Bonus Chapter 2 - What's in a Name
“He looked deep into her eyes—the same eyes that once held so much kindness and affection. ‘How could you?’ he whispered. He had to clear his throat to get the words out that threatened to—Yes! That’s it right there!” With a deep sigh, I sink back into the couch cushion. I throw the manuscript of my latest novel on the coffee table and close my eyes, moaning in relief when Aaron hits that one sore spot on my foot.
We’ve been sitting on our couch for the last half hour. I read the chapter to him that I finished this morning while he massages my aching feet.
“Hmm, yesss,” I hum on a long exhale. I sink deeper into the couch, resting on my side because I shouldn’t lie on my back, and let out another soft sigh.
My eyes fly open when a low, guttural sound escapes Aaron. Our gazes meet, and he grimaces. “Stop making these sounds, or my hands will be on other parts of your body before you can say ‘Yes, please’. Listening to the things that come out of your pretty mouth is torture.”
With a chuckle, I nudge him with the foot he’s not working his magic on. Yes, he has gifted fingers—in so many ways. “You are insatiable, Aaron.”
“Says the woman who jumps my bones every chance she gets.”
I gasp. “Am not! And don’t act like you hate it.” With a huff, I close my eyes again and place my hands on my belly that’s starting to tighten.
When I gently rub over the huge bump and let out a long, slow breath through my lips, Aaron rests his hand on mine. “You okay?” he whispers.
I nod, eyes still closed. “Just some Braxton Hicks contractions.”
For the past week, I’ve had them more and more often. My doctor reassured me it’s all good, though, as long as they aren’t painful. So far, those contractions were only a little uncomfortable, and thinking about the fact that real contractions will hurt like shit makes me nervous. It’s still three weeks until my due date, but our unborn child is already positioned head down, getting ready. Aaron is beyond excited to finally meet his baby girl, as he’s been calling her since we found out we are having a daughter.
Ever since he accidentally knocked me up—so much for trying to be a responsible adult when he brings out the whipped cream and chocolate syrup to play out a repeat performance of our first night together—he’s turned into this big softie. Whenever we talk about baby-related things, his eyes light up and this silly grin is plastered to his face. Discovering more of this side of him after four years together gets me every time, and I can’t wait to see him with our baby.
Aaron grabs my hand to pull me up and closer to him so he can caress the bump. “Hey, baby girl, are you causing your momma trouble again?”
With a low chuckle, I snuggle up to him. When my belly relaxes again, I take his hand to intertwine our fingers. “We still need a name. We can’t keep calling her baby girl.”
Aaron pouts. ”Aw, why not? I like it.” He winks at me. “Did you come up with any ideas?”
I frown. “No, not really. There are a few names I like, but none of them sound right.”
He places a soft kiss on my head. “I might have a suggestion,” he murmurs into my hair.
My eyes widen as I lean back to meet his gaze, and a smile tugs at my lips. “Really? Tell me.”
The huge grin on his face makes me chuckle. This must be a good one. “Paisley,” he says just above a whisper. He looks at me with so much affection in his eyes when he says it that I can’t help but love his suggestion. From now on, that name will forever be linked in my memory with his tender expression.
“Paisley,” I repeat, my grin matching his. “Yeah, I like it. How did you come up with that name?”
He shakes his head with a chuckle. “I’m not gonna tell you.”
I furrow my brows. “Huh? Why not?”
He shrugs his shoulder. “Because when I tell you, you’ll tear up and become a hormonal mess.”
I roll my eyes. ”Pffft. That’s stupid. I will not. Come on, tell me!”
He fixes his gaze on me, staring deep into my eyes as if he wants to make sure I don’t start bawling. I let out a long breath, fidgeting left and right, urging him to tell me already.
With a deep sigh, he finally speaks. “It was my mom’s middle name.”
I blink at him, pressing my lips together and clenching my teeth. His words sink in, and I internally scold myself for having to hold back the tears, just like he said. But damn, that is the sweetest thing! Way too meaningful not to bawl over.
I take in a long, slow breath through my nose. “See? No hormonal mess,” I croak. “That’s a cute story you have there. Cute.” I nod, blinking rapidly.
Aaron lifts his eyebrows, watching me with a half-smirk. ”You’re seconds away from losing it, Sunshine. Don’t try to hold it back; it’ll only give you a headache.”
I do my best to scowl at him, but it’s no use. I let out a sob and cover my face with my hands. “That’s so beautiful,” I murmur. “Paisley. I love it.”
Aaron laughs and wraps his arms around my shoulders. “Aw, babe, it’s okay. Let it all out. I think you haven’t cried for three or four hours.”
I gasp and sob and try to breathe, all at the same time. Not easy, let me tell you. I free myself from his embrace and punch his chest. “Idiot,” I grumble. “I haven’t cried today—yet.”
“Oh, I beg to differ,” he says with another laugh. “What about this morning, after I made you come twice? I remember distinctly how you thanked my parents for creating such an amazing creature with such a talented mouth—all while a tear or two escaped your eyes.”
I let out an exaggerated sigh. “Of course you would remember something like that. You’re so conceited.”
He shrugs. “I just keep track of these things so I know what to use next time to give you some pleasure.” He cups my cheek with his hand and runs his thumb over my lips. He chuckles when he sees the look on my face because he sure knows I think of his mouth on me. He leans closer and stops an inch from my face. “You want me to give you some pleasure, babe?”
Even though there’s not much room left in my belly, the butterflies dance nonetheless when Aaron says things like that. When he presses his lips on mine for a soft kiss, a hot shiver runs down my spine and goosebumps erupt all over my skin—my usual reaction to his touch.
We deepen the kiss, and like usual, I end up on his lap, straddling him. I press myself as close to him as my bump allows, which—as usual—isn’t close enough. The need to feel him grows rapidly, especially when I feel him go hard underneath me.
“Fuck, Sunshine,” Aaron growls in between kisses. “You drive me insane.” He slips his hands under my shirt, stroking my back, while I grind my core over his groin. I run my fingers through his hair, eliciting that deep growl from deep within his chest that I love so much. It turns me on even more, and as we pant and moan, I get lost in our little world.
When Aaron’s hands rest on my ass, squeezing, I pull back from our kiss with a gasp. I dig my fingers in his shoulders and suck in another sharp breath. “Fucking shit!”
He furrows his brows. “What’s wrong?”
I place my hand on my belly and hold my breath. “Hurts,” I mumble. “More than usual.”
Aaron’s eyes widen, and he tightens his grip on me. “What do you mean?”
I let out the breath I was holding when the pain subsides. It’s gone as quickly as it came. For a few moments, Aaron and I stare at each other.
“Well,” I finally break the silence. “Not sure what that was.”
Aaron frowns. “A contraction? A real one?”
I shrug. “Hm, maybe.” I get off of his lap and grab my glass of water from the coffee table. After taking a sip, I sit back down next to Aaron, who pulls me into his side, one arm draped over my shoulder.
His other hand gently strokes my belly, and he plants a soft kiss on my temple. “How are you feeling?”
“Honestly?” I chuckle. “Kind of nervous.” I lift my gaze to meet his, and I read the same emotion in his eyes.
“So what do we do now?” he asks.
I purse my lips. “We wait and see.”
That’s what we do, and about twenty minutes later, it happens again. The same sudden pain that starts in my belly and spreads to my lower back – and just like before, it’s gone within a few moments.
“Well,” I say with a deep sigh. “I suppose you better take the night off.”
Aaron opens his mouth to say something, but no words come out. He sits next to me on the couch, facing me and clasping my hands. “Fuck,” is the only thing to leave his lips.
I chuckle. “Hey, it’s all good.”
He shakes his head, and finally, he speaks. “But it’s still three weeks until your due date.”
I wrinkle my nose. “Sometimes, a baby decides to come earlier.” I caress the bump, and despite the nervousness and slight nausea, a wide smile spreads on my face. “You do remember that your sperm can induce labor, don’t you?”
Aaron’s eyes widen, and he straightens up. “Your doctor said only when the baby is ready!”
I bite my lips to hold in the laugh. The expression on his face is priceless. I see it all: shock, confusion, and probably even remorse that we had sex this morning. I take his hand to intertwine our fingers. “Oh, Aaron.” I lean forward to leave a lingering kiss on his lips. “I guess she’s ready. She was probably waiting for us to give her a name.”
He takes in a long, slow breath. He tilts his head back and exhales just as slowly. When he lowers his gaze to meet mine, he finally smiles at me. “Okay then.” He squeezes my hands. “Let’s wait and see.”
So we wait and see some more. At first, we sit on the couch, with his arms encircling me. We talk and cuddle and kiss a little. Over the next hours, the contractions become more frequent – and more painful. At some point, I walk up and down and go through my breathing exercises until the contractions come every nine to ten minutes.
Aaron never lets go of my hand, and the more intense the contractions become, the more nervous I grow – and the calmer he seems. I know he must be just as nervous, but right now, he is my calm.
And when the next contraction starts eight minutes after the last, I grab Aaron’s hand and give him a look that he knows how to read correctly.
Once the pain ceases and I relax, he takes me in his arms and kisses my forehead. “I’ll grab your bag.”
I nod when he takes a step back, and I look after him with a blissful smile. Yeah, I feel jittery, and I’m terrified of what’s to come, but with Aaron by my side I know it’s going to be okay.
I take one last deep breath before I put on my shoes so we can go to the hospital.
It’s time to welcome Paisley to this world.