4 - The Day I Became Patrice Forrester

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4 – The Day I Became Patrice Forrester

My wish would come true only a few months after Marcus had started dating my mom. They told me the happy news that they would get married at the same time they announced I would become a big sister. The latter scared me, uncertain if I wanted to share my new dad with a sibling. Back then, I didn't realize that the baby was not only the reason for the rushed nuptials, but also a constant point of contention between them.

I felt guilty about my jealousy and began to withdraw, afraid Marcus and my mom could sense my reluctance and get angry at me. Surprisingly, Marcus was the one who noticed the change in me first, my own mother more concerned with her pregnancy than with me.

"Is everything okay with you, Patrice?" he asked one morning during breakfast when we were staying over at his condo. My mom was still asleep.

"Yeah, I'm fine." I was unable to hold his gaze, my cheeks burning from the lie.

"I can tell something is bothering you." He propped his head up on the back of his hands. "Come on. Spill it, kid."

I studied him as he regarded me with a smile. There was no way I could fool him. "I'm scared that when the baby is born, you don't need me anymore." Tears welled in my eyes as the last words spilled from my mouth.

The smile vanished as both of his hands tucked around mine. "That'll never happen, Patrice. I love you just like I'll do my own child."

I dropped my gaze, wanting to believe him.

"As a matter of fact, your mom and I already discussed this. How would you like it if I adopted you?"

I blinked at him through my tears. "What does that mean?"

"It means that legally, you're just like your new sister or brother. You'll even have the same last name."

My forehead wrinkled. "You can do that?"

"Yes, Patrice." His smile was back. "It'll take a few months if your real daddy doesn't agree, but I promise you, I'll get it done."

It sounded like a brilliant idea and my sullen mood was lifted.

The wedding was only a few weeks later. I had always pictured my mom getting married in a white dress in a big church and was stunned when she only wore a plain linen dress that didn't hide her baby bump. Instead of a church, we went to the courthouse.

"Why aren't we in a church?" I asked Marcus when my mom took one of her many bathroom breaks.

"Big weddings cost money and both your mom and I decided we'd rather buy a new house when the baby is born." He straightened the collar of my new pink dress. "Besides, I'm an atheist. It wouldn't be appropriate."

"What's an atheist?"

"Someone who doesn't believe in religions."

"You don't believe in God?" I had heard anyone so openly denouncing the father in heaven. My mom had always said that God was an important part of our lives.

"No, Patrice, I don't." He chuckled when my jaw dropped. "Don't look so shocked. A lot of people only run to church for show, but deep down, they know it's just a bunch of bull. I mean, look at this place"—his hands swooped around the courtroom where we were waiting—"Why would God allow all this violence and misery? Shouldn't he take care of us and make sure people follow his laws and don't hurt each other."

Patrice's Story (A "Living With The Choices We Make" Novella) ✔️Where stories live. Discover now