Mark Johnson
3 min readMar 29, 2023


Man and woman in an embrace.

The moment was prime for Leon to make his move. He was just moments from taking and ravishing Celina on her living room couch. Arms around her, she fell into his lap and began with soft kisses on her neck and shoulder as she wore her sweatshirt off the shoulder with a haze of incense in the air.

Leon could tell she was vibing with him by how she rubbed his arms, firmly holding her. Her eyes closed, Leon continued to take his time, feeling he would finally get to taste the fruit of his labor, and then there was the dreaded cry from the back room. Now awake and calling for Celina’s complete attention was her baby boy.

Celina slowly pulled away, and Leon reluctantly let her go. She kissed him on the lips almost as a concession for what they were searching for. Celina’s baby boy Neville was not Leon’s, which may have made him more understanding. Still, the story was simple Leon and Celina didn’t have the right timing, and yeah, it was complicated.

They had always been friendly. In the past, Celina had shown interest in Leon and admitted as much. Yet, when Leon did not take her advances seriously, she found someone who did. Funny enough, this is when Leon woke up, pulling his head out only to have Celina when she did come back to him, dropping the bomb that she was pregnant.

Leon remembers the day vividly as it was Christmas Day, rain dropping down like snow, but not cold enough to stick as they stood outside in the brisk cold talking, and the only thing Leon could think upon hearing the news at that moment was that his window of opportunity had closed and to wait around for nine months for her to have the baby of some other guy seemed like complete ridiculousness. Then he questioned himself, could he?

Skipping to the present day, 18 months later, Celina and her son Neville were on their own as the baby daddy hadn’t played much of a role in his son’s life, yet there was Leon. In Leon’s head, he felt he could be a great father if it were his flesh and blood. Yet, as a stepfather, that didn’t seem too easy.

So as Celina left him on the couch, navigating the haze, he followed her to the baby’s room and helped comfort the crying child. Celina reached over the crib as Leon reached for a children’s book, The Jungle Book, and began to read aloud, having heard somewhere that reading to young children at an early age was helpful for their cognitive skills and with learning at an older age.

Celina smiled, hesitant to see what the next 3- 5 years, let alone 18, open to whatever Leon could provide in support, even if it were as simple as reading a book aloud as she held her bastard son, the 1st love of her life, close to her bosom to calm him back to sleep. Believing Leon would still be around.



Mark Johnson

Mark Johnson is a University of Chico graduate, a lover of the creative arts, avid photographer, with an undying entrepreneurial spirit.