Yesterday was Oliver's birthday. He must've turned 30. Oliver was the guy I used to date when I was in the house, and who I haven't seen or heard from since the birth of Micah 5 years ago. Let's just say we had a pretty stormy relationship(s); at first it was all cotton candy and sex which evolved into love. Then I met a promising chef who was passionate and older, more experienced, and he got in the way. Then I got pregnant for the first time, whilst still dating Oliver but I lost the baby and somehow won Oliver back, but a girl called Mona got in the way and I went back to Miles and accidentally got pregnant again. The thing between Mona and Oliver broke and he just went mental and his world dissolved underneath him with drugs and alcohol. I tried to help him, but he refused to see me when I was carrying Miles' baby. I even think he lost his job at the New Yorker or so I heard.
I remembered that I still had his parents' number somewhere. Probably hidden from Miles. He and Oliver hated each other and would probably literally bite my head off if he saw that I'd kept any of Oliver's stuff. Luckily he didn't know about the sweater I was wearing, my Ray-Ban Clubmasters, most of my CD-collection and all the washed-out rock n' roll T-shirts I loved sleeping in and wearing while I'm still pregnant. And I didn't know anything about the guy who I got all these things from anymore.
I spent the next 3 hours looking for that number. Miles was at the restaurant and wouldn't come back until late and Micah was at school. He had a play date so I had the house to myself all morning and all afternoon. Eventually I found it tucked inside one of my old calendars and since his mom was living in the UK as well I could call without thinking of the time difference.
It rang a few times before it was picked up, "Sophie Andrews speaking," a woman at the other end said. I'd say she was elderly judging from the way she answered the phone.
"Sophie? It's Phoenix Miller. I'm an old friend of your son, Oliver?"
"Phoenix! How are you?" she chirped in perfect British. I'd only met her once when I dated Ollie and it was parents' weekend in the Warehouse. She liked me, I remembered.
"I'm good, thank you. I'm living here in England now," I said wondering why she hadn't questioned why I was calling yet.
"Oh, really? That's lovely! It's funny John and I just talked about you the other night actually."
I chuckled as a response and felt anxious to get on with the conversation, "I actually called to ask about Oliver. Is he still living in New York?"
"No, he's been living in London for a couple of years now," she started but stopped so abruptly that I felt like she was leaving something out of the conversation.
I furrowed my brows, "really? That's funny. Is he still with Mona?"
"No, dear, they split right after the show ended. So where are you in the UK, darling?"
"Chalfont St. Giles," I replied quickly and added, "do you have a number or something I can reach him on?"
"Yes, darling, I do. Actually I can just give you his address if you want?" I thanked her and got the address. He was living in Chelsea and traffic at this time wasn't bad, so I locked up the house and got into my car and drove the 40 minutes it takes to get into the city.
I knocked on the red door of his townhouse in Chelsea. He must've done good for himself. I felt bad for the things I'd thought about him. I thought I'd find him at a rehabilitation center or in a dumpster. I managed to push myself out of my Range Rover though it took a lot of struggle, when you're this damn big. I waddled up to his door though the little front yard and up the three steps and knocked on the big red door. He opened it himself. He was wearing jeans, a checked shirt and converse. He looked just like himself but happier, more sober. His eyes widened when he saw me. When he looked down at my stomach they got even bigger.
"Phoenix?! Oh my God, what are you doing here? F-ck, you're about to pop!"
"Good to see you too, Oliver," I smiled and put a supportive hand in my back.
He stepped back in his door, "sorry, come on in!" He grabbed my elbow and helped me up the last step and into his kitchen.
"Thank you," I mumbled and sat down at a chair in his kitchen. Judging from the lack of plants and flowers in the room I didn't think he was living with a woman. I couldn't believe that I was sitting in the same room as Oliver after all these years. "And belated happy birthday," I said and sat down on a barstool by the kitchen island.
"Thanks," he smiled, "damn, it's… weird.. to see you. Who did that to you?" he pointed to my belly. "It's funny, the last time I saw you, you were pregnant too."
The thought of the time we parted dried off his smile, so I ignored it and answered his question,"I know. I'm due in two weeks. And it's Miles. Again."
A flash of something came across his face. Sadness? Anger? I couldn't tell, "you're still with him, huh?"
"Since January. We split a couple of years ago and I met someone else, which was a mistake. Then Miles and I spent a night together in November and I got busted because as it turns out my boyfriend at the time was sterile, so he couldn't have gotten me pregnant. Then we split and Micah and I left New York with Miles," I inhaled short of breath after telling the story so fast.
"Micah?" he asked. "Your son? Left New York?"
"Oh, right you don't know him," I nodded, "yeah, he's five. We live in a house just 40 minutes outside of London."
He nodded slowly, "I've been avoiding magazines and tabloids since the Warehouse ended. It would be too much for me to see you and… him."
"Yeah," I mumbled not knowing what to say as a proper respond.
"Would you like anything to drink? Coffee, tea?"
"I'd like a cup of tea," I replied and looked around. The house was great. It had a little garden, and I think it must've has four floors or something. "You did good for yourself. What are you doing now?"
"Art," he grinned, "buying and selling. It's fun. Far from the photographing."
"You don't say," I laughed and looked around. "Seeing anyone? Mona?"
"No," he said thoughtfully and added, "it's been long since we split. I was really messed up after you left. Or I kicked you out. I don't even remember anymore. I was so fucked up, Nix."
I shivered when he called me by my own nickname. I'd missed hearing that from his mouth, "I'm sorry. I never meant to---"
He cut me off, "I know. It wasn't your fault. It just put me in a vulnerable position. But all that is behind me. I don't even drink anymore."
"Smoke?" I asked knowing that he still did that.
"You got me. I suppose you don't in that… state," he said while filling a cup with tea. "How many do you have now anyway? I remember how you used to say you never wanted kids."
I hated when people talked about my Warehouse days. "I've put that behind me. I just have Micah and this little girl on the way," I padded myself on my belly and took the hot cup he handed me.
He poured one for himself and sat down on a stool next to me, "that's beautiful. Hey, how did you find me anyway? And why now?"
I shrugged and blew on the hot tea, "called your mom because I remembered it was your birthday yesterday. And to be honest I didn't think you'd greet me with a friendly face like you did," I smiled at him. "I'm extremely happy you did," the baby kicked hard just as I said that, or maybe it was a cramp. All I know is that it hurt so bad that I almost fell down the stool, "Oh, f-ck!"
He looked like he panicked and put both his hand of my stomach, "hey, are you okay? What's happening?"
I made a waving gesture and managed to say, "I think it's just a cramp. I'm sure it is."
I felt the stool getting wet underneath me and now all traces of doubts vanished, "okay, no I'm in labor," all I could think was: F-ck Miles can't know I'm here, but I knew he had to. I needed to get to a hospital now. With Micah I almost gave birth in the cab on the way. Quick births runs in my family. "Call Miles and get me to f-cking, OUCH, St. Johns Wood Hospital!"
He looked disturbed and miserable at the same time, "Nix, I can't call Miles! He'll kill me!"
I don't know what happens to women when they're in labor, but they turn into complete Godzillas, "JUST F-CKING CALL HIM!"
"Okay-okay!" he fumbled with my phone and I didn't really hear anything else than Oliver apologizing and telling him that he was taking me to the hospital.