Everything was so dark. I tried opening my eyes but it was too hard. My entire body felt like I had been put through a grinder. I doubted there was any place that didn’t hurt. I wanted to cry out but the thought of doing anything scared me.
I was going into labor when this happened. Was the baby…? I reached down and blindly felt my stomach. It felt rather flat but I didn’t want to feel for a scar. It was hurting to even lightly touch my skin.
I could hear something… noise. The TV was on? It wasn’t on when I passed out.
Slowly, painfully, I opened my eyes and turned my head towards the sound. There was someone sitting in the chair by the TV. I wasn’t sure who it was.
I pushed myself carefully out of my bed, sliding down to the floor. My body jolted with pain and I just knelt there for quite some time before looking around.
A crib? I hadn’t bought a crib yet. Someone must have brought it while I was passed out. Did this mean…?
Still on the floor, I opened my eyes all the way. I couldn’t tell if the crib was empty or not. Was there a baby–my baby–in it? I didn’t hear anything but the TV and the shower running. But all I could see was that crib.
Slowly I pushed myself over towards the crib, ignoring the pain shooting through me. All I could even think about was the baby. My baby. Please… please…
I reached the crib and stared down in absolute shock. I reached out with trembling arms, touching the little bundle. As soon as my fingers touched the blanket I pulled back. My baby. I had a baby.
Tears came pouring down as I reached in and carefully picked up the little cocoon. The rest of me felt weak but my arms were strong as I held my child against my chest. I could feel my baby breathing and then looked down as my baby slowly opened its eyes, blinking up at me.
“Hi,” I whispered, touching its cheek. I wonder what sex…? I unfolded the blanket and did a quick check before wrapping my baby back up. “Hi there,” I said again. “I’m your daddy.”
My son’s hand moved, as if reaching for me. I began crying even more, smiling so hard that it hurt. I pulled him close again and held him, never wanting to let go.
“I’ve waited a long time for you,” I whispered, rubbing his back gently. “I’ve dreamed about you since I was in school. I was worried I’d never get to see you.”
My son made a little snuffly sound and I smiled, trying not to hold him too tightly.
There was a noise and I glanced up to see Kay standing near me. He had dark circles under his eyes but a smile on his face. “C-congratulations,” he said, rubbing the back of his head.
I couldn’t help but beam back. “Thank you so much,” I whispered. “But what happened? All I remember is pain and… did I call you?”
“Yes,” he answered. “W-we got the c-call and we heard s-screaming. When we s-saw it was you on c-caller ID so we rushed over right away and had to d-d-do everything here.”
“You performed the C-section here? In my house?” I looked around in surprise then pulled my shirt up with my free hand to see the scar running across my belly.
Kay waved his arm around. “We cleaned up.”
“How long ago was this?”
“Only yesterday,” he promised. “Your b-baby came quickly. If we had gotten here j-just half an hour later w-we might have had a d-different outcome.”
I pulled my son close to me, my heart beating in fear at those words. I had almost lost him. “Thank you,” I said again. “Thank you.”
“W-what are you going to name him?” Kay inquired.
“I… I don’t know,” I admitted with a slight shrug. “I have a few names in mind but they don’t really sound right anymore. I guess I’ll just have to think of one. What do I do about his birth certificate?”
“W-we called the hospital to l-let them know s-so you c-can just take him in and fill everything out there,” Kay said.
“But what about his other parent? I need to write down both names. Who is… who is his other parent?”
Kay stared at me then looked down. “We c-can’t tell you. Er, we’re not supposed to in any c-case.”
“I have to write something down!”
Kay rubbed the back of his head. “Unknown donor?” he suggested but before I could argue, someone else spoke.
“Your bathroom is very small.” I turned and saw Jay stepping out of the room. She was twisting her hair back in a bun and staring at me, though more bleakly than blankly.
I took a step back, holding my son close, a bit wary at seeing her knowing she had just gotten out of my shower.
I knew I shouldn’t feel too strange at the thought of her using my bathroom. She had probably stayed all night. Heck, she was the one who had cut me open since she had more medical knowledge than her brother–and she had examined me so many times she probably knew more about my naked body than even I did. The thought of that made me shiver, but I just gave her a small smile.
“Thank you too,” I said. “Kay said I–I almost lost my baby.”
Jay raised one eyebrow and stepped closer to me. “Yes,” she said simply. “All his signs are fine. He is perfectly healthy.”
“He is perfect,” I whispered, looking down at my son again.
“Nobody is perfect,” Jay said. “May I see him one last time?”
I frowned slightly, not wanting to hand him over. I didn’t want him out of my arms. I was afraid if I let him go he would disappear. But that’s a bit silly to think. Reluctantly, I handed him to her and she peered closely at him. She lay him in his crib and checked him over before picking him back up.
“Everything is normal and healthy,” she said. “Congratulations.”
I took my son back and held him against my chest. “Thank you.”
“There is formula in the fridge, I believe,” she said. “My brother picked it up.”
“And the crib?” I asked.
“My brother also bought it for you,” she answered.
“So… what happens now?” I asked, looking between the two of them. “What happens to the two of you?”
They were both silent then Kay began crying in his hands while Jay grit her teeth and looked severely angry. “We have been to court,” she said very slowly.
“When? I never heard about this!”
“We have to pay a big fine!” she snapped, ignoring me. “It is not fair! We did nothing wrong! It is not–immoral! We are just doing what the aliens did all those years ago but everyone is acting like we did something completely wrong!”
“Are you going to jail?” I asked quietly.
“No,” Kay sniffled, wiping his face. “We have to g-give up our jobs, p-pay money to Landgraab F-Facilities, and we l-lose everything!”
“All our work was for nothing!” Kay curled her hands into fists and looked ready to explode. “All that work, all that research… down the drain because simple-minded people think it’s wrong to try to contact aliens!”
I winced and took a step back. “I–I think it’s more of making a guy pregnant that is giving them the heeby-jeebies,” I said, my words falling on deaf ears.
“I’ll never meet them.” Jay pressed her fingers against her eyes and for a moment I wondered if she was crying. Then she looked up, as if she could see through my ceiling and roof to the stars and the worlds beyond. “I thought we were so close. We’ve done everything. Telescopes and male pregnancy but it just won’t work. Nothing will work. The aliens are… are gone.”
I chewed at my bottom lip and set my son down in his crib. “You don’t know that for sure,” I said, going over to her and putting a hand on her shoulder. “You never know what tomorrow will bring. Aliens might return and they might contact you.”
Jay stared at me then she gave me a smile. A true smile. Not a crazy one or a fake one, but a real smile. “Thank you, Jacob,” she said, putting her hand on my arm. “I appreciate that.” Then she stepped away from me and turned towards the door. “I am also thankful for everything you’ve done and everything you’ve went through for us. I–I know this was for a child, but we both got what we wanted. Sort of.” She touched her eyes again and sighed. “Who knows… maybe I will get to meet them.”
Kay inched closer to me and tugged at my sleeve. “We w-will be leaving.”
“What will you do now?” I asked. “Without… a job or anything?”
“We’re moving,” Jay answered.
I looked up in surprise. “Where to?”
“Away from here,” she spat out. “Maybe to Twinbrook. A lot of artistic people live there. Inventors. Maybe there we can try to invent a proper time machine.”
“So this is goodbye?” I asked, not sure how to take this turn of events. The twins… out of gone forever? I doubted I’d ever be able to visit Twinbrook and I had the feeling they wouldn’t be coming back.
“Yes,” Jay said. “This is goodbye. We have our things packed. We can leave early, since you went into labor early. In fact we will probably leave tonight. No point in staying here. People hate us. Our house was egged the other night and our tires were slashed a few days before that and also someone keyed the sides. So it is best we leave now before things get worse. For us, and for you.”
“I…” I looked into her eyes, my head whirling. I had no idea what to say.
“Goodbye Jacob,” she said. “It’s been… interesting knowing you.”
I looked at Kay. “I guess goodbye,” I said. “Thank you again for–for everything. I mean it. I–… you guys gave me my dream. I hope you find yours.”
Kay put his arms around me and hugged tightly. “Th-thank you,” he squeaked out. “This isn’t the end of the R-Reddings!”
I hugged tighter then let go, smiling. “Maybe one day I’ll see your names in the paper for a much nicer reason. Alien contact, and all that.” Kay chuckled and rubbed the back of his head. “Will I really never see you again?”
“I figured you’d be happy about that,” Jay said, walking to the door.
I looked at her then at Kay who was following her. “I guess I just…” I trailed off, realizing it was pointless now. I liked Kay and didn’t want him to leave. I even sort of kinda maybe occasionally liked Jay, in a weird way. She was a strange one but not a terrible person. Except for the lying. And manipulation. And okay so alien obsession to the point of wanting to have male pregnancy was really weird.
“Goodbye, Mr. Danevbie,” she said, pushing the door open. “I wish you and your son all the luck.” She walked out and Kay gave me a small wave before he followed her outside, shutting the door behind him.
I picked up my son and went to the window, watching them getting into their scratched up car. I held him close and just watched in silence as the car drove off, taking the twins and the remnants of Lab C out of my life forever.
After the twins left, I cuddled my son for a while before putting him into the crib and watching him until he fell asleep. I leaned down and resisted the urge to touch his cheek. It was so hard to believe that he was really mine.
My heart felt so full and I just wanted to jump around. I probably would have, if I wasn’t still in pain. I’m finally a father, I thought reaching down and touching the blanket gently so as not to wake him.
My body cried out for rest and, after locking my door, I went over to my bed. I curled up and just lay there staring at the crib across the room. I decided to move it once I had the energy. I didn’t like being so far from him.
But for now I needed sleep.
I couldn’t get enough of my son. The next couple days were amazing. He and I did a lot of resting and when I was awake I would hold him. I held him while he slept and cuddled him when he was awake. I was happier than I had ever been. Even happier than when I had been with her.
I slept a lot better after I rearranged the furniture. I preferred his crib being near my bed where I could actually see him before going to sleep and right when I woke up.
I knew I was obsessed, but I didn’t care. Right now he was just a baby. My baby. I didn’t have to let him out of my sights. Once I got a job and he was older, then yes. I would have to leave him with a babysitter. But right now I didn’t have to. Except to shower, which I did when he was asleep.
Whenever I ate I would steal little looks over my shoulder at the crib. Then I’d smile and go back to eating. It was hard to believe I was a father. It was only a few days in… perhaps one day I would be tired of sitting around and watching him. Not yet.
I need a name, though, I realized when he was four days old. I needed to get his birth certificate which meant I needed to name him. But what could I name him? None of the ones I had thought of before seemed right.
“What’s your name?” I asked as I played with him. “Hmm? You need a name, buddy.”
He snuffled at me in reply and waved his tiny hands. “Ehhh,” he whimpered.
I giggled and leaned in, kissing his cheek gently. “I love you so much,” I told him. “I always will. You’re my baby. You’re my–” I hesitated, a name coming into my head. It was a weird name. But as I looked into his little scrunched-up face I thought it might fit him.
He snuffled again and waved a fist at me. I kissed it and then rocked him gently. “I have it,” I said. It worked. It felt right and I liked it. I held him up again and grinned.
“My little Calcifer,” I whispered and he made another little snuffly sound as if in agreement. I held him close and began rocking him once more. His eyes slowly closed and his mouth formed a little O as he yawned and began falling asleep. “Calcifer Danevbie,” I said, sitting down on the edge of my bed and watching him as he drifted off. “My son. My… heir.” I bent down and gave him one more gentle kiss on the cheek. “I’m so glad we’re finally together.”