My wife looked so beautiful that I just wanted to watch at her all day. When she noticed I was staring she blushed, asking what I was staring at. “You,” I answered. “You, my wife. Mrs. Danevbie. You are exquisite.”
“Wh-what are you doing?” she stammered as I scooped her up into my arms.
“Carrying you over the threshold,” I said and she wrapped her arms tightly around me. “Least I can give you this, hmm?” I held her carefully as I stepped into my house and then I even more carefully set her down.
She kept her arms around my shoulder, smiling up at me. “I never realized life could be so wonderful, Calcifer.”
“I’m going to do my best to make your entire life wonderful,” I said, leaning against her and putting my forehead against hers. “Anything you want, just name it.”
“Anything?” she asked.
“Anything,” I promised.
She slid her arms tighter around my body. “Kiss me?”
Needless to say, I was quite happy to oblige.
We didn’t do anything. There wasn’t really any place to, ah, do it anyway. The single bed in her room was too small and I really didn’t want our first time to be on the couch or in the tub or anything. I thought about an inn but all the money we had went to fixing up our bedroom and buying new furniture.
It was a full week before we had paint on the walls, carpet on the floor, and a bed big enough for the both of us.
Our first night sleeping in the same bed at first seemed awkward but as I kissed her hand and up her arm, I started relaxing slightly. As I reached her neck, I hesitated and said, “If you don’t want to, we don’t have to. It will hurt and…”
“I want to,” she breathed out. “I want to be with you, Calcifer.”
I kissed her lips, terrified of hurting her. I wanted to be with her too, I really wanted to be with her. The past week had been really difficult for me not to just… well, christen the couch or balance on the single bed. But as passionate as my desires were, I was still hesitate to go any farther.
“Cal,” she said, giving me a look. “We’re married. And I am a woman.” She went red and gave a nervous giggle. “I–I read some books about the female body, after I became real, and Cal, I know I’m a woman. I…” She rested her hand against my chest. “I want to be your wife in everything. Please?” She lifted her eyebrows and giggled more. “You did say I could have anything.”
I couldn’t help but laugh. “Yes, I did.”
“And I know you want to too.”
“Yes…” I agreed slowly. “I do.” I kissed her lips again and then grinned. “Then who am I to stand in the way of what you want?”
Yeah, most amazing night of my life.
Being a newlywed was wonderful. I was glad I didn’t have to work and was able to spend plenty of time with her without worrying about going to get a paycheck. Our paycheck was in my own house and soon the old bedroom was changed into a studio where we spent almost as much time in there as we did our bedroom.
We had an old radio and every day we would switch out who got to choose the music. We had very similar tastes so even though our favorite genres weren’t the same, neither of us annoyed at the other’s choice.
Eventually we started getting out of the house more. We took strolls around town, spent some time at the beach or the pool, but our favorite spot was the park.
I started playing for tips which didn’t go so well. I never got anything, though Penny enjoyed listening to me play. I made up songs just for her, though I couldn’t sing very well. When no one was around I would sing, making up words for her. I sang sappy romantic lyrics that made her sigh happily, and goofy lines that made her laugh.
After a few weeks she started wandering off by herself, usually finding a nice spot by the pond to start fishing. She told me that she had always wanted to learn after seeing all the fish my father caught.
“How do you like being outside?” I asked as we walked home one night.
“I love it,” she said, her head on my shoulder. “I can’t believe I never left the house for so long… but…” She smiled up at me. “I still don’t like being outside without you.”
Our one-year anniversary went beautifully. We went to the spa where we both had Swedish massages, and she had a mini-facial and a mani/pedi. Whatever that was.
Once we got home we spent some more quality time together. There was a question on my mind and I rather hoped it was on hers too, since it was something we had discussed several months ago.
“Cal…” She looked up at me. “Do you remember–“
“Yes,” I said, squeezing her body gently. “Do you still want to?”
“More than anything,” she replied and I scooped her into my arms to take her into our bedroom so we could start trying for a baby.
I sat up slowly, rubbing my eyes. I looked at the clock. 2am? I had only been asleep for two hours. What had awoken me?
Oh yes, someone was at the door. I looked down at Penny and saw she was still sound asleep. I eased myself out of bed, making sure I didn’t wake her up. I left the bedroom, shutting the door behind me. “Coming, coming,” I grumbled, taking a few steps towards the door before I saw who was there.
Grim Reaper, I thought, shock traveling down my spine and into my feet, rooting me to the spot. What the…?
I slowly slid the door open, looking back and forth between her face and the… the… “Baby?” I whispered, stepping back to let her inside.
“Hello Calcifer,” she said wearily. “I’m sorry it’s so late. Time differences, still not quite used to it.”
“Are you ok?” I asked, glancing up at the dark circles under her eyes before looking back at the… “Baby,” I said again.
“Yes,” she said, looking up at me. “His name is Kyle.”
“Wow,” I said, gulping and looking back up at her face. It had been so long since we last saw each other. 14 months? But a… baby? “Congratulations…”
“I’ve been in France,” she said a bit edgily. “I had him there.”
“Um…” I really had no clue what to say. Why was she here? With a… baby. “Yeah, wow. Congrats.” I saw her giving me a deep frown. “Is everything okay?”
“No,” she replied. “I’m tired, Cal. I’m exhausted. I can’t do it. I love France but the job market isn’t doing so well there right now, especially for a newcomer like me. And I can’t… I want that freedom. Penny never told you, did she?”
“Told me what?” I asked and then gave a slight gasp as she put the… baby in my arms.
“He’s yours,” she said simply.
I stared at her then down at the… baby in my arms. “What?” I hissed out. “How can you–what? A child? I don’t have a child!”
“Yes you do,” she said. “I was four months pregnant when I left. I told Penny, you can ask her.”
“P-Penny knows?” I asked, looking at the bedroom door and wondering why she had kept this from me.
“Don’t be mad!” Teri said and I glared at her now. “I asked her to keep it a secret. I begged her. She promised. I also told her that I might be bringing it back someday but I wasn’t sure.” She sniffled and put a hand over her mouth. “I tried so hard, Cal! I went through labor and gave birth to him and I was happy to have him but soon I lost it.” She turned away from me, hugging herself. “I had to stay at home all day, and when I did work all my money was going to a babysitter and I just wanted to live my own life!”
“I know that’s wrong of me,” she added, spinning back around. “But I tried. I really did. I just can’t do it.”
I looked down at the baby in my arms. “My son?” I asked.
“Yes,” Teri sighed. “Your son.” She took a few steps closer and tucked the blanket around his drool-covered chin. “I want you to take him. You and Penny. Please. I want him to have the best life he can, and he can’t with me.”
“Are you sure?” I asked, still in complete shock. “Teri, he’s your son.”
“And yours,” she said a bit firmer. “I’ve thought about it, Cal. For the past several months I debated with myself over what I should do.” She put her hands up and began backing up. “I want my own life. I can’t take care of him like he deserves. You–you and Penny can. I am begging you, Cal!”
“You’re his mother,” I protested, still in shock. Even more shock, if that was possible.
“I’m going back to France.” She looked down at the baby and her lips twitched down into a frown. “I won’t be here. I can’t be here.”
I pulled him up a little closer to get a good look at him. He gurgled when he saw me and reached up to tug at my bangs. “Kyle?” I whispered and he let out a loud coo. I touched his tiny cheek then looked back at Teri. “What about when you’ll want him back?” I asked, knowing perfectly well that it would happen eventually.
“He’s yours,” she said. “If you don’t take him in then I will be putting him up for adoption.” She looked down at the floors and shook her head. “A closed adoption.”
“You really don’t want him in your life!” I spat out.
“Stop sounding so accusing!” she snarled, glaring at me once more. “I know what I’m giving up, and I accept it.”
I held him close again, the shock slowly dissipating. Though there was a cold chill going down my… shoulder? I looked down and saw it wasn’t a chill but drool. Kyle giggled, more drool landing onto my shoulder.
“I have everything with me, if you want to keep him,” she said.
“I–I–” I couldn’t help but stammer. This was a sudden decision. “You need to know now?”
“I’d prefer it,” she said. “My plane leaves in the morning.”
I gulped and looked down at Kyle again, wishing that this decision hadn’t been thrust upon me so suddenly. “Let me talk to Penny.”
Teri left at 3am. One hour, that was it. I now had all his papers, his birth certificate, a few bottles and diapers. She had already been to City Hall during the day to sign the papers over to me so all I had to do was sign them and take them down in the morning. She had been that sure that I would agree.
“You’re not mad at me, are you?” Penny asked.
“No,” I answered. “You made a promise to her, I understand that. She was right. If I had known she was with child before she left, I would have done anything possible to stop her, to keep her–and him–here.” I looked down at Kyle who gave a little yawn. He was nine months old so in three months he’d be going through his Big Birthday. “Talk about an anniversary present,” I muttered.
Penny put an arm around me and looked down at Kyle. “Well… we start our attempts for a baby last night… I guess it was a pretty fruitful endeavor.” I stared at her and she gave a squeak and looked away. “S-sorry!”
“Naw, don’t be sorry,” I said, rolling my eyes but laughing. “You’re right about it being quite, ummm, fruitful.” I held Kyle up, looking into his sleepy face. “Welcome to the family, little buddy.” He yawned at me again and I turned towards Penny, placing him into her arms.
“Are you okay?” she asked.
“Nope,” I said and she looked at me in worry. “The shock left me a while ago but I’ve been pretty numb up until now. It’s sinking in.” I held up one finger. “The shock is just about to zap me again. So now I think I’m going to faint.” I had one last glimpse of her worried face before I crashed to the floor from the jolting realization that I had a child.