I poked at the baby's cheek. Squishy. Warm. She grabbed my finger a bit.
"She opened her mouth again!" I announced (for the seventh time). I'd been watching her like a hawk. She was in a carrier -- I think she was sleeping. Jeanette was getting dressed. It's been a day and a half since Jeanette gave birth.
Brian started laughing. He and Jeanette were still deciding on a name. We had the birth certificate and everything, just not the name.
Jeanette came out of the bathroom.
"Okay. Can we go home now?" She asked.
"Yes. We can." Brian said.
"You sure you're feeling fine?" He asked.
"Yes! Come on! I wanna show our daughter the new house! Her home!" Welp. She's all excited again.
Jason leaned over the baby. "She's cute."
I agree. This baby had hair. It was an ash brown color. She had small pink lips, roughly rounded. A small button nose. She had small, but fat cheeks. If she opened her eyes, I'm sure they'd be big and beautiful.
Jason slapped me on the back. "We got a baby sister!" He grinned with glee.
When we got home Jeanette almost had a conniption.
"We didn't get a chance to put together the nursery!" She said in a hushed tone.
"We'll make a makeshift bed for her while we put the nursery together." Brian responded.
Jeanette turned to me. "Luc, will you put make her a bed while we put her nursery together? Grab some blankets from the closet." She said.
I nodded my head. She handed the baby to me. I held her in my arms, safe and secure.
While I was making the bed for her, Jeanette came down.
"What's up?" I asked.
"Brian kicked me out. Said I should be resting." She said, less than happy.
She sat on the sofa with her arms crossed.
When I was done, I picked up the baby and put her in the bed.
The bed consisted of: six blankets, five for cushioning, one for warmth. I had the ends of the blankets curled up in a circle so the baby wouldn't roll onto the floor. She seemed pretty immobile at this point in time, but who knows what could happen.
"Nicely done, Luc. Thank you." Jeanette said.
I looked over to her. She was laying stretched out on her back.
I smiled and looked at the baby again.
At this point in time, I'd always wear my hair out of my face around the family. I leaned over her face.
"Would this scare you?" I asked the baby. I sighed. Barely a day with her and I'm attached.
"Janet? Janine? Jean?" I suggested to Jeanette after a few hours. We were still in the living room. Jeanette had woken up from a nap. I just watched the baby as she slept.
"Let's stray away from 'J,' okay?" Jeanette said.
Brian walked in. His hair was a mess, his face was pallored, and his clothes were bothered.
Jeanette and I exchanged glances, then looked at him.
"Everything okay?" I asked.
Brian gave a weak thumbs up and a lazy grin. "Nursery's up. We're down."
He walked over to the sofa across from Jeanette and dropped. He sighed heavily and slung his arm over his eyes.
"Where's Jason?" I asked after looking around.
"In his room asleep." Brian answered.
I nodded. Not a second later, Brian was asleep.
I turned to Jeanette. "Should we take her upstairs?" I asked nodding towards the baby.
"I will." Jeanette said as she got off the couch and picked up the baby. I stood.
"You just get some sleep. You've been a great help today." She smiled kindly and left.
In the morning I happened upon the baby's nursery. The door was open and Brian was in there holding her in his arms, bouncing her a little bit.
The nursery had a crib with a mobile, a diaper changing table, a tall dresser of sorts, and a rocking chair. The walls were white. Guess they'd paint later.
I left silently and sat down on the steps leading downstairs. I'm bored. I knew for a fact Jason was still asleep.
After a few hours, I was at it again.
"Dina? Effie??" I gasped when a "genius" idea hit. "CeCe!"
The four of us sat in the living room, huddled up slightly. Jeanette held the baby in her arms, feeding her milk, she was covered by a blanket. Brian was at work.
"Stop watching Dreamgirls." Jason jumped in.
I rolled my eye. "Don't be a hater."
"Martha?" Jason pitched in.
We examined the baby. "She doesn't really look like a Martha." Jeanette stated.
"Eve?" He asked.
"No." We all said.
Jason threw his hands up. "Bethany!"
We examined the baby again.
"Bethany..." I repeated.
"Nah." We all shook our heads.
"Karen?" Jeanette said.
"Nevermind, it's one of those old names." She said.
"Why can't we figure this out?" I asked.
I rubbed my face.
"This something that'll stick with her forever. We need to think carefully about it." Jeanette explained.
"Did Dad contribute anything?" Jason snickered.
"He said, Allison. Or Andria." Jeanette answered.
"What about... Alexandria?" I suggested.
We looked at the baby intently.
"A cute name for the cute baby." Jeanette stated.
"It fits, in a way." She said.
"Let's call Brian!" Jeanette smiled. She went through her pockets.
"I don't have my phone." She said dryly.
She held her hand out to me. "What?" I asked.
"He'll most definitely answer if it's from you."
"Isn't he working?" I questioned.
"Phone." Jeanette said. How does she even know that I have it on me? I grabbed my phone and handed it to her.
She called Brian.
"Hubby!" She sang. He was on speaker.
There was a pause.
"What do you think about Alexandria?" She asked.
"We just moved." Brian groaned. I lowered my head and snickered.
"Not Washington! The baby!" Jeanette stated. Jason started laughing.
"Oh," Brian drawled. He paused again.
"Sounds nice." He said, with a happy tone.
"Okay, gotta go, bye love you." Brian hung up.
"Yay!" Jeanette cheered.
"We named the baby! Nice thinking Luc!" She said.
A week later we decided to go outside and hangout.
I walked around the neighborhood while Jeanette, Jason, and Alexandria stayed by the house. The name fit her perfectly.
A few days more and school will be in session. This should be interesting.
I sat on the porch with Alexandria in my arms and lap. Mom went inside to get drinks.
She moved her arm a little bit. She had her fists balled slightly over her face. She never really opened her eyes.
"Look Alexandria, it's a butterfly." I developed the habit of pointing out random shit to her.
I chuckled. Alexandria was a quiet baby. She did not cry much at all. She was always in a neutral mood -- go with the flow.
I was startled when I heard screaming. Bloody murder screaming. Hell, screeching.
"Mom! Some girl's in trouble!" I called as I stood.
The screaming got closer.
I saw Luc race down the street screaming. What's up with him?
A dog came running after him. A Shih Tzu. A tiny ass dog!
Luc ran past the house. I sat down and started laughing. I laughed so hard I almost dropped Alexandria.
"The way you were screaming, I thought you were getting chased by a bear!" I laughed uncontrollably. Luc had come back a few minutes later. He was all sweaty and out of breath. He looked like he'd seen a ghost. He was covered in dirt too.
"I thought I was gonna die." He panted.
"What is going on?" Mom asked as she took Alexandria from me.
"Luc was running from a dog." I snitched.
Mom stood there with a neutral expression.
Luc hung his head in embarrassment.
I chuckled. "So what happened?" I asked him.
"I was walking and saw the dog. I ran, it chased me. I fell." Luc explained.
Mom shook her head.
"I need a shower." Luc said as he left.
A couple days later, I was out walking again. This time, I went to my old neighborhood.
Once again, I walked down the steep hill, turned the corner. The walk down the street was slow, dreadful.
I stepped into the grass and stood in front of the house. Through the window, I saw emptiness. I stepped closer to the window.
Why am I here?
I looked through the house and could pinpoint almost every event that took place in one area of the house or another. ...why? Why did he do it...?
On the glass, I saw my reflection. A shell. A shell trying to refill.
The reflection shifted. My old self. Both eyes staring at me. Hair short and tidy.
"You came back." He stated.
"Why?" He asked.
I hunched my shoulders. "I dunno."
"You're back at the center of it all -- they turned you into a freak of nature in there." He said.
I started to shake my head.
"I'm no freak." I argued.
"How much longer until we get thrown away again? They already have the new child." He spat with venom.
"No, no...they wouldn't do that. They're good people." I trust them.
"You've been with them for a few months now. Their real faces will show eventually."
"Stop..." I whispered.
Why is he saying this? I don't understand... His words carved into me, breaking me down.
"Do you remember what it was like?" He asked.
"Month after month, year after year. Waiting for the next assault, the next beating, even your death?" He interrogated.
"Why did you come back here? Seeking some semblance of comfort?"
"Because it's all you know?" He mocked.
"No, it's not that..." I said.
"And yet, here you are." He pointed out. Maybe he's right.
"We'll just get hurt again." He stated.
"No, I won't let that happen." I shook my head slightly.
They're good people.
"Then you'll just be pushed down; back into the shadows. Ignored, worthless."
Why won't you just stop? I gasped a little and bit my lip. I'm not worthless!
I turned and ran from the house.
When I made it back home I hopped in shower and scrubbed my body aggressively. It was tingling, crawling with their touch.
"I have to get it off!" My thoughts were frantic and unclear.
Jason and I stepped out of the car, Jeanette followed after us.
"Man...it's dark out here. I'm tired." He complained.
"You'll get used to it." I stated.
Jeanette stood in between us.
"Well, have a nice first day boys. Love you." Jeanette said.
She kissed Jason on the head. She then leaned towards me. I ducked and started walking. I laughed triumphly when I heard Jeanette whimper a little.
This was a "game" we'd play; she'd try to kiss me, I'd dodge it. So far, I'm winning!
"Damn. This school looks big as hell!" Jason exclaimed.
"It is. Don't worry Jason, I know this school like the back of my hand!" I reassured him as I grinned and draped my arm around his shoulders.
"Guess it's a good thing we have all classes together." Jason said.
Our credits were in order from the other schools, they just carried over. We barely had any core classes. Guess that's the merit of having more classes. We ended up in the same classes because of space, and the fact that we signed up for the same classes. Except for one; I signed up for theatre arts, Jason signed up for a different elective.
But holy Hell! I'm back!