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Searching for Aubrey

By Nikki Luongo

Romance / Mystery

That's my baby!

They had lived through the worst thing parents could ever do, bury their child …It nearly killed Jennifer standing at the gravesite when she should have been at Willow Pond making sure her baby was safely tucked in.

They say that the loss of a child is supposed to tear a couple apart, that they tend to blame one another but for Jonathan and Jennifer, that was the exact opposite for them because their mutual pain brought them together, they cried and grieved until there was nothing left and so they moved on but more than often Jennifer found Jonathan sitting at his desk in the loft staring at the baby picture, the only picture of their daughter.

Max, of course tried to find out what he could about the kidnapping but it seemed like all his contacts just didn't want to get involved in the death of the Hart infant.

Being at Willow Pond was helpful somewhat, it took them out of limelight of Maryland and No one seemed to bother them, of course they received the devasted looks every parent who has a lost a child receives but it didn't bother them, it couldn't, they were basically numb

The baby's case had officially been closed because her kidnapper had perished at the scene and there were never any trails to determine why he took her, there weren't even remains to identify so when they buried their baby, they held a small service, no coffin no urn, just a few kind words didn't help in the slightest and Jennifer needed to be sedated afterwards

But yet they still moved on because life has to continue on

And So on what would have been their daughter's first birthday, they gathered at her small grave and put baby pink roses

"Jonathan," Jennifer started because she knew she would sound completely crazy and needed to word what she wanted to say properly, "I think she's still alive,"

"Darling, it's not possible…" He tried to comfort her

"But …" Jennifer protested then stopped realizing the devastation on his face

And now…She was pregnant again, this time on purpose, they needed some sort of distraction to ensure their survival

But the nursery Jonathan had setup in anticipation of Aubrey's homecoming was closed, it was too much and after many nights of watching Jennifer go to sleep on the floor sobbing, he had Max seal the door shut, He thought Jennifer would throw a fit but she seemed relieved that no one could disturb her daughter's sanctuary even though she had never been in there

So this baby's nursery would be a little bit further but at least they could ensure that they could get to their baby if necessary.

There would always be feelings of guilt that they had allowed someone to harm their daughter, that while they slept, someone had taken the very thing that meant the most to them

Even now, more than a year later, Jennifer didn't sleep through the night she was up six or seven times like any mother with a newborn would be except when she would get up, she would cry silently so Jonathan wouldn't hear her but he always did ..

Jennifer had put her career on hold at least until she could put herself together then finding out she was pregnant again, she had decided to write a novel about what she was going through, losing and gaining a baby

"Aubrey's Dream." was a best seller and there was talk about turning into a movie but both Jennifer and Jonathan felt it was exploiting Aubrey and their loss

Every day was spent wondering and thinking about her, her smile her laugh whether or not she'd like a certain food and how they would dress her, whether she'd still have her Mama's red hair or her daddy's brown hair, if she would be talking or simply still babbling

Moments you can never get back

But like with anything, time marched on and it was time to concentrate on the new baby

"Darling," Jennifer asked one night lying in bed," Are you excited about this baby?"

"Of course ..I know however many children we have can never replace Aubrey but this baby is going be loved like crazy," He smiled and kissed her

"Do you want a boy or girl," Jennifer said, she secretly wanted a boy because if they had another daughter it would be like replacing what they lost

"Honestly," He said Tentatively," I think a boy would be magnificent but as long as the baby is healthy,"

"I kind of want a boy too," She confessed

"You do?," he laid down beside her

"Yeah the idea of another little girl," Jennifer tried not to cry

"I know Darling," He said kissing her

"You keep that up and we might wind up with twins," Jennifer laughed kissing her husband

It felt good to laugh and to make love again without the grieving feeling behind it

The next morning, they wanted to stay in bed and make love all day but they knew they would have to get back to their regular schedules so they were up early and headed down to the breakfast table where Max had made eggs toast and fresh Orange Juice

Unfortunately, Morning Sickness had reared it's shiny little head and Jennifer nearly knocked Max over to throw up in the sink

"Umm ..Good Morning?" Max asked trying not to show his disgust..

This wasn't the first and it certainly wouldn't the last

"Max, my love." Jennifer wiped her mouth" Tomorrow just stick to rice krispies"

"Sure thing Mrs.H" Max said clearing the table but not before Jonathan walked in from the office

"Hey where's the food going ?" Jonathan asked

"Oh god," Jennifer threw up again

"Forget it.." Jonathan said losing his appetite," Darling, go back to bed your sick"

"No I'm alright..Max..Hand over the Saltines." Jennifer said with her head in the sink

"I'm on it," Max said, ever since she'd been pregnant he'd stockpiled Saltines they had enough for this and all future pregnancies.

"Darling, Come on go back upstairs and get into bed" Jonathan said turning his back, he felt bad but he couldn't bear to watch her heave especially in the place they ate their meals

"I have to go to the Baby store and get everything we need," Jennifer said gripping the sink

"I'll go," Jonathan offered "Me and Max can handle"

"Excuse Me?" Max said he'd never set foot in a baby store and he had no clue what babies needed

"Yeah we'll go it'll be an adventure," Jonathan didn't believe his own words but she was obviously in no condition to shop

"This won't end well but I'll make a list," She said

"Tell me what you want and I'll make the list, you look a little busy," Jonathan said reaching for a note pad

"A crib, a bouncy seat, onesies, a few baby blankets, a baby monitor, crib bumper,"She rattled off a bunch of items

"It's a good thing I extended our visa limit" Jonathan remarked after completing her list

"Haha," Jennifer said laughing imagining the site of them going to a baby store, "Oh you need to make sure everything is gender neutral"

"How the hell do we do that?" Max wondered

"Pick green and cream color things, nothing pink or blue we don't know the sex of the baby and I would hate to buy all one color for it to go to waste if this baby turns out to be the opposite," Jennifer said finally releasing the sink

"Or we could save it for the next baby," Jonathan remarked

"With your next wife?" She smiled to show she was kidding

"Alright, Darling you go to bed Max let's go!" Jonathan said picking up his keys and kissing his wife like it would be the last time they would ever kiss

Jennifer watched from the upstairs window as Jonathan and Max argued their way from the house to the car

She hoped she was doing the right thing sending them but figured if they screwed it up, she could always return the stuff and get what she wanted

She laid down in their bed and read one of the many baby books she kept beside the dresser, although she had been pregnant before, she wanted to make sure she was fully informed and after awhile, she fell asleep

A few hours, she was awoken by Jonathan and Max yelling at each other over boxes

"I'm telling ya, Set the crib up then the changing table!" Max said

"Why? The crib is a cinch it'll take less time!" Jonathan yelled back

"The Changing table is less pieces!" Max said

"Augh you don't know anything!" Jonathan said then Jennifer heard the box being opened and pieces hitting the floor, "Alright So I was wrong!"

"I ain't gonna say I told you so but I told you so!" Max smirked

Jennifer didn't want to get up because she was so comfortable but she couldn't miss an opportunity to see Laurel and Hardy together again

She crept to the baby's room and saw Max sitting on the floor and Jonathan standing in front of him with the instructions

"Hey ..why didn't you just pay the extra 50 bucks and have them put it together," Max said frustrated

"Because I want the baby to know his daddy put it together" Jonathan said "I can't read these damn instructions"

"You think this kid is going to come home from the hospital and say "Gee Dad, did you put my crib together?"Max said struggling to stand up

"Yeah well someday," Jonathan said "These stupid things read like Stereo Instructions"

"That's because your reading them in Chinese!" Max taking them out of his hand

At that point Jennifer dropped to the hallway floor and laughed until she peed herself

"What is that?" Max said sticking his head out the door

"The sound of a happy Mommy… are you alright Darling," Jonathan stood over her but she couldn't talk because she was laughing so hard she couldn't breathe, "You know laughing like that might be depriving the baby of oxygen"

"If this kid were smart, he'd stay where he was until you both have a clue," Max said going into the kitchen

After Jennifer stopped laughing and put the crib together herself, they went to the porch just to watch the sunset and Jonathan told her of their adventure in Baby Land

"I swear everyone looked at us like we were either insane or a couple woman even asked if we were adopting or having a baby via surrogate and when I tried to explain that my wife was at home ..they didn't believe us .." Jonathan said

"And you do make a lovely couple" Jennifer said laughing again

"Yah well he ain't my type" Max said bringing her a lemonade, "When do we find out the sex of the baby?"

"Why?" Jennifer asked

"Because I've got 50 on Boy and I'd like some extra money to go to the track" Max said grinning

"Next Week, Pops" Jennifer said

"Pops?" Max said

"Well my father is going to be Grandpa and since there is no other grandparent in this baby's life, I dub thee Pops!" Jennifer

"Aww Shucks!" Max smiled blushing

"Darling, Let's turn on the news and see what's going on In the world" Jonathan said turning on the portable where a segment was just beginning

"Reporting Live from Kenya, We're here with recent owner of a Game Preserve, Elliot Manning, tell us about the animals you house here," a reporter asked

"We have all sorts of wildlife, Chimps, Bongos Flamingos all sort of wildlife .." Elliot grinned

"Tell us why you chose to create a game preserve?" the reporter asked

"I believe that all creatures deserve a sanctuary and I believe that this change the way the world views wildlife preserve" Elliot said

"that's such bull, he doesn't give a damn about the animals" Jennifer remarked

" And Also here on the preserve, you have established a school ..Why?" the reporter continued on

"Well Education is the foundation of all Knowledge and without education, we'd all have our heads up our asses," Elliot laughed

"You are also raising a young daughter on your own," the reporter asked

Elliot stopped laughing and almost looked frightened

"Uh yeah I am, " As someone who looked like an assistant walked onto the porch where he and the reporter were speaking

"Well We thought the world would like a Glimpse into another of your world," The reporter didn't care at how uncomfortable Elliot was "Tell us about your daughter,"

"Her name is Angela and she's almost two" Elliot stuttered

Jennifer suddenly lunged forward at the television and took notice of the little girl, with red hair and blue eyes

"Darling, what's the matter?" Jonathan asked

"That's Aubrey! That's our baby!" Jennifer cried out

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