Monday, December 26, 2016

October 31

It had to happen sooner or later, but I was still not quite sure how to handle it when Mom asked me today, “Who is Anrel’s father?”

At least she waited to ask when we were alone. If she was going to call me every name in the book, I didn’t want an audience. A part of me is still all too aware of what would have happened to me on Earth had I been discovered to not be a virgin. I know I’m safe from persecution on Kalquor, but it didn’t keep me from cringing when Mom brought it up. I expected judgment to come from somewhere.

There was no way to mince words when it came to answering. “I’m not sure who her father is. I know the two most likely candidates, though there are four possibilities.”

Mom gave me a look that was hard to read. “Four?”

“Three are in the same clan.”

“So in that situation, if you bang one, you gotta bang them all,” Mom guessed.

I shrugged. “The fourth guy was in a clan too, but his clanmates don’t like women. So they never entered the equation.”

Mom mused over that for a few minutes. I waited, wondering if there would be an explosion. Instead, she asked me, “You didn’t say where any of them are.”

“As far as I know, the clan is still on Earth. The other guy is trying to get here. He wants to be a part of mine and Anrel’s life, but he’s not welcome.”

I told Mom the whole story of young Clan Dusa and how they weren’t together long enough for me to join as their Matara. How though I adored them, I wasn’t sure they were who I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. How they had cut me out of their lives, insisting I find a good clan and fathers for Anrel.

I also told her about Nang, his obsession with me and Anrel, his attempt to get to Kalquor and make us a family. It took a good hour of talking to bring Mom up to speed on how things had shaken out so far.

At the end of it, Mom shook her head. “You sure did make a mess of things, didn’t you?”

At least she wasn’t yelling and calling me a slut or whore. “Yeah, I seem to have a knack for it.”

“You must have got your taste in men from me. Lord knows, the only thing your father did right was to knock me up with you. He was pretty worthless otherwise. Same for the other two guys I hooked up with. At least David was decent in bed. He didn’t lay there like a slug and wait for me to do everything.”

I really didn’t want to think of Mom having sex, but since she was being so understanding, I didn’t ask her to stop talking about her past lovers.

Mom was done with that, thank goodness. She gave me another sharp look. “If that Clan Dusa showed up and wanted to clan you, would you do it?”

Hmm. That thought had been on the fringes of my consciousness ever since I found out my dads were heading home. It seemed I’d been working on the question subconsciously, because I knew the answer right away.

“No. I would not.” My tone was certain. “It may be awfully Earther of me to feel this way, but they haven’t made an effort to know anything about Anrel. They not only cut me off, but my child as well. They don’t deserve to be her fathers.”

My answer wasn’t completely honest, because the one time I’d talked to Nobek Esak when he warned me about Nang coming after us, he had asked about the baby. But it had been more of an afterthought, hadn’t it? We happened to talk, so he’d taken the opportunity. He hadn’t made a real effort to know what his maybe-daughter was like or how she was doing.

I realized in that moment that Anrel had been the one real test I’d set for Clan Dusa and any future we might have had. Even though Kalquorian custom dictated that they give up all claims on Anrel, I felt they should have at least wanted to know how she was doing. They had not made the effort.

I was done with them. Really done.

Mom seemed content with my answer. “Don’t be afraid to parent her solo, Shalia. If no one comes along that won’t put you two first, kick them to the side. I might have been the world’s worst mother, but at least I didn’t compound the problem by letting some piece of shit hang around.”

I grinned at her. “You did have the strength to shove them out the door when they became more trouble than they were worth.”

“You have that strength too. You don’t need any asshole, much less three of them, fucking up your life.”

I got the feeling Mom wants me to give up on finding a clan. I think she’d like to see me remain single. I could do it. I don’t need a man or men to make mine and Anrel’s lives complete. But Clan Aslada or Clan Seot seem like they could add to my life.

I can make my own decisions and stand on my own two feet. No one will make my decisions for me. That goes for significant others…and Mom as well.

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