Chapter 2 - You Were Always On My Mind

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Bianca and I talked until Finn woke up from his nap

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Bianca and I talked until Finn woke up from his nap. She told me more about her life, about her growing up, and how lovely her adoptive parents, Irene and Mark, were, and how they'd been completely supportive of her looking into her birth family. She had a brother and sister, Christopher and Ivy, who were twins, and who she was close with. Ivy lived in London, over in New Cross, and that's who she was staying with. They were a family of teachers, and Bianca herself was going to start training to be a teacher once Finn was old enough to start school full time. She was engaged to Finn's father, Ellis, and they'd been together since school.

As she spoke, we sat together on the sofa and held each other's hand. My grandmother's letter stayed on my knee unopened, wanting to keep it for when I was alone, and I struggled to believe the whole scenario was actually happening. Bianca talked, and I hoped I didn't look like I was a weirdo as I studied her face. I could see there were traces of the baby I'd known, the one who visited my nightmares to repeatedly beg me to do something. I didn't want to talk about that day with her just yet, but I knew we would eventually. That conversation would come, and it would be painful for both of us.

Finn slept for an hour, then woke up a little confused at being in an unfamiliar place with unfamiliar faces. At first, he was shy and quiet, his big, brown eyes peeking out at us from behind Bianca's elbow as she encouraged him to say hello. Then, just as she'd warned us, he wanted to explore and signalled to her that he wanted to go down onto the floor, before crawling over to climb up onto Rose's lap.

"You don't mind if I keep him, do you?" Rose chuckled, visibly melting over having been chosen for his attention. She glanced up at Dee, who was just as heart eyed and ready to leg it with my nephew. "You distract them, and I'll make a run for the door."

Bianca let out a laugh -an exhausted mother's laugh - and shook her head, "Please do! I don't think I've slept a full six hours in two years, so by all means. I would want him back eventually, though."

What struck me as we sat in my living room was that everything was so strangely... normal. When Finn started to complain about being hungry, I cooked some tinned spaghetti on toast, then we all sat in the kitchen together while Bianca fed him. The four of us talked like we were all old friends, Bianca had a typical Liverpudlian sense of humour that was quick and witty, and she was so entertaining and intelligent. I was thoroughly fascinated by her. It didn't feel like we hadn't grown up together, and in all actuality, I instantly felt bonded to her. I hoped she felt the same for me too.

Her life had been a good one, and that radiated off her. She'd had what I'd wanted for her the day I told all the worried adults - who thought we'd be inseparable after such a traumatic time - that I didn't want her to be with me. It had been agony to push her away when I'd spent so long promising to always keep her safe, but I had wanted her to have a safe and happy life that wasn't tainted by me or Paula. As I watched and listened to her talking and joking with a smile that was free and happy, it made the agony worthwhile. She could hate me if she wanted to when I told her everything, but I had made the right decision for her.

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