“Thorn, what are we doing here?” My boyfriend, Pepper, latched onto my arm as we walked out to the beach. It had been a few days since we found out he was pregnant. He was understandably upset, he’d been in bed for days. So, I decided that getting him out of the house for a bit would be beneficial. Though he didn’t seem to be very enthused by it, I still knew it was good for him.
“We needed some fresh air, love. And besides, its so nice out tonight.” I could only take him out in the night time, it was the safest time for us to sneak in and out of the house.
“Are we safe out here?” He asked warily. Pepper nervously scanned the beach, turning his head to look behind us as well.
“It’s the middle of the night, and this is the good part of town. No one will even know we were here.” I knew what he was thinking. He was worried about Hemp finding us. But I don’t think he’d ever even set foot in the good part of town. We were fine.
“If you say so.” He sighed and pulled himself closer to me. “Why are you doing this, Thorn?”
“Because you haven’t gotten out of bed in days. You can’t stay cooped up in the house forever.” I explained softly.
“No, I get that. I mean why are you staying with me? We haven’t been dating that long, you don’t have to stay and have this burden put onto you.”
“Pepper, we’ve been friends for years. You took me in when I was scared and traumatized. You gave me a family. That’s something that I never had.” I smiled softly, remembering all the good times we had with Rose and Jean. “It’s just us now, but that doesn’t change anything, we’re still family. And this baby? This baby is our baby. No one else’s.”
“I love you.” He whispered so softly I almost missed it over the gently lapping of the waves.
“I love you too.” I told him. My hands found his head and I crashed our lips together. It felt like no matter how hard I kissed him in that moment, it wasn’t hard enough.
In that moment, I knew I really, truly loved him.
“Pepper.” I pulled back slightly, to breathe a little.
“Yea?” He sounded just as out of breath as I felt.
“We’re gonna get through this. You’re strong as hell, you’re gonna make an amazing father and we’re gonna give this baby a great life.”
“You’re gonna make an amazing father too.”
“I don’t know about that. I never really had a good father figure.” I smiled sadly.
“So? You’re an incredible man, you didn’t need a father figure to get you to this point. You’ll be great.” He told me, though I wasn’t so sure he was right.
“Sit.” I let go of his face and plopped down into the sand.
Pepper laid down between my legs and gently kissed me on the lips. “I don’t think I’d be able to get through this without you. I don’t know what I’d do.”
“Well thankfully we don’t have to think about that.” I squeezed my eyes shut, I didn’t want to think about how he wouldn’t be in this situation if it weren’t for me.
“Thank god. I need you by my side.”
“I’ll be by your side until one of us dies. But that won’t happen for a long time.”
But some promises are impossible to keep.
I had tried to cut back on spending time in the library, but Pepper insisted that I go and try to find my father. All I had to go on was a last name, a description, and the fact that I knew he was alive.
Surprisingly, there were a lot of people with the last name Fae. It took me a while to go through the phone book website, research each person and cross them off the list when I found that they weren’t my father.
After going through quite a few of my distant relatives, I finally came across a woman named Honey Fae. At first I wasn’t looking up any of the women, but I thought it might be a good idea since they could know my father somehow.
When I came across Honey’s social media accounts, I found a picture that immediately piqued my interest. It was of a woman, who I am assuming is Honey, sitting on the lap of a man. He had orange hair, and the same bright green eyes as I did. From what I saw on the television, this man had to be my father.
This woman looked like she was close with him. She had many pictures of him on her profile, I could only assume that this woman was his girlfriend or wife. My father didn’t have a profile himself, he wasn’t tagged in anything but I found out his name through her posts.
My father’s name was Lake.
Immediately, I scribbled Honey’s number down from the phone book website. I had to call this woman, my father’s name wasn’t in there so this was the closest I was gonna get.
My body carried me to the library phone faster than my mind could think. I hesitated when I got to it, though. Was I ready for this? To finally talk to my father? Did he know about me? Did he want to know about me? Would he want me in his life, or was he not around for a reason?
My hands started to shake as I contemplated. I looked down at the phone number, scrawled messily across a scrap of paper. This number could change everything.
Was I ready for everything to change for me?
I folded up the piece of paper, stuck it in my pocket, and left the library.
“Find anything interesting at the library today, Babe?” Pepper asked as I crawled into bed next to him.
“Nothing really.” I lied. I couldn’t tell him yet, I was too cowardly to reach out and I didn’t want him to think less of me.
“That’s a bummer. You can always go back tomorrow.” He replied, cheerily.
“That’s okay, I’d rather spend the day here with you.” I nuzzled into his chest with a smile.
“You’re such a cheeseball.” Pepper chuckled to himself. “But really, you don’t have to stay here with me. Actually, both of us should be out there. We need to find jobs.”
“Let’s not think about that right now.” I sighed, “Let’s just live in this moment.”
“Okay.” He pulled me closer to him and sighed happily. “I could live in this moment forever.”
“Me too. There’s no place I’d rather be, than here in your arms.”
“Thorn, what do you think of Starlight Shores?” He asked after a few moments of silence.
“I think it’s the hub of all things media. Music, film, television, video games. All of it. It sounds like an awesome place to visit.”
“Would you want to live there?” He asked tentatively.
“What?” I shot up with surprise. He sat up next to me and smiled at me.
“Would you want to live there? I know its expensive, but if we find your dad maybe he could help. You could go to school and become a video game developer like you wanted. I could grow a garden, sell the excess, and raise our baby. It would be perfect.” He looked away from me nervously.
“Babe, that sounds perfect.” I gently touched him on the back. “I would love to move anywhere with you.”
“Of course.” I pulled myself into a sitting position at the headboard. “You mean the world to me, and Starlight Shores would be an amazing place to raise our family. It’s a dream come true.” I smiled as he laid on my lap.
“Being with you is a dream come true.” Pepper grabbed my face and pulled me down to look at him. I rolled my eyes at his cheesy-ness.
“You’re such a sap.”
“Oh, and you’re not?” He laughed.
“True, true.” I smiled back at him.
“I love you, Thorn.”
“I love you too, Pepper.” I told him softly before kissing him.
I really, truly loved Pepper Mattison.