Life isn't about the big accomplishments, it's the baby steps you take to get there.
| Chapter Seven
The sight of Blake’s sleek car sitting in the driveway is a very different image from the scratch box, black smoke-spitting, tire burning car, Kyle kicks around in. It’s a nice change considering his car feels like you could die at any moment.
I tug the front door open and climb into the front seat. I notice London’s car seat behind mine which instantly makes me aw. She’s a cute bundle of pink strapped into her grey car seat.
“Sorry about the early arrival, I thought it would have taken longer to get here,” he apologizes.
“Don’t sweat it, Blake. For once, I was actually ready.” I smile.
“Perfect timing then,” he cheers.
“How’s London been doing?” I question.
“Well.” He sighs. “There’s been minimal progress but we're getting there. I actually slept three hours the other night which is huge for me.”
“Tis all about the baby steps,” I commented.
“Small steps sounds terrible.” Blake frowns.
“That depends on how you chose to think of it. When a baby first learns to walk, there’s a lot of falling but they always get up and keep trying. That’s what I mean with baby steps.” I reply.
“I’ve never heard of that,” he admits. “I like the way you think, it’s different.”
“So, aside from what, what does your mother think?”
“She’s happy that I managed to con you into helping.” He chuckles.
“You don’t need to con me into anything baby related - I think they’re adorable.” I grin with happiness.
“I’m glad to hear that.” He sighs with relief. “Tori did not prepare me enough for having a baby.”
“I don’t think anyone can prepare someone for a baby,” I say.
“Do you really think that? You seem like a natural with babies.”
“Just experience from watching others. The first time I had to deal with a crying baby, I freaked out.”
“It’s hard to imagine you freaking out,” Blake admits.
“Don’t put me on a high pedestal because I don’t like heights.”
“I’ll do my best to avoid doing so, but you’re already pretty high up.” Blake laughs.
“Oh, lord! Just know that I warned you - I don’t know the answers to everything.”
“You don’t yet, but you will.” We laugh together.
“Maybe one day.” I shrug.
“How long have you been in childcare?” Blake asks.
I glance out of the window to get a sense of where we are before turning back to Blake. Both of his hands remain on the steering wheel as he casually steers the car.
“About a year and a half,” I say. “Workplace learning was introduced at the beginning of the year eleven and we’re almost halfway through this one.”
“That explains your grand knowledge and how you’re still sane.”
“I’m glad you think I’m sane.” I shake my head.
“Bloody brave as well! I’ve had London for less than a month and feel my sanity slowly slipping away.” Blake’s laugh almost sounds mad.
“Nah, you look like a new parent to me! Madness comes with the territory.”
“I feel mad,” he whispers, “so mad.”
Blake shakes his head, then returns his focus to the road. He flips the indicator on, looks both ways and shoots across the road. We travel down a quiet street and with large houses on either side of the road.
“We’re all mad here. I’m mad, you’re mad.” I slyly grin.
“I’ve clearly lost my head.” He grins madly.
“I guess we have something else in common.”
“We should watch that movie tonight,” he suggests.
“Only if you have the original cartoon version from Disney," I add.
"We couldn't have it any other way!"
"The live-action re-make was good but there's nothing like reliving your very distant childhood." I smile.
"Since having London, there's a large distance between myself and childhood games. Being an adult sucks!"
"Surely there must be some perks in there somewhere," I suggest.
"Well, all the money I earn is spent buying supplies. Even if I had a spare dollar, it's going straight to my father because I owe him money." Blake shakes his head. "Off-spring, they bleed you of everything."
"Gee, I'll keep this in mind." I sigh.
"I always laughed when my parents said that, now I understand the pain."
Blake pulls into the driveway and seconds later, he cuts the engine and pockets the keys. We hop out of the car and Blake races around to my side.
He opens the door and quickly unstraps London from her seat. Her green eyes curiously look at mine, then up at Blake.
"Could you please carry her?"
"You sure, she looks comfortable with you."
Even with the experience, I'm terrified of dropping babies, especially the wiggly ones.
"Yes - you'll be fine."
I take London from Blake's hands and cradle her against my chest. He grabs the keys from his pocket to lock the car, then directs me to the side gate.
We walk across the crunchy pebbles and towards his house. Blake opens the door and I step inside. I wait for Blake to step inside.
"Where's she going to?" I ask.
"Quick nappy change and then off to bed," he explains. "Just make yourself comfortable, this shouldn't take too long."
Blake doesn't seem confident but I pass London back. He rushes down the hallway and I follow after him.
He disappears upstairs leaving me alone. For the first couple of seconds, it feels awkward to be here. I wander towards the couch and take a seat to the side.
On the coffee table, I notice a stack of DVDs.
Leaning forward, I grab the pile and shuffle through them. There's a decent mix of thrillers and romance movies. Romance seems like an ideal movie but horror is the best for watching with company.
"Anything you want to watch?" Blake asks.
"Hm, what do you think about this one?" I hold up the cover.
Blake frowns but then laughs as he notices the creepy zombie cover in my hands.
"I wasn't expecting that." He laughs.
He takes the movie and wanders over to the machine to put it in. Blake fiddles around with the television and the screen eventually turns on. Zombies stagger across the scene as they play button appears.
Blake takes the remote and sits beside me, a small smile on his face.
"Ready for some horror?" I cheekily grin.
"No." He shakes his head.
"What do we-" Blake wraps his arm around my shoulder, then pulls my body to his side. The feeling of his body pressed against my arm widens the smile on my face.
So cheesy, but I love it!
Blake springs into the air and dashes towards the kitchen. I peek over my shoulder to see him messing around in the kitchen.
"I forgot the snacks," he mutters.
There's no way I'm eating while we watch people get shredded by zombies - how can you? The thought sends a shiver rippling through my body.
He tosses a packet of popcorn in the microwave, grabs lollies out of the pantry and a bowl from under the sink.
"Can I put everything together?" He asks.
"Sure, I don't mind."
With a smile, Blake tosses the lollies and popcorn into the same bowl. He grabs a few pieces of popcorn to eat and returns to sit beside me.
He holds onto the popcorn bowl and gets comfortable within the middle of the couch cushions.
I flick my shoes off and snuggle into a display cushion beside me. It doesn't beat that warm feeling I get from sitting beside Blake.
"There are blankets on the chair if you want to use them," he comments.
"Thank you, I might actually do that."
I lean over and grab the blanket to wrap around myself. Blake takes some of the blanket and spreads it across his lap.
"I'm going to be upfront and admit horror movies scare me. I need something to hide behind," he says.
"Just as long as you don't throw the popcorn bowl into the air." I chuckle.
"There's no way that's happening! This is the last packet of popcorn in the cupboard."
I take the bowl and place it on the coffee table for later consumption.
Blake resumes placing his arm around my shoulder and I slyly snuggle into his side. I know this is a terrible idea but I'm indulging at the moment.
The play button is pressed which rolls on the opening credits. Despite my best efforts to concentrate on the movie, my mind wanders back to the weight of Blake's arm on my shoulder.
This was a terrible idea! I shouldn't be snuggling with Blake on a couch.
I focus on the gore and horror happening on the screen but that doesn't distract me from the fact he's gently running the tip of his finger along my skin.
Without consent, a shiver coursed through me. Blake chuckles at my reaction.
"Are you ticklish?" He whispers.
"Uh, not really." I attempt to shrug his fingers off my shoulder.
"I can tell you're lying," he whispers.
Blake's warm breath tickles my ear, sending another shiver through me.
"I can-" Before I finish my sentence, a giggle slips out.
An unusual sensation breaks across my skin which causes me to bite down on my tender lip to refrain from screaming.
"S-top," I whisper yell "P-le-ase."
Despite my pleas, Blae continues tickling my sides. I grab his hands and use legs to push myself away. His grip on my waist, tugging me back, not that I'd managed to move much.
"Just admit it," he says.
"Just one little work."
"K-iss m-y." I begin to say but the tickles consume me.
My body is suddenly twisted so that I'm lying on my back. His body moves about mine and I freeze because I have no idea what to do next.
Blake places his knee between my legs and positions his hands on either side of my head to keep him upright.
"Come on, just admit it." His green eyes darken with excitement.
"Admit what?" I purse my lips together.
Even though I'm seconds from freaking out, I enjoy the cheeky shift in mood. Although, I'm beginning to feel rather flustered. Damn, I hope my face isn't bright red.
"That you're ticklish," he explains.
The sly, mischievous grin consumes Blake which also makes me a little worried.
Is it hot in here? It feels like we're stuck in a sauna.
Blake's face inches closer to mine which kicks up my heart rate. I hear it thudding in the base of my throat. Our gazes remain locked and I feel paralyzed.
"Can I kiss you?" He whispers.
Out of all the words I know, um, is the only thing I can say. what about 'hell to the yes'?
Blake quickly springs back, taking the moment with him. I want to scream at myself - why'd I just do that? Why couldn't I have said yes?
That's right because I know this is a horrible idea. I can't get caught up in someone who's attached because it never works out.
"I'm sorry, I shouldn't have asked."
Damn straight, he should have kissed me then and there, save us both from this awkward moment.
"You're fine." Correction, he's bloody hot. "It's just me, well, it's a few things..."
"It's the single father thing, right?" He questions.
"Of course not." I gasp. "It's actually to do with Tori. You two have a baby together and you were together for so long. I shouldn't be here, I shouldn't want you to kiss me. You don't even know me."
I get up from the couch and slip my shoes back on.
Blake jumps up and prevents me from leaving. He cautiously runs his fingers through his hair and sighs.
"we've been over for a long time. Tori and I just hold it together for the sake of London. I've never been happy with her. Everything I've done, it's so that London grows up with a family who loves her."
Hearing him admit it doesn't make me feel any better.
"When Tori walked out, it made me realize I was holding that relationship together for the wrong reasons. Her disappearance helped me grow up and realize that I've got to make tough."
Blake shifts to the side, allowing me to leave if I want. Now I'm torn between leaving and staying put. Regardless, my feet wouldn't move, even if I wanted them too.
I want to ask 'why me?' but I can't utter those words either.
He resumes to his seat on the chair and looks at me. I feel compelled to sit beside him, even if it's the wrong move.
"You're a good person, Blake," I say.
"Don't put me on a pedestal, I'm also afraid of heights." He chuckles.
"Things are happening so fast and I'm struggling to wrap my head around it."
"Small step, then baby steps." Blake proudly grins.
"Sounds like a good idea." I nod.
I grab the blanket off the ground and wrap it around the both of us. We resume the movie even though we've missed the decent chunk of the climax.
Even though this feels so wrong, there's something so right which prevents me from walking away.