Finally it seems her life is back on track, properly this time.
It’s long overdue but she won’t complain about it now that it’s here, the sort of change she’s been working towards for years.
And she’s really working, too, which makes her feel pretty good about herself. Dennis had, as some kind of reconciliation gift, offered to pay for the rest of her culinary arts education and she had, after much deliberation, accepted the offer.
Dennis had contacted her at the end of last year and at first she had been been reluctant to even speak to him since he’s showed fairly moderate interest in their daughter and Josephine is done with men who won’t take responsibility for their actions. So done.
Dennis, as it turns out, has shaped up quite a lot over the past few years. He’ll never be parent of the year or anything, but he’s got a decent job now – as an extra in the movie industry which apparently pays pretty well.
They try to maintain some sort of civil relationship between them since they have a kid, and it’s much easier than it used to be. These days Dennis cooks for her, or bring pastries to her place and then they talk about Imogen and the future and things are nice. Not wonderfully smooth but nice. They didn’t plan to have a family together but they have one all the same and now that they’re two people working together it no longer feels hopeless or like Imogen’s better off not knowing her dad.
He’s even had a room in his flat decorated for her, so she can spend the night.
“Do you think she’ll like it?” he asks when he first shows it to Josephine.
“Sure.” She doesn’t point out that it’s very pink and that their daughter prefers green and purple. It seems like one of those things he can discover for himself in time along with all the other things he’s yet to learn about her.
Like the fact that she loves reading.
And that she can play with her dollhouse for hours without growing tired of it, making up intricate plots for her dollies.
Her best friend is still Kirsten and Josephine is happy they’ve got each other, especially considering their big, somewhat strange family in all its glory. No matter what Josephine might think of having young siblings again at her age, she’s never going to let Imogen feel that, never going to place her own ideas in her daughter’s mind. Imogen and Kirsten may be related in a not-so-common way but they’re also best friends and that’s what matters.
Imogen loves going to school with her little backpack and her books because Kirsten will be there, too, and they will play football every break and gossip about their classmates on the way home.
Yes, Josephine decides, life is pretty good right now. Under control.
And Tim, she’s really happy about having Tim in her life.
If she’s going to be entirely honest with herself – which is usually isn’t unless she’s had a couple of glasses of wine – she had thought, at least for a while and in some parts of her heart, that she’d end up with Michael Smith. For all his faults he’s always felt like someone who she could have been serious with, in the end. Like the two of them would have reached that place together, struggled together.
Now, of course, he’s married to Sarah who probably is all kinds of lovely but Josephine can’t help that the notion sticks in her brain all the same. Not as something she’s intent on exploring or fighting for, absolutely not, but a little stitch of sadness. A could have been.
But then again, there’s something to be said for having a boyfriend who truly wants to be with you, as well. A boyfriend who is stable and sweet and dedicated.
Tim is rather perfect in that regard.
More than perfect, in fact, especially as he proposes to her during one of their dates. Not a big, overblown proposal or anything, just a ring and a question and that nervous look on his face the second before she said yes.
Her dad is incredibly happy when they tell him – almost happier than Josephine and Tim – and wants to know everything about their plans for the wedding and after, how they are planning on living and where.
They promise him he’ll be the first to know when they decide these things and even if Josephine finds his enthusiasm a tiny bit overhwhelming, she is thrilled to finally be able to do something that gives him reason to be that enthusiastic in the first place.