Jeremy stopped by, he’d been exceedingly busy with work, and planning his new album release since he composed all his songs and wrote the lyrics. I will never admit that I’m a fan of his stuff, as I’m sure he wouldn’t be able to get his head out the door afterwards.
“I’m dedicating a song in it to Cat.” He said, carefully watching my face to see my expression.
“I don’t know, honestly… It doesn’t sound like a good idea. I mean then rumors would circulate, and I really don’t think your career needs that. You’re popular because you’re single and unattached.” I spoke lightly, trying to not be overly aggressive as we tended to argue a lot when it came to the divide between play and work.
“Correction, I don’t consider myself single or unattached. Our relationship, is complicated. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.”
I sighed, but decided to not argue with him, “Alright, since you’re going to be mature right now, I suppose it’s a great time to tell you that I’m pregnant… Again.” I trailed off and carefully watched his expression.
“Umm… Wow. I’m going to be a dad?” He asked after a long pause.
“You think it’s yours?” I laughed a little bit, I guess I’m still bitter.
“Hania, really? That’s not even something to joke about.” He was now annoyed, but he couldn’t help smiling a little. “Do I get to name it?”
A few months later I was painting in the enclosed space off to the side of the pueblo and heard Jeremy talking softly to Catori. He probably didn’t realize that I could hear him. The land wasn’t close to any neighbors and the traffic was near non-existent on this side of town.
“How’s Daddy’s little girl?” Jeremy coo’d, my paintbrush almost fell from my hand. Could he know? There is no way he could have found out… She didn’t look too much like him. I became so wrapped up in my thoughts I didn’t even hear him walk out to the patio.
“I changed Cat’s diaper and fed her. I’m going to be heading out of town for a bit, do you need any money or anythin–” I cut him off right there.
“Thank you for the help, Jeremy. But I can raise my own kids. I’m not a charity case.” I slammed down my paintbrush and placed my hands on my hips as I stared him down. I hate pregnant me.
“I didn’t mean to insinuate otherwise, Hania. You know that.” He raised both his hands in a sign of surrender. “We are having a kid. As in you AND me. I want to be as involved as my career will let me.” He waved and gave Catori a kiss on the head before he rushed out the door to his car, he was developing a lot of self-control.
“Da da!” Catori happily burbled in her crib. I sighed as a wave of emotion rushed over me. I hated being pregnant, I was so unstable.
“So I showed the concept art you did for the album cover to my producer and he loved it! You’re going to really get popular with other musicians, I can tell.” Jeremy was always so enthusiastic about work, it was inspiring. He says he does his best work on my cheap couch because my paintings inspire him to look inside himself.
“Well, that’s nice. I’m not really one for Pop art, but I’m also not going to turn down the money as it means I can do a couple expansions on the pueblo.” I replied with a soft laugh.
We tossed a few ideas back and forth and settled on an outdoor-ish kitchen that way I could have my dining room outdoors where I painted. We could enjoy the food Mother Earth blessed us with in her presence.
I had spent a lot of time prepping the house and laying down tiles. Actually I’ll be completely honest with myself, I mostly just supervised Jeremy and his brother Brandon while they did it.
“You didn’t tell Brandon he’s going to be an uncle, did you?” I whispered softly to Jeremy as I lay in his arms, his hand sleepily rubbed my belly.
“Not yet…no.” He murmured sleepily.
“When are you going to tell him?” I prodded gently. He opened one eye and looked at me before sighing.
“I dunno, Hania, can we talk about this later? What about… Clementine?” His suggestion for a baby name caused my eyebrow to raise.
“What makes you think it’s a girl?” I asked, placing a soft kiss on his lips which caused him to smile.
“Because nothing would make me more proud than to walk my little girl down the aisle.” He nuzzled me before he fell asleep completely. I don’t think I would be able to wipe the smile off my face even if I wanted to.
I wiggled like a turtle on its back before I managed to roll out of bed to waddle to the bathroom.
Jeremy’s car screeched into the dirt driveway and he stormed out of his car. “Hania, when the hell were you going to tell me?” I blinked as I continued watering my plants.
“Tell you what?” I asked with a rue grin as I rubbed my back. I seemed to get a rather perverse pleasure in seeing Jeremy getting riled up.
“Cut the crap, the whole town is talking, you’re going to get your tubes tied? You’re not even thirty yet!” I blinked at him, when I didn’t respond he continued, “Don’t you think I have some sort of say in this? When were you going to ask me for my opinion?”
“Let’s get one thing very, very clear Jeremy Boyd, the only person who has any say in what happens to my body is me. I don’t need your approval, I don’t need my family’s approval, and I sure don’t need Oasis Spring’s approval. Understood.” He clenched his jaws at my words.
“Is this because I haven’t asked you to marry me? Do you want me to move in? What can I do to fix this?” He ran his fingers through his hair before softly cursing under his breath.
“Jere, there’s nothing to fix. I’m going to be turning 30 in the blink of an eye. And no, you and I are never getting married. End of story.” Jeremy left, his hands were shaking.
I hate to admit it, but I don’t know how I would have gotten through this pregnancy without Jeremy. He would stop by, watch Catori so I could nap, shower, work on commissions and gods only know what else. I’d find the dishes washed and the trash taken out regularly.
He was such a good guy, and yet he was stuck to me because I got pregnant. I think if I didn’t have Catori I’d be drowning in guilt. She was such a beautiful and patient baby. Hopefully she won’t grow up to be as stubborn as me.
“Can I ask you something?” Jeremy asked, he nervously looked back towards the house before glancing at me. I carefully took a sip of my energy drink before nodding at him.
“Are we going to throw a birthday party for Catori? I honestly have no idea what to get her…” The helpless expression on his face was just so adorable I had to give him a soft peck on the lips. He promptly deepened the kiss and wrapped his arms around me, his mouth conveying how vulnerable and insecure he felt, though I knew he’d never be able to speak such words.
“I think… We’ll just have a small, private birthday gathering. And give her something only you can give her.” I suggested once my head was resting on his shoulder. “Is it just me or have I been pregnant forever?” He chuckled slightly, and hugged me.
“You’re a genius, that’s a great idea.” He smiled and closed his eyes as he cradled me as the sun slowly fell from the sky.
“Happy birthday, to you! Happy birthday, to you! Happy birthday, dear Catoriiiii! Happy birthday to you!” Jeremy and I sang as she aged up.
I was absolutely floored by how much she looked like Jeremy, they had the same eyes and everything. It seemed like just the other day I gave birth to her and now she was ready to head off to school.
“Dad, can I have a hug?” Catori asked Jeremy, her voice was low, just like mine. Her smile was wide and she just seemed so happy.
“Dear, Jeremy isn’t your dad…” I started to say, wincing internally as I said it.
“No, no, it’s okay!” Jeremy said, I hadn’t seen him look this happy in…well ever. He quickly picked her up and give her a huge hug, placing a big sloppy kiss on her cheek as he shouted “Nom nom nom nom!” Catori happily squealed and hugged him back.
Well, if they were happy, there isn’t much I can say about it… Right?
“There’s a baby in there? That’s Clementine?” Catori asked, her small hands wandering reverently over my stretched out tummy. I laughed and rolled my eyes.
“What is with you and Jeremy insisting it’s going to be a girl?!” I asked trying to stifle back a laugh as I ruffled her hair.
“Because it is!” Catori and her dad said with a cheer at the same time. Catori jumped up and down excitedly. “I’m going to be the best big sister ever!”
I gave her a small kiss on the forehead, “Fine, IF it is a girl… Her name isn’t going to be Clementine.” Catori’s lips slipped into an adorable pout and I poked them until she started smiling again. “Clementine is hardly a Native Simerican name, Catori. You know that. Heritage like ours isn’t something you get blessed with every day… You like your name don’t you?”
“Yes… But…” She started, I held up a hand to stop her right there.
“But nothing, I’ll make sure that your new sibling has a beautiful name that they’ll be proud of, just like you.” She gave my stomach a hug.
“I’ll teach her all about the flowers and plants, just like you taught me.” Catori said. “Come out soon little sister.”
Now that Catori was old enough not to be breast fed, I actually had to cook now instead of eating cereal for every meal. The kitchen wasn’t fancy, but it was perfect for the size of our family.
Meals were a challenge, clearly cooking wasn’t my forte, just because it looked amazing did NOT mean it tasted good.
“I’m heading out to work!” Mom hollered as she zipped out the door. For a huge lady she sure was fast. I quickly slipped off the couch and tidied up the pueblo before starting on the dishes. Mom did so much work to take care of me, most of it I didn’t understand when I was younger… But now I was big enough to help with a lot of the chores.
I hummed to myself a tune that Jeremy used to sing to me when I was a baby as I washed the dishes. Even when mom wasn’t home all her paintings kept me company.
Bzzzt…. Bzzzzzt…. I jumped and almost dropped the dishes as my cheap phone vibrated in my pocket. Wiggling my hands in the air the get rid of most of the water I quickly picked up. “Hello, this is Catori’s phone, how may I help you?”
Post Notes: Catori came out with Whiz kid, and the Exemplar trait: Loves the Outdoors. I’m so happy, she’s so adorable, I haven’t changed a single thing about her. Her eyes look EXACTLY like her dad’s. Hania on the other hand is one day from being an adult! Time flies. Also, Jeremy hasn’t moved in still and he and Hania are still not engaged. Who knows if they ever will be.