“The most beautiful moments always seemed to accelerate and slip beyond one’s grasp just when you want to hold onto them for as long as possible.”

“Open the envelope then stupid.” Lottie scowled, practically seconds away from bursting. We were all sat round Mark’s and Nate’s awaiting Neelah to open the paternity test results. I had told Lottie about a week ago and her reaction was calm but the hurt was present visibly. She stayed silent for a few minutes so I took my chance to explain. She asked me over and over if Nate knew but as far as I was concerned he didn’t. Joe did though, however, we weren’t together anymore. It shouldn’t have mattered but it did, I sympathised with Lottie. After about thirty minutes when it had properly sunk in we talked about it and she told me she would accept Aiden if he was Nate’s son. Of course she was mad that Nate hadn’t told her that he was ever with Neelah but I know she wouldn’t let that put her relationship in jeopardy and basically push him in to Neelah’s arms. After Lottie had found out and she had told Nate, who was just as surprised. We told the rest of the group and here we are. Me avoiding Joe’s every little glance, Lottie squeezing Nate’s hand and Gabby and Mark sat in the corner awkwardly. Neelah was sat in the centre with the brown envelope with the answers to all of our questions. We were all getting a little restless and to Neelah, this seemed like a massive joke. Gabby seemed a little weird too, hopefully Mark didn’t have a baby child lurking in the dark too. She was shooting death glares at Joe for some reason but I put it down to him being a son of a bitch.

Finally, she teared open the envelope and pulled out the results. Her face remained neutral and it wasn’t until I snatched the paper from her hand that we got the answer that we were waiting for, not specifically what all of us wanted but it was something, it had to be. I read the name over and over just to make sure I was right before I told the rest of them.

“You’ve got a son Nate.” I said, although it came out more of a whisper than I eThe first thing Nate did was look at Lottie, the same as we all did. Her frown soon turned to a smile as she looked at Nate and placed her hands on his face, looking him in the eye.

“You’re going to be an amazing father; I will be there for you every step of the way. Right now, don’t worry about me, you have five years’ worth of parenting to make up for.” Lottie smiled, kissing Nate on the lips and pulling back. Neelah looked at Nate and Lottie with hatred, especially Lottie.

“I think we should leave you guys to talk, we’ll be in the kitchen.” Gabby said, giving me and Joe a look. All four of us got up and walked outside. I shot Lottie a weak smile and followed the rest of them out. Joe looked upset in a way I hadn’t seen him before, weak and vulnerable. I hadn’t realised first but I could sense tension between me and Gabby. She was keeping her distance and only talking to me when she had to. I reminded myself I had to talk to her later but right now Joe was the person taking up the majority of my thoughts. I pulled him to the bar and jumped up on to one of the stools sitting opposite Joe. He looked surprised I was even talking to him but I pushed it to the back of my mind and took his hand in mine.

“Are you ok Joe?” I asked.

“Shocked, disappointed in a way, you know? Let down, regretful. It’s funny Aana because I gave you up for a child that’s not even mine, more of an idea of someone being mine, having someone I can love unconditionally. In that moment, I had to choose between two people I loved so much that it was the biggest decision and whatever I chose would change the way everything would work in the future. I had to choose between the girl of my dreams, the girl I loved to infinity, the girl who made me happy, made me smile and laugh, the girl who would lay in my arms but fanaticise about Robert Downey Junior and Chris Evans. Then there was the little boy who I also loved, the boy who I made, who was a part of me that I couldn’t ignore. Of course there was always that question of it being someone else’s but the way he looks at me with such sincerity and the way he plays and smiles. How could I deny a five year old my love when I’m the reason he’s here. I didn’t have the best childhood growing up Aana, I know what it’s like to have a dad who didn’t care, I would never wish that on anyone else and even if that meant giving up the girl who would forever be in my heart, I knew that was the decision I had to make. I know I am not the strongest person, no matter what I show to other people, I’m still weak. I couldn’t bare if I was to lose my son because I confronted Neelah. I didn’t know what she would do if I asked custody, I didn’t know how she would react. I didn’t know whether she would take him away one day. I didn’t know if one day, I would stand in the playground waiting for my little boy with my arms wide open but nothing would come to fill them. I couldn’t lose that Aana. I need you to understand that. But now it changes everything, Aiden isn’t mine. He’s Nate’s. I feel like a piece of me is missing like something’s been taken from me that wasn’t really mine in the first place. I hope that one day I can have a son, who’s mine and that will love me like he did and I can love like I love Aiden.” Joe cried.

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