The flash fiction prompt, 'the last time I arrived at a party unannounced' was given to Dan Landes by his good friend Kris Scuccimara
She wasn’t in love with him when she got pregnant. Time and his stories changed that. She didn’t even know him when she got pregnant. Time and his stories changed that. They met one night at a dive bar. He was a regular. She was there with a friend that encouraged her to ‘just fuck someone’ in hopes it would help her get over the visceral heartbreak of losing her true love who dumped her in a most ungracious fashion. Before they fucked he said to her, ‘I take full responsibility for my actions’ and then he came in her. Those words came back to her as she stared at the plus sign on the pregnancy test two weeks later. ‘Do I?’ she wondered.
He texted her a handful of times after their encounter. She ignored them. ‘Too needy’ her friend had said. ‘Just ‘cause you fucked him doesn’t mean you want to see him again’ she said. She didn’t want to see him again. ‘He was just a fuck’ she told herself. ‘He’s a loser’ she thought, ‘he told me so himself.’
He met her at the clinic for every doctor’s appointment. As they waited he held her attention by telling her stories of his life. They were sad, real stories full of introspection and humor, embarrassing stories about a botched life. ‘I once ate a urinal cake.’ He told her at week 33.
When the baby was 9 months old they got married.
They walked with each other each evening, the baby snug to his chest in a strappy carrier. She held his hand and looked at her feet as he and the baby looked about at the houses, parked cars and sovereign cats peering from porches and wheel wells. His hand in hers he pumped the rhythm to the words ‘do you love me?’ to which she pumped back, ‘yes I do.’ To which he pumped ‘how much?’ In silent response she squeezed his hand until her knuckles splotched pink and white. ‘That’s a lot!’ he would say, or ‘is that all?’
On one of their evening walks he pointed to an apartment building ‘did I ever tell you the story of the last time I arrived at a party unannounced?’ She wiped some spit up off the babies mouth, ‘no my love. You never have.’