John just hugged me quietly until Beau woke up and came slamming downstairs. The moment she saw me, she burst into joyful cries of "Unca Maxxie, Unca Maxxie!" and begged John to let her go to the park with me. I don't know how he persuaded her, but somehow, I've ended up sitting on a bench, watching her and John playing on the playground.
I look up at the sky from where I'm sat, blankly staring at the clouds. When my neck starts to ache, I look around at the playground instead. It all seems so distant, and fucking pointless. As you may have guessed, half of that is to do with the painkillers. Half of it is to do with the depressive rut I've sat myself in.
Beau insists on me joining in several times, but I use my injuries as an excuse to sit and mope. After a while, John sits with me, despite Beau's whining of "Daddyyyy" and her tugging on his hand.
"Go play on your own for a bit, sweetie. Daddy needs a break." She huffs and runs off to the playground again, leaving me with John. He nudges me a little. "Cheer up, Maxxie. He can't be far away."
"Even if he's not, who said he wants to see me?"
"He loves you, of course he wants to see you." Yeah... that's why he took his engagement ring off, went out and never fucking came back. Sure. "I mean it, Maxxie." I give him a noncommittal grunt. He prods me, and though he prods a bruise, I don't wince. I don't think I care enough. "So, mister, you're gonna cheer up and you're gonna stop convincing yourself he's left you and doesn't want to see you."
"I tell you what, if there's still no sign of him by the end of the week, I'll help you look for him. You just have to keep your chin up. Sound fair?" I lift my chin a little, knowing that I'm about to be annoying.
"A little," he says, prodding the corners of my mouth up. My lips fall back into a flat line the second he lets go and he frowns, letting me know just how unimpressed he is with it. I look back down at the patchy grass around my feet and fiddle with the edge of my sling.
"C'mon, man. What would it take to cheer you up?" I glance up at him, the look in my eye saying it all. Stupid fucking question, mate. "Besides the obvious." I give him a sort of one-shouldered-shrug and he puts his arm around my shoulders.
"Sorry," I mumble, "I didn't mean to come and whine at you while you've got Beau over again."
"It's okay. I've got her for the week anyway," he smiles. "Besides, she wouldn't want you to be upset either."
"How'd you manage to persuade Mari to let you have her?"
He shrugs a little, "No idea. I sort of ran into them at the hospital and next thing I know, I'm allowed to have her for one week every month."
"Long story." Both of us are quiet after that. I'm tempted to ask, but I think I probably have a vague idea of what might have happened. Beau, on the other hand, has finally worn herself out. She wanders back over to us and I force myself to give her at least a little smile.
We walk back to his place after that and John insists on holding my hand. I don't know why and I don't really bother to put up a fight. I just let him. Beau, however gets kinda jealous of this.
"You can hold my hand instead, sweetie," he says. Beau puts on a sulky face and I let go of his hand so that she can hold mine. She gives me a huge grin and John chuckles. "Sometimes I swear she'd rather have you for a dad."
"I'd make a shit dad," I smile slightly, "right now I'm whacked out on codeine and a nasty hangover. I don't think that's exactly fathering material is it." He laughs a little. I don't say anything and he sighs. "Wanna know why I was in hospital?"
"Only if you wanna tell," I say and he gives me a baby of a smile.
"I took an overdose a day or two after Christmas."
"I guessed it might have been something like that," I mutter, "considering the state you were in when you turned up at mine before Christmas."
"Did it again the day I got out of hospital." If Beau wasn't hanging off my hand, I'd've hugged him right there. Unfortunately, she is hanging off me, and the hug will have to wait until she stops. He sort of shrugs again. "At least I get to see Beau because of it."
"It shouldn't have taken two suicide attempts to be able to get to see Beau again," I sigh slightly.
"...Yeah. Don't mention the first one to Mari."
"I'll take it to my grave." He smiles and I manage a teeny smile in return.
"Unca Maxxie, I'm sleepy," Beau says with a yawn.
"Want Daddy to carry you?" I ask. He yawns again and John picks her up and carries her back anyways. I shove my hand in my pocket and keep my gaze fixed on the floor while Beau has a nap in John's arms.
"I'm gonna keep pestering you. Smile."
"I am smiling. It's an inward smile," I lie.
"Well, I'm sure me and a lot of other people would like to see it."
"Your friends." I laugh at that, just a little bitterly. He arches an eyebrow.
"What friends? Sure, I've got you and Alex. I never fucking see either of you."
"Well do something about it." Y'know, I get the impression that John doesn't understand how much of a social retard I am. If I can manage to work with Damien for nearly five years and we're still only the kinda friends that say ‘hi' occasionally in the street or in the cafe, does that not say something about my much lacking social skills? "Maxxie." I don't say anything. I want my Bunny back, not some new friends.