Her hips pressed against the cold porcelain of their bathroom sink, her eyes were drawn straight down towards the countertop. The many sounds of the night and the sound of the pounding in her chest filled her ears. Her fingers tapped the counter to the rhythm of the ticking timer beside her as an attempt to take her mind off her nausea and nerves.
A chin rested on her right shoulder, and two arms snaked around her middle with a loving yet firm squeeze. “You know staring at it isn’t going to make it go any faster, Poppins.”
“I know, I know. It’s just… I can’t stop looking at it,” Dani replied meekly. The floor creaked against Jamie’s black boots as she stepped back. She grabbed Dani’s hand and started out the door.
“Babe, come on. It’s only been two minutes. We’ll go sit. I’m afraid you’re gonna burn a hole through the sink by staring at it that much,” Jamie joked with a smirk as she pulled Dani out of the bathroom. Dani loosely followed her without ever removing her sight from the countertop.
“But… Jame… what if…” Dani began to protest as they made their way down the hall to the couch in their living room. Jamie faced her, placed her hands firmly on Dani’s shoulders, and sat her back onto the couch. She knelt in front of her, her knees immediately disapproving the hard surface of the floor under her. She let out the slightest groan as she repositioned while letting her hands fall down the route of Dani’s arms. It led to her palms where she placed her own atop hers.
“What if what Dani?” she asked in the same tone she always did when she wanted to express how deeply she cared and worried for her. Her eyes tried to keep track of the blue ones that kept darting nervously around every area of the room they were in. They seemed to look in every direction but Jamie’s because of the sheer embarrassment of having to repeat what she has always said every time they have had to go through this. Every time they would think they got so close, only to be disappointed again.
“What if it happens again Jamie?” she questioned after lots of hesitation. Her lips repeatedly parted as she visibly tried to find the words to follow that question, “I don’t think I can do it again Jamie…” her voice started to crack with her last couple of words. A crack that Jamie would stop at nothing to mend. She hated to see Dani cry. She saw too much of that over the years, and for some reason, it was the only thing she hadn’t mastered fixing. She could fix the busted pipe in their kitchen, or fix the cracks in the drywall, or find out just what was wrong with Dani’s dear, and very old, Volkwagen that seemed to always act up. However, no set of instructions or expertise could prevent the sadness that Dani possessed. Jamie could put a bit of plaster on it, but after time the plaster always leaked. Jamie promised herself she would stop at nothing to make sure Dani was happy, which meant repairing any rut she found herself in, including this one.
“You don’t know that,” she began a bit sternly. Dani squeezed her eyes shut and turned her head away. Jamie continued as she followed Dani’s gaze, “Hey, hey look at me, Poppins.” Dani did as requested and her blues fixed on the greens in front of her. Jamie gave her a small, reassuring smile. “This could be it, we don’t know – I mean we’ll know soon, but for right now I think we should just be optimistic about this.”
“But what if it happens again?” Dani asked, almost pleading. She needed Jamie to just tell her what she needed to hear. She needed Jamie to tell her that she was right, that this dream was just too good to ever be true. That this sixth time would be the same as the other five. That they would never have what they wanted. Instead, Jamie cupped Dani’s cheek and let her thumb brush away the little tear that escaped the corner of Dani’s eye.
“Well if it does then it does, and we try…”
Dani cut her off, “There won’t be any more trying Jamie. We’re getting older,” Dani said matter-of-factly, then she scoffed, “no I’m getting older. I’m almost 40, Jamie.”
“Not for a few more months,” Jamie reminded with a chuckle. She thought that would provide a bit more lightness in the air, but it did quite the opposite. Being reminded of her age, and the plummeting of all chances from that fact, caused Dani’s eyes to scrunch together to prevent oncoming tears. She took in the most frustrated, hitched breath, and with that, the tears began to violently well. She didn’t want to cry, it was a waste to cry over this, but her mind had other plans. Suddenly, the burning of the tears and the lump in her throat became too much to bear, so she began to softly cry. Her eyes fell to her lap, and her hands covered her face.
Jamie clicked her tongue against her teeth and gave a pitiful sigh. She quickly rose to sit beside Dani, and she let her fall into the comfort of her arms. She rested her chin on the top of Dani’s head as she hushed her and soothingly rubbed her hand up and down her arm. “I’m sorry. Hey it’s okay, it’s gonna be fine,” she whispered into Dani’s ear. She placed her lips against Dani’s temple to give it a kiss when a loud dinging interrupted her. Dani quickly peeled from Jamie’s arms and she whipped her head around to face the direction of the bathroom.
The loud timer sound startled Jamie and her hand was firmly placed against her chest in reaction. “Fucking hell,” she cursed. She mirrored Dani’s gaze towards the bathroom. “Well sitting here isn’t gonna do us any good, Poppins,” she said as she stood up, her head nodding towards the bathroom with a beckoning gesture. She grabbed Dani’s hand to pull her up, but she became dead weight. She shook her head, and Jamie looked at her confused. “You don’t want to see?”
“Jamie, I can’t. You go look, please,” she begged. Jamie just stared down at her, at the woman she loved so dearly. She couldn’t help but softly laugh at how nervous Dani was as expressed by her wide eyes and flushed face. She nodded her head and began to walk toward the bathroom. Dani watched her the whole way. Her thumb had reached her lips absentmindedly, and she began to nibble at the nail. Her knee bounced up and down anxiously. She kept her neck craned towards the door as she waited for any sign of emotion from Jamie. Come on Jamie, what is taking so long? Come on. She heard a subtle rustling of paper and a box. Dani’s heart started to race when she heard the slightest, “Blimey,” come from the bathroom. Jamie was surprised given the choice of words and tone of her voice. Dani pleaded with the universe that it meant whatever she saw was a good thing.
With one big step, Jamie emerged from the bathroom doorway, pivoting to face Dani’s direction. Her eyes were glassy as they peered down at the stick in her hands. She sniffled and let out a soft chuckle. “I reckon you were cryin’ for nothin’, Poppins,” she said as she took slow steps toward her wife. Her tear-filled eyes steadily looked up at Dani.
Dani’s lip trembled as she shook her head, “You’re joking, Jamie,” she said softly in disbelief. She turned around and settled her knees on the couch, her entire body facing Jamie. Jamie responded with a shake of her head and a shocked scoff as she looked back down at the stick. Dani launched herself over the back of the couch and hurried over to Jamie to look. Sure enough, two pink lines stared right back up at her. She snatched the test out of Jamie’s hands, holding it closer to her eyes so she could see it more clearly. She scurried to the bathroom to check the instructions to make sure two lines meant what she needed them to mean.
“Babe, I checked all of that alrea…” Before she could finish, Dani was already out of the bathroom and leaping into her arms. Jamie laughed with the most joy she had ever felt in her life. Dani did the same except it was paired with sobs. It was the only time Jamie was pleased to see and hear those sobs because they were only filled with relief and pure euphoria. Dani’s arms linked around Jamie’s neck, and Jamie held her around her waist.
“We’re having a baby, Jamie, a baby!” she exclaimed, as she looked deep into Jamie’s eyes. She grinned wide at her brown-haired wife before her, and Jamie could only muster a smile in return. She picked Dani up off the ground and spun her around which warranted a roaring laugh from her. Dani wrapped her legs around Jamie’s waist and leaned down to place a searing kiss on her lips. Jamie reciprocated, letting out little giggles into her lips.
Dani placed kisses on both of Jamie’s cheeks and kissed down her jaw before burying her face into the crook of her neck. Jamie’s hand settled on the back of Dani’s head, her fingers combing the long blond hair there. She whispered into Dani’s ear about how happy she was and just how much she loved her. With each phrase of affirmation, she couldn’t help but add a breathy, stunned, “A baby? My god, we’re having a baby.”
The tickle of Dani’s soft kisses and faint giggles into her neck began to die down, so Jamie carefully put Dani down and held her face within her hands. She placed another, gentle kiss on her lips and pulled back with the widest grin on her face.
“I guess I shouldn’t do that, spin you around like that anymore huh?” Jamie chuckled with a small sniffle. Dani replied with a laugh. Jamie just kept her eyes on Dani, and Dani kept hers on Jamie. Both of them began wiping at their eyes as they simply shared each other’s gazes. Jamie let the moment drag on just a bit longer because she couldn’t get over the way Dani looked before her. She had never seen her any happier than she was at that moment. Of course, that was understandable. With all of the trauma she had endured over the years and the corruption her body had to tolerate after their time in Bly, it was only expected for Dani to be met with the normalcy of exhaustion and misery.
But with the hard times, good times coexisted. They were in love, and they were devoted to one another. There were the good days like when they moved into the apartment in Vermont or opened the florist shop. Not to mention the day Dani buried the ring in the roots of the potted plant which sealed their commitment to one another. Or the one that ensured they’d be able to carry on with one another without time limiting them. It was the calm at the end of their storm. It happened a few years prior when at the end of the storm, Dani emerged with not a mismatched pair of eyes, but with those two blues that Jamie had grown to deeply long for. She was free of the Lady’s presence and it was only her left. But this moment was in no way comparable to those. Of course, this moment would cease to exist without the others, but this was the crescendo to end a symphony. Jamie and Dani would finally have what they had waited so long for.
Neither Jamie nor Dani had parents to look up to for reference. Dani had an absent mother and a dead father, and Jamie a deadbeat mother and a father who couldn’t care for them. Regardless, Dani adored the idea of motherhood. She surrounded herself with children whether it was becoming an au pair to care for Miles and Flora or being the best fourth-grade teacher in the city of Burlington. Add Jamie into the mix, and that sealed the deal for Dani. She wanted nothing more than to have a family with her. To have it be them and a child, and with that, the world would be theirs.
Despite this coveted ambition, Jamie was hesitant. The thought of having children was one that chilled her to the core. What if she was a horrible parent? What if she made all of the same mistakes her parents did? She would panic at the thought of disappointing Dani or being the cause of parting their family.
It took time and grueling bouts of encouragement from Dani, but by ‘97 she was on board. However, every agency came up with a list of excuses as to why they wouldn’t grant adoption to the couple, and if they tried to find loopholes they always turned up empty. So, their only option was one of them having the baby themselves. Dani immediately volunteered. Which led them to that very moment in the living room of their apartment. The moment that they got the news they had wished to hear over the last three years, they were going to be a family. A perfect one at that.
Jamie’s hands slid from Dani’s cheeks down to her hips where she let her thumbs draw circles over Dani’s stomach. Dani looked down and softly smiled. She placed her hands atop Jamie’s and let out a sweet, content sigh. Her glistening eyes admired the wonderment of Jamie’s gaze.
She expected Jamie to be happy, but she never imagined this level of elation from her. In fact, sometimes she found herself worrying that if it ever were to happen that it would scare Jamie off. She knew how skeptical Jamie was of her potential as a parent. But when it became their reality, Jamie was grounded by it all.
Jamie leaned down and kissed where her thumbs were. She straightened back out and took a step back. She looked around at their place and shook her head with a scoff as she teetered back and forth on her boots. She gazed at Dani from the corner of her eyes. Her lips curved into a simper and she gave Dani a wink. “I think we’re gonna need a bigger place, Poppins.”