His Virgin Babysitter(6)

By: Lila Younger

I frown at her twitchy face.

“Oh my God, are you high right now? You are, aren’t you?”

She tries to deny it, but I’m not fucking blind. I feel red hot rage bubbling up like lava inside of me. What the fuck? It’s noon on a Tuesday. Why the fuck is Stacie doing drugs? And with Luna around too? She could have gotten the two of them killed in the car on the way over.

“You have no idea what’s going on with me,” she whispers harshly. “None.”

She turns to Luna and kisses her on the head.

“Lou, mommy’s going to go to the bathroom okay?” she says.

“Kay,” Luna says.

Stacie turns back to me and glares at me, then grabs her purse and slides out of the booth. I shake my head, my hands balling up into fists. Ever since Stacie’s blocked me out over the holidays, I’ve been thinking that maybe I should petition for custody. After all, this is my kid, and even if we weren’t married, I still had rights. My life right now is consumed by work, but I could secure regular visitation at the very least. Now I wish I had secured some form of custody as soon as I was told about Luna, because nobody just starts taking drugs in the middle of the day while caring for their kid.

“I’m ready,” Luna says, folding her menu.

I stuff the rage I feel towards Stacie and turn to Luna. No matter what, I don’t want our visit spoiled, and Luna was a sensitive kid who picked up on these sort of things. Fuck, what if she was sensitive because things at home were unstable?

“So am I, but we need to wait for mom,” I say. I can’t resist adding, because I need to know. “Did you have a good day today?”

Luna ponders for a moment.

“I got to wear my dress,” she says brightly. “And RJ made breakfast.”

I had assumed that RJ was Stacie’s boyfriend, but now I wasn’t so sure. I tried to comb through my memories of our meetings. Was there any signs then of Stacie using drugs? I didn’t think so, but then again, it would never occur to me to do something so incredibly stupid and dangerous.

“Sounds lovely,” I say. My stomach grumbles and I wonder what the hell Stacie is doing. “Daddy had a good day too. But now it’s even better because I get to see you.”

We chat for another ten minutes, before I’ve had enough. Both Luna and I are hungry. I decide to that we should just go ahead and order. I’m starting to get worried though. I know women can take a while in the bathroom, but this is excessive. I try to glance around the restaurant, but the restaurant is curved in a U shape, and we’re right at the very end. When a waitress appears with our food, I quietly pull her aside to ask if she could check on Stacie in the bathroom, in case something happened. Her face when she returns tells me everything.

Stacie’s left.

I’m genuinely shocked. Why would she up and leave her kid behind? Where the hell did she go? The last thing I want to do is to make Luna panic, so I quickly thank the waitress and pull out my phone to send Stacie a text. No reply. There’s nothing for it but to sit tight and hope for the best. But almost two hours later, I have to give up. The lunch crowd has emptied out. If Stacie wanted to come back, she would have answered her phone. The woman has abandoned her kid.

“What’s wrong daddy?” Luna asks me.

“Nothing,” I reply. I have to think fast. “Mommy isn’t feeling well, so you’re going to hang out with me this afternoon kiddo.”

“Okay,” she says cheerfully.

“Can you sit tight while daddy makes a call?” I ask her.

Luna nods, pulling out a coloring book from her backpack. I slide out of the booth and walk a few feet away, just enough so she can’t overhear my conversation.

“Gina, I need your help.”

“What is it?” she says, alarmed.

“Stacie’s dumped her kid on me. I don’t think I’ll be able to come in today. Maybe not even tomorrow if I can’t find a babysitter. I’ve got a few vacation days saved up, but clients aren’t going to happy about it. I have to figure out what to do with Luna though, and I can’t just abandon her on some stranger when her mom’s left her behind.”

I turn and look at Luna, coloring away in her book. She seems completely unfazed by her mother’s absence, but that won’t last very long. I have no clue what I’m going to tell the kid, if I even am. I’m holding out hope that Stacie’s just done something stupid, but she’ll come back and straighten things. Then again, I can only imagine what the situation is at home if she’s shooting up with Luna around. Fuck.

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