By: Rosa Swann
When your fated mate becomes your husband and you gain a whole lot of new family…
If I thought that planning a wedding party in two days, after my spontaneous proposal, would be difficult, we now have the added difficulty of needing to take care of Wes and his kids too.
But I’m not giving up, not on either of those things. I will protect Wes and I will also give Aiden the life that he deserves…
Taking care of Wes’ kids isn’t the hardest task in the world, it’s Wes himself who may prove more difficult. Only, just as I’m settling in for a day of babysitting, my own younger Omega brother, Felix, is standing in the middle of the living room, demanding to know where Hailey is.
Like dealing with one stubborn Omega brother isn’t hard enough…
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I slowly get up out of bed, too sleepy still to really do much, but I know that I need to get up on time for work… I slip into some clothes and get out of the bedroom, walking through the small dining room and into the kitchen.
There, I turn on the electric kettle and slowly walk to the bathroom to relieve myself. I’m not really the best person early in the morning, but after some tea and breakfast, it should be fine. I generally am, I think…
I turn on my laptop in the dining room and make my way back to the kitchen right on time to pour some hot water into a mug with a teabag and prepare some cornflakes as I wait for the tea to brew. I bring both the mug and the cornflakes to the table and sit down, ready to check my social media while fighting to wake up.
As far as morning routines go, it’s probably the most boring thing in the world.
The first thing I hear is a little sound, just a whimpering, coming from my sister Hailey’s bedroom. I don’t pay much attention to it, Hailey sleeps with her young son, Seb, and the little man usually just wants a snuggle with his mum around this time.
I click on an interesting article and start reading as the whimpering increases. I sigh, but Seb’s not my kid, he’s not my responsibility. I can’t keep going in there and help her out all the time, we agreed on that.
When, after a couple more minutes, Seb’s whimpering starts to turn into soft cries, I stand up and walk over to the bedroom, knocking on the door. “Hailey, don’t let Seb cry. Please. He just wants a snuggle.”
But there is no response from the room, which is not normal, at least not for Hailey. Normal would be for Hailey to yell at me to mind my own business.
But apart from Seb’s cries intensifying, I’m not hearing anything.
“Hailey, I’m coming in.” I wait a couple of seconds with my hand on the doorknob, but I really don’t hear anything inside.
My heart starts beating loudly and I fling the door open.
Is there something wrong with Hailey? Is she hurt?
But what I find stops me in my tracks…
There, in his little crib, is Seb, all blubbery and crying, his small face scrunched up. But I don’t find the person I expect to find there. No Hailey.
I quickly take Seb in my arms, keep the little kid close, hoping he’ll calm down that way. Because I’m not sure what else to do. I can’t believe what I’m seeing.
Hailey’s bed is perfectly made, her room is the neatest I’ve seen it since we moved in. Everything is cleaned up. Everything is neatly stashed away in closets and drawers and on top of desks and things.
I bounce Seb in my arms a little, the movement calming both of us down because I’m not sure I can believe this. I pull open one of the closets and find nothing inside, well, not much anyway. A lot of Hailey’s clothes are gone.
When I open another closet and some drawers I find the same, there are still some clothes, but more than half of it is gone.
I turn to the other side of the room, hoping to find more clues there, but instead of her laptop being on the desk, there is a letter.
Handwritten, barely readable, with crinkly dots on it that make me think those used to be tears.
I’m sorry. I can’t do this. I can’t live like this and take care of Seb.
I can’t have a kid at eighteen. I can’t have a kid and no finished education before my life is even supposed to start. I can’t do it.
I thought I could. I thought I could do it as long as you were with me.
I’m so sorry. I don’t deserve all the help you’ve given me, everything you’ve done for me since you found out I was pregnant.
You gave up everything, including the love of our parents, just to help me. I can never repay you. I’m sorry.
Please take care of Seb.
He doesn’t deserve a mum like me, but he deserves a dad like you.
Please. I love him, which is why I’m doing this.
I can’t be the mum he needs, that he deserves, but you can.
Please. I’m so sorry.
P.S. Don’t try to call me, I left my phone on the desk.
I stumble, grabbing for the edge of the desk with my free hand, able to keep myself up just long enough to slowly lower myself to the ground.
I can’t believe this. I can’t believe she’d do this. I look at Seb, at my beautiful nephew, and tears start streaming down my cheeks. It hurts, not just for me, but for Seb, for this beautiful little boy who hasn’t done anything wrong.
No, no, no.
Hailey left. It must have been in the middle of the night because I didn’t hear anything. But she’s gone.
And I’m here with Seb.
Seb starts to softly cry again and I push myself up. “You don’t care that your mum’s gone yet, you just want a bottle. Let’s do that first then.” I stumble for a few steps, not fully grasping what’s gone on yet, how much more different my life will be now.
But I make my way to the kitchen, putting Seb in his little seat and then start making his formula. I can’t stop the tears, but this has become enough of a second nature in the last three and a half months that I can do this automatically.
I go back to the dining room table and take Seb out of his seat again, holding him in my arms as I give him the bottle. His eyes focus on me, grasping a little at me as he drinks.
How can she leave him? He’s such a cute kid, he’s been nothing but good since he was born.
From the corner of my eyes I see the time on my laptop and realise that no matter what I’m going to do, I need to do it soon, or I won’t be able to get to work on time.
Sure, I don’t have to get to an actual office, but they still want me to check in on time each morning and I generally tend to do that at a cafe. Fuck.
I text Hailey, asking where she is, but then I hear the message arrive on her phone in her room.
I sit up straighter. I can’t just take the day off. If Hailey’s really gone, I’m going to need that income, no matter what. I try to figure out my other options, but they are severely limited.
I can’t call our parents.
If Hailey’s really gone, I don’t want them to know yet, I don’t want them to look at me with eyes that tell me that I got myself into this situation by helping out my little sister.
But if she changes her mind and comes back in a day or two, I also don’t want them to know that she’s been gone… She just turned eighteen, she’s had to give up her school, her friends, her whole life and now has to take care of a baby and work for thirty hours a week on top of that.
I can understand that she may need a few days to herself. So, they’re out. Any of our other siblings isn’t going to work either since they’re all living at home or are away at college.
My other option is an Omega I’m friends with, Sterling, and his mate, Wilder. They’ve been helping us a lot since the whole mess around Hailey’s pregnancy kicked off, but I know that they can’t help me right now.
The end of April is a hard enough time for them with the first anniversary of their Alpha’s death, without me pushing my problems onto them too. Especially problems that are so insignificant in comparison to theirs. So, they’re out too.
Which means I’ll have to deal with this on my own first.
I stand up and take Seb in my arms. “Well, I guess we should get ready to leave for work then… Right? Let’s get a move on.”
If I’m going to get us both showered and dressed and ready, I’m going to have to hurry up, because normally Hailey and I do this together, and today… I’m on my own.
On my own…
How did I get into this situation?
Why did Hailey leave? Why couldn’t she do this anymore?
I wish she’d talked to me, let me help her. But I guess that me helping her was part of the issue to begin with…
I fight against the cold April weather, which, of course, decided to be severely windy and let me walk straight into it the whole way to the cafe.
My bag with my laptop around my shoulder keeps getting caught by the wind but luckily I was able to get Seb all warm and cosy in his stroller.
It’s not far to the cafe where I work every morning. When Wilder got me this job back at the start of February, I tried working from home for a week or two, before I realised that that wasn’t going to work out.
So I looked around and found a work cafe decently close to home. It’s specially designed for people to work at for a few hours a day. With tables that easily hold a laptop and a cup of coffee or tea and enough plugs everywhere to charge all the laptops, plus, the internet is pretty quick.
The first few days I went on my own, but with Hailey also trying to find work and having odd shifts, I started taking Seb with me and he seemed to actually enjoy that a lot.
There were sounds and movements all around him, but it was quiet enough for him to also sleep. And I wasn’t the only one there with a kid, especially not a young kid. But, the very best thing about it, it totally saved on childcare costs.
I push against the doors and someone helps me open them so I can drag the stroller inside. Quite a lot of the tables are filled, but I see that one of my favourite spots, near the window but a little out of sight, is still empty.
I quickly make my way to it and slide into the booth, dropping my bag next to me.
Then I first unpack myself, taking off my jacket and getting comfortable, before I get Seb out of his seat, undo him of all the warm clothes and put him back in, angling the seat so he can sit comfortably but still see me.
I unpack my laptop and put it on the table. Then I grab my mouse from the bag and as my fingers fumble for a moment, I drop it. As I’m reaching down to pick it up, I push over my bag and everything tumbles onto the floor under the table, going all different directions.
I take a deep breath and slide down to get my things, getting more and more frustrated by the moment.
Not having my day…
When I’ve finally got everything back, I sit back up in the booth and put the bag next to my feet, hoping I won’t kick it over if it’s closer to the floor. I’m ready for today to start looking a little better, like, really ready for it now.
Next to me, Seb starts fussing a little and I take him in my arms, rocking him. “Hey, little man, what’s wrong?”
He looks up at me and his lower lip starts to wobble before he starts wailing, the loud wail of a very unhappy little three-month-old.
“Shh, shh. It’s okay. Everything is okay.” I pull the bag back onto the booth and start looking through it. I’m sure I packed a pacifier this morning, but no matter how much I look, I can’t find it.
“Shhh. Please. We’re all a little off today, baby. Mummy left and I don’t know how I’m going to manage this all yet. Please, just… Can you give me one moment? Just a few minutes?”
I dig around in the bag again, but it’s really not there. It’s not in the bag. I look around under the table as best as I can, but I can’t find anything there either.
I can’t believe I forgot it.
This can’t be true.
In my arms, Seb is still crying and I try the next best thing, seeing if he’ll take my pinky instead, anything to make him stop for a moment, give me a moment to think.
It’s not the end of the world. This can be solved pretty easily. I try to catch the eyes of one of the people working here and the manager comes over.
“Can I get a tea and a pacifier?” I reach into my bag, taking out my wallet, only to come up empty-handed once again.
No. No, no no.
“Just a moment.” I look down into the bag, moving a few things. But, like the pacifier, it’s not there and I’m about ready to give up.
“Sorry, I can’t…” I’m about ready to join Seb in the crying in the middle of the cafe. “I…”
“I’ll be right back with them.” He smiles and turns around.
“I don’t have my wallet, or my card.” I’m able to finally say.
The manager turns back to me, his eyes soft. “Don’t worry about that. We’ll solve that tomorrow. You come here all the time and being a parent can’t always be the easiest thing.” He walks to the back of the store and my eyes follow him, filling with tears I’m trying to hold back.
I’m not supposed to cry over the kindness of others.
But I’m really seconds away from crying now.
I feel like such a failure. Not being able to take care of myself. Not being able to properly run my life…
And Hailey left little Seb with me?