“I just want to say thanks again for bringing me out.”
Juniper smiled at Lukas as she said this. The two of them had spend the day together, mostly just to know each other better and because he wanted her to feel slightly more involved when it comes to decorating the nursery and buying things for the baby. That and the two of them got manicures in a very open place (he made sure to check it out and check it was safe before they went there).
“It’s okay, I really enjoy spending time with you Jen.” Lukas smiled back at her, the two of them sitting down at the table.
“I like spending time with you too.” She smiled in return. “I especially needed it today. Nick took the girls to an ice skating rink for a daddy daughters day, and between that making me feel slightly nervous and nesting instincts…” Shaking her head at herself, she smiled slightly sheepishly. “I guess I’m just glad to get out of the house, and I know the girls are too.” Because it was getting closer to her due date, she mostly wanted to stay at home and so did Nick, meaning that Roisin and Lainey had to suffer and couldn’t do many fun things.
“I feel kind of the same way, happy to get out of the house. I wanted to get a few last minute things for the baby, I know what you’re about to say and don’t.” He warned, teasingly.
“I’m not going to say anything, especially nothing about you already spoiling the baby before it’s even born.” Joking, Juniper grinned at him. Even though she’d never admit it, it made her happy to think that the baby was going to get everything he or she wanted and more.
“You’re starting to sound like my husband now.” He accused jokingly and then stood. “What do you want me to get for you?”
“Probably just a hot chocolate, something to keep me warm and make sure my hands don’t fall off.” She laughed a little. It was always so cold in the city during winter months, but she kind of liked it. “And that cake in particular has been calling out to me.”
“Do you want the normal hot chocolate or the one with all the cream and marshmallows and stuff?” He asked.
Shrugging, she grinned. “That depends.”
“On whether you think me giving you a child in the next week-ish is worth splashing out and getting me the fancy one.” Grinning at him, she responded cheekily.
Giving a single laugh, he grinned back at her. “Alright, the special one it is then.”
As Lukas went to get their orders, Juniper found herself having a moment of peace. She couldn’t really remember the last time she wasn’t talking to someone or had someone around. Nick was watching the girls which was nice for her. Even though she loved them both indescribably, she needed time away sometimes. That and she liked spending time with Lukas. He was really nice, and she knew both he and Anthony would be good with the baby. It made her happy to know that her baby was going to good people.
She had a feeling that the two of them were getting suspicious of her; thinking that she found out the gender without them as she kept picking out pink things whenever they asked if she wanted to find things for the baby (Anthony was the one who pointed it out), it wasn’t her fault she had seen them with a daughter.
She didn’t quite know how to feel at that thought: she was having a girl. She preferred not to think about it too deeply.
As the door opened, she looked up instinctively and felt herself go cold at what she saw. It was a kind of sudden coldness, also feeling an inability to move as to what she saw.
With another woman, one who seemed similar to herself.
As she locked eyes with him from across the cafe, she saw him look her up and down, a displeased look on his face.
Without thinking about it, her arm went over her bump, almost defensively as she returned by glaring at him. If she was in any other state, she’d go over and confront him and the new girl he was with, but at this moment, she took advantage of the power of her glare, feeling slightly confident in the fact that she didn’t do as he suggested, and that she could make two deserving people happy with the choice that she made, rather than keep someone like him happy.
Juniper noticed out of the corner of her eyes that his new trophy was looking between her and him, but she kept the glare at Daniel, and simply raised an eyebrow at him. Her expression was telling him to leave and not look back, and she was proud of herself as he snarled at her and left.
She felt proud that she got her way, without causing a massive scene.
Lukas saw Jennifer glaring at some random man by the door, some guy and a woman about half his age. He couldn’t help but wonder what was going on, mostly because of the very intense glare she was giving him. After it was seemingly over he sat down with their drinks and her muffin. “Who was that guy?” He asked, curious. Whoever it was, she must have some beef with him.
“You saw that?” She asked, slightly worried. She didn’t want him getting the wrong impression, that even though she was nice (well as nice as she usually was) with them that she was secretly a bitch.
“I only saw because I was paying attention to you, no one else was paying too close attention I don’t think.” He assured her before following up with. “Do you know him from somewhere?” As he took a drink, part of him was intrigued to what she was going to say.
“I guess you could say that I know him from somewhere.” She mumbled and then clarified. “He’s the baby’s dad.”
Choking slightly on his drink, Lukas wasn’t expecting that answer. “What? S-So he’s the guy…” Trailing off, he put his drink back down on the table.
“Yep.” Juniper answered, sighing slightly. “He’s the guy who gave me a cheque and pushed me towards getting an abortion.” She put rather bluntly, shaking her head slightly. “I’ve not seen him since I first told him. I guess it’s just… I dunno.” She changed the ending of that sentence part way, not wanting to have a teary feelings session in the middle of a cafe.
“Hey.” Noticing that she seemed close to tears, he put his hand over hers in a comforting manner. “You shouldn’t let someone like him get to you. He’s just one guy, one insignificant guy who doesn’t know a good thing when he’s got one. You’re funny, smart, pretty, selfless, you’ve got great nails.” He joked with the last one, and was happy to get a laugh out of her. “For every guy like him, there’s a different guy, one who’ll be there for you.”
Narrowing her eyes at him, she asked. “Are we doing this again?”
“Doing what?” Lukas asked innocently, drinking some of his coffee.
“This thing you’ve got with me and Nick.” She pointed out.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Shrugging innocently, he then grinned at her.
“Yes you do, I swear, you’re the worst. I swear, it’s like the moment you met the two of us and found out we weren’t dating you’ve been dropping so many hints.” She laughed and then shook her head. “There’s nothing going on between us, I’m kind of preoccupied with the fallout from my last breakup anyway.”
“You say that now but I give it a year.” He gave his prediction, and continued with. “I wasn’t at first, I kinda thought he was playing for our team if you get what I mean, but then I saw the looks.”
“What looks?” She asked him, drinking some of her hot chocolate.
“See, you don’t see it because you take part in it. The way he looks at you and the way you look back at him… You can’t honestly tell me that nothing’s going on there.”
“Lukas, sweetie, I know this may be hard for you to hear but nothing is going on. Nothing.” She assured him, smiling slightly as she did so. “We’re just friends.”
“Okay, okay.” He agreed verbally, but he knew that there was something more between them, even if she refused to admit it.
“I’m home.” Juniper called as she walked back into the flat, she figured Nick was probably back by now with the girls.
“Mommy!” Roisin squealed, running up to Juniper and hugging her, somewhat throwing Juniper’s balance slightly.
“Careful sweetie.” She mumbled, taking a step back to regain her balance. “Did you have fun today with Daddy?” She asked, smiling as she did so.
Roisin shrugged, clearly not the biggest fan of ice skating. “Okay I guess.”
“I really like it.” Lainey informed her, coming from the living room with Nick following her. “Really really. Go again?” She asked, looking between both Juniper and Nick.
“Maybe once the baby’s here, like I said.” Nick reminded her, smiling at Juniper as he saw her. She couldn’t help but wonder what Lukas meant by the way he looks at her, he looks at her like how a normal person does.
“I’d love to ice skate with you Lain, but after the baby’s born, okay? That’s a promise.” Juniper smiled at her, and she meant it. It seemed like Lainey really enjoyed her time ice skating.
“Okay, promise.” Lainey grinned in response, and with that she and Roisin went off to go play in the living room.
“So how was your day out with Lukas?” Nick asked as the two of them were alone.
“Good, good. We got our nails done.” She grinned, and sat down at the dining table. “You wouldn’t mind doing dinner tonight, would you? I know it’s my turn but my feet are killing me and I really want a nap.” She pouted, hoping he’d agree to cook dinner as she kicked off the shoes she was wearing.
“Yeah, sure that’s-” he stopped himself, and narrowed his eyes at her. “Are those my shoes?” He asked, wondering why she wore them. She was quite a few sizes smaller than him.
“Hmm? Oh, yeah. The only shoes which fit comfortably that are mine are my sandals and flip flops, and I’d rather not lose my feet by wearing those out in the snow.” She laughed slightly. “It’s cool, right?”
“Yeah, it’s cool. I’m just surprised they fit, that’s all.”
“If it protects your manhood, they’re still way too big but I’ve got swollen pregnant lady feet so…” she knocked her feet together, as if to add emphasis. “Better to be too big than too small and tight. Did the girls both enjoy ice skating?”
“I’m not sure if Roisin was too big of a fan of it, but Lainey loved it.” He smiled, and then continued with. “I think next time we go, I might ask about getting lessons for her if she enjoys it this much.” He answered. It made him happy to see Lainey so happy doing something, and it seemed pretty clear that at the moment she loved ice skating.
There was a silence between them, only short as Juniper confessed. “So, I saw Daniel today. He was with another woman.”
“Daniel? As in that Daniel?” Nick asked, his eyes narrowed at the subject.
Juniper nodded, frowning as she did so. “Daniel as in baby daddy Daniel, yeah.” Sighing heavily, she mumbled. “Nothing bad came from it, we just had a mini-stare down which I won as he left, but I just can’t stop thinking about it.”
“Do you want to talk more about it?” He asked, frowning slightly. The times she did talk fully about Daniel or the baby lately, she’d get so far and then stop and say ‘I dunno’ and change the subject.
“I guess it just made me think about what I meant to him, that’s all.” She mumbled, looking away. “I mean, I’m going through all this, and he just finds another woman, almost the exact same as me. I suppose the only bright side is that him sowing his seed everywhere means more children for adoptive couples, but it just makes me feel kinda used.”
“Not that I’m trying to get you riled up or anything, but is that really what bothered you most?” Nick had known her for a long time now, and knew that surely this couldn’t be the thing most bothering her about seeing Daniel again.
“I don’t know what you want me to say, Nick. Do you want me to say that I wished that he shoved the other girl to the side, came over to me, proclaimed his love for me and then me, him, Roisin and the baby live together happily ever after? Because that’s not what I want. What I do want is for him to have some kind of moral decency and to, I don’t know, just not leave me out in the loop like this.” She spoke a bit louder, tears threatening to spill.
“June, I…” Nick started but soon trailed off. He wanted to say sorry for asking too much, but at the same time he knew it would be beneficial to talk about it (hopefully).
“I don’t want to talk about this any more. It’s been a long day and I’m tired.” She mumbled, and then asked. “Can you help me up? I just want some time alone.” He took her hand as she outstretched it, and she got up with his assistance.
“I’ll let you know when dinner’s ready, alright? Don’t expect anything too spectacular.” He joked about himself, trying to lighten the atmosphere, but it didn’t work as she went into her room without saying anything more.
As she got back to her room, she felt her phone buzz. Checking it, she saw it was a text from Daniel.
“Hey, I’m sorry about what happened today. Me and the girl you saw me with broke up.”
Narrowing her eyes, she wondered why he would bring that up. “Oh?”
“I thought it was inappropriate to date someone given the circumstances.”
“The circumstances are nothing to do with you anymore, you made that pretty clear about nine months ago.”
“That doesn’t mean I’ve stopped thinking about you.” When Juniper read that, she felt determined to not fall into his trap again, but she couldn’t help but be at least a little swayed.
“If I’m being honest, I’ve not stopped thinking about you either. I guess it’s slightly more challenging in my condition though.”
“I’ve missed this, I’ve missed talking to you.”
“I’ve missed you.” She responded, and then closed the messaging app on her phone. What was she doing? The sensible part of her was telling her to stop, but a large part of her didn’t want to.
AN: I know what you’re thinking you’re probably thinking “Juniper????? The fuck???”
Also please ignore the many continuity errors at the start of this chapter >.> <.<