***SPOILER ALERT!!!*** This post contains information about my story The Walls of London if you haven’t read this story, click here before reading on.
London looks over her shoulder and quickens her pace. When she enters the coffee shop, her eyes flick hastily over each face until she is satisfied. Her hands unclench from her purse strap and fall to her sides. The slightest smile appearing when I wave to her.
She slides into the opposite side of the booth, her smile blooming fully. “Wow! I was so excited to get your call. I never thought my little fundraiser would become so popular. The college is amazing, don’t misunderstand, but it’s not a big school, and so has a tiny budget—”
“London, I’m sorry, but that’s not the real reason I brought you here.”
Her face blanks. “It’s not?”
“No, I actually wanted to interview you about Parker.”
“What about him?” She grips her purse once more.
“Well, in such a little town, the engagement of the mayor’s son is a big thing. People are curious about you.”
She shifts in her seat.
London’s mother arrives and joins us, making London stiffen.
“What are you doing here, Mom?”
“I invited her.”
The waitress brings us our coffees and London takes a deep drink.
“You both have to know this little town loves a rumor. One rumor, London, that has persisted about Parker, is his love of beating his better half. Is that true?”
She and her mother pale.
“I’m not answer—”
“The heck you aren’t!” Her mom says.
“He’s standing by me, Mom, and our baby. That says everything that needs to be said.”
Her head tilting to the left, London’s mother stares at her, mouth gaping.
“What attracted you to him the night you met?”
“He was having fun with his friends. I was supposed to be meeting a girlfriend to study for an exam, after her shift as a bartender, but she flaked on me.” Her lip trembles ever so slightly.
“Ma’am,” I turn to her mother, “for many years both you and your husband have spoken out in favor of schools teaching abstinence as opposed to safe sex. How do you feel about your daughter being pregnant, but not married?”
She moistens her lips, taking a moment before speaking. “While I believe that sex is best left to the marriage bed, neither I or my husband would ever think we sit high enough to judge our daughter or anyone else in her situation.” Putting her arm around London, she kisses her cheek. She whispers, “We love you and you are always going to be our daughter.”
“London, did your parents ever discuss methods of protection with you?”
“I knew enough,” she says.
“My sources tell me you and Parker were at lunch yesterday. They said he was being verbally abusive. Is that true?”
Picking up her mug, she seems to hide behind it. “He was stressed. We all say things we don’t mean when we’re upset.”
“That doesn’t make it okay,” her mother says.
“Mom, we’re not doing this here.”
Her mother slams her hand down on the table. “The heck we aren’t. I don’t care if this ends up in print. I don’t care if I get a call from the mayor. I don’t like that boy. I don’t trust him.”
“Does it bother you that your parents don’t like him?”
Wiping her nose, she nods.
“Baby, do you love him?”
Her hands shake, sloshing coffee onto the table. “He’s the baby’s dad. It’s right for me to be with him.”
“Not if you don’t love him.” Tears roll down her mom’s cheeks. “We want God’s best for you. Not just what you think you deserve because of one decision.”
“Are you scared to leave him?”
“I don’t think he’d care.” She runs a hand through her hair.
“Are you positive the baby is his?”
“One of my sources asked about your drinking that night. Why did you drink so much?”
She rubs her temples and her face flushes. “Honestly? I’m not the “pretty” girl. He offered to buy me one drink, and then another, and another. I was flattered. I didn’t know what they were. I’d always been told alcohol was bitter,” she casts a sidelong glance at her mother, “and these tasted like candy. I thought they were fruit juice or something.”
“I thought you were drinking beer,” her mother says.
She shakes her head no.
“Final question, will you stay with him?”
She purses her lips, her eyes glazing.
Her mom squeezes her hand before getting up. “She has us either way.” Reaching, she tucks a strand of hair behind London’s ear. “I’ll wait outside.”
When her mother is out of hearing range, I lean forward and touch London’s arm. “You’re not the first one he’s raped.”
Thank you all so much for reading! And and extra BIG thank you to everyone who asked a question. Check back next week for another new post.