Twisted Fate by Summer Cooper
“It’s been three months since he walked out, Rosa, I don’t think there’s any hope,” Keily spoke out loud, knowing the hands-free feature in the car would pick up what she said. She was on her way to work and not looking forward to it.
“Don’t you think you should at least tell him about the babies?” Rosa asked from the car’s speakers, which made Keily frown.
She hadn’t known she was pregnant that night when he left her with a cruel goodbye, but she did now. Oh, she definitely knew she was now. A trip to the pharmacist for a pregnancy test proved it. Her family doctor confirmed it with a test of her own and had sent her to an OB/GYN. That doctor had another surprise in store for her, she was carrying more than one baby!
“Yeah, I probably should tell him about the babies, but, well, there’s things you don’t know, Rosa.” Keily’s voice trailed off as she pulled into the parking lot of the diner where she’d managed to wrangle a job. It wasn’t her first choice, but she needed to keep busy, save money, and try not to think about Logan too much.
Eugene. Whatever his name was.
“You keep saying that, but you haven’t told me what those things are so it’s not like I’d know now, would I?” Rosa was getting exasperated with her, but it was the end of the day for Rosa. Her patience was worn thin after a day of directing human resources at Logan’s South Carolina branch of his manufacturing business.
It was only the beginning of the day for Keily.
She was part-time at the diner and the owner liked to give her odd hours for not letting him know she was pregnant when he’d hired her two months ago. Her shift today would be 5-10. The day before it was 2-7. The erratic schedule really messed with her sleep cycle, especially when she was four months pregnant with triplets.
She’d learned that whopper of a surprise at her first ultrasound appointment. An appointment that was scheduled early because she was showing signs of a multiple pregnancy. The doctor suspected she’d heard three heartbeats and Keily was showing already. Add that to the extreme exhaustion that revealed itself by the dark circles under her eyes, and the overwhelming nausea that plagued her through the night, and there was enough reason to suspect she was carrying more than one baby.
She’d been delighted at the thought of twins, but triplets were a little scary. Especially when the father wasn’t involved. And didn’t know about the babies at all. She’d made Rosa swear not to tell him and avoided all of the places she knew he frequented. Even if Rosa said he was out in California, working on getting his business over there back up and running since the earthquake took his building down.
Avoiding him wasn’t hard to do when he was out of the state and she’d moved out of the apartment he’d provided her with when he hired her as his personal assistant.
Sunlight glanced off the glass that made up most of the diner’s walls and blinded Keily as she turned the engine off but left the key in the position to leave the electronics working. She still had five minutes before she had to go in and the ever-present weariness that she couldn’t shake made her legs feel heavy and her head hurt. Her stomach even flipped in annoyance as a waft of oily, fried food drifted in through the vents in the car.
“Keily? Did I lose you?” Rosa’s voice brought Keily out of her stupor.
“I’m still here. I’ve just pulled in at work. As far as Logan goes, there are personal things that I can’t share with you. They aren’t my secrets to tell.” She paused when a pang of guilt reminded her that his secrets were also hers. Although, this secret was something she’d made herself forget, not think about, and try to ignore since that day so long ago. It was a shameful secret, one that made her feel incredibly…bad.
“I understand, then. Still, I wish I could help you fix all of this. Maybe even find you a better job.” Rosa trailed off, probably thinking the same thing Keily was.
Nobody wanted to hire a pregnant lady.
“It’ll be alright, Rosa. I have you and that’s all I need for now.” Keily was too tired to even think, but if she quit this job, she’d blow through the money she’d made from selling some of Logan’s gifts to her in no time. She’d also be stuck at home with nothing but homework, and her thoughts, to keep her company.
“I hope so, honey. I’ll let you go. Have a good shift.” Rosa’s voice picked up a little and Keily knew it was forced cheerfulness.
“Thanks, I hope you have a good night, Rosa. I’ll talk to you tomorrow, okay?”
“You bet, sweetie. ‘Bye.” Rosa broke the connection before Keily could, which left Keily sitting in her car, staring out at the diner as the day continued its track into night.
Hungry diners would soon show up, filling the booths inside, rushing Keily off her feet as she forced a smile she’d stopped feeling a hundred smiles earlier. This working business was hard to do, working while she was pregnant was even worse. She’d do it though, as long as she could.
She had no other choice, not when she was on her own now. With a tired groan, she pushed out of the car and walked to the back door. A smiling face greeted her when the door opened to her knock. “Hi, Keily, glad you made it.”
“I’m glad too, Lisa, how are you?”
“Good, just tired. It’s been a long day. How are those kiddos?” Lisa shut the door as Keily walked in, her black slacks and white blouse the accepted uniform for everyone that worked at the diner. At least they didn’t make her wear a stupid outfit with skirts.
“They’re making their mom cranky, but they’re good.” Keily smiled, put her handbag in a locker, slid her phone into the black polyester blend apron tied loosely around her waist, and made sure her hair was still tied up in a neat bun.
“And how’s the schoolwork?” Lisa rattled off the same questions every time she saw Keily, but Keily didn’t mind. At least someone besides Rosa asked.
“It’s good too, I’m struggling to get it all done, but I am,” Keily answered, sugarcoating just how far behind she was. She didn’t want pity, but a kind word here and there was nice.
“Good, I’ve got a table to get back to, but I’ll see you on the floor.”
“Sure, be right there.” Keily paused to clock in as Lisa walked out of the area designated as the office and stared out of the little window in the swinging door. Lisa’s table was the only one with customers so far. Keily had time to get prepped for the evening then. She’d be there until the place closed at 10 pm, and a little later cleaning up, but she had work to do first.
She checked to see how many salads were in the cooler, how many slices of the ‘homemade’ pie they sold but really bought from a mass producer were left, and made a fresh pot of coffee. Their clientele tended to be on the older side and plain coffee was what they wanted. Coffee chains might have the younger generation suckered in but the older one just preferred plain coffee, without sprinkles, whipped cream, or cinnamon.
“Hi, Mark, how are you?”
“I’m good, Keily. Burned myself on the grill earlier, but I’m okay.” Mark held up his thick forearm to show her a wide bandage at the midpoint between his wrist and his elbow.
“You’re more of a klutz than I am.” She laughed good-naturedly and he smiled. He was a fluffy pillow of a man, as tall as he was wide and obviously loved to eat, with black hair and smiling brown eyes.
“My wife tells me that all the time,” Mark answered with a rueful nod. “You’re both right.
Mark was the cook for the evening shift and had been with the place since he was 18 years old. He was 38 now and still there. Lisa, on the other hand, had only started there a couple of years before Keily came along, but they were the same age. Lisa had moved to town with her husband when his father became too disabled to take care of himself. Her job at the diner was a break from her life at home and some much-needed extra income.
Both were nice and much easier to deal with than the owner. “Thad gone for the day?” Keily asked as Lisa walked up to her and Mark. She asked it as nonchalantly as she could but from Lisa’s smile, Keily knew it was obvious she didn’t want to see the guy. He wasn’t her favorite person on good days. She couldn’t handle the thought that he might come back in tonight. He did sometimes, just to keep an eye on them, she knew.
“No, he’s decided to annoy his kids and take them to see that new animated film. The one about the dogs.” Mark rolled his eyes as he spoke.
Thad’s kids were 17 and 18 years old. They didn’t want to be seen in a theater watching a kid’s film, not at that age.
“You know he just wants to see it himself; those kids of his will die if he makes them see it with him.” Lisa chimed in and Keily smiled in agreement.
“Oh, it’s definitely him.” Keily agreed, ready to talk about anything that would keep her mind off of Logan but she had to pick up an order pad and call out a greeting as a group of five came in and headed for one of the booths in her section.
The rest of her evening went by in a rush and before long, Keily was back at the trailer she now called home, staring at a secondhand television she’d bought from a group on Facebook. It was an older television, but she could watch Netflix with the help of an Android box, at least.
A quick shower when she got home, a change of clothes, and she was now on the couch that came with the trailer, covered by one of the blankets she’d bought when she was with Logan. She hadn’t wanted to move into a trailer, she’d have preferred an apartment, but they were out of her price range and she had no credit since everything had either been in Joe’s name or Logan’s. She couldn’t get into a nice, safe apartment even if she wanted to spend the money.
The trailer was tucked between two others and both her neighbors were sweet elderly ladies. The dark blue trailer behind her belonged to Mildred. It was a newer trailer and had better appliances than Keily’s had. Sally lived ahead of her in a white doublewide that was roomy and comfy. Keily’s, in the middle, was light brown, probably a product of the 80s, but enough for her. It had two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and came with a dishwasher. There was no pool or gym, but she was within walking distance of her employer, if it came down to that.
When she’d first realized Logan wasn’t coming back, she sold some of the earrings and a watch he’d given her. That brought in a good chunk of change, it was quality stuff, and she found the best price for it that she could, but she had to be careful. She had three babies on the way and that was going to get expensive fast.
At least Logan had kept her insurance paid up, thankfully. That was a saving grace, her insurance card worked every time she used it, and lately, she’d used it a lot. Keily glanced down at the ultrasound scans on the coffee table where she’d left them. Her babies.
All three of them.
A smile replaced the grim sadness on her face. Life wasn’t so bad, knowing she had them on the way. She’d like to have her sister and parents by her side, but she’d burned those bridges, well, her mom had as far as her parents were concerned. Violet was justified in ignoring Keily’s attempts at reconciliation. Keily had been a selfish bitch when she was living at her sister’s and didn’t blame Violet a bit for walking away.
If only Logan hadn’t walked away too.
Keily looked around her living room with its brown carpet and brown wallpapered walls. It was like a brown coffin. Keily thought bringing some of her stuff from the apartment would cheer the place up, but it only made it more hideous somehow. At least it was warm and dry though.
The kitchen had white appliances and was decorated with a cows and chickens theme, even the wallpaper sported the creatures. The floor in there was linoleum meant to look like pine slats, but it cleaned easily at least. The master bedroom was a garish yellow, as was the master bath, even the bathtub, while the other bedroom was a neutral olive green. At least the guest bath was plain white.
The things she’d brought looked odd in the old place and might make someone wonder if the items were stolen, but Keily needed everything she’d brought. She’d sold some of the things for a good price, but most of them she’d kept. The most expensive gifts Logan gave her, things like jewelry, were all in a safe deposit box at the bank. She wasn’t naïve enough to keep those here at the trailer.
“Oh, how the mighty have fallen, babies,” Keily murmured and cradled her slight bump at the same time. “Once upon a time, Mommy had a husband, a house, and everything she thought she wanted. Now, all she has is a savings account with a little bit of money in it, a car that isn’t really hers, some jewelry your daddy gave her, and she lives in a trailer. But she has you and that might just be everything she needs.”
A wave of nausea rolled over her in the dark room, lit only by the TV. “And I think you all hate me.”
She groaned and pushed up from the couch to go to bed. Most nights, if she got to sleep before the nausea turned into vomiting, she could sleep through the night. But, if she waited too long, she’d be up for hours in the bathroom, wishing it was all over and done with.
At four months she was over a third of the way through to having her babies, but it still seemed like a long time away when everything ached and she was sick all the time. On some of the worst nights, she’d cry and wish Logan were with her, but only on those nights. Other nights she planned the babies’ bedroom, trying to come up with a plan to situate three cribs in the tiny room. There’d need to be a dresser too, a changing table, a rocker.
In the back of her mind was the reminder of what the doctor said, triplets made her high risk, and there was a higher risk of complications for the babies too. She’d have to be careful and not get her hopes up too high that this would be smooth and painless. She’d learned her lesson about that already, hadn’t she?
Her heart was broken, it was definitely broken, but she couldn’t call Logan or ask for his help with the babies. He’d think she got pregnant on purpose, to trap him. And after what she did, after what Joe did, she couldn’t face him. Not knowing who he was. Not knowing that she’d walked away all those years ago, hadn’t stopped what had happened. Instead, she’d turned her back on him and made herself forget that she’d watched Joe assault and mutilate Logan’s butt cheek with her keychain. She couldn’t bear to look him in the eye again, not even when she needed him the most. Not even if it was the one thing in the world she wanted most, besides for her babies to be healthy. She’d just have to get on with life, without him. Somehow.