Fight or Flight by enteratyourownrisk by The archive
Summary: Fight or Flight Response: the response of our body's primitive, inborn instinct that prepares us to "fight" or "flee" from attack, stress or threat.

The way I saw it, Joe had two choices when presented with our child: fight or flight.r39;

He'd already managed one. The big question was, which would choose the second time around?
Categories: Jonas Brothers > Romance, Jonas Brothers Characters: Joe Jonas
Series: None
Chapters: 1 Completed: No Word count: 7828 Read: 1037 Published: 05/15/2020 Updated: 05/15/2020

1. Chapter 1. I Heard That Your Dreams Came True by The archive

Chapter 1. I Heard That Your Dreams Came True by The archive
Sundays were predictable. They were always the same. Breakfast, church, lunch and then the park. Sometimes we’d switch it up, maybe go shopping or just visit another park. But for the most part, all Sundays were usually just alike. My mother kept our Sunday tradition alive and well all the way up until I got my first boyfriend, who just happened to be my last and only boyfriend. And when my daughter was born, one of the first things I decided was that Sundays would never change.

It was always my lucky day, I’d say. I met the first boy I ever kissed on a Sunday - Tanner Knite, in the sandbox, when I was 7. It was a great first kiss. I also conveniently met my first love on a Sunday. After Tanner and I kissed, he got mad and threw sand at his face. Eight years later I lost my virginity to that very same boy on a Sunday. I graduated high school on a Sunday too, straight A’s and everything. But my most favorite Sunday out of them all, was the Sunday my daughter was born.

Now that I think about it, it was a Sunday when everything in my life was set into motion again. After lying dormant and unmoving for a while, the magic of Sundays proved to be what I really needed to get things back into order. It was the first Sunday in April and there were signs of spring and summer all around. Perfect, gorgeous weather in southern California.

“Momma.” I felt a tug on my hand as I ran my fingers through my waist length long red hair.

I glanced down at my four year old daughter and smiled at the adorable knit hat she had sitting atop her head. It was pink and green and had the face of a penguin, with braided pigtails coming down off it. Also it was a little too big, so she had to keep pushing it up and out of her big hazel eyes. “Yes, baby?” I asked, chuckling a little at her struggling.r39;

“Why doesn’t daddy love me?” she asked, looking back up at me, almost losing her hat in the process.r39;

A pang shot through my heart, vibrating in my chest and radiating a wave of agony throughout my body. She didn’t deserve this. She never did. And every single time I heard her ask that question, a little piece of me broke off inside, because it was my fault she was asking.

I sighed and stopped us from walking any farther down the sidewalk we were on, bending down in front of her and pulling her hat back onto her head properly with the braids. She kept a curious eye on me as I ran my hands through her auburnish colored hair that hung down almost to her elbows.r39;

I’d tried to avoid the question many times before, the question about her father. But they continued to come more frequently as she got older and began to go to school, where everyone else had daddies. She had so many questions. The only problem was, I had no answers.

I set my hands on her little arms and looked into her deep hazel eyes. The eyes that, when she cried, turned into the darker hazel irises of the man she so desperately sought - her father. r39;

“Baby… Daddyr39;doesr39;love you… He’s just… busy,” I answered with a small gulp.r39;

Olivir stared at me for a second, her face scrunching up from the glare of the sun hitting her eyes. “But he never comes,” she replied cocking her head to the left.

I looked down at the ground, clearing my throat and lifting my hand to scratch my nose. “No, he doesn’t,” I sighed, standing up and taking her hand again.

“When will he come see me, mommy?” she asked, skipping next to me as we began to walk again. “Evey’on else at peaschool gets pickeded up by dare daddies.”

“Olly.” I let out a breath and I pulled her up into my arms, balancing her on my hip. “Daddy just needs some time to himself.”r39;

I felt terrible for lying to my daughter, but there really was just no other way.

“But I want him.” She squeezed her eyebrows together, making her beautiful cocoa colored skin scrunch up again. Another trait she garnered from the man that fathered her. She put her hand on my cheek and I smiled slightly, looking back at her. “Don’t you want daddy too, momma?”

I gulped and smiled weakly at her. She just wasn’t old enough; that’s what I had to tell myself. She was just too fragile. She wasn’t ready. It was my job to protect her. “Let’s just get home, kay?” I grinned happily.r39;

Olivir grinned back and nodded her head excitedly. I put her back down and we continued to walk down the sidewalk in our small neighborhood. I watched her let go of my hand and skip a little farther down the road, away from me. Her long curls bounced in the wind and I noticed her white sundress had a little bit of dirt on it. She had on her favorite pair of black converse that had been way over worn, but since it was one of the few things I told her that her father liked to wear, she refused to give them up.r39;

“Come on, momma!” she called, turning around to look at me.r39;

I smiled and walked a little faster towards where she stood in the front of our home. She held out her hand to me and I grabbed it, leaning down and pressing a kiss to her face. She giggled and pushed away from me, running through the fence of our front yard and starting up the front concrete steps. I smiled and stood there for a second, looking at the little 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom house I owned. It wasn’t much, definitely not what my daughter deserved, but it was all I could manage at the moment.

Stepping up onto the porch, I pulled my key out of my jeans and unlocked the front door, pushing it open. The amazing smells of home cooked chicken and garlic greeted us instantly. My mother was obviously cooking something. Olly shot into the house and climbed onto the couch clicking the television on with the remote.r39;

“Hey, we’re home,” I said walking into the kitchen where Gretchen, my mother, was hovering over a pot on the stove.r39;

She turned and smiled at me, setting down a stirrer. “Hello darling.” She walked over and kissed my cheek, then passed me to get to the small refrigerator. “How was the park?” she asked, digging through the contents.

I sighed and walked over to the sink, flipping it on and putting my hands under the running water. “Olly asked about Joe again,” I said worriedly, turning off the water and grabbing the wash towel. I almost didn’t even want to face her, but I pivoted on my heel and lifted my gaze to see the glare shooting my way.

She looked at me with narrowed eyes as she made her way back to the oven, carrying three eggs. She let out a forced breath and let the eggs fall onto the counter, on top of one of the dish towels. It wasn’t hard to tell that she was angry. She never really agreed with my decision about my daughter and her father’s relationship. But in the end, it was never her decision to make. It was mine.r39;

Olly walked into the kitchen happily and climbed up onto a chair at the small wooden table. She was hummingr39;Colors of the Windr39;from Pocahontas and flipped open her coloring book, reaching for the crayons so she could begin to color. The way she bobbed her head and swung her legs as she sang about a third of the actual lyrics and the rest just gibberish made me chuckle. Her craving to sing and perform was just another thing that proved she was her father’s daughter.r39;

Mom turned her attention towards her beautiful granddaughter, which took me out of the line of fire. She walked over to her and started to play with her hair, looking up at me with pursed lips, then back down at Olly.

“Whatcha coloring, little bit?” she asked, bending down and kissing her temple.

“Hannah Montana,” Olly replied with a shrug. She stuck out of her tongue as she continued to concentrate on her art work, making me chuckle at her and shake my head. My mother let go of her hair and walked back over to the stove, moving to pick up her eggs.

“Grandma,” Olly said, looking up.r39;

Mom raised her eyebrows and glanced back at her over her shoulder. “Yes, sweetheart?”

“Didr39;your39;know my daddy?” she asked curiously, kicking her little feet under the table.

Mother sighed and looked over at me, keeping her back to Olly. I closed my eyes and let out a deep breath through my nose as she turned and walked over to the table. “Yes, honey. I used to… Ar39;looongr39;time ago. Before you were even born, Oll,” she smiled, sitting down next to her. “Your daddy and mommy used to play and color together like you’re doing right now.”

I snorted and rolled my eyes. “We did a lot more than that.”r39;

Mom shot me a glare, narrowing her gaze. “Yes well… I canr39;seer39;that,” she stated, glancing down at Olivir and then back up at me with a smug smile on her face. I chewed on my bottom lip and looked away in embarrassment.

Olivir chewed on the inside of her cheek, looking between me and her grandmother. “Where is he?” she asked sadly, keeping her eyes on Gretchen. “Where’s my daddy?”

My mother gave me yet another disapproving look, then let out a deep breath. “Nowhere you need to worry about right now, baby. Just keep coloring Hannah.” She smiled, walking back to the stove.r39;

I sighed and ran my hand through my hair. Olly looked at me with her striking eyes, then back to her coloring book. I could tell that she was unsatisfied with the way the conversation had gone. She knew so little about her father, but it never stopped her from attempting to get things out of us. I walked over to her and kissed her on the head, turning and walking out of the kitchen, into the small hallway.

I stopped in front of a small door and looked at it, gulping hard. I knew something had to be done. The questions needed to stop. So, with a shaky hand, I pulled open the small closet door and bent down, uncovering an old shoe box. Without another thought, I scooped it up and closed the door behind me, walking back into the kitchen.r39;

“I have something to show you, Oll,” I said softly, setting the box down beside her and sitting in the chair next to hers.

“What’s dat, mommy?” she asked excitedly, moving in her chair so that she was sitting on her knees and leaning over the box curiously.r39;

My mother glanced over at me and looked at the box. Slowly, a small approving smile slipped onto her face and then she was back to cooking. I sighed and lifted the top off the box, setting it to the side. “This…” I began, glancing up at Olivir’s excited face. “Is your daddy,” I sighed again, picking up a picture and handing it to her.r39;

Olly took the picture from my hand and leaned back in her chair, her little eyes switching quickly around the picture, taking it in. She grinned widely and looked back up at me. “My daddy’s pwetty, mommy!”r39;

I chuckled and swiped at a couple of tears that were rimming in my eyes. “Yeah, he is, baby,” I agreed with a nod.r39;

Olly giggled and looked back down at it, gasping and pointing to the other figure. “Dats you, mommy! Dats you and daddy!” she screeched excitedly, bouncing in her chair a bit. “Gramma! Wook!” she demanded, holding the picture out to show her.

Mom turned and looked at the picture, a spatula in her hand. “Wow, Oll! It is!” she grinned widely, nodding at her.

Olivir began to hum happily and hugged the picture to her chest with closed eyes. “I’m gonna keep dis forevor and evor! Tank you mommy!” she grinned, standing up in her chair and bouncing into my lap.r39;

I grunted and caught her in my arms, rubbing her back and kissing her neck. “You’re welcome. I love you, angel,” I said softly, still fighting back the tears. “Okay.” I took a deep breath and set her back on the ground. “Mommy’s gotta get ready for work.”

Oliver nodded and still clutched the picture in her hand as she climbed back up onto her chair. I chuckled and watched her as she set the picture against the salt and pepper shakers, standing up, so she could see it while she was coloring. It was an old picture, the last one I had of us before Joe left for tour. He had that terrible faux hawk on his head, but the biggest, most beautiful smile on his face. His arm was around my shoulders and I was leaning into his side, my own arm around his waist. We both looked so happy, so carefree.r39;

That picture was taken two weeks before I found out I was pregnant with Oliver.

Dismissing the allowance of my mind to wander into dark thoughts, I smiled at her and picked up the box, leaving the kitchen and setting it back in it’s rightful place inside the closet. From there, it only took a couple steps to get to my bedroom. I walked in and closed the door behind me, leaning back on the old wood and letting out another deep breath. I closed my eyes and slowly got lost in the memory of the last time I had seen Olivir’s father. The last time I had seen Joe; the love of my life.r39;

It was his seventeenth birthday and I was already six weeks pregnant with Olivir. He had just gotten home from his first tour, which was pretty brutal. Their record company dropped them at the last minute and it was a hard thing for him to go through, but luckily Hollywood swooped in and saved their lives. Sometimes I wonder what it had been like if the Jonas Brothers hadn’t blown up, if they hadn’t become famous.r39;

“Happy birthday dear Joseph, happy birthday to youuuuu.”r39;

Joe rolled his eyes and shook his head, glancing over at Kevin as he began to recite all of the ‘and many more’s obnoxiously. I stood in the corner of the Jonas family’s small kitchen, watching as they all started to chatter about who got which part of the cake. Kevin and Joe instantly began to fight over the corner piece, which Frankie inputted his two cents on, causing just one loud room.r39;

I chewed on my bottom lip anxiously, my arms crossed over my stomach uncomfortably as I watched Joe get his way yet again. It was his birthday after all. He grabbed the plate with the best corner piece and kissed his mom on the cheek, beginning to walk towards me with a grin on his face. “I got the corner piece.” His eyes lit up, showing it to me.

I smiled weakly at him and nodded. “Good… that’s good,” I replied, reaching out and touching his chest.r39;

Joe frowned and scrunched his eyebrows together. “You alright?” he asked softly, stepping closer to me. “You look a little… pale…”r39;

I chuckled and rolled my eyes, shaking my head. “I’m a red head. I’m always pale.”r39;

Joe sighed and put his piece of cake down on the island counter. “That’s not what I meant…. do you feel alright?” he asked worriedly, lifting his hand to my face and running his thumb over my cheekbone.r39;

I was planning on telling him about the baby soon, I just didn’t know how. I couldn’t find the words. He was just beginning on a journey that was sure as hell going to take him away from me constantly. I couldn’t fly around the world to be with him, I had to stay in Jersey. I had to finish high school and go to college. This pregnancy was just one big mess and I knew that if I told Joe, he’d freak out. I couldn’t allow myself to be the single thing that destroyed his dreams. I loved him too much.

“Joe…” I breathed out, my eyes falling over his face.r39;

“What is it, Mac?” He furrowed his eyebrows in worry.

I glanced over his shoulder at Denise, who was approaching us with a smile. She held the cake knife in her hand and stopped in front of us. “McKenna, would you like some cake sweetheart?” she grinned, raising her eyebrows.r39;

Truth be told, I felt like I was going to puke all over Joe’s piece.

“No thank you.” I shook my head with a small smile.

Denise frowned and stepped towards me. “You feeling alright, sweety?” she asked, checking my temperature with her hand pressed against my forehead.

“Yeah, yeah, I-I’m fine,” I stuttered, waving it off with a nervous laugh and gulp.r39;

“Well… okay…” She looked at me hesitantly before walking back to the kitchen table, swatting at Frankie’s hand as he reached for more.

“Hey,” Joe got my attention, reaching out and taking my hand. “Do you wanna go upstairs?”

I glanced back at his family, seriously considering the offer. Then looked over at his cake, frowning. “But what about your cake?” I asked softly, knowing they weren’t allowed food up in their rooms.r39;

Joe shrugged and waved it off. “It can wait,” he smiled softly, his beautiful almond eyes falling over my features. r39;

I bit onto my bottom lip and nodded, keeping his gaze locked on mine. Joe smiled again and nodded back at me, pulling me from the kitchen and up the stairs of their small home. We stepped into the bedroom he shared with Kevin and he shut the door, locking it behind him. I let out a deep breath, my arms still crossed over my stomach as I sat down on his twin sized bed. Joe smiled and walked over, sitting down beside me.r39;

Without a word, he turned his body towards mine and gripped onto my neck, pulling my lips into his softly. I indulged in him for a moment, allowing myself to get lost in his touch and kisses. He laid me back against his pillow and began to run his hand up my sun dress, slipping his tongue into my mouth easily, like he had done it a million times.r39;

“Joe,” I breathed, pushing back on him slightly. “Not now.” r39;

But his lips didn’t stop, instead they began to trail down my neck, his fingers playing with the hem of my underwear. “C’mon Mac, it’s my birthday.”r39;

“Joe,” I said a little more firmly, pushing on his wrist that was up my dress. “I said no.”r39;

“Jesus,” Joe cussed angrily, sitting up to glare down at me. “Why’re you so god damn moody all of the sudden?”r39;

I tried not to make eye contact with him as I sat up, swinging my legs over the side of his bed. “Joe, we need to talk,” I said softly, picking at my nails.

Joe sighed from behind, moving to sit next to me. “Yeah, I think we do,” he nodded, running his fingers through his hair. “I know what you’re gonna say…”r39;

I looked over at him, worry sparking up in my stomach, my eyes wide with fear. “What?” I whispered, scrunching my eyebrows together.

Joe kept my eyes for a moment before sighing again and reaching out to caress my face. “I love you, McKenna… I always will… I don’t want to hurt you… but I don’t want you to feel tied down. I’m about to leave for a long time and I was thinking that maybe we should… ya know… break up…” he trailed off, dropping his hand.r39;

My whole world began to crash and crumble around me. I could feel the sobs inching up my throat, tearing apart everything in the process as my lips popped open. Tears were already starting to fall as I stared straight at him. I couldn’t believe he was doing this to me. I couldn’t believe he was actually telling me that we should break up.

He turned his gaze down to his fingers and began to pick at his cuticles, something he did often when he felt anxious or upset. “I just think it’d be easier, ya know, since we’re gonna be gone on tour to promote the album and all… but when I get back, we can totally still hang out and stuff. You’re my best friend, Mac… I don’t want this to ruin us…” he shrugged sadly, glancing back up at me.r39;

I couldn’t really feel anything. My heart was being ripped from my chest and thrown to the ground like trash. And that’s when I knew, in my bones, I was on my own with our child.

I quickly snapped myself out of the memory, as it was proving to be too hard to handle. I hand’t even realized I started crying until I pulled myself away. Quickly, I reached up to wipe my face and nose, moving around my room to get ready for work. I walked over to my closet and pulled it open, grabbing my outfit I had to wear that had the name of the hotel I worked at. I took a speedy shower and pulled on my black slacks and my staff polo, grabbing my purse and cell phone from the charger.

“I have to go to work,” I announced, walking into the kitchen. Olly had moved onto another picture and smiled up at me once she heard my voice.

“I love you, mommy,” she grinned.r39;

I smiled back and leaned down, kissing her on the forehead. “Bed at 8, young lady. Do you hear me? Don’t give your grandmother too much trouble.” I raised my eyebrows looking down at her. Olly nodded back up at me in return, signaling that she understood.

“Be careful getting there, big storm coming in tonight,” Mom sighed, putting a plate of macaroni and cheese in front of Olly, along with a small bowl of broccoli.

“Gramma,” she groaned pushing away the broccoli with a pouty face.

“Olivir Elaine, eat your veggies,” Mother stated firmly, pushing the bowl back in front of her. Olly looked up at me with pleading eyes, hoping that I could get her out of it.r39;

I shrugged sadly. “She did it to me too,” I whispered down at her with a wink. Olly giggled and my mom pursed her lips at me.

“Get out, shoo!” She playfully slapped me with the kitchen towel with narrowed, humored eyes.r39;

I laughed and grabbed my car keys from the table. “Bye!” I shouted, exiting the house.r39;

I was working the late shift, yet another night, but I just thanked god that I had something to do to keep my mind off Joe.


It was closing in on midnight when I trudged back into the house. The front porch light was still on and I didn’t know why, but I didn’t much care while trying to get out of the rain that was pouring down hard. I shivered and walked into the house, shaking off the wetness. I slipped out of my shoes carefully and walked into the living room, ringing out my long hair.

“Mom?” I asked curiously, seeing her sitting with no lights on, no television on, just watching the rain.r39;

She sighed and stood up from the couch. “We need to talk, McKenna,” she answered, flipping on one of the lamps.

I stared at her for a minute, knowing in the back of my head what was coming. I just refused to believe it. That she was actually going to bring it up. “Can I at least dry off? Is Olly asleep?” I asked, pulling off my jacket and hanging it up.

“Yes and yes.” She nodded and sat back down on the couch, turning to look back out the huge front windows in the living room.

I nodded and walked into my room, pealing off my slacks and polo, throwing them into the dirty clothes hamper. I grabbed my pair of plaid pajama shorts and slipped them up onto my thin, pale legs, snatching a random teeshirt and pulling it over my head.r39;

I stepped into the bathroom and looked at myself, preparing for a train wreck. The black eyeliner around my sea green eyes had smeared a little down my cheeks. My deep red, wet hair, made it look more of a dark brown color. I pulled it up into a messy bun at the crown of my skull and grabbed my face wash, washing off all of the little amount of makeup I had applied. I grabbed a towel and dried my face, then flicked off the bathroom light and walked back into the living room where my mother sat.

“You wanted to talk?” I asked, sitting next to her. She sighed and glanced over at me with a small smile.

“Olivir will be 5 soon, McKenna,” she said, raising her eyebrows. “Wasn’t the point of moving to Los Angeles to contact her father? You’re running out of time.” She set her hand on mine, giving me a knowing look. “I’mr39;running out of time.”

“Mom, don’t talk like that.” I shook my head, letting out a breath.

“But it’s true, Mac. I need to know you’ll be okay when I… leave. Of course, you have all the money. I left you everything. But what about your daughter? There is a lot of money there, but it won’t last forever. And you can’t afford these things with the job you have…” She looked down sadly.

We sat there in silence for a moment, a million things running through my mind. A million emotions pulsing through my veins. I knew what she wanted. I knew what she was suggesting. But I just couldn’t do it.r39;

“You need to see him. You need to know your child will be well taken care of. I knew Joe. He would want this. If all that fame and money hasn’t gotten to his head.”

I stood up, clenching my jaw before she was even finished. I squeezed my eyes shut and sucked in a shaky breath. “He’s not the same Joe we knew all those years ago, mom,” I said looking out of the front window into the pouring rain, crossing my arms over my chest. “He doesn’t want Olivir. He doesn’t care.”r39;

“You never gave him a chance to be her father, honey…”r39;

“Because he doesn’tr39;deserver39;one!” I snapped, spinning around to face her, my voice raising.

“He’s her biological father, McKenna! Her39;needsr39;to know he has a daughter!” she snapped back. My eyes filled up with tears again, the memories slamming back into my head. The memories I tried so hard to push away for so long.r39;

“He doesn’t need to know anything, mom. To everyone out there, he’s a heartbreaker, a player. A 21 year old guy in a band with his brothers. Oh! And this is the best part,” I laughed passively, tears surfacing to my eyes. “He has ar39;girlfriend, mom. A famous, beautiful, girlfriend that’s part of a million dollar franchise in those stupid vampire movies you let Oliver watch. He’s partying and drinking and doing god knows what! He’s not a father! He’s not ready to take on this responsibility! I can’t put my daughter through the pain of meeting him once and then having him never call again! Because Ir39;knowr39;that’s what he’ll do! She’s not ready for that…” I shook my head, tears now freely streaming down my cheeks.

My mother gave me a knowing look. “Sher39;isn’t… or…r39;your39;aren’t?”r39;

I kept my eyes down, biting on my bottom lip. “He broke my heart, mom…” I whispered, shaking my head and holding back the sobs that I felt ripping through my throat.

She sighed and stood up, walking over to me. “Because you never let himr39;fixr39;it. He tried to take it back, Mac. He knew he was an idiot. But you wouldn’t let him. You ignored him, his apologies, his pleas, his offers and requests to see you. You cut him out of your life. Do you ever think maybe you broke his heart too?” she asked, raising her eyebrows and putting her hand on my back.

I lifted my eyes back up to glare at her hard. “I didn’t leave one fucking scrape on him. We were 17 and I was so madly in love, I saw stars anytime he glanced at me. All he cared about was the sex. I didn’t break anything in that boy’s body…r39;especiallyr39;not his heart.”r39;

“Maybe you did,” she said softly. “And you just never knew about it. You kept Olivir away from him for a reason. You lied to him and told him you were getting an abortion and you didn’t. Instead, you just… cut him off completely. You pushed him away…”r39;

I wiped at the tears falling down my cheeks. “I had to protect my daughter from him. I still do. He’s a poisonous person with nothing but selfish intentions.” I whispered softly, dropping my gaze to the ground. “If all Olly ever knows of Joe is the person that I once knew, then so be it. As long as she stays safe.” My voice gained power as I continued on, looking up and clenching my jaw. “He hurt me enough. Ir39;refuser39;to let him hurt my daughter.”

My mother kept her gaze on me and sighed. “Do you remember the promise you made to me the day Olly was born?”

I ground my teeth and let out a huff through my nose, crossing my arms in annoyance. “That everything would come out by the time she turned five,” I answered regretfully.

Mom nodded, a small smile slipping onto her face. “I hope you’re not going to go and break a promise to the old lady.”

I kept her eyes for a moment, glancing down and shaking my head. “I’m sorry, mom… Joe is getting nowhere near my daughter,” I said firmly, walking past her. It was time to end this conversation. I could take no more. My heart could take no more.

Mom sighed from behind me as I made my exit. “McKenna.” At the sound of my name, I turned and looked at her before walking into my bedroom, pausing in the door frame.

“She’s his daughter too,” she replied, wrapping a blanket from the couch around her thin, fragile body.

I stared at her, clenching my jaw again before turning my back to her. “No…” I stated, shaking my head and glancing over my shoulder in her direction. “She’s not.”


After a night of sleepless tossing and turning, it was 7 am and I found myself sitting in my tiny little craphole of a car, outside the massive building I’d been going to for months. I hadn’t gotten maybe more than an hour of sleep and I felt exhausted, right in my bones. But the argument I had with my mother was eating me alive.r39;

For once, after everything was said and done, I laid in bed and made myself feel the pain I always felt and pushed away whenever Olly asked about her father. I began to wonder if she felt the exact same pain whenever she thought about him, who he was, where he was, if she’d ever see him. And in the middle of all those thoughts hashing over in my brain, something hit me like a ton of bricks.r39;

It was my stubbornness, my pain, my anger, that was keeping my daughter from having a father. I was so afraid that he’d immediately reject the idea of a child, just like he did the first time I told him, that it kept me from trying. It had been almost five years and the wound that he left in my chest was still fresh and pulsing. But I couldn’t do that anymore. For my daughter’s sake, I had to make a decision.r39;

The right decision. And that decision included Joe.

I stared down at the piece of paper in my hands as Olly sang Anastasia’sr39;Journey To The Pastr39;to herself in the back, sitting comfortably in her car seat. The soundtrack to her favorite movie was playing softly over the speakers, and she clutched onto her doll while singing along with her favorite song.r39;

The old, worn paper was a corner torn off the edge of a piece of notebook. It was an address and an apartment number. I had gotten it as a favor from a police officer friend of mine. He sort of owed me. And I owed my daughter. It had been given to me over 6 months prior to that certain Monday morning. I’d gone many times I found myself needing alone time.

“Let it lead me to my past and bring me home aaaat laaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaast!” Olly sang loudly, completely off key. The song ended and started playing another track from the movie and she bounced in her seat. “Momma again!”

I glanced back at her and let out a chuckle. “How about you listen to the rest of the soundtrack for once, kiddo.”r39;

She huffed and I turned back around, gulping hard and trying to just make a final decision. “Mommy what’s dare?” Olly asked, pointing to the building our car was parked in front of.r39;

I looked out the window at the modern looking white structure with a huge red W hanging over it. “It’s where people live, hon,” I answered with a small sigh, folding the worn down piece of paper up and sliding it into the front pocket of my black fringed jean shorts.

“Oh! Can we live dare??” Olly asked excitedly, bouncing in her chair.r39;

I made a sad face at her and shook my head. “Only rich people live there…” I explained, scrunching up my nose in disgust. She pouted out her lip and lowered her head. “But…” I smiled weakly. “Wer39;canr39;go meet one of mommy’s friends that lives there.”r39;

“Weelly?!” Olly screeched excitedly, her eyes lighting up.r39;

My heart began to pound and I nodded with a nervous gulp, opening the door and stepping out. It was time to be strong, that’s what I had to keep telling myself. It was time to be strong for my daughter. But more importantly, it was time to do the right thing for my daughter.r39;

I closed my door and moved over to the back, pulling it open and helping Olivir from her car seat. She clutched onto her Barbie doll and jumped down, her little Converses slapping against the concrete. I chuckled at her and grabbed my purse, slinging it onto my bony shoulder.r39;

I bit onto my bottom lip and glanced down at my outfit, which consisted of a pair of black fringed jean shorts, a white tank top with a design on it, and a pair of black studded strappy sandals.

I took a deep breath and ran my fingers nervously through my long red hair, which I let down to frame my face in waves. Something I rarely did, considering how long and annoying it was. I had to keep reminding myself to not touch my face because I had actually put on full out eye makeup and foundation, along with my black hooped nose ring in my left nostril.

As Olly spun around in the parking lot, humming to herself again as she made her Barbie dance to the song, I pulled down the visor in front of my seat and checked my makeup one last time. The black around my eyes, made them pop majorly into the light blue/green color that they were. I let out a sigh and figured that was as good as it was going to get, climbing back out and closing the door, locking it up.r39;

“Ready babe?” I sighed, moving my white leather bag to hang diagonally across my body.

Olivir was talking to her Barbie, her bright red hair down in two pigtail braids. She was wearing a pair of blue jean short overalls with a pink undershirt, her converse, and her pink/green knit beanie that she just refused to take off. I chuckled, knowing she didn’t hear me.

“Come on, kiddo,” I said, taking her hand and leading her over to the cross walk.

“Mommy, what’s your fwend doin?” she asked as we began to cross the street.r39;

I gulped again and shrugged. “I’m not sure, baby, I haven’t seen him in a loooong time.” I could feel my stomach about to implode from the constant flipping it was doing.r39;

Olly smiled up at me and giggled. “Is he a nice fwend?”

“He’s alright,” I joked down at her, squishing up my nose. She giggled again and we stepped up into the tourist crowds of people, taking pictures with their favorite celebrity’s star. I gripped tighter onto Olly’s hand as we made our way through the people, walking towards the building’s entrance.

The door man opened it up, smiling nicely at us with a nod. I smiled back and we entered into the massive lobby area. It was bustling with people trying to get to work and trying to get here and there, since it was so early in the morning. We had gotten caught right in the work crowd. The lobby was huge, sticking to the color code of red and white. It was beautiful. And punched me hard in my wallet.r39;

I let out a deep breath and raised my eyebrows, shaking my head. I pulled the piece of paper out of my jean shorts and ran my thumb over the floor number written down, before taking another deep breath and leading Olivir to the elevators. She danced beside me, making her Barbie do the same motions as her as she listened to the techno music playing in the hallway. I chuckled at her and shook my head. Definitely her father’s daughter.r39;

The whole ride up, my eyes were closed. I was attempting to keep down the small amount of food in my stomach. Because I really felt like I was going to puke it all up. But next to me, my daughter was beginning to get hyper from the music that was egging her on. So by the time the doors dinged and opened, Olivir sprinted out.

“Olivir!” I shouted, running down the hall after her. She looked back at me, and in the event of her not looking where she was going, ran smack dab into a man exiting his apartment in a nice, expensive looking suit. He pursed his lips down at her as she giggled and took a couple of steps back, then he looked up at me as I jogged up and grabbed her arm and pulled her body back into mine.r39;

“I’m so sorry, sorry…” I said softly, looking up at him. He gave me stern look and muttered something under his breath, walking away with a huff. I sighed and ran my hand through my hair, glaring down at my daughter, who knew she was in trouble just by the look on mommy’s face.r39;

“You dor39;notr39;run away from me like that ever again, do you understand?” I snapped in a low voice, leaning down to her.

She nodded and frowned, turning away from me. I let out a deep breath and ran my hands over my face, looking down at my paper and then back up at the numbers on the doors. Oddly enough, all I had to do was turn around and there it was. The door of all doors. The door I had been willing myself to knock on for over a year of being in Los Angeles. The door to my daughter’s future.

And it took every single ounce of life in me to lift my extremely shaky finger and hit the small buzzer button. Almost immediately after it went off inside the house, there was a loud, excited barking noise and the sound of clicking feet stumbling over in front of the door. Olly screeched slightly and hid behind my legs.r39;

“Mommy I’m scaowed!” she cried, reaching up and gripping onto the hem of my shorts.

“It’s okay baby, it’s probably just a little puppy.” I tried to reassure her, but my own heart was pounding so it was a little hard to focus on a good reason to not be scare. Because I was also scared. Maybe not of the dog, but more of it’s owner.r39;

After standing there listening to the dog bark for a couple of minutes, I began to think no one was home and felt a tad relieved, but also a tinge of disappointment. Until I heard the sound of pattering feet and then the voice… His voice.r39;

“Winston, get back, shhh buddy.”

For some reason, I guess half of me didn’t actually think I’d be seeing him. Maybe it was a tactic my brain came up with to protect my sanity. Because in the moments that followed, I knew I had lost it. I froze up, my eyes wide, my throat dry, watching almost in slow motion as the door opened up and what it revealed to us. Olly remained behind me, and once the barrier was removed, those beautiful brown eyes attached immediately to mine.

I couldn’t help but notice his stunning body, since he was only wearing a pair of Nike running shorts, hanging dangerously low on his hips. And also a pair of blue rimmed glasses over his eyes. I could tell I woke him up, his hair was crazy and he looked like he’d been interrupted in his comfortable sleep.r39;

I let my eyes wander for a split second, setting my gaze on his upper body, the abdominal muscles in his stomach, the deep sex lines under his protruding hip bones that made a V disappearing into the waist band of his shorts, along with a trail of brown hair coming down from his belly button. I gulped hard and snapped my eyes back up to his.

The Joe that I used to have sex with vanished from my thoughts, and the grownr39;manr39;that stood before me instantly took the place of the skinny little hyperactive boy I remembered.r39;

He sort of stared at me with question for a second and I began to panic, immediately thinking the worst, that he had forgotten all about me. But once he really looked at me, he stopped fussing with the anxious dog at his feet and let his lips open a bit, his breath rushing in sharply.r39;

“Mac…” he whispered, causing my heart to soar.

“Hi Joe,” I breathed in response, a small smile tugging at my lips. He let one slip onto his beautiful face too, and it was almost intoxicating. It was the same smile that I had in the picture I gave to our daughter.


A small screech from beside me and a tug on my hand brought me back to reality and Joe turned his head down, dropping his gaze to the little girl that looked remarkably just like him, except with more my colored hair and freckles. He stared down at her for a second, nothing really registering in his head. It was almost the exact same face he had when he was looking at me.

“Are you my mommy’s fwend fum a loooong time ago?” she asked, blinking up at him with a big grin on her face.

Joe continued to stare down at her and he smiled a bit with a small chuckle, nodding and glancing back up at me. “I guess so.”

I closed my eyes and let out breath. He didn’t remember.r39;

“Is dat your puppy?” Olly asked, pointing to the dog standing behind Joe’s ankles, waiting for the time he could finally meet the people at the door.r39;

Joe glanced down behind him and let out a small laugh and nod. “Yeah, it is, do you wanna pet him?” he asked, bending down and grabbing Winston’s collar to keep him place. “His name is Winston, but I just call him Winny.”

Olly giggled and got down on her knees, putting her hands on either sides of Winston’s face, scrunching it up even more than it already was. She let out a loud cackle and cringed away as Winston licked her face. “He’s funny!” she exclaimed, looking up at Joe.r39;

He nodded and chuckled in response. “He is.”r39;

I ran my hands through my hair and let out a deep, anxious breath. This had been the biggest mistake I could possibly think of. Joe looked up at me and caught onto my agitation. He opened his mouth to say something, but Olivir’s loud giggle cut him off. He glanced down at her and then did a double take as she looked back up at him.r39;

I could tell instantly by the slackening of his face, that had something hit him like a ton of bricks. Instinctively, I reached down and grabbed Oliver’s arm, pulling her back up onto her feet. Joe let go of Winston and sucked in a sharp breath, his gaze cutting back up to me.r39;

“Holy shit,” he breathed out quickly in realization. Tears sprung to my eyes and looked down at our daughter, fixing her hat to sit on her head the right way, searching for something in my head to say.r39;

I had absolutely nothing.
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