"Mr. Parnell?" Libby ascended the steps, managing a smile.
"Why are you being so formal?" Jordan laughed, moving closer. "Did you change your mind about that role? It's already cast, ya know."
She pursed her lips, shaking her head, "No. I don't think so. I just wanted to come down and thank you for being so nice to Paige and casting her."
He nodded, "You're welcome. I still say-"
"Why did you cast her?" she pressed.
He blinked, leaning against the high-backed armchair on set, "Why did I c- Because I think she'll do very well in the play and she performed-"
"Terribly," she supplied. "She bombed her audition. She can't sing. I heard six other girls perform and all sang better. So I was wondering if you maybe had..." She looked away, mumbling the last part, "ulteriormotives."
"Ulterior motives?" he echoed, almost laughing. He moved his hands in circles as he moved closer to where she was leaning against the grand piano, "You're accusing me of having ulterior motives?"
She looked away – stupid Gina. Why did she ever listen to her sister? "I feel foolish enough even coming here," she sighed, "You don't have to make me feel worse."
"Hey, I'm glad you did. I just want to know what took you so long," he returned. And when she looked up, he was looking at her the way he'd always looked at her – with that same, inviting sparkle he had at Paige's audition and when he'd surprised her at the house and all those years ago. "When I dropped by, you. Said. You'd. Call," he reminded, speaking deliberately.
She clucked her tongue, looking down at her rounded stomach, "Well, I've been a little busy these days."
And she wasn't sure she could trust herself around him. She never had been able to – they'd almost missed curtain in West Side Story fooling around backstage.
"That's not why you didn't call," he accused, smiling in his ever-charming way.
She pursed her lips, moving one hand to her hip, "How do you know?"
… Gina had been right about Jordan's being a flirt. He brought it out in her too. It was him. Him and their history.
Him and their history and his jeans hugging his legs. And his ass.
Him and their history and his ass in those tight jeans and his firm body that she'd love to -
"Because I know Libby Giordano," he returned, adding, "When she says she's gonna do something, she does it."
He was right. … But she'd said she wasn't going to see him, and then she'd accompanied Paige and now here she was.
This was a mistake. She should leave. She'd been laughed at about Paige and his fictional 'ulterior motives,' which was answer enough about them. So she should leave before his firm body broke her resolve.
"I haven't done a lot of things I said I was gonna do," she returned, tipping her head up.
Oh, like him. Like tame him and get him down the aisle and bear his children.
She faltered, afraid he'd read the regret and desire in her eyes, before supplying, "Funny Girl, South Pacific, Guys and Dolls." She leaned both forearms against the piano, looking away from him.
He leaned as well, still watching her, "You've been raising a family."
She looked up again at that, "While you stuck to your dream. I admire you for that. … Envy is more like it." She looked back at her hands, he leaning his forearm against the piano now and mirroring her stance.
"Ah, what's to envy?" he started, "I lived in flea bag hotels for five years and did summer stock to empty houses."
She pursed her lips, knowing he was playing for sympathy, and finished for him, "Then starred on Broadway in.. I don't know how many musicals. … Now you're a director, married to a beautiful actress with a big house in the country."
"I didn't know you read the tabloids," he accused playfully, smiling.
"Only when you're in them," she confided, smirking.
"Thank God that's not too often," he teased.
She nodded, agreeing, "For both of us."
He flashed another winning smile at her, the silence lingering after her admission, before starting softly, "I've been lucky, Libby. I have a good career. Good friends..." He paused, she watching him almost hungrily, before continuing, "Good marriage. … You probably have a great one."
She looked away at that, claiming, "I've never stopped to rate it."
Not entirely true. She had, more and more often over the last year. Especially over the last several days since he'd shown up at her house.
"Look, Libby …" he stopped before admitting, "if I had a hidden agenda, it wasn't to get close to Paige. … It was to get to know you again." She looked to him, he stopping again before laughing as he continued, "I took this job in Glen Brook because I knew you lived here. … And I guess I always wondered what it'd be like to.. have a normal life."
"Whatever that is," she finished for him, smiling a bit before looking back to her hands.
He continued though, chipping away at her resolve, "I think about you, Libby."
She looked back, breathing, "I think about you too." She shrugged, smiling, and watched him out of the corner of her eyes as he looked back to his hands.
"I guess I just wanted to be sure that you were as happy as I... hoped you would be," he told her, watching her before deciding, "... It looks like you are."
She chewed her lip, nodding, "... For the most part."
He reached, gently tipping her chin up, "Not completely?" Her skin tingled where he touched her, her mouth opening a breath, before she closed her lips and swallowed. "Libby?"
"Yes, Jordan?" she breathed, her eyes rapt with interest as she watched his deep blue eyes flick from her own to her plump lips.
"Are you happy?" he asked softly, his thumb still holding her chin up as he started to lean down.
She closed her eyes, whimpering softly when his lips met hers in a gentle kiss. Exhaling, she reached and took his hand, squeezing it, "Jordan, I can't."
He smiled, kissing her lightly again before brushing his thumb along her hand, "But you do want to?"
"... More than you know," she breathed, opening her eyes.
He smiled, "Then you were thinking of me when you chose the audition song."
"You picked up on that, huh?" a smile tugged at the corners of her mouth.
"I hoped," he corrected, raising his hand and tracing her cheek with his finger before fondly running his thumb along her lower lip.
She parted her lips, her eyes closing again, and pressed and open-mouthed kiss to his thumb. She whimpered before holding her breath and tipping her head back when he leaned in and nosed past her dangling earring to press kisses along the side of her neck.
Her nails scratched the top of the baby grand, meeting no resistance, when his left hand found her hip, his right ghosting over her throat before brushing the tops of her breasts as he slowly worked the knot of the loose ascot. His mouth continued its slow torture at her throat, his lips and tongue teasing another low whimper out of her before stopping when she swallowed thickly again.
"Let's go somewhere private," he encouraged, moving his hand from her hip to grab hers.
"I really can't," she insisted, taking his hand anyway and looking around as he led her to one of the dressing rooms. "Jordan..."
He closed the door behind them, locking it and leading her to the vanity. "You can if you want," he reminded, leading her to sit on the vanity before pulling the ascot from her neck and dropping it beside her.
She gripped the edge of the vanity with one hand, the other curling around the back of his neck and pulling his mouth hard to hers with a whimper. "Why don't I know how to say 'no' to you?" she breathed against his lips before smoothing her hand down his neck.
"Because you've never wanted to," he returned, dropping his hand to her knee and smoothing his palm up her outer thigh under her dress. He tilted his head, kissing her neck again before murmuring in her ear, "You're beautiful, Libby."
She exhaled, releasing the vanity in favor of running her hand over her stomach, "I'm sure I'm not what you remember."
"Pregnancy agrees with you," he corrected, leaving a hand on her thigh but moving the other to her stomach. "You look beautiful."
This is what she was missing with Drew – this heat, feeling beautiful and wanted. Especially the last few months, he made her feel like she was an inconvenience or an incubator. But always big. Never beautiful or desirable. Her body had been on fire since sometime after she'd started her second trimester and he hadn't touched her once. Not really. Not the way Jordan was touching her now. They'd maybe gotten close that night Corky was supposed to see that concert with Paige, but everything had blown up.
And now Jordan was here and beautiful and his hand was gliding along her thigh that way and his lips and tongue were playing at her throat and she just wanted to feel. She wanted to be more than a huge, inconvenient incubator. She wanted to feel beautiful and wanted and sexy and to be touched and to feel like a person again.
She nodded, raising her hands and cupping his face as she kissed him hard before biting his lower lip. Releasing his lip, she panted hard before reaching and pushing blue button-up down his arms, he moving his arms and letting it fall to the floor. "Paige can never know," she told him, moving her hands again and untucking his t-shirt.
"She won't hear about it from me," he swore before kissing her again.
"I mean it. Not a soul," she insisted, her fingers finding his belt next and unbuckling it. She pulled it from the loops before dropping it. "I don't wanna read about this in the tabloids."
He nodded, kissing back by her ear again and earning a throaty gasp and fingers digging into his shoulder. "Not a soul," he echoed, his hand moving up from her stomach to graze her breast before popping the first button of her dress.
And then his mouth moved lower, his teeth grazing her collar bone before he was pressing kisses along the tops of her breasts. She swallowed thickly, arching her back as she moved her hands to the vanity again, grasping it.
"What do you want, Libby?" he asked, kissing along the lining of her bra where her breasts were straining for freedom.
She whimpered, raising a shaking hand to thread her fingers through his hair, "Oh, Jordan..."
His hand moved on her thigh again, brushing her stomach as his fingers skirted along the top of her thigh, and then his fingers were teasing her inner thigh.
Biting her lip, she shifted on the vanity, spreading her legs as she let her head fall back. He smiled as he kissed the spot between her breasts, "Oh... That's what you want?"
"Yes," she breathed, nodding eagerly as she fisted her fingers in his hair and pulled his mouth back up to hers. His fingers moved higher, teasing her though damp cotton, and she bit his lower lip again as she let out a low moan.
"You've gotten impatient," he accused playfully when she released his lip again. She ignored him, pulling his shirt up in fistfuls before forcing his hand from between her legs as she pulled it over his head. "Very impatient," he laughed.
She grabbed his right wrist, leading his hand between her legs again as she nodded, offering, "You can thank motherhood for that."
He withdrew his hand, kissing her again as he moved both to undo another button on her dress, reminding, "No kids here, Libby." He leaned down, kissing above her breasts again as he popped another button. And then he lowered his mouth, kissing along the swell of her stomach as he undid the final button. He pushed her dress open, smoothing his palms along her stomach as he continued pressing open-mouthed kisses down her abdomen.
"Kiss me," she pleaded lowly, cupping his face in her hands and pulling him back up to her level. She crooned into his mouth when he did, his tongue teasing hers as he ran his hand back up her stomach before cupping her breast. Tilting her head, she kissed him eagerly, one of her hands stroking his throat and cupping the back of his neck as she ran the other down his chest. "Oh, God," she murmured, speaking against his lips, "You feel so good." She traced her fingers down his chest, marveling at the firm muscles, before back up to trace over his pectoral.
He pushed the sleeves of her dress down her arms before cupping her cheeks as he kissed her again. And then his hand were ghosting teasingly down her neck and over her shoulders before moving lower, tentatively cupping her breasts.
"Don't be so shy," she told him, raising her hands to cover his and show him how to work the plump flesh before tipping her head back as she groaned in response.
The last thing she wanted was to be reminded of her husband right now – of Drew, who seemed afraid to touch her like this. She didn't want Jordan to be afraid too; she wanted him as he always had been – powerful, in control, unafraid, seductive.
She lowered her hands, arching her back, and he rewarded her by leaning to kiss the freckled expanse of soft skin above her breasts. His mouth skated lower, moving over her left breast as his right hand fell back to her thigh.
"I'm never shy," he murmured against her breast before teasingly biting her through the lace-covered cotton, she letting out a whimper and trying to close her thighs around his hand. "Don't tell me you're all ready to go already," he teased, reminding, "We used to spend nearly an hour at foreplay."
She swallowed before licking her lips, managing, "Pr-pregnancy."
He chuckled, trailing his fingers along the damp cotton between her thighs, "Is that part of the package deal?"
She nodded breathlessly before tipping her head back and gasping when he pressed harder as he teased her through her underwear. "Oh, Jordan," she panted before mewling. Licking her lips, she moved a hand to the back of his neck again, pulling his mouth harder against her chest.
"You like that?" he asked, nipping lightly through her bra before pulling the strap of her bra down from each shoulder.
"Mmm," she nodded, nearly singing her pleasure. She reached behind herself, popping the clasp of her bra before letting him pull it from her heaving form.
He kissed a trail over her left breast before his lips and tongue found the hard bud, she crooning when he teased it as his left thumb glided along the nipple of her right breast. "You're so beautiful, Libby," he murmured.
She combed her fingers through his hair before chewing her lip, "Please." He kissed up her throat again before kissing her mouth as he slipped his fingers past her underwear, she crooning. "Oh, God..."
"Like this?" he asked lowly, slipping two fingers into her. "You're so wet."
She tried to close her legs again, mewling through pants as she nodded, "Ahh.. Y-yes. There- that's – ohhh..." She let out a low sound of disapproval when he withdrew his fingers.
"Push up," he whispered, curling his fingers in the elastic of her underwear.
She moved her hands beside her, pushing herself up obediently and letting him pull her underwear down her legs. He moved her dress out of the way too, she shivering when she lowered herself to the cool surface of the vanity. She reached, unbuttoning his pants and working the zipper down before he stopped her, guiding her hands behind her head to grip the mirror.
"Patience." He kissed her mouth, smirking, before kissing down her neck again. His mouth moved lower, teasing her breast and then ghosting over her stomach as he gently pushed her so she was leaning back. He lowered his hands to pull her knees apart, his lips and tongue still trailing kisses down her stomach.
She watched him kiss lower over her exposed stomach, his palms caressing her thighs, before her eyelids flickered and closed, her head tipping back as she let out a deep groan. Her fingers curled around the top of the mirror, she arching as his tongue rapidly flicked over her clit. "Ohhhh- Jord- mmmm.."
He ran his hand along her outer thigh before gently cupping her ass and pulling her forward a bit, leaving her leaning so just her shoulders and head were against the mirror. He smoothed his right hand along her inner thigh, his touch light and teasing, before his fingers invaded her deliciously – two of them first, then three, thrusting into her below his skilled tongue and making her tremble.
She panted, nails scraping the mirror before reaching her own shoulder and then clawing down her shoulder and to her breast, which she started working roughly as she nodded eagerly. Her thighs started bouncing, threatening to close, as she panted and moaned her pleasure. She ran one hand over her stomach before gripping his hair as he continued licking and sucking her clit.
"Come on, Libby," he breathed, encouraging, "Let go for me."
"Ohhh- ahh-ah-ah- yes!" she managed, moans slipping out between desperate whimpers. "Just- oh, God- y-yeah-th-ohh!" She threw her head back against the mirror as she climaxed, his tongue lapping between her thighs as she panted deliriously. "You- you're … very good at that. ... Then again, you always were."
Smiling, he kissed up her stomach again, licking her throat before kissing her mouth. "You're easier when pregnant," he accused, teasing, "I used to be down there so long my jaw would go numb. I think once it took so long my tongue cramped and you were reading your lines while your knees were hooked over my shoulders."
She nudged him, breathing a laugh, "I was not. You exaggerate."
"I don't know," he continued, "I'm pretty sure you memorized half your lines as Maria while I was down there."
She swatted at his shoulder before curling her arm around his neck, "I did not." Tilting her head slightly, she kissed him again, crowing into his mouth, before smoothing her hands down his back and pushing at the waistband of his pants.
Laughing into her mouth, he indulgently kicked his shoes and then pants from his ankles, where they'd fallen in a heap with her insistence. "Alright, Libby; give me a minute or I'll trip," he warned, pulling away to fully remove the clothing.
"All done?" she asked, watching him hungrily and licking her lips. He nodded, stepping closer again before she pushed at his shoulders and moved off the vanity. "Sit," she instructed, a hand on either of his shoulders as she led him into the chair.
He shook his head, getting up before turning her around to face the mirror, "In a minute. This way first." He led her hands to the edge of the vanity before smoothing his palms up her arms to her shoulders, she shivering and then cooing as he gently massaged her shoulders. "Oh, so tense! Pregnancy?"
She snorted, tipping her chin to her chest, correcting, "Motherhood."
He ran his hands down her back before gripping her hips as he pressed his chest to her bare back, murmuring, "Spread your legs." Shivering, she complied, her knuckles shining white around the edge of the vanity as she tensed in anticipation.
"Wait," she breathed, his hand already brushing her thigh as he moved to guide his length into her. She moved her left hand to support her weight against the vanity, dropping to her forearm instead and reaching behind herself with her right, whispering, "I wanna help." She curled her fingers around his length, closing her eyes at the feel of him, "Oh, God; Jordan..."
He kissed the back of her neck before trailing kisses to her ear, teasing, "Oh, I guess that husband of yours is barely more than a handful, then."
She swallowed, opening her eyes to find his in their reflections, and admitted, "More that Drew's barely touched me since he found out I'm pregnant."
His features changed in the mirror, then, a degree of pity in his cool eyes, before he kissed the back of her neck again and guided himself into her wet heat with her help. She dropped her chin to her chest again, moving her hand to his hip as he rocked his hips against her. Breathing thickly against her ear, he took her hand in his, leading it back to the edge of the vanity. "You're beautiful," he offered, instructing, "Lean up on your hands, Libby. I want to see you."
"Mmm, Jordan," she whimpered, swallowing before obediently moving from her forearm to support her weight with her hands, her arms shoulder-width apart. "Oh- mmmmmm – God, yes.."
"That's it," he encouraged, sucking at her throat as he watched her reflection – her breasts swaying with each of his thrusts as she rocked her hips back to meet his. "Look," he murmured, waiting until she opened her eyes and found his in the mirror. He left one hand at her hip, the other moving to smooth over her stomach – her dark eyes following the movement of his hand in the mirror – before groping her breast, his thumb and forefinger working the hard, dusk-rose bud. And she squeezed her eyes shut again, her moans almost musical as she expressed her pleasure. He shook his head, nipping at her earlobe by her earring, "No; watch. You're beautiful."
Her thighs trembled, she emitting choked groans, and she rocked her hips back hard against his, tipping her head back against his shoulder, "Oh, God, Jordan... Y-you feel amazing. Ooohh..."
He kissed across the back of her neck before nudging her head up to kiss the other side of her neck, murmuring, "I want you to watch how beautiful you are." She forced her eyes open, letting out a thick breath as her eyes magnetized to his hand in their reflection – his hand left her breast, softly grazing her stomach, before dipping between her thighs.
"Ohh, Jordan," she mewled, her limbs shaking as her eyes closed again. "Oh, God – I-I can't... ohhh..."
He shushed her softly, his first two fingers circling her clit and making her sob as she climaxed again. "You're absolutely beautiful," he cooed, curling his arm under her breasts as she nearly collapsed.
"Oh, my God," she panted, dropping her head so her chin was pressed against her chest.
He reached behind them to tug the chair closer before kissing her neck again. Walking backward, he pulled her with him before sitting and gently tugging her into his lap – his thighs pressed together so that she could comfortably straddle him. "I'm sorry he hasn't touched you like this," he offered softly, watching her in the mirror as he gently shifted her so he could guide his length back into her, "but I'm so glad you're letting me."
She mewled, extending one hand to grip the vanity again as the other reached to play with his hair as he kissed the side of her neck, "Oh, Jordan... That- ohhh..."
"Come on, Libby," he murmured. He moved his hands to her thighs, guiding her in riding him, and she groaned lowly in response. "That's it," he encouraged, leaving his left hand under her thigh as his right glided up between her thighs again, teasing her clit.
"Oh, God- please!" she gasped, moving faster in response. She started to close her thighs before he shifted his own, forcing her to keep her legs splayed wide. She nearly cried, her voice choked as she gasped, "Ooohhh... God! Y-yes!"
He nodded, raising his left hand now that she was moving on her own, watching her reflection as she moved on him – her breasts bouncing enticingly, her head thrown back to his shoulder – "Do you like that, Libby? God, you feel amazing."
She crowed lowly, her body trembling and her knuckles white where she was gripping the edge of the vanity, "Oh- oh, God-oh, God-oh, God-oh, God-ohh! Yes! Th- ohhhh, Jordan!"
He started thrusting his hips up as well, growling lowly and moving his fingers faster against her clit as he watched their reflections.
"Ohh- please," she sobbed, panting and arching. "Pl- ohhhh- ahh-ahh-ah!"
His vision flashed as his body exploded with heat, releasing inside her, and forced himself to work his fingers harder in their concentrated circles between her thighs. She shivered, crying as she moaned and came in response.
Panting hard, she dropped her head against his shoulder and moved her hand to lazily stroke her stomach, "Oh, my God... That was incredible..." Swallowing, she blinked, looking to their reflection and smiling sleepily at him, "You were amazing."
He smiled, moving his hand from between her thighs to stroke her stomach as well before winking, "I think you were the one with ulterior motives."
She swatted his hand, breathing a laugh, "Oh, stop. I didn't plan this."
"I did," he breathed. "From the second you opened your door in that ridiculous pastel robe and I saw how you were glowing, I hoped to end this way."
She pursed her lips, accusing, "You're teasing me."
"No, honest," he swore, his crystal eyes shining, "I'm telling you, Libby, pregnancy agrees with you. …. Paige was just a means to an end – she's pretty and she can act, but she can't sing. But I knew casting her would get you back here."
"... Well, you do 'know Libby Giordano,'" she agreed, smiling a bit, before stroking his arm, "Help me up? You really did a number on me – my back is killing me."
He gently pulled out of her when she pushed up, moving his legs so she could close hers and stand. He smiled when she moved back to the vanity and sat down, her legs still trembling, "I really did do a number on you, didn't I?"
She nodded, smiling thinly and running her hand over her stomach, which was tightening. Exhaling purposefully, she grabbed her dress and shrugged it on before looking to him as he pulled his clothes on, "I think I left my purse on the piano. Can you get it for me?"
He started to nod, zipping his pants before pulling on his shoes and socks, "Sure. … H-hey, are you alright?"
"Fine just... I think I might be in labor," she confided, gritting her teeth before closing her eyes and exhaling as the – hopefully Braxton Hick – contraction passed.
A ride home, long shower, change of clothes, and dinner later, she was certain she was in labor. And she'd already stupidly sent away everyone who drove – Drew having left for his father's with her blessing because she'd foolishly assumed it was Braxton Hicks, Gina having taken Zoey to the movies, and Paige having left for the theater.
But she'd already called Jack and left a message for Gina on her answering machine. Paige was the only one left.
"Jord- Jordan!" she gasped when he answered the phone.
"Libby? Is that you? How're the … you know whats?" he pressed, speaking lowly.
Oh, she didn't have time for- "I did go into labor. I can't talk now. I need you to send Paige h-"
"Hold on a second," she breathed into the phone. Gritting her teeth, she waved Corky closer from where he was hovering in the doorway. "Cork? Cork, call a cab."
"Why?" he asked.
She rocked, holding her stomach with one hand and the phone in the other as she hissed through the pain – did she bother to explain that she'd been in labor for the last two hours? … Better not. "I just went into labor."
Eyes wide, he thundered heavily down the steps, she hearing her daughter's indignant, "Corky!"
"Hey, Tyler," Corky answered.
"What's the rush?" her daughter's boyfriend laughed.
Her own eyes went wide, she looking up – Tyler was here?! Well, screw the cab!
"Jordan? Send Paige to the hospital as soon as she gets there," she ordered.
"Wh- oh, my God, congratulations!" he chimed into the phone.
She nodded, grimacing, "Yeah, yeah. Thanks. Just send her."
"I will," he promised. "... I'm happy for you, Libby."
Grimacing, she hung up and pushed herself off the bed with a groan, one hand on her stomach as she slowly made her way to the top of the stairs. She gripped her stomach with one hand and the railing with the other as she started down.
… Not quite how she'd pictured her ride to the hospital or how the kids pictured their prom, but they'd all have to adapt.
She panted, Drew unhelpfully stroking the side of her head before she inhaled and gripped the side of the bed, groaning through a push. "C'mon. That's it!"
"You're almost there – you're almost there," the young doctor repeated, "I can see its head!"
She let out a guttural wail of pain, Drew encouraging, "A little bit more! Just a little bit more! Come on!"
Her eyes were wide when she looked to her husband, arguing, "I can't push any harder!"
"Yes," her husband soothed, "Yes, you can. Yeah; come on. Push!"
"Here it is; here it comes!" the doctor chimed excitedly.
She squeezed her husband's hand hard, bearing down as her mouth opened in a silent scream. Her husband's voice was choked in pained compensation, "Push! Come on!"
A tiny voice's crying filled her ears, telling her she was finally done, and she looked to the doctor as she gasped, her husband announcing, "It's a boy!"
"I'm supposed to say that," the young doctor joked. "Oh, it's a beautiful baby boy."
Still panting and clutching her husband's hand, she near sang, "Oh, let me hold 'im!" The doctor passed her baby – he already clean and the cord cut – to a nurse to be wrapped up before they finally passed him to her, she clutching him to her chest as she agreed, "Oh, he is! Oh, Drew..." He pressed a kiss to her temple. Cooing, she ran her baby's cheek with her fingertips lightly.
"I'm gonna get the kids," Drew told her, running his finger along their new son's arm.
"Okay, well, we still have to get pushy – she has to deliver the placenta," her doctor reminded.
Her husband looked to her, "Oh, right. Do you want me to wait? I can wait with you and little Jake until you're done."
She waved her hand, "G'head, hunny." He was gone before she looked up as she realized what he'd said, "Wh- Jake? That's not his name." She looked to the nurse and doctor, "That's not his name. My baby isn't named Jake. We didn't agree to that – he'd suggested it, but I didn't agree!"
Her doctor shook his head, promising, "Well, we won't put it on the birth certificate until you both agree."
"Why does he have to agree?" she pouted. "He didn't carry him for nine months. I did that."
"You're getting pushy," the boy told her, she glaring before he amended, "I mean, you need to be. To deliver the placenta. It looks like you're ready."
She continued bouncing her new son – Nicky – before reaching with one hand to grab the side of the bed, pushing to expel the placenta.
Practically before she knew it, she'd delivered the placenta and was sitting in the bed, her left leg bent and up so she could lean her elbow against it and show off her new baby to her recently arrived family.
"Oh, my God. I see Dad's nose," Paige decided, pointing.
"Better Drew than Pop," Gina returned, snorting and hugging Zoey's shoulders.
"He has Corky's eyes," her daughter pointed as well.
She giggled, looking to Paige, "Oh, I think he looks like you!"
"Can I hold him?!" Zoey tried.
She crowed her approval when a nurse brought in flowers, "Oo, aren't they gorgeous!?" Gina took the vase, holding it for her as she took the card and cooed, "Oh, Drew, thank you."
Her heart constricted with guilt – she'd cheated on him, on her sweet husband who'd thought of her and bought her flowers! She was a terrible person and he was -
Her husband shrugged, laughing, and returned, "I wish I'd thought of it."
A moron. And unthoughtful moron.
Yes, she'd cheated on her husband and she felt absolutely terrible about it – it was a stupid, crazy, impulsive mistake and she regretted it – but it's not like he seemed to notice anything or care. He'd seen her go into labor twice before – not to mention seeing Catherine go into labor as well – and he hadn't even thought to ask even though she'd been having contractions in front of him. And then she'd pushed his child out and gone through hell to do it and he'd nearly missed it! And that was the third one!
"Maybe they're from Jerry," Paige suggested, easily peering over Becca and Zoey to get a glimpse.
"That cheapskate?!" Gina reminded, the doubt clear in her voice.
Becca looked between her and Gina, suggesting, "Grandma and Grandpa?"
Zoey peered at the card, pressing, "Who are they from?"
Who even cared now? They weren't from her husband. He still didn't notice or care what she did.
Not that that made it right. She still felt sick over it.
She leaned Nicky against her breasts, forearm, and thigh, opening the card with both hands and reading, 'More than you know!'
She couldn't quite keep her lips from twisting up in a smile when she realized it.
But, oh, this was terrible. He couldn't do these things. He couldn't be sweet and thoughtful and all the things her husband wasn't. She couldn't deal with him being this way. Not when Drew wasn't.
"... An old friend from the past," she told her family, Gina smirking knowingly before their eyes met and she added, "The distant past." … Maybe not so distant, but she had to make it that way again. She handed the card to her sister, who smiled wider.
"C'mon, guys. Gimme a hand with these," her sister started.
"I'll get some water," Becca volunteered.
Drew moved closer, she craning her neck to meet his eyes, "Hunny, did I ever tell you how happy I am to have you for a husband?"
Because maybe he wasn't sweet or beautiful or passionate or … any of the things she'd loved in Jordan, but he was there. He was there for their family every day and he loved their family and he'd stood by her and her decision to keep Corky. Jordan, for as perfect and sweet and beautiful as he was, may not have chosen to stand by keeping a son with downs – many parents didn't, weren't as strong as she and Drew had been.
He chuckled, leaning down, "Maybe once or twice."
Odd; she hadn't really thought it until then. She'd thought about Jordan and, separately, she'd thought about how much she loved that Drew was a family man and father, but she'd never thought of herself as happy that Drew was her husband. But she did now.
"Drew, if I decide I wanna start acting again-" she started.
He moved a hand to her shoulder as he leaned closer, promising, "I'll be there to run lines with ya and bring you flowers on opening night."
Maybe he wasn't... the ideal lover or husband in many respects, but he was a good father and provider and partner for parenting their beautiful children. And he was supportive of her as well as their children. As much as Jordan was the ideal lover, she wasn't sure she could say the same for his parenting skills.
Nearly crying, her heart constricted with guilt, she offered, "We have a great relationship." She looked to their new baby, "Not a good one, a great one. Let's never let anything get in the way of that." It was more a reminder to herself – Jordan would still be in the area for two months and she couldn't go back. Jordan was right before and he needed to be again: when Libby Giordano says she's going to do something, she does it; and she had to do what she was saying now.
He kissed her lightly in agreement.