Foolish Choices

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Part one –Maria and Ewan–

Maria and Ewan O'Leary had never given much thought on the matter of having children right after they were married, though Ewan had mentioned that he did in fact want children in the future; they were young and just wanted to party and have fun with their friends. Irish Travelers by birth, they were the kind of people who gave Travelers a bad name; irresponsible and bawdy party goers.
No, the newlyweds didn't plan on Maria's becoming pregnant not one month after their union, but Ewan welcomed it regardless while Maria was quite unsure. It was a blessing, their families and friends declared, and should be treated as such – but for the first three months of her pregnancy, Maria acted like nothing was different, like she could still go out and party, drink all of the booze she wanted – though her community frowned upon it, she didn't much care – and maybe smoke a few cigarettes. She figured if she didn't do it every day, it wouldn't hurt the parasite growing inside of her.
This was much to Ewan's dismay, of course. He had decided that if he was going to be a father, he'd have to stop his foolish behaviour. He wanted nothing more than to be a father. It was what he was raised to want, and what Maria had been raised to want too – only she didn't really want to be the perfect wife and the perfect mother like her own family had drilled into her head.
But still, by all accounts, Maria was a very good homemaker. She kept the place clean for Ewan coming home from work, and always had dinner on the table. Maria enjoyed none of it; not really, though she loved Ewan in that mad way you do when it's the love of your life – unflinching and devotionally. She knew that though she didn't enjoy the domestic chores she had to endure, that Ewan appreciated them, and her, in turn.
But then, one cold night, dreary, rainy and windy as it was, she felt the baby move for the first time. Earlier that night, she'd been out partying with her friends as usual but had felt sick and gone home to her and Ewan's caravan to take a nice warm bath. He'd filled the tub for her upon her arrival home, and had left her to her bathing, as she wanted to relax alone.
Maria hadn't had much to drink, only one shot of...well she wasn't sure what it was, exactly, only that it had tasted like utter shite. By the time she'd gotten home and into her bath, she was completely and utterly exhausted.
Fucking pregnancy, she thought. It drains you.
When she looked down at her slightly protruding belly though, something shifted in her mind. She had never noticed how big it was getting. She studied its shape, and the dark hair trailing down from her belly button, which used to be a soft blonde.
And then she felt it move.
Maria suddenly felt, like a slap in the face, how stupid she had been acting. She felt a rush of maternal love for what she'd up until that second thought was a burden. This undeveloped...thing – she still had a hard time thinking of it as a baby when the ultrasound had showed her a blob hat looked nothing like what a baby should resemble... was going hers and Ewan's child.
Her blue eyes filled up with tears and she silently promised that she would do better for her baby. When Ewan came into the room to check up on her he found Maria crying with her hands on her stomach, silently trying to communicate with a God she didn't fully believe in.
"Love," he said, "everything will turn out as it should be. You'll see."
In truth, he was afraid to be a father as well. He'd not been prepared at all for this. His own father had died when he was only three months old, and his mum had raised him herself with his five other siblings. She'd never taken on another husband. She was a fine seamstress and knitter, and made all of his clothing herself, never having to buy a shirt for him or a dress for his five sisters in her life. This was how she made her living.
Ewan didn't know how to be a dad; he barely knew how to be a husband. He'd partied all through his teen years, and he'd always known Maria would be the girl he'd marry since the day they met at just eight years of age. Her parents were toy makers, carving amazing things for children out of wood. For Ewan, it was love at first site. Maria had long black hair and striking blue eyes, and her skin was a lovely olive tone. He felt rather plain with his dirty mop of blond curly hair and boring brown eyes.
Ewan had picked her a flower, the roots still hanging off and everything – and Maria had stomped on his toes, insisting that she deserve a much better gift than that.
Ten years after they met, he proposed with a flower that had the roots still hanging off of it, and of course Maria said yes.
It was a no brainer.
When she became pregnant he was all at once ecstatic and horrified. But that night, when he found her crying in the tub, apologising over and over again about her terrible behaviour and attitude about the pregnancy, he finally felt like though he was afraid, that they could do it. They could have a baby together.

Foolish Choices - Book 0.5 pt.2 of The Khiara Banning SeriesWhere stories live. Discover now