Frayed Page 117

The sun shining in the window reflects against the ring\s cut edges. He proposed to me a week after we watched the white stick turn to a plus sign. It was so romantic like a scene out of an old film. He took me back to Hearst Castle. No one was there it was just the two of us. Before we entered the large exquisite doors, he dropped to his knee, called me his ’’Rosebud,’’ and told me he wanted to marry me. Whoever said he wasn\ romantic? He told me I was his missing puzzle piece a guy couldn\ get more romantic than that. The gesture made my heart skip beat after beat. But later when the adrenaline rush slowed, we talked about it more. We agreed that we would get married . . . but only when the time was right. Plus, I would need time to plan the wedding.

’’I don\ want to be that couple that gets married only because they\ e having a baby,’’ I reminded him.

’’Does my name still go on the birth certificate? Will the baby have my last name?’’ he asks.

His voice is full of concern. I muster all of my energy as another cramp hits. Once it passes I straddle his lap and take his face in my hands. ’’This baby is yours and mine. Yes, your name will be on the birth certificate and, yes, he will have your last name.’’

He slides his lips to kiss my hand and takes them in his. ’’I love you.’’

’’I love you too.’’ Then I know what he needs. ’’Ben, just so you know, I did put your name on the birth certificate that just read baby.’’ I can finally talk about the baby, our baby that I gave up, and feel that I did what was right.

His eyes glitter with tears, but before they can spill I let out a scream.

He takes my hand. ’’Let\s go. They\ e coming too close. We need to get to the hospital.’’

’’Did you pack my bag?’’

’’S\elle, I can\ find shit in there. Tell me what you want to wear to the hospital and I\ll get it. We\ll worry about the rest later.’’

’’My white top with the . . .’’ I gasp for air.

He\s really in a panic now. He shoves his feet into his boots and zips and buttons his clothes.

When the contraction stops I stand up. ’’Let me show you.’’

’’Okay, but make it quick.’’

’’Ben, you have to put socks on.’’

’’What?’’ he asks, confused.

’’You didn\ put socks on before you put your boots on. Your feet are going to smell.’’

He laughs and grabs a pair from the dresser as I make my way to the closet. I can see what he\s talking about. Huge mess of clothes everywhere. I point to the items I want. Ben throws them all in a bag along with some of my toiletries. Then he helps me slide on my panties. Next I shimmy a pair of jeans on and decide to wear his shirt with no bra. I don\ really care at this point.

Once I\m ready he takes my hand, but a knifelike pain radiates from my hipbone to my pubic bone and I can\ move.

Sweat coats his brow.

I look around the room as I ride the wave out and spot the book with the blue spine. When my gaze swings back to Ben, his eyes are so wide with fear I can almost feel it. I take a step forward but stop again. ’’Wait, can you bring that book?’’

He looks confused but grabs it and shoves it in the bag.

’’So you can read to me while we\ e in the hospital,’’ I tell him as we leave the house.

He looks down at me and stops to hold me;then he says, ’’You\ e so f**king adorable.’’

From the car I call my mother and tell her to meet us at the hospital. My insides feel as if they\ e twisting inside out at this point. At the hospital I\m quickly whisked to a room, given an IV, and asked if I want an epidural. Ben and I already decided I would take the epidural. My mother and Jack arrive just as it takes effect. Shortly after that River, Dahlia, Ivy, and Xander show up. Ivy is three months pregnant and still experiencing morning sickness morning, noon, and night. They all pop their heads in before going to the waiting room. When the nurse calls the doctor and time approaches, my mother leaves as well. And it\s just Ben and me.

The doctor comes in and I begin pushing. At first I think I might throw up the pressure I feel everywhere is too intense. But once it subsides, I push again and again. My hand is gripping Ben\s so tightly, but he doesn\ care. He wipes some hair from my eyes and I look up at him and see amazement and wonder on his face. My eyes drop to where his are locked and I see our baby\s head crowning. Intense stinging radiates from my core as I push harder and scream louder. Then just like that, our baby emerges into this world.

His cries are hoarse but steady as if he\s having little tantrums.

’’I\ll do that,’’ Ben says to the doctor as he prepares to cut the cord.

’’Can I hold him?’’ I ask with tears of pure joy leaking from my eyes.

The nurse lays him on my chest for only a brief moment but long enough for me to feel the beat of his heart.

’’He has red hair,’’ Ben says, his voice strained with emotion as he tries to hold back his own tears.

The nurse takes him from me. ’’The doctor just has to examine him and we will have him right back to you.’’

Ben squeezes my hand and presses a kiss to my forehead before he follows her. When he turns around he\s grinning ear to ear, holding our baby bundled in a blue blanket.

’’Is everything okay?’’ I ask, unable to wait another minute.

’’He\s perfect,’’ he says as he crosses back over to me.

I turn away for a brief moment with relief seeping through me to sip on the ice water by my bedside and catch sight of the book Ben had been reading to me just an hour earlier. Ben carefully places our baby on my chest and I study his little face the shape of his cheeks, the slope of his nose, the fullness of his lips. Suddenly he opens his eyes and lets out a loud cry. That\s when I see his perfect dimples and blue eyes so much like his father\s. With tears of joy I look up at Ben and say, ’’Finn. Let\s name him Finn.’’

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