A/N: Thanks so much for all of your reviews; it’s been inspiring me to continue writing. Like most of you know now, the mystery blonde was Erica, and now she is out of the picture…at least for right now.
Alright, so now the story starts moving forward a little faster. Since it would take forever to wade through nine months of pregnancy, this chapter is set a few short months before Callie is due to give birth, so there is a significant time jump. To make up for the time of her pregnancy, I’ve included flash backs of important happenings that are the longer parts in italics. Hope you enjoy and let me know what you love and hate!
A very pregnant Calliope Torres walked, or rather waddled, through the aisles of a baby superstore, glancing at all that the store had to offer. She was excited, more excited than she had been in months as she perused through the tiny pacifiers and bottles and baby fingernail clippers. She stopped and took the tiny metal clippers in her hand and furrowed her eyebrows.
Nail clippers for a baby? I never even knew there was such a thing.
Callie laughed quietly to herself and shook her head as she threw the package into a half-full shopping cart.
Things had been going great for the past few months since Erica left. Mark had kept good on his promise to take care of her, maybe even a little too well if she really thought about it. He had often come home with bags full of vitamins and healthy foods that she would have never dreamed of consuming if it weren’t for his persistence on keeping her and the baby perfectly healthy. She was thankful that she had him because if it weren’t for him, she would still be lost and alone, surely hurting and refusing to move on with her life. Eventually she had moved past the pain of the abrupt break up with Erica and started to look forward greeting the little one inside her. She had fallen in love as soon as she had seen her little one on the ultrasound two months ago.
Callie laid back against the examination chair, fidgeting nervously with her hospital gown. Today she would see her baby, her little miracle that was growing inside of her womb. She hoped and prayed that everything was normal, that she and the baby were healthy and would continue to be so. She had ultrasounds done before now, but today she would see how her little one was progressing, and hopefully find out its gender. She and Mark had discussed names for the child, both girl and boy, laughing at ridiculous names and choosing some that sounded promising. But she ultimately decided that she would not name the child until later on.
Mark rested a reassuring hand on her shoulder as he stood behind the chair, anxious to see the child that had become a frequent topic of discussion between him and Callie since she moved in a while ago. He knew she was nervous and excited to see her baby and for the first time in a while, he was glad that Erica had left Callie. His friend had not heard a single word from her ex to this day and Mark wanted it to stay that way. This baby meant so much to Callie since she had been trying for almost a year to conceive and now he realized that Erica deserved to be no part of this child’s life. Certainly Callie would be better off without the cold-hearted woman.
A knock at the door broke Mark from his thoughts as a pretty blonde entered the room, smiling warmly at the two people before her.
“Hello, I’m Dr. Lucy Fields and I will be taking care of you, Dr. Torres.”
Callie nodded and shook the woman’s hand, smiling a little, her nerves still showing plainly on her face.
“Anxious to see your baby, Dr Torres?” The blonde picked up on Callie’s nervousness, as she had seen it a million times before in other patients.
“Of course, I’m really excited.” Tanned hands clasped together and looked anxiously towards the screen as Dr. Fields maneuvered the wand over the stretched stomach that Callie had come to adore the past few weeks as it grew a little bigger each day.
After a few attempts to find the child, Dr. Fields smiled and pointed to the screen.
“There…there is your baby.”
Callie felt tears well up in her eyes as she looked to the screen and saw her baby for the first time. She could make out little hands and arms, legs and a head. She giggled softly as she noticed that the baby had its hand near its mouth, as if sucking it’s thumb. There it was…the little one that had been the center of her thoughts since the day that she found out she was pregnant, the one she worried over every night for weeks until she moved on from Erica and decided that she alone would be a wonderful mother to the little child. She had convinced herself that she could do it alone, but looking at the little life on the screen, she knew that she would need help. This baby was going to rely on her to keep it safe, healthy, and loved. She was responsible for this new little soul in the world and she was thrilled that she would be the one to parent this child, but she was also scared to death of being a failure.
“Callie…” a voice brought her out of her thoughts as she continued to stare at her child and Mark tapped her shoulder, knowing that she was lost in thought.
“Sorry, it’s just…so beautiful,” she smiled a smile that stretched from ear to ear and sighed happily.
“Would you like to know the gender?” Dr. Fields look expectantly at Callie and the older woman nodded.
“Yes, please.” Callie waited anxiously as Dr. Fields again moved the wand around her swollen stomach, searching for just the right angle.
After what felt like forever, Dr. Fields stopped the wand and studied the screen, then turned to Callie.
“There you have it…baby boy Torres.”
Callie laughed in excitement and looked at her baby boy on the ultrasound. A boy…a handful for sure, but she was super excited and immediately felt attached to the little boy as she watched him intently on the screen as he moved just a tad, his hand now away from his mouth. Mark leaned in next to her ear and kissed her cheek.
“Congratulations Cal, that boy is going to be one handsome devil.”
Callie smiled and took Mark’s hand in her own. She found herself once again grateful that Mark was so supportive and she squeezed his hand happily as Dr. Fields turned off the machine and printed out a picture of the ultrasound for Callie.
That little boy was going to be her whole life in a few short months and she knew that now the task of preparing herself was about to begin. He needed a name, a room, a safe place to call home, clothes, bottles, and a thousand other things that Callie both looked forward to and dreaded acquiring. Baby boy Torres was going to completely change her life the minute he came out of her womb.
“Finding everything that you need, miss?” A voice startled Callie from her memory and she turned quickly to see the source of the voice, her large belly bumping a few bottles off of the shelf and she blushed hard as they hit the ground, causing quite a commotion. She hadn’t gotten used to having such a large bump protruding from her body and it had made her very clumsy.
“Oh Dios mio! Lo siento!” She started to bend down to pick the fallen items up, but was stopped as the man speaking to her stopped her and picked the items up instead.
“Don’t worry about it, it happens more often than you think.” The dark haired man, known by his name tag as David, replaced the bottles on the shelf and looked back to a red-faced Callie, who found herself wondering just how often woman knocked items off of these shelves with their impossibly swollen bellies.
“So, can I help you with anything?” The man smiled shyly, taken with Callie’s beauty and gestured to the items on the aisle.
“No, I think I am good actually, thanks David. I’m sorry again for the-” she pointed to the bottles and shrugged.
“It’s really not a problem. When are you due, if you don’t mind me asking?”
Callie smiled and rubbed her stomach fondly. “About two months from now, December 4th actually.”
David nodded, clearly interested in what Callie was saying…or the way she looked, so beautifully pregnant, the woman couldn’t tell which it was. After a rather awkward silence, David started bombarding her with more questions and Callie looked around, desperate to find some sort of distraction and way to excuse herself from the man’s persistence. Just as David started to laugh at something Callie said and touched Callie’s arm to flirt, Mark appeared behind the woman and took her hand in his, sensing that she needed to get away from the annoying man in front of her.
“Hey Cal, I found this really awesome outfit for the little guy,” Mark held up an outfit in his free hand and Callie grinned at the sheer cuteness of the outfit. It was a black onsie, with the printed image resembling a tuxedo on the front. The tan woman shook her head and giggled softly, forgetting about David for a moment and took the outfit from Mark to put it in the cart.
“Mark, only you would choose something like this.”
David piped in, commenting that it was indeed a good choice of an outfit, and then proceeded to ask a question that surprisingly, was a first for Callie since she had been pregnant.
“So you are the lucky father? I’m sure your son will be beautiful.”
Callie started to intervene, “Oh, no no, he’s not really, um,-” David looked between Mark and Callie, confused.
“That’s right, he’s gonna have this handsome face,” Mark gestured to his own facial features and squeezed Callie’s hand, a silent plead for her to just go along with it. David just nodded, still slightly confused as to why the woman had denied her son’s father, but the man had confirmed his parentage.
Mark tugged on Callie’s hand and started to back up a little. This man was clearly not wanted and Mark came to Callie’s rescue as soon as he saw him start flirting unashamed with the Latina. “Thanks for your help David, surely you helped Callie here find what she needed, now if you will excuse us…” He plastered a bitter smile on his face and turned to walk away hand in hand with Callie, the Latina forcing a fake apologetic smile over her shoulder, David blushing and waving a small wave, calling out softly to Callie, “Best of luck to you, miss.”
“Thanks for that,” Callie continued looking at the various items around her, putting something in the cart every now and then, adding a quick remark. “Daddy.”
“Hey, that kid would be lucky to have me as a father,” Mark joked lightly, not knowing that Callie indeed almost wished that he had, in fact, been the father, not some blonde headed, blue eyed man that she chose as a sperm donor to portray Erica. But that can’t be changed now, so Mark would just be the “pretend Daddy”.
“But it wasn’t a problem, that guy was creeping me out from the way he looked at you. I mean come on, no offense, but why in the world would you flirt with a pregnant woman? Obviously she got pregnant by another guy, so why would she possibly want you?”
Mark looked to Callie as she busted out in a fit of giggles and he rolled his eyes. He was happy to see Callie laugh, but he knew that with her crazy mood swings, it wouldn’t last long.
“Well, little does he know, it didn’t exactly happen that way,” She giggled to herself thinking of how she actually got pregnant. Stopping in front of the strollers and glancing at the prices of her favorite choices, she chose two that she liked the best. She whistled softly at a stroller priced at more than what she makes in a month and shook her head, deciding on the dark blue and grey stroller that was way cheaper than the other.
“Yeah,” Mark scoffed, “A turkey baster shaped like a penis and shooting out frozen sperm really doesn’t amount to a real penis that-”
“Ugh, Mark, no! For the last time, it was Not a turkey baster. We don’t live in the primitive times anymore.”
The two friends laughed together and discussed the various items that they either needed or just couldn’t refuse because of the sheer fact that they were unbelievably small, made just for a little human. Finally leaving the store with way too many things now in their possession, they stored everything in Callie’s small closet, with both of them scratching their head at the limited amount of space. After putting the extra things in a hall closet, Callie and Mark crashed on the couch and put on a movie, while Callie hungrily dined on popcorn and pepperonis, Mark scrunching his face in disgust for the strange eating habits of his pregnant friend. No matter how much she strayed from her regular diet, he never would grow accustomed to the nastiness of what he deemed “a pregnant woman’s diet.”
Callie let her mind wander from the movie for a few minutes as she felt her son kicking irritably inside of her. “I know you want out little guy, just two more months and momma will let you out into this crazy world. Trust me, you might be better off staying in there. At least you are safe and warm and can enjoy mooching off of your momma’s food and energy.”
Mark chucked lightly at his friend’s choice of words and he reached out to feel the little one kicking Callie’s round stomach. They shared a silent moment of awe as they both thought about the near future, when little Torres would make his grand entrance, until Callie broke the silence.
“Mark, I will need to find my own place. Christina and Owen are about to move out of the apartment next to you, so they promised that they’d save it for me. This little guy is going to need his own space.”
Mark nodded in acceptance, knowing he couldn’t keep Callie here forever, as much as he wanted to. “It’s great having you here, Cal. And I will take care of you and the little guy until you are ready to move out with him. You always have a safe home here.”
“Thanks, Mark, you’re the best.”
After standing and placing a light kiss on her best friend’s scruffy face, Callie made her way to her bedroom to snuggle under the covers. As the darkness and silence fell, she became increasingly aware of how alone she was, of how cold the bed was around her. This feeling was all too familiar to her, the cold sheets a reminder that she really was alone, just like she had been for the past few months. Sure she had Mark and she would have the baby soon, but she wanted someone to love again, someone that she could cuddle next to at night and feel their heartbeat against her body, their warmth lulling her to sleep. She wanted that connection with someone again, but this time she wanted it to be real. She wasn’t going to love again easily for fear of getting left again, like many times before. Her days of putting her heart out there were over. The next time she decides to date would be only if she is serious about that person and they feel just the same. With a child on the way, she couldn’t take the risk of having someone leave both her and her son. She needed someone stable, someone loving and committed. Her child needed her to be a strong mother and he deserved to have two parents to love him deeply and unconditionally, not one that would walk out on them. But she didn’t want to worry about love right now, her son was her main focus, the one thing she had wanted all her life was the one thing that deserved her undivided attention, not the petty ideals of love.
She sighed heavily as sleep started to take her over, one last thought going through her head, refusing to disappear.
What woman would want a woman that already has a child, a child that is not their own?
- A Life Worth Living-Chapter 3