Page 35 of RoomHate

“Think about it. Like you were saying…any man that’s going to end up with me has to be in it for the long haul. It takes a really long time to figure that stuff out, right? I can’t be celibate forever while I wait to see if Mr. Right wants to be a father to my daughter. I, too, like to fuck.”

His eyes widened. “I see.”

“Although in recent years, I haven’t slept around, it might be better for me at this point in my life to just have meaningless sex with a trusted person who’s on the same page. He’d have to be clean of course, have all the proper tests.”

“Are you serious right now?”

“I’m dead serious.”

I was starting to become a little convinced of my own argument. It did make some sense.

He mocked, “And where exactly are you gonna find this man who is just looking for casual fucking but also happens to be a clean, respectable person that you can bring around your daughter? Oh, and this guy is apparently not sleeping with anyone else at the same time? Yeah. That makes sense.”

“I wouldn’t be bringing any man around Bea unless it was serious. So, he wouldn’t be getting to know my daughter.”

“Where would you be meeting up with said man then?”

“Hotels.”

“Who’s going to be watching Bea when you’re fucking this guy in a motel?”

I snorted. “You?”

“Please tell me you’re kidding. Because I’m about to fucking lose it.”

“Want the honest truth?”

“Yes.”

“For the most part I am kidding. But I do think that I may need to find someone to satisfy my needs at some point, someone who I can trust but who understands that it wouldn’t be anything more than sex.”

He gritted his teeth. “Someone like Roger next door…”

“Maybe…”

His face turned red in anger as he got up and put his mug in the sink. “That’s just great, Amelia. Just fucking great.”

That was the last thing he said before stomping up the stairs to start his work day.

He never came down that afternoon.

Justin was mad…and jealous as hell. It hadn’t even been subtle.

I’d told him I was giving him the honest truth; that really wasn’t the case. Because the real truth was that there was only one man I’d dreamt of fucking in a hotel—and that was him.

***

Justin still seemed moody that night. He was flipping through the channels at lightning speed without even really paying attention. When my phone vibrated on the coffee table, he picked it up and looked down at the caller I.D.

A look of shock washed over his face as he handed me the phone. “It’s Adam.”

Shit.

I’d left Adam a voice message the other day, asking if he was interested in coming down to Newport to meet Bea. Seeing him was the last thing I wanted, but I felt that I owed it to my daughter to at least attempt to establish a relationship between them.

Justin watched me like a hawk as I answered.

“Hello?”

Adam’s voice sounded a bit muffled. “Hey.”

“I’m assuming you got my voicemail.”

There was some static; he must have been driving. “Yeah. Ashlyn’s away. I can come down this weekend. When is a good time?”

He can only come down because Ashlyn is away? Real nice.

“I think it’s best if we meet downtown. Maybe at the park. I can text you the location. Would this Saturday work?”

“Yeah. That should be fine.”

“Okay. Why don’t we plan to meet around three?”

“That’ll work.”

“I’ll text you the info soon.”

“Alright. Bye.

“Bye.”

He never even asked how she was.

Justin was still glaring at me after I hung up. “He’s coming down here? Since when is he interested in being a part of her life?”

“Since a blood test proved he’s the father.”

“You never told me you had that done.”

“It was just a formality. It happened while you were away, didn’t even think to mention it because there was never any doubt. Anyway, the only person the test mattered to was Adam, because he was accusing me of lying.”

Justin’s tone was stern. “I still don’t want him near her.”

“He’s her father.”

“He’s a sperm donor,” he said through gritted teeth.

“What am I supposed to do? Keep her from him?”

“He doesn’t deserve her.” Justin seemed lost in thought for a few moments before he asked, “What exactly are his rights now?”

“I’m not entirely sure. I don’t think he’s going to want any of the responsibility of caring for her, so I haven’t even really looked into that stuff. By the same token, I’m not pressuring him into anything, either. Anyway, it’ll just be a quick meeting.”

“I’m coming with you.”

“No. You don’t have to.”

“There is no way I’m letting you go see that asshole by yourself.”

“That’s really not necessary. We’ll be—”

“Amelia…it’s not a choice. I’m coming with you,” he repeated.

The look in his eyes told me this was one argument I wasn’t going to win.

***

The weather was perfect, dry with low humidity. We would be meeting at Colt State Park, which was just over the bridge and off of the island. Justin and I had visited this park once or twice when we were kids, so it felt a little bit nostalgic.

We packed a picnic lunch and made an afternoon out of it, getting there an hour before Adam was set to arrive. Might as well balance a stressful event with some fun.

I’d dressed Bea in the frilliest pink dress she had and placed one of those little thin ruffled headbands over her head. Her tiny feet were covered in the cutest white patent leather shoes.

Justin gently brushed the back of his finger along her head. “Bea looks adorable, but you know it kind of pisses me off you got her all dressed up for him.”

“I wanted her to look her best, make him feel like shit.”

“She always looks her best, no matter what you put on her. He should feel like shit either way, whether she’s wearing a dress or covered in poop. She’s his fucking flesh and blood, and he hasn’t seen her for the first five months of her life.”

“You’re right.”

Our attention turned to a couple of teenagers who were flying a multi-colored kite. We sat in silence, enjoying the scenery. It was a great day to be out on the water, so lots of sailboats could be seen in the distance since the park abutted the ocean.

Justin looked up at the clear blue sky. “Do you remember the last time we were here?”

“Yes,” I said quietly. “It was shortly before I moved to New Hampshire. You were starting to get into photography.” Justin had taken his camera to Colt State Park during our last trip here and snapped some pictures of me with the water as a backdrop.

“Yeah. That hobby was short-lived, took a backseat to music.” He took out his wallet, which was quite old, the brown leather cracked and weathered. He opened it. “If I show you something, don’t laugh.”

“Okay…”

He took out a small black and white photo that was tucked inside the back. The edges of the photo paper were frayed. It was a snapshot of me that I’d never seen. “This was one of the photos I shot that day. It was the only one I had developed.”

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