babyjosephine: (Son)
[personal profile] babyjosephine posting in [community profile] thedirtyverse
April 19, 1984, less than a month before Fabian was born.

Past her birthday by a week. The weather was fair. Cool. A hint of rain on the horizon. But there was always a hint of rain on the horizon in the north, and living here for so long, even with two dozen holidays behind her, she had grown used to it. Not tolerant. Just used to it. She hated being north, in fact. Up until the past eight months, she had hated everything about everything.

Alice’s parents had died the previous August, one right after the other. It wasn’t surprising that her father went; his health suddenly failed and never seemed to right itself. And his wife, well, she was so in need of his presence that to be without him was an impossibility. Everyone knew that. Everyone who met them knew that. You didn’t have to hear anyone gush. It just felt that way. That they belonged together.

So it was no surprise that they left the world together.

The surprise was that Alice was bringing a new person into it.

Bad timing, sure, but she’d got over it as her belly grew. She mourned for her parents but she was in love. Even gaining thirty pounds didn’t matter to her. She felt as big as a house and looked as big as house, even tilted a bit forward as though a windstorm would knock her right over, if it could handle her weight. Her back was pinched and her ankles were sore and she had felt dizzy for the first four months, but for the last four months, everything, aches and pains and weight gain aside, was perfect. Everything was perfect the moment she finally had herself a baby. The second he was conceived, the very second, she could have screamed and almost did, but Robert was actually sleeping.

And Robert hadn’t planned for kids. Alice hadn’t by association, though she had trained herself to be heightened and alert, waiting for the moment the condom finally demonstrated the 5% failure rate the boxes boasted. 5% was better than her chances of getting married, so she clung to it for seventeen years straight. The first five years she had clung to the other 95%.

All she did now was cling to the pregnancy. It was all she talked about, even retelling stories to Robert that he had heard a thousand times several minutes before.

She was in love.

In the sun and in love.

She was going to have a son, as well. He was due between April and May and any point after her birthday was it. Could be it. She wanted it to happen, even though she was so happy just to walk around, swaying heavily, carrying a child with her hands free.

And for the first time in her life, she no longer had an A cup. She absolutely refused to let Robert touch them, as they hurt like hell, but they were huge and she was huge and everything was wonderful.

Alice sat by the window because it was warm, had her pyjamas on because they were comfortable, and crossed her legs under her because it was easier. Robert wasn’t home, though she had a feeling he wanted to be, as she was big and nearly due and he had never dealt with a pregnant lover. It was different than someone at a hospital. This was his baby. His son.

She smiled.

She grinned.

Sometimes she even cried when she thought about it. At least twice a day, really, though sometimes more. Hormones were really to blame, but having Robert’s son was emotional because she wasn’t ever going to. She was going to be unmarried and childless for the rest of her life, as she would never love anyone more than she loved him, no matter how long Robert had left. Hopefully at least thirty years, really. They were going to have a child.

This was the first instance of tears today, when she touched her skin and gently rubbed, wondering if he’d kick. She wasn’t supposed to have a child and now she was going to. Never had Alice felt more grateful for anything. Never had she felt more relieved. One child. One child to mother and overprotect. And maybe Robert would want more. And maybe then he’d marry her. A child was a permanent thing, after all.

How could he say no to more?

“You’re enough for now,” she told her son. “You’re more than enough.” She never felt silly. She had conversations with her stomach on a regular basis. Even Robert got to be there. Sometimes they happened in bed.

“Your papa was very silly for a very long time. He’s mad for you now, just as I am. You’re going to be beautiful. Your cousins will love you. I’ll make certain you meet them as soon as you can. You won’t be stuck away from everyone if your Mummy has any say in it.”

And oh, calling herself a mummy. She wiped her eyes.

“I think Papa thinks I’m very silly when I cry over you. He probably thinks it’s hormones. Medical things. That’s your papa’s way about the world. He’s been thinking in it for too long. But it’s not hormones that make me love you as much as I do. Maybe hormones make me cry. But, you see, you’ll never know how long I waited. I won’t tell you that your daddy didn’t want a baby. It’s not his fault. He’s very old. But I’ve been waiting since I was in my twenties. Sometimes I didn’t think about it. Sometimes I cried very hard and told Robert it was a headache or let him think it was PMS.”

Alice sighed. “Admittedly that’s usually when I’d feel the worst.”

Her son was silent. Sleeping. His patterns of awake and asleep had been memorised long ago. He seemed to keep to them. She imagined the sight of a tiny infant, curled up so tightly, maybe sucking his thumb, and her heart gave a tremendous and comfortable lurch against her chest.

“I know. Mummy is silly. I know. But I’m very happy to have you after all this time. I think I would have gone mad without you. You’ll never know my mummy and daddy. I wish you could. I wish you had grown older around your cousins. They’re going to be so much older than you are. Samantha’s only turning seven this year, but she’ll be able to babysit you in five years.”

She looked outside for a moment. No one was there. The clouds were coming in.

“But it’s silly to wish. I have you now and I’ll love you forever. If waiting seventeen years was necessary for us to have you as you are, I don’t mind. I still think Papa’s a bit dim, but his tune will change once you’re born. And I’ll even change your nappies so he doesn’t get a bad impression of raising a baby.”

Still nothing. She smiled again.

“I really love you, sweetheart. I hope I do all right as a mum. Like Ruth and Freddie. They know what they’re doing. I feel like I’ve fallen behind everyone. I’m happy, though. I don’t think anyone will ever understand it. I’ve never been so happy, except when Papa gave me a kiss. I wasn’t expecting that, either. I reckon I don’t expect much of anything that happens now. But I’m okay with that as long as you’re okay with that. And I know you are because you’re my son. You see if I ever let you get away.”


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