Friday Fiction #2: Althea

I’m participating in a fiction challenge. Every Friday this month, I and several other bloggers are posting fiction based on the same prompt. Welcome to installment number two. Here is a link to last week’s post in case you missed it.

“There are things you can replace and others you can not. The time has come to weigh those things.”
There was a knock at the door. “Just a minute!” Althea said as she turned down the television. She was busy coloring with her daughter at the kitchen table and the Disney Channel was on in the background. They were having girl time. She had a lot of studying to do for finals next week, but it was important to her that she spend some quality time with her daughter. It’s hard to find moments like that when you are a teen mom working on your education.
She expected it a package delivery since it was almost Christmas. Almost every day that week, more and more packages arrived. When she opened up the door and saw the soldier in uniform holding a bouquet of stargazer lilies, her favorite, her jaw dropped. Her stomach sank like that feeling when you are on a roller coaster just going over the top of a hill and it starts to plunge downward. Their eyes met as she took it all in and didn’t know what to say.
“Steven. What are you doing here?” finally fell off her lips.
“Althea, I’m sorry. Please listen to me. I know you’re mad at me, and I deserve it. I just got back from Afghanistan, and I need to talk to you.” he explained as he offered her the bouquet. “I brought your favorite flowers. I’m so sorry about everything. Can we please talk?”
LILIACEAE 百合科 - Stargazer Lily 'Tiber' (Lilium...

LILIACEAE 百合科 – Stargazer Lily ‘Tiber’ (Lilium orientalis) 火百合 (Photo credit: kaiyanwong223)

“I’m so surprised to see you.” She replied, feeling a flurry of mixed emotions. He left her when she needed him most. He was her first love, and she got pregnant not long after the first time they decided to have sex. She was only sixteen, and he was seventeen at the time.
“I thought you didn’t want to have anything to do with me, with us. Last time we spoke you told me to get an abortion. You left me here alone. Now you just show up on my doorstep and expect me to listen to you?” she answered incredulously.
“Althea please. I’m feeling lost. I’ve been lacking direction. When I found out you were pregnant, that was right after my mom’s accident. I lost my little sister and brother and couldn’t deal with anything. My parents were fighting and talking about divorce. We were so young” his voice broke and his gaze fell into the bouquet “these are for you; please take them.” He handed her the flowers, and inside she felt her heart soften. He was surprised to see her as a mother. She looked as beautiful as ever but more mature and self-assured.
The fragrance brought back memories from when he used to bring her flowers when he picked her up for dates. “Mommy, are you coming back? I need help with my crayon.” a little voice called from the kitchen.
“Is that her?” he asked as his eyes opened hopefully. He never met her, but mutual high school friends wrote to him while he was away in the military and told him Althea had given birth to a healthy baby girl and was still living at home with her parents. They provided for her and supported her throughout the pregnancy and subsequent years after the birth.
“Yes honey, just a minute.” Althea felt flustered and didn’t know what to do. She stepped out on the front step and shut the door. “What do you want me to say?” she inquired. “I can’t believe you are here. I have a life you know. I’m going to school and taking care of this child. It’s been really hard.” She felt a lump in her throat and fought back the urge to cry.
“I want you to give me another chance. I’ve been thinking a lot, and I never forgot the love we had. I never forgot about you…or her…I just was self-centered to the extreme. I’m sorry, and I am here for you both now. I’ve been to hell and back. I’ve lost friends in combat. I’ve lost the only family I knew. Since the accident, nothing has been the same. My parents are still in therapy. I’ve realized that there are things that can be replaced and some things that can not. I love you Althea. I need you. I’m her father. Little girls need their fathers. I can’t change the past, and I know I’ve missed out on her life so far. Please can we try to start over?”
“Okay, yes.” She cried on his shoulder as he hugged her. “I’ve missed you so much.” She didn’t want to let go of him again.
“I’ve missed you too. Thank you for giving me another chance.” He kissed her and held her tight.
“Come inside and meet your daughter.” Those were words she never expected to say. She couldn’t help but feel sympathetic for him after everything he had been through, and she hoped all along he would change his mind. He needed time to reach that point on his own. She gave him space, and he came back to her on his own.
Thank you for reading this entry. Peace out.
Here is the prompt!
Years later, the character’s first love shows up on his or her doorstep again. Both your character and his/her first love are surprised at how the other person has changed (How?) This encounter causes a disruption in your character’s life (How? What does your character do about it?) Write the story.
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35 comments on “Friday Fiction #2: Althea

  1. Pingback: Fiction Friday #2 — Years Later: Garret Sees Cynthia « Grass Oil by Molly Field

    • It’s a complicated and stressful situation. Glad to hear that her conflicting feelings came through the writing. And happy to be with this group!

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