There's nothing I could have done, nothing I could have said to prevent him from leaving. The memories from back stage X-Factor flooded back to me, overflowing my mind and eyes. I tried to keep my sobs silent, careful not to wake Ari.
As usual, I sat in my daughters rocking chair. It was nearly three in the morning and she hadn't stirred an inch. Her tummy lifted and dropped, reassuring me she was okay.
I sat in Ari's room when I wasn't sure about anything. Not sure if I should go to him and introduce them. Maybe that would take a weight off my shoulder... Then again, maybe it wouldn't.
I missed his touch and his presence. When all that mattered was us. He'd tell me everyday that he wanted a family with me... But not then. He wanted to make it big. He wanted to know he could support us.
"We're going to have a beautiful daughter... Darcy... Or maybe Sydney... Or-"
"Harry, you know how much I hate those names." I lay in his arms on top of his mothers car. The stars dazzled atop of us, offering their peace and happiness.
"Well... What names do you like?" he leaned in and kissed my forehead. His loving embrace taking any worry or stress I had from that day and destroying them.
I thought for a minute, trying to choose a name he wouldn't make fun of or think I was crazy for even thinking of.
"Ari..." I smiled, looking up at him. His green eyes beat the dark, still appearing so clear.
"Hmm.. Ari..." my heart skipped as he said it. He leaned into my ear and left a kiss beneath my lobe, "I really like that." he purred.
I snapped back from the memory that haunted me. I missed him so much and I knew as Ari grew older she'd miss the man she never knew.
I stood up, walking over to her crib. I leaned down and admired my two year old, she was nestled closely to a stuffed rabbit her Aunt Bennie had given her when she was born.
"Mommy loves you, Ari." I whispered.
With that, I stood up and walked back to my room, careful not to step on any toys.
I slid into my bed with the feel of guilt still present. Taking a deep breath, I sunk into the pillow beneath my head and closed my eyes, knowing that when I woke up he wouldn't be spooned behind me.
I drifted to sleep.
Ari cooed and giggled from her room, I tiptoed over to the door and peaked my head in, watching her play with the few stuffed animals she had at the end of the mattress.
"Hello, beautiful!" I smiled, raising my hands up in the air as if I were surprised to see her.
"Ma!" she cheered, she stood up and reached out for me.
I picked her up and walked over to the change table.
"Do you want to see Auntie today?" I asked her. She kicked her feet, I took that as a yes.
"Okay, okay. Let's get you dressed!" I stripped Ari from her onesie, quickly changing her diaper before sitting her up and sliding a pair of black leggings on.
"You're so pretty," offering her a smile that she gladly took. "Put your arms up, baby." she did so and I pulled the little sweater over her head, a mess of curly blonde hair popping from the neck hole.
"Where's Ari?" I joked.
I pulled the sweater completely over her head and she giggled loudly when she saw me.
"There she is!"
While brushing out her hair, I watched as every curl bounced back to place. She was definitely Harry's daughter. Their curls matching completely along with their piercing green eyes that could not have come from my side.
"Dad,dad,dad," she smiled as she watched me pull her hair into pigtails.
"What?" I whispered. "No baby, Mum." I tried to correct her but she repeated herself.
"Ari, it's Mum." Where had she learned Dad? I never brought it up to her, afraid she'd latch onto the word to early.
"Dad, da- Auntie!" she squealed when my sister Bennie walked into Ari's tiny room.
"Hi baby!" she beamed, lifting her from my arms. "Mae, this place is getting really crowded." she commented, looking around my cluttered apartment.
"I know but Ari's getting bigger. She needs more stuff. I don't have the room..." my heart sank, looking at all the toys and boxes around her room and the living room.
"Why don't you just move in with me? Jordan and I don't-"
"Ben, listen. I appreciate it, but I have to show Ari that you can't expect people to do everything for you." I took her from Bennie's arms and walked to the kitchen, which was also quite messy.
"She's two, Maeve! She won't know the difference. This apartment is not good for her!" I understood where she was coming from but frankly it was pissing me off.
"I can't afford to move," I said to myself more than to Bennie.
"Maeve, I know. So move in with Jordan and I until you can get some more money saved." she stood in front of me, making me feel threatened.
Bennie was only three years older than I was and nearly two feet taller. I nodded, "I'll think about it, okay?" she smiled a smile of relief and thanks.
"That's all we're asking."
We walked down to the parking lot where Bennie had parked her car, I opened up the back door and buckled Ari into her car seat.
"Vrummmm..." she smiled.
"Good girl!" I leaned in and kissed her forehead.
I hopped in the front seat next to Bennie, she started the car and began driving down to the London Eye.
"You're not gonna believe what Ari said today." I looked over at Bennie, who was carefully driving through down town.
"What?" she asked, eyes still on the road.
I recalled what she had said multiple times this morning and Ben almost jumped from her seat.
"No fucking way!" I gasped.
"Bennie! Language! I don't need her swearing too!" she giggled.
"Do you think she kinda.. Knows?" my eye brows knitted together.
"What do you mean?"
"Like, what if she saw Harry on TV? And she knows that's her Dad?" I thought about it but it didn't make much sense.
"I doubt it, Ben. She's nearly three. Not thirty."
It was silent for a bit and I knew she was dying to say something. "I think... I think you should tell Harry." I shot her a scolding look.
"Excuse me?" It took every bone in my body not to smack her.
"Maeve, you were seventeen when you had Ari. Harry still doesn't know. He could take good care of you guys!" she did have a point. But I refused.
"He's living his dream and I'm raising a baby. He won't want any part in it." I crossed my arms, trying to move on from the subject.
Maybe I should tell him.
We drove past a building with a large group of people circling the entrance. I leaned over to try and get a better look but only saw a limo parked out front.
"Probably the senator." Bennie looked over too.
"Yeah, probably." I shook it off.
As much as I hated to admit it, Bennie was right. Ari needed her father and I needed help. I needed to go to school and get a proper job for us. I can't keep supporting her on a waitress's budget.
I was doing online schooling but it was hard to keep up with a two year old running around.
As much as I wanted to go out and find Harry to tell him about us, finding him was another story. We were in love once, but I doubt it was still there.
We broke up for a reason and I'm sure the reason is still valid even if his daughter is what is getting hurt here.
Besides, fame gets to people.