USA, 2022

”Theodore! Breakfast is ready! ” I call out in a singsong voice, flipping the pancakes on the pan while Theo hopes down the wooden stairs giddily, sniffing the air.

”What is that smell? ” Comes the baby voice of Theo as if in a dream. I can help but giggle at the cuteness as I say. ”Come take a look! ”

Placing the fluffy pancakes on a plate, I spread the whipped cream on top of them while Theo helps herself up on a bar stool.

She gasps dramatically, her hand flying to her mouth and her almond shaped doe eyes turning big in surprise, as if princess unicorn has just showed up herself.

”Pancakes! ” She squeals, making me giggle even more. ”Thats right, your favourite. Finish this up and then we will get ready for school, yeah? ”

Theo nods obediently, to busy to complain as she devours her food, getting the fluffy cream all over her face and collar.

Thank the heavens I haven changed her yet.

With a smile and a ruffle in the head, I walk back upstairs after tossing my apron, and getting ready for a shower. I need to get ready for work AND get Theo ready for school.

Once Im done with my daily morning routine, I go back downstairs, only to find Theo still in the kitchen, but this time with a glass jar almost the size of her full with cookies, and one midway to her mouth.

Her eyes fall on me, and like a deer caught in the headlights, her eyes turn wide with horror, fearing my wrath.

Now don get me wrong, I don punish her unless its most important, and judging by the look on her face, even a glare can make her drop the jar and cause havoc around the whole place.

So the only thing I do is place my hands on my hips, fixing her with a stern look. ”Theo, we talked about this. ”

”Im sowwyyyy…. ” She trails off with a pout, placing the jar back on the counter while Im having a hard time trying to stifle my laugh.

”Come here; lets get you ready for the day. ”

Once Im done cleaning her, I fix her hairs into two pony tails, her soft jet black hairs shining, contrasting heavily with her pale skin. All through the time I get her dressed, she continuous to smile at me, giggling from time to time for God only knows what reason.

Children behaviour I guess. She always does it.

”Alright, shall we go? ”

”Yes! ”

When we reach the childrens nursery, most of the teachers are already waiting out side to greet the children, exchanging polite words with the parents that drop their kids.

One of the teachers, a Miss Pompers sees Theo and her face brightens up like the sun finally begin to dawn on her. Her face twisted into a huge smile, while she spread her arms out wide for Theo to run into them. ”Theo! ”

”Miss Pomfers! ” Theo exclaims, making me chuckle every time her accent gets the names and words wrong. Soon the duo are locked in a tight embrace with Miss Pompers lifting tiny Theo up and rounding around, while the child giggles continuously.

”I missed you Miss Pomfers! ” Theo confesses, and the said lady soon joins in. ”I missed you too Theo sweetie! ”

”You saw each other but yesterday. ” I exclaim, earning playful glares from the duo while all I can do is smile. With her hands still circled around Miss Pompers neck, Theo yells. ”Lets go Miss Pomfers! Mommy didn let me have any cookies today! ”

”Hey! You had two behind my back! ” I feign hurt, while all young Miss Pompers does is laugh out loud. ”Don worry Mrs Davis, your daughter is in perfect hands. ”

Mrs Davis. My daughter.

Will I ever get used to these words?

I smile softly, nodding my head. ”Im sure she is. ”

Miss Pompers is an unmarried orphan, who, with no doubts, loves kids. She says she finds peace and solace when she is in the company of kids, for their innocent souls make her feel pure at heart.

Perhaps its her own way to soothe the pain of being abandoned as a baby and left in an orphanage.

Nonetheless, Miss Pompers is a really sweet woman for someone so young and of her age.

With a curt nod and smile, Miss Pompers puts Theo down and takes her inside the colourful building by the hand.

With a sigh, I walk back to my car. Now, I needed to get to work.

Work is…boring as usual. I never enjoy my work, but it pays well to take the expense of two people especially a five year old kid. I mean, who enjoys working in a bank?

My job is simple, pick calls from clients and fix the paper work that come with those who want to open bank accounts. Simple. Very simple. So simple that at times it bores me to death.

But I have to do it. It took me a lot of hard work to land this job from a waitress in a restaurant. I need this job as much as Theo needs me.

Thats the best comparison Right? Theo does need me Right?

What am I asking? Of course she needs me, Im her mother.

When Im done with work at around two in the afternoon, the first place I stop is the bakery, where I purchase a little something for my little angel.

Once done, I drive to the nursery, where I see parents already picking up their kids, and then there is my little angel, sitting on a swing all by herself and staring at a distance.

Yes, my daughter is a loner. The children play with her when it is game time, but other than that, no one wants to hang out with her. I don know if its the kids fault or their parents, who give distasteful looks every time I pass by them. Like as if Im some kind of germs they want to avoid.

Why you ask? Simple. Im a single mom. And not just that, but a single mom who is considered too young to be a mom. Of course they must have jumped to some shameless conclusion which I will prefer not to mention.

However, seeing my girl all alone and upset, makes my inner self break down.

”Hey! ” I call out once Im in front of her, but her eyes remain trained on somewhere else. ”What are you looking at? ”

Theo does not reply, but I follow her eyes to what shes looking at, only to find a little girl the same age as hers, giggling continuously as her father spins her around happily.

Her father…

Theo is thinking about…her father.

I gulp in a reflex, avoiding any eye contact as I blink continuously, trying to not let the moisture come through.

Even after five years, this is a topic I still can bring myself to discuss, not even with my daughter. The pain is still raw, and I don want to think about it.

But that doesn mean my daughter doesn think about it either.

The first time she asked about her father, I had no idea what to say. And like a coward, I had locked myself up in my room, crying my heart out while my little angel pounded with her tiny fist on my door.

Theo never asked about her father after that, but I for one know she hasn stopped thinking about it. She doesn ask, and I selfishly don tell. I don know for how long I can keep this hidden from her.

Perhaps I will tell her, but not now. Now today.

”H-hey, ” I croak out, groaning mentally for being so pathetic, but at least it pulls Theo towards me. ”I brought you something. ”

When I show her the box that holds the cake, her face breaks into a million dollar smile, a smile I could forever gaze at and never get tired. And yet at times my own daughters face freaks me out.

She looks too much like her father.

Now is not the time! Focus!

”Its cake! ” Theo squeals, while I grin at her. ”It is! ”

Laughing to herself, Theo jumps into my arms, hugging me tightly. ”You are the best mommy! ”

She is happy, but I know that part of it is just pretending. For a girl her age Theo sure has matured a lot, understanding things someone her age shouldn .

And that kind of broke my heart. My daughter doesn have that foolish innosense like other five year olds. Her brain is too much developed to understand adults mentality. She knows pain a five year old shouldn .

Hugging her tiny frame to myself tightly, I inhale her baby scent, closing my eyes in contentment.

”Lets go home. ”

But you see, fate had other plans for me today. Because today I won be able to take Theo to a home, nor would we have the luxury to have our cake.

Because when we got home, there were three cars parked outside, the door to the house open ajar. And when we got in, we were greeted by a series of men in black.

Something I was so used to once upon a time. But had brought myself to forget in the last five years.

Nothing good ever comes if you encounter men in black. They are always bad news.

And right now, I know that better than anyone.

For in my couch sat a man in his forties, dressed to his best but with one look I know he isn the real boss here. He is the man who gets his hands dirty for the actual boss.

”Mrs Alexandra Davis! ” He calls out from his position on the couch. My heart beat picks up speed, but the man only smirks in a sinister way.

”Or should I say, Soralina Russo? ”

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