Angel 28 (proposal)
Angel glanced around at the clock. There wasn’t a lot of time left. She took a deep breath and just came out with it. ‘I don’t know if you heard, but I’m pregnant.’
Bruno was first to react. He jumped from his chair and swerved around the table, hugged her and covered the air around her head with kisses. ‘Con-grats.’ He hung on to her hand and fingertips, fluttering his eyelashes, before letting go and settling back into his seat.
Inmates, staff and visitors at nearby tables glanced over. A wee girl with chubby legs, dirty print dress, snottery nose and hand in her gob up to the knuckles, stared across, and with her other hand pointed and waved. Bruno waved back at her.
‘That’s nice,’ Tony also has his hand in his mouth and was gnawing at his thumb nail.
‘I wisnae sure if I was gonnae keep it.’
Bruno waved a hand and glittery finger, bestowing his benediction. ‘How would you not. You’d make a perfectly marvellous mother. Marvel-louse.’
‘Whit about Pizza Face?’ There was an edge to Tony’s voice. ‘He’s inside, whit does he think about this?’
‘I’ve no told him, yet?’
‘Because I havenae.’
Bruno cut in. ‘Look girls, don’t fight among yourself.’
Tony shifted in his seat, turned his whole body to face him. ‘He’s got a right to know. Hasn’t he?’ Then he turned his head. Angel met his eyes and was staring back at him.
‘In fact, whit are you telling us for?’ Tony asked ‘When you’ve no told him.’
Angel pressed her hands into knuckles and wedged them between her knees, making her look smaller and her voice was thinner and uncertain. ‘That’s whit I wanted to talk to you about.’
‘Well, I’m all ears,’ declared Bruno.
‘Shut up, Bruno,’ said Tony. ‘It’s no right.’
‘There’s lots of thing no right.’ Angel stared Tony down. ‘And one of them is me being in here. Two wrongs don’t make a right.’
‘But it would make a good song,’ offered Bruno.
‘Shut up, Bruno.’
They both said it at the same time and smiled at each other.
‘Whit I’m trying to say is,’ said Angel, ‘I don’t know whit to dae, but I know I don’t want Pizza Face to be the father of my child.’
‘Aye, well, he’s no really father material,’ Tony conceded the point, before flaring up again. ‘But he still has a right to know.’
‘Difficult,’ Angel’s elbow was pointing at Tony as her hand kneaded the back of her neck. ‘I’m no sure he was the father.’
‘Fuck sake Angel,’ Tony for the first time sounded sympathetic. ‘That’s some fucking mess you’ve got yourself into.’
‘Aye,’ she agreed biting on her lower lip. ‘I never seem to get anything right.’
‘I wrote that book.’ Bruno wiggled his ass forward in the seat and trilled the opening bars of ‘I Will Survive.’
‘Shut up Bruno.’
They spoke in tandem, smiling at each other and at Bruno.
‘Well, it wisane all my fault, I was raped, tricked by the police into admitting attempted murder –which was downgraded- but also charged with drug possession. Something I knew nothing about.’
‘And what did your lawyer make of this entire debacle.’ Bruno’s voice dropped down a few notches.
‘Nothing. Court appointed, and couldnae gie a toss.’
‘Why don’t you appeal?’ Bruno glanced at Tony to check if he agreed.
‘My mum said that. But she’d that big fancy lawyer. I couldnae afford him.’
‘Barclay,’ muttered Tony as if the thought had jumped into his head. ‘Her QC was Barclay. He was the best.’
‘I don’t know if Barclay is the best.’ Bruno waved a hand dismissively. ‘I’m well known among the legal fraternity myself. I know a QC that likes me to dress up as Little Bo Peep, he’s got his own staff and curly horn, but I’m sure his legal judgement is a bit better than the costume. I could speak to him on your behalf.’
‘That’d be great,’ said Angel.
Tony played the pedantic card. ‘So you’re saying this guy that raped you, made you pregnant, and noo you’re carrying his baby and want to keep it?’
‘I wish you’d stop saying that.’
‘Well, he never got his wee manie up inside me, if you know whit I mean?’
‘How disappointing,’ ad libbed Bruno.
‘Well, how can you get pregnant if he never shagged you…and you said it might no be Pizza Faces?’
‘The pal of the guy that raped me blackmailed me into having sex with him.’ She looked at Tony, daring him to disagree. ‘And that’s like rape tae.’
‘And he did get his wee manie up you?’ asked Bruno.
‘Aye,’ said Angel.
‘So to get this right, the guy that raped you, didn’t rape you, but his pal did and you became pregnant to him, but the baby might also be Pizza Face’s – or somebody else’s?’
Bruno clapped his hands. ‘You’re pretty good at that. Maybe you should represent her? I’m sure you’d have done a better job than her first lawyer.’
‘There was nobody else Tony – whit dae you think I’m ur?’
‘A hard-working girl,’ said Bruno. ‘I feel your pain.’
‘Shut up Bruno,’ Angel watched kids being rounded up and herded towards the door. ‘Visiting time is nearly up. I need to ask you Tony, if you’ll be father to my child?’
‘Wow,’ Bruno’s voice was full of glee. ‘Shouldn’t you be going down on one knee?’ He pulled plastic ring off his finger and held it out. ‘It’s out of a Lucky Bag – but all a working girl can afford. I’m sure it will do the trick!’
Tony shook his head and his forehead furrowed. ‘Angel I like you a lot. And I’m flattered and all that…’
‘I’ll get the Cinzano to celebrate,’ said Bruno.
‘I need to go,’ said Angel.
A guard stood at her back, and tapped her on the shoulder. He wasn’t asking, but telling.
‘Angel, I’m no daeing it,’ shouted Tony at her back.
‘Think about it,’ she replied, without turning her head. ‘Just think about it.’