I backtrack and run fast back to her building. I come to a stop inside, I don’t know her door number. I ring the bell for the first house and ask the man after her. He tells me she lives the floor up, same house. I climb the stairs two at a time and am out of breath by the time I reach there. Before I could gather up my courage and ring, the door opens and lets out a woman-I think she’s in her late fifties or early sixties- and Riley bids her goodbye. The both notice me and go still.
“Hi.” I say and Riley’s face pales. The woman looks between us a couple times, “I’m going to go. See you later, honey.”
Riley gives her a tight smile and soon, we’re the only two there. I’m still standing in the hallway, waiting for her to say something. “Riles?”
Something snaps in her. She comes forward brings the door behind her, careful not to shut it completely. “What do you want, Aaron?”
“I’m not giving you up that easily. I love you and I know you love me too, even though its been two years and everything. I’m asking you to give me a chance to redeem myself, that’s all.”
“Aaron, I don’t really have the time right now, okay?” She glances back worriedly. “How about we meet tomorrow? I’ll call you.”
Something is wrong; she wants me out of here. “Riles, what are you hiding?”
“Nothing. I’m really tired. I’ll call you later and we can talk tomorrow.” I’m still staring at her, brows furrowed. “Please.”
I sigh and nod. I’m just about to turn and leave when I hear a cry-a child’s cry. Riley immediately forgets about me and rushes inside. I follow her. A child??
The apartment is pretty small and has two bedrooms. I find her in the bigger one, holding a crying infant to her chest and shushing. Another baby is lying inside the cradle, and starts wailing a little too. I come forward and start to stroke the baby, trying to help Riley. Both babies are soon quiet. I look at Riley in confusion, my head swimming with questions. She sighs and as if the exhaustion has finally got to her, she sits down on the ground against the wall, still holding the baby.
I slowly go around to her side and kneel. “Riley? Can you please tell me what is going on?” I say in a gentle voice.
She sighs, and it’s as if she’s lost all strength and fight. She looks down at the baby in her arms and whispers, “This is Zander,” she strokes his chin lovingly and looks up towards the cradle, “and that’s Zoe. They’re my twins.”
I blink hard and fast. My heart starts beating wildly. “Hours old are they? Riles, who is their father?” Now I’m whispering too.
She strokes Zander’s sleeping face again. “They are just over one.” All the blood in my body rushes to my brain, I almost don’t hear her next whispered sentence. “And you’re their father.”
She still isn’t facing me. I reel back on my heels and attempt to absorb this news. Before I could say anything, Zoe starts wailing. Riley gets up, careful not to shake Zander and places him next to Zoe. Before he can start crying too, she takes Zoe into the other room, which I assume is her bedroom. I stand and stare at Zander. He has Riley’s hair and I think that’s my chin. Is this really happening?
In another minute, which I spend completely frozen, Riley comes back in with Zoe. It appears she is awake. Riley places her gingerly into the cradle and I find myself staring into the same eyes that greet me everyday in the mirror. This is really happening.
I stare at both of the children, one awake and one asleep, for I don’t know how much longer. I startle when I feel a hand placed on my arm.
“Sorry,” surely I should be saying something like that? “Didn’t mean to startle you.” She continues. I merely blink at her.
She gently pulls me out of the room and gets me to sit on the couch. She goes into her kitchen. I feel uncomfortable and as if my ground has shaken, so I slide down to the ground, leaning back against the couch. She comes back with a glass of water. I take it and looking up at her, I snap out of my fog. I pull her down to me and hug her with all I have.
Argh! This is turning out to be a bit too long! I want each part to be short so you don’t have to read too much every time (and I don’t have to write more). I guess since I’m writing a novel on the side, it’s affecting this. I’m really sorry for dragging this! Let me know if you’d prefer the next part to be the last even if it is over 1000 words 🙂
Thanks for reading!