With the clouds - *Bonus Chapter*
I hope you guys enjoy this bonus chapter :)
Two years later. . .
"I hate that damn thing."
River's voice was just above a whisper but I could hear the irritation in it. I remember when I first met her and my skin would crawl anytime she cursed, now it was just funny. She was so easily irritated in the morning but especially when one of Maggie's toys went off without any prompting.
I laughed and she whipped her head around in my direction.
"It's not funny, I'm pretty sure it's possessed. I'm throwing it away as soon as I get up."
"That's her favorite toy."
I rubbed her back and tried to reason with my grumpy girl.
"Okay, but can you at least take the batteries out?"
I told her as I pulled her closer to me.
She sighed in my arms and I wished that I could freeze time. There were a lot of things that I enjoyed about our life together but my mind always clung to the simple moments. They stood out for me now just as they did back then.
Little things like the way she brushed Maggie's hair after her bath. I'd watch as the bristles separated the wet strands until all the tangles were gone and then Maggie would beg River to braid it so that when she woke up her hair would look like her mommy's. Or the way she still absentmindedly patted Maggie's back when she fell asleep on her chest just like we had to do when she was a newborn.
And like right this instant when she turned her body toward mine and pressed her lips to my chest and worked her way down. I closed my eyes and only felt as she explored me until she made it where she was going. I let her take the reigns for as long as I physically could before I tugged her body back up and flipped us over.
"You know you're really good at that?"
I asked as I pushed her hair away from her face and she nodded.
I smiled down at her and pushed myself into her body in one motion. I reveled in the way her face changed and recovered at that moment. Blissful, turned to stunned then right back to blissful. Her breathing increased and mine followed suit. We weren't two separate people when we were like this, not one thing about us was separate. She felt as I did and vice versa. We inhaled and exhaled together and I took all of the sounds she made for me. I'm sure she thought it was because I was trying to keep her quiet but really it was because I was greedy and insatiable. I wanted and needed all of her.
I looked down at her again and her face paled, I stopped moving as I turned her head so I could look into her eyes.
She nodded but made a pained face.
She had a bad habit of trying to hide when she was uncomfortable.
"I- I don't know, I got sort of nauseous. I'm fine now."
She tried to pull me back down closer to her but I didn't move.
Her color had returned to normal but it was going to take more than that to convince me. I pulled my body from hers and she sighed.
"I swear I'm fine. It was just a weird wave, not a big deal."
I narrowed my eyes at her.
A weird wave?
Not a big deal?
Just like when she turned her nose up at the bacon I cooked yesterday morning or the three-hour nap she took with Maggie the day before?
We had been trying to have another baby for two years now with no luck and no explanations. We were perfectly content with the three of us but I could see the disappointment in River's eyes every month and it tore me up inside. She had to be aware of all the early pregnancy symptoms because she had been through this before. She had sworn off almost all breakfast foods when she was pregnant with Maggie and she would sleep for hours during the day.
"Don't say it."
She whispered a tear slipping down her cheek.
I slid my hands under her sat up against the headboard with her body in my arms.
I stared down at my wife's perfect face and rested my palm on her stomach and prayed for the baby that I knew in my heart was already there.
Thirty-nine weeks later. . .
"I am a whale."
River turned to the side and showed me her stomach. She was wearing a light green sundress, cradling her belly in her hands.
"The most beautiful whale I've ever seen."
I wrapped my hands around her from behind and once I splayed my fingers across her stomach, it looked considerably smaller.
She whined and I laughed into her neck.
"You're not a whale, you're the perfect size."
She hummed, not buying it.
"I talked to my dad this morning."
My eyes shot to hers and I tried to school my expression. Her dad was trying, I had to remind myself of that. But it wasn't easy. She didn't owe him anything but no matter how hard I tried I couldn't convince her of that. And it wasn't my place to interfere, so I tried to keep myself in check. She ached for her mom and I knew all too well what that felt like and if she could have her dad then why not?
At least that was what I'd been telling myself.
"Oh yeah? About what?"
"This and that. He's almost out of rehab, he seems different. Maybe even happy."
I forced the words out.
"He said Jackson called him."
That was a little bit of a shock and it made me feel better. Jackson was protective of his sister, almost as much as I was so if he was speaking to his dad, I could only imagine it was because he figured he was worth the conversation.
"He said it was the first time in a long time that they actually talked."
I rubbed my hands down her back and watched the goosebumps cover her arms.
"That feels good."
I wasn't sure if she knew she moaned the words but I was going with it either way. I lifted her off of her feet and carried her into our room. Maggie was napping and the timing couldn't be more perfect.
"You know, I read somewhere that sex helps bring labor on."
She whispered against my lips.
I pulled back so I could look at her face.
"Ready to have a baby?"
Three years later. . .
"Daddy, can you initial this?"
Maggie handed me her school reading list and I scanned over the words.
"You know this isn't due until next month, right?"
She smiled as she looked at the spaces that were full of titles and authors. She was a bookworm.
I took the pen from her hand and did as she asked. She was only six but that didn't stop her. I think she owned every Junie B Jones book that was ever printed and would be well into Harry Potter if I wouldn't have put them on the highest shelf in the house. I needed her to stay with Junie as long as possible.
Maverick came barreling into the room like a freaking linebacker. He was barely three and was almost as big as his sister. My poor wife delivered a baby that was only one ounce shy of ten pounds and she hasn't let me forget it. She walked into the room after Mav, talking to her dad about her new job. He was here visiting and I watched him as he watched her intently, hanging onto her every word. He had finally let go of the old version of himself and let his life in and I had finally come to terms with it being necessary.
River never wanted anything that wasn't necessary and I always wanted her to have exactly what she wanted.
She sank into the couch next to me and I pulled her closer as I thanked every one of my lucky stars that she thought enough of me to consider me a necessity too. Even though back then she shouldn't have known, she shouldn't have been able to connect those dots. She strung every single one of them along until I had no other choice but to acknowledge it too.
I pressed my lips to her temple and decided then that my luck was with the clouds, I'd thank them from now on.