I did go to a doctor to confirm that I was pregnant and I was ecstatic to hear the doctor say yes. Xander and I met at the Treehouse, the art studio where we learning to paint. Xander was as happy as I was. He pulled me close for a hug and then stepped back.
Over Xander’s shoulder I saw Officer Justine Keaton and my heart sank. She had arrested Xander before and I thought she had followed him here to arrest him again. I approached her and tried to stay calm.
Baby: Officer Keaton, please, please don’t take Xander away. We are here celebrating our good news. Xander is going to be a Daddy and if you put him back in jail, I will have to go through this pregnancy alone. Please don’t separate us.
Justine: I’m not here to arrest Xander. I’m here to celebrate with him. He told me all about it today.
I knew Justine wasn’t corrupt like some cops in Sunset Valley. But at least she was now willing to look the other way, even though Xander had stepped up his criminal activity. When Xander guessed I was having his baby, he went to Grand Notorious and begged for a better position in the gang. Grand had grown to rely on Xander so he complied. My husband was now considered a Master Thief.
It was a good thing Xander was earning more money. Freya made it clear she did not want me anywhere near the Science Lab while I was pregnant. The chemicals and the radiation were risks to my developing child. Our company paid very little to women on maternity leave so Xander’s promotion came just in time.
We were going through a lot of changes. First of all, I laid down the law with Xander about some of his worst habits. No more all-night parties and no more spongebaths. Our baby was not going to grow up a wild thing.
I tried to keep up but I am a very slow reader. Each page took an eternity. Since I was home from work, I could spend plenty of time on one very thick book and eventually I got through it. I was startled when I looked at the pictures of an actual delivery. The woman in the photographs looked like she was in so much pain. I got a little scared.
The biggest change of all was me. Everything swelled up, my belly, my chest, my ankles and my appetite. I ate any and everything! I felt like a sea cow but Xander told me over and over again he thought I never looked more beautiful. He was very proud. He took me out so everyone could see his wife and impending child.
We had to build an addition onto the house for the baby’s room. Once again, I called the builders. While I watched them work, I thought of Clark Sauer and my evil deed. I didn’t want to think about evil things so I pushed that memory out of my mind. My child deserved only happy thoughts.
Xander went with me to all my doctor’s appointments. He listened carefully to all the advice and made sure I followed the doctor’s orders closely. Xander was especially excited about the ultrasound but we didn’t ask about the baby’s gender. We wanted to be surprised. The day Xander felt the baby kick for the first time, he went out and bought a soccer ball. He just knew our child was going to be a little athlete.
Suddenly I felt pain like I had never imagined before and I wasn’t so sure I was ready. Xander was at work, so I had to drive myself to the hospital. It was very hard to concentrate with the contractions coming so fast but I arrived safely. An orderly rushed to me with a wheelchair and then I was off to the delivery room. There was no time to call Xander.
What a surprise to see Xander when I finally emerged from the hospital. He was smiling but he also had tears welling up in his eyes. I had never seen Xander cry and I burst into tears as well. In my arms was our son, whom we named Handler Notorious. We whisked our little boy home and the next few weeks were a blur of diapers and feedings and honestly, quite a few more tears on my part.
One morning Freya called and asked if she could come to see Handler. I was so happy to hear from her. I was lonely at home and when Xander wasn’t around, I felt very uncertain. Motherhood seemed like more of a struggle than a joy. I knew it was wrong to feel that way but I couldn’t help it.
Freya: Oh, Handler is adorable! I know you and Xander are very happy. I wish Lorcus and I had a child…but we waited too long.
Did I really say such a horrid thing? Right in front of my baby? I ran into the bathroom and Freya ran after me. I was hysterical and she tried comforting me. I was so glad Xander wasn’t there. He would have been crushed. In a flood of words, I told Freya everything.
Baby: The whole house is falling apart! I have to call Xander constantly so he will come home and take care of everything. I just cannot cope.
Freya was right, Xander was home in a flash. While he puttered around the kitchen, fixing the broken dishwasher–it seemed to break every week–I laid in bed and stared at the ceiling. Handler started to cry but I felt paralyzed. Hearing Xander with the dishwasher reminded me of Clark Sauer again. I rolled over and buried my face in the pillow, my tears flowing freshly. I wasn’t just a terrible mother, I was a terrible person.
Xander stopped what he was doing and went into the nursery. I could hear the baby’s crying subside and as it did, so did mine. My husband spoke to our little child in a quiet, soothing voice. He was so good with Handler, thank goodness.
Walking into the nursery, I saw the most wondrous site: the two people I loved most in the world. Xander passed the baby over to me. Handler laughed and cooed in my arms. I leaned over him and whispered baby-talk in his ear.
Xander went back to the kitchen and returned with a bottle to feed Handler. Slowly the child’s eyelashes fluttered and his mouth went slack. He was nearly asleep. But when Xander laid Handler in his crib, our baby looked up at us with wide eyes and seemed to smile.
Freya was so kind. She offered to stay with Handler while Xander and I took some much-needed time off. We took a long walk around the lake. Then he stopped and pulled me into a tight embrace.
Xander: Don’t ever forget…Handler is my son. But you always be my Baby.