It had been difficult in the beginning, juggling Caroline, and Violet-Adele. Everything seemed to becoming to a head, a collision where he would have to make a choice. But then summer arrived, and somewhere in that season, they had found a balance. They walked the tight rope of immoral wrongdoings, and he stood in the role as the reserved father, and distant husband.
It had been simple enough, Caroline wasn’t interested in being intimate, she felt overweight and unattractive. With Alex, he had encouraged her to feel more desirable, but this time he left her to herself.
Easier, everything seemed to be becoming much easier. The thought of leaving Caroline, and splitting weekends, didn’t seem such a horrible fate if there was Vi to warm his bed. She never one mentioned anything permanent between them, there was an unspoken rule: Never mention Caroline.
Did it mean something that she didn’t press for him to leave his wife? He didn’t allow himself to dwell on it.
It was the end of a fall afternoon that reality made an overdue appearance.
They had spent the few hours before dusk down at the beach, he had picked up a pizza for them to share for a late lunch, and they’d watched the ferry boats go to and fro.
It was now as they were heading back to their separate vehicles, hers a loaner from her company in Paris, that his cell phone beeped.
She encouraged him to ignore the voice mail, he usually did. Kissing him, and flirting, using her feminine ways to get her point across. He usually always did what she desired, but this time it felt different. It was Caroline, she didn’t usually leave a message. She was working her shift at the hospital for another hour, there was no reason for her to call.
Her voice was annoyed, she’d tried reaching him at the toy store. The question of why he wasn’t working, and hadn’t been there for hours was there, but not asked. She had to know, he felt sure that she had to know the reason for his unexplainable absence. She was being admitted, Alex was playing over at Lewis’ house, the baby was on the way.
“She’s having the baby.” He answered the question in her eyes. Another life was on the way, or already here, the message was two hours old. It wasn’t enough having one child depend solely on them, she had wanted two, and the weight of this unknown child burdened him more than he expected. “I have to go.”
Stuttering, and stumbling behind him, she tried to come up with some words to say, or affirmation that they would meet up again soon. But he didn’t answer anything straight, just said that he didn’t know, as he got in his car and left.
He had to take the ferry back to South Port, he considered calling to check with the hospital, but he didn’t have an answer on why he’d been out of contact for such a long period. So he waited, sitting in his car, while many of the others had gone on to the deck.
When he arrived at the hospital, all the staff congratulated him on sight, large, happy smiles all around. Caroline was beloved here, he used to come for her lunch shift before Alex, but only one time since then. They were friendly, and bright for him, because they loved her.
The baby had arrived, shortly after the message had been left, even Alex was here already, brought over by Zeke.
“It’s a girl.” She was shy, and out of breath a little, as she held his innocent daughter out for their son to see. Alex didn’t want a sister, Reed didn’t want another child, but here was Alex, happily talking to his new sister, accepting her openly. “Do you want to hold her?”
“Not yet.” He held up his hands, “I’m dirty, need to wash my hands first,” he shuffled to the sink behind him, meticulously washing his hands, between each finger, at the tip of each nail. He could feel her gaze on him, and he forced his concentration to stay on his hands. When there was no more ways to wash, he reluctantly moved to the paper towels. “So, Molly then?”
“If that’s alright. I’ve already been calling her that for the past hour, but if you’ve changed your mind….”
“No, Molly is fine. It fits.” He held his arms out, and Caroline carefully passed Molly to him. A dusting of black hair covered her forehead, and she couldn’t weigh more than seven pounds, but the little, sleepy bundle felt much heavier.
* * *
He very much resembles his big sister, Bea and Dad, but with his Mom’s blond hair.
Notes:I really like Roman! I was very excited to age him up and see, and I hadn’t snuck a peak at him so it was a complete surprise!
Lizzie is just adorable as heck too! I swear, Jared and Delaney make very pretty daughters. I think she looks a lot like Meg already.
I’m excited that Reed had a daughter, it seemed very fitting to me for a few reasons. First, the “ideal” family is one of each, and now he has that. The appearance, of a happy, complete family, that many want, and he now has. Second, many men fall helplessly in love with their little princesses, and I’d like to see if Reed can do that. He is not *friends* with Alex, the kid annoys him, truly. But Molly… I can see him falling in love and complete devotion to her…