Playing Cards, Ch.5 - Meat and Gravy

My mouth watered as the smell of Shepherd’s Pie filled the kitchen and tempted my taste buds. This was one of the few meals I could stomach whilst in my months of being the size of a walrus.

    It was late March… I was eight months gone – three weeks and two days until my due date.

    Teresa and Jerry had visited Mum and me many times throughout the past couple months, and vice versa. I’d even invited them to one of my ultrasounds… big mistake! Teresa got really emotional and wanted to find out the sex.

    “Oh please let me know, Casey, I promise I won’t tell you…”she had pleaded. I just laughed and told her to be patient. I didn’t wantanyoneknowing the sex until the birth. I wanted to be the first to confirm whether I had a daughter or a son, and didn’t want anyone to spoil it; not even Teresa McFarlow.

    I felt a thud from inside my stomach. Honestly, this baby was going to be a footballer, whether it was a he or a she, at the rate it was going. I rubbed my bulge and took a mouthful of potato and minced lamb in gravy, savouring every bite. I had to admit, this was the best Shepherd’s Pie I had ever tasted, and I knew somebody wouldn’t be happy when I told them.

     “So, what do you think of it?” Teresa asked, prying for the verdict, “It was my mother’s recipe, passed down from her mother’s mother. Real traditional food, that is.”

     “It’s delicious,” I answered after swallowing the mush, post chewing, “I always thought my own mother’s was good, but after tasting yours… she’ll have to run for her life.” she giggled; obviously proud of her achievement.

    The McFarlows had been staying with us for the past week and had insisted on doing so until the baby was born. Teresa worried that all the moving around and travelling wasn’t good for me, so insisted they stay and help, much to Mum’s disapproval.

    She got along with the McFarlows but wasn’t too keen on Teresa’s obsessive need to prove herself useful in any given situation.

    Mum was currently at the supermarket with Jerry and I was left at home with Teresa. It was a Thursday so I had nothing much to do except finalise coursework and begin my revision for my exams in May and June.  I was lucky enough to learn that Teresa had once been a private tutor over the majority of subjects across the curriculum, which was ideal for the subjects I’d fallen behind in; Maths and History being the key ones.

     “Casey, I hope you don’t mind me asking…” Teresa began, sitting down opposite me at the wooden table.

     “It depends what it is you want to ask.” I answered, feeding myself another mouthful of the blue ribbon winning dish before of me.

     “I was just wondering. Had you thought of any names yet? For the baby?”

     “You really are sneaky, Teresa. You really are.”

     “You didn’t answer my question.”

     “That’s because I haven’t decided properly yet.”

     “What do you have in mind then?” her eyes glittered in anticipation as if she was a five-year-old on Christmas Day, eager to find out what would be revealed from within the wrapping paper’s secrecy. I sighed and gave in; I couldn’t keep it up all day.

     “Ok, for a girl I was thinking Rebecca or maybe Loretta;” I began, but was interrupted.

     “Oh, they’re lovely names! But I do say I much prefer Rebecca.” She enthused.

     “Yeah, I think so too. Rebecca Michelle Casey Teresa Stewart.”

     “Oh, sweetheart, that’s lovely! It’s an honour that you’ve chosen to involve me, personally, into your child’s future. But don’t you think it’s a tad bit long? It’s more of a sentence rather than a name.”

     “No, I like it that long. Besides, I’ve got a long name too.”

     “Oh? Why, what’s your full name?”

     “Casey Alexandra Renée Louisa Olivia Stewart.” I replied. Teresa looked at me absently. I just smirked, “My initials spell out C.A.R.L.O.S; that was my dad’s name… well, his names really Carl but everyone called him Carlos as a joke.

     “Mum was madly in love with him. But when she got pregnant, he left her. She was devastated and wanted to get an abortion so she could get back together with him, but he had gone off with some floozy he’d met in Ibiza – he was quite a bit older than Mum at the time.

     “So, when I came along, she decided to always have a part of my father in our lives, by giving me his stupid name as my full initials.”

     “I’m guessing you don’t like your father, then?” Teresa asked after being quiet throughout my little story… I was surprised she could keep quiet for that long, to be honest.

     “No, I’ve never met him and don’t want to. Mum won’t even take us on holiday to Ibiza in case we bump into him – he lives out there still, you see.”

     “Oh dear… what about the wee one’s father? Does he keep in contact with you?” I grew silent. I didn’t want to talk about Ben.

     “He, err… he doesn’t…” I began, “I’d rather not talk about this just now.”

     “I understand. So, little Rebecca… what about for a boy?”

     “Well, I was thinking, you and Jerry have done so much for Mum and I in the past couple months and we really appreciate all that you’re going to do for us. And, neither of us could possibly be able to understand the pain you felt when you lost your son, so I’ve decided…” I cut off mid-sentence and froze. Teresa’s usual smiling face turned to a look of horror.

     “Darling, what’s the matter? Can you speak?” she asked, edging out of her seat and to my side.

     “Yes, fine… just a…AAAHHHH!!” I screeched as an agonising pain hit the lower part of my stomach. I clutched tight, one hand on the edge of the table, the other where the pain was. Just then… I looked up at Teresa’s horror stricken face, my own perfectly blank.

     “Casey? Speak to me…” she pleaded, scared for me.

     “Either I’ve just wet myself… or my waters have just broke-AAH!” another shooting pain.

    Baby was on its way…!

The End

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