I know it was probably really fucking stupid of me to stay with Sarah after she broke my arm, but some idiotic part of me did still love her, even though by that point I’d figured out she was just after me for sex and money. That idiotic part of me liked to hope that she still loved me, or that she ever loved me, for that matter.
It’d been a couple months since the arm breaking incident, and we’d fallen back into our usual routine of Sarah staying for as long as she could, before going home to Lewis. I’d never understood why she couldn’t bring him with her. After all, the kids liked him, and it wasn’t any trouble cooking for an extra mouth, but for some reason it took a lot of coercing to actually get Lewis over. Needless to say, I’d spent those few months using sexual favours to persuade her into staying over and bringing Lewis with her so the kids would have someone to play with.
Everything was going great til I was woken up the next morning by the sound of Sarah yelling the house down. I rushed off to see what’d happened, finding her in the spare room along with Danny and Lewis.
"I told you before about this!" she yelled at the both of them.
"What's going on?" I asked sleepily.
"The little shits were in bed together again"
"So I already told them not to do it again" she said angrily.
"They're not hurting anyone"
"I told them. Not. To. Do. It" she raged, not calming down in the slightest.
"Well unfortunately, this is my house. If they want to share a bed, they can"
Danny looked up at me with wide, innocent eyes, taking Lewis’ hand protectively.
Sarah slapped me. "He's still my son, not yours" she said, apparently noticing Danny holding Lewis’ hand. "Let go of him you filthy shit" she ordered, slapping Danny instead when he didn’t do as she said. “Let go” she yelled.
And that was when I snapped. As I’d said before, she could beat me about all she wanted, but if she laid a single fucking finger on my children... I grabbed her arm harshly.
"Don't you dare lay another finger on my son" I all but growled at her.
She started trying to fight with me, but one should never doubt the power of paternal instincts. I all but dragged her to the front door, ignoring her fighting me, and threw her out onto the doorstep, yelling at her to get out, slamming the door in her face and locking it behind me. I heard her banging on the door but ignored her, making my way back up to the kids. I made sure they were both okay, rubbing Danny’s cheek lightly with my thumb when I saw the bright red mark gracing his face.
Sarah screamed bloody murder for a while, before going quiet, and I could only assume she’d fucked off. I grabbed the phone book, making a call to Child Protection Services, complaining at them until they agreed to send someone round that day to assess the situation. I couldn’t help smiling a little when I saw Danny acting every part the big brother as Lewis sort of clung to him. I took them down for breakfast, and Lily joined the three of us, having heard everything. Lewis just sat there playing with his food at breakfast. Lily and Danny did their best to try and get him to eat, but he wasn’t having any of it.
"Where's mommy?" he asked me as I sat with them all.
"She's gone out, kiddo" I said, smiling faintly.
He sort of ended up on my lap somehow, resting his head against my chest. I cuddled him, playing with his hair til someone from Child Protection showed up. I let them in and the first thing they wanted to do was speak to the kids, particularly Danny and Lewis since they were the ones involved. I told Lewis that everything would be okay and to tell the truth, but the poor thing was all confused.
"About what?" he asked.
"Any times your mommy's hurt you, or you've seen her hurting me" I explained and he looked up at me innocently. “What?”
"Because these nice people are gonna make sure she can't hurt you again" I smiled, and Danny explained it better than me when Lewis didn’t understand.
"Does that mean they'll take her away?" Lewis asked.
"Probably" Danny said, not sounding sure.
"Can I stay with you?" he asked sadly and Danny looked at me.
"If you're allowed to" I said.
"Please Hadley" Lewis said, the puppy eyes out in force.
I planted a kiss on top of his head. "I'll ask once they've spoken to you and Danny" I smiled.
The kids went off to be interviewed, and I kind of had to bribe them into letting Lewis stay with me. Lewis clung to me once they were done with him, and I wrapped him in a cuddle. The CPS went off to track down Sarah, and Lewis spent the day being quiet and clingy. Not that I minded, of course. He asked quietly if Danny was allowed to sleep in his bed again.
"Of course" I nodded.
"Will mommy get mad about it?"
I sighed a little. "Probably"
"Is she coming back then?"
"Probably. But the door's locked and she doesn't have a key"
He went back to being quiet then, and I ordered a couple pizzas for dinner, figuring I’d treat them. It wasn’t long before Sarah turned up, drunkenly yelling outside the front door. I slipped outside once the kids were distracted with their pizza, and Sarah yelled at me about the call from the CPS. I didn’t react and she started yelling at Lewis to “get his scrawny ungrateful ass outside”. Yeah, not gonna happen. I told him to stay put, hoping he’d listen to me.
"He's staying here, Sarah" I said, doing my best to defend myself when she got violent, insisting he wasn’t. "Yes he is"
"You can't take him away from me"
"So I'm supposed to let you keep hurting him instead, am I?"
"I keep him in line. I'm a good mother!"
She started crying then, drunkenly yelling about how she was a good mother.
"Go home, Sarah"
"Not without Lewis"
"He's staying here"
We argued about it, and she cried some more and I’ll admit, I did feel kind of bad for her. I know I’d be much the same if someone tried to take the kids from me, but I didn’t hit my kids, and I wasn’t raising them to be homophobic. She kept asking for Lewis back, raging at me that it was over when I kept saying no.
"It was over already" I said, going back inside.
She wailed at me from outside for a while but I ignored it, seeing Lewis hiding under the table. I offered him a cuddle, and he gladly took it.
"Why's mommy crying?" he asked.
"She's had a bit too much to drink"
"Thank you for not letting her get me" he said, burying his face in my chest.
I kissed the top of his head, hearing him mumble something into my chest. “Hmm?”
He looked up at me, his eyes wide and on the verge of tears. "I wanna stay here like Danny and Lily”
I cuddled him again, feeling him cling to me.
"I want you to be my papa too"
I kept cuddling him, not saying anything. As much as I wanted to let him stay with us, I knew I wouldn’t be able to cope with three kids, and it wouldn’t be fair on any of them what with my hours. I sent the kids off to bed once they’d finished their dinner and had had some chill out time of their own. What was I going to do?