“Mum? Can we get monkey bars?”
“Monkey bars? Can’t you use the ones at the park or at school?”
“Yeah, I can, but they’re not here…” Sophia reasoned as she looked up at me pleadingly.
I smiled, remembering a very similar request I had made of my Mum when I had been her age. “Monkey bars, huh? Why not.”
“Really? You mean it?” Sophia hugged me, beaming happily at my decision. She hardly ever asked for anything, and Monkey Bars were a good way to stay active for kids, so I had no problem agreeing. A lot of girls in her class wanted to be fairies or own ponies, so her wanting Monkey Bars really wasn’t an issue.
Not that she needed more motivation for staying active. Sophia had inherited more of her looks from him than I would have liked, but her personality was all me! Or at least I hoped it wasn’t all me. She still had several years left before she’d officially be a teenager, but I was dreading what other aspects of my personality might have found their way into the mix. I was very seriously considering a ‘no dates before you’re eighteen’ rule but knew that it would never work. I had found ways to fool my Mum and knew that Sophia would find ways to fool me. I just had to spoil the idea for her before she was old enough.
Sophia loved our pool. If she wasn’t in the living room dancing she was outside swimming laps. Some mornings I had found her outside before it was time for school, swimming when she should have been getting ready. I was happy to see that she was taking such an interest in being athletic, but hoped that it wouldn’t make her forget other important things. Like school. Or eating.
Her other passion was dancing. Mum joked that she was just like me when I had been her age but I sincerely hoped that she was kidding! The dancing and swimming I could cope with, but the idea of my daughter dating as soon as she was out of Primary School was too much for me. The things I had been happy to do…. I had never been ‘easy’ like some of the other girls and had always thought that I at least had some standards, but I had still been willing to do some things which the other girl wouldn’t have done. Mum saying that Sophia was just like me…
No. Definitely no dating before she turned eighteen.
Since Sophia burnt so much energy I had to make sure that she ate enough. Unfortunately for us both my plans of being a better cook for her sake had only gone so far. Cooking simply wasn’t my strong point, but I hoped that my failures were inspiring Sophia to become better than me. Much, much better.
Although, much to Mum’s amusement, Sophia had no great interest in cooking, either. We were both quite happy to eat leftovers for as long as we could or until Gemma complained that we weren’t eating well enough, at which point Gemma usually made us something. She was a far better cook than I was and Sophia and I were grateful for her interventions.
She was a a very neat child. I had no idea who she had gotten it from but when Sophia saw a dirty plate or mug anywhere in the house she’d bring it into the kitchen and wash it. Thanks to her there were no messes to be found in our house, and I was saving up for those Monkey Bars as a reward. Since I regularly gave money to three different charities we no longer had the soft safety cushion that I used to have before Sophia was born, but knowing that I was actually doing something good for people was worth it. We had enough saved up in case of an emergency, but things like Monkey Bars had to wait.
Since I had the mornings to myself with Sophia in school and my job not starting until two in the afternoon, I had a lot of time to stay in shape. My boss was expecting a lot from me and I wanted to make sure that I could teach Sophia how to defend herself properly, so everyone won!
Not all of my mornings were spent in my small home gym, though. I did make sure to spend a lot of time with Gemma, who was getting increasingly stressed from her own career. Running your own business was no easy feat, and with the expectations of your father riding on you as well- Well, I was only too glad to take her mind of things every now and again. She wasn’t willing to be away from her office too often, and remembering Milan’s words I didn’t push her, but at least once a week we’d meet up around town for a date.
I loved taking her to the park since that was where we had run into each other again after school, and Gemma said that being surrounded by nature like that was good for her, too. Now that Sophia was slowly getting older we would have to consider Gemma moving in with us again, but I wasn’t willing to press the issue. I was grateful for everything Milan had done for me and didn’t want to tempt fate too much. Mum would never forgive me if I accidentally destroyed the universe.
Things were going well. Sophia was working hard at school, Gemma was working hard in her business, and I wasn’t far off another promotion either. Our lives were pretty quiet and calm for the most part – not something I had thought I would ever want to have! I felt very fulfilled, and a small part of me was grateful that Blaine had raped me. If he hadn’t, I wouldn’t have had Sophia, and I loved Sophia more than anything. We never spoke about her father, but I knew that her friends at school would talk about their parents. She was a clever girl and would notice that their families were different to ours.
So one evening, when Sophia asked the question I had been dreading, I wasn’t surprised to hear it. She sat down next to me, cuddling into my side like she always did when something was bugging her but she wasn’t sure how to tell me what was on her mind.
“Mummy, do I have a daddy?” She didn’t sound upset that she had never met him, only curious and mildly worried for asking the question. Like I’d be more upset by it than her.
“You do, sweetheart.” I was shaking but hoped that Sophia wouldn’t notice. Having asked at all couldn’t have been easy for her, and I didn’t want to give her the impression that she shouldn’t have done it.
“How come he’s not living here with us?” I bit myself to calm down, thinking that if he had gotten his way we would be living somewhere else entirely.
“He’s-” I paused, wondering what to tell her exactly. I had always hoped that she’d be older by the time she asked me, so that I could tell her the truth, but she was too young for all that right now.
“Did he not want me?” My heart broke at hearing the rejection in her voice.
“That’s not it at all, sweetheart. I think he wanted you a lot, but he’s…. not a good man, Sophia. He’s not living with us because he’s not a good man.”
“Oh. Like Julie’s daddy?”
“I don’t know. Why isn’t Julie’s daddy a good man?”
“She says he’s in prison because he grew bad things in his secret attic garden.” I made a mental note to have a talk with Julie’s Mum.
“Not quite like that. But your daddy is in the same place as hers.”
“So he’s in prison, too?”
I nodded, praying that he’d never get out of it, either. If he laid one finger on my little girl I swear I’d-
“Is he dangerous? Can he hurt you?”
“No, baby. He can’t hurt anyone where he is now.”
“That’s good. I don’t want him to hurt you, Mummy.”
“I don’t want him to hurt you either, baby.”
“Danny says that you need a mummy and a daddy, otherwise you’re not loved enough.” I scratched out my previous mental note and made a new one to beat up this Danny if I ever met him. Maybe I’d have a chat with his parents and their teacher, too.
“Baby, that’s not true. I love you very much, and so does Gemma and Grandma and Uncle Milan.”
“Do you know your daddy?”
I shook my head, hoping that it would prove to her that it wasn’t as important as this Danny kid made it out to be. “No, it was just me, Grandma and Uncle Milan.”
“So if Milan was like your daddy, is Gemma like my other mummy?”
I smiled, wondering when my baby had grown up so much. “Yes. Gemma and I are your mummies.”
“I like having two mummies. Gemma cooks yummy things and you’re good at sports!” I laughed, pulling her back into my arms while she was still young enough.
She’d be too old to hug her mum before I knew what hit me. For now, I was going to enjoy her being too young to be emberrassed by me.
Lilliana is one date away from completing her aspiration, and one more day at work should get her to lvl7 of her career so she doesn’t have too much more to go on that. Sophia’s gen will start officially when Lilli has finished her aspiration and career 🙂 (update: Lilli finished her aspiration in the meantime so it’s just her career (currently lvl8) left to go 🙂 )