Chapter Twenty-Four

When Warren and Wendy brought baby Rainey home from the hospital, they got a special surprise. Brian and Kristin were in their apartment with pink balloons, white streamers, and an adorable heart-shaped cake with Rainey's name written on it in purple frosting. There were gifts to welcome the new baby home. "Since you didn't get to have a baby shower, all your friends and family brought over gifts for the baby. Personally, I loved shopping for those little pink diapers," said Kristin when she saw Warren and Wendy's expressions of amazement.

"Ohhh wow, this is so incredible," Wendy said as she saw the gifts piled up on in the living room. "I sure hope someone got something purple for her."

"Ohhh yeah, I did," said Kristin. "I know how you and Warren love purple, so I found her this ever-so-cute purple dress with ruffles. Your mom went all out though. She got Rainey an outfit for every day of the week, possibly more."

Warren passed Brian a cigar that said, "It's a girl" after he set Rainey's baby carrier down on the coffee table so that everyone could get a good look at the sleeping baby girl. Kristin commented on how serene her niece appeared to be.

"The cake looks good," Warren commented. "Did you make it Brian?"

Brian laughed. "No, Kristin ordered it."

"I love it," Wendy said as she hugged her sister-in-law so tight. "Thank you so much... for everything. You've made Rainey's homecoming so special."

Brian and Kristin oooed and awwed over the precious baby girl, then Kristin said, "Well, Brian and I will be going so you can get all settled in with the baby. We are so happy for you."

Kristin hugged Warren and kissed his cheek. She looked deep into her brother's eyes. "If you need me for anything, just let me know," she said as she knew that soon Warren would have to come clean with Wendy about Suzi's pregnancy. She couldn't help but worry.

"See ya, Sis," Brian said as he wrapped his arms around Wendy. "Remember I love you."

"You two act as if you're going away for a year or something," Wendy commented.

Kristin laughed almost nervously, then she and Brian left. "The cake, presents, and balloons are so nice, but they were acting a little strange; don't you think, Warren?"

Warren shrugged. "Who knows. Maybe they were horny and wanted to hurry home."

Wendy slapped his arm and gave him a playful glare. "Are you going to help me open all these gifts or what?" she asked.

"Sure," he said. "Then we can dig into that cake."

Wendy laughed. "Yes, that cake looks so delicious. Dang! We should have had Kristin snap a few pictures."

"I'm sure she did. She never leaves home without her camera."

Warren sat down in front of the pile of gifts. He handed one to Wendy. "It's from your mother."

He grabbed one from Kristin and began tearing into the teddy bear wrapping paper. It was a package of pink newborn diapers. "Pink?" Warren said. "She's only going to poop and pee in these. What does it matter what color they are?"

Wendy said, "Because they're cute." Wendy opened the present from Stephanie. It was a lovely baby dress made of lace and white satin.

"Ohhh gosh!" Wendy gasped.

"Rainey's not getting married ... and she better not until she's in her 20s if not older," Warren said when he saw the dress.

"Ohhh Warren. I think it's adorable."

They made comments as they opened the rest of the gifts. There were a few from Brian, Kristin, and Wendy's friends. Most were from Stephanie. Rainey clearly had an outfit now for at least the first six months of her life. "We have a lot of baby clothes," Warren commented.

"Yeah, I read babies spit up a lot, so she'll probably need a lot of outfits."

"Not our daughter. She's too much of a lady to spit."

Wendy laughed. He looked into the baby carrier at their sweet little girl. She was sleeping so soundly, but he longed to hold her. He reached inside, undid the straps, and took Rainey in his arms. She didn't even wake up.

"Warren," Wendy protested. "What are you...?"

"I have to go back to work in a week. I want to hold her and spend all the time with her that I can," Warren stated.

He had a deadline. Stephanie had given him one week to tell Wendy the news about Suzi's baby's paternity. After that, Stephanie would step in and tell Wendy herself. Warren knew it would be a disaster either way. He was dreading unloading the huge secret onto Wendy, but he knew that he must. For now, he'd savor every peaceful moment that remained with his wife and daughter. After he told Wendy, she might explode. No, he knew she WOULD combust. He knew her well enough to know that her temper rivaled his. He just hoped she would somehow forgive him.

He had Stephanie breathing down his throat. She kept insisting he tell Wendy ASAP. He knew the news must come from him and no one else. He also knew he was going to be agony if Wendy threw him out.

Holding Rainey close in his arms, he kissed her tiny head. Wendy watched as Warren bonded with their daughter. He looked so content, but there was something more. Warren seemed incredibly sad.

Wendy placed the baby gifts aside. She wanted to ask him, but she was afraid. What would his answer be? She had questions, but she dreaded them.

Rainey whimpered and Warren tenderly soothed her, comforting her with soft words. He was amazing with their daughter. It made Wendy's heart ache.

"Warren," Wendy said softly. "I - I think we need to talk..."

"About what?" Warren asked as he looked into her eyes. All of his muscles tensed.

She nearly spoke, but he said, "I am gonna lay Rainey down in her cradle so she can sleep. I will be right back."

Warren walked into the bedroom and tucked Rainey into her little bed, staring down at his perfect baby girl. *Please don't let me lose them,* he silently begged. *I love Wendy and Rainey so much. I don't think I could live without them.*

His eyes welled up with tears, but he breathed in so deep, hoping he could hide them from Wendy. When she said she wanted to talk, he became anxious. Was she suspicious? Did she want to talk about Suzi's baby?

He came back into the living room where Wendy was resting on the couch. "Okay," he said, trying to act nonchalant. "What would you like to talk about?"

"Warren, how many more children would you like to have?" she asked softly.

"I don't know, honey, but I was thinking three kids would probably be perfect."

She smiled. "That's what I want, too." It seemed like they were always on the same wave length. Their hearts were a perfect mach.

"Is that what you wanted to talk about?"

She shook her head. "No, not really. Warren, I know something's wrong. You keep denying it, but I know."

"What are you talking about?"

"Do you remember when we were in your office in the club and I told you I was pregnant?"

Warren nodded. "Yeah. How could I possibly forget?"

"Do you remember what I said?"

He gave her a questioning look.

"I said, 'I'm having your baby ~ Warren Carter Junior. I am hoping that someday we do have a boy. Warren, a man like you needs a son."

"Wendy-."

"Don't deny it. I can tell that you're upset -."

"No, I love our daughter. I wouldn't trade her for anything. She's absolutely perfect," Warren stated. "If we have a son one day that would be wonderful, too, but if we have three girls, I will be the happiest man alive. They'll be ours and that's all that matters."

Wendy's hormones were in turmoil. She burst into tears as Warren held her. "Sweetheart, you know I am not disappointed," he said as he kissed her hair. "I love you and I love Rainey. I can't even express just how much."

"Do you mean it, Warren?"

He broke their hug so he could look into her tear-filled eyes. "There's nothing more that I need. I'd be lost without you and our little girl."

"Ohhh Warren," she said as she felt the hot tears sliding down her cheeks. "I was just so sure we were having a boy."

Tenderly Warren wiped away Wendy's tears and kissed her. "And all along I had a feeling we were having a girl. Rainey ~ she'll always be the best and greatest part of me."

"Me, too," Wendy said.

"We should have some of that cake now, before our daughter wakes up and wants to be fed."

"Okay," Wendy said with a little laugh. "Life with a baby is going to be so filled with excitement."

"The best kind," Warren promised.