ADVENT STORIES #15 | A NEW LIFE, AN OLD HEARTACHE

‘Would you like to hold him?’ Bree asks her son, gently rocking the baby to sleep.

‘No. I better not.’ Ralph says, he is here of his own volition, but he does not feel comfortable here. Not with his uncle as his stepfather? What the hell is that about?

Bree sets the baby down gently in his crib, watching him sleep. ‘I’m glad you came.’

‘Wyn would have come too but she has something going on.’

Bree nods, her daughter hates her, and she cannot blame her. Wyn is a daddy’s girl through and through, but she tried not to take sides. During their supervised visits they were happy enough, but Bree knows her daughter is mad at her for what she did. She isn’t proud of what she did, but it is what it is. She tried to atone but River wouldn’t let her. She severed a friendship and a brotherhood; it was never her intention it was never meant to happen like that but it did. River will never forgive her and she understands that.

‘How are things at school?’

‘Good. I’m doing better at Maths, dad got me a tutor.’

‘That’s good.’ how had she become a stranger with her children? They used to laugh so much. Had so much fun.

Bree cannot pinpoint the exact moment when things with Raymond got out of hand, if she could she would go back there and do things right.

River worked so much building up Huxley, he travelled and worked harder than ever. She did too as a doctor their lives were chaotic, but they managed to be there for the children not so much each other. They would go weeks sometimes a month or two on end without seeing each other. One day Raymond came to the house on one of River’s trips to check in on them as River asked him to do, as he had done several times before and one thing led to another. First it was a compliment for how hard she worked, then the food, then the house which he built for them; River contracted him to… he was around more often than her husband was and before she knew it, they weren’t dormant feeling anymore they were real; from a friendship. It was easy to fall in love with Raymond because he is so much like River; hardworking, handsome, and had the smarts to back it up. They both grew up with nothing and made a life and a name for themselves. Their father left their mother when Raymond was two years-old and River nine months old and they only had each other for company. They did everything together growing up, Raymond always looking out for his younger brother. River was more intelligent of the two, he gained a scholarship to Oxford whilst Raymond barely scrapped through with a B-Tech but they were each other’s rock and best friends. Raymond never married, he dated here and there, even brought a few of his girlfriends to meet them but no one ever stuck around long enough.

Until Bree…

‘Dad wanted me to give you something.’ Ralph brings out an envelope from his pocket.

Bree takes it with much trepidation; it’s a brown envelope of doom but she opens it. REMOVAL OF SUPERVISED VISITATION. River is allowing her to see the children every other weekend without a supervised visitor. Bree let out a sigh of relief and a tear falls down her face.

‘Ralph, my dear are you ready to go?’ Grandma appears at the door of the baby’s room. She’d done her duty, and this is as far as she will take it. Raymond knows how she feels, she is only here because Ralph asked her to come with him. Bree’s mother is here and can be the support her child needs; she cannot indulge what they did even if she will never stop loving her son.

‘Yes grandma. Bye mum.’ Ralph hugs his mother, and she squeezes him a little tighter.

‘Give your sister my love.’

‘I will.’ He thumbs the little hands of the baby asleep peacefully in his cot, unaware of the circumstances of his birth. His father was right, he did not ask to be born into this mess. ‘Bye.’ He whispers before walking out to join his grandmother.



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