Mike's finger hovered over
the doorbell before he finally made a stab at it and heard
its ring echo through the hallway of the large Victorian
house. Sally answered the door and, without a word, just
a slight incline of the head, motioned him through the bright,
sun-coloured hallway into the lounge. A sexy butterfly tattoo
peeped out at him through the gap between her jeans and
cropped tee-shirt. That was new.
“Coffee?” she asked.
“No thanks, I’ve just had one.”
Sally sat down, but not in her usual place on the squashy
brown leather sofa which bore the scars from the buckles
on Emily’s little shoes. Instead she chose the armchair
by the bay-window and Mike couldn’t help but notice
how the light danced through her auburn curls. He sat down
in the chair across the low glass coffee table from his
wife. A magazine lying on the table caught his eye and he
picked it up, ‘Gadgets for Guys’. He scowled
and tossed it back onto the table.
Sally glanced at her watch. “Mike, please say what
you’ve got to say and then go. I’ve got to pick
Emily up from nursery in thirty minutes.”
Mike’s mouth went dry. He shouldn’t have lied
about the coffee, and his rehearsed speech went straight
out the window.
“I..... I want to see more of Emily.”
Sally gave an over-exaggerated sigh.“Not that old
chestnut again. You could have told me that on the phone....
and you already know the answer to that, Mike.”
He should have chosen the sofa. The sun was shining right
into his eyes, forcing him to squint back at her. He shifted
around in his seat.
“One hour a month just isn’t enough. At her
age she hardly remembers me between visits, she’s
bored with the park, but we don’t have long enough
to go anywhere else.”
“You’re lucky I’m allowing you to see
her at all, now please leave before I change my mind.”
Sally’s brown eyes locked onto Mike’s as she
rose from her chair.
He picked up the magazine and waved it at Sally.”He
gets to live in my house with my wife and my daughter and
I get to see her for one hour a fucking month.” He
threw the magazine into the chair he had just vacated.
“Your soon to be ex-wife and Justin is Emily’s
father,” she walked over to him, “look, I know
it’s hard for you to accept, and I’m sorry how
things have worked out, but I’d been sleeping with
Justin for years. You just have to accept the fact that
you can’t father a child Mike. We’ve always
known Emily wasn’t yours.”
Mike rooted around in his jeans pocket, retrieved an envelope
and thrust it towards his soon to be ex-wife.
“Last week Kathy, my girlfriend, told me she was three
months pregnant.” Sally shook her head in disbelief.
“We both couldn’t believe it either, so I went
for some tests and guess what? I can have children. They
said that the tests I had years ago must have just have
been a blip. I know that Emily is my daughter and I’m
going to prove it.”
“That,” he said, motioning towards the envelope
in Sally’s hand, “is an appointment with a genetic
testing clinic. See you there tomorrow at 3pm.”
Sally read the letter, looked up at Mike, and re-read it.
For once she had nothing to say.
Mike sat in his car and wiped the sweat that had gathered
on his top lip. Of course, it was possible that Emily wasn’t
his but he didn’t believe that, there was too strong
a bond between them. The next few days would be long and
difficult but he felt sure the end result would be worth