Finding a Hart

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Chapter 9

Stephanie

“Bruce?” I said, wrinkling my nose. “Like Bruce Wayne?”

“Bruce Banner. The Hulk.” She let out a small laugh and both the doctor and I joined in.

“I don’t know about Bruce.” Dr. Struthers stared at the baby for a moment. “What about Thor?”

“Thor?” I gave the doctor a look of mock horror. “No way. What about Christopher?”

“Oh, Chris,” Kara said excitedly. “Like Chris Evans… Captain America.”

I nodded. “Chris Evans, Chris Pratt, and Chris Hemsworth.” I looked at the doctor. “That gives him a little bit of Thor, too.”

Everyone chuckled and Dr. Struthers bobbed his head in agreement. “Chris he is.”

“Hi, Chris,” I whispered to the tiny infant on my chest. “You look like a Chris.”

“Well, good news for Chris… His lab work didn’t reveal anything out of the ordinary, either. Other than being a bit early and the obvious hypothermia, he’s in great health.”

I let out a long sigh before a wide grin stretched across my lips. “That’s the best news I’ve heard all week.”

“You and me both,” Dr. Struthers agreed as he stood from the stool. “I’ll let you know if anything changes.”

I didn’t put the baby down for quite a while. I fed him, although he only ate very little, I changed his diapers, and I cuddled him as much as possible. I knew that there was a crucial time for babies to bond with their parents and Chris was missing out on that. It wasn’t until I realized that I’d been at the hospital for more than five hours that I finally put him down.

“I’ll be back tomorrow, buddy,” I whispered before leaning down to press my lips to his forehead. I straightened up and sighed at Kara. “Cuddle him for me later, will you?”

She laughed and nodded quickly. “Of course. Will you be in tomorrow?”

“Yeah, sometime before lunch. I’ll even bring coffee.” I waved to her and forced myself to leave the NICU before I attempted to pick up the baby again.

I spent the rest of my day getting my domestic chores done. I grocery shopped, cleaned up our kitchen, my bathroom, and the living room, and got all of my laundry done. Alyssa had been gone for most of the afternoon but reappeared shortly after seven.

“How’s the baby?”

I smiled just thinking about the little guy. “He’s going to be okay. We named him Chris.”

My best friend listened dutifully during the drive to the theater and I told her all about him. She shook her head when I was done.

“People seriously suck.”

Some really did. My job meant I saw the worst of people but it also meant I saw the best. I needed to focus on that sometimes.

The movie was hilarious. We gorged ourselves on popcorn, nachos, and candy while laughing like cackling hyenas. The two of us spent the whole drive home comparing our favorite lines and I was eternally grateful to my friend for making me leave the house to do something fun. I had no idea what I would do without Alyssa in my life.

I headed to the hospital Sunday morning after a detour through the Java Express drive-thru and rode up the elevator with the cup carrier in my hands. I stopped to wash my hands and set the coffee on the counter as I walked into the NICU. Kara’s head turned and she immediately grinned at me.

“Hey. You really did bring coffee.”

I grinned and nodded my head. “I even brought extras if someone else wants one.”

“You’re amazing,” she said as she picked up a cup and brought it to her nose. “This is magical.”

I couldn’t help laughing as I moved towards the little bed that held Chris. He was fast asleep with his little fists resting on either side of his head. He was wearing a shirt and a diaper but his fuzzy, blonde hair was uncovered and I ran my fingertips through it. I wanted to hold him but I didn’t want to disturb his sleep.

“Any luck on finding his relatives?” Kara asked as she took a stool next to another incubator and adjusted something on the monitor. I shook my head as a baby cried behind me. When I gestured to her, Kara just nodded. I pulled the little girl in my arms and pushed her pacifier into her mouth.

“No one has reported a newborn missing but a press conference should be held Friday. Hopefully we’ll get some good leads from that. What’s her name?”

“That’s Jewel.” She just shrugged her shoulders when I furrowed my brow. “I didn’t name her. She was born yesterday.”

I smiled at the baby girl, whose dark blue eyes were wide open as she sucked the pacifier furiously. “She’s cute.”

I held onto the baby while I chatted with Kara and got to know her a little better. She was a year younger than me and had been a nurse for about three years. Her older sister had set her up with a bunch of different online dating accounts and kept sending her out on blind dates. So far Kara had done three and each one had been worse than the last.

“I’m serious, Stephanie. He didn’t take his eyes off my boobs once.”

We both laughed and I shook my head as I put Jewel, who was now asleep, in her bed. “Well, maybe sometime we can go out and see if we can find you someone that you can preapprove in advance.”

“That’d be fun,” she replied with a smile, her honey brown eyes sparkling. Kara was gorgeous. She was a little shorter than me, maybe by about four inches, and her petite frame seemed to have curves in the best places. Her long, light brown hair had golden streaks throughout it and was tied back into a ponytail that bounced when she laughed.

When Chris woke up with a tiny cry, I immediately scooped him out of his bed and cuddled him to my chest. Kara gave me a bottle and I tried to get him to eat for over an hour before he just ended up falling back to sleep without taking any of it. When Dr. Struthers came in, he sighed and shook his head.

“He’s going to end up with a feeding tube if he doesn’t start eating.”

Otherwise, Chris was still doing very well. I stayed in the NICU until after two and hesitantly put the sleeping baby in his bed. I pressed my lips to his forehead and tugged his little cap over his head. When I looked up at Kara, she was smiling.

“You need babies.”

I sighed and walked over to where she was, taking one of the crackers she was eating when she offered. “Hopefully one day before my eggs are old and dry.”

“Your boyfriend doesn’t want kids? If I had a girlfriend who looked like you did last night, I’d be trying to get her pregnant every ten seconds.”

I chuckled and shook my head. “Troy and I aren’t together. Not anymore. Last night was me being a good friend. We broke up last year.”

“Oh, wow. I’m sorry,” she said with a frown but I shook my head.

“It was a mutual thing and we’re still friends so I’m not sad.”

Kara’s eyes twinkled and she nudged me with her shoulder. “Well, this is good news for me. I need more single friends. We can double date.”

“The thought of dating scares the crap out of me,” I told her honestly. “I’ve only been out a handful of times since the break-up and I wasn’t overly impressed with any of them.”

“I’m probably not the best person for this anyway. My track record kind of sucks.”

We both laughed and stood off in the corner for a few minutes. We watched the other nurse and the few parents in the room before she washed her hands and proclaimed her break over.

I peeked in on Chris one more time before waving to Kara and grabbing my stuff to head out to my car. I drove out to my childhood home and parked along the curb before walking through the front door. I was immediately accosted by a five-year-old little boy and his three-year-old sister.

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