The International Boundaries Series | Book 3: Something Desired by C.R. Misty

Chapter 1
Nice Guys

Here we are you and me. My words on the page as you take them in, digest them and form your opinions. I am surprised and to be quite honest shocked but in another breath am thankful that you have been with me and taken the time to read a cheater's side of a story, my story. I needed to confide in you. I am a liar and an adulteress and don't deserve the life that I have. I admit that. What's the saying, nice guys always finish last? It seems that way. This world seems to be full of liars and the better you are at it, it seems the more successful you become.

Pretend, act and lie. I smile through my teeth to the onlookers, faking my supposed perfect life but I know that you see through it. All of that has gotten me everything that I have wanted, my marriage, my secret lover, my baby and my publishing deal which stemmed from a memoir of lies.

I sit here on the sofa and gaze out the window to see the light, cotton like snowflakes fall from the sky here at my home in Canada. It is weeks before Christmas and the baby is due to be born soon. I feel and look huge. My appointments with the doctor have been good. Everything is on track and they believe that this baby will come right on the scheduled time.

This past weekend my mom threw a baby shower for me. It wasn't a surprise, I knew that she would. With every woman's first born it seems to be the standard. My mom hosted the party at my new home which was great. My new place is large spacious and the bonus is I got to show everyone my new place. It was actually smart also because at the end of the day there was no need to pack up all the gifts into a car. I could just move everything up to the nursery which I was proud to show off to everyone. I invited the girls from work in addition to my mom and sister, Adrianne inviting my high school friends and the family and it was fantastic to be able to catch up with them.

Over the last bit of time I have stayed home for the most part, taking care of myself, modeling the home to my liking, working on my writing and social media. I have been busy but life now is so much more different.

There is no need to be up before the sun rises in order to beat traffic on the way to work. There is no office politics that I need to endure. There are no pointless meetings, the kinds that senior management would have just to waste everyone’s time in order to make them feel important. There is no running out of email space because you are receiving fifty a day with huge attachments. No fighting with the shredder and the office printer and no need to have to constantly defend your decisions.

I mean technically my publisher is my boss but the relationship is relaxed, everything is simple, automated. I write a book and the publisher takes care of the rest and the nice thing about my contract, is I am not bound to submit a certain quota of words or anything like that. Howard knows that writing is something that I love and he knows in time I will produce more and all I have had to do is make an appearance at a couple of events and that's it. It's perfect.

The girls from work ask me about my book and how the writing and how the promoting is going and I am honest with them, without throwing it at them that this writing career is a thousand times better than my old job with them.

Josh and I stood our ground in our decision to keep the surprise and we still don't know the sex of our child and that is okay for me because there are so little surprises in life anymore and this is one that can remain one.

The shower gifts are amazing. I received clothing which is mostly in whites’ yellows’ and greens’, neutral colors. I receive toys; supplies, gadgets and my mom got together with my sister and gave me a two in one stroller that has a built in removable car seat.

I need to get up off the couch and walk around. Let’s head to the kitchen. I need some water. Ice from the fridge dispenser clinks into my glass then I click the button to fill the glass with water, taking a seat at the island. I appreciate all that my family has done for me but to be honest, I have always hated attending baby showers and having my own thrown for me felt a little odd. I know you are thinking about the reasons why I don’t like attending them but they are not for the reasons that you are thinking. Yes, I needed the help of Devon to conceive. I was never jealous or felt weird that my friends and other women in my family were having babies while I was struggling with the process and perhaps attending a baby shower was a reminder of my own failures to conceive, that’s not why I hated going to them.

I always attended but the reason I hated them, was for one thing the organizer always seems to host them on a Sunday afternoon. I always wondered why not Saturday? Showers don't run into the evening they are usually hosted in the late morning and they often run no longer than 4:00pm. At least with it being on a Saturday, people can come and visit and the event won't interfere with any potential evening plans. The other thing is with having it on Sunday just sucks. I mentioned that already. It sucks because your final day off is wasted with going to someone's house and watching a pregnant person unwrap her gifts. I just want Sunday off to relax before the hustle and bustle of a new work week. Well, I don't have a typical work week anymore so I guess that doesn't matter now.

The other thing that I always hated at showers were the stupid games they would make us play like guess how big the stomach is of the soon to be mom, or guess the flavor of baby food or some sort of baby bingo. Yawn, so boring. I put my empty glass on the counter by the sink with the intent to use the glass again later.

Like I mentioned my shower wasn't a surprise and I asked to have some say in the matter. My mom and sister had organized it. I asked it to be simple, a get together of my friends and family and I asked for no stupid games and for it to be on a Saturday because I know that I can't be the only one in this world who hates doing stuff on Sunday. The other thing I asked for the party was I didn't want to be stuck un-wrapping gifts all day with everyone just watching. I wanted it arranged like a wedding, so if people brought gifts they leave them on a table in the reception for the Bride and Groom to open on their own time. That's what I wanted, to visit with my friends and family and socialize instead of just being put to work in un-wrapping gifts.

My mom and sister came through for me and did exactly that and I think that even though this wasn't a typical baby shower, I think for everyone that attended, they enjoyed themselves
I had a catering service come in and they served all kinds of food, snacks and wine we had a gift table arranged at the entrance. Music played throughout the home and I got to catch up with everyone
As a thank you gift for everyone that attended is I had gift bags made that included my favorite scented lotions, lip gloss, eye shadows and in each bag I gave a $100 gift card to be able to purchase books online. I wanted to add touch of me and maybe help my guests get into a great story or just simply discover a love for reading.

The evening comes to an end my mom, sister and friend Hailey stay behind after everyone has left and help me open the gifts, mark the names down of the gift givers and bring the gifts to the nursery and eventually my mom and sister head out with the caterers. I watch Adrianne and mom from my front door, get into my mom’s blue sedan, circle around the drive way and watch the sedan’s rear lights disappear into the woods, down the driveway that leads to the gates to the road. Not long after their departure it's just Hailey. Josh will be home in the next hour.

She admits to me, "I didn't want to say anything while everyone was here but I am pregnant!"
"Oh, congratulations" I give her a hug and I tear up, all of the estrogen that is going through me right now, I have been even more all over the place with keeping my emotions in check but that's okay because Hailey tears up also. I joke, "Why couldn't you get pregnant earlier so we could have been pregnant together."

She sighs and rolls her eyes, "Oh you know how it goes."

I do, all too well and have struggled to make this pregnancy happen and do things that I am not proud of. Trust me I don't regret doing what I did to get where I am today. What I regret is the lies and deceit that I had to do. It is hard to explain. I love them but wish that my secrets could be more than secrets.

"How far along are you?" I ask while dabbing a happy tear from my cheek.
"Just a couple of months, it is still a little too early to announce it to everyone."
"Your secret is safe with me."

We settle in the living area for a few minutes and it's been on her mind. She asks, "So is Devon out of the picture?"

"I haven't seen him in over a month."

"That is good. How do you feel about it?"

I wonder why she asks the question and try to be as honest as possible, "I feel good. I'm focusing on the arrival of the baby." It’s a half truth.

"Do you miss him?" She pries.

"I do but I know that the time apart is good." She says nothing and I feel compelled to elaborate, "Devon is a friend first and I miss the friendship. I miss talking to him every day. I miss sharing with him with all of the writing stuff."

She says, "You need to continue to keep the space from him."

"Is it wrong to miss a friend?"

"Jordan it's wrong to have feelings for another man when you are married." She gives me a disapproving glance through her blonde eyelashes.

Hailey knows me too well and I know that she is right. I have to humor her and let her believe that I am taking her advice to heart. I am, well sort of. I never told her anything else about Devon and the possibility of him being the father. Hailey doesn’t need to know that or be burdened with that big of a secret. For the safety of this child, that secret will remain with me for as long as I can keep it.

With that I admit to her, “I know but it is what it is and all I can do is keep my distance and the times that I do see him I just need to keep it professional, that’s all.” There is no need to hash this out over and over again, you the reader have no need to hear it and you know that I live with this struggle. I change the subject, “So did you see any shower gifts that you would want me to pass over to you once mine has out grown the need for them?”

Hailey replies, “You have gotten some pretty cool things. I have kept some of Brittany’s baby things so I am good for the most part. But sure once they have outgrown things let me know and I will see if I need more when the time comes.” Brittany is her little girl and this would be her second child on the way.

Our conversation is interrupted. Someone is ringing the doorbell vigorously. The only person that I know that does that is Josh. He often does that to announce his arrival and to be a goof and he does that especially when he knows that there is company over.

Hailey taps her hands in her lap as she gets up from the couch and says, “Well that’s my queue I guess, that is Josh right?”

I follow her lead and get up from my seat. I say, “I would be surprised if it was someone else. I recognize that ring.” We both head to the entrance.

Chapter 2

Just before Christmas is when it all happened. I don’t want to get into the details of it all. It went well, Josh had taken some time off of work around my due date and it paid off. We went to the hospital together in the early hours of the morning before the morning traffic and just before lunch was when my baby girl came into this world.

She was seven and a half pounds of screaming pink little baby. Hearing her cry was music to my ears. She was healthy and strong and catching a glimpse of her before the nurse took her away, I could see that she had a full head of dark brown hair.

The nurses cleaned her up and handed her over to me after the doctor’s had taken care of me and I took no hesitation, my instincts kicked in and I wasn’t in the least bit worried about dropping her of anything like that. I get like that when holding other babies.

I look up at Josh who is next to me and white as a ghost. He will never admit that he was scared, nervous or worried about this entire ordeal. I look up at him as I hold her and the generally joking, confidant guy that Josh typically is, he is as quiet as can be as he looks down at the two of us.
She is no longer screaming any more. I am guessing that when she came out she didn’t find the fresh cool air of the room too appealing. I smile at the thought, she is her mother’s daughter and I don’t blame her, I hate the cold too. As soon as the nurses wrapped her up was when she settled down.

I have her facing Josh and she opens those newborn eyes of hers and looks up at him. I glance up at Josh for a second to see that he is still missing that color in his cheeks. Her eyes are blue. I smile down at her, I wonder, she is only moments old but it is like she is already trying to familiarize herself with us and for all those months that she could hear us while in my belly, she has this look on her face. Maybe I am imagining it but it’s like she is thinking oh, so that’s what you guys look like. I know it’s just my imagination but that is the feeling I get with her.

Josh soon relaxes and the color comes back to him and I catch him smiling back at her as she watches him. I ask, “Do you want to hold her?”

“Maybe later” He replies in almost a whisper. A nurse in the room overhears us and she knows exactly what to do. She instructs Josh to sit down in the chair and she takes my baby girl and puts her into his cradling arms.

I lie back on the bed and watch him, nervous as can be but seeing him fall in love with her right before my eyes is something that can never be fully described. As I write this, it still brings a tear to my eye. It is like she has now become the most important thing in his life and its beautiful to see them together. She falls asleep in her daddy’s arms. All that work with coming into this world has already tuckered her out.

That is okay because I could use the rest also. The last thing before I drift off is seeing Josh relaxing with her nestled in his protective arms.

Chapter 3
Fall in Love

By late afternoon my parents and Josh’s parents stop in to see their grandchild and the little one is passed around for everyone to cuddle. They are quiet and the conversation is good, fun and light hearted.

My mom was so kind to stop by the home and bring some extra things. I packed one overnight bag thinking only of the baby but not really of Josh and me. My mom stopped in and brought me and Josh a change of clothes and stopped in at the drugstore to pick up some sanitary items for the both of us. She even brought me my cell phone and charger. I forgot mine in the rush to the hospital. Josh, thankfully remembered his. If it wasn’t for him, our parents wouldn’t have known of the birth. Sure the hospital has phones we can use but they are of no use when you don’t know the telephone numbers. That’s the thing with cell phones you get used to having others contact information saved.
I watch everyone talk amongst themselves and not really paying attention to the conversation for my mind is already wondering. I want to tell Devon, send him an email or a text but I can’t, not now with everyone here. Devon knows that it was going to happen at any time, well I will let him know at some point, he is my friend.

I don’t mind the little one getting all of the attention that she is and I have to admit, I love seeing them all fall in love with her. The more I look at her I see myself in her and I am not sure that I see Devon in her. It is for the best I guess. She could be Devon’s daughter but the reality is that she could also be my donor’s.

My dad says, “Jordan.” It startles me from my day dreaming and he continues, “You are out in space kiddo. So, when are you going to decide on a name?”

I look at Josh and he gives me a shrug and I answer dad, “I have no idea what to name her.”

My mom interrupts, “You guys need to decide on something before going home.”

I say, “I don’t think it matters if we don’t name her right away.”

“Well, the sooner you name her the sooner you can get her registered and covered for health.” My mom knows and I hadn’t really thought about the medical benefits and all of that wonderful stuff. I know that Josh and I will eventually decide on something but that something just hasn’t been decided on. We had nine months and go figure we leave something like this till the last minute.

My dad says, “You’re an author. You come up with character names pretty easily, there must be some that you like?”

I lean on my side while in the hospital bed, chuckle and roll my eyes at him, “Yes Dad but really all the names that I loved I have already used on my characters and now that she is here I don’t want to use my character names and then have her come back to me once she is grown, accusing me of naming her after one of my characters.”

Josh’s mother who is now holding our sleeping little girl suggests, “What about naming her Sara. I always loved that name and if Josh was a girl that is what I would have named him.”
Josh makes a face at her, “Mom…”

She smirks knowing that she has embarrassed her son. She admits, “What, it’s the truth. You would have been called Sara.”

I try to not let my emotions show with that name. Sara, Devon’s wife. The woman who hates me. I clear my throat trying to sound neutral, “I can’t use that name, it’s the name of a friend of ours.”

Josh’s mom says, “I am sure your friend would be flattered that you used her name.”

Josh’s mom has a personality that sometimes clashes with my own. Over the years I have had to work hard to build a good relationship with her because to be quite honest the only thing that we have in common is our love for Josh. I am not the only one that has struggled with her. I have been witness to holiday family gatherings going wrong because of Josh’s mom getting into some argument with other family members. The problem with her is that she takes no notice to reading people and if she does, she ignores it and she is one of those people that always has to be right and have the last word. Josh took that trait from her and it is one of the only things that I really hate about him.

I know her well enough to not feed into this conversation any further. My parents are here and I want their first meeting of my daughter to be a memorable one in a good way and not a family drama way. I just smile at her comment and Josh steps in.

“Jordan and I will decide later.”

Josh’s dad senses it and before his wife says anything more he says, “That’s a good plan. Jordan I agree with your mom in the two of you deciding on something before you leave.”

“We will. I mean I have a couple of ideas I just need to think about it some more.”

Chapter 4
In the Whirlwind

Even though I have laid in my hospital bed as Josh’s and my own parents have visited us, I still feel tired but I don’t close my eyes. After they leave Josh and I finally get to work on naming our daughter. The nurses have taken her to the nursery and we chat in my now quiet hospital room.

I say, “You know that for the longest time I thought I was having a boy.”

He shuffles in beside me on the hospital bed and asks, “Why did you think that?”

“All of that kicking, and feeling tired.” I shrug.

He laughs, “Maybe she will be an athlete.”

“Maybe” I reply.

Josh jumps right into it, “How about Jordana?”

“That’s too close to my name. We already have enough names starting with the letters J and O. Josh, Jordan, it would be silly naming her that.”

“I always liked the name.”

“You always liked the name because that is the name of that actress that you have a crush on.”

“Yes, yes” He rolls his eyes and continues, “So what were your thoughts about calling her Sara?”

“I do like the name, don’t get me wrong but naming her the same name as Devon’s wife doesn’t feel right.”

“She is a nice person.”

Josh never found out the extent of what happened on the cruise between me and Sara. Sara never had the heart to tell him. I reply, “Yes, she is a nice person but right now with those photos that circulated I don’t think she is very fond of me.”

I wonder why he is hung up on that name. I think his mom has influence over him and I don’t think that he was thinking about Devon’s Sara but just acting on the basis that his mom as she was the one who suggested the name.

Josh says, “Okay I understand.” He takes my hand into his.

I have to ask him, it has been in the back of my mind since seeing our little girl for the first time, “Josh, what you said a while back about the baby having brown eyes, did you really think that I would have crossed that line?”

We never really talked about it after that and we both sort of took the approach of getting through one day at a time until the baby’s arrival. Things with us haven’t been perfect since that last major fight. We just sort of let ourselves get lost in the whirlwind of our new lives. We never really settled it. Maybe because it just brought more pain, I’m not sure, maybe we both sort of wanted to forget that it happened even though the reality is it was haunting us both.

He says, “I was just tired I guess with all of the chatter at work. I mean every day you were in the newspaper for something and often it had something to do with Devon. The whisperings were getting to me at work and I guess that I was starting to believe them, that’s all. I know that what you said with the timeline would not have made sense; I know that she isn’t his. I just wasn’t myself.”

Again, I get away with keeping this secret. Maybe my donor’s sperm worked and it isn’t Devon’s. I don’t know and I am happy that Josh’s doubts are ending here. I ask, “So are we okay?”

“Yes, I didn’t mean to doubt you.”

Hearing this from him makes me feel better about everything. I don’t think that she is Devon’s either. She looks like me.

Josh suggests, “I never told you about this name, how about Desiree?”

I tuck a strand of my straight brown hair behind my ear and ask, “Do you know anyone with that name?”

“No, I heard the name off of one of those crime shows that I like to watch and it’s sort of stuck with me.”

I like the name and ask, “How come you never told me about it for an option?”

“Jordan, come on. You know why I wouldn’t have told you.” He gives me a sideways glance.
“You thought I would use the name in one of my books?”

“Exactly, I know my wife way too well.” He smirks and messes my hair a little.

“You got me.” I comb my flyaway strands again, tucking them back behind my ears.

“So what do you think?” Josh asks.

“I’m thinking.” Desiree, it is pretty, I do like the name and say, “You know, you always surprise me.”

He smiles and says, “I am not just for looks.”

I chuckle, “Oh Josh, yes you are right.”

“Are we decided yet?”

I ask, “Do you have any more options?”

He starts giggling and so do I. We are both beyond tired and finally he says, “That’s the only suggestion I have.”

“Well I love the name.”

“Me too, and you know what?”

I ask, “What?”

“The name also has a really nice meaning. It means desired.”

I smile, “She was desired, and I wanted her for a long time.” I say allowed, “Desiree Connor” There couldn’t have been a better name for her, I had been waiting for her for a long time.

Josh smiles and says, “It sounds good. Her nickname would be Des.”

We agree on it and finally I tell Josh, “You should go home and get some rest.”

“What if I don’t want to leave you?” He is still lying beside me in my hospital bed keeping me warm.
“Oh don’t be silly. I rather you go home and relax in a nice warm bed instead of that hospital chair and you can come visit us in the morning.” I glance over at the outdated nineties pastel pink chair in the corner.

I twist his arm and finally he heads out. It is for the best. I rather one of us be fully rested than having the two of us being tired when we all get the okay to check out of the hospital.

It is getting to that time where I need to go feed her and before I head over to the nursery I pick my phone up and message Devon to say, “She was born just before noon today. Her name is Desiree.” I click send.

It is late when I get around to sending Devon the text and I don’t expect a reply back from him to be received until tomorrow but just as I get out of bed and put on some pajama pants before heading down the nursery his reply flashes on my screen.

He writes, “Congratulations Jordan, that is wonderful news and you two picked a great name. How are you doing?”

I pause standing beside the hospital bed, picking up my phone again and replying, “I am good, sore, but having her here was totally worth it.”

He sends me a smile face and writes, “I can’t wait to see her. Well I guess that you are about to head to bed soon given the time.”

“Something like that; I had Josh and my parents over to visit earlier and Josh left for home to go get some rest and I am about to head to the nursery to feed her.”

“Okay, I will leave you be. Have a good night and give her a kiss for me.”

“I will good night Devon.”

Chapter 5
A Text to Devon

Today was alright, I did the usual, a bit of work, a bit of writing and a bit of helping Sara with her honey do list at the end of the day.

It’s late in the evening and I find myself on the couch relaxing beside Sara as she is totally wrapped up in her medical series show. Things have not been the greatest between us but today has been decent. I’m not really into her show but I watch it with her because it seems to make her happy.

Every day seems to get a little better with her. I glance at her while she watches her show and get the feeling of how things were before the cruise. Sara seems like she is okay. I mean she seems a little less pissed off at me. I hope we can get back to that point. I know it will take a while.

My phone vibrates in my pocket and I just know it has to be Jordan. I haven’t heard from her all day. I glance over at Sara who has not taken notice to the vibrating noise of my phone. I decide that it is safe and I get up from my spot.

Sara asks, “Are you heading upstairs?”

I say, “Yes, I need to go to the bathroom then get a drink. I’ll be back down in a few.”

She regards me for a moment, as though she is trying to scan me with her eyes to see if I am being honest with her but that look to her leaves her eyes as mine meets hers. It is like she is consciously trying to hide her doubts from me. I don’t react to it. Her efforts to try to keep her doubts concealed, I take as a sign that she wants this good streak that we are on to last.

She asks, “Can you bring me down a light beer?”

I nod and head upstairs, taking my phone out of my pocket once I am at the top of the stairs and out of sight. I glance at the screen, it is Jordan, just as I had thought and my momentum of walking to the restroom comes to a grinding halt as I process the message on the screen. She has had the baby. I knew it was going to happen soon but without warning it has happened, she is here, her little girl. A picture of the newborn flashes up on my screen.

She is beautiful, wow I don’t know what to say except some congratulations message to her, I press send but know that it doesn’t truly convey how I feel without actually being there. Our conversation is short as I know Jordan is tired and messaged me as a courtesy. We say goodbye and I just forgot what I was doing. Oh yah, ugh, washroom and Sara wants a beer.

I return to my spot next to Sara with her beer in hand. She takes the bottle, glances at it then back at me.

I ask, “What?”

“You brought be down one of your beers.”

“I’m sorry, your right. You wanted a light beer.”

She says, “It is okay I can drink yours if you don’t mind.”

I get up again and extend my arm to offer to take the beer back, “It’s okay, I don’t mind, it’s my fault, I can go get a light one for you.”

She hands the beer and I head upstairs.

Chapter 6
Into the Cool Winter Air

The next day after lunch hour Desiree and I get the approval from the doctor to go home. Josh meets us promptly with the SUV at the front door of the hospital ready to go.

It is a nice surprise that there is no one from the media to meet us on the front steps. Nobody tipped them off and these last couple of months I have remained out of the public and the nice thing is that the media has lost interest in the supposed scandals and have moved on to other gossip. I don’t mean to sound conceded but with other celebrity gossip the media usually follows births but who knows maybe this attention is all going to my head and I am not as popular as I had thought. Anyway I am just happy that there is no media here.

I place her in the car seat and sit with her in the back of our SUV. The drive home felt like the longest drive in the world. I glance at the land marks to gauge how far away we are from home. I think Josh is driving slower than he normally goes. I won’t ask, I understand why but in another breath I am anxious to show Desiree her home, her room, her things. I know it doesn’t make sense and I know she will never remember this day but I will and I can’t wait to have her home safe and sound where she belongs.

Before the fame and the riches we had purchased this SUV so it is still pretty new. We have started to enjoy the money coming in but we have also been smart with our spending. We needed the new home, mainly for the security and for the privacy but as for our cars we have yet to upgrade them. They are not extravagant, they are just modern nice cars and to be honest I love my SUV.

Desiree is just a little sweetheart. I catch her looking at me as we drive and I let her grip my finger and it's not long after, her eyes close and she is fast asleep.

I can tell that Josh is nervous because he isn't speeding so much and is very gentle with pressing too suddenly on the brakes. He glances into the rear view mirror at me and asks, "How is she?"

I speak to his reflected eyes in the mirror and say, "Asleep again."

He says, "I wish I could fall asleep that easily."

I laugh at him and say, "You do."

"No I don't!"

"Yes you do, your head hits the pillow and you are snoring within moments."

He looks into the rearview mirror back at me and sees my smile and replies "Sure Jordan" making sure that I see his reflection rolling his eyes at me.

It is true Josh sleeps like a baby while I toss and turn, struggling to fall asleep. Well I can't say that I struggle as much any more. Since I quit my job I stress less and do sleep easier although sometimes social media keeps me distracted in the later hours of the night, but looking at social media is a choice when struggling with stress wasn't.

We pull into our snowy drive and Josh keys in the security code for our gait and we move forward with the sound of the SUV’s tires making crunching sounds as they roll over the crisp snow.
This home of ours is just starting to feel like home and not just some super fancy hotel that we have been staying at and having Desiree here with us just makes that feeling stronger that this is where I belong, here and with her and Josh.

She starts to cry as we emerge from the car into the cool winter air and we are quick to get into the home. We have already gotten snow and this year will be a white Christmas.

"Ah baby girl it's okay, I know I hate the cold too." I set her carrier down on the tiled floor and quickly remove my coat and Josh does the same.

He asks, "Why do you think she is crying?"

"I'm not sure? Could be the cold or a diaper changing or feeding."

I pick her up and know. "It's her diaper."

I say to her, "Baby girl you are as stinky as your daddy."

Josh snaps back, "Hey, I think she takes after her mom in that department."

I take her up to the nursery and get her cleaned up on the change table. To my surprise Josh comes up to watch and I ask him, "Do you want to help?"

He shakes his head, "I think that you have it all under control." I roll my eyes at him.

I have changed diapers before when I was a teenager but I am out of practice and the tricky thing is keeping the heels of her tiny feet out of the mess. I put her into a fresh new sleeper.

The Christmas tree is lit up in our living room and I just sink into one of our recliners with Desiree in my arms. Josh does the same.

He asks, "So, what now?"

I laugh at him and say, "Oh I don't know." These last couple of days have been something else and now it's like everything is about Desiree and that is okay. I had things on my mind but with this new little girl around I had forgotten and now they are just popping up again.

I say to Josh, "I wanted to ask you something for a while but I kept forgetting. I just want you to know that I am not trying to start an argument it's just conversation, that's all."

"So go ahead." He says, still relaxing in the recliner.

"Well I am happy that you stopped working your part time job but what about your day job? I know it is good money but really you no longer need to work."

He sighs, "I know but it's not something I am ready to give up yet."


"Oh I don't know, I guess that I like the people I work with and the work that I do."

"When you head back to work you will miss out on Desiree."

He sighs again and I know that he doesn't want to talk about it. I continue, "Hey you know what? This isn't something that you need to decide on right now, it's up to you but maybe if you don't want to let go of your job just yet you can take like a leave without pay or something and that way you don't need to head back to work in February."

I see him relax a bit. I know that he likes his job and he says, "Yes that is an option. I can find out more and see if that is something my boss will let me do."

I smile that's the most I can ask of him. I know I can’t push too much with rebuilding our marriage.
I ask, "So changing subjects did we get all of our Christmas shopping done?"

He starts laughing, “You are kidding right? We still have our parents, each other and my niece.”
I sigh, “We should get something for them soon. What were your thoughts?”

“You know, my mom probably wants some gift card to a clothing store, my dad likely has a specific tool in mind as for our niece, I think she wanted some brand name items.”

"For my parents I have no idea. Well actually that's not true. I know it is the middle of winter but I was thinking of combining their gift and getting them a screened gazebo for their camper."

Josh smiles, "That is good."

"I know we talked about it before and we will keep the gifts reasonable to not up show anyone but I was thinking of maybe giving everyone an invitation to come vacation with us in Fiji in March?" I know that this doesn’t make complete sense and I am totally contradicting my statement of not up showing anyone with the gift exchange but in my head giving an invitation versus actually giving a gift is different.

"Who would you invite?" Josh asks.

"Both of our parents my brother and sister and your sister and her family. I figure we could do a formal invitation at Christmas and that gives them time to get their passports ready if they aren't already."

"I think that's a good plan. What about Howard Stem?"

"Oh he already knows that March is for me. He doesn't seem to have any events going on until the end of April anyway and even that I can decline if I needed to."

"Well you are the boss." He says.

I chuckle, "Wow I don't think that I have ever heard you admit to that."

"Oh don't get used to it." He smirks.

"So when do we get their gifts?"

"Well you have already forgotten. The nurses said to take it easy for the next month so tomorrow I can go and get it done while you stay home. I just need a list."

"Okay well, your siblings are done and so is my sister. Our niece, get a gift card to that store she likes. There is no sense in picking something out for her only to have her return it. Your mom do the same, she likes to shop, so pick up a gift card to her favorite department store. Your dad get him a nice power tool and my parents pick up a gazebo. Maybe try to do beige to avoid the fading of the sun and try to go with a 12 foot one."

"Do you need wrapping paper and cards and stuff?"

"Yes actually I haven't seen our crafts stuff since we moved. Pick up some rolls of wrapping paper, tape and Christmas cards."

He asks me, "Should we get each other a gift?"

I smile and say, "Sure but what I had in mind I think that you wouldn't want it to be a surprise."
Josh asks, "You are getting us a 4 wheeler aren't you?"

"You will need to wait and see."

"So do I get something for you to open?"

"No, what I am getting will be a gift to the both of us and besides you are on board with going to Fiji and that makes me happy." Josh prefers to be a home body.

Desiree starts to nudge and fuss and I know that it is time to feed.

Chapter 7
Go From There

In the seven years that I have been married to Josh and have owned a home, this is the first year that we are actually hosting Christmas. Well sort of my mom and mother in law have taken care of organizing Christmas dinner at our home. In the days leading up to the big day Josh and I have decorated our home in the spirit of the holidays, white lights, vanilla candles. Stuffed snowmen, a nativity scene. A Christmas tree in the living room and wreath on the front door of our home. Josh even made a special trip to the hardware store to buy extra decorations because our home is much larger than our other home.

I am starting to get my strength back and enjoy the activity and Desiree is a good little baby and is often not far, just laying in her baby rocker either watching us or sleeping.

Truth be told I haven't talked to Devon since the brief text when I told him the Desiree was born. I don't even know what his plans are for Christmas. For all I know he could be visiting his brother and his family in up state New York, which would mean that he is just a few hours away of driving from me. I curl up on our new plush corduroy couch and decide to send him some texts.

As a matter of fact I can't believe how awful I have been in that I didn't event show him a picture of Desiree. I send him a message, "Hey Mister, wishing you and your family happy holidays and I meant to share with you earlier but I guess you know how it goes with being a new parent."

The next text is a picture of Desiree, just that cute little chubby cheeked girl, with her dark brown straight hair and those blue eyes that are barely open. I send it to him and see something in her that I hadn't noticed before, the shape of her eyes aren't mine but the color is. I don't know if my donor had a different shape then my own but the shape of her eyes look like Devon's, well a mix of our eyes.
He responds within seconds with a smiley face then he types, "Ain't she something. Wow she is beautiful Jordan."

"Thank you."

He continues to write, "I can't get over how much she looks like my brothers kids when they were that age."

He is convinced and I don't know if I am yet to be honest. I says to him, "Do you see yourself in her?"

There is a moment of pause before the response comes in, "It's hard to tell. She is still a newborn but I'm not going to lie she does look identical of my brother’s children when they were newborns."
"She is such a good little baby Devon. I meant to message you sooner but life sort of got in the way."
He says, "That's okay, I rather you take all the time that you need to take care of that little angel."
I send him a smile and say, "So, what are your plans for the holidays?"

"Well, Sara wanted to visit her family near New Jersey and I am actually texting you from my brothers home in upstate New York."

"You are so close. You know, if you wanted to come a little further and visit you are more than welcome and Sara is invited too." Sara never really forgave me and I don't blame her. She seems to be working towards forgiveness with Devon and that's okay and her and Josh continue to get along good. Just because I and her clash doesn't mean that I will deny her from visiting with Devon and getting to catch up with Josh.

"Let me see what I can do. Sara is in New Jersey for a few weeks so it would just be me if I did go. Let me get back to you on that."

"Sure, I just want to say that I meant to share with you sooner and don't feel like you need an invitation. Whenever you want to just send a message to me and we can go from there."

"Thanks Jordan, I really appreciate that and wow she is a beautiful little thing. Well I have to go for now and we can talk later."

"Okay bye Devon."


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