Chapter 26 – Don’t You Want To Fight For Me?
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Chapter Twenty-Six – Don’t You Want To Fight For Me?

Carina caressed Jay gently and then looked up at Jett. “Who should talk first? Me or you?”

“You start.” Jett crossed his arms over his chest.

“All right. Where?”

“From the beginning. Why didn’t you tell me you were pregnant?”

“I didn’t want to.”

“Just like that?”

“Just like that.” Carina squared her eyes on him. Now that Jett was thinking of it better, Jay tended to give him sort of the same look when he was annoyed with his daddy. In hindsight, he should have seen it.

“I could’ve taken care of you. And of our son, of course,” Jett replied.

“How was I to know that?” Carina said sharply, but without raising her voice. She was bouncing Jay in her arms, and he seemed very pleased with that. He was giggling and playing with his mother’s hair.

“That little you know me?” Jett frowned.

“I don’t know how much I know you,” Carina said reproachfully. “Do you recall our last fight, what was it about?”

Jett looked away. 

“Thought so,” Carina replied instead of him. “It’s kind of hard to rely on the man who told you that he had never loved you.”

“That wasn’t what I meant,” Jett said quickly.

“It was exactly what you meant,” Carina said. “Don’t worry; I’m not here to have another fight with you. I don’t know why you didn’t love me while I did love you, but that’s something for you to think about, not me.”

“Still,” Jett said aggressively. There was no point in trying to lie to Carina. She had read him better than anyone else, as much as she said that she didn’t know him. “I had the right to know about this.”

This time, Carina looked away guiltily. “I know. But I didn’t want to hear you telling me to get rid of the baby, like everyone else.”

Jett flexed his fingers, pulling his hands tightened into fists by his sides. “I wouldn’t have told you that.”

“Maybe not, and I was afraid of that, too.”

“Why?”

“Because I didn’t want you to think that I was trying to pull you back to me, to blackmail you with this kid so that you would stay with me.”

“I wouldn’t have thought that of you, either.”

Carina smiled sadly. “You and me, Jett, we’ve always been heading to some clusterfuck. It was my pride that got in the way. Is that what you want to hear?”

“I want to hear the truth. How little do you think of me?”

“Oh, come on, Jett, don’t play the responsible dad card to me. How many times did we get fucked up together? At least, we didn’t do drugs, so let’s give ourselves that. We were as responsible as two people like us could.”

“You not calling me to tell me about the baby was fucking irresponsible.” Jett pointed a finger at her. 

“And? Does it surprise you? What could I have said? Ah, hi, baby, remember me? It’s that stupid chick crazy in love with you that you don’t love back like the piece of shit you are. Guess what? We’re going to be parents!” Carina said in a mocking voice that was getting on his nerves big time.

Jett ran his hands over his face. “We would have thought of something.”

“I couldn’t risk it. I couldn’t bear to hear you telling me you didn’t want the baby just the way you didn’t want me.” Carina’s shoulders slumped, and she looked more her age and less the badass she had always fought to be.

“All right,” Jett said in a gentler voice. “I get it, and it’s okay. Let’s just focus on the present. Jay is awesome, okay? I can’t know what I would have said if I had known. But I would have helped you; you know that, right?” The last words were said in an anxious voice that he could barely recognize as his own. 

Carina wiped away a quick tear. “I just don’t want you to believe I want to tie you up with this baby. I didn’t when I decided to keep him, and I don’t want it now, either.”

“Okay,” Jett said, “okay.”

“And I didn’t want you to come back to me because you pitied me or something.”

Jett snorted. “You don’t take pity from anyone, Carina. You would’ve kicked my ass if I offered that to you.”

Carina laughed at that. It was easier for him to deal with her when she wasn’t breaking down. That was something he wasn’t any good at. Picking up the pieces wasn’t something he knew how to do; his hands were too big and too clumsy.

“I guess.” Carina smiled now. “So, I guess that was the story of me having a baby without telling you.”

“I guess. How did you end up in the can?”

Carina looked away. “I stole some things. I needed them and --”

“Okay, I get it that you’re pissed at me for being a lousy boyfriend, but if you needed money, you should have come to me.” This time, Jett spoke in a stern voice.

“I wanted to get by without any help,” Carina explained. “I guess I was stupid.”

“I guess so.”

“Fucker,” Carina said in the same voice she used when joking. 

“Hey, I’m not the one who got in jail. Did they let you out?”

“Just like your babysitter, you think I escaped? Come on, Jett. You know me. I’m good at brawling, not so much at planning such a thing.”

Babysitter? Jett frowned. That must have been how April introduced himself or something. 

“The thing is I got out quicker than expected. I pleaded enough, I think, with the judge to let me out sooner to see my baby. But, of course, that means that I need to keep clean. And now, I don’t even have a place to stay. If I go back to that bitch, I’m going to strangle her, and then I’m back in the can.”

“Are you talking about your sister?” Jett asked.

“Yeah, the bitch. She was supposed to take care of Jay until I got out. As your babysitter told me, she just decided to leave Jay on your doorsteps. What if you weren’t home? I want to drop that bitch so badly.”

“Chill,” Jett said shortly. “She told me you were in the can when I called. But she didn’t mention squat about leaving Jay here. I had no idea you were the mom.”

“She kept nagging me to give Jay up for adoption. I should have known better, but there was no one else I could leave Jay with in such short notice.”

“Really? No one else?” Jett stared at her.

“Because you’re so damned responsible,” Carina shot back. “Actually, if I look around, Jay looks like he’s living in some luxury aisle for baby products at the supermarket. All this shit must have cost a fortune.” She looked around, whistling.

“You know money’s no issue with me.”

“Yeah, but I couldn’t just call you and tell you I got arrested, and you must take care of our baby. I just had to think fast.”

“You should have called. At any moment,” Jett replied. “And when you got in jail, you still could’ve called. And how come your stepsister decided to leave Jay here, all of a sudden?”

“She did the math and knew you must be the father. She’s just such a basic bitch. At least, she didn’t count on me getting out so early. Probably she thought I would just accept that my kid got kidnapped off the street just like that.”

“Is that the lie she served to you?”

“Yeah. Then I came here to ask you to help me. And I found the babysitter with Jay. I’m sorry I threatened April with a fork. You can tell him that again.”

Jett rubbed his forehead. All that information was a bit too much. Also, it irked him to no end that April hadn’t told Carina they were boyfriends. But he wanted to set things right and fast.

“Now, I guess it’s my turn,” Carina said. “Your babysitter looks just like that guy in that picture. Theo, right?”

Jett just nodded. 

“Is this some fricking coincidence? I could swear it’s the same hair, although, now that I looked at it from up close, I noticed it was dyed. Ah, don’t tell me you told him to dye it so that he would look like Theo. Jett, fuck, is that what you did?”

Jett waved, feeling irritated all of a sudden. “No. It was just something that happened.”

“Something that happened? This boy who looks like Theo just happened to become a babysitter for Jay. You happened to tell him to dye his hair blond. All these coincidences smell fishy to me. So, out with it. What’s going on with you and this guy?”

Jett schooled his face into a neutral mask. “He’s my boyfriend.”

For a couple of seconds, Carina looked as if she had seen the best magic trick in history revealed in front of her eyes. “Your boyfriend?” she sputtered.

“Yeah. Like in the guy I fuck.”

Carina adjusted Jay in her arms, as the boy was falling asleep, not at all interested in the conversation between his parents. “Now that’s new, Jett. I mean, I know you must have had a crush on that boy Theo, but this is on a whole new level. And did it just happen that you ended up with your dick in his ass, or was it the other way around?”

“Don’t be an asshole, Carina,” Jett said, now pissed off.

Carina began to laugh and then shook her head. “Well, pardon my French, Jett, but you’re the asshole. Why the hell you never told me you liked guys? It would have been so much fricking easier for me! And I struggled so much to make you love me when what I was missing was an actual dick in my pants!”

“It wasn’t like that!” Jett protested.

“Not that Zane didn’t say plenty of times that we, girls, should watch out for you. I thought he just wanted really bad that his best friend batted for the same team. I thought nothing of it. So, who else did you fuck? I mean, do I even know these other guys? Oh, no, was it Zane? All that time --”

“Oh, just shut up already,” Jett said. “I’m telling you it was nothing like that. April is the first guy I’ve ever slept with.”

Carina stopped and now stared at him, blinking a few times. “Are you doing this because April looks like Theo? I don’t know this guy, but he seems pretty nice, and it fucking looks like you’re using him.”

“I’m not using him.”

“Then, you love him?” Carina asked him directly.

“Yeah,” Jett replied simply.

Carina sighed, and a big smile lit her face. “For the love of all that’s holy, I hope you’re saying the truth, Jett Huntsman. That boy is way too sweet and pretty for you to make a mess out of him.”

“You don’t know him,” Jett said, feeling the need to protest. “How do you know he’s sweet and pretty?”

“First, I have two eyes, and second, we had quite the conversation until you got back. Hey, he didn’t tell me he was your boyfriend. Why?”

“I’d like to know that, too,” Jett said promptly. “In the meantime, you’ll stay here with Jay.”

“In your father’s room? If he comes home --”

“We’ll get to that when it happens. You said you had no place to go. So just stay here. Jay is already familiar with the place and with April.”

“At least, he won’t have to babysit Jay. He lives here, right?”

“Yeah,” Jett admitted.

“I could tell that the house is no longer a pigsty, and I just thought your old man must have been around.”

“No, that’s all April. He likes to vacuum and stuff,” Jett said evasively.

Carina shook her head and smirked. “You’re about as irresponsible as you were when I last saw you, right?”

“Hey, I’m just not good at chores. But I know how to make Jay eat,” he said as he pointed at the baby. 

“I guess that’s a relief,” Carina said, and her eyes were shining with amusement now. “What does April do for a living? I suppose he’s not a real babysitter.”

“He’s studying,” Jett replied. “And mining crypto in the basement.”

“Ah. Interesting. Are you still breaking bones for those whack jobs?”

“I quit today,” Jett said matter-of-factly. “I’m a free man.”

“That’s good to hear. So that means that I’ll have to find a job fast, right? Baby clothes this nice must cost a lot.”

“If there’s one thing you’ve always been good at was getting on my nerves. I still have money. You stay here for as long as you need.”

“I’ll still need to find a place and a job. I’m not just going to live here and mooch off of you.”

“There’s enough room.”

“Yeah, but still there isn’t,” Carina said and smiled mysteriously.

“What’s that supposed to mean? April sleeps with me in the same room, and you can sleep here with Jay.”

“And April will start plotting how to poison my morning coffee while I waltz around like a forgotten princess.”

Jett stopped for a moment. “April’s not jealous!”

Carina snorted. “Sometimes, I wonder what I saw in you. You’re pretty to look at, but not much else. Come on, Jett, use your head for a moment here. He’s the boyfriend, and I’m the mother of your child. He’s probably thinking right now that he shouldn’t have gotten into this shit at all. Or that he needs to find a way to get rid of the competition.”

Jett huffed. “April’s not some girl. He’s not going to get into a catfight with you or something.”

Carina laughed. “He seems too sweet for that. But, still, I don’t want to wreck your happy home. I’ll be here only as long as it’s needed, not a day more. And I will tell April he’s got nothing to worry about on my part. But you should be the one to convince him of that.”

“I guess I should, yeah,” Jett said, somewhat aggressively.

***

April saw Dan and Zane to the door, as everyone around seemed to chill a bit. Now that the guests were off his hands, he needed to think about packing up his stuff and heading back to his place. He would just take the necessary stuff and come back later for the crypto mining equipment, preferably when Jett wasn’t around.

Carina’s appearance was a big-time event. Now Jett would see what he was missing and warm up to the mother of his child. April wanted to believe that things would be different, but he felt selfish and evil for thinking such a thing. Jay had a right to both parents, and April didn’t want even to think of the possibility of being the one to wreck that happy home.

It was one thing to fool around with Jett with no other woman in the picture. April realized that his dad would scold him for feeling so insecure, but Carina was important to Jett. Even if he had been upset when he had seen her, it was clear as day, at least to April, that Jett cared about her. There was that glint in his eyes that April knew so well, something he had hoped it was only reserved for him.

He would make things simple and go away. Now, there was no need to tell Jett all about Theo and how April and he were the same person. It would just complicate things for no reason. If he stayed, he would only make things a lot messier than they were already. It was high time for him to prove that he could be a grownup about it all.

With a sigh, he began walking up the stairs. He needed to be extremely quiet so that he didn’t disturb the intense conversation between Jett and Carina that had to be still underway. Also, he needed to be quick to grab what he needed from Jett’s bedroom, where he had lived for so few days.

On some level, April was well aware that he was a coward. But he needed to do this, or he couldn’t forgive himself for doing something against Jay and his happiness. He was just so little and in no way guilty for the mess in his parents’ life. Without April around, Jett and Carina would have a real chance at making things work between them.

Ah, and he was a coward, too, and, at least to himself, he could admit it. He opened the door to Jett’s bedroom slowly and then snuck inside like a thief. Once there, he began pushing things at random into a bag. Preferably, he should be out before Jett finished his conversation with Carina. It appeared that Jett had been in his father’s room with Carina for a long time, so that had to be a good sign for them.

Not so much for April, but that didn’t matter. With one last look around, he grabbed the stuffed bag and took one step toward the door, which opened abruptly in front of him. Jett stared at him and then entered, closing the door behind him.

“Going somewhere?” Jett asked, and now the glint in his eyes was dangerous.

April tried to play it casually. He moved the bag from one hand to the other. “I thought about going to my place.”

Jett looked from his face down to the bag in his hand. “Did you forget something there? And what’s that?”

“I’m moving back, Jett,” April said with all the determination he could manage at the moment. “Carina’s here, and Jay doesn’t need me anymore.”

Jett frowned and took another step toward April. “No shit.”

April took instinctively one step back. “Yes shit,” he said as soon as he realized that he was cowering in front of Jett for no reason at all. “She’s his mom.”

“And? What makes you think Jay doesn’t need you anymore?”

“He has his mom and his dad. I don’t see why a third person should be in the picture.”

“Are you a fucking moron or something? What about me?” Jett pointed at himself.

April swallowed hard and felt like his voice was suddenly incapable of creating words. There was a small weird sound coming out of his throat. “You don’t need me.”

“Like hell, I don’t. April fucking Summer, are you my boyfriend, or you just wanted to fool around with me? Don’t you want to fight for me at all?”

“I am your boyfriend, I want …, I mean, wait, but Carina --”

Jett, apparently, was not a man of many words, but more an action man. He grabbed April fast, he tore the bag away from his hand and threw it, and then locked lips with him. April didn’t even manage to protest, as Jett pushed him on the bed and climbed on top of him.

He tried to move his head away. “Jett, wait, Jett --”

Jett was having none of his protests and just kissed him again, hard and with lips only. April struggled for a while until he realized he couldn’t win such an unbalanced fight. Whenever he succeeded in freeing one hand, Jett was quick to immobilize it again. So, in the end, he just went limp.

That was the smart move, as it seemed because Jett finally let him breathe. For a few seconds, they stared into each other’s eyes, none of them willing to back down. Eventually, April looked away with a huff.

“Were you really thinking about ditching me?” Jett’s voice was deep and dangerous.

“Why should I stay here?”

Jett scoffed. “For a guy that’s supposed to be a hacker or something --”

“I’m not a hacker!”

“Whatever. You’re supposed to be smart, but you’re a dumbass. So, what if Carina is here? Finally. She needs to own up to all the shit she did by not telling me about Jay.”

“Were you hard on her? She was beyond grief when she realized Jay wasn’t home when she got back from jail!”

“Yeah, I was hard on her. You don’t know her. That’s the way she knows best.”

“Still, she’s Jay’s mom.”

“I’m not cutting her any slack. And I’m not cutting you any slack. Where do you think you’re running? There’s no getting away from me.”

“Aren’t you a possessive ass now?” April asked.

“Yeah. So what? You’re all over me all the time. I can’t even take a piss in the morning before you wake up because you’re like some snake wrapped around me, choking me.”

“Ha! So, let me leave, and you can take all the piss you want to take whenever you want!”

“Shut the fuck up already. I can’t sleep without you, and you know it.”

April remained silent. “I don’t actually know it.”

“When you study late in the evening, do you think I don’t want to sleep? But I wait for you until you’re done.”

“Ah, sorry if my studying ruins your beauty sleep. If you didn’t keep me so busy during the day ---”

“Do you mean with the fucking? It’s okay. We can fuck in the evening before going to sleep, like boring couples.”

“Jett, you fuck me in the morning, in the afternoon when Jay is sleeping, and at night, too. Who the fuck has the time to get bored?”

“Hey, I’m not nailing your ass that often!” Jett protested.

“Okay, so I fuck you, too, and we also suck off each other --”

“And yet, you want to go out the door like a fucking coward only because Carina is here.”

“But what would she think if I were around? I told her I was the babysitter!”

“Big fucking lie, if you ask me. I told her you’re my boyfriend.”

“You did? And how did she receive that news?”

Jett shrugged. “It’s over between her and me. I mean, we’re not involved anymore.”

“But she’s Jay’s mom!”

“That she is. And what’s that got to do with anything? I’ll take care of her and Jay both. Don’t tell me you don’t want that.”

April was horrified at that accusation. “How can you even think such a thing!”

“I don’t. I’m just pulling your leg, dweeb.”

“But wouldn’t she be jealous? I mean … or upset that I’m here?”

“Funny how you and her think the same. She’s afraid you might want to poison her coffee when she’s not looking.”

“I wouldn’t do that!”

Jett laughed. “She knows that, too. The thing is she doesn’t want you to feel threatened by her. She’s not into me anymore.”

“I wonder why,” April said in a sarcastic voice.

“No need to wonder. When we broke up, I told her the truth.”

“Which was?”

“That I didn’t love her.”

“You mean … not at all?”

“Not like that.” It was Jett’s turn to look away. It was clear that talking about such things as feelings was pissing him off. “I care about her. For some time, she was my best friend. So, I do love her, but I’m not in love with her. Is that enough for you, or do you need me to pour my heart out more like I’m on some stupid TV show?”

“I guess I understand. She’ll stay here with us?”

“Yeah. Until she finds something, and I’ll help her.”

“But that means that she will take Jay with her.”

Jett nodded.

“And how do you feel about that?”

Jett pushed himself up and huffed in annoyance. “You still want to talk about feels,” he said in an accusing voice.

April hugged his boyfriend from behind. “It’s all right. You can tell me you’ll miss Jay.”

“Oh, shut the fuck up, dweeb.” Despite his words, Jett didn’t push him away but leaned back into April’s embrace. 

“I will, but I feel the need to comfort you. Have you talked to her? About how you want to be a part of Jay’s life?”

“We’ll figure things out. I just need to make sure she doesn’t end up in some mess again. Also, I have to keep her from going after her stepsister.”

“Ah. That’s who left Jay by your doorsteps.”

“So it seems. That woman is not right in the head.”

“Like for real?”

“She’s always been an asshole,” Jett confirmed. “But Carina needs to keep away from her. If she gets anywhere near her sister, there’s bound to be blood. And Carina should stay away from the can.”

“Why was she there in the first place?”

“She stole some stuff because she had no money.”

“Shoplifting?” April asked tentatively.

Jett said nothing for a while. “Don’t worry about Carina. She thinks you’re sweet and pretty.”

It felt like Jett was leaving something out on purpose. What could it be?

***

Jett had to admit that it annoyed him how much Carina’s words had hit close to home. Was he using April? Only because he looked like Theo? But that wasn’t it. April was like Theo in many ways, and maybe Jett just had a type when it came to guys.

He wasn’t using April in any way. Getting rid of memories was impossible, though. They had a way of worming up inside his soul, and he couldn’t tear Theo away from there, as much as he wanted.

One of these days, he needed to man up and tell April the entire story about Theo, Jett thought. But it would take a lot of guts, and that meant Jett had to muster all his courage to do it. Opening closed doors, especially those behind which more than just feels lay, had never been on top of his list.

TBC

 

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