“I can’t really talk right now,” Travis spoke into the phone quickly and distracted. Janet was precise and detail oriented when it came to adding new kids to the home, which made the whole thing extraneous and another item on the list of things he’d like to avoid. Because of his sister’s sudden intrigue in the foster system, she had the habit of assuming he was interested too. In reality, he hated the foster system, the whole idea of being an orphan, and hoped to stay as far away as possible. Sophie was one of the many people who encouraged him to embrace that part of his life, but he was relieved to be turning eighteen in less than six months and moving on.
Thinking of Sophie, he stopped short in the middle of the canned foods section and put a hand to his temple. He had been walking up and down the aisles at the Quick Mart for ten minutes now looking for Sophie’s favorite chocolates. Trying to convince her not to have the baby wouldn’t be easy, but it had to be done.
Already coming apart at the seams, he had to listen to Janet chatter away on the phone about the twins arriving at the house. Debating whether or not to cut her off or scream into the phone until his lungs hurt, he yanked the phone away from his ear and hung up. He’d have hell to pay for that later, but he didn’t want any more distractions. Travis went to the menu on his phone and clicked on his favorites where Sophie’s name and picture popped up. He clicked on her number hoping she would answer this time. An older woman wearing a cheetah jumpsuit nearly growled at him to move when she wheeled her cart past him. He resisted the urge to scowl back, but looking at her long pink nails that could scratch an eye out he stepped aside, his phone still tucked against his ear.
“What now, Travis?” Sophie’s voice answered, sounding about as mean as the woman wheeling away into the frozen foods section. “Would you like to yell at a pregnant girl some more? Maybe make her cry again?”
Rolling his eyes he was grateful they were talking over the phone. “Sophie. Come on.”
“Don’t ‘come on’ me. You were an asshole and you know it,” she retorted in her snide voice that makes an appearance whenever they fight.
“I’m coming over,” he told her, avoiding her comment. “I’m bringing you chocolates. Would you like anything else?”
“Do not bring me chocolate!” she nearly shouted causing him to move the phone from his ear abruptly. He started to move down the aisle towards the exit. If she didn’t want chocolate, then so be it. “Just the thought makes me want to vomit. Not that you’d care.”
Jesus, he thought realizing this was not going to be easy. For a moment, he imagined what it would be like to have that life with Sophie: going through the nine months of bloating, swollen feet, mood swings, and doctor’s appointments. He sure as hell would be back at the grocery store walking up and down aisles while she barked orders into the phone. She was nowhere near high maintenance or demanding of him, which was why he liked her in the first place. But he could see himself giving into a pregnant Sophie; buying her whatever she wanted, watching whatever she wanted, holding back her hair from morning sickness simply because taking care of her would be almost as amazing as taking care of their baby.
“You know I care,” he spoke softly, slowing his pace towards the automatic doors leading to the parking lot. “Is there anything you want?”
“Tortilla chips, string cheese, and mayonnaise,” she listed.
Before she could say something back, he told her he’d see her in ten minutes with her revolting mixture of foods. Travis moved up and down the store quickly grabbing her items and trying to shake the image of having a family out of his head. He wanted a family with her, of course he did, but he had a plan. He has school and a career he needs to accomplish first before he can commit to something this monumental. He started to head to the register when he ran back for salsa; she hadn’t asked for it, but he knew she’d want it later.
Were they even ready to have a baby? That would change everything including their relationship. Even sex changed their relationship more than he thought it would. Granted, it was a good change, but a change nonetheless. Would they still be intimate or tired and unattached after endless nights of crying and shitty diapers? What if he was a bad father? It’s not like he had a father of his own to learn from. There was no way he could take on a kid’s life right now. He knew Sophie would be a good mom, it was practically in her blood having grown up with six other siblings and almost all of them younger. He only had April and the both of them were rough around the edges. He was far from paternal.
Suddenly, his phone buzzed in his pocket. Pulling it out, he read a text from Sophie reading, Don’t forget salsa. He slipped the phone back into his pocket, smiling to himself.