tell him that she didn’t want to get pregnant, that she hadn’t planned on having kids until she was well beyond her young adult days, but she couldn’t make herself speak. It was like there was a cork in her throat keeping everything inside.
“Whatever,” Johnny said, sounding suddenly exhausted by his emotions. “I’m going to stay with a friend in Oasis Springs tonight, and go straight to work from there. I’ll be back tomorrow night.” With that, he walked straight back out the front door, and finally Valerie let herself cry.
The next morning, Valerie took the time alone to work a little on her garden. She’d started using some of her fish to fertilise her plants, and it was starting to pay off as she had her first plant evolve! With all of the stress of the pregnancy and Johnny’s recent anger, her garden had become her sanctuary. She loved it more than she ever thought she would, and it was gratifying to see her love and hard work start to pay off.
After taking care of her garden, Valerie settled into the little reading nook she’d set up for herself the night before while unable to sleep. She and Johnny nearly had enough money to expand the house to have a bedroom for themselves, but in the meantime, she needed something to do to relax. It had been okay before; when she was bored or stressed she could go to the river and fish, or hang out with Johnny. Now, though, Johnny hated her and she didn’t feel capable of spending time away from her home. The thought of strangers recognising her as the mayor of Newcrest, and seeing her so distressed, formed a ten-foot fence around her house and garden. If she couldn’t go out, she’d just have to find something to do at home.
The hours kept passing, but the more drawn into her books Valerie got, the less she noticed the time passing. She would have happily carried on reading until Johnny got home, but something stopped her early: a sharp pain in her stomach. It was time, and Johnny wasn’t there.
Valerie rushed over to the bassinet she’d bought in preparation clutching her stomach. She hadn’t wanted to give birth alone, but there wasn’t much she could do. The baby was coming out right now, like it or not. Valerie tried to keep herself calm and breathe through the pain, but all she could think was how much she wished she had a hand to hold, someone else there to comfort her. But wishes weren’t going to get the baby out.
And suddenly it was over. As quickly as her labour had started, Valerie felt the pain end and relaxed as she held her daughter in her arms. Suddenly, it was all worth it, everything that had happened from the very first moment she laid eyes on Johnny. It didn’t matter that he had just been some stranger nearby when she was feeling in the need of romance, and it didn’t matter that he had turned out to treat her with such contempt as her pregnancy had progressed. Nothing mattered any more, except for the tiny sim cooing at her.
Valerie held her daughter close to her and felt the softness of her skin against her face. She hadn’t fully understood before why mothers were so proud of their useless, squishy offspring, doing nothing but crying as they lay in their bassinets, but now it made sense.
She’d never discussed names with Johnny, but Valerie had already decided on her own anyway; Thomas for a boy and Amelia for a girl. They were the two main characters in the stories her own mother had made up for her as a child. She’d finally made one of them real.
As Valerie lay Amelia down in her bassinet, she began to feel very uneasy. How would Johnny respond? He’d been so on board with the baby, or had at least pretended to be, until Valerie asked him to be more than the father to her child. Part of her was dreading how he would react when he got home to meet Amelia, part of her was dreading how she’d cope if he walked out the door immediately. As perfect as her daughter was, she still hadn’t been quite enough to take Valerie’s mind off the uncertainty of their future together.
Note from the Author: Sorry this is a couple of days late! Next one will definitely be on time, coming at 7pm GMT tomorrow, 31st January.