Kim woke up to find Ann snuggled up next to her. ‘She must have had a nightmare,’ Kim thinks. She gently shakes her daughter awake. They get dressed and go into the living room, to find Tommy in the kitchen part of it, fixing breakfast.
“About time you two got up,” Tommy teased.
“What time is it?”
“About eleven,” Tommy said, “I called that number you had about... you know, and they said that they couldn’t fit us in until tomorrow. For today, what do you say about the three of us going to a playground or something, and catching lunch?”
“Sorry, but I’ve got practice in a little while,” Kim said. Tommy had a puzzled look on his face. “I’m working for the Coach to help train gymnasts for the Pan Globals.”
“Of course,” Tommy said. He turned to Ann. “What about you, little one? Would you like to go to the playground and stuff?”
“Sure,” Ann said shyly. She looked up at her mom. “Can I?”
“Of course you can,” Kim said, smiling. She turns to Tommy. “When are you two going to be taking off.”
“As soon as the two of you eat breakfast,” he said.
“Ooh,” little Kim said, “This is the first time in a while we’ve actually had breakfast.” Tommy looked at Kim questioningly. ‘She must be having a hard time supporting the two of them,’ he thought. He served the two of them, and Ann even allowed him to feed her.
“I’m the only one she lets do that,” Kim said, “And even then, only every once in a while.”
“Tell you what,” Tommy said, “Tomorrow, breakfast in bed, for the both of you. I’ll get up a little earlier, and get it all set up.” Ann squealed at the prospect of breakfast two mornings in a row, and of breakfast in bed period.
“You’re spoiling us,” Kim said.
“I know,” Tommy said, “I’ve always wanted to. Am I doing it right?”
“You’re off to a good start,” Kim replied. They all finished quickly, and Kim went into her room to change for practice, and then took off. Tommy and Ann went to the nearest school playground.
“And after this,” he said, “We can go to McDonald’s for lunch. My treat.”
“Thank you,” Ann said, “We never go to McDonald’s, except for really special occasions.”
“And now that I’m here,” Tommy said, “You can go there every day, if you want to.”
“Really.” Ann went scampering off towards a few kids nearby. ‘She’s very active for just a two year old,’ Tommy thought, ‘Smart, too.’
“Tommy.” He looked up, to find Ann on the swings. “Come push me, Tommy.” He went and complied. When they both got tired of swinging, Ann talked him into letting her brush his hair. They sat down at a picnic table, and she got a brush out of her little purse, and ran it through his hair.
“Your hair is so soft,” she said.
“Thank you,” Tommy said. When she was done, he said, “Now its your turn.” She sat down next to him, without hesitation. He started running the brush through her hair. “So, how’s life been treating you?”
“Good,” she said, “Considering that mom never has any money to really do anything, she always takes me out shopping, no matter what.”
A woman was watching them. She came over a few minutes later. “Your daughter is beautiful,” she said, “And you’re so good with her.”
“Thank you,” Tommy said, “But...”
“He’s not my daddy,” Ann said, “Not even mommy knows who my daddy is. He’s just a friend of hers.” When she turned around to look at the lady, Tommy got a good look at her eyes. Though the girl looked exactly like Kim in almost every other way, he could swear that he could see him in her eyes.
“Oh,” the woman said. She looked embarrassed as she walked away. ‘I have to wonder, now that I’ve seen your eyes, little one,’ Tommy thought as he finished and Ann ran off. He kept a watchful eye on her, but was lost in his own thoughts. The minute she fell, though, he was right on it, rushing over to her.
“I was playing on the monkey bars,” she said, “And I just lost my grip. My knee hurts.” Amazingly, she wasn’t crying.
Tommy looked at her knee. It was bleeding slightly, but didn’t look bad. “Looks like it was just a scrape,” he said, “We’ll go to a bathroom nearby and get it cleaned up. While it’ll look weird for you being in the men’s room, I trust you not to look at anything you shouldn’t.”
“I won’t,” she said. Tommy took her into the men’s bathroom. Once inside, they got some weird glances, but once Tommy explained what happened, and showed them her knee, they understood completely. Tommy cleaned up the nasty little scrape, and used a band aid that Ann just happened to have in her purse.
“You have to kiss it,” she said. Tommy smiled and kissed her knee before putting the band aid on. She giggled, and Tommy helped her down. They walked out and, just like Tommy promised, walked to the nearest McDonald’s, which was just a short distance away, thankfully.
“Pick anything you want,” Tommy said, “As long as you know you can eat it. Don’t waste food.”
“I won’t,” she said. She ordered, they ate, and she went to play on the playground. Tommy watched her from some tables there.
“I thought that I would find you here.” Tommy turned around, to find Kim at the doorway.
“Yeah, well, I promised her I would bring her here,” Tommy said, “When did you get out of practice? Have you had anything to eat?”
“Just now and no,” Kim said.
“Here.” Tommy took out his wallet and took a five out. “Get yourself something to eat, skin and bones.” He grinned good naturedly.
“Oh you,” Kim said, playfully swatting at Tommy. She did as he said and came back out a few minutes later, with her food. She joined Tommy at the table and started to eat. Her food seemed to only take a few seconds for her to eat.
“Hi mommy.” Ann was waving at her from the ball area.
“Hi sweetheart,” Kim said, “Be careful.”
“I will,” Ann said.
“She looks like she’s on cloud nine,” Kim said, “I don’t usually let her play here, in fear that she’d get hurt.”
“Well she did at the school playground,” Tommy said, “But it was just a scraped knee. She’s an awfully active girl for just being almost three years old. Does she get hurt often? It was just too much of a coincidence when she had that band aid earlier to put on her knee.”
“Yeah, she usually does,” Kim said, “But never too bad, thankfully. I don’t have insurance on her, and I have to pay enough for doctor bills, as it is.”
“Why doesn’t your mom help you?” Kim started squirming uncomfortably. “Kim?”
“When I had Ann,” Kim started, “When I first found out I was pregnant, actually, mom tried forcing me into having an abortion. I refused, since you were the most likely candidate for its father. After I had Ann, mom was absolutely livid over the topic of me putting it up for adoption. But when I first looked at my little girl, I just couldn’t. She stole my heart immediately, and there was no way I was going to give her up, and mom went nuts. She even tried to use legal means to force me to put Ann up for adoption, but the courts couldn’t find any reason to take her away from me.” Kim started crying then, and Tommy put his hand on her shoulder.
“Kim, it’s okay,” he said, “You don’t have to tell me anymore.”
“I need to,” Kim said, “Anyway, when mom found out that there was no real way to make me give up, or talk me into giving, up my baby, she went cold shoulder on me. She refused to help me support my baby. I’ve had to work hard ever since. I had to quit trying for the Pan Globals just to go look for a job. The coach was nice enough to help me pay for the apartment. I’ve been working for him ever since, while he uses most of my paycheck to pay for the apartment. We barely get by on what’s left.”
“Kim, you don’t have to go through that any longer,” Tommy said, “I’m here, and I will help you in any way I can. The testing tomorrow will be just the beginning. You will never have to be broke or anything like that ever again.” ‘I would ask her to marry me,’ Tommy thought, ‘But she doesn’t need that right now.’
“I couldn’t possibly ask you to do that,” Kim said.
“You’re not asking,” Tommy said, “I’m offering. And this time, I’m the one who won’t take no for an answer. All you have to do is come back to Angel Grove with me. My parents would be more than likely more than happy to let you stay with us until you get back on your feet.
“Thanks Tommy,” Kim said, “I will.”
“Are you okay mommy?” Ann came over and gave her mom a big hug, which Kim gratefully returned.
“Yeah, I’m okay sweetie,” Kim said, “I have something important to tell you. We’re going to be moving. To Angel Grove, where I mostly grew up.”
“Awesome,” Ann said, “I never did really like this place.”
“Neither did I, sweetie,” Kim said, “Neither did I.” They started walking back to Kim’s apartment. Once there, Kim started packing hers and Ann’s stuff. Tommy helped when he could, but Kim insisted on doing most of it herself.
“Mommy,” Ann said when Tommy left the room. “I like Tommy. He’s really nice.”
“I do too, sweetie,” Kim said, “I do too.” ‘He could at least ask me to marry him,’ she thought, ‘That way, I wouldn’t feel so weird moving back to live with him and his parents.’ It was late when she finished packing. When they went into the living room, Tommy was already asleep on the couch. Kim picked up Ann and put her to bed. When she went to her own, she fell right to sleep.