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Going Under, Page 40

Georgia Cates

Page 40


  After hearing several suggestions, I limited my choices down and finally made my decision. I quickly checked out, then drove to the party, arriving only ten minutes late.

  I walked through the door with gifts in hand and my Dad rushed forward to help me. “Claire, you really shouldn’t be carrying all of that at the same time. You know that your balance is already off center. You could fall. ”

  “Sorry, Dad. I’ll try to remember that,” I promised.

  He took the gifts from me and carried them to the bar where the others were and two little angels without wings ran toward me, both throwing their arms around my expanding abdomen.

  “Claire, I want to feel the baby move. Can you make him move for me?” I heard from the little face pressed against my belly.

  I laughed and reminded, “You keep saying him, but what if it’s a her?”

  “Oh, it’s a him. There’s no doubt in my mind,” he assured me.

  “I tell you what. I’ll eat a big piece of birthday cake and drink a big glass of soft drink. I can almost guarantee he or she will be moving like crazy after that. Will that work?”

  I watched the beautiful boy’s pale blue eyes light up as he agreed with me about my plan and I said, “Come on, I think Mom is ready for us to cut the cake. ”

  We went into the kitchen where I saw a chocolate cake with seven candles on one side and eight on the other. My mother first offered Harley and Ozzy separate cakes on their sixth and seventh birthdays after my parents adopted them, but they wanted to keep with tradition and share a cake since it was what Jessie had always done for them. I loved how they wanted to stick to tradition and I felt responsible in helping to keep any of Jessie’s traditions alive in them.

  While my mom worked on finding a lighter for the candles on the cake, I felt warm, muscular arms wrap around me from behind and heard, “How my baby momma doing?” whispered in my ear.

  I cracked up laughing and said, “Yo’ baby momma doing good. ”

  “No pains today?” he asked.

  “I didn’t say that,” I replied.

  “Think you can pull off giving birth to our son or daughter on our brothers’ birthday?”

  I thought about how that sounded. “Jessie, someone that didn’t know us would think that sounded really messed up. ”

  Jessie put his hands on my great, large pregnant abdomen and leaned down toward my belly to say, “I’m just saying…it would be really neat if you could pull that off for your Uncle Harley and Uncle Ozzy, little baby Boone. ”

  “Trying to coax this baby into the world today on Harley’s and Ozzy’s birthday has nothing to do with how anxious you are to find out if it’s a boy or girl, right?” I asked, suspiciously.

  “It has absolutely everything to do with it. I’m going crazy here, woman,” he admitted.

  “It was your idea to not find out if it was a boy or girl, so suck it up, buddy. I have another week until my due date. This baby will come when he or she is ready and not a minute before. ”

  I laughed at his childish anxiousness because he was worse than Harley and Ozzy put together.

  My mom laughed at our conversation as she lit the candles on the cake and said, “Jessie, I hope this baby takes after you because if it takes after Claire, it won’t come until next year. ”

  I rolled my eyes playfully at the two of them, then we sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to the boys. As promised, I was more than happy to have a big piece of birthday cake to entice the baby into moving. I added a big scoop of ice cream to it for good measure and drank a cola while Jessie watched me because he thought I should have water instead. “I know what you’re thinking and Dad says I can have one a day. ”

  Jessie threw his hands like an innocent criminal. “I didn’t say a word, Princess. ”

  “You were thinking it because I saw it on your face,” I accused.

  He didn’t deny my accusation, but I didn’t have time to dwell on it because I felt a big kick. “Ozzy, come here, quick. The baby is moving just for you. ”

  Ozzy ran over and put his head and hands against my belly. I felt a big movement and waited to hear his response. “He kicked my ear. ” Ozzy looked up at Jessie and said, “He’s going to be a kicker like me, not a quarterback. ”

  Jessie put his hand on top of Ozzy’s head and messed his hair up. “Hey…you better watch it, little monkey,” he playfully warned.

  I started laughing and felt a pop, then warm water as it flowed down my legs. My heart raced a little as I realized what was happening and Jessie noticed the reaction on my face as I looked down. “What’s wrong, Princess?”

  I smiled, then looked at Jessie and said, “Well, looks like the baby is going to take after you. ”

  “What do you mean?” he asked nervously.

  “The baby is not going to be late like me,” I said, clueing him in about what was happening.

  Jessie paled a little. “He’s coming now?”

  “Yes, he or she is coming now. My water just broke. ”

  * * *

  After the dust settled from the delivery and the rush of family in and out to see our newest little miracle, it was finally just the three of us. Jessie stared at me as I held our baby on my chest. He began to smile and I wanted to know what was on his mind because he has been so quiet after we arrived at the hospital.

  “What are you thinking, Jessie?”

  He didn’t look away from our daughter as he said, “I guess I have two Princesses now.

  “Were you hoping for a boy?”

  He reached up to stroke her head. “No. I sort of feel like I’ve already raised boys, so I wanted a girl. Now that I’ve seen her, I couldn’t imagine life without her. ”

  She sighed one of those cute little sighs only a newborn baby can make. “I know, me either. She’s perfect and she’s ours. ”

  I thought of all the changes we had experienced over the past few years. Once Jessie recovered from yet another near death experience, he came to live with us and my parents fell in love with him as much as me. When they saw I refused to agree to any future that didn’t include him, they accepted him.

  He didn’t get his football scholarship because he was unable to finish out the season, but it didn’t matter because he bumped me from valedictorian and received a full scholarship for that in combination with his ACT score. My parents took in the boys and later adopted them so we could go to college without the stress of raising them and because my mother suffered from a case of empty nest syndrome after we were gone.

  Against the advice of my parents, we married before finishing college because that crazy, intense love we had for each didn’t get any easier. A few months later, we found out why you should be married before having sex when this little surprise slipped in on us.

  I reached up and touched his hand. “I know she wasn’t planned, but thank you for giving her to me. ”

  He took his eyes from our daughter, looked at me and laughed as he said, “Yeah, I still need to figure out how I gave you that one so I don’t turn around and give you another one before I mean to. ”

  I knew what the culprit was and decided it was time to fess up. “I’m pretty sure it has a little something to do with that see through nighty I wore on your birthday and a playful pretend pole dance on the bedpost if you’ll think back for a minute. ”

  He scrunched his forehead in concentration and broke into a smile as he recalled the events of the night. “You think that was when she happened?”

  “I’m positive that’s when she happened,” I assured him.

  He looked back at her and said, “She’s the best birthday present I’ve ever been given. ” He turned back to me to kiss my lips, then said, “Thank you. ”

  I smiled as I stroked her back and asked, “Did we decide on Finley?”

  “Finley Elizabeth Boone. ” He said it out loud, like he was test driving it. “Yeah, I love it. ”

nbsp; He leaned over and whispered in Finley’s ear, “But I think I’ll stick with Princess. It seems to suit you better. ”