I had been real shocked when Doctor Redding told me the news and then felt kinda robbed since it was a bit annoyin’ being told by her and not finding out myself or through a local doctor (one that wasn’t psychotic) but then I realized, it didn’t matter. Because I was really truly pregnant! I never told Henri I had started to worry we wouldn’t be able to have a baby. Either because of his ghostliness or because I was having difficulty. We couldn’t go to a fertility doctor, not really as a couple–so I was very glad that I was all pregnant now and didn’t have to keep worrying if it was possible. Mr. Amour had had children but sometimes I had been scared it wouldn’t work for me and Henri.
When we got home I was paranoid that Kaylee would know as soon as she saw me that I was pregnant. As soon as I got within feelin’ distance, I could tell she was suspicious of something. Already?! She hadn’t even SEEN me! But when I got inside I realized she was only feeling all curious about why we took another vacation so soon after our first one. I gulped, knowin’ that this time I could get away with it but what about next time? Except, next time is ages away, I realized. We had agreed on a year, so our baby would be about four months old. I didn’t like THAT at all but it was better than her original idea of me comin’ in pregnant so she could see how my ability plus being pregnant worked. Thankfully Professor Redding backed me up on not doing that.
“Yeah we had a great time last time so we wanted to go again before it got too cold,” I said, hugging my sister. “We might go again next year when the weather warms up again.” Or maybe by then I would tell her. It’d be easier if she knew and she would keep the secret, if I didn’t tell her too much. I didn’t want to say any names since I figured she knew a bit about the Reddings from Grandma, and I doubted that she’d just stay silent if she knew. She’d tell Grandma and Grandma would flip. So… for now, silence on my part.
Henri unpacked my stuff while I went into the barn. Night and Storm pranced around and I gave them some cuddles, then went into Ducky’s stall. She whinnied and put her head against my head. “Hey girl,” I said, wrappin’ my arms around her. It seemed like this time around there was even less of her. “Did Auntie Kaylee give you lotsa loving?” I asked and she bumped her nose against my hand. Night squeezed in behind me and leaned close to her. Ducky leaned back, both of them looking content. I was rather scared that Night knew something I didn’t so first thing in the morning I ran into the barn, but Ducky was still here, lookin’ no worse than the night before. When I let the three of them out, she galloped a bit, playing with Storm and the big rubber ball.
Over the next few days I worked hard at catching up with some cases, especially since the police were startin’ to actually give me some bigger things. I met with the police chief who wanted to occasionally call me in to ‘see’ things. Sometimes she asked me to see stuff I couldn’t (stupid cabin by the lake type of things) so I had to constantly remind her I was an aura-type of person, I need to be near someone to get readings. Duncan told me I should play up the whole psychic thing, clutchin’ my head and gasping, but I didn’t. Not really. Well, not completely. Sometimes I did put my hand to my forehead and talked dramatically. Just for the effect, really. And of course I was right with all my psychic findings, so the police force came to me and Duncan actually got a promotion which he attributed to me.
Three weeks after I got home from the lab, and things settled a bit and I was able to think properly about what to do. Henri and I discussed which room to turn into the nursery, the one on the waterfall side of the house since the one on the barn side of the house had the desk and computer in it. It was months yet, but we started drawing up plans. New windows to be installed, light fixtures, and of course the theme. I wanted a horse theme but Henri thought that might be a bit much considering we… well, had a barn right there with three horses.
“Well what do you want?” I asked, linkin’ my fingers together. “I think we should pick something gender neutral so we can get started right away. What about a French theme?”
“Cancan dancers on the wall?” he asked with a big grin and I smacked him. “Owww! I was teasing, you know I was teasing.”
“I know you were teasing,” I said, trying not to giggle, “but you had that pervert smile on your face, thinking about those dancers.”
“You’d look sexy as a cancan dancer,” he purred.
I laughed, avoiding the noisy kisses he was trying to give me. “And you’d just wave a white flag, wouldn’t you?”
“OH! OH! LOW BLOW!” he exclaimed. “I see how it is. Maybe you’re just see too much stereotyping in that crystal ball of yours.”
We both stared at each other for a brief moment then took off runnin’ to the bedroom to grab the pillows. The little rat cheated by letting my pillow go through him. Soon he was on top of me, ticklin’ me. “I’m sorry! I’m sorry!” I squealed, kicking and laughing. “I’M SORRY! I won’t say it again!”
He bent in close. “Tell me I won.” I pressed my lips tight and shook my head. “Come on. I won, admit it.”
“You cheated!” I exclaimed. “You’re a dirty cheater! A low down–” Here he cut me off with a kiss. “–little–” Another kiss. “…cheater.” And a third kiss. I sighed and smiled at him. “Okay. You win. What’s wrong?” I asked as his eyes got huge.
“I–I’m sorry!” He fell off of me, slidin’ to the side. “I just realized! Did I hurt you? I didn’t hurt the baby, did I?”
I stroked his hair. “Darling, you were straddling my legs, not my stomach. And your pillow never hit my belly and it wasn’t like you were hitting me hard. I’m only six, seven weeks in.” I put my hands on my belly. It was still hard to believe a baby was in there. “Don’t worry, we’re both fine.” I moved over next to him, cuddlin’ in his arms. “What do you want? A boy or girl?”
“Either,” he said, kissin’ the top of my head. “How about you?”
“I’m happy with either, which is why we need a neutral room.” I started to get up but Henri shot up and grabbed my hands, helpin’ me to my feet. I grinned at him. “So not horses, and no cancan dancers. Is that a no to a French theme? We could do a castle theme but my brothers’ had that in their room…” We went into the extra room and tried to picture how things might look. I wanted to just put it aside for now and get the windows put in but Henri thought we would try to find windows that would fit the theme. “What on earth do you mean?” I asked.
“Like if we go for a medieval fantasy type of room, we could have arched windows. Or–I’ve seen some windows that look like bubbles, or paws.” Henri waved his hands around to try and indicate what he was meaning. He saw the look on my face and drooped. “Or just plain windows will work.”
“No, we’ll think of a theme. Maybe the medieval fantasy one, that sounds fun,” I said, lookin’ around the room. “Though not so castle-y. Course I could always see if we have those old bunk beds…” I put my hands on my belly again, the tiny speck of a baby somewhere in there. “When should we tell the family? Should we wait a few months? I’m thinking waiting a couple months before we say anything.” Henri agreed with me, so I resigned myself to not telling Kaylee which was going to be difficult…
After finally settling on what the nursery would look like, we began working. We hired someone to put in the windows and light fixtures but were doing the rest ourselves. We priced everythin’ and it was real expensive but thankfully I could pay. My last trip to the lab, plus two cases, were able to take care of most the stuff. The smaller stuff could wait till a baby shower unless I could convince my sisters and Grandma not to throw me one. Fat chance of that, though. They had been heartbroken when I begged them not to give me a bridal shower. If I said no to a baby shower, I was worried Kaylee would tie me down and force me to have one.
When I was about nine weeks pregnant, Simon called for a family meetin’, as he had just come back from a seven month trip to China. Just us siblings for the meeting, no spouses. When I got to our dads’ house, I realized part of it was cause Simon was nervous about his girl meeting Henri. I felt kinda angry about that but tried to calm down and not blame Simon. He was fearful of his girl (fiancee, I figured out very quickly from both their feelings) being introduced to a ghost. As soon as he saw me he also felt guilty and mouthed the words ‘I’m sorry’. I mouthed back ‘It’s okay’ and gave him a smile.
Before I could do much else, Kaylee seized my arm. “You know what’s going on?” she whispered not-so-quietly in my ear.
“Simon’s not said anything to me,” I answered, shakin’ her arm off. “If anyone knows anything it would be Mal.”
“Liar, you know,” she said, tuggin’ at my arm even more. “Tell meeeee!”
“Simon will say what’s up when he’s ready,” I said, lookin’ around the room for the mysterious girl. She was standing near the guest room lookin’ and feelin’ real nervous about meeting us all. We had never met her before and now Simon was going to announce the engagement. I wasn’t sure how my dads would react to that. They had known all the spouses before marriage, Duncan’s wife, Jack, and Henri. Sure enough when Simon introduced Lin Hua and told us they were plannin’ on a wedding in a month, everyone was taken aback. It even surprised me, I hadn’t be expecting anything so… quick.
“It’s nice to meet you, Lin,” Mom said, offering his hands.
She said something in Chinese and Simon put his arm around her waist, telling her something–also in Chinese. She smiled and took Mom’s hand. “She doesn’t speak English,” Simon explained. “She knows a little bit though.” He then said something else to her and she smiled bigger.
“He… hello,” she said hesitantly.
“Do you think she’s preggers?” Kaylee whispered to me, this time a lot more quietly than she did before.
I swatted her arm and shook my head. “No,” I answered. I wasn’t getting that feeling from either of them, so I doubted that was it. “They love each other,” I added, as that was the feeling I was gettin’ from my brother and future sister-in-law. She was scared and frightened of suddenly being in a room full of people she didn’t know, but there was no hiding that little bubble of warmth that sparked every time she looked at Simon. And Simon had that same bubble of warmth, and he was desperate for us to approve of her.
I went over and took her hand. “Welcome to the family, Lin.”
“Hello,” she said again and I smiled at her and Simon, and he grinned back.
Later that night he thanked me and explained her family was very superstitious about ghosts. He said he’d try to talk to her about it but I assured him not to rush it. “It’s hard enough getting used to Kaylee, we don’t want to pile the unusual on her all at once,” I said, and was rewarded with a pillow thrown from the other side of the room. And that night, Henri promised me he didn’t feel bitter about it at all. He reminded me it was why he had been so frightened to tell his father.
“I’ll call Simon tomorrow and tell him to not worry about it and if he feels like she doesn’t need to know at all.. it won’t offend me.” He paused, and I kissed him. “As long as there are tons of pictures of the wedding.”
So on top of my regular cases, police cases, morning sickness, bladder problems, aches, pains, having to worry about maternity wear, Henri’s theories of how big my boobs were going to get, and organizing what the nursery was going to look like–I had a wedding to help out with. Simon wanted a traditional western wedding though Lin was going to wear the wedding dress she had brought with her. After the shock wore off, we were all very excited. Grandma was elated at the thought of another grandchild’s wedding. Cousin Nick was going to officiate it, River was going to be the matron-of-honor with Kaylee and me as the bridesmaids. Duncan, Mal, and Jack were the groomsmen. And we were all doing extra work, such as decorations and baking.
We all tried to get to know Lin better though it was a bit hard cause of the language barrier, but there was somethin’ a language barrier couldn’t change: her feelings. I did my best to get to know her through that, tellin’ my family in secret some–definitely not all–of what she was going through. One thing I hated ’bout my abilities. Lack of privacy for those around me. One reason I wanted a cure so much.
The morning of the wedding found me on my knees in front of the toilet, my newest friend. Mornin’ sickness had hit me hard but my first trimester was almost over. I hoped the sickness didn’t continue but with as bad as this was… I wasn’t sure. I had been in for a couple appointments though was terrified to go see a doctor since Mal was studyin’ to be an obstetrician. The two times I went in I was so scared he’d see me, or that word would get to him somehow. I was lookin’ forward to tellin’ my family, and glad no one had guessed yet–I figured I had the wedding to thank for that, it was a pretty nice distraction.
“Love?” Henri floated into the bathroom, looking worried.
“I’m all right,” I promised, clutching the porcelain bowl. “Just give me a moment…” I waited to make sure I was good and done, then got up to get a shower and brush my teeth fifty zillion times. After I finished drying my hair, Henri helped me into my dress which was thankfully loose. I wasn’t really showing yet but was a bit worried someone might notice something if I was wearing tight clothes. Henri assured me I looked gorgeous, and I kissed him goodbye and left him to take care of the horses which were thankfully gettin’ used to his presence.
The wedding went beautifully, simple and sweet. Everyone was real happy and emotional, and I almost fainted several times. The pregnancy was drainin’ me and sometimes made it hard to put up a barrier, and when I did–I was exhausted. So as much as I was happy watchin’ the wedding I was very grateful when they finished their vows and we went to the reception where I could collapse onto a chair. I pretty much stayed there for the most part, usin’ the excuse of my abilities tiring me out. I danced six times, though. With my brothers and my daddies, my paternal dad twice. The second time he kept offerin’ to let me stand on his feet, making me feel like a little kid.
“No, I’m fine Dad, really, though I will need to sit down after this one,” I said, feeling wiped. “You better dance with Mom. Grandma is driving him nuts. Don’t worry, I’ll chat with her unless she’s determined to dance her feet off.”
Grandma thankfully took a break after that dance, and we sat down a little ways from the floor, watching the family have fun. I kicked off my shoes and rubbed my feet together, and as I did that Grandma got a mental smirk. I felt like sighing, as she suddenly had a flash of suspicion. I hoped she wouldn’t say anythin’ since I did not want to lie to her but she opened her mouth, of course she did. “Feeling well, dear?”
“Yes, Grandma,” I promised her. “Just a bit tired. Weddings are very emotional. Have you danced with Mal yet?” I tried to swerve her onto another path, but she wouldn’t be swerved. Stubborn woman.
“Your feet look swollen,” she noted.
“I’ve been dancing,” I pointed out. “Your feet are swollen too. Would you like me to get you something to drink? Or eat?”
“No, you probably should be resting too,” she said, settlin’ back in her seat. When I remained silent, she gave me a sideways glance. “All things considering. Right?”
“What do you mean?” I asked and she stared back. “What?”
“You know what I’m talking about,” she said, crossing her legs and jigglin’ her foot. “You know what I’m thinking so stop pretending. Are you?”
I looked over at my daddies who were dancing together, it was a slow song and they were lost in each others’ eyes. None of my siblings were close. There was nobody close. And I really didn’t want to lie to her. “Grandma, nobody but Henri knows yet,” I said.
Grandma beamed and was hugging me before I could blink. “I thought so! Serenity, I’m so happy for you! When is it?”
“I’m only about thirteen weeks in,” I said an she was staring at my stomach. “Stop it, someone might see. We were going to tell everyone next week. I didn’t want to do it with the wedding just being here all of a sudden, Simon and Lin deserved all the attention. So don’t say anything to anyone yet, all right?”
“I won’t,” she said, still beaming. “I thought so. You’ve been glowing for quite some time and I’ve been around enough pregnant women to notice. Vi, Julie, all my granddaughters and granddaughters-in-law.” She paused and then laughed. “Especially Julie. 27 weeks to go. Seems like a long time but take my word for it, it goes by fast. Are you going to have–“
“Yes, don’t worry, I’m going to let you guys throw me a shower,” I grumbled. Grandma nodded and looked back at the dance floor. Now her thoughts were a bit confusin’ to me but I finally sorted them out. “There is a chance the baby will be like him, but we’re not sure. The man who brought Henri back to me, he’s married to a ghost and had twins, both regular babies.” I resisted the urge to put my hands on my stomach. The doctor had said everything was normal but what if it was a–a baby like Henri? What was going to happen with ultrasounds? Would they be able to see the baby? What if they couldn’t? What if people found out, because of the baby? What if they wanted to take my baby away from me, or Henri, or both? Suddenly I felt very dizzy and very sick.
“Excuse me,” I said, gettin’ up and running as fast as I could to the bathroom. I flung open a stall door and threw up for the third time that day. Before I finished, I saw out of the corner of my eye someone holding a damp cloth. I thought for a second it was Grandma but no, it was Kaylee. “Thanks,” I moaned, gettin’ up and swaying a bit. “I guess I ate too much.” But as I looked at her, I knew she knew. “Not you too,” I wailed.
“EEEEEE!” she shrieked, hugging me tightly. “So it’s true! I saw the look on Grandma’s face and yours, and you’ve got morning sickness, don’t you?”
“It’s not morning sickness, all right? It’s just nerves.” I tried to wriggle free but she was still clinging hard.
“Oh I am so excited! Why didn’t you tell me sooner? Can I throw you a baby shower? Will it be a boy or a girl? I better be the main babysitter.” She put her hands against my belly. “Wow, you’re thin for a pregnant woman.”
“I’m only three months in, thank you very much. I have plenty of time to get fat.” I gave her a look but she was still grinnin’ up at me, all happy and bubbly. “I was going to tell everyone next week so you better keep quiet.”
“I will, I will,” she said and kissed my cheek. “Oh SJ, I am so happy for you!”
We were huggin’ again but I couldn’t feel as cheerful as she did, I just felt sick with nerves. All I could think of was what might happen if–if the baby was like Henri. Should I not go? But I had to see a doctor. Would Mal help? But I needed proper checkups, not what he could give me–he couldn’t do ultrasounds at my house. But if I kept going to Doctor Hart, what if–or was I thinkin’ too much about it, and thinking too much about the ‘what ifs’? I couldn’t help it, though. I was just so scared of what might happen if my baby was a ghost and the public found out.
Then it hit me. There was someone I could go to. But it seemed like such a… last hope sort of thing. But shouldn’t I do what was needed to make sure my child was safe? Even if it meant going to someone who wasn’t?
Sorry if I am doing too much family life stuff, if you’d rather me focus more on the plot let me know. I’m trying to keep the extra stuff at a minimum but seem to be including more than usual. Just, not sure if this is good or not. So let me know, thanks!