Thread: Alpha and Omega
Ariadne stood in front of Bobby. She couldn’t stand for too long; aches and pains gripped her abdomen whenever she was upright.
Bobby looked up, his long black pony tail flicking across the back of the rocking chair, his jet black eyes meeting hers. He had a tall, strong face with a jawline that stood out like a pair of symmetrical scars. His pointy canines sometimes made him look like as Count Dracula but now just gave his smile a bit extra charm. He wore his usual camouflage jacket, as if he’d once been in the army. He smiled. Theo had drugged Bobby into a silly, new father stupor; Bobby had been relaxed and content ever since Theo had popped out in the bath.
‘Bobby,’ she said.
‘Yeah?’ He stared back down into the white, unmoving shape in his arms. A chubby red face with closed eyes and dotted with acne was the only part of the exhausted new baby that was visible.
‘Fay told me something else.’
‘Yeah? She did?’
Ariadne glanced behind her. Paul and Kelvin were poring over the blue folder in silence.
‘She told me you were selling drugs. I told her she didn’t know what she was talking about. She said you had to stop because the Cloth would catch us. I mean, imagine that.’
He looked down at Theo again. ‘Yeah? She did?’ She could hear his smile disappear.
‘You wouldn’t do that, right? You wouldn’t risk everything, I told her that.’
‘Yeah. Right.’ He gritted his teeth; the sound of enamel grinding against enamel put her on edge.
‘God do I know we need the money. But I know you wouldn’t-’
‘Fuck you and your whining. Do you know how much baby shit costs?’ He spoke towards the baby rather than her.
‘Bobby, you shouldn’t talk like that in front of the Theo.’
‘Then don’t piss me off. Don’t fucking piss me off. I’m sure Fay talked all about the weed. Yeah, I’m sure you said nothing at all. Not a god damn fucking thing.’
Ariadne glanced behind. Paul and Kelvin pretended not to hear anything.
‘I’m sorry, Bobby. I knew she was talking rubbish. I knew it, I told her. Sorry to annoy you, I didn’t mean it. I mean, really, I didn’t mean to irritate you. I know how you must feel, this isn’t easy at all, having a baby while trying to keep a low profile.’
‘Alright, shut up. I fucking forgive you.’
Ariadne leaned over to stroke Bobby’s hair, even though she wanted to sit down. The pad between her legs was cold and heavy; she needed her own nappy change. After Fay turning on her, Ariadne wanted comfort from someone. Kelvin was the only one who had shown kindness to her so far today but, from an emotional perspective, he was unreliable. Most of the time, he’d go into a distant far-off stare, eyes glistening, replaying some tragic scene in his mind. Bobby was the only one who could make her feel good.
‘Bobby,’ she said. ‘You do… care about me, right?’
Bobby jumped out of the chair and thrust Theo into her chest like a battering ram. ‘You’ll never let it go, will you? Just the once. I lose my temper just the fucking once and I hear no end of it! If you carry on like this, I might lose my temper again. It was just a fucking tap on the face.’ Ariadne took Theo who flinched at the shouting, but did not wake.
Bobby stormed out of the room, kicking chairs and tables in his path, waving his arms and muttering obscenities as if arguing with himself. A moment later, he was outside, rushing past the window, still exploding as if batting at a horde of angry bees.
The air in the room seemed lighter after Bobby had left. Ariadne sat down in the now vacant rocking chair, warm with Bobby’s heat.
She stared at Theo’s ruddy face trying to picture hope, but it seemed like some cruel joke. Maybe Bobby had been right all along. Why had they bothered bringing Theo into the world? What kind of upbringing would Theo have? He would never be able to be free, enjoy youth like she had. Theo would be kept indoors, under lock and key, having no real home. He would never go to school and never have friends. He would live in this grotesque family of broken people for the rest of his life.
An awful realisation struck her. The best thing for Theo would be if they were caught by the Cloth. If Theo were an orphan, free of his hunted parents, he could return to the system. Then again, maybe he didn’t have to wait until they were dead. Maybe they could give him up for adoption, leave him on the steps of a local hospital.
Tears patted onto the baby’s cheeks, but they were not Theo’s tears.