The Surprise by Jeff Jones

Mike was already in a bad mood before he discovered the offending article in the bathroom bin. He’d briefly considered ignoring it and letting his wife Kate deal with the fallout, but that was the coward’s way. Instead he’d carefully picked it up and stomped into the lounge where his wife and daughter were sat watching TV. He’d had no idea how to broach the subject and had settled on righteous indignation; he always found the view from his high horse rather pleasing. 

“Something you want to tell us, Claire?” Both Kate and Claire stared at him in bemusement. “Nothing?” They both continued to look at him nonplussed. “I thought we could trust you, Claire. I knew that little toe-rag was trouble, you wait till I get my hands on him.” “Dad, what are you on about, I’m trying to watch TV?” 

Her blasé dismissal was the final straw. “This is what!” and with a triumphant flourish he produced the used pregnancy test stick from behind his back. “I know this is yours.” Claire’s eyes widened. “Dad, I…” 

“No, don’t try and deny it or tell me it belongs to one of your friends.” Claire clamped her mouth shut and slowly turned to face her mum. “And don’t look to your mum for help either, this is your problem. So what have you got to say for yourself?” 

“Actually…” said Kate speaking for the first time. 

“Quiet, Kate, let her speak for herself.” 

“It’s not hers.” 

Mike was so consumed by rage that it took a while for those words to sink in. “What?” “The test. It’s mine. I’m… we’re going to have a baby.” 

A smug smile enveloped Claire’s face as she turned to face her dad. “So, Dad, what have you got to say for yourself?” 

Published in Issue #

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