Journal 19: The Weight Of The World

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Nicole was such a nice, sweet girl when I first met her. She was the kind of person who didn't know how to be unhappy. I was fond of her right away and at that time, I saw no harm in seeing if there was more about her to like but Francis, as competitive as ever, pushed his way ahead and swept her off her feet. Too bad he was really just a ninety-day prince charming. Worse, Nicole had already fallen for his charms long before they lost their shiny veneer. I don't know if he'd even loved her then. What I do know is that in the short time they were together, Nicole stopped being happy.

When she came to tell me about her pregnancy, I knew, before she could even tell me exactly how Francis felt about that development, that she was only there because she had no one else to turn to. So no, while I can't confirm, I don't think Francis loved her at all. He could't possibly do so when he only loves himself and the grand life he'd planned—the kind where his reckless actions bore no consequences and things just happened at the snap of his fingers. He saw Nicole and their unborn child as nothing more than a drag that'll hold him back. Which is why he'd so callously suggested she get rid of the problem.

Sure, unwanted pregnancies pose many problems but the child isn't one. Others can disagree with me on this, and that's fine, but I think that just like each one of us, the child doesn't get a choice to be born—or choose which family to be born into. It's hardly fair to make it suffer a fate it had no hand in making just so the adults can go off scot-free, barely held back by any kind of recriminations to possibly just repeat the mistake in the near future. And yes, both Francis and Nicole were on this together. It takes two to tango, after all. I would've respected their decision, and I'd rather not know if their choice isn't the one I would make if it were me, but it's still something they should've both worked on. One person doesn't get to just kick someone to the curb because playtime is over and real adult life is now back on.

Not only did Francis not own up to his share of the blame, he just decided to be rid of Nicole completely and leave her to fate. Suddenly, my plan to distance her from my cousin—got her a nice house and a small help staff to see to her comfort—didn't seem too much at that time. There was absolutely nothing that Francis would've done for her. Not even put a roof on her head. I had to hunt her down in that shelter in the middle of an arctic winter where she was going to spend the night cold, hungry, hurt and very pregnant.

I had enough of Francis's treatment of a woman who deserved none of his hostility, mistake or not. He wasn't going to man up but someone had to for the child and its lost and lonely young mother. I would want someone to do the same for my sisters if they ever find themselves in a situation like that. My mother and Evelyn would set me a place in hell if I, too, abandoned a woman like that. My father would send me there in short order.

So just as you would save someone from a spreading infection by amputating the bad limb, I cut Francis out of Nicole's life for good. I sent Francis packing to London and did what I could to keep Nicole on low profile until she could move somewhere else to start a new life with the baby. I saw Zach on the day he was born, all small and wrinkly and completely helpless, and I swore then and there that he would live his life in peace. He wouldn't know his father but then he also wouldn't know the contempt a parent should never feel for his child for his inconvenient arrival. I only know of loving parents. I wouldn't accept the alternative for any child if there was another choice. Thinking about it now, this is probably another reason that infuriated me about Charlotte's childhood. She'd known nothing but the alternative.

And just when I thought Nicole and Zach were safely living new lives in Vermont, Francis started to rattle in his cage, demanding information about them that he felt only he had the right to.

He had the right to nothing but the foot he deserved in the mouth for his nerve. Nerve to go hot and cold on his very serious responsibilities. Nerve to walk away without a care in the world but always with the option to change his mind about it. Nerve to be angry that someone stepped in to clean up after him and that someone had to be me. Never sure exactly of how far he would go to just spite me—because I don't think there's any other reason he would want Nicole and Zach now other than to just trip me up in my efforts to protect them—I took all measures possible to ensure they were as far from his reach as possible.

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