Her life was ruled by her unborn child. Correct that, her unconceived child. She thought of him as a boy even though he spoke within her in a sexless, quiet voice. He didn't say he was a he, but nor would he deny being a she.
There were boyfriends he didn't like, men he wouldn't even consider. Even Justin, whom she maybe loved. "Him? My father? Are you trying to damage me?" No, no, no, she whispered to him, mortified. Frightened, she bid Justin a tearful goodbye. He bid her a bewildered 'fuck off' and that was that.
Not Brian, with 'his hooked nose'. Or Steve, with 'his disgusting family'. Or John, 'poor - and stupid'.
"I don't think you want me after all," the baby cried to Laura. "You don't seem to be trying very hard."
"Oh, I do want you, I do! Please, it's only...there aren't very many...I thought Mark was lovely..."
"He was lovely," the baby agreed coldly, "for you. But he didn't want children. He didn't want me."
"I'm sure he'd change his mind. I could convince him."
"He shouldn't have to be convinced. What sort of half-hearted father would he be then? I want better than that. I thought you'd want better than that too."
The baby would make his own suggestions.
"Him," he said from within her, indicating a young man robustly playing ball with a small boy.
"He has a family," Laura would explain.
"Him then," the baby demanded of an even younger man in tight skinny jeans and an even tighter skinny T-shirt.
"He's gay! Jesus, give me a chance!" And she laughed.
That won her a sullen silence. And no matter how she cajoled and flattered and pleaded and begged and cried and pleaded some more, he refused to speak to her again.