Chapter 10: Depression Befalls

“Andy, you need to get up and get off the sofa. Go take a shower and get out of your pajamas. You’ll feel better.” My mother chastised in a warning tone.

“I know mom, I will.” I mumbled into the phone.

Lily was playing happily by herself on the floor, and I was happy to have such a well behaved child today. She seemed to pick up on my inherent misery, and was giving me space.

“Andy, it’s been three days.” My mother responded with a heavy sigh.

“I know.” I lied. To be honest, I was feeling so lousy, that I hadn’t been counting the time since Isaac had stormed out on me. I was so completely and utterly miserable, that the days were blending together with nights, and even though I wasn’t sleeping, and wasn’t eating, I could hardly focus on time.

My mother sighed again on the phone. “That’s it. I’m coming home.” She said.

“No, mom, you don’t have to.” I said weakly. “Stay at work, I’ll be fine.”

“No, you’re not fine. You’re miserable. I’ve got some work to finish, but I’ll be home around lunch time. The least I can do is take care of Lily for a few hours.”

I didn’t have the strength or energy to argue with her. “Alright, I’ll see you then.”

Without the formality of saying goodbye, I simply hung up the phone and dropped it to the carpet.

I glanced at the television. The cartoon forms of the characters looked like blocks of colors that didn’t interest me at all. Lily was dividing her attention between the television and her pile of toys on the floor.

I didn’t understand why my mother was in such a rush to get home. I was taking care of Lily just fine. She was all I had left, and all though my actions with her were slightly mechanical, something I did solely to keep the misery at bay, I still loved her and lavished her with attention the way I had before.

A loud knock at the front door interrupted my mental state. I pushed myself off the sofa, and trudge to the front door. I didn’t want to see anyone, or talk to anyone; I wasn’t up to it. But I knew that at the very least one or two minutes of social contact would dispel my depression.

I stumbled weakly down the stairs to the front door.
I pulled the door open only enough to peer through. I leaned against the door jam, feeling incapacitated by sadness.

My eyes slowly started to focus on the person in front of me. I realized slowly it was a man, and one that I was slowly beginning to recognize.

“Where is she?” The man demanded.

“Who?”

“My daughter!” The voice was angry now.
My eyes grew wide and I knew instantly it was Taylor before me.

I felt suddenly dizzy and sick to my stomach. “No…” I breathed. I couldn’t believe my secret was out. Isaac had told him.

I was dreaming, I had to be having a terrible nightmare. I had fallen asleep on the sofa, and I was so depressed it was wreaking havoc on my subconscious.

Taylor suddenly stuck out his arm and shoved open the door. I stumbled backward in shock, collapsing against the wall. My head hit the plaster hard, sending pain radiating from the back of my skull to my forehead. I had an instant headache.

Taylor pushed his way through the open door, and stormed up the stairs.

“No!” I cried. My voice still sounded distant and weak, but was more forceful than the first time.

I stumbled blindly up the stairs, but was too late.

Taylor was already holding Lily. She was staring at him wide eyed, no doubt deciding whether or not to burst into tears or remain unfazed by the stranger holding her.

The pain was shooting through my skull and into my eyes, casting black hazy blobs in front of my eyes. I didn’t need to see clearly to know that my worst fear was coming to fruition.

Taylor knew.

I clutched my stomach, feeling as though I might throw up on the spot, but sank down to the floor helplessly.

Taylor was studying Lily carefully, holding her against his slender body slightly awestruck.

“Jesus, she even looks like me.” He muttered. “How could you not tell me?”

I had thought he would be angry with me, but he seemed surprisingly calm.

“Because you needed to be with Natalie, not me.” I said my voice just above a whisper. My knees were clutched to my chest. “I couldn’t take you away from her and your son.”

Lily seemed to be studying Taylor just as carefully as he was studying her. She reached out and gripped his nose with her hands.

Taylor smiled at her. “I can’t believe this… it’s so… surreal.”

“You must hate me.” I muttered. “I should have told you, but it would have changed everything.”

He drew in a deep and even breath. I was still waiting for him to yell at me. To threaten to take the one thing I had to live for away from me. I couldn’t even fathom life without my daughter.

“Andy, you look like hell.” He pointed out. “Are you alright?”

“Isaac… broke up with me…” I choked out. “I… I love him. I… loved him.” I corrected myself.

“You’re hurt?”

I nodded. “I’m miserable.”

“He’s crazy about you too, I could tell the day you were at the house.” Taylor walked over to the stairs. He sat down next to me, letting Lily crawl out of his arms and toward me. She hugged me tightly, resting her head on my chest. I held her close, holding on for dear life.

“He’s just freaked out because… he’s afraid of this situation.”

I swallowed, looking at Lily not him.

“He’s going to come back to you, you know that…” Taylor spoke gently. “As much as I want to be with you, I know you’ll never be happy with me… If he makes you happy…”

I was still dizzy, but the headache was slowly fading.

“I wish you had told me. I wish I didn’t have to find out from Isaac.”

The mere mention of his name made my stomach lurch again.

“But…” He paused, allowing Lily to touch his face carefully, trying to figure out who he was. “If there were anyone I would want raising my daughter when I can’t… it would be him.” He smiled slightly.

My head started to spin again. I couldn’t believe he was so okay with this. “Taylor, how can you be so…. You’re married with a happy family. You’ve got a kid, and another on the way… this must be so… devastating to you…”

He paused before responding. “It is. I can’t believe this is real, it’s so… unbelievable. But like you said, I’m with Natalie, and the kids. And even though this has the potential to destroy everything… I knew you would never intentionally try to hurt us. “

I was silent.

“Andy… how…. How could you do this without me? How can you raise her on your own?”

“I’ve done okay so far…” I murmured.

Taylor slowly reached into the front pocket of his t-shirt and removed a folded piece of paper, holding it out to me.

With one hand securely on Lily, I took the paper. I was still partially expecting him to rip her from my arms and take her far away. I carefully opened the paper. I was stunned immediately.

“A… a check?” I asked in disbelief.

“She’s still my daughter, and I still want to look after her. I’m willing to pay a set amount of child support each month… provided of course you don’t tell Natalie, or anyone else. I trust you completely not to go to the media, or broadcast this…”

My eyes finally rested on the amount on the check. It was a check in his sloppy hand writing. It was the number that surprised me.

“Ten thousand dollars!?” I demanded. “Are you insane?!”

“Andy, you’ve been looking after her for almost three years. The doctor bills, the birth, feeding her and clothing her for all that time…” He sighed softly and paused. “I don’t think you should have to work while she is so young. You said yourself that ideally you would like to stay home with her… I can afford to help you do that.”

“What about Natalie?” I asked carefully, “Wont’ she notice the money missing?”

“I’m going to set up a separate account to withdraw the money from…. Don’t worry about that. I’ll take care of it.”

I shook my head and held the check out to him. “I can’t. I can’t take this.”

His expression turned to worry. “I want you to. I’m not going to be able to be here for Lily, or for you. Let me do what I can to be sure you’re financially stable.”

“It’s too much.” I mumbled.

“It’s not. I know how expensive a child can be. Andy, take the money.”

“No…”

“Yes.” He countered. “Listen to me, Andy. There is a part of me that will always love you… but Natalie, Ezra and the new baby… I’ve got to be with them, you were right. But I’ve got an obligation to Lily too.”

I pursed my lips together tightly. I could feel the tears welling in my eyes. “I’ll think about it.”

Taylor smiled warmly and reached out gently. Lily had fallen asleep against my chest. With his index finger, he lightly stroked her round cheek lovingly. He lightly fingered her hair. “What’s her middle name?”

Taylor.” I breathed.

He looked up at me in confusion.

“Her name is Lily Taylor… I named her after you… She’s a part of you, and I wanted you to be a part of her. Ezra got the name Jordan, it was only right she be named Taylor.”

Taylor smiled softly. “That’s wonderful. Lily Taylor.” He tested the name approvingly.

We sat in silence for several moments.

I spoke bravely, surprising even myself. “It must be so hard giving up a child… its why I didn’t tell you… I didn’t want you to take her from me, and I couldn’t take her from you.”

“I know,” He placed his hand softly on her back. His hand was large, and spanned her tiny body. “But I never knew about her until today, I hope it will be easier to let her go since I never knew she existed in the first place.”

I felt my heart begin to break again. I was feeling even worse now.

“I should go,” He said eventually. “I guess I can’t really stick around too much, it will be suspicious.”

I nodded slowly. He gently lifted Lily’s tiny fist from my chest and kissed the back of her hand softly, an expression that brought tears creeping into my eyes.

“Just remember our agreement, okay? No one can know…”

I nodded slowly. “I won’t ever tell Natalie.” I swore.

Taylor smiled. “Listen; don’t worry about Isaac, okay? I’ll talk to him, and eventually, he’ll come around.”

I nodded absently, staring straight ahead. Taylor finally stood, softly kissing my forehead before walking from the house and closing the door behind him.

I sat numbly, until eventually I felt the tears sliding down my cheeks.

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