2. Mila

“What do you mean he’s not paying any bills?” Linda can’t help but ask astounded.

Mila immediately regrets letting that slip but Linda is staring hard at her waiting for an answer.

“He wants us to move in with his mom to save money for the baby,” Mila explains “but I don’t think we should so he’s not paying any of the bills because he’s not the one choosing to live there.”

“But he does live there,” Linda points out.

“I’m gonna cut him some slack for now because he just found out that he’s going to be a dad after he’d been sure that I was gonna get an abortion, but I’ll bring it up again.”

Linda stares incredulously at Mila.

“Mila, he either needs to step up or step the fuck out, no in-betweens.”

“He will, he just needs time …”

“He is a grown-ass man who understands what happens when you go in raw like that. You’re treating him like a child who doesn’t. You’re acting like you did this to him.” Linda interrupts.

“Didn’t I though, by choosing to keep the baby?”

“No!” Linda practically yells. “This is happening to both of you. Stop giving him the option of being a father. Either he’s in or he’s out.”

“I agree with that, but doesn’t he deserve time to come around?” Mila asks.

“Mila, my daughter is just as stubborn as you are so I’m gonna leave it at this. Noah’s on a path to fucking your life up and how much damage he’s gonna do is up to you.”

Agree to disagree, Mila thinks but doesn’t say. Although Linda’s got a maternal and kindly air about her, she’s also got that a scary mom side that Mila knows better than to fuck with. Keeping in mind that  Linda’s not her mother yet, Mila still finds herself very afraid of getting on Linda’s bad side.

Mila knows Noah can be full of shit but people change and Mila was a testament to that. If you’d asked Mila prior to her getting pregnant what she would do in the event of an accidental pregnancy, it was a no brainer. Abort it. But for whatever reason, she’d found herself unable to go through with it. She’d already made two appointments at the abortion clinic but had bailed on each one. A pill she literally couldn’t swallow.

The baby had not yet even been fully formed and it had changed Mila. Why couldn’t the same be expected of Noah?

“Are you ready for your ultrasound mama!” Hazel says coming in and placing her hand on Mila’s barely-there baby bump.

Mila rolls her eyes. She knows Hazel’s humoring her. She’d mentioned to Hazel that her not looking like some of the women at six weeks pregnant was making her nervous about the baby’s development. Or lack thereof. She wasn’t pregnant enough was how she’d put it.

“I’ll be outside,” Mila tells Hazel, pushing her arm away and grabbing her pocketbook. 

“Bye Linda,” Mila says to Linda.

“Noah’s not taking you to your ultrasound appointment?” Linda asks although she’d already known this. Mila knew what Linda was doing. She was trying to get Mila to “hear” the red flags. But it wasn’t a red flag. Noah really couldn’t make it.

“He couldn’t make it,” Mila says pretending to ignore what Linda is doing.

“How odd,” Linda carries on the ruse even though Mila doesn’t “too busy I suppose.”

“Yep!” Mila agrees just to shut Linda up.

“I’ll be out in a few mamas,” Hazel teases when she sees that whatever exchange going on between Mila and Linda is over.

Mila cracks a smile. A wave of excitement washes over her.

Holy shit, is this really happening?

*                    *                            *                            *

“Still sore?” Hazel asks Mila, shutting off the car and opening her door to go around and help Mila out.

“I got it,” Mila tells her.

The ultrasound had not been what Mila expected. She’d expected it to be some cold gel- because every doctor on T.V warns the patient that it’s cold- and some hand-held device the doctor uses to spread the gel around her stomach while simultaneously checking for the baby.

At six weeks, the baby is too small to detect and transvaginal ultrasound is administered instead. Rather than looking for the baby through her stomach, the doctor stuck the thing up her vagina and looked for it that way. It’s a very different sensation having something go inside you in the bedroom versus at the doctor’s office.

Hazel goes around anyway despite Mila’s protests and grabs her backpack for her.

“Hazel,” Mila continues to protest but Hazel ignores her and heads up the stairs to the front door. 

Mila’s house is one level with a bit of a front yard and a porch. Her porch has a wooden swing chair on it and a few potted plants by each corner. It’s not a big house, and it’s old with some of the paint starting to chip, but Mila is proud of herself for having her shit together enough to afford it. That hadn’t always been the case though. Mila had dropped out of high school but later, went back for her G.E.D. Mila was also playing with the idea of attending community college but hadn’t quite gotten around to it, and with the pregnancy probably wouldn’t until after the baby was born.

When they get inside, the house is dark from all the blinds still being drawn, and the living room is covered in hoodies, snacks and various dishes lying around. Mila draws the blinds and lets the light in. Hazel drops Mila’s backpack on the couch and immediately starts gathering the dishes.

“Don’t, I’m not gonna let Noah off the hook tonight,” Mila tells Hazel trying not to let how embarrassed she is about the mess show.

“I’ve heard that before,” Hazel says without pause. “I’m gonna help you clean up after him since I’m here.”

Mila doesn’t respond but gets out the vacuum and vacuums the carpet.

“Construction’s tiring work,” Mila tells Hazel in defense of Noah.

“But not tiring enough to go to the bar for a few hours?” Hazel asks. Hazel bartended part-time on the weekends when the salon’s hours were shorter. She’d seen both Mila and Noah at the bar, the latter more than the former and knew his tendencies.

“You don’t need energy to blow off steam Haze,” Mila tells Hazel but Hazel doesn’t let it go.  

“But somehow, his pregnant girlfriend cleaning up after him at home finds it.”

“I’m not that pregnant so it’s fine for now. He’s processing a lot.”

“I love you Mila, but you’ve gotten so good at lying to yourself that I can tell when something you say is for me, and when it’s for you,” Hazel tells her.

“I love you too Hazel,” Mila starts “but butt the fuck out. You’re not the one dating him, I am. If you don’t like him that’s fine, but I do so … deal with it.” Mila tells her.

“Wow,” Hazel tells her but doesn’t say anything else.

Mila heads to the bedroom where she suspects that the bed isn’t made. Her suspicion is confirmed. She draws up the blinds and opens the windows. The bathroom door is wide open and Noah had forgotten to flush again.

Noah gets a bad rep but nobody’s perfect. Mila flushes the toilet before Hazel walks in and has more to say. Mila picks up the dishes and puts them in a pile. She then collects clothes off the floor and puts them away in the hamper.

When does he get the time to make this mess? Mila wonders.

When the room looks decent, Mila enters the bathroom. The floor is wet and there are clothes on the floor.

When and where does he even wear all these clothes? Mila wonders again and picks them up.  She cleans the mirror with Windex and wipes the water off the sink. She puts the open toothpaste tube away and places it by their toothbrushes. She replaces the garbage bag in the bathroom and lastly, she mops the floor.

Mila wasn’t blind to the fact that she was picking up after Noah more than she ever had but to be fair, he was going through something. Everybody expected him to just be cool with the whole, her keeping the baby thing but seemed to be forgetting that the poor guy was only human. She knew what it was like to fuck up and feel trapped. When Mila dropped out of high school, she’d taken to living in her car and out of the resources at the Y. Even though things hadn’t quite worked out the way she’d thought they would, pride kept her rooted in that situation. But when came the day that Mila had enough and was ready to turn things around, her parents didn’t turn their backs on her just as she wasn’t going to turn her back on Noah. In a mere matter of months, his life was going to change. Who wouldn’t need time to process something like that?

Mila takes the dishes to the kitchen. The living room is clean and Hazel is sitting at the kitchen table scrolling through her phone, eating leftover Chinese she’d found in the fridge.

“Look at this,” Hazel says and shows Mila her phone.

Mila looks at the picture of a woman. She’s beautiful, and looks familiar but doesn’t quite understand why Hazel thought she needed to see it. It takes a minute before it clicks.

“Holy shit! Maya?” Mila remarks and takes the phone from Hazel’s hand. 

 “Right?” Hazel agrees.

Mila’s jaw drops. “She looks so good!”

“She can get it!” Hazel remarks thirstily. “Read the caption,” Hazel tells her. Mila reads the caption out loud.

Haters *cough @itsMila_Ortiz97* said they couldn’t see it. Do you see it now?

“Vera put you on blast.”

Mila shakes her head.  

Hazel notices the dishes Mila’s brought with her from the bedroom.

“Are you sure he’s going to work?” Hazel asks.

“Hazel, please let off. He’s doing the best he can in his own way,” Mila says exhaustedly to Hazel.

Hazel doesn’t say anything further and goes back to quietly eating and scrolling through her phone.

Mila feels Hazel’s irritation through the silence but ignores it.

“Do you want to go to the park?” Hazel asks after a while.

“Not really,” Mila tells her and gives the excuse of being tired, but the real reason is that she wants to enjoy the house while it’s still clean and organized.

“We could hang out on the swing though,” Mila suggests.

“That works,” Hazel says and heads out.

Mila and Hazel had gotten more time than they’d needed off. The ultrasound hadn’t taken long-thank God!-and cleaning had killed a few hours, but it was still light out. Mila considered getting a blanket and draping it around herself like Hazel had done. 

Even though the fall temperatures were starting to make their debut, the days were still long, and the sun was still out. It was six-thirty but Mila knew that the sun wouldn’t set for another hour.  

The wind blows while Hazel and Mila rock quietly on the swing. Mila stares out at the quiet street with its quiet houses. Occasionally, one of her neighbors will step out and take their dog for a walk or a car will pull into a driveway.

Mila tries to picture a child-hers-playing out on her lawn but can’t conjure up the image. Kids just don’t play outside anymore like they were once rumored to have done.

“Are you watering the plants?” Hazel asks interrupting Mila’s thoughts.

“Yeah, why?” Mila asks.

“No reason,” Hazel claims although she gets up and enters the house. Mila hears the faucet in the kitchen turn on.

Really. Mila thinks to herself. 

She takes a closer look at the plants. Noah had told her he’d been watering them, but she can tell from how dried up the soil has gotten that he hadn’t. She’d given him space in the hopes that he would let her in on what he was feeling and going through, but Mila was beginning to realize that it was time for her to take some initiative and talk to him.

*                            *                            *                            *

“Hey,” Mila says enthusiastically to Noah. She’d been waiting for him to come home.

“Hey,” Noah says automatically, hardly acknowledging her as he heads straight for their bedroom. Mila gets up and follows him.

“Babe, I was thinking maybe I could cook something for us tonight and …” Mila’s interrupted when she spots the shirt he was just wearing on the ground.

“Noah, could you please stop throwing your shit on the floor,” Mila says and puts the shirt away in the hamper.

“I’ve been wanting to talk to you,” Mila continues “do you think you could stay in tonight?”  

“Can’t it wait till I come back?” Noah asks.

“I’m not normally up when you come back. Also, isn’t going out every night getting expensive?” Mila asks.

“Do I tell you what to do with your money?” Noah asks fixing his hair in the mirror and spraying on some cologne.

“No,” Mila agrees “but we need to talk about money at some point.” Remembering that Hazel had taken a picture of the monitor at the ultrasound, and that she’d sent it to him asks excitedly “what did you think of the baby? You didn’t respond to the picture I sent.”

“I didn’t?” Noah says sounding surprised. “I thought I did. It was pretty dope. You’re doing a great job babe.”

“You think so?” Mila asks “does that mean you’re a little excited for the little sweet pea? I’m naming him or her that by the way.” Mila jokes.

 “Mila,” Noah says exasperatedly, “I don’t want to talk about it.”

“Okay, we don’t have to talk about baby names tonight,” Mila says “but could we just hang out and catch up? I feel like lately we’ve gotten out of sync and I don’t want us to be.”

“You’re right,” Noah says and walks over to Mila. He’s taller than Mila and has a knack for looking people right in the eye, putting them at ease with his mellow green eyes. He’s breath-taking. He also exudes a suaveness that is enhanced exponentially by his clean scented cologne, haircut and charming way about him.

Mila’s heart pounds harder the closer he gets. He doesn’t stop when he gets to her but forces her backward until she’s seated on the bed and is looking up at him. He cups her face in his hand and runs his thumb across her mouth. Mila resists the urge to take it and suck on it.

She stands back up but he doesn’t move back and her body is pressed up on his. A cheeky smile forms on his lips as his hands wrap around her waist and pulls her in tighter towards him. 

“I’ve missed you too,” he whispers and kisses her neck. He grabs the bottom of her shirt and pulls it over her head. Mila raises her arms letting him undress her. He cups her face in both his hands and kisses her lips. Mila feels herself melting into the kiss. Like a sheep being led to the slaughter, she can feel the point of no return in his powerful tongue. They can have fun now and a serious discussion later, Mila reasons.

Noah slips his leg in between her legs and pulls her pelvis into his. She feels his bulge and a soft moan escapes her lips.

Note from the writer: Sorry I was late with the story this week >_<. I still hope you enjoyed meeting Mila. Don’t forget to check back in next week for the next chapter as told by … Hazel maybe? But I don’t know yet. Thanks for reading 🙂

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