KC was shaking his head as he was leaving the city hall building.
“Birth certificate. How am I supposed to pull that out of my ass now?” he mumbled to himself, knowing where he would likely find it.
Of course could he order another copy, but his money was almost completely spoken for at this point and even smaller amounts would hurt right now. He was not going to borrow it from anyone, if he could help it. He already owed several of the Camerons way too much to ever be able to repay it, be it their kindness or actual money they may have spent on him. His dignity would not allow it.
Just now he had tried to apply for a passport, to take Evey on a trip he was saving up for. Far away this time, so no surprise visits by Heath could interrupt them just being a young couple doing young couple things. Plus, Liam had made KC’s mouth water with stories of him and his wife in Selvadorada. The trip itself wasn’t going to be cheap and he needed a passport. Evey had one, he knew that.
“Are you really ready for that, dude?” he asked his own reflection in the rear view mirror of his Jeep, which he had gotten into in the meantime and started up.
As he pulled it onto the property to park, he could not help grimacing. Never had he expected to ever come back to this place. As soon as he saw it again, his fight or flight instinct alerted and wanted him to just keep driving.
“Come on now, you chicken, you are not 8 anymore. What are they gonna do to you now?” he told his reflection again.
Exiting the car he stood still for a moment unable to grasp that this was where he was born and spent the first 9 years of his life.
All this seemed so far away and like a nightmare, but right now it was real. Very, very real. Too real.
Shaking his head he started walking toward the middle trailer, the biggest of the three, briefly knocked but did not wait to be asked to enter.
As he did, he found it to look the exact same way he remembered it, as if the past 15+ years had stood still here. A messy all purpose room, the pungent smell of a mixture of mold, stale alcohol, old food, rotting wood, dirty laundry and something indefinable.
At the table he saw a woman.
“Go away! I am not taking clients today.” she told him monotonously.
Oh dear lord. Was this really where he came from?
“Did you not hear me?” the young woman now labored up and KC saw she was heavily pregnant.
“I heard ya. Not here for that. Looking for my birth certificate.” KC told her.
“Your what? Why the fuck would … wait … KC?! Is that you?! Holy crap!” her monotonous tone changed to a surprised one.
“Yup. Hey Lillian.” KC had recognized his older cousin. Last time he had seen her she was in her early teens. They hugged.
“Man, you got big!” she referred to his muscular appearance and height. Definite change from the last time they had seen each other when he was about 8 or 9.
“So did you.” he chuckled, pointing at her baby bump.
“Good one. Wow, I never thought I’d ever see you again. Come here, sit. Want something to drink we have … umm … well, the usual I guess.”
“Nah, I am good.” he told her, but sat down with her at the table, wondering how those rusty, rotten old chairs had still not collapsed, after his creaked suspiciously.
“You look good. I thought of you the other day and wondered if you were actually still alive … did you just get out of the slammer?” Lillian asked.
“No, I haven’t been to prison in many years. I have a regular life now, like an honest man, I work, have friends, even a fiance.”
“No shit. Look at you. I am glad for you.”
“Hey, do you happen to have an idea where my birth certificate could be? Has to be around here somewhere seeing that nobody has ever thrown ANYTHING away in his hellhole since before we were born.”
“Your guess is as good as mine. Knowing our fathers, they probably wiped their asses with it at some point.”
“I’d believe that.”
“I can’t get over you KC. You really look great. You really made it out. A success story. I’ll be damned, didn’t think that was actually possible.”
“What about you?”
“Same old rut. I work at the Dolls with my mother and yours. This is where I got THIS. My little side-business went sideways, again, this time I didn’t have the cash to have it taken care of. Was hoping for a miscarriage but looks like this dumbass kid really wants to be born. Crap.” she was referring to the strip club across the street called ‘Gals N Dolls’ and the fact that the women working there substituted their low income by sleeping with the patrons for extra money. Off the records, of course. Sometimes that resulted in an unwanted child, same way KC came about. His mother and father were never truly a couple. She worked there, he knocked her up and in order to avoid having to pay child support he moved her into the trailer park, owned by his father, who also lived there. Her sister was already living there, she was married to KC’s uncle and they had Lillian.
“You need to get out of here. You should leave while you still can. Both of us know this place is toxic for a kid.” KC said seriously.
“Yeah, I know. The only problem is leave and go where, KC? I missed my window. Too late for me now. I literally have nowhere to go and honestly, I am too much trash to change. Too messed up. No, too late for me. Just gonna have to roll with it.”
“There is always adoption. At least the kid would have a chance.”
“Do YOU still trust the system? Do you not remember some of the foster homes we were in? Might as well keep the brat.”
The door opened and a very drunk man stumbled in, nearly falling to the floor, but caught himself just in time and eventually managed to steady himself when he noticed the two people in the trailer, his eyes focusing on KC then at his cousin.
“Goddamn it, bitch! Told ya not to bring your johns home. Pay her and get out, buddy!” the last part was addressed at KC, who even at a good distance could smell the cheap alcohol on the man’s breath.
“He’s not a john! That is …”
“I am a friend of hers.” KC interrupted his cousin, who only looked surprised for a second, then realized what KC was doing.
“Even friends have to pay. No freebies, you hear.”
“Yah, you are right.” KC got up, pulled out his wallet and took all the paper money he had in it, handed it to his cousin, then bend down as if he wanted to kiss her, instead he whispered in her ear
“For the baby, don’t give it to him, don’t let him take it and don’t use it for anything but baby stuff, ok? I’ll be back to check on you soon.”
She nodded and stuck the money into her bra, whispering a thank you.
As he was leaving KC took one more look at the drunk man, who was now picking up one bottle after the next off the floor, checking them for leftover alcohol contents.
The squeaking of the door sounded like a farewell before the springloaded hinge caused it to fall shut with a loud bang as KC let go of it.
“Bye daddy dearest.” he mumbled to himself on his way to his Jeep.
He saw her right as he pulled onto the property to park, she saw him too and waddled towards him, waving briefly. Holding her back, evidently aching from the well advanced pregnancy, she stood there, smiling as he handed her a paper bag, while carrying a box himself as they went into the larger trailer.
“That’s prenatal vitamins and shit you are supposed to take and read before and after the baby comes.” KC explained.
She smiled up at him, shaking her head.
“I was gonna say you really have changed, but actually you haven’t. Even when you were still a kid, you always tried to protect me and your mom, didn’t you? All the beatings you took, so they wouldn’t take it out on us. And even now. I don’t know who your fiance is, but I really hope she deserves you.”
“Ah, no worries, she does. And then some. She saved my ass several times when I needed help. Gotcha some food too. Nothing fancy. I am not exactly rolling in the dough, was saving up for a vacation with my girl, but that will have to wait. This is more important right now. And without that birth certificate …”
“Oh, right … hang on. Here.” she had waddled over to her bed, then pulled something from underneath the mattress, handing it to KC.
He took it and looked at a tattered and torn, stained and wrinkled document, some of the ink was runny where some liquid had dropped onto it. But it very obviously was his birth certificate.
“Wow, you found it.”
“Like you said, nobody ever throws anything away around here. There is not even a scheduled trash pickup here, don’t know if there ever has been and if they just gave up on us. Maybe our fathers used to rob the dump truck for more trash to line this place…” she laughed, KC joined in.
“You want some?” she asked KC, holding up a bag of ground coffee she found while inspecting the box he had brought.
“Sure, why not?”
She began making it when suddenly she doubled over, moaning in apparent pain.
KC jumped up to steady her when he saw water puddling on the floor beneath her.
“Oh shit! Please tell me you just accidentally peed yourself.”
“DAMMIT!” he said, scooping her up into his arms to run to his Jeep with her.
He stood nervously in the delivery room, his cousin holding on to his hand almost breaking it.
“Have you done this before, son?” one of the men dressed in the green medical gear asked him.
KC shook his head.
“Ok, first timers often get a bit woozy. If you do, there is a chair. Don’t be a hero, nobody has time to deal with you if you fall out of your slippers, got it kid?”
“Are you the father?”
“No! That’s my cousin!”
“I’ve seen a lot, but a cousin in the delivery room is a first even for me. Anybody hearing banjos yet?” giggling muffled by face masks ensued, while KC just grimaced.
“Relax kid. We are all a little tense and jokes help us too.”
“All I know is that I am staying on this end of her, no matter what!” KC said.
“Ha ha ha, I hear you, son. I say the same thing every time, but then they tell me I have to deliver the baby now .. Can’t do that from up here.” He chuckled at a frightened looking KC.
“Doc, we need you over here now!” One of the nurses alerted.
“You ready for this, kid?” The doctor asked KC, who shook his head.
“Well, too bad. This is happening NOW.”
Not much later KC was looking at his new nephew, whom she had named “Chance”.
It only took a few weeks when Lillian came to KC for help again. She felt unable to take care of her infant son Chance, had begged KC for help, and he ended up talking to Liam and Leonie, who took the child in.
Yes, another foster kid for them.