Finding Home

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Chapter Thirty

I woke up to my doorbell going off. I rolled over to Matty’s side of the bed and I glanced at my phone to see who could be stopping this early in the morning. It’s seven-thirty in the morning on a Saturday. Weekends are meant for sleeping in, not getting up at the crack of dawn to sit and chat. Kelia isn’t even up yet.

The doorbell sounded off again.

I slid myself from my white satin sheets and I unlocked my phone to see Matty texted me.

Good morning baby. We finished the case this morning and we are going to be flying back later tonight. I didn’t want to wake you from your beauty sleep but I do want to say one thing.

I love you with all my heart and you always encourage me to be better and do better. I’m so thankful for you, baby. You’ve given me a family. You’ve shown me that it’ll always be you who will ride for me until the end of the time. I know I can never say how truly thankful I am for everything you’ve done for me and for our daughter, there just isn’t enough time in the world for me to show you how thankful I am, but I plan to show you for the rest of our lives. I’m rambling now but I just wanted to let you know that I love you so so so much and I can’t wait to get home to you and our daughter.

My heart fluttered the more I read the message. The strange thing is, I can hear him speaking as I read each word. His soft but masculine voice bounced off the walls of my skull causing me to miss him more than I already did.

I wish I didn’t make him take this stupid job. I thought he was going to be stuck behind a desk and work a nine to five. I didn’t know he’d get promoted only three months into the job and be put out in the field immediately. I wasn’t even given time to process him getting offered the promotion.

I felt much safer when I knew he was going to be home every night.

I heard the doorbell ring again and it caused me to grow annoyed. “I’m coming!” I shouted tying my robe. “Jesus, can’t a girl dress herself appropriately,” I muttered to myself.

I opened the door to see a young man standing in front of me with a basket wrapped in clear plastic and a bouquet of roses.

“Hi,” I’ve never seen this man in my entire life. He’s probably in his mid-thirties. He wears a wedding band, so he’s married. He wears a suit, I’m not sure of the brand. But it’s nice. He seems like he’s a businessman.

“Hello, Ms. Johnson. My name is Tyler, I’m the creator of your fan page, Matteria. I know it’s weird for us—I mean me—to show up here this early. But we have a proposition for you and your manager wouldn’t listen to us.” well duh, it’s her job.

I tucked a lock of my hair behind my ear. My phone began ringing and it read Mom’s contact name. I declined the call, “What can I do for you?”

“Right, sorry. First, we wanted to greet you with this carbs basket and roses as congratulations on completing your mission in Africa.” he handed me the basket and flowers.

“Thank you, I’m sorry I’m not very talkative. I just woke up.” I fake smiled at him. I’m so annoyed right now.

“I’ll make this quick, then. Inside the basket is a script my team and I put together. We were hoping you’d play the lead role, Alex, a deceitful wizard who is learning one day at a time where she stands in the wizarding world and learning to take on responsibility. If you could just read it over and propose it to one of your producer friends. Or even if you just give it a good word, that’d be fine, too.” he hasn’t taken a single breath of air since he started speaking to me. “Sorry, I’m rambling.”

“I believe I follow your fan account on Instagram, correct?” I glanced down at the basket and saw muffins.

“Correct! We are honored to be one of the few fan accounts that you follow.” his teeth were showing because he was smiling so much.

My phone started ringing again and I read Mom’s contact name on my screen again, “I’m sorry, I really have to take this but I promise I’ll take a look at the script and message your fan account with what I can do.”

“One more thing,” he stopped me from stepping away causing me to miss Mom’s phone call again. This could be about my dad and I’m stuck here talking with a fan. I’m grateful for them but my family might need me. “We were wondering if management and myself would be able to come over sometime to interview you for our new fan page YouTube account. If not, we understand. But we would love the opportunity.”

“I’ll see what I can do, I’ll message you and we can probably set something up.” I held my hand out for a handshake to finish the conversation. My phone started vibrating again, “I promise I will, thank you for stopping by.”

“Thank you, for your time.” he smiled while shaking my hand and he started walking away.

I shut the door as I answered the phone call, “Hello?”

“Finally! Why haven’t you been answering my phone calls? We’ve been trying to get ahold of you for the past fifteen minutes.”

First I get bombarded by a fan this early and now my mom is bitching at me. Today is not my day. I might just hand Kelia off to Allen and have a spa day before my husband gets home. I do need to show him what he missed out on while he was gone.

“Sorry, mom.” I sighed in annoyance, “What’s up? What’s going on?”

“Roxy’s water broke this morning and she is getting ready to push but she won’t until you get here,” she said.

“Is she okay?”

“Yes, honey. Everyone is fine, you’re the only one missing.” I could hear her smiling through the phone, “How long will it be until you get here?”

“Shoot, I don’t know. I had a photoshoot this afternoon so I’ll have to get ahold of Jackie and Kelia isn’t even up yet.” I rubbed the tiredness from my eyes from it was sticking hard. “I should be there in twenty minutes, I’ll have Garrett drive us.”

“Please, hurry. She’s refusing to push without you in the room with her.”

“Alright, tell her I’m on my way and that she needs to push if the doctor says she needs to push and that I don’t want to hear that she won’t when I get there.”

“Alright. Love you, sweetie, see you soon.”

I hung up the phone and rushed upstairs to wake Kelia up. I wish we had an elevator installed, running up and down these stairs at nine months pregnant is not going to be fun. I lightly knocked on Kelia’s tall white door and I entered quietly turning on the light.

“Princess,” I said lightly and she covered her head with her pink comforter, “I have a little surprise for you.”

She uncovered her head by kept her eyes closed, “What kind of surprise?”

“Titi is having her baby.” I lowered myself to her face and moved her hair out of her face.

Her eyes bolted open and she sat up in a hurry, “What are you waiting for? We need to get going!” she scurried from her bed and ran to her closet.

“Just a pair of sweatpants and a shirt is fine, honey!” I don’t want her thinking that we are going out to be seen by cameras. I want to keep this lowkey. I don’t want anyone knowing my brother’s business unless he makes it their business. “And why don’t you grab a hat, too?”

I quickly ran to my room that was three doors down from Kelia’s room and I quickly rummaged through Matty’s dresser drawers. I grabbed a pair of his dark gray Nike sweatpants and an extra-large white Pink sweatshirt to hide my small bump. I’m only nine weeks pregnant but as a whole, I feel like I’ve gained fifty pounds. I don’t have a single clue how I’m going to hide this for so long.

I threw my hair into a ponytail and grabbed my black glittery fluorescent snapback pulling my ponytail through the hole before I slipped my shoes on my feet. I needed to get to the hospital as fast as possible. If Roxy refuses to push until I get there then she might cause severe problems to her baby and I don’t want her to have to live with that.

I walked into Kelia’s room to see her slipping on her Air Force ones and she was completely dressed in a white snapback on top of her bed head. I wish she would’ve at least let me put it in a ponytail so it doesn’t take hours to brush out later before she showers.

My phone vibrated as I sat on the edge of Kelia’s pillowtop bed, “That’s probably tio Garrett, you are ready honey?”

“Let’s go have a baby!” it’s a little too early for her to be doing her screeching voice. I’m not even fully awake yet. I haven’t even had my white chocolate latte from Starbucks yet. I am running on zero fuel.

I checked Duma’s collar battery and I poured some of her raw meat mixtures into her customized sparkly bowl before grabbing my purse and keys. I grabbed Kelia’s hand and I set the alarm before leaving from the front door.

Garrett got out of the driver’s seat and opened the van door for Kelia and me greeting us with a head nod, “Good morning, Kiera, Kelia.”

“Shush, please.” my head is pounding and I’m in no mood to have any small talk.

“Good to see that you’re back in business with the morning attitude.” he winked at me before closing the van door and walking around the vehicle to get into the driver’s seat.

Me too, Garrett. Me too.

“Did they say that she was pushing already?”

“No, just that she’s about ready and is ordering my presence.”

“We’ll be there in ten minutes tops.” Garrett floored it on the gas pedal and sped his way towards the hospital.

I remember what it was like to be told that it was time to push. I was so scared that something bad would happen. I was small when I was only sixteen years old. I remember wanting to be held by my mom and dad, while they told me that everything was going to be worth it.

But all I had was Matty and his family. I’m not saying they aren’t or weren’t enough, I’m just stating that it must be nice to be able to have who you want in the room with you.

My parents missed out on the best painful part of my life. They missed out on their first granddaughter being brought into this world and experiencing her first breath of fresh air. They missed her opening her eyes for the first time and seeing how much she enjoyed being in the real world.

I’ll never forgive them for that. Maybe Kelia will be able to forgive them when I tell her the truth once she’s older and able to understand. But I don’t know to hide anything from her. She doesn’t deserve to be lied to. She deserves to be told the truth and nothing but the truth.

I’ll never forgive them, but I intend to move on from it. They can’t do anything to make me forgive them but Kelia deserves to have her grandparents in her life if she wants them there. I hate the idea of her spending time with the people who disowned me and threw me out in the streets to find my own roof over my head.

Cancer or not, they did what they did. And there’s nothing they can do to change what happened.

Garrett pulled in front of the main doors and I grabbed Kelia from the leather seat so I could carry her into the clear doors while avoiding anyone from seeing us.

I didn’t have time to thank Garrett for driving like a safe lunatic, but he knows I’m thankful. He knows I’m thankful that he has never left my side no matter the decision I ever make.

“May I help you?” a young man asked me at the front desk that is the first thing you see when you walk into the lobby.

“Hi, my sister in law is delivering a baby. Roxanna Johnson?”

He typed quickly on his keyboard before handing me a sticky note, “Courtesy from our hospital to you for helping those in need; our silence and privacy.”

I lowered Kelia to the floor and held her hand while kissing the tips of my center fingers with my free hand blowing the kiss to him, “Thank you so much.” I looked at the room number before shoving the yellow square in my pocket.

“Hurry, baby. Titi is delivering your cousin and I can’t miss it.” I spammed the up button to the elevator and watched the numbers countdown from seven.

“Chill out, mom. I have little legs.” she dragged herself behind me while I pulled her into the elevator to spam the close door button and floor three.

“Yeah, well I’m pregnant.” I winked at her trying to tease her. “Are you excited to meet your cousin?”

“She better not bite me.”

“She isn’t going to have any teeth for a while.” I laughed at her. I watched the number count from L to 3. The closer we got down the hallway to room 334 the more nervous I’d become. What if I took too long to get here? I couldn’t just leave Kelia home with no one to watch her. She’s only six.

We arrive in the waiting room and found mom and dad sitting on a red loveseat sofa and Allen pacing back and forth, “Jesus! What the hell is taking so long?” he held his hands above his head in anger.

“She’ll be here, sweetie. Just relax, you don’t want to stress Roxy out any more than what she already is.”

“Easier said than done, that’s my child that she’s risking putting in distress just so my sister can be in the room with us while my child is born.”

“Relax, relax, I’m here.” I walked in and handed Kelia off to mom while dragging Allen towards Roxy’s room number. “Sorry, it took so long. We didn’t want to draw any unwanted attention.

“You’re here, I wouldn’t have it any other way.” he wasn’t saying that a few seconds ago but I’ll let it slide. He’s under just as much stress as Roxy. I understand why he is upset.

He led us into room 334 and I walked in to see a doctor checking Roxy’s cervix and three nurses checking on both the baby’s vitals and Roxy’s too. I could tell by the red spikes on the baby’s heart monitor that it was over elevated and the baby is going into distress.

“Push now, Roxy. You’re going to put your baby under distress.” I heard the OB-GYN doctor scolding her.

I can’t believe she actually waited for me to be here. She waited to push her baby out so I could be here to witness the birth of their new member of their family.

“I’m here! I’m here, now push!” I walked to the opposite side of the bed as Allen and I held onto Roxy’s hand, “Squeeze as much as you have to.” why the hell did I just offer my hand to get murdered? I didn’t think this through. I don’t think I want to see my sister-in-law’s vagina the size of a cantaloupe. It makes me sick to my stomach now that it’s actually happening.

“Thank god you’re here.” she lifted her sweaty hand to Allen’s face and rubbed his cheek while looking into his eyes.

“If you don’t push then we are going to have to rush you to surgery.” the doctor threatened.

“You guys can have your movie moment after, right now we need to deliver this baby.” to think my brother was bothered because I took ten minutes to get from point A to point B.

Roxy sat up as much as she could and she started to take a deep breath in, “Now! It has to be now!” the heart monitor started beeping lightly.

Roxy took a deep breath in before grunting and screaming while she pushed with everything she had in herself. the pushing is the worst part. It’s not the pain, it’s the amount of energy it takes to push the baby out. I remember feeling so tired. There wasn’t enough energy to manifest into existence. There just isn’t.

“That’s good, that was a good one Roxy. Go ahead and take a deep breath.” Roxy did as the doctor instructed and she fell back into the hospital bed closing her eyes.

“How much longer?” she started to cry into Allen’s shoulders.

“Just think, honey. Just a few more pushes like that and you’ll hold your baby.” I still can’t believe that they didn’t want to know the gender of their baby. “You’ll know if you have a baby boy or a baby girl.”

“I don’t care, I just want it out of me.”

“Alright, Roxy. We’re ready for another push.” the doctor positioned herself.

“You really should’ve taken their offer on that epidural.” Allen helped Roxy sit up straight. He’s bold for that comment while she is pushing something the size of a watermelon out of her vagina.

She punched him, “Fuck you!” she growled at Allen. She took a deep breath in and screamed as loud as she could while pushing.

I know the pain that she is feeling. In fact, I know that she wants nothing more than for her baby to be out of her womb. The pain is like a fire growing through every nerve that you have in your lower body. She didn’t even choose the epidural. I could never. I’m much smaller than her and I could never handle that much pain.

Roxy pushed until she couldn’t anymore, “Alright, go ahead and take a moment to catch your breath. A couple more pushes like that one and your baby will be here.”

“I can’t do this, I can’t push anymore,” she whined and her head became drowsy rolling around.

“Alright, Roxy, go ahead and give me another push.” the doctor ordered her again.

“I can’t,” she began to look really pale.”

“We just need one more push for you, come on, Roxy. You’ve got this.” the doctor positioned herself to deliver my brother’s baby into this world. Now that I see the doctor in a position like Dr. Harris when I was pushing, I’m more excited than nervous.

I am getting the chance to see my brother and sister in law bring life into this world. I feel honored. Even though I feel like it’s a bit personal for me to be in here with her while her vagina is open the way it is, I still feel like I’m supposed to be here.”

Roxy sat up as tall as she could and took a deep breath in. She pushed with all of the strength that she had left in her body. Hearing the words that it’s the last push gives you enough energy to push one final time for our babies to be born. Her voice screeched, causing my ears to hum and ring. She squeezed my hand causing my fingertips to turn purple from the cut off blood circulation.

She stopped pushing and seconds later we heard a baby scream. “Would the father like to cut the cord?” Allen’s eyes teared up and his smile touched the tip of his ears.

He kissed Roxy’s sweaty pale forehead and let go of her hand to cut his screaming baby’s umbilical cord. “Congratulations, you have a baby boy.”

Roxy cried at the words that rolled off the nurse’s tongue. I knew she wanted a boy. I couldn’t picture her with a little girl. Having two Roxy’s around just might be a tad bit much.

Watching Roxy go through all this pain just to hold her baby boy only made me more excited for my baby to come into my arms. The next five months better go by fast. I couldn’t think of anything more than to hold my baby in my arms when I pushed her out.

So small and delicate, I was scared to hold her outside of a blanket. What if I broke her neck? Or what if she slipped out of my grasp and I dropped her? I would’ve died if something happened to her. I had to take every precaution possible.

The nurse handed Allen his baby boy in a blue wrapped blanket and he started crying, “Hi there, little guy.”

The baby’s fingers grasped around Allen’s pointer finger and the crying slowly began to fade away, “Congratulations, Roxy. I’m so proud of you.” I kissed her cheek and wrapped my arm around her shoulders.

Her head lightly rested on my arm, “I’m . . . never doing this again.”

“Would you like to hold him?” Allen walked over to Roxy and she looked right at the baby.

“Give him here,” she held her arms out and Allen lightly placed him in her grasp.

“Do you plan on breastfeeding?” one of the nurses asked.

“Yes,” Roxy didn’t take her eyes off of her baby boy. “He’s so beautiful.”

She moved the blanket from covering his face and I was drawn to his beautiful blue eyes and tiny nose. He looks so much like Allen when he was a baby, I’d consider them twins.

She lightly wiped off the fluid from coming out of her uterus and she started crying. “He’s so beautiful.”

“You’re right about that,” I walked over to Allen and hugged him tightly, “Congratulations, brother. I’m so proud of you.”

I am sure he wishes it were the other way around; him congratulating me. He loves Kelia and Matty, but I know he wishes that he had the first grandkid. He is older after all and it’s around the age where I should be having my first baby. Not him.

“We couldn’t have done this without you,” he said into my shoulder while hugging me back just as tightly. “Thank you so much for everything.”

“I’ll always take care of mines.” I rubbed his back with the palm of my hand before pulling away. “I’m going to update our families and give you two some space. If you guys need anything, let me know.”

The first thing I wanted to do was call Matty and tell him about Roxy having their baby. I wanted to brag to him that after what I just witnessed, I’m more than ready for our baby to come out into the world and live a lavishing life that we plan to give both of our children.

“Can you grab me a yogurt?” Roxy asked as I opened the heavy door.

“Of course, would you like anything to drink?” I stopped in the cracked open door with my body holding it open.

“Pepsi, please.” she smiled at me before looking back at her baby.

“Got it,” I walked out of the room and dialed Matty on speed dial.

Straight to voicemail. His phone must’ve died because I know the jet they’re flying on has wifi. He was texting me the entire flight when he left.

I just hope he gets home soon, I miss him dearly and just want to give him a big hug. I never want to let him leave us again. I made a big mistake in accepting the job offer before I fully understood what was going to happen.

I didn’t think there would be room for promotion. I just wanted him to get out there and show the world that he isn’t scared of anything. Show our kids that he isn’t scared of anything.

“Hey, babe. It’s just me. I was calling to let you know that Roxy-,” my phone beeped in my ear and it was Matty’s contact name.

I switched over the phone calls, “Hello?”

“Hey, baby.” his mellow voice set my hormones to full blast. “Are you home?”

“I was actually just leaving you a voicemail. Allen and Roxy had their baby this morning and I have Kelia with me out in the waiting room. How was your flight?”

“It was slower than anticipated. Are you guys still at the hospital? How’d it go?”

“Yeah, it went smoothly. We have a baby nephew.” the statement itself made me gloat. I kind of want my own little boy. A boy’s love for their mom is a different kind of love. It’s more meaningful, deeper than any kind of love that can be given.

“I’ll have Delgado drop me off at the hospital. I’ll see you in fifteen minutes.” it was good to hear that I’ll see him in no more than fifteen minutes. My Matty meter is running just a little too low on the bar.

“Alright, love you.” I feel like I haven’t told him enough that I love him with all of my heart. He’s always proving his love to me yet I just sit back and accept. I never return a favor. “I love you, Matty.”

“I love you, too, baby girl. Is everything okay?”

Is everything okay?

My eyes filled with tears immediately, “I just really, really miss you.”

“I miss you too, mi amor.” I heard a car door shut in the background, “I’ll see you when I get there. I love you, baby.”

“I love you, too.” I hung up the phone and walked up the staircase to the fourth floor and I grabbed Roxy’s food before I walked back downstairs to see everyone still waiting in the waiting room.

Kelia, Roxy’s mom and dad, Roxy’s sister Alexandria, and both of my parents. It’s a shame they couldn’t see the first of their first grandchild. They really missed out on a year of her life just so that they could try to prove a point to me.

But the jokes on them. I was thriving then, and I’m thriving even more now. My future is looking so much brighter now than what I had seen it when I was living underneath my parent’s roof. I can do anything I want. I can be whoever I want. I don’t have to hide behind religion, I can be myself.

“How is she?” mom asked. I hate that she’s so eager to know for the sake of her son but it couldn’t be matched for her daughter.

“We have a baby boy that was just welcomed into this world.” I smiled heavily while approaching everyone.

Everyone started cheering happily and hugging each other while Kelia tapped me on the hip. She waved for me to lower myself to her height, “What’s wrong, mommy?”

I picked her up and sniffled the tears away, “Nothing, baby. I’m just happy for tio. Are you hungry?”

She nodded and hugged me, “Let’s go drop this off the titi then we can run upstairs to the vending machines.”

“Okay!” she screeched in excitement.

“We’ll be right back, everyone. I’m going to run upstairs to get Kelia something to eat.” we did skip breakfast and lunch.

“Hurry back so we all can go in together and meet the baby.” dad said sitting in a wheelchair.

“Yeah, got it.” I walked away from them without speaking another word into existence.

“What’s wrong, mommy?”

“Nothing is wrong, guess who’s on their way to the hospital right now?”

“Daddy?” her face glowed with happiness and excitement.

“Yep, he’ll be here in fifteen minutes. So make sure you pick something quick from the vending machines. I told him that we would meet him outside.”

I dropped her on the floor once we got to the fourth floor and we walked through the metal door into the same vending machine room that I was in five minutes ago.

“What do you want? Pick anything you’d like.”

“Really? You aren’t making me watch my sugar?” she put her hand on her hip trying to scold me.

“I could change my mind?” I teased her happily.

I put a dollar in the candy bar vending machine and I clicked the number for a king-sized Snickers. If there’s one thing I crave most while pregnant, it’s a snickers bar kept in the freezer for twenty minutes. But my options are limited so a warm Snickers will have to do.

“Can I just get a tuna sandwich and a bag of chips?” she pressed her pointer finger on the deli vending machine glass.

“Sure, do you want to go over there and get yourself a soda?”

“Woah! A soda, too? What’s the special occasion?” I was in awe. I’m not that mean to her, I can’t be. She has to be overexaggerating things.

“Totally,” I handed her a five-dollar bill and she skipped over to the Pepsi vending machine.

I entered the code for the tuna sandwich and I opened the small door to grab the sandwich. I walked over to the chip vending machine. I quickly ordered myself a latte with extra foam and three sugars while Kelia was browsing the touch screen soda previews.

“Almost done there?” I watched through the looking glass as the espresso began to fill inside a cream-colored paper cup.

I heard a soda fall down into the gate, “All set!”

“Go over there and grab a bag while I wait for mine and your dad’s coffee.” I pointed her in the right direction and she did as she was told.

“Okay, mom!” she bagged her food into the brown paper bag and she sat down peacefully watching me watch the coffee get made.

I quickly ordered Matty’s latte with no foam and I grabbed the hot cups in both hands and I walked to the elevator with Kelia by my side. “Are you excited to see daddy?”

“I’ve missed him a lot.” my heart panged at the thought of him being gone for so long. “What about you?” I lightly pushed her shoulder, “Are you excited to see him?”

“I don’t like him leaving us for so long. But yeah, I’m excited.” she smiled powerfully as the elevator beeped on the lobby floor and the doors spread open.

I walked with Kelia to the green love seats and I set our drinks on the magazine table while I texted Matty that we were waiting for him in the lobby area. I couldn’t wait to run up to him and wrap my arms around his tall masculine body.

“He’ll be here before you know it.” I winked at her.

“Are you guys talking about me?” Matty popped his head between Kelia and me.

“Daddy!” Kelia screeched in excitement when she noticed Matty. She slid from the cushion and ran around the couch to give Matty a hug. He quickly kissed my cheek before he picked Kelia up and hugged her tightly to his chest.

I love seeing them miss each other. Distance only makes the heart grow fonder but I don’t want her to feel like neither me nor Matty will be around when she is older because of work.

I stood up from the couch in awe and he held one of his arms out for me to join their hug. I want him all to myself right now. I want him to put Kelia down so I can get my time with him. But that’d be selfish and unmotherly to do so. I can have him all night long. She can have him for right now. “How are my two favorite girls doing?”

“We just got food. Mom even let me get a rootbeer from the vending machine!” she bragged to her father. At least in her eyes, I’m doing this whole mother thing right. She seems open-minded enough to tell me when I’m doing something wrong. Or she would go to someone else who could tell me for her.

“Oh?” he raised an eyebrow at me and kissed Kelia’s cheek, “How’s Roxy and Allen, they doing okay?”

“They’re fine, she’s actually waiting for me to drop her soda and yogurt off to her. Do you guys want to see the baby?”

I intertwined my fingers with Matty and cupped the top of his hand with my free hand. I don’t want to let him go. I just want to feel his touch; his love and warmth. I want to feel the spark that we both feel when our skin comes in contact with each other.

“Yeah, I’d love to. How’s our little one doing?” he glanced down at my stomach. “You’re showing a little bit more than when I left.” he set Kelia down on her feet and grabbed Kelia’s paper bag of food.

“Really? I feel like I’m not even showing.” I grabbed Roxy’s bag of food and I held Matty’s hand to the elevator. “He’s good, we’ve been eating a lot of sour worms. How was your flight?”

“It was dreadful, I felt like it was the longest flight I’ve ever been on. And I just missed you guys so much.” he cupped my jaw with his fingers and pressed his lips to mine.

“Ew!” Kelia giggled.

“Awe, did you miss me, too? Do you want a big kiss from me?” he pulled his lips away from mine leaving me breathless and thoughtless by the amount of passion that was hidden inside the kiss.

He knelt down to Kelia’s height and she pressed her finger to her cheek with an evil grin on her face, “Right here! You know where to plant it!”

“How was school?” he kissed her cheek dramatically loud.

“It was boring. We just introduced ourselves and decorated the classroom. We have a class field trip in two months to a science museum and I want to go with a boy named Elliott. Do you think that’d be okay?”

“Elliott?” Matty looked at me in disbelief. I know what he’s thinking, she’s six years old and she’s already starting to take an interest in boys. I don’t see any harm in it. It’s not like they’re going to be alone. No, they’ll have their teacher, chaperones, and other students with them as well. And she knows better than to run off all alone without letting anyone know where she is going.

“He’s really nice to me.” she was blushing hard.

“How old is he?”

“Seven and a half!” like the half actually matters.

“Too old, next one.” Matty circled his finger in the air. “Which room are they in?”

“Right over there, I’ll go in first to make sure she’s finished with the second birth.” we approached the door and I entered quickly shutting the door behind me.

“Thank god!” Roxy was holding the baby and Allen was standing over top of her. “I was beginning to think you ran off with my yogurt.”

“They only had a strawberry parfait left. Is that okay?”

“That’s more than okay!” she handed the baby off to Allen and he sat in the reclining chair. “Where’s Kelia? I want her to be the first to meet him.”

“Matty and she are right outside the door. I wanted to make sure you were cleaned up and decent.”

“Of course! Bring them in!” she sat up straight and opened her parfait.

I walked over to the door and welcomed Matty and Kelia into the room with us. “Shh, I believe the baby is sleeping,” I whispered to them.

They both walked in quietly and Matty walked over to Roxy while Kelia ran to Allen. “Congratulations, Roxy.” he kissed her cheek and lightly hugged her while she held a mouthful of yogurt and strawberries in her mouth.

“Thanks, Matty.” she smiled after swallowing loudly.

“What’s his name? Can I see him?” Kelia sat in the maroon sofa seat with her arms sprawled out for Allen to hand her the blanket-wrapped baby.

“Aj, short for Allen Junior Andrew Johnson.” Roxy smiled lightly watching Allen set him in Kelia’s arms.

“I was hoping it’d be a girl. But I’m sure he’ll be okay with me playing dress up and princesses with me.

“You think so?”

“I know so.” she shrugged her shoulders while holding him tight to her chest.

“How are you feeling?” I asked Roxy while she guzzled her Pepsi that I got her.

“Tired, but I don’t want to fall asleep yet. I haven’t enjoyed Aj enough yet.” she smiled at Kelia. “It sounds weird coming out of my mouth.”

“You’ll get used to it fast, believe me.” my phone vibrated in my pocket.

Is she done yet??? When can we go in and see them?

“Mom’s asking when they all can come in and see the baby.”

“When you’re finished in here, they can wait.” fallen spoke for Roxy as she opened her mouth to answer me. He was watching Aj like a hawk eyeing its prey.

“Allen,” I didn’t want him being mad at them right now. I just want him to feel all the happiness in the world that he just brought a human life into this world.

“If you’re going to tell me to chill, don’t. They were generous enough to show up to my sons birth but they couldn’t show up to Kelia’s birth. They can wait their turn, you deserve this time with us.” Allen walked over to me and whispered to me so Kelia couldn’t hear.

“Today is about you, your son, and Roxy. Don’t dwell on the past, it’s done and over with.” I wish I could tell them I’m pregnant and maybe they can redeem themselves at my next birth but I can’t tell anyone until I reach a certain length throughout my pregnancy. I want to hide it from everyone as long as I can.

He sighed and wrapped his arm around my neck to hug me, “Thanks, sis.”

“Besides, Jackie is asking that I come into the office and I’m sure Matty would love to get some rest.”

“That’s right, how was your flight? I’m assuming you caught the murderer?” Roxy asked.

“Yeah, it took a little while longer than anticipated due to a bunch of fucking puzzle pieces but we got it.” Matty took Aj from Kelia and sat down next to her on the love seat. “Hi there, little guy.”

“This was your first rodeo out in the field, how’d you do?”

“Great, actually. More than great.” he seemed more depressed that he did so well than he does excited. But I understand why. The better he does, the more he’s going out in the field. “It was easy once we figured out the dice letters. Way easier than the suspect anticipated.”

I watched Matty hold the baby for the next fifteen minutes before we said our goodbyes and sent our families in to see the baby. I don’t know why, but I’m overly emotional in this place and I’m not ready to be here yet.

Garrett dropped me off at the office and took Matty and Kelia home where they both could get some rest. Kelia doesn’t do good with waking up on the weekends and Matty has been working his ass off trying to catch a serial killer.

After I’m done at the office, I’m going home and cooking a warm home cooked meal and I’m getting into bed with the love of my life and I’m not letting go of him for the remaining hours of the night. I don’t know why Jackie wants to see me, she rarely works weekends but it must be important for her to call me in.

I walked through the glass doors and I found myself in Jackie’s office faster than I had hoped. I just need a day where I can lay around with my husband and kid without any worries about deadlines or what my next big thing is.

“Knock, knock.” I tapped my knuckle on the open glass door to take Jackie’s attention off of her computer.

“Good even, Kiera. I trust you had an excellent morning?” I sat down in her white cushioned chair in front of her desk. The same chair I sat in when I was offered the job as Devyn in the spectacular Grown-ish.

“Yeah, my brother had his baby this morning and we just left the hospital.” I kicked my feet up from the floor and rested them on the corner of her desk.

“Oh, congratulations! Was it a boy or girl?” she shut her laptop screen.

“They have a healthy baby boy.” I smiled at the memory of seeing my first nephew born.

“Congratulations on having a nephew,” she touched her heart. “With all of these babies being born, it seems to be giving me high baby fever.”

“Thank you,” I probably have to tell Jackie sooner or later due to my line of work. “You’re here on a weekend. What’s so important that you had to come in?”

“With all of this baby talk, I’m about to add more icing to the baby infested cake.”

“Come again?” maybe she already knows. I thought I’ve been hiding it exceptionally well and I’m barely showing.

“You’ve been offered the lead role in a revamped TV show that once was number one on ABC channel.”

Oh, just more work offers. I thought I’d be hearing her talk about how I gained weight or something that would lead to her knowing that I’m pregnant.

“Jackie, I-,”

“I know you said you wanted to take a break but I think that this will be good for you. You can take a break from the runway and focus on a TV show. It’ll let you focus on one thing, and the TV show was a hit fifteen years ago. It’ll be even more amazing now with the technology we have.”

“What’s the show?” I might know of it. And if she’s right, if I loved the show growing up then it might persuade me to look at the pilot script.

“The Secret Life of the American Teenager.”

“You’re kidding me,” I chuckled at her statement.

“Brenda Hamptom’s daughter rewrote the script in honor of her mothers death and presented it to some producers. When they asked her who she saw as the lead role, she said she saw no one besides you.”

“It’s probably because I had a fucking baby at sixteen years old.”

“Well,” she hesitated to lie, “Yes. But you’re also an amazing actress. This isn’t your story, it’s Amy’s story.”

“Gosh,” this is hilarious. This lady probably based the entire series off of my life. It’s not like it’s some big secret that no one knows about. I’m twenty-two almost twenty three with a six year old.

“The pay for season one is $655,000 per episode including fifteen percent. As your manager, I think you should do it. I read the pilot script and I think it’s phenomenal. And if you dig deep while you’re on set, the show’s stats will fly through the roof.” she handed me a stapled packet.

I read the top of the page.

Amy Juergens
Seattle, WA
15 year old pregnant teenager
Pregnant by band drummer at summer camp
One sister, one brother
Divorced parents

“What if I don’t want to do this?” I set the packet on my chest. “What if I wanted to take a break from working?”

“Unforuntely, in this line of business that’s just not possible when you’re first starting out.” she looked disappointed, “Why wouldn’t you want to? This will really put you out there.”

“I don’t know, I just don’t have the motivation for anything. I still have a wedding to plan.”

“Kiera, if you truly don’t want to take the amazing offer then I can tell them you’re not interested. Why don’t you take the weekend to go over the script to see if you like it, and look over the contract. I can have our lawyers swing by Monday night if you have anything you’d like to propose for change but the deadline is Monday night at midnight.” she handed me another thick packet.

I can’t believe she’s bombarding me with this. I told her I wanted a break. It’s like she knew I’d be tempted to read it over. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t interested in how the rerun will look.

“Fine, but no promises. My family and planning this wedding are my main priorities as of right now.” I texted Matty to have him come pick me up.

“Is everything okay with you?” she glanced at me, “Anything bothering you?”

I should tell her. She’s my manager after all and its her job to help me keep this a secret. “I’m three months pregnant.”

“You’re joking!” she stood up with a huge smile on her face. “Congratulations, oh my gosh!” she walked around the desk and hugged me while I was sitting in the chair.

“Thanks, but I’m keeping it a secret from everyone. I want to keep it a secret as long as I can. How am I supposed to do that if I am working on set?” she pulled away from me, “I’m interested, yeah. But my family is my main priority.”

“Well, we might have an answer here. You won’t have to wear a pregnancy belly, meaning your real belly will be taken as a stomach attachment. It could easily be pointed to the TV show. I don’t think questions would be asked. Again, this is Amy’s story, not your own. We can talk with the producers about this and figure something out.”

She’s so convincing at everything, I hate it. I hate her. But I love her for always looking out for me and my picture.

“Fine, I’ll talk it over with Matty and I’ll let you know.” Matty texted that he was on his way from the house, “Matty’s on his way, I should wait for him downstairs in the lobby. He had a long flight home.”

“Alright, I’ll be in contact with you early Monday morning.”

“Yeah,” I walked to the closed glass doors, “Don’t. I will call you.” I joked with her.

“I’ll talk to you soon!”

I walked to the elevator with my purse on my shoulder and the packets in my hand. I clicked the button to the lobby floor and I opened the script to the first page.

ANNE JUERGENS is cooking pasta and meatballs on the stovetop, when her daughter, AMY, enters through the mud room door, wearing the jacket of her band uniform, black leggings, and carrying her flute in the case and a white book bag.

Welcome home, honey! I know it’s only been six weeks but it feels like an eternity since we’ve seen you. Your brother and sister are grounded in their rooms because they wouldn’t stop bickering over what we should cook you for your welcome home dinner if you want to say hello to them! I’m sure they missed you!

Sorry, I’m late. Mr. Day wanted to go over a new formation for halftime.

Yeah, I hear you. I just don’t understand how such a small instrument could require so much time. You should be out having fun, doing stuff with your girlfriends, getting yourself a boyfriend.

Mom . . . the flute is such an elegant instrument. If I get good enough with the band then I could make it to Juliard. I love music.

Again . . . with the hours

Amy Exits, with her Flute case and book bag on shoulder, into the bathroom.

(calls after her)
We made pasta with sauce and meatballs. Your favorite.


The storyline is amazing to me. It’s the first page and it already brings me back to my childhood days where I would stay up late one day during the week just to see the new episode of the week.

I sat down in the lounge while I waited for Matty to text me that he was here and I continued reading the script. I was intrigued and very interested in how the pilot will turn out to be like. If she sees me as the lead role, the sixteen year old who has a baby, then I want to get to know this character before I audition for the part.

I might even force Matty to have a Secret Life weekend just so I can get a feel on what it’s going to be like. I’m sure Matty won’t mind if I take the job offer. He’s always pushing me to do the best work I can. Telling me that the more I do, the better picture I’ll build for my children and their children and so on and so fourth.

I’m doing this for them. For their future.

This could be fun. I won’t have to act too much, I can relate to Amy more than I’d like to. It won’t be hard fishing for a memory to cry on camera. I won’t have to search for a time I was angry or scared because I’ve gone through my own traumatic events.

Acting is about feeling the character that you’re representing. You have to believe it’s real in order to make the crowd believe it. If I decide to take this job offer, I’m going to knock everyone’s socks off.

Maybe this will work. Maybe this is the start of something called a great life. I had my share of bad events thrown at me in the past few months, but maybe it’s my time to shine now.

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