I left the kids with John again the next day, going to see Lewis on my own. I honestly still had no idea how to tell him. Karen let me in and I said hi to the old man before finding Lewis. Karen had gotten him an Xbox for his birthday, and needless to say, his eyes were firmly glued to the screen. I sat down next to him, wondering what to say.
"Lewis, there's something I need to tell you" I said and he paused his game, looking up at me. I played with his hair, still trying to figure out how to tell him. “You remember me and your mom were going out?” I asked and he nodded. “Well, you kind of have a baby sister now”
His reaction was much the same as mine. He just sat there, his eyes wide. I played with his hair some more, waiting until he got his head around it.
"Will you take her away too?" he asked eventually and I shook my head.
"Your mom seems to be being nice enough to her for now"
"Would she come live with me and Karen if you took her away?"
"I don't know, sport" I lied, kissing his head.
"'Cause you said you can't look after me so you can't look after her either, can you?" he said and I played with his hair, not wanting to give him the answer he wouldn’t like.
"I don't know, kiddo" I said when he shot me a wide eyed look.
He went back to staring into space then and I wrapped him in a cuddle. There was no way I could look after a baby and still work the hours I did, but if it came to it and I had to fight to get Lottie away from Sarah, I don’t think I’d have the heart to give my flesh and blood to someone else to look after. Lewis hid his head in my neck and I kissed the top of his head.
"What's her name?” he asked.
"Lottie" I said and he went to back staring. "She's very cute, if you wanted to go see her"
"I don't know”
"I know it'd make your mom happy"
"She misses you" I said and he looked up at me all wide eyed again. “What?”
"I don't want to see her"
"Okay" I said, kissing his head again. "I'm not gonna make you see her, sweetie. It's up to you. I can always bring you a picture of Lottie, if you want?" I asked and he nodded.
I pulled my phone out, texting Sarah and asking her to send me a picture of Lottie to show Lewis, which she did. I showed Lewis, and he sort of stared at the photo.
"Babies look weird"
"Well they're only small" I laughed.
"Will she look less weird when she's older?"
"When will she look less weird?"
"In a few months, maybe"
"Why?" I asked and he shrugged. “You okay?”
"Mommy replaced me" he said innocently.
"No she didn't, sweetie" I said, cuddling him.
"What do you think of her?" he asked.
"Lottie? I think she's very cute" I smiled.
"I dunno. Just wondered"
"Are you worried about being replaced?" I asked and he nodded. "You know I love you like a son, sweetie. And your mom still loves you too"
"Of course she does"
"Will she be mad that I like Danny?"
"I haven't told her that" I smiled, seeing the grateful look on his face.
He cuddled up to me, then.
"Listen, if there's ever anything you want to talk about, you come to me, okay?" I said and he nodded.
"Mommy won't hurt Lottie, will she?"
"I hope not"
"We'll just have to keep an eye on her, won't we?" I asked and he nodded. "And when she's bigger, know who she'll look up to?"
“No" he said and I pointed at him. “Me?” he asked innocently.
"Mhm" I smiled.
"Because you're her big brother"
"Will I have to be good and brave?" he asked innocently again and I nodded, watching him as this thoughtful look spread across his face.
"I will be the bestest big brother ever" he announced after a while and I smiled. “Can you teach me how?” he asked, looking up at me with wide eyes.
I laughed. "Well I don't know much about being a big brother, but I'll do my best"
He flashed me a smile, which I returned and he offered me a controller, asking if I wanted to play. I took it, letting him win the racing game he was playing, and he grinned at me, all happy to have won. As for me, I was just glad he’d taken the news well. Now I just had to tell my own kids. Oh God, and my mother.