This was originally written for university. I don’t remember the exact context of why I wrote it but I believe the point of the exercise was to practice writing dialogue.
So just a short standalone piece.
“Pregnant,” Mathew repeated his daughter’s words. “How did that happen?”
“You want a diagram?” Haley said, looking with some amusement as her father paced across the room.
“Funny,” he said, falling into his chair. “You know what I meant.”
“We used contraception, guess we’re just in that one percent,” she said regretfully. Haley rose from her chair and knelt by her father, “I’m sorry to disappoint you.”
“You haven’t,” he said, though his eyes didn’t quite meet hers. “Are you going to keep it?”
Haley stood and walked across the room. She looked for a moment at the family picture above the fireplace; it showed her mother, father, herself and, her brother in her mother’s arms. When Haley had been born her parents had been ready. She wanted to have children, but was hoping to have had a little more time before it happened.
“Haley,” her father prompted.
“When I studied RE,” she began to pace, “abortion naturally came up. It is different however when it’s you.”
“Yes it is,” Mayhew said, standing. He placed his hands on her shoulders, this time his eyes did meed hers. “Tell me what you’re thinking.”
“In those debates, I always maintained that the choice had to be there, also that sometimes abortion is the kindest thing to do. If one does not have the resources to raise the child properly then…?”
“Sorry I don’t know how that sentence was supposed to end. Put it this way if, if money was no object I would have the baby. The university has child care facilities, or I could find a nursery or…”
“Shush,” her father said soothingly, taking her in an embrace. “So from a time perspective you think you could manage?”
“What does Neil have to say?”
“Braking away from the hug she crossed her arms. “He’ll have made it to the hills by now.”
“I’m not,” Haley said as she moved away.
“Didn’t you love him?”
“I don’t even know any more,” she said as she slumped back into her chair. “Anyway he’s gone. He might touch base with me one day. I don’t think he’ll ever be daddy to my baby.”
“He might come back.”
Haley smiled. “Will you help me dad? All I need is the occasional baby sitter, maybe some money, I’ll pay you back, that sort of thing?”
It was like an elastic band had snapped as he said that. Tears welled in her eyes and she fell towards her father. She held him in the embrace and thanked him.
“You’re welcome,” he said, “do any of your friends know?”
“You going to tell them?”
“I think they’ll notice.” She managed a weak grin. “I guess I should.”
“You don’t need to do anything you don’t want to do. Have you thought about names?”
“No idea,” she said. “There’ll be nearly nine months to decide that. She covered her mouth with her hand and went to sit on the stairs, she didn’t know whether to smile or cry.