Kit held up the blue book with white stickers, spelling out The Bay Bible. “This book will tell you any and everything you would need to know, right down to a mosquito bite.”
I blew out a puff of air, cocky air. “I’m pretty sure I can handle a mosquito bite. I didn’t need a tab for that one. I’m not stupid, just not made for this daddy stuff.”
“What you put on your mosquito bite isn’t the same as hers. You have to be careful with all those chemicals. A little bit of baking soda and water does the same thing.”
“Oh, okay, yeah, that makes sense,” I admitted while I stepped off my pedestal, accepting defeat, the thought of my grandma using that same home remedy crossing my mind. Nope, didn’t know how to do this, and I didn’t want to. I was doomed, she was doomed, and this was a horrible idea.
“You’re going to be fine.”
That wasn’t what I was worried about. Not fully. “And what about the girl? You’re trusting someone who has never been around little kids. Ever.”
“I’m trusting her with her dad, and stop calling her the girl. Her name is Bay.”
“Yeah, I know. Why you would name a child, Bay is beyond me. Especially when your last name is Berry.”
“Hey, I gave her your name. I could have given her mine.”
“Whatever, it’s still a stupid name. How much time do I have, Kit? I have to pack up this place, get a job and get out of the city.”
Kit frowned while her head did this little jerking thing. Like I had just slapped her across her face. “You’re leaving Nashville?”
“I know you’ve only seen the ceiling of my apartment, but I’m sure you noticed the size? Where’s she going to play? Where is she going to sleep? And, what? Am I just going to make her a bed in my guitar case while I perform on the streets until two in the morning? Of course, I’m leaving Nashville.”
“I remember your apartment, idiot, but where would you go?”
“Idit,” the tiny little voice said from the bed.
Kit laughed and scolded her with a lighthearted tone. “You can’t say that.”
“I don’t know yet. I just sent out a resume right before I called. I’ll let you know when I know.”
“But what kind of job? I mean what can you do besides sing?”
I shook my head a little with that one, deciding not to tell the dumb twit. Not because I wasn’t proud of the degree I had gotten as a backup plan. It was more because she didn’t think I was capable of such an accomplishment. She didn’t know shit about me, and it pissed me off that she was so quick to judge. “Oh, I don’t know, Kit. I bet I could mow lawns, or maybe change some oil or something.”
Kit’s frown never changed and she continued to start each sentence with, but. “But where would you go? I thought you would stay close to your family. You know, so they can help with Bay.”
I did the frowning that time. “See, this is why this is wrong on so many levels. You don’t know me any more than I know you. My family lives in Michigan. Not Nashville. I came here right after high school.
“But I met your sister.”
“Bridgett, yes. She just so happened to be visiting that weekend. She doesn’t live here. She’s a social worker back home. Not here.”
I could almost see the air being exhaled as Kit’s eyebrows sank with both her shoulders. She looked back at Bay, dumping raisins onto the bed, and back to me. “This changes things.”
“It does?” I questioned, wheels spinning like crazy in my head while I tried to contain the excitement.
“Yeah, I mean I was already having an issue with how immature you are, but moving her from place to place with no family. Yeah, I don’t know.”
Normally the immature remark would have pissed me off, but honestly, it was sort of true. Although in my defense, I had nothing to be mature about. It sounds selfish now, but at the time, I didn’t really think about Bay being my responsibility. My duty to my daughter consisted of six hundred dollars set up to automatically deposit into Kit’s bank account on the first day of every month. At least, I wouldn’t have to send that anymore. Surely a baby didn’t cost that much.
“I’m sure we’ll be fine. I’m not going to move her from place to place. Why do you think I need to know how much time I have until you fly halfway across the world?”
“You have no idea how much I want this, Brantley. It took me months to ask you. I wouldn’t even consider it if it wasn’t you.”
I didn’t understand that at all. “Why? I’ve never even been in her life.”
“Because nobody but you will love her like I do.”
I didn’t touch that one either. How could she say that, knowing we didn’t even know each other? “When do you leave?”
“Six weeks,” Kit replied in a faraway tone. Her head turned back to Bay and a smile took over her entire face.
That didn’t give me much time, but it wasn’t like she hadn’t asked six months before. That’s just how long it took for her to talk me into it, begging and pleading until I finally caved. And I still wasn’t one hundred percent convinced. My eyes moved past Kit to Bay, throwing both hands into the air, calling out some incoherent chant, raisins scattered all around her. “I’ve never changed a diaper.”
“She’s doing great on the potty. If you’re lucky, I can have her out of diapers before you get her. There is one thing, Brantley.”
“Here it comes. What?”
“I want her back. You have to sign something promising to give her back. You can see her and get her on weekends, but you can’t keep her. I’m getting her back.”
That wouldn’t be a problem. “Sure, whatever. I’ll call you in a few days.”
“Thank you so much, Brantley.”
“Yeah, yeah. See ya.”
I closed my laptop, seeing my guitar case propped in the corner. My sad guitar. The one that I would retire for an eighteen-month-old. What the hell was I doing?