“This isn’t about you, Mum! You always make it about you. You always think that I do things to hurt you or embarrass you. Well, what about me?” she asked, throwing up her arms in exasperation. Her voice wobbled uncontrollably and she sucked in a quick breath as she felt tears forming in her eyes. “For once, can’t I just do something because it’s what I want?”
“You want this? A baby to take care of right when your career is taking off?” Her mother’s lip curled up into a sneer and she narrowed her eyes at Liam judgmentally. “And a relationship with someone like him?”
Georgie sucked in a loud gasp, clamping her hands over her mouth. “Mum!” she cried, her hands shifting to press against her temples as she shook her head. “Can you hear yourself right now? This is Liam!”
“Oh sure, he’s all charming and full of promises now, sticking it out because of some sort of misplaced obligation. But he’ll move onto better things and you’ll be stuck with his baby, trapped in a life you never wanted.” Her icy stare was piercing as she flicked it over to Liam, her lip pulling up into a wicked smirk. “He’s never been good enough for you.”
“No, he’s never been good enough for you,” Cecily snapped as she stormed forward, stabbing a finger at her mum. “But he’s been there for me through everything since we were in uni, and out of all the people in the world he’s the only person who I would ever want to do this with.”
Because she’d never been very good at expressing herself this way, Fiona was sort of relieved that Harry wasn’t there in person. She had time to collect herself, to think, to get her phone and compose a message — one that could never really encapsulate how she felt. Fiona didn’t know how to use words like Harry. She couldn’t make them bend, didn’t know how to pick just the right ones, and if she was being honest with herself, Fiona was afraid of them. Words were powerful; she’d learned that in her own life and through what she studied, and in certain situations they could mean the world. Because she wasn’t confident in herself or her ability to use them, Fiona pulled away from situations where words carried weight.
The conversations that mattered were the hardest of all. Those were the ones she didn’t want to fuck up. With her father, her mother, even Eli. But even those were easier than the future conversations she faced with Harry. The ones she knew she wasn’t ready for, didn’t know anything about except what she felt in her own heart and thought in her own mind. The only consolation was that she had learned she wasn’t alone in this struggle, that Harry had certain subjects he shied away from too, even if he was still better at talking about them. Fiona knew she would always be more held back than Harry was.
Her message was short and simple, but Fiona hoped Harry would understand how much his gift meant to her.