This Man Confessed (Page 176)
‘Dad, you need to calm down. You’ll give yourself a heart attack.’ She snuggles into my neck and my raging, crazy love for my defiant little lady is fully restored. But my wife gets her forth retribution f**k of the day.
‘It’s daddy. And you need to stop listening to your mother.’ I take the stairs fast and burst into her room, throwing her on the bed. My heart bursts, listening to her squeal in delight before she jumps straight up and starts bouncing up and down, her long, chocolate locks flying all over the place. ‘Right,’ I rub my hands together in an attempt to make what I’m about to suggest exciting. Where will I find her jeans and jumpers? I pull her pink wardrobe doors open and start skimming through the rails, immediately laying my hands on something full and frilly. I pull it out and hold the hideous thing up. She mirrors my look of disgust. ‘Your nana needs to stop buying you dresses.’
‘I know.’ She sits down and crosses her legs. ‘Will you trample her today, dad?’
‘Daddy,’ I retort, shoving the dress on the top shelf, out of sight. ‘I might do.’
‘It’s funny.’ she giggles.
‘I know.’ I pull out a cute little sailor dress. There are no sleeves, but I’ll find a cardigan. ‘How about this?’
‘Daddy. What about this?’ I present her with a lemon, shin length brocade thing, but she shakes her defiant little head. ‘Maddie,’ I sigh. ‘You are not wearing that.’ God give me f**king strength quick before I wring her stubborn little neck.
‘I’ll wear tights.’ She jumps up and pulls the draw of her pink chest open. ‘These ones.’ she says, holding up some candy striped things.
I tilt my head on an agreeable nod. I can work with that. ‘What about the t-shirt?’
She looks down and strokes her little belly. ‘I like this one.’
‘Then how about we buy it in a bigger size?’ I’m compromising. I pull down a long sleeved, mint green t-shirt covered in love hearts and hold it up, all keen and smiley. ‘I love this one. Make daddy happy.’ I’m f**king pouting like a sad, desperate twat, and I can tell her five year old mind thinks I’m a twat, too.
‘Okay,’ she sighs heavily. This is stupid. She’s the one humouring me.
‘Good girl,’ I pick her up and stand her on the bed. ‘Lift.’ She throws her arms in the air and lets me rid her torso of the half t-shirt before replacing it with the green one that I love so much, then I get her out of the shorts and cover her little legs with the delightful candy striped tights before replacing the little denim things. ‘Perfect.’ I stand back and nod my approval, then collect her silver converse hi-tops from the wardrobe. ‘These?’ I don’t know why I’m asking, she refuses to wear anything else.
‘Yep.’ She falls to her cute little butt and holds her foot up for me to slip them on. ‘Daddy?’
I tense from head to toe at the sound of the name I’m constantly demanding she call me. She wants something. ‘Maddie,’ I reply slowly, cautiously.
‘I’d like a little sister.’
I nearly fall on my arse with laughter. Another girl? F**k me, you’d have to drug me and string me up to extract my seed. Not a f**king chance, no way in hell, never, no way.
‘What’s so funny?’ She looks at my laughing face, all puzzled.
‘Me and mummy are happy with just you two.’ I pacify her, quickly getting the other shoe on, eager to escape this room and the conversation.
‘Mummy wants another baby.’ she informs me, and my shocked eyes fly up to serious chocolate ones. Ava wants another baby? But she hated pregnancy. I loved it. She hated it. I loved everything about it, except the birth. She really got her revenge during that hellish twenty four hours. I was stabbed with nails, yelled at constantly and threatened with divorce on numerous occasions. And her mouth was like a f**king sewer. But what killed me the most was seeing her in so much pain and being unable to stop it. I could do f**k all about it, and I never plan on putting her through that again.
‘We just need you two.’ I affirm, lifting her from the bed and placing her on her tiny, silver coated feet.
‘I know.’ She runs off laughing. ‘Mum said your eyes would bug and they did!’
I actually laugh, but not because it’s funny. It’s not. It’s because I’m so f**king relieved. I could never refuse Ava if she did want another baby, not after my f**ked up, creative way of getting us our adorable carbon copies of each other. I smile, a full on smile, the one I save only for my babies. I’m so glad I hid those pills.
* * *
It really is the longest afternoon of my f**king life. Dozens of kids run around screaming, and their mother’s pretend to be watching their off-spring, but I’m under constant surveillance by the desperate bunch of bored housewives. Maybe I should ditch the personal training and invest some time in advising the husbands of these women how to please them – lessons in various degrees of f**king, perhaps. I’m nodding thoughtfully to myself when my mum appears in my line of sight. She’s got that look, and I know I’m about to be lectured.
‘Son, take it easy.’ She eyes up the bottle of Bud in my hand, prompting me to take a swig.
I walk over to her and tuck her anxious body into my side. ‘Mother, stop your fussing.’ I start leading her over to the decking, where my father, Amalie and Doctor David are all sitting, chatting happily. My babies couldn’t keep my parents away, either.