Now, well into her second trimester of pregnancy, Alice felt that the time had come to tell the kids about the baby.
Hadron: Want me to call the boys and see if I can get them to come visit?
Alice: Sure. If they're busy though, you can just tell them over the phone.
Veda: Seamus Higgs? Telephone.
Seamus: I'll be right there.
Seamus naturally assumed that his dad was calling about his academic probation, and cringed when he heard his voice. He was a little surprised that he was just casually asking them to come visit over break.
Seamus: No, I can't go. I've gotta get my grades up before the end of the year.
Hadron: Well, I might as well just tell you then. Your mother is pregnant!
Seamus couldn't believe what he was hearing. It had to have been a mistake.
Seamus: Wait... what? I don't think I heard you right. Mom's having another baby?
Hadron filled Seamus in with all the details, but could sense a bit of restraint in his son's voice. He felt like he was getting nowhere fast.
Hadron: Alright. Is your brother there? Put him on the line.
Atlas was even more stunned than his brother.
Atlas: You're kidding me, right? Sorry, I... wow. I don't know what to say.
Hadron: Well, that didn't go as well as I had hoped.
Alice: They don't have to like it.
Married couples often give up a certain amount of privacy for the sake of convenience. While taking a moment to admire the new transparent shower curtain, something happened to catch Hadron's eye.
Hadron: Hmm, looks like that drain is starting to back up again.
Some people just don't give up, it's as if "no" wasn't in their vocabulary. Simon Brown happened be among those very people. Whether or not his intentions were pure was beside the point, he had proved time and time again that he was a douche bag.
Justin: You want me to meet you guys at Merlotte's? Only me? I don't think so.
Simon: Just give me a call if you change your mind.
Springtime in the mountains was even more unpredictable than at the cove. A late snowfall made for a very uneventful spring break.
Justin: Since you're probably just as sick of being cooped up in here as I am. Why don't we brave the weather and go grab a beer or something?
Atlas: Don't you think we've been drinking an awful lot lately?
Justin: What else is there to do?
Oblivious to Justin's desperation to get out, Atlas was more than content to stay inside where it was warm and cozy.
Atlas: It's too cold. I just wanna stay in and work on my game tonight.
Justin: You've been at it for days.
Atlas: So? It's not like I'll have any time for it after break.
Simon's offer was starting to sound better by the minute. Justin wasn't sure if that was such a hot idea, but he was starting to go stir-crazy. Besides, there would be others around, it wasn't like he was going to be alone with him.
Justin: Well, I think I'm going to head out myself then.
Atlas: Ok, I'll be here.
Justin found Simon waiting for him outside the diner, he appeared to be alone.
Justin: Are your friends inside getting a table?
Simon: Oh, they ditched me. Looks like it's just you and me tonight.
Simon: How about something hot and steamy to help take the chill off?
Justin couldn't think of any hot drinks off the top of his head, and ordered a Tom Collins. He took a quick look around at his surroundings, the place was dead.
Simon: Relax, no one's here. Quit acting so damn suspicious.
After settling in, Justin began to take newfound confidence in Simon, and unloaded all his troubles onto him.
Justin: God, he won't stop playing that damn game.
A light went off in Simon's head, he could use this information to his advantage.
Simon: You got married too young, plain and simple. It's time to move on.
As he said this, his hand found it's way over to Justin's.
Justin: Ok, that's it! I really shouldn't have come here.
Simon: Lighten up, will ya? Tell me though, isn't that the real reason why you decided to meet me here tonight?
Could it be true? Justin took a sip of water and thought about it for a second.
Justin: I should go.
Simon: Not without a kiss goodbye.
Justin: Are you fucking nuts? It's too risky.
Simon: Who's going to know? It's not like we haven't kissed before.
Justin: You're right. Screw it, why not.
Once again, Justin caved. Only this time he didn't resist.
They weren't alone though. While lip locked in a kiss, Lance Hartman emerged from the makeshift poker room. He made only a mental note, and continued on his way.
Lance: [silently] Eh, that's not right. I'm so not getting involved!
While they might not have noticed Lance, the place was starting to fill up. Neither Justin, nor Simon, wanted word getting around about this, and decided to call it a night.
Simon: He's so easy! Given the chance, I wonder how far he'd actually go?
A good chunk of time had passed, which concerned Atlas. He had been so engrossed in his game though, that he hardly remembered Justin even leaving, let alone bothering to ask his whereabouts.
Atlas: Where did you run off to anyway?
Justin: [agitated] Merlotte's
Justin: Hey, I tried to get you to go out earlier, but nooo! Someone was too wrapped up in their game.
Atlas: Hah, sorry. I get a little carried away sometimes.
Justin: Happens to the best of us. Kiss?
Atlas found Justin's lack of details a little disturbing, but he didn't want to entertain that thought for too long. After all, he had just spent countless hours in front of a computer screen, and probably wasn't the greatest conversationalist himself.
Justin felt conflicted as he watched his partner, the love of his life, lie sound asleep beside him. Until Simon, he had never so much as looked at anyone other than Atlas before, let alone kiss them. What exactly was the allure of Simon anyhow? The attention? The risk?
After school, Haddie was called upstairs. Haddie had caught on to Alice's growing belly, and had a hunch what this family meeting was about.
Hadron: You definitely seem to be feeling a lot better now.
Alice: I am. My energy is up, and I feel better than ever.
Haddie: I think I know what this is about. You're going to have a baby.
Haddie: I thought I was the baby.
Alice: You're right! Would you like to come with me to my doctor's appointment? They're going to do an ultrasound and take pictures of the baby.
Haddie: Will it be just a skeleton though?
Alice: It will have bones; but it'll also have organs, and skin, and stuff.
Haddie: Like the posters at the doctor's office?
Alice: Yeah, something like that.
Haddie: Can I... feel it?
Alice: Go ahead. The baby's been pretty active today, so you should be able to feel it moving around in there.
Unsure what to expect, Haddie lightly poked at her mother's stomach.
Haddie: I felt it, I felt it! I really did!
Alice: Good! Now, we should probably get going. We don't want to be late.
Hadron: I can't believe someone would cut in front of a pregnant woman like that!
Alice: Settle down. He's just holding the door open. He's trying to be nice.
At the appointment, they measured the bones to determine a tentative due date.
Alice: So, it looks like I'm due at the end of August. I'm not exactly looking forward to spending the entire summer pregnant.
Hadron: Want me to bring Haddie in now?
Haddie studied the monitor. Where was the skin, the hair, the eyes? It looked more like a weather forecast to her, than a baby.
Like an optical illusion, moments later, it suddenly became visible.
The baby now seemed more real to her, and it had become evident that things were going to change. Haddie stomped her feet in protest.
Haddie: Do you really have to have this stupid baby?
Alice was unfazed. Being on her fourth kid now, she'd heard it all before.
Alice: Boy! Doesn't that sound familiar?
Haddie: Can we go now?
Haddie's bottom lip started to quiver, and she bolted for the door.
Hadron: I'll go have a talk with her.
Alice: She's just like Atlas. She'll come around after the baby's born.
Haddie had made it as far as the front desk when she broke into tears.
Hadron: Haddie, care to tell me what that was all about?
Haddie: I don't want a new brother or sister.
Hadron: But, just think, you'll be able to play and teach it things. Remember when your brothers used to read stories to you? Now, it's your turn.
Haddie: When you were at work, we'd take the cushions off the couch and make forts.
Hadron: See, now don't you miss doing things like that?
Alice: She'll be a teenager before the baby's old enough to play like that.
Hadron: It's no different than her and the boys. Whatever works, right?
Alice: I suppose you're right.
Hadron could talk a good talk and be more than supportive to the others, but he still had his own reservations about the baby.
Hadron: I still think this is a bad idea.
Alice's energy may have increased since the earlier months, but it was in short supply. Alice tapped her feet at the dinner table, it was all she could do to keep from dozing off into her food.
Hadron: Are you feeling ok?
Before she could answer, her body slumped down into the chair like a rag doll.
Hadron gently woke her up.
Alice: Wha... what's going on?
Hadron: You fell asleep.
Alice: Sorry. I'm feeling kind of woozy. I don't think I can finish this.
Hadron: Don't worry about it, I'll put the leftovers away. Go get some rest!