No More Secrets
Catherine was having plenty of bed rest, too much bed rest in her opinion, but she had little choice. She was in the final stages of her pregnancy and she felt too large, too lumpy and too heavy.
The bed bell sounded and she put down her book, straightened her covers and waited while Kipper answered and brought in the visitor.
"Cathy," greeted Joe coming over and looking a little awkward. "You look er, blooming."
"Big, you mean."
"Well, yes, I suppose." He looked uncomfortable as he pulled up a chair and set the flowers he had bought at the last minute on the tall boy.
"Itís all right, Iím not offended. I am big, very big in fact."
"Hmm," he grunted. "Everyone sends their regards."
"So, hmm." He ran his finger around his collar
"I know," she said.
He looked up with surprise, "You know what?"
"I looked in the mirror yesterday and it didnít look like me."
"Well," he said wriggling on the chair slightly. "You are a bit bigger than I thought you would be."
"Joe, Iím grotesque."
"I wouldnít go that far."
"I was a stranger in the mirror."
"Do big babies run in your family?"
"Not that I know of."
"Then itís in his."
"The son of a bitch who got you pregnant."
"Well, he deserted you, where is he now, then?" he said a little vehemently.
"Heís still around."
"Then why didnít he go to your hospital appointments? Whyíd you have to do everything alone? What kind of man does that?"
"He.. wellÖ itís difficult."
"Huh, it wasnít difficult for him to get you pregnant."
"Iím sorry. I know itís none of my goddamn business. Itís just, Iím worried about you."
"Thank you thatís sweet of you, but Iím all right. I am getting looked after."
"Yes, but not by the person who did this to you."
Catherine felt uncomfortable, Joe was her good friend as well as her colleague and she didnít like keeping secrets from him.
"There are reasons that I canít go in to, but I promise you the babyís father is taking care of me and spends a lot of time with me."
"Heís back on the scene then is he?"
"He never went anywhere."
"There is something fishy about him. Iíve never seen you out with him. No one at the office has seen him. Does he really exist, Cathy?" His eyes went tender. "You know Iíd never judge you. You donít have to hide anything from me."
Catherine looked down at her entwined fingers that rested on her huge lump. "Some things are not easy to talk about and some things I canít."
"I understand," he said getting to his feet. "You know where I am if you need anything."
She nodded and wished she could say more. Joe looked at her from the door as if he expected her to call him back and explain. She knew whatever he was thinking he was wrong.
"Youíll come and see me again, wonít you?"
"Yes," he said and she thanked him for the flowers.
Joe didnít think he would come back, not before the baby was born, anyhow. So it was almost a surprise to him to find himself standing on Catherine doorstep waiting for someone to answer. He was just about to leave again when the door opened and Catherine stood there with a look of surprise.
"Joe," she greeted with a tired smile.
"Iím sorry; I hope Iím not disturbing you."
"No of course not, come in."
He followed her slowly up the wall to the sitting room. She was finding it hard to move about.
"Youíre not expecting twins, are you?" he asked.
"No," she said with her warm laugh.
"Just as well, my brother has twin daughters and what a handful they are, easier now they are older, but every age brings something new."
"Wonít you sit down?"
"Cathy, Iíll be blunt. I know you are a proud woman but after our last conversation, I couldnít get you out of my mind. Being here on your own in your condition, what if something happens?"
She chuckled. "Iím not on my own."
He looked around, "Sure looks that way to me, even the kid who let me in last time isnít here."
"Catherine isnít on her own," said a voice from behind and Joe spun round in his chair. He could just make out a shadowy figure.
"Iím sorry," getting to his feet quickly. "I didnít know you had company."
"Joe, its okay. I want you to meet Vincent."
The figure stepped out of the shadows and Joe found he had lost his voice. The big man in the strange clothes took down his hood to reveal a blond mane of hair. His features were different but his eyes were those of a man, an intelligent man.
"You donít need to be afraid," he said in a deep soothing voice.
"You remember when I was attacked and I went missing?" said Catherine.
Joe nodded, but didnít take his eyes from the big man.
"It was Vincent who found me and cared for me. Weíve been together ever since."
"I love Catherine and she loves me. Weíre aware that are relationship is different and not everyone would understand."
"But howÖ?" Joe was struggling with what he was seeing and associating this man with Cathy. He knew there was something, but he could never understand what it was she was keeping a secret.
"I have been called a freak of nature, but I can assure you I am a man. Iíve lived most of my life in secret, but I have people around me who love and care for me as I do them. I prefer to stay on the fringes of your world and I see things through Catherineís eyes."
"I donítí know what to say."
"Say that you will have dinner with us, we can talk about the Governor and the political conflict that heís causing. I believe you have strong views on it."
Joe saw the twinkle in the big manís eyes. "Yes," said Joe. "Iíd be interested in someone elseís view of affair."
Catherine smiled, as last, no more secrets.