After only an hour of him coming into the world, everyone was absolutely in love with Jude and how adorable he was. My parents were absolutely obsessed with him, excited at the chance to spoil another child and my brother, though I knew he would never admit it, was already wrapped around his tiny little finger.
I was utterly exhausted as I watched him get passed around from one person to another until visiting time was over and Cade ushered everybody out saying that I needed to get some rest. I’ve never been more thankful for him than in that moment. Sometimes he just knew exactly what I needed without having to ask.
Cade came back a few minutes later, Jude in his arms, and sat down beside me making silly faces at Jude as he did so.
“I know I’m probably biased since I’m his mother and all, but I honestly think he is the cutest baby I’ve ever laid my eyes on.” I murmur to Cade as I run my finger across Jude’s bottom lip causing him to giggle.
“Well I’m completely unbiased when I say that he truly is. But maybe I’m just biased because I’m in love with his mother...” He turns and smiles down at me.
“Cade...” I begin, not knowing exactly what to say.
“Scarlett, stop. It’s okay. You don’t need to say anything, honestly I don’t expect you to. I’m just tired of hiding how I feel about you and now that the curse is broken I don’t need to.”
“Okay. I just want you to know that I appreciate you. Especially after everything that has happened lately. From the war, to Kaiden, to Jude. Just everything.”
“I know... and I’m okay with it being that way. I know it hasn’t been easy for you and I just want to make it as easy as it can be for you.” He murmurs and looks away, his cheeks flushed. In embarrassment? He turns back to me and bends—being careful of Jude in his arms—and presses a soft kiss to my forehead. “Get some rest. You deserve it. I’ll settle Jude down.” He moves and settles himself in the chair adjacent the wall and pats Jude on his bottom softly.
Turning on my side I watch Cade as he acts so gently with Jude and smile softly. This man kept changing every bad thought I’d ever had of him into this kind and compassionate man who was completely enamoured with a half day old baby.
I was in love in this man once again. Though I don’t think I ever fell out of love with him. Not really.
And with that I drift of dreamily, a small smile touching my lips.
I wake to a baby’s cry and Cade trying—but failing—to calm him down. “Shhh, please. Let your mumma sleep a little longer. Jude, please be quiet. Please.”
I begin to laugh, my voice hoarse from sleep. “Don’t worry. I’m already awake. He probably just wants to be fed.”
“Okay, feed him then.” He says, handing a now screaming Jude over to my awaiting arms.
I raise my brow. Clearly he is unaware at the fact that feeding Jude means my boobs are coming out and I seriously do not want to give Cade a show.
“Oh.” Cade suddenly straightens. “Yeah, I’ll leave you to that. I’ll go check when you’re good to go.”
I laugh again as he turns and all but runs out the door. The nurse had shown me how to breast feed the other night so I got straight to it. Pulling my sleeve off my shoulder I start feeding Jude who had stopped screaming as soon as I undid my top.
“There you go, baby boy. Mumma’s got you covered.” I smile as he feeds and think of how lucky I am to have such a beautiful thing be mine.
I finish a little while later and just watch mesmerised by my sons eyes and lips and how tiny every single feature of his is. I’m still entranced by Jude when a knock sounds at the door and the question “Is it safe to come in?” travels, though muffled, through the door.
I give a tiny laugh. “Yes, you’re good. No one’s getting flashed today.” I smile brightly when Cade walks in holding a cup tray and a blueberry muffin.
“I got you a hot chocolate with extra marshmallows. Hope you don’t mind, I don’t remember if you still like them or not.” He must read something on my face that he misinterprets and then begins to mumble incoherently. “You don’t like it anymore... I can take it back and switch it or—”
“Cade. Calm down. I love hot chocolates with marshmallows. I just didn’t think you’d remember such a little thing like that about me. You even got a blueberry muffin. My favourite, just like the drink.”
He flushes softly and I almost laugh. Twice in one day, this had to be a record. I’d never seen Cade get so embarrassed about something as little as this. The next words out of his mouth startle me to no end.
“I remember everything about you, Letti.”
I’m left completely speechless with his words and just sit there numbly while Jude shifts in my arms, nuzzling his face into my boobs. Cade suddenly watches him and shakes his head at me in confusing. “I thought you fed the little guy.”
“Shut up, I did. He’s insatiable, just like someone else I know.” I smirk, raising my brow in a perfect arch. Even after giving birth my eyebrows be looking on fleek.
“Okay, okay.” He raises his hands in surrender. “The nurse said you were good to leave whenever you’re ready.”
“Alright. Could you get me my bag that has the change of clothes in it for both me and Jude?”
“Already brought it in, it’s beside the bed.” He points the the bag right on the floor beside me. I smile. He’s too good to me lately.
“Do you think of everything?” I throw out sarcastically.
“Pretty much.” He shrugs nonchalantly.
I laugh once again and begin to swing my legs over the bed. “Could you take Jude while I go into the bathroom to get changed?” I ask, holding a now sleeping Jude.
“Of course.” I watch as Cade eagerly opens his arms out for him and—when I hand him over—peppers small butterfly kisses over his face, careful not to wake him from his slumber.
I quickly walk into the bathroom and change into a pair of jeans, a burgundy jumper and heeled black ankle boots. I leave my hair to flow down my back and add a little bit of cream, mascara and lipstick to my face so I don’t look like the living dead.
When I walk back out I see that Cade has dressed Jude in the baby blue onesie that had been bought to tell Kaiden I was pregnant. The words “Sorry, Daddy. You now have two bosses.” makes me both want to laugh and cry at the same time.
“I wish he could have been here.” I whisper as I walk over to him while he plays games with Jude.
“I’m sure he wished he could be here.” He murmurs back, lifting his arm up for me to station myself under. “He loved you. Both of you.”
“He loved you, too, in the end. He thought that someday you two could be great friends.”
“I wanted to be. He was a good man. The type of man you deserved. I think that’s why I was so intimidated by him when you first arrived back here. He was everything I wasn’t and that meant that he was better for you then I was.”
“You were always good to me, Cade. You just lost your way for a few years, but you’re back on track now. You’re the man I remember playing barbie dolls with and making mud pies with even when our parents told us off for dirtying ourselves.”
“Gosh, you’re mum hated me then. She thought I was going to corrupt her baby girl.”
“You did!” I laugh. “You made me say ‘shit’ in front of them all when I spilt tea on you. I was grounded for two weeks and when you’re nine-years-old that was a lifetime.”
“You’re going to be a great mother, Letti. The best.” Cade says suddenly.
I’m speechless for a second before I speak. “I don’t know how I’m going to do this alone.”
He squeezes my side. “You won’t be doing this alone. I’ll be here whenever you need me.”
“That might be everyday for eighteen years...”
“I’ll be here. I promise. I’m not leaving you again.” He places a tender kiss to my forehead before grabbing our stuff and leading me out to the front desk so we can sign the last few forms.
I pull back on Cade’s hand so he stops his stride and looks back at me. “Thank you for being here for me these past few months. You’ve been the best. Don’t know where I’d be right now without you.”
“Like I said, from now own whenever you need me, I’ll be there.”
And not another word is said about it as we sign the last forms and finally head back to the packhouse to introduce Jude to the rest of the family.
God, it was going to be a hell of a day.