Chapter tune: Def Leppard – When love & hate collide
Warning: A bit of foul language
A couple of days had passed since Rose had given Jared the cold shoulder over the phone. He was seriously considering giving her another call, when Claire called him instead and invited him over to spend some time with Emily. This was not something to pass upon, so the next minute he was at Claire’s place.
“Thanks for inviting me” he told Claire. “Man, I really missed her… Do you think we can come up with a schedule? You know, so that I can see her a little more often.”
“Maybe… Would you like to discuss that over coffee or dinner? For old times’ sake…?” she asked suggestively.
Jared was taken aback. This was not typical Claire behavior.
“Whoa…are you asking me on a date? You know I’m with Rose, right? And I’m not cheating, no way!”
“Yes, I know, and now you’ll be having a new family with her and forget all about us!” she whined. Again, this was very unusual. Jared had never seen her behave like this, not even when they were close to breaking up. Claire was always a very independent woman.
“What? Where is this coming from? And what are you talking about, a new family? Rose and I are not there yet!”
“You mean you don’t know? Well, you’d better get there whether you want to or not, because… shit, forget it”
“Because what? What is it Claire?” Jared started losing his patience.
“You dumbass, your girlfriend is pregnant! Congratulations, you’ve done it again!”
Jared felt his head go numb and dizzy at the same time, his hands started sweating and his legs trembled, all in less then a second. He kept his balance at the last minute, only because Emily was in his arms.
“…What? When? How… how do you know that?”
“I knew when I saw her puking her guts out in the hospital. She had no idea then.”
Jared’s initial shock gave its place to another feeling, much warmer and certainly more welcome. He couldn’t exactly put his finger on it. Could it just be pure happiness for once? The only thing he could think about at that moment, was him holding Rose tight into his arms to protect her and their unborn child from the rest of the world. He’d never had such emotions for Claire, not even when he saw her and Emily together for the first time.
“A baby… Rose is going to have my baby” he muttered, staring into space.
“See, that’s what I meant” Claire said “you have already fallen in love with the new kid and now Emily will probably hear from you again in years. We don’t need you walking in and out of our lives whenever it suits you!”
Hearing Claire’s voice woke him up from his bliss. He became furious as he remembered that minutes ago, she tried to flirt with him, who knew why.
“So Rose is pregnant, and you knew, and you were fucking hitting on me? For fuck’s sake Claire, are you insane?”
“Hey, there’s no need to speak to me like that! Emily will start talking soon, I don’t want her listening to those words!”
“Whatever. You know what, you’re not making any sense today. I’m outta here. But you’d better not keep Emily from me again because of what just happened. And you bet I’ll want to see her again soon!”
“Wait!” Claire said “I’m sorry, you’re right! I don’t know what’s gotten into me. Please don’t leave like this!”
But before she’d managed to finish her last sentence, he had given her Emily back and was already out of the door.
Jared quickly arrived at Rose’s house. There was no way he’d wait for her to call him, not now. Philip answered the door.
“Hi, Mr Lafontaine… is Rose here? I’d like to speak to her if that’s ok…”
“She’s upstairs. She’s not feeling very well, but I’m sure it will do her good to see you” Philip smiled.
As Jared made his way to the stairs, Philip spoke again. “I meant to tell you, thank you for what you did for me back in Twinbrook. You’re a good kid.”
When he went upstairs, he heard Rose in the bathroom. And man, she did not sound well at all.
“Babe… it’s me. Are you ok? Look, I was at Claire’s and… I know. She told me.”
A couple of seconds later, Rose dragged herself out. She looked really tired. Jared had never seen her like this, not even when they were working neverending shifts at the bistro.
“I didn’t know how to tell you this… I was afraid of how you’d react” she said.
“Are you kidding me? I’m psyched! We’re going to have a baby!” Jared said and reached out to hold her, but she pulled away.
“What’s the matter babe?” he asked.
“You’re psyched right now, but what about later? When I get fat and insufferable? Will you leave me like you did with Claire?”
“What? No, baby… First of all, I had no idea Claire was pregnant when we broke up. And I told you I’ll never leave you, you know that!”
“You did, but I don’t know if it’s true… I always wanted a family, but you’re so unpredictable, always on the go… And who knows if another kid you don’t know about shows up, and you decide you want to spend time with them instead?”
“Baby… how could you believe something like that? You know I’d never do this. I love you more than anything in this world…”
“Because you always leave as soon as things get real and not some kind of adventure!” she spat.
Jared paused for a little. Rose had a point, but hadn’t he proven to her that he was serious this time? Would he have to explain himself forever for all the mistakes made in the past? No, nobody could live like this.
“Things never got more real for me than right now Rose… And I desperately wanted to see you, to show you I’m all in for this. But you know what, maybe you’re the one who can’t deal with this shit. I’d remind you that I almost died for you, but I’m not gonna be that guy”
He furiously walked out. What was wrong with the women in his life today? He could laugh about Claire eventually (maybe with her too), but with Rose… she did manage to hurt his feelings pretty bad.
Rose watched him from the window as he hopped on his motorcycle and left. Did she seriously wanted the love of her life to leave her alone for good? She realized she’d taken things too far.
Jared didn’t feel like going back home, so he decided to kill some time at the bar. As he was contemplating on ordering another drink, he heard a woman’s voice.
“Jared Frio… long time no see”
It was Zelda, Xander’s on-again off-again girlfriend.
“Hey doll, nice to see you. How are things? Is Xander here with you too?”
“No… we kinda like, broke up… again.”
“Oh. Well that sucks I guess.”
“I know right? I mean, I know that we’ll be back together like, soon, but I feel so hurt right now, ok? He’s such a jerk, I just want to hurt him back!”
“Well, on the bright side, you ran into me” Jared joked “Remember, your old drinking buddy?”
“Yeah… let’s call it that” Zelda laughed “We’ve had quite the fun back then… Wait, are you like, having a bad day too?”
“Let’s say it’s not the best” he admitted.
“Maybe I can help you forget it… booze included or not” she purred.
Jared took his sweet time looking at Zelda, his hot old “drinking buddy”. She seemed like a ray of sunshine on a crappy day.
“You know, maybe you can help me doll” he eventually grinned “What do you say we go to your place?”