Author’s Note: Fi’s reaction to the news was hard to figure. She’s probably still in shock, a bit…
Richard was dead. Richard the cheating, selfish bastard who still thought she’d forgive him and make a family with him and the daughter he’d had with another woman, was dead. That woman was also dead. They’d both died in the car crash, and now Fi was alone.
She looked down at the baby. “He didn’t tell me your name. I don’t know if anyone knows. I suppose it must be on your birth certificate somewhere, shouldn’t it? I guess I can have them look it up for me sometime. Not that it matters. I’m sure they’ll take you away soon enough. Richard might have thought you could be, but you’re not mine.”
She sighed. She shouldn’t have this baby, she should never have agreed to Richard’s idea, but then if she hadn’t… the girl would be dead, too. Fi shook her head. This wasn’t right. She shouldn’t be here, the baby shouldn’t be here, and if not for Richard…
She wasn’t even upset that he was dead. She should feel something, she supposed, but she didn’t. She wasn’t angry. She wasn’t sad. She was numb. Maybe she was still in shock. She’d figured it couldn’t be worse than when she’d found out about the affair, but it was. She was alone, with Richard’s daughter, and he was dead. The girl’s mother was dead.
She picked up the bottle, trying to give it to the child again. She had to give it some kind of name, if only for her own sanity, but she didn’t want to call it by some term of endearment. She wasn’t going to get attached. That wasn’t allowed. She’d told the officers that notified her of her husband’s death about the baby, and they said they’d get someone—social services, she assumed—to look for Chloe’s relatives. They’d take the baby. Fi had no claim to her, and she didn’t want one.
“Why couldn’t your father have been less of a jerk?”
The baby didn’t answer, didn’t do anything but turn away from the bottle. Fi let out a breath. “Okay, in all fairness, I don’t know how old this is, or for sure when the last time you ate was, but you need to have some. It’s been more than four hours, at least, since I’ve started watching you, so eat already.”
Nothing. Fi bit her lip. “Look, kid, if you’re one of those fussy ones who won’t do it without Mommy, you’re in big trouble. Mommy’s gone, and she’s not coming back. Either you start liking formula, or you’re going to starve.”
That would be just perfect, wouldn’t it?
Fi knew she couldn’t let that happen. If social services didn’t take the kid off her hands by tomorrow, she’d get some kind of expert to get the girl eating. Maybe she knew enough of what was going on to have no appetite. Fi certainly didn’t.
“All right, Girlie. We’re going to check your diaper and then try putting you back down in your crib. Maybe you’ll stay asleep for more than two hours this time. And maybe pigs will fly, but that’s the sort of wishful thinking I’m reduced to.”
The baby’s eyes closed, and Fi assumed that was acquiescence, so she carried her up the stairs and into the nursery. She did a quick check of the baby’s diaper and tried not to look at the room too much. All of this had been put together six years ago, before her first miscarriage, and she had been avoiding it off and on ever since. Sometimes she was hopeful, thinking she’d get that chance eventually, and others she didn’t think it would ever come. Richard, bastard that he was, never wanted to take down any of the decorations or any of these things they didn’t need.
“There you go,” she said, putting the baby down in the crib. She turned on the carousel with a wince. She’d bought that for her baby, damn it. That was her favorite melody, and it was one she’d sung to the ones she’d lost. This was so wrong. She took a deep breath. She would not take Richard’s actions or her own issues out on the baby. She wouldn’t. “Goodnight.”
The screaming began then, and she shook her head. “Don’t do this. I am not carrying you around all night. I mean it. Don’t give me another reason to hate you, kid.”
She put a hand to her head. She didn’t want to hate the baby. The kid had no choice, but damn it, she didn’t know how to do this, how not to resent the child for everything it wasn’t and everything its father had destroyed.
She forced herself to walk away from the crib. It wouldn’t hurt the baby to cry for a bit, and she needed a break before she did something she’d regret.