What’s Best for the Child

RYAN: It’s you.

CERIDWEN: Good morning, Mr. Manning. Please. Sit down.

RYAN: Are you for real?

CERIDWEN: I am Agent Entwhistle, I’m with the FBI—

RYAN: Are you fucking with me?

CERIDWEN: I’m just here to do my job. Sir.

RYAN: Sir? It’s been ten years. Is this what you’ve been doing with yourself?

CERIDWEN: I’m here to talk about the incident—

RYAN: Yeah, I bet you are. Do they know?

CERIDWEN: They know. The ones who need to. They’re the FBI, it’s kind of their job.

RYAN: Did you really just call me “Sir”?

CERIDWEN: I thought you liked it when I treated you like an authority figure. I’m sorry, that was…

RYAN: You. That was you. And here I thought you were trying to be professional. It’s been ten years, Kerry.

CERIDWEN: I know exactly how long it’s been.

RYAN: Why even come back at all?

CERIDWEN: Maybe you haven’t been listening—

RYAN: This is the FBI. Surely, there are other people who could have come to do this.

CERIDWEN: I go where they send me.

RYAN: So I guess you just don’t even care, then? What do you expect me to tell her?

CERIDWEN: How about something like “The FBI had to talk to me about an incident at work.” Won’t she be excited?

RYAN: You don’t even want her to know that you’re here?

CERIDWEN: Do you? How’s Judith?

RYAN: Emphezema. Arthritis. Not too bad.

CERIDWEN: And that girl? The one who was there?

RYAN: What about her?

CERIDWEN: Is that enough small talk?

RYAN: We have a daughter together, Kerry. Nothing is small talk. Come on, you asked about my mom, you asked about my girlfriend—

CERIDWEN: I have a job to do.

RYAN: She asks about you. You wanna know what I tell her?

CERIDWEN: Is it anything like what you said to me? Before I left?

RYAN: Why did you come back? Is this really what you want to do? Is that why you left?

CERIDWEN: I was sixteen. You were an authority figure, like it or not—is that something you expected me to just live with? God dammit, Ryan, what did you want? I was sixteen! Did you really want me raising her with you? I did exactly what they tell sixteen-year-olds to do when they get pregnant: I gave her up. And I moved on. You were the one who wanted to keep her.

RYAN: And you never looked back.

CERIDWEN: Are you upset that I left her or that I left you?

RYAN: Do you ever even think about her?


RYAN: Then why didn’t you come back? I mean, look at you, you’re… don’t they give you any vacation time?

CERIDWEN: Kids need stability.

RYAN: I’m not asking you to be her mom. You’re not. But you are her mother.

CERIDWEN: What have you told her?

RYAN: Well, you know me. I named her “Elspeth”, for crying out loud. What did you expect me to say? That you gave her up? That you cared more about yourself?

CERIDWEN: That I’d let an older man knock me up?

RYAN: You think that’s the part that would matter? To her? Coming from the one who stayed?

CERIDWEN: So what did you tell her?

RYAN: I’ve told her lots of different things. Told her you were abducted by aliens.


RYAN: I told her you were actually a fairy and you couldn’t exist in this realm for more than a year.

CERIDWEN: How old is she again?

RYAN: Just starting to grow out of that. She is my daughter, after all. And I can’t vouch for what my mom’s told her, but… I think she’s gotten it in her head I don’t really like talking about you.

CERIDWEN: Yet here we are.

RYAN: You need to meet her.

CERIDWEN: I don’t think that would be a good idea.

RYAN: Well, tough. She needs to meet you. I have bought the ring. For Melanie. But she needs to meet you, too. No matter what else happens.

CERIDWEN: We do need to talk about the incident.

RYAN: Will you meet your daughter?

CERIDWEN: You can’t exactly give me an ultimatum.

RYAN: Watch me.

About Polypsyches

I write, regardless of medium or genre, but mostly I manage a complex combined Science-Fiction/Fantasy Universe--in other words, I'm building Geek Heaven. With some other stuff on the side. View all posts by Polypsyches

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