Lisa was awkward, and Jim was even more depressed by the end of that evening. Michelle stayed downstairs with Winona watching the news, while Jim claimed he was too tired to stay awake much longer. It was around 11:30 and Winona claimed being tired as well and went up the stairs. 5 minutes later, Michelle turned off the t.v. and went upstairs as well. She opened Jim’s bedroom door. He was sprawled across the bed on his back.
He looked pensive as he stared up at the ceiling with a blank expression. He stirred as she moved closer , and she realized he was awake.
“How are you doing?” Michelle asked cautiously.
“I’m sad.” Jim said, and he paused for a moment. “But I’ll be okay.”
Michelle pushed him up and hugged him close to her. “Jim, she’s upset, too. She cares for you, I know she does. It’s hard on anyone. She misses your Dad. That was the only man she ever loved in her life. Ever.”
“Fuck, I know.” Jim sighed. “I’m a bad kid.”
“No, I’d probably be the same way.” Michelle admitted.
“What…Selfish?” Jim asked harshly.
“You’re not selfish.” Michelle assured him.
“No, you’re right. I’m not. He is.” Jim said darkly.
“That fucker.” Jim sniffed. “My dad. He gave up on me.”
“He died, Jim.” Michelle said, shocked. “For God’s sakes. He did what he had to do. He was trying to give you a better life.”
“Oh, so you think this is a better life? You think I want this. To be here with her. In this hellhole in Iowa. For fuck’s sakes, we could have had it all. A big life. A big house, nice cars. I wouldn’t have to do this shit. Ever. That fucker. I hate him. I freaking hate him.” Jim’s voice was rising and he angrily knocked over a c.d. stand and Michelle cried out. “THAT FUCKER! HE LEFT ME! HE NEVER LOVED ME! ALL HE CARED ABOUT WAS HIMSELF; AND HIS FUCKING CREW! DID HE EVEN KNOW THEM? I WAS HIS SON, DAMMIT!”
“Jim. Jim please calm down.” Michelle said, on the verge of tears. One fell down her cheek. “Please, stop.”
“I hate him!” Jim roared over and over. Knocking things over. Michelle was worried his Mom would come in. Surely she heard him. He was screaming. But she never did. And in that instant, Michelle understood. Eventually, Jim did calm down. He broke down into huge sobs. And collapsed on the bed next to Michelle.
Michelle rubbed his back and kissed him gently. She coaxed him to bed, and he cuddled her into him, and sighed a soft, “I’m sorry” Michelle wasn’t bothered by Jim. She knew he was hurt. He had a rough life. No one bothered to take him seriously, or love him like he wanted to be loved. Michelle understood. Michelle loved him.
Jim woke up the next morning, his legs entangled in Michelle’s. He sighed, and rolled out of bed gently, Michelle moved a little but she didn’t awake. He pulled on a shirt, but remained in his boxers. At some point in the night, he and Michelle had awoken. And touched each other lightly. He thrust his fingers inside Michelle, and welled with satisfaction with she came, and made quiet moaning noise and called his name.
He walked downstairs and saw his Mom at the table. She was smoking a cigarette and had her hair in a bun. Her wavy whips of hair falling from it. God, she looked glorious. Even in her disheveled state. She was sad and tragic looking, but you couldn’t look away. Not even if you wanted to. She regaled you, and kept you coming back for more. Jim walked into the kitchen, and sat down across from her. He looked at her, and she stared back. It stayed like that for a minute. Then, without a word, she took out a crumpled piece of paper from her robe pocket.
It said: Emily
Jim took it and nodded his thanks. He walked into the parlor and picked up the telephone. He heard his Mom walk up the stairs He picked up the phone and dialed the number carefully. His chest tightened when he heard the ring.
“Oh yeah. Oh yeah. Give it to me you little slut. Mm, yes. God, you know-Oh. Oh. OH.” He was disgusting. Vile, and cruel. He had a scruffy beard, and it felt awful when he went down on her. His tongue snaking in and out of her. She felt disgusting to be with him. “Here you go, Em.” He handed her a 20 dollar bill.
She said nothing and she got up and pulled her panties on. That’s when the phone rang. She picked up a cigarette and took a puff. Smoke curled from her mouth. She padded down the stairs and sat at the bottom one and flicked open the phone.
“What’s up?” She said in a low monotone.
“Emily.” Jim breathed.
“Who is this?” Emily asked, her eyebrow raised. He sounded familiar.
She sucked in her breath, “What do you want?” She sounded so mean.
“How are you?” Jim asked nervously.
“Why do you care?”
“Emily. I do care. I love you. I…I had to go. My life is so much better now. I want to know how you’re doing. When did Bill and my Mom break up?”
“About 2 weeks after you left.” Emily said.
“Mhm.” She took another puff on her cigarette. “Anyway, he’s gone. So, if your Mom wants to speak to him or something. Tell her I don’t know where he is.”
“What? He just left you. Well, aren’t you in school or something. Isn’t he paying or-”
“I’m paying for myself.” Jim’s heart sank when he heard this. “And I dropped out.”
“Emily, whatever way you’re earning money…It’s not the right way. Look, I’ll lend you some money. Okay?”
“No. Not okay. You don’t have any money either. Do you even have a job?”
“Well…No. But, my Mom she’ll-”
“Oh, like she gives a fuck about me!” Emily said sharply. “Jim, don’t call me again. You fucked up. Everyone fucked up. I’m 18. I can do what I want.”
And with that, she hung up. How could Sarah and Bill abandon her like that? She was all alone. Making money doing God knows what. He hung up the phone, and walked upstairs. Emily’s harsh words ringing in his ears. She seemed so pissed. He didn’t blame her, though. But that wasn’t the Emily he knew. Or did he really ever know her? She never spoke.
He walked into his Mom’s room. She was laying on her bed watching t.v.
“I just talked to Emily.” Jim said. His mom looked up and nodded. “And, Bill left her.”
“He did?” Winona asked, her eyes grew wide.
“You abandoned her.”
“Jim. She’s not my child. She’s not my responsibility!”
“Whatever! Mom, you have to go and get her. She could be a prostitute or selling drugs!” Jim said angrily.
“Jim. She’s an adult. I can’t do anything. And I have enough problems as it is.” Winona said.
“Oh yeah? Like what?” Jim asked bitterly.
She raised up her shirt and revealed a bump. Jim felt like he’d been punched in the gut. “Wha-Who’s is it?”
“Bill’s.” She replied.
“I…When did this happen.”
“I’m not sure. It’s due in March, and it’s a girl.” She said, and she looked down at her belly.
“A girl.” Jim repeated.
“I’m sorry, Jim. I meant to tell you. I just didn’t know you were coming home.” She started to sit up. “I really am sorry.”
He walked forward and put a hand on her stomach. “What are you going to do?”
“I can’t raise a baby.” She said sadly. Jim kissed her on the forehead. “I can’t have an abortion. I have to give it up. I made plans with a nice couple in downtown Des Moines. And everything will work out. I’ve decided I want her name to be Julia.”
“Julia.” Jim said softly. “Mom, you can’t name her. That’s her parents’ choice.”
“They said they’d name her Julia.” She said.
“Why Julia?” Jim asked.
“That was supposed to be your name if you were a girl.” Jim expected they would chuckle, or grin at this. But she didn’t so he didn’t dare. “You’re father was dead set on it. We thought you’d be a girl. It was so easy, we had pink in the nursery at home.” She had tears in her eyes. “I would have laughed, if the situation wouldn’t have been so…crap.” She brushed a tear away that had fallen. “That you were a girl. But, it wasn’t. And he decided to name him after my dad, Jim. Because Tiberius…Was the worst thing to name a baby. According to him.”
Jim sat down and held her hand, “Will you tell me about it?”
“About what?” She asked sullenly, looking at him.
“All of it. How I was born, all of it..” Jim persisted.
“Sure.” She smiled faintly. And then began her story.
What a horrible situation she was in. Winona Stevenson was so young, only 19. It had been horrifying to reveal to her mom that she was pregnant. George was 23, and had a good head on his shoulders. But of course, he was a free spirit. He was a drinker when they’d first gotten together. A little wild; and crazy popular. The guy of every girl’s dream. She was lucky to have him.
She remembered that night that they had first had sex. She stood there, horribly scared. She was just 18, fragile and young. George sat in the chair, his arms held out. Winona gasped lightly. She was only in her t-shirt and panties. She sucked in her breath and slowly pulled down her panties, and they collapsed at her feet. George’s mouth curled a little. And he held out his arms a bit further.
Winona stepped out of her panties. And held her head down. She looked up, and expected he was grinning at her. She loved him when he smiled. He was so handsome. But his face was dead serious. He wanted this as badly as she did. He wasn’t a virgin like she. Winona was from such a conservative family in Iowa. It was only typical. She breathed out and walked forward. George didn’t say anything. She sat down on his lap. He was naked, and she put her hands on his chest. She slowly spread out her legs, and sank down. She gasped, and her eyes widened. George breathed out. Tears flooded her eyes. Jim held her back, and looked at her. She whispered, “It’s okay.”
They were walking down the dusty lane in the summer; it was before he got recruited to Star Fleet. With the baby due in late November, and it was August already. She was beginning to show. 3 more months. She hadn’t told her mom. She hadn’t told George. He’d been too busy for her anyway. There was touching, there were letters. Lots of “What are you wearing?”s and “I want you so bad, babe.”s. But Winona bumped into him, and he grinned and snaked his hand into hers.
“I’ll miss you while I’m gone.” George said.
“I have a surprise.” Winona said.
“What’s that?” George asked coyly.
“It’s…I’m enlisting in Star Fleet. Or, actually, I already did. And I might be able to be on the same ship as you.” Winona said excitedly.
George stopped, and looked at her. His voice deep with concern, “Winona. You could get killed.”
She took his face in her hands, “Georgie, I’ll be fine. I love you. And…I’ll be safe. I promise. This is a big deal for me.”
George nodded, and kissed her lightly. “Yeah, I know… I worry about you, though.”
Winona laughed and they kept walking, “Why?”
“You’re small, you’re cute, and everyone likes you. Your family’s like…The fucking Midwestern dream. Some guy, some pretty boy. He’s gonna come and snatch you away from me. I know it.”
Winona laughed loudly, “Oh, George! You make me laugh!” He grinned. “You are one of those pretty boys.”
“Ohhh, please don’t say that.” He begged.
“It’s true.” Winona said. They walked for a few seconds in silence. “I have something to tell you.”
“Sure, what is it?”
“Remember when we had sex.” Winona asked anxiously.
They walked a few more steps, and George stopped. “What?”
“I…I took a test.”
“I wore a condom!”
“I took a test.” Winona said again, her voice cracking, not sure what else to say but that. She felt tears come to her eyes.
“You’re pregnant?” George asked nervously.
Winona let out a mangled cry. George walked forward immediately and held her. Smoothing her hair away from her face. Rocking her back and forth. Hands around her belly.
“Wow, it’s so small.” George said, smiling, looking at the Ultra sound. Medical Bay on the U.S.S Kelvin was the perfect spot for this. No one could come in and say anything. Give judgmental looks. And whisper awful things to each other. In that month, so much had happened. They’d gotten married in a small ceremony, Winona was gorgeous in her little white dress. George beaming proudly.
“Do you want the sex?” The woman asked.
“Yes please.” Winona said in a small voice. The woman laughed, and George chuckled and squeezed her hand tightly. She looked over at him and smiled back.
“It’s a girl.” The woman said. “And I’d say you’re about 29 weeks, Winona.”
“She’s….Beautiful.” Winona said admiring her baby. Looking over at George. He had tears in his eyes, and it brought tears to hers.
“Julia.” George said a month later.”
“What?” Winona asked, she was in her bedroom quarters that she shared with George. She was lying on the bed, surveying her Glamour magazine.
“Julia.” George said. “The name for the baby.”
“Why Julia?” Winona asked.
“It’s just…A beautiful name. And it makes me feel good inside to say it.” George said simply. “Julia.”
“Sounds nice.” She said skeptically.
George leaned over and kissed her. “You’ll like it, eventually, you’ll see.”
This wasn’t as pleasant as the others. Being pushed in a wheel chair as fast as they could go. Tricorder gripped in hand. Screaming, people around her falling off railings. Things exploded, burning metal in her nostrils. George talking to her, telling her to get to her pod.
“You’ll be fine.” He assured, though he sounded frantic. “You and Julia, you’ll be fine.”
Winona looked around, scared for her life. Eventually, they did make it to the pod. They helped her onto her bed. And she spread her legs. “You’re 5 centimeters dilated.” Someone said, her eyes were buggy. This is all Winona remembered. “You have to push soon. This is going by awfully fast.”
All of the sudden the pod began to take off. Winona’s eyes widened, “No! No! You can’t leave yet! George…He has to come. He needs to be here. Wait.”
“Honey.” Came George’s voice from the tricorder. “Listen, I need you to stay where you are. I’m not gonna make it.”
Winona began to cry softly, “But…George you need to be here. It’s your baby. Julia.”
“I’m sorry, if I don’t do this none of the other pods will make it!” George said, he was yelling over the explosions. “I need you to be brave for me, okay?”
“I need you to push now.” The buggy eyed woman said suddenly.
Winona pushed down with all she had. Screaming and crying, her face twisting in agony. It was the worst pain she’d ever felt in her entire life. But it was all worth it when she heard that little cry. She was in awe when she saw them lift the baby over to her. She saw, that it was clearly not a boy. She let out a little laugh, and they handed the baby to her. And it cried in her arms softly.
“Wh…What is it?” George asked. Not sure what else to say. Tears in his eyes. 50 seconds left. Auto-pilot off. Collision course set.
“It’s…a boy.” Winona said, rubbing it’s head gently.
“Wow.” Was all George could say. “What are we gonna name it?”
“We could name him after your father.” Winona suggested.
“What? Tiberius!? Are you joking, no! That’s the worst. Let’s name him after your Dad. Let‘s call him Jim” George said chuckling. Jim coming off his tongue as easy as Julia.
“Jim,” Winona said, looking down at her little boy. “Okay. Jim it is.”
“Honey, I love you.” George said suddenly, and Winona looked up frantically and could see out the window. His ship heading for the Romulans’s. “I love you so much.”
“George.” She said quickly.
“I love you so much. I love you-” Then she heard an explosion, and looked outside and saw his ship exploding into pieces. How could this happen. How could she leave him like that. She began to cry, and held her baby close.
“It’s just us, baby.” She said to Jim, crying softly. She sobbed into it’s tiny little face, stroking it gently.
She finished, tears falling down her cheeks. Jim’s own eyes were filled with tears. “I have to leave.” Jim said quickly.
She stroked his cheek. “Okay.”
“I…Thanks, mom.” He said, he wanted to say he loved her. He really did. But what more was there to say. He couldn’t work up the courage.
He walked into the bathroom, the shower was running and it was steamy. Jim sighed deeply, and tears fell from his eyes. A sob escaped and the curtain pulled back. Michelle’s wide eyes appeared. Her blonde hair now brown from the water, matted to her face. “Jim?”
She stepped out and pulled on her towel and Jim collapsed into her arms, not minding that he was getting wet. He sobbed into her shoulder. She told him it was okay. That she loved him. “I love you, baby. It’s okay. It’s okay.”
“She’s pregnant!” Jim managed to escape.
“Yeah. A little girl. Julia.” Jim gasped. “Julia.”
“Bill. She’s gonna give it away. But I can’t do this, Chelle. No, I can’t.” He cried.
“I know. Let’s go home.” She said this to him softly, and helped him up gently, and they wobbled down the stairs.
Trying to be quiet. But Winona sensed them leaving. She knew he was leaving her, probably for good. She curled up in her bed, cuddling her stomach. “It’s just us, baby,” she said full of nostalgia to her little Julia.