I smiled at Josh as we left the restaurant where we’d just eaten an early dinner. He continued to talk about practice the day before, but I had tuned out. It wasn’t that I found his talk boring – I didn’t, at all. But I couldn’t help remembering that our nine month anniversary was almost there.
I can’t believe we’ve been together this long, I thought with an inward smile. It felt like longer and yet like only a few days could’ve passed since we’d begun seeing each other. For so long, I’d been worried that a romantic relationship between us would be weird – petrified of it, even. I thought now that I’d been completely ridiculous.
Josh pulled me under his arm as we strolled back towards the car. “What do you say to French toast in the morning?” He didn’t have to ask if I’d be staying over tonight. Though we didn’t officially live together, I spent most nights at his apartment. It had come to feel as much like home to me as the house I’d grown up in.
I smiled. “That sounds great. Oh, and tomorrow while you’re at practice, I’m going to go see Song of Echoes in Newcrest with Luc.”
“Isn’t that that play you’ve been talking about?”
“It is. I didn’t think you’d be interested. You hate the theater.” I’d dragged him along to a play back in high school, and he’d moaned and groaned the entire time.
“I’m definitely not. I hope you guys have fun. Tell me if anyone actually breaks a leg.”
I snorted softly. “You know that’s just a saying.”
For some time now, I’d grown closer to Luc. He was quite a bit younger than me, but, given how much he read, he often came off several years older. We could spend hours discussing literature – even some of the works I was reading in my college lit classes. We’d seen little of each other after my father died, and I started dating Josh, but I’ve gotten a bit better, I think, at sharing my time. I’d really missed our conversations.
And, of course, I’d never tell anyone this, but Luc was becoming really handsome.
“So, I was thinking we could – “ Josh cut himself off as his phone started going off. He lifted his cellphone to his ear. “Hey, Carter.” His eyes went as round as saucers. “I’m with Alison. You want us to come watch the twins? Be there soon.”
“Is it Nora?” I asked quickly, though I knew it had to be.
He nodded and quickened his pace towards the car. “She went into labor. They’re going to the hospital as soon as we get there to watch Theresa and Nathan.”
I jogged over to the car with him. “We better hop to then.” Go time.
I breathed in short spurts through the pain, gripping my swollen stomach. I’d known it would hurt, but this was too much. How had our species not died out by now?
“That’s it, Nora,” Mom said soothingly. “Just breathe. We’ll be in the room shortly; Carter’s checking you in.”
I groaned leaning into her. “How did you do this three times?”
She laughed quietly. “You’ll see.”
Finally, Carter walked back to us with a nurse who took us into the labor suite. This is it, Nora, I thought. You’re about to be a mom.
I held my son in my arms and pressed my nose against his downy head. I’d been unable to settle on a name until I was finally holding him in the labor suite. Caleb Theodore Yuen. My son. It was official; I was a mother now.
He made soft gurgling noises, bringing a smile to my face. I touched one of my fingertips to his nose. I knew what Mom meant now, when she’d said “You’ll see.” I could see how she’d go through that pain three times in order to have a little miracle in her arms.
Please, let me be a good mom.
I settled Caleb back into his bassinet and wearily sat down on my bed. The sofa had been moved downstairs into the basement. Mom had offered on multiple occasions to turn Josh’s old room into a nursery, but I passed on the offer. I was the one responsible for Caleb, anyway, so he might as well share my room until he was older.
I wonder if Kurt would change his mind if he saw him.
As soon as the question entered my head, I shoved it away with an almost physical motion. Nothing would change Kurt. He wasn’t worth thinking about. I rubbed a hand over my heart as that pain flared back to life. How could I have been so stupid to fall for his lines? If I’d just –
No, I thought firmly. There was no point in thinking about what I should’ve or could’ve done differently. It wasn’t going to change the fact that I was a mother at sixteen.
“Hey,” Josh whispered as he stepped into the room, Alison behind him. “Can we come in?”
“Of course.” I got up and let my brother enfold me in his arms. He and Alison had stayed the night last night while Mom, Carter, and I had been at the hospital. We’d just gotten home not even an hour ago.
“He’s beautiful,” Alison said, looking into the bassinet.
I smiled softly. “He is.” I loved him more than anything in the world.
“Could I…?” Josh trailed off, looking towards Caleb.
I nodded, nudging him towards the bassinet. “Go on, Uncle Josh.”
He grinned and gently picked my son up, cradling him against his chest. “Hey, little guy. I’m your uncle Josh. I’m gonna teach you to play baseball as soon as you can hold a bat.” Judging by the look in my brother’s eyes, I wondered if he and Alison would be having baby talks soon. Watcher, Josh, you’re only twenty-one. You don’t need baby fever yet.
They left after a few minutes to let me get some rest. I crawled into my bed and, for once, was not plagued by thoughts of all the things I needed to do. I fell into a deep, dreamless sleep.