five of pentacles

Stuffed animals never appealed to her that much as a child outside of the ones she had brought her brother excitedly when her mother had announced her pregnancy. She remembered going with her (not)father to the department stores and eagerly grabbing two black teddy bears. Both had bowties on them, and she had felt so excited to buy them with the money her father had given her.

Molly had never cared about having them for herself, and the ones she had were few and far between.

Now, though, four months pregnant and with the money that she has, she finds herself wandering into the toy shop. They're in town for once, and she can't help but be drawn to the display full of newly released stuffed animals. There are rows and rows of them, each of them staring out with cute faces that she'd never considered before.

Don't get attached. That was what her mother had said on the phone again and again.

Her mother said a lot of things. Molly frowned to herself. A lot of things that were hypocritical and stupid, and hell, she'd lied to her for years anyway.

She reaches up, and carefully, pulls down the rabbit, with his tuffed brown fur and the blue jacket. Carefully, she runs her thumb over the carrot and decides to buy it.

Her aunt Julia doesn't question it, and Molly finds that she starts to sleep with it as the months go on, as the morning nausea eases, and her belly grows.

(she lies a lot to herself, here. she says that she never intended to give it to her baby. but that's not true, not when she ends up delivering him alone, not when it's so cold that she needs something to keep them both warm. it had felt so good to give it to him, to watch his fingers close around it.)


"Where did you get that?"

Molly looks up from the screen, eyes hurting, and sees Grace Yates smiling at her. She smiles at her more out of politeness than being particularly welcoming. Grace has always been one of those busybodies, always poking into people's business.

And in this case, she's chosen the wrong time to point at the stuffed rabbit sitting on the corner of Molly's desk. She stiffens instinctively as she lies between her teeth, "Oh, him?"

It had been impulsive, digging up the rabbit. He'd been at the bottom of her moving boxes after gathering dust for years in a corner of her closet. That had been intentional at the time, when she had tried to simply forget everything that had happened to her.

But she'd rediscovered him, looking sad and alone, and had placed the poor rabbit in the wash before placing him on her desk weeks ago. Molly had almost forgotten until now as Grace continues, "He looks adorable. Who gave it to you?"

"An ex-boyfriend," she lies, trying to procure a look of slight bashfulness. "He gave it to me as a present and I just kind of missed him, you know?"

"Aw, hon," Grace's voice takes on that motherly, homey quality that sets Molly's nerves on edge these days. "You're probably better off without him. That rabbit's a little childish--"

"Shouldn't you be taking care of the Delaney issue right now?" Molly snaps a little louder than she means to.

Grace looks taken aback, and Molly stares her down.

As soon as Grace leaves, Molly turns her attention back to the screen. She takes a breath, and pulls the rabbit from behind the screen and pulls open her drawer. She shoves him inside, and leaves her desk.

It takes ten minutes of her walking outside for her to gather herself. She walks back, sits down, and gets back to work.

The rabbit stays in her desk until everyone else leaves, when she carefully puts him back into her purse, and goes home.

(she tries not to remember that he'd be eleven years old now, and would never remember those hours where that rabbit and her were his only things in his world.)