A Different Blue Page 52

Tiffa and I agreed that we should both sleep on the decision and say nothing to anyone until after she had spoken to Jack and consulted a lawyer. Neither of us had any idea what legal steps needed to be taken, but Tiffa thought she could get some answers from Jack's brother, who was an attorney. Her hands shook as she embraced me and her eyes were wide with wonder, most likely at the turn her life had suddenly taken. The hope in her eyes must have mirrored my own, and though she begged me to think seriously about my choice over the coming days, I knew I wouldn't change my mind.

Tiffa, Jack, and I met with Jack's brother, who took us through the process. It wasn't terribly complicated: Jack and Tiffa would pay my medical costs, which I would need to reimburse if I changed my mind within a certain window of time. And, of course, the father would have to be notified, and he would have to sign away his rights. The thought made my stomach cramp with dread. It wasn't that I thought Mason would want to be a daddy and raise the child. But he was territorial, and I could see him making trouble just for the sake of troublemaking.

And then Tiffa told her family. Tiffa's mother, Alice, Peter, and the kids were flying back to Manchester in the morning, so Tiffa invited Wilson to dinner so she could break the news while they were all still together. She invited me as well, but I refused, grateful that my scheduled shift at the cafe gave me an excuse to stay away. Awkward didn't begin to describe the situtation. And I really didn't want to talk adoption over tea and crumpets with Joanna Wilson. I wondered if the awkwardness would extend to my relationship with Wilson, and I spent a tense evening at work, dropping dishes and providing lousy service. It was nine o'clock when I finally clocked out and walked home, tired and strung out from juggling orders and nervous energy. Wilson was sitting on the front steps of Pemberley when I trudged up the sidewalk.

I sat down beside him and tried to rest my tired head on my knees, which I had done a thousand times before, but my burgeoning stomach made it impossible. In the last week it had grown so much it was constantly surprising me and getting in the way, and disguising it had gotten increasingly difficult. So I just sat with my hands in my lap and stared out into the darkened street, reminded of the time, several months ago, when I had been so lost and had shown up at Wilson's announced, looking for direction. We had sat just this way, our eyes facing outward, our legs almost touching, quiet and contemplative.

“Tiffa and Jack might be the happiest people on the planet right now,” Wilson murmured, looking down at me briefly. “My mother is not far behind, though. She was singing a stirring rendition of “God Save the King” when I left.”

“God Save the King?” I sputtered, surprised.

“It's the only song she knows all the words to . . . and she apparently felt like singing.”

I giggled and we lapsed back into silence.

“Are you sure about all of this, Blue?”

“No,” I laughed ruefully. “I've decided being sure is a luxury I won't ever be able to afford. But I'm as sure as a twenty-year-old waitress could ever be. And the fact that Tiffa and Jack are so happy makes me almost positive.”

“Lots of women, younger than you, and with a lot less talent, raise children alone every day.”

“And some of them probably do a damn good job, too,” I admitted, trying not to let his comments bother me.” Some of them don't. “My eyes met Wilson's defiantly, and I waited, wondering if he would press me further. He searched my expression and then looked away. I wanted him to understand, and I desperately needed his validation, so I turned to the one thing I knew he would grasp.

“There was a poem you quoted to me once, by Edgar Allan Poe. Do you remember?” I'd memorized it after that night. Maybe it was to feel closer to him, to know something he knew, to share something he loved, but the words had spoken to me on a very primal level, haunted me even. It was my life, boiled down to a few rhyming lines.

Wilson began to quote the beginning lines, a question in his expression. As he did, I spoke the words with him, reciting them. His eyebrows rose at each word, and I could tell I had surprised him by my mastery.

“From childhood's hour I have not been

As others were; I have not seen

As others saw; I could not bring

My passions from a common spring.

From the same source I have not taken

My sorrow; I could not awaken

My heart to joy at the same tone.”

Wilson stopped, staring down at me in the dusky light that spilled around our concrete perch.

“It's the next part I can't ever get out of my head,” I ventured, holding his gaze. “Do you know what comes next?”

Wilson nodded, but he didn't quote the lines. He just waited for me to continue. So I spoke them, delivering each line the way I interpreted it.

“And all I loved, I loved alone.

Then – in my childhood, in the dawn

of a most stormy life – was drawn

from every depth of good and ill,

the mystery which binds me still.”

There was more, but it was this line that resonated, and I gathered my thoughts, wanting to be understood.

“The mystery of my life binds me still, Wilson. You told me once we can't help where we are scattered. We are born in whatever circumstances we are born into, and none of us has any control over it. But I can make sure this baby isn't scattered like I was. I have nothing to give but myself, and if something were to happen to me, my baby would have no one left. I can't guarantee this child a happy life, but I can make sure she doesn't love alone. I want to layer her in love. Mother and father and grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins. I want her to have family surrounding her so there is no mystery and no fear of being alone or abandoned . . . or scattered.”

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