"Congratulations, you've got a beautiful boy!"
That's what I hear as I finish screaming my head off and then feel Faith's lips press against my forehead before it all goes black but only for a few minutes. At least, that's what it feels like for me but when I open my eyes again Faith looks like she's split between being incredibly happy and panicking.
"B, baby, you were scaring me a little," she says as she takes my hand and kisses my forehead again.
"Was I out for long?"
"Not very long at all," a nurse says and I immediately smile at her 'cause she's holding our baby, who's crying. "Don't worry, both you and this little one are fine."
She walks over and gently hands me our little boy, something I bet Faith is thrilled about. We stayed strong and didn't know the sex of the baby the entire time so this little guy is kind of a surprise. I'm sure part of Faith's grin is for the fact we had a boy.
I stare down at our baby as he slowly stops crying and run a finger along his arm as he squirms slightly. "He's beautiful."
Faith leans in close to me and places a hand under the one I'm using to hold him. "I can't believe how small he is. Was Ty this little?"
I shake my head. "No, but this one's a little early."
My due date was March 2nd but our new son was so eager to get out that we're in a Cleveland hospital in the very early morning of January 23rd. I think that's part of the reason Faith has been a little concerned the entire time we've been here. We didn't know if there was something wrong with the baby.
"I'm still a little freaked out," Faith admits quietly. "Do you think they know for sure he's okay?"
"He's been crying and moving around." I feel Faith kiss my head again but I don't look up. I haven't taken my eyes off him. "He looks amazing to me . . . and a lot like you."
"You think so?"
I finally look at her and she's tearing up a little. "Definitely."
Faith leans down and kisses the top of his head. She whispers that she loves him as she moves away and smiles at me. "I can't believe we never agreed on a name."
Because we decided to be surprised we tried to pick out both boy and girl names but we never agreed to any. There were a few we vetoed but I don't even think we had a list. I think we were just waiting to see what we were having first.
"Were you thinking of one?" I ask and when I look at her I can tell that she has.
I laugh a little as she pulls a chair up to the bed and sits. "And?"
"I was thinking of Nicholas."
That's not even one she was floating around the entire time I was pregnant. We probably spouted out dozens of names but this is the first time I've heard the name Nicholas. "Is there a story behind it?"
Faith nods. "There weren't many people who believed in me or even paid attention to me when I was little. My ma didn't and I never knew my dad but when I was ten we had this neighbor. He and his wife looked out for me, told me to go inside when they thought I was out too late and fed me when I couldn't find my ma."
"Sounds like nice people."
"They were," Faith says. "Nick and Sara. They even helped me with school but after four months we moved. I didn't have anyone who looked out for me after that."
She's never really told me much about growing up in Boston. The most I've ever gotten was that she was on her own a lot and had to grow up fast. We've never even talked about if she has any family left there. I'm thrilled that it wasn't all bad. At least there was a time, albeit a small one, that there was someone who cared.
I smile at her. "Nicholas sounds perfect." I pause. "Have you ever thought about looking them up?"
She shrugs. "It was a long time ago."
That's her way of saying not to push it so I decide to change the subject. "So how about . . . Nicholas Alexander Summers Lehane?"
"Yeah," Faith says and reaches for him. I let her take our son and it's so easy to see how proud she is right now. "What do you think, huh? I think you look like a Nick."
"I really wish he would've at least waited for the daytime to come out," I comment as Faith sits down with him. "It would've been a lot easier to get organized."
There were lots of panicked phone calls once my water broke. Tyler was already asleep and Faith was about 10 minutes into a patrol with a couple of the newer slayers when it happened. I called Willow first so she could get to the house to watch Ty and then I called Faith on her cell. She freaked out, about how early it was and that she wasn't there, but got to new house fast.
I was a little impressed with that. The bigger house we got because of the baby is a couple miles farther away from headquarters.
"I hope Ty's okay," Faith comments. "He was asleep when we left."
"Unless he woke up at some point he should be asleep." I look at the clock on the wall. "It's only 3:00am."
"I guess." Faith looks up from Nick and smiles. "I can't believe he's here."
We look at each other and smile. She stands carefully and hands our new baby back to me. Once I have him we kiss lightly before I move over a little and Faith sits next to me.
I can't believe he's here either.
Sleep isn't easy in a hospital bed but I managed a few hours. It helped that I was pretty exhausted.
It wasn't too long after Faith and I decided on a name that a nurse took little Nick away from us to fully check him out. Faith stuck around for a little while after that before I convinced her to go home so she could get some sleep and relieve Willow.
She gave in and I was happy about it. Faith looked so tired that she definitely needed some sleep and I know she wanted to be there for Ty when he woke up. That was probably why she only kissed me and said she'd be back in the morning with someone who's gonna want to see his little brother.
My baby's back in my room and I love that I have a little alone time with my son before anyone visits. He was crying a little when he got here but he calmed down quick once I started to hold him and that act alone made me tear up a little. I'm taking that as a sign that he knows I'm his mom and I'll protect him no matter what.
He really does look like Faith. I wasn't making it up when I said it to Faith when we were first holding him early this morning. Unlike Tyler, he has lots of dark brown hair, it already looks like he might have her dimples and the doctor gave me good odds that he'll have Faith's brown eyes.
"You are a lucky little boy," I say quietly. "Your mama and I love you so much and you have a big brother who'll look out for you. You haven't met him yet but he's excited to see you."
Nick makes a few sounds but doesn't start to cry so I keep going. "Tons of people can't wait to meet you. You've got an actual aunt and then lots of people who'll call themselves aunts and uncles but they'll give you presents so it's of the good."
I just stare at him for a few minutes as he sleeps in my arms and I don't think I've ever been happier. When Tyler was born I thought I could never be happier and then Faith came back into my life and I was proven wrong. Now I'm proven wrong again because as I look at my new baby boy, I know I've reached a new level of happiness.
"Today's gonna be a busy day for us," I say to him quietly, "so if it's too much you just give me a sign and we'll kick everyone out, okay?" I pause. "Except for your mama and big brother, of course. They have to stay."
It's pretty quiet in the halls and the nurse hasn't checked in for about a half hour so I can hear the distinct sounds of my oldest walking or running down the hospital hallway. I can hear Faith quietly yell after him, too.
"Buddy, hold up. Remember what I said? We have to be quiet in the hospital."
I think Ty says something back because the next thing Faith says is, "Ty, you are gonna be good for Mommy, right?"
I don't hear anything except for little feet making their way to my room and a couple seconds later Ty peeks his head inside my room. "Hey, buddy," I say quietly.
Faith appears a moment later and picks up Ty, making him smile and laugh a little. She grins as she looks at me holding Nick. "Sleep okay?"
I nod. "A nurse brought him in about a half hour ago."
Tyler's oddly quiet and when Faith sits him down on the edge of the bed all he does is look at the baby. I look at Faith and all she does is smile at me.
"Ty, this is Nick," I say and move so he can see his little brother better, "your baby brother."
"He's little," Ty says.
"Yeah, but he'll get bigger," Faith says as she moves a chair over to the bed. "You were that small at one point, too."
He shakes his head. "Nuh-uh."
"Uh-huh," I say, "and you know what? He's gonna look up to you. You'll get to teach him so much."
Tyler's eyes get really wide when I say that and he leans in closer to get a good look at his little brother. I look at Faith and she's got the biggest grin. The last time she had the grin she does now was the first time Ty called her mama. I love that she's so happy and that I'm a part of it.
Faith meets my eyes then and she mouths 'I love you' before giving me a light kiss. She opens her mouth to say something but the nurse walks into the room before she can.
"How's everyone today?" she asks with a happy smile on her face. "I see the little one calmed down after I left."
I really wish she wouldn't have said that because now Faith thinks there's something wrong. I just know she's gonna be so over-protective of Nick over the next few months. This part is new to her. "What happened? Was something wrong?"
"He's fine," I say quickly to get her attention away from the nurse. "He was just crying, something we're all gonna have to get used to."
She nods and reaches into Tyler's bag, pulling out a camera. She has got to be kidding. I haven't even looked in a mirror has we got to the hospital. I'm sure I look exhausted and terrible and if I know Faith, whatever picture she takes right now is not only going to be on a shelf at home but also on her desk at her office in Miami, too.
"Not a chance, Faith."
"You're not getting out of this one, B." Faith shakes her head at me. "This is a family moment."
"Family moment or not, you're not taking a picture of me when I look like this," I say. "I'm sure I look horrible."
"You look beautiful," Faith says. "Doesn't Mommy look pretty, Ty?"
He grins and nods his head. "Mommy's pretty."
That sounds so rehearsed but since the nurse is here I'm not going to call my son a liar. I'll do it later when I can get Faith to admit she planned this out with Tyler. They always seem to be scheming. It's what they do when they play at home.
But I can't say no when my oldest is looking at me the way he is now. He did just say I was pretty. "Fine," I relent. "Just a couple pictures today, okay?"
"Promise." I know by the look on her face that that's probably a lie but that better mean a lot of pictures of the baby and not of me.
"Bev, can you take a picture of the four of us?" Faith asks the nurse as she checks out everything in the room.
"Sure," she says with a smile that hasn't left her face all morning.
Faith hands her the camera and moves Ty so we're all close together. I hold Nick up a little so we'll be able to see him in the picture and not have him look like a little bundle I'm holding. I know Faith will comment if he can't seen and we'll have to take another.
"Everyone smile," Bev says a few seconds before taking the picture then handing the camera back to Faith.
"Thanks." Faith looks down at the screen and grins as she looks at the picture. "Check it out, B."
I lean over and look at the picture and have to stop from tearing up. It's the first picture of our little family and even though I look far from beautiful as Faith claims, it's the best picture we've taken.
Now I don't mind if Faith hangs it everywhere.
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Chapter One || Chapter Two || Chapter Three || Chapter Four || Chapter Five || Chapter Six || Chapter Seven || Chapter Eight || Chapter Nine || Chapter Ten || Chapter Eleven || Chapter Twelve || Chapter Thirteen || Chapter Fourteen || Epilogue
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