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Nothing Like Us

Lately I’ve Been Thinkin’ ‘bout What We Had

“Daddy, why don’t we ever do anything with mommy anymore?” James Neal’s three year old son, Eli, asked with his eyes fixed on a picture of James, Eli, and James’ ex-girlfriend Fenwick. “Auntie Oak and Uncle Eric always do stuff with Kip. We never do anything together!”

“Mommy’s just…” James trailed off, taking a deep breath and running a hand through his hair while he thought of the right words to say to his son. He always knew that the day would come where he’d have to explain to the four year old why he and Fenwick were no longer together but he didn’t expect it to be this soon.

“I never see mommy anymores,” Eli complained, his little finger pointing towards a picture of James and Fenwick with the Stanley Cup the summer that the Pens beat the Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Finals. “Do you think mommy misses us?”

“I know she does, buddy,” James said, his eyes following Eli’s finger and settling on the picture. The smiles on both of their faces brought back memories of the five years they were together – a mixture of laughter and tears, good times and bad, fighting and making up. “You’re the world to your mommy and she loves you very much.”

“Do you love mommy?”

“Of course I do.”

“Then why do you and mommy yell at each other all the time?” Eli asked, a frown setting on his face as his normally bright blue eyes darkened. “I hear you on the phone with mommy sometimes and I hear mommy on the phone with you. Uncle Eric says that people that love each other don’t yell.”

“We… I haven’t talked to Fen- mommy in a long time.”

“You talked to her last night. You said you’d come in and say night-night after you came home from seeing Amber but you didn’t. I don’t like her, she’s trying to replace mommy. I was waiting for you to say night-night, daddy. I couldn’t sleeps and you were yelling at mommy and calling her names.”

“Things between your mother and I are complicated,” James sighed, pulling his son into his lap and closing his eyes while Eli studied the pictures on the mantle, choosing to ignore Max and Ruby playing on the TV.

“I can’t do this anymore,” Fenwick screamed, walking out of the study and letting the door slam shut behind her. She made her way to the kitchen and pulled out the bottle of Grey Goose from the refrigerator taking a big sip of it, protesting when James pulled it away from her. “Give it here, James. I’m not in the mood for this, right now. I have a headache and that thing in the other room won’t stop crying.”

“That thing is our son, Fen,” James said, setting the bottle of Goose on a shelf where Fenwick couldn’t reach it. When he tried to wrap his arms around her, Fenwick pulled away and crossed her arms.

“He’s your son,” Fenwick corrected ignoring the look of hurt on James’ face while rubbing her temples as Eli’s cries got louder. “I never wanted this, I never wanted to have kids and it wasn’t supposed to happen. I had big plans for my life before it came and bogged down my life with all of this mess. This is all your mistake and this right here isn’t the type of life I envisioned having for myself. My future is not being a stay at home mom changing diapers and wiping noses while you get to do what you love to do.”

“He’s our son, Fenny,” James fought, trying his best to ignore the sinking feeling in his heart. “This wasn’t the way I envisioned starting a family but eventually it would have happened. There’s no one else I’d rather have be the mother of my children than you. Eli’s the best thing that ever happened to us, Fenwick. I love him and you so much.”

“Eli’s the best thing that ever happened to you, James. Your career hasn’t changed since he was born and you get to keep doing what you’re doing. You’re never there for him, you don’t make any sacrifices! Whenever he’s crying at two in the morning I have to walk him all around the house until he falls asleep even though I have work the next morning and when his diaper needs changed you never do it. You think of him as the best thing that’s ever happened to you because you don’t have to sacrifice anything! I’ve given up more than I was ever willing to give up just to take care of him and it’s getting old. I’m not meant to be a mother; I don’t want to be a mother. There’s a reason I didn’t want kids, James, but you’re too thick skulled to see it my way. You thought that it wouldn’t matter if we slipped up, that even if I said I don’t want a kid if I was pregnant it would be okay because eventually the idea of having a kid would grow on me, but you know what? It hasn’t. I tried to be open minded and I can’t do it, James. I can’t do it and I won’t. I have ambitions and dreams too and I’m not going to sacrifice them because you messed up.”

“I messed up?” James shouted, causing Eli to scream louder. “You were the one that was supposed to be on birth control so I’m sorry that I didn’t wear a condom. It’s not my job to baby sit you and make sure you don’t miss a pill, so don’t you dare try to pin this on me. Yeah, it wasn’t the way I envisioned having a kid but he’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me. I love him so much and I’d do anything for him and you. I told you I’d take care of you and Eli, I’ll provide for our family so that there’s nothing to worry about. I’m doing my best to take the stress off of you but you don’t want to let me help you.”

“I don’t want to be dependent on you, I can and I have been providing for myself,” Fenwick stated, brushing a piece of fallen hair from her face. “I don’t want or need anyone’s help and I was doing just fine taking care of myself until I had to worry about another mouth to feed, another person to be responsible for. I have a hard time being responsible for myself and now you’re telling me that I have to be held accountable for another life? I can’t do it, James, I can’t. I can’t even take care of myself or you for that matter and all of a sudden you’re telling me that I have to be responsible for this little baby because he can’t even look after himself. I can’t do it. I love you, Jay, I really do but maybe we’re just too different for each other to ever make anything last.”

“What do you mean?”

“You want someone that’s willing to settle down and get married and I’m not sure that I’m willing to make a commitment that big. I’m not ready to be responsible, I don’t want to be held accountable for someone else’s life and I think that’s as clear as day. Look at how many times we almost lost your kid. Even if I wanted him, I’m not the type of person I’d want him to be around. Look at how messed up my life was before, how much it’s still messed up. And even if it was on track, I’m always busy with work and my job comes first. I’m never home and I’m not willing to make the sacrifice to be there for the kid when he’s sick or spend time with him when you’re on an away stretch. You’ve got to take opportunities or they’ll pass you by and I’m not going to make any exceptions. I don’t like the idea of marriage or being dependent on someone. They leave and take everything, James, they always do and when that happens I’ll be stuck supporting a child in addition to trying to support myself. I’ve been down that road and I’m not going through that again, I can’t do it. I’m in this too deep and it’s time to jump.”

“I don’t want any of that, if you don’t,” James reasoned, gently placing his hands on Fenwick’s shoulders and kissing her forehead. “I’m willing to be whatever you want and if you don’t want to get married, we won’t get married. I’m not going to make you quit your job if you don’t want to – I know how much this job means to you and how hard you’ve worked to get there but I’m just suggesting that if Eli’s taking a toll on you, I can support us if you need to take a break for a while. You’re never going to be stuck supporting Eli alone – I promised you once and I’ll say it as many times as you need to hear it, I’m not leaving you. Don’t run because you’re scared, please don’t leave me again.”

“I have no choice,” Fenwick smiled sadly, pressing a gentle kiss to James’ cheek before retreating back to the study to grab her laptop. Fifteen minutes later, she walked through the kitchen with a suitcase behind her and a backpack slung over her shoulders.

“Where are you going?” James asked, his eyes wide when he saw the suitcase. “You’re… it’s just a business trip right? You’ve got to clear your head? You’ll be back?”

“I-I can’t,” Fenwick said, praying that she wouldn’t cry when she saw James near tears. “Maybe in another life, another time things would be different. It’s not you, it’s me and I’m so, so sorry.”

“You can’t leave,” James protested. “What about Eli? What about your job? Where are you going to live? All your stuff is here.”

“You keep Eli, I’m not a suitable mother for him nor do I really have the desire to look after him. You’re the more responsible one and I know that you’ll raise him with the love and care he deserves. I’ll come back and visit him when I can just don’t…. don’t let him forget about me okay and make sure he knows that… no matter what I love him. If you want child support, a monthly check, whatever then I’ll give it to you. I’ll pay for a sitter when you’re away or I’ll take care of him then just, whatever you want as long as you keep him. I’ll probably transfer jobs or switch companies, maybe work for the Steelers so that… you know it’s easier on you, I haven’t though that through yet but I’ll think of something. I’ve already called Oakleigh and arranged everything. I’ll be with her and Eric until I can figure things out and get a place of my own. This is something I have to do. I wish things were different, I wish I could have been the person you deserved and maybe one day I will be. You’ve really changed me a lot, you’ve taught me to look at the brighter side of life instead of thinking negatively and one day I hope I’ll be able to return the favor. You have to be willing to change and right now, I’m scared to move on. I love you Jay, I always have and I always will. Don’t forget me,” Fenwick said, pressing her lips to James’ before pushing past him and walking out the door.

James stood frozen in the kitchen for a couple of seconds before forcing himself to walk to the nursery where his son was still crying.

“What’s wrong, buddy?” James asked, picking his son up and pressing a gentle kiss to his head. “Daddy’s right here.”

“No want daddy,” Eli said, his face red from screaming. “Want mommy.”

James smiled sadly and rocked his son as he started crying again when he realized that Fenwick wasn’t coming. As Eli screamed for her, James sighed wishing that Fenwick would walk back through the door.

“Daddy?” Eli asked, shaking James from the haunting memories that he was reliving.

“Yeah, buddy?”

“If you marry Amber, I’m going to mommy.”

“Why Eli?”

“Because you and mommy are ‘posed to be together.”

“Have you talked to mommy about this?” James asked, smiling when Eli’s face brightened with his father’s smile. “Daddy would marry mommy if mommy ever let him.”

“Working on it, daddy,” Eli said, his dark brown eyebrows furrowing in concentration. “First Amber go bye-bye then Jacob go bye-bye the mommy and daddy be like daddy and Amber and mommy and Jacob.”

“Who’s Jacob?” James questioned, his eyes studying his son as he shook his head. “Eli, tell me.”

“He’s trying to steal mommy from daddy,” Eli said, crossing his little arms and making James’ heart drop.


Thanks for reading! (:
Like I said, this is also on Mibba so if you're a new reader or haven't commented on there, I'd love to hear your thoughts and suggestions. What you like, don't like, anything!


love this soo many back stories to be told!!! and eli is the cutest 3 year old ever :) update soon!!!!!!