I couldn’t believe I had found Jinx after two years of nothing — and accidentally to boot. What the heck was he doing at an advertising company? He couldn’t draw as far as I knew. Was he there as a manager? My former flame was always good at smooth talking people. He had gotten me into his bed after all. Oh, and the fights he had talked himself out of in the years we had known each other. Did Jinx have hidden artistic talent? It wouldn’t be the first time he had hidden something from me. Even though I really felt like I was the person who knew him best outside of his immediate family, including his stepmother, who was even younger than him.
I was full of questions, but even more than that, I was full of anger. I didn’t know how I would feel when I saw the father of my child again, or if I saw him again after he left me confused and pregnant without a word.
Carl hadn’t known I was pregnant at the time, but the betrayal ran deep. It should have been pretty obvious to most people, but he had really gone off the rails by that point. If it wasn’t the gambling, it was the drinking, and I suspected he was also using drugs.
The only real consolation was I was pretty sure he wasn’t cheating on me. He wouldn’t have been in any fit state to fuck someone else even if the opportunity presented itself. Cold comfort, but I was more than willing to take what I could get.
I couldn’t believe it when he disappeared. No one knew where he was. Not even his dad or the cops, who had done a proper investigation. As far as anyone could tell, Jinx had fallen off the face of the earth. Our dads and I even paid for missing posters, but nothing came up.
It was like torture going through all the what-ifs. A lot of them revolving around what I might have done or not have done to keep Jinx around, though I was pretty sure it didn’t have too much to do with me. I probably wasn’t even an afterthought, or he would have left some kind of clue of where he was going or what was going on.
Somewhere along the line, I had convinced myself that my love had died somehow. This only unleashed a new sort of hell in my thoughts as I fixated on how this might have happened and where the body was buried. For a while, mainly after our son was born, I would have dreams, nightmares really, about digging up a skeleton in an unmarked grave. The pale light of the full moon shining like a dimmer sun, illuminating the white bones, making them appear as though they glowed. The dream always ended with a hand landing on my shoulder and me waking up screaming.
The scream made both me and Aria jump with fear. We had arrived back at her house, and she was just trying to wake me. I really didn’t know why she stuck by me when I was such a mess. Yet, stick she did. Aria even let my son and I stay with her and her grandmother. I really didn’t know how I would get by without her help.
Leaning on my friend, I made it up the front steps and through the front door.
“Hey, honey,” Irene called from the living room.
Billy, my son, was on the floor, further honing his crawling skills, which he seemed to have down to a science, moving as fast as I could walk. I scooped him up, snuggling him tightly. He giggled, thinking it was a game.
“Is Lila even more pale than usual?” I heard Irene ask.
“She saw Billy’s daddy.”
“At the advertising firm. Apparently, he works there.”
“Oh, dear!” Irene gasped, putting a hand to her chest.
I hugged my baby, trying to quell the angry fire burning inside me, though if anything it made it worse. Holding Billy made me feel betrayed and bitter all over again. Not at Billy but at Jinx for abandoning us.
I was really torn as to whether I should forget I ever saw Jinx again or confront him and demand an explanation as to how he could have dumped me so cruelly, especially when he didn’t even have the good manners to be dead like I thought he was. At least I would have some time to think it over, and I knew where to find him if I decided that’s what I wanted to do.
I felt a strange and distant pang of guilt at the idea of not telling him about Billy, now that I knew he was actually alive. Though I knew, without really having to think about it that I wasn’t ready to have that conversation.