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|Music of the Soul(Runaway Train #2.5) by Katie Ashley|
“Frankly, after you just used me like that, I think the least you could do was buy me dinner.”
Abby grinned. “I think I can do that.”
The morning of our IUI, I went in with Abby to hold her hand. I felt like I needed to be there not only to support her, but because it felt like I still had a part in conceiving our child if I was there. I couldn’t believe how quick the actual procedure was. Sure, there was a lot that went into the ‘before’ parts of the insemination, like Abby having to pee on an ovulation stick, take some egg producing drugs, get ultrasounds during her period and God knows what else. Then of course, there was my part of jacking off to get our baby batter, which turned out I had good swimmers. I mean, I wasn’t too surprised at that fact.
But that morning, it was just a catheter shooting my jizz into Abby’s uterus. She didn’t even have to lie down for a long time afterwards. When it was over, Dr. McElroy gave us her kind, knowing smile. “Now, don’t be surprised if it doesn’t work out the first time. The window for conception really is smaller than anyone believes. Just because it doesn’t happen this time, doesn’t mean it won’t.”
I guess I should have taken more stock into that little pep talk. Especially when the early pregnancy test the clinic did revealed we weren’t pregnant. Abby held out hope that maybe the test was wrong until she got her period. I found her a weeping mess in the bathroom, glaring at a box of tampons on the counter like they were the enemy.
Wrapping my arms around her, I let her cry it out. When her sobs had become nothing more than sniffling, I pulled away and kissed her. Cupping her face in my hands, I stared intently into her eyes. “Angel, it’s going to happen. Remember what the doctor said.”
“I’ll try,” she whispered.
I would like to say that the second time was a charm, but it wasn’t. And each time we didn’t get pregnant, more of Abby’s hope died a little, and I saw the vulnerable, emotionally battle-worn side of Abby that few others did. She had been so good to care for me during my dark times, so now it was my turn. Each time, I spoke words of encouragement that the next time would work.
And then the fourth time it actually did.
Abby was really pregnant, and I was going to be a father.
“She’s absolutely beautiful,” I murmured, as I gazed down at the newest member of the Runaway Train family.
“That’s because she looks just like her mother,” AJ mused, kissing Mia’s cheek.
“I can see some of you in there, too,” I argued. “Just like with Bella.”
Gabriella Maria Resendiz, aka Gaby, had been born at eight this morning, and she was just a few hours old. Unlike her older sister’s limo birth, she had made a very casual appearance into the world by being born in a hospital on her actual due date. But you could hardly say there was anything ordinary about Gaby considering her father was a famous musician, and her arrival had beckoned a rag-tag group of paparazzi who had taken mine and Jake’s pictures when we entered the hospital.
Mia glanced up from gazing lovingly at Gaby to smile at me. “So today’s the day, huh?”
I returned her smile as my stomach filled with butterflies. Actually, they felt more intense like flapping seagulls beating against my abdomen. Today was our first ultrasound—the first picture of the little life Jake and I had fought so hard to get. I couldn’t help being a nervous wreck. Since I was only seven-and-half weeks, I wasn’t safe from the danger of miscarriage. That fact scared me to death. A terrifying fear there would be no heartbeat. “Yeah, we probably need to leave to make it to our appointment.”
“It’s going to be fine,” Mia reassured me.
I nodded. “I hope so.”
“It will,” AJ insisted, thumping Jake on the back. “A few months down the road, your kid will be playing with Gaby on the bus while having Bella, Lucy, Melody, and Jude to entertain him or her.”
The thought brought a smile to my face, and for just a moment, it helped me tune out the voices of doubt in my head. “That sounds wonderful. Thank you.”
AJ winked at me before turning his attention back to Gaby’s sleeping form. Jake’s hand came to rest in the small of my back. “Ready, Angel?”
“You can’t go without holding Gaby,” Mia said.
I grinned. “Like you’d have to twist my arm.”
She smiled as she passed the baby over to me. I leaned down to bestow a kiss on Gaby’s tiny forehead. In Spanish, I whispered, “Bienvenido al mundo, hermosa, niña bendecido.”
“Thank you for welcoming my beautiful, blessed girl,” Mia said.
My brows rose in surprise. “Your Spanish is getting really good.”
“After three years of AJ’s random lessons on the bus, coupled with trips to Guadalajara, I’ve picked up a lot,” Mia replied, with a grin.
With a final kiss, I passed Gaby over to Jake. He smiled as he nestled her against his chest. “I think I’d like for us to have a girl,” he said, as he gazed at Gaby, whose eyes had popped open.
“Really?” I asked, to which Jake nodded. So far he hadn’t said one way or the other what he wanted—just that he hoped the baby would be healthy. He was good with little girls—Melody, Lucy, and Bella all worshipped him. I tried imagining for a moment what our daughter might look like. “You think that now, but I wonder if you would be saying the same thing when she became a teenager,” I mused.