Thatcher's Point of View
I know it seems like a million years ago we dated, But it wasn't. Maybe you're over it.
Maybe it doesn't mean anything to you anymore. Maybe it never did, but
it meant a lot to me. You meant a lot to me... You still do.
"Daddy, Mommy told me to ask you why you haven't touched her since you got here... What does she mean by that?"
I stared down at my son in shock and then frowned, "Um...I'm not really ready to explain that one yet, Matteo."
"What do you mean?"
"I've read a book on this and I apparently need prompts and cleverly disguised euphemisms."
"What are you talking about, Daddy?" Matteo asked, looking up from his gelato.
I swallowed hard, "I'm talking about sex."
His little eyebrows furrowed together, "What's sex?"
"Oh, God." An elderly lady murmured, walking past us and looking back at me in disgust. "That boy's already telling his little brother about sex—what is our society coming to?"
The lady walking next to her shook her head, "It's going to hell in a hand basket—have you heard that children are having sex earlier and earlier in their lives?"
"It's true, my grandson already knows about protection."
I watched the two ladies walk away and then sighed, looking back down at Matteo, who looked even more curious than before. "Daddy, why do you have to have protection if you have sex?"
I whirled around and glared at the ladies, "Thanks for making my job harder!" I hollered after them and then squatted down in front of my son. "Okay, you're four now, perhaps you're old enough to know what sex means." I swallowed hard, trying to not freak out having The Talk with my son. "There's a good chance you won't remember this by the time you turn five."
"But I'm almost five already."
"You're not five until April."
"Yeah, but it's almost August."
"Okay, so you're halfway to five—that's besides the point."
"Why would I forget something in six months?"
"Why are you so bright for a four year old?"
"Four and a half, and Mommy says it's because you're very smart and I take after you."
"Do you have to take after me in everything?" I whispered and then frowned, "Actually, if you do that means that you're going to be needing this talk in...about eleven years..." I stared at him in silence for a moment and then squatted down in front of him, "Okay, I never got the talk before, so bear with me...I know that I'm supposed to mention the birds and the bees for some reason. I'm not quite sure why...it'd make more sense to bring in animals of some kind..."
I swallowed hard, "Okay, when a man loves a woman... Well, okay that's not really true either, since you'll be a guy and you'll pretty much want it wherever you can get it, but I seriously suggest that you wait until you love someone before you have sex. I don't really care if you're married or not, but you shouldn't do it on a whim. No mile high club for you, okay?"
He stared at me in absolute confusion, "What?"
"Right...sorry...um... Right, it's not really when a man loves a woman, it's more along the lines of when a woman lets a man." I stopped again and cleared my throat, "This is coming out funny. I think I'm supposed to get to a cabbage patch at some point."
"Why would there be a cabbage patch?" Matteo asked, frowning.
"I...don't...I think it has something to do with babies."
"But Mommy said babies come from a stork."
It was my turn to frown, "Nicola really said that to you? Wait, you had the baby talk already?"
"Do babies not come from storks?"
"Um...How often am I suppose to lie to you?"
"Babies don't come from storks."
"Then where do they come from?"
"Woman...essentially, it's really comes down to men and our..." I cleared my throat, "Babies come from sex."
"Is that why people have it?"
"Um...that's why some people have it."
"And other people?"
"They do it for other reasons."
"So you must have done it to have me."
"Have you had it to have more kids?"
"No. I'm living a lot like a monk right now, little guy. Have been since...well...since before you were born."
"Is that bad?" He asked, staring up at me with his wide eyes.
"No, no it's not bad." I replied, having the feeling that now was not the time to introduce him to sexual frustration or explain why I hit the gym so many times a week.
"Is that what Mommy means when she says you don't touch her?"
Wow, this is the most uncomfortable conversation I've ever had.
And it's all Nicola's fault.
I cleared my throat and then motioned towards our apartment building. "Hey look, we're home. Want a cookie?"
Shaking my head, I managed to distract him long enough with the promise of more sweets for us to get upstairs to our home. As soon as we were in the kitchen, I handed him a bag of cookies and he took off towards his room. Sighing a breath of relief, I headed towards Nicola's room and barged in...
...Then immediately wished that I had knocked first.
She and whoever it was that she was playing doctor with, jumped apart and quickly covered themselves with the sheets on her bed. For a moment there was complete silence in the room and then I rubbed the back of my neck. "Wow...um, random guy? Could you please adjust your sheet a little?" I asked and then shook my head, "Yeah...I think I'll just...pretend that this never happened." I murmured and stepped out of the room and back into the hall. Once I was alone in the hall I shuddered and headed towards the living room and sat down on the couch.
Three minutes later the random guy came down the hall and beat a quick exited out the front door. He seemed a little scared, I don't know why—I even waved to him when he turned to look at me. A few minutes after he left, Nicola came into the living room and stood in front of the TV. Sighing, I looked up at her, "Yeah?"
"This isn't working, Thatcher." She whispered. "You haven't touched, you hardly ever acknowledge me when you're around me in the apartment, you're not even trying to make this work, and you used school last year as an excuse to stay away from me."
"I didn't use it as an excuse—college is a lot more difficult than I thought it would be."
"Maybe it would be easier if you didn't have to take care of Matteo."
I frowned, "What are you trying to say? I love Matteo."
She shook her head and threw her hands in the air, "I'm starting to think that that's the only reason you're even here."
"It is the only reason that I'm here."
"How dare you say something like that to me!"
I stood up, "It's the truth, Nicola. You made me make a decision a year ago—"
"—Between me and that girl!"
"No, you made me chose between the girl I loved and my son." I hissed, "And the father in me won out; will always win out."
"I can't believe you're still thinking of that girl. She was so selfish—she wouldn't even want you if you went back to her."
I rolled my eyes, "I can't believe I'm hearing you talk about selfishness."
"You left her! You can't change that! Just get over her already!" Nicola screamed and I glanced behind me to see if Matteo had ventured out of his room, before turning back to her.
"Could you not scream, please?"
"How dare you!"
"I don't want Matteo to have to hear this."
"I'm beginning to think all you care about is that boy!"
My eyes narrowed, "'That boy'? He's our son, Nicola—of course I care about him."
"More than me?"
"I care about a lot of things more than I care about you, Nicola." I said in a whisper, "And believe me, it's no competition between you and Matteo. He wins, hands down."
"And what about her, do you care about her more than you care about me?"
"Of course I do."
"You are a horrible human being."
"I'm an honest one."
"Why did I even invite you down here?" She screeched.
"Because you had some misguided notion that you could make us a family."
"My mother is the route of all of this." She hissed, "If she just would've kept Matteo, none of this would've had to happen."
I stared at her silently for a moment and then stood up, "What do you mean by that?"
She laughed harshly, "You think that I want to be a mother? I'm nineteen years old, Thatcher, all I've ever wanted to do is party."
"Then what, you invited me down here so that I would take care of Matteo for you?"
She glared at me, "You weren't worth it. None of this happened like I thought it would. Nothing went according to plan."
"Your mother was raising Matteo?"
"Don't act like it's such a big deal—your mother's mother raised you."
"For two years."
"Well, it was the same for him too."
I rubbed my face and then sat back down on the couch, "How long have you been with that random?"
I nodded my head and ran a hand through my hair, "I hope you two have a very good life together."
"It's nothing serious." She replied and then sighed, "Thatcher, I want you to leave. I don't want to have a family with you anymore."
I raised my head to look at her in the eyes, "I'm not leaving my son."
"I don't expect you to."
"Thatcher, you want to know why Matteo is in existence? Because my mother found out I was pregnant. My Catholic mother found out I was pregnant. So I had the baby and she took care of him, it was the perfect setup. Until she decided that I needed to be a mother. That was when I looked you up."
I climbed back to my feet, my heart beginning to race a little. "Nicola, there are a lot of things I want to say now. And if I'm not going to be living with you, there's a lot of stuff that I've been holding in for the last year that I would love to scream at you about. However...all I want to know is this: are you saying I can leave? I can take Matteo and leave?"
"You sound so happy at the idea of getting away from me." She hissed, "So yeah, you can have the burden of being a single parent. I'm done with trying to make a family with you."
"Screwing a guy behind my back while trying to convince me that you've changed does not a family make."
"You weren't touching me."
"I didn't want to."
"I don't have to explain myself to you."
I smiled and shook my head, "No, no you don't."
"You wanted me to explain last time."
"I loved you last time."
"And you don't anymore?" She asked, staring at me with sad, wide eyes.
I sighed, "I don't want to play this game with you anymore. No, I don't love you. I stopped loving you a long time ago, because...because it hurt too much."
"Loving me hurt?"
"You obliterated me, Nicola. You took everything that was in me and..." I shook my head and turned away from her, "That was a long time ago."
"It feels like just yesterday that you'd look at me and I'd know that I was the only girl you could see." She clutched her robe tighter to her body and perched herself on the edge of one of her overstuffed chairs. "You always made me feel so special, Thatcher. When I talked, I knew that you were really listening. When you were around me, I could always tell that it was because you wanted to be...when you touched me, I knew you felt it with everything inside of you."
"And yet you could find it in your heart to go screw another guy." I said darkly, walking out of the living room and into the hallway. After a moment I turned back to look at her, "You could tell I loved you with everything...so...why did you have to do it? Why'd you have to cheat on me? Because you were scared? Do you have any idea how terrified I was to be in a relationship? How scared I was to make myself vulnerable to someone?"
"Thatcher, I'm sorry, I'm so very sorry..."
"It doesn't matter anymore. It was years ago."
"Yet you're still bringing it up."
I glared at her, "Of course I'm bringing it up, it was the deterioration of our relationship—isn't that what this is all about? Seriously, isn't that what the last year's been about? You trying to con me into loving you again?"
"Do you honestly think that I ever could again? Especially after you tried to use our son against me?"
"I just wanted you to come."
"I came, okay? I came and it killed me, but I wanted to know my son—I wanted to be in his life. I wanted to be in his life more than I wanted to...to not be."
"How eloquently put." She said snidely.
"You're the one that said that the only reason I was here was to care after Matteo, excuse me if that doesn't make me feel warm and fuzzy towards you."
"What does that have to do with your speech?"
"Nicola, please stop."
"Stop talking to me. Stop trying to get me to want to stay with you. Stop making me look at you—you think I ever wanted to be here with you? I tried to rent an apartment closer to my college and you once again used seeing my son against me."
She glared at me, "I wanted us to be a family! What's so wrong with that?!"
"That you wanted to totally screw up my life in order to do it!"
"Learning about Matteo screwed up your life?"
I glared at her and took a step back into the room, "Don't try to spin it like that—finding out about Matteo made my life...better. It...it gave me...I have no words to describe how having Matteo in my life has changed me, okay? Just know that it was for the best."
"So...you hate me?" She asked quietly, "That's it, isn't it?"
"Nicola...I...I can't completely hate you because I once loved you, but you are pushing it."
"You don't love me, you hate me."
"I hate what you did to me. I hate what you did, what my parents did, and what I did to Nadine. There's a lot of hate inside of me, but I'm not necessarily sure that it's aimed at anyone."
She nodded her head and then sighed, "I thought we were going to end with more passion."
"We ended a long time ago, Nicola."
"You've always been a passionate person, though."
"Maybe I don't have any passion left for you."
"Then I want you out... I want both of you out."
"Whatever you want."
"How is this a new adventure, Daddy? Is it because no one speaks our language?" Matteo asked from his seat in the back of the our rental car. It had only taken seventy-eight hours to get out of Italy and away from Nicola, and only two hours of that had been taken to convince Matteo that it would be an adventure. The fact that he had barely reacted when I told him that we'd be leaving his mother behind had reassured me in my decision to leave.
"Exactly...and because we will be starting over new."
"We're we going to live?"
"With my grandparents."
"Oh." He whispered softly and I glanced at him in the rear view mirror.
"What's wrong, little man?"
He stared down at his hands, "Nothing." He answered mournfully.
I frowned and turned back to look at him, "I'm going to be living there too, okay? It's going to be the two of us together; I'd never leave you alone for months at a time."
He glanced up at me and gave me a tentative smile, "Promise?"
"Promise." I swore and then turned back to the road, "Besides, I'd miss you too much if you were with my grandparents all the time."
"You'd miss me?"
"Of course I would, little guy. You're my son."
"People think you're my big brother."
"Well...they're wrong." I shrugged a shoulder and stared at all the cars in front of us, then answered my phone when it started to vibrate against my hip. "Hello?"
"You actually bought a phone once you got into the States, and you didn't give your number to me?" Huey demanded on the other end, "What kind of best friend are you?"
"You're the one that called me, so obviously you got my number."
"Because your grandparents gave it to me!" He exclaimed and then sighed, "So, how's it going? Where are you? How excited are you to be back here?"
I smiled, "It's great, Hue...even though everyone in America drives so slow."
"You've been with the fast Italians too long—they're called speed limits and they're here to save our lives." He replied, a healthy does of sarcasm in his voice.
"Who are you talking too, Daddy?" Matteo asked from the back seat.
"What?" Huey asked, "Are you getting on me for the speed thing? Because you once upon a time did live in the States and you knew about things like that."
"I was talking to Matteo, Huey."
"Is he the guy that kept calling me 'Teo'?"
"Yeah, he's the guy."
"I'm what guy?"
"The guy that...Okay, how about I save the having two conversations at once thing until we're actually all in front of each other?"
"Fine, you are aware of the fact that orientation for college starts in two hours, right?"
"What? No, I wasn't aware of that, seeing as everything I've done to get ready for college has been late. I have to go register for classes."
"What are you taking, by the way?"
"So being a lawyer won out over being able to carry a gun?"
"Well, one is a little less dangerous than the other."
He laughed and then took a deep breath, "She's going to be there, you know."
"How do you feel about that?"
"I...I actually don't know how to answer that question, Huey."
"Okay, well you better hurry up or you're going to be late."
"Gotcha, see you in a few."
"Yeah, see ya."
After hanging up with Huey I turned and looked at Matteo, "Is you're seatbelt on securely?"
"Good. You remember how I like to speed?"
He grinned and nodded, "Yup."
I turned back to the road and pressed my foot down just a little bit harder on the gas. Two hours and fourteen minutes later, I found myself pulling into the parking lot of RWCC at warp speed. Unbuckling my seatbelt and letting myself out, I rounded the car and got Matteo out as well. The minute he was out of his booster seat and on the ground, I crouched down in front of him, "Okay, this is probably going to be a little boring, but do you want to do it with me? Because I'm already late now, so it doesn't really matter how much more late I am, so I could drive you over to my grandparents home and drop you off."
I grimaced and then slowly nodded. "Yeah..."
"I'll come with you."
"Okay, little man. Do you want me to carry you?"
He puffed out his small chest and frowned, "I can walk."
I smiled and took his hand, "Okay then, let's do this."
A few minutes later we were walking around inside the college when I heard my name being called. Telling Matteo to stand still right outside of the crowd so that he wouldn't be trampled, I began to make my way through it to the guy that had been calling my name. "Sorry, I'm late." I said, still making my way through the crowd. When I got to him he handed me a name tag and I applied it to my shirt before looking up. When I did, I found Nadine staring right at me.
"Oh, God." She whispered.
A/N: This was way longer than I thought it would be... How did you like it? Thank you all so much for the reviews! It was truly an amazing amount of people that read and reviewed the first chapter—wow. Thank you all so much, I read each and every one of them and I was going to take the time to do individual shot out, but that would make this chapter gargantuan... Anyways, thanks again! And yeah, there will be a lot more Matteo in this story. Does anyone think he's cute? A lot of you guys were hoping that he wouldn't be Thatcher's son in the last story, so I wasn't quite sure how you'd all take to him...
Thank you: Shadowsong, crushed-paper, katieee, Holly Young, Abigail Radle, Rhea Larkin, chic rebel, Javelin, Laughter In Your Head, toxic-boodle725, Mischa, Fades, xoxluurve, aphroditeseyes, Areo Faerie Extraordinaire, Lena, Kaichai, anonymous, xwritrfreakx15, swimchicksslam, anonymous, bananasplit, i found nemo, My foundation fell apart, Jessica Wright, Contemporary Dancer, Striped Leopard, Twinkle Star Bell, Ri, thoughtsofwisdom, Between The Lines, TubaPrincess, Dark-Angel28, Endless Thyme, A Cynical Idealist, DONTGETME, Chiclets, Crystal109, Basketball Barbie, a leggy hypotamoose, emerald, Threnody, cdr1687, WickedMe, Jza108, Winter Eve, Zhou Bai Ling, Firespirit44, sarahpor, May Hearty, anamika, pinkfluffyoranges, qulhawk02, AnotherDreamer, .fantasy, angels and effects, Julia2Ci, Alex, Mock-Supposed-To-Be, Liquid-Sorrow, countrygurl, Pink Appreciation, fluffykitty, hockeygrl14, Right or Ryn, T.S. Ferris, stawberryice, antisocial extrovert, bananamilshake, Cyphria, HAPPY!, Inkbl0t, goodbyemylover, Chaotic Personality, MissyBlue, Short-N-Sweet-18, She's Insane, Alenor, Le Soleil Avant le Crepuscule, asianattraction, some-one, sunnydayy, Rose Jameson, Semprefi1994, and aBitterKiss! Thank you all so much!
Soundtrack to chapter: "Run" by Snow Patrol, "I Miss You" by Blink 182, "Don't Know Why" by Norah Jones, "Ironic" by Alanis Morissette, "Torn" by Off by One, "Trouble" by Coldplay, and "You're Beautiful" by James Blunt.