“I couldn’t concentrate on those stupid records because I was imagining what your reaction would be if I kissed the bare skin on your shoulder.”
“I was so distracted by your warm breath next to my ear. I wanted to turn my head so my face could brush yours.” She mimics the motion. “I had almost built up the courage and then Curry showed up and freaked out.”
I wanted to take advantage of this alone time. I usually allowed our connection to speak for me since I always feared being heard but I wouldn’t be silent while we were here. I had a lot of things I wanted to say to my wife.
I glide my hand down and cup one of her breasts as I take the other into my mouth. I’m gentle because I suspect they’re tender from the pregnancy. I roll my tongue over her nipple and it instantly hardens. “I’ve never told you how perfectly beautiful these are or how much I love them.”
She pushes her fingers into my hair and arches her back from the bed. “And I’ve never told you how good it feels when you do that. I love it.”
I hear her breath increasing. “I love to hear the change in your breathing.”
“I do too. It means you’re doing something really right.”
I move lower, back to her stomach. “I love your body and the changes I’m seeing happen right before my eyes.” I kiss her belly again. “You have no idea how much I love knowing there’s a part of me growing inside you.”
“Don’t forget there’s two little parts of you in there.” Like Chansey, Avery doesn’t acknowledge the fylgia possibility. To do so would be admitting we would lose a child and that isn’t a consideration in Avery’s book.
Her agápe scent is overpowering my control and I climb her body. “I need to be inside you. Now.”
“That’s exactly where I want you.” She lifts her hips and matches my thrust as I enter her. It’s different because we’re letting go for the first time–giving in to what comes naturally instead of exercising restraint.
“Aah,” I hiss through my teeth. “You feel so good.”
“Mmm,” she moans while meeting me thrust for thrust. “Don’t hold back.”
It isn’t easy to let go of my self-restraint. “I don’t want to hurt you or the babies.”
She grabs my face. “I won’t break and the babies are tucked safely in their little cocoons.”
She wants more so I don’t hold back. I’m persistent until her internal body contracts around me. “Aah. Aah. Right there. Don’t stop.” She’s squeezing me almost painfully as I tense and empty my body inside of hers.
She goes limp beneath me and I roll to lie beside her. I reach for her hand and lace our fingers before bringing it to my lips for a kiss. “I love you, my wife. My agápe. And mother of my children.”
She in turn kisses my hand. “And I love you, husband. My vampire. And father of my children.”
It’s only a few days until Avery’s pregnancy hits the three month mark. She’s already been pregnant two weeks longer than Chansey. She’s disappointed we don’t have babies yet but no one knows the expected gestation for agápe-vampire babies so it’s a waiting game. However, we’ve figured out the standard for misery. And the bar is high.
It isn’t easy for her–it’s actually terrible–but she doesn’t complain. I try everything I can think of to make her more comfortable but there’s little I can do.
The ultrasound she had three days ago predicts each baby is around seven pounds so she has two full term infants pressing her internal organs in multiple directions. There’s only one cure for what ails her and I have no control over it. I feel helpless.
“Want me to rub your feet, baby doll?”
“No, baby. They’re too swollen. It feels like pins and needles poking when you touch them.” That means anything including a massage is out of the question. “But I’d love for you to read to me. Your voice is soothing.”
She loves hearing me read. She always chooses a classic because she says I become so lost in the words that my speech takes on a different voice–one from a different era. I hear some of the vocalization she refers to and I agree. I sound the way I did when I was a human living in the seventeen hundreds. “Of course I will. I’d stand on my head if it made you feel better.”
Our reading time ritual began before I knew Avery was my agápe but it’s something we continued to do because we enjoy the peaceful time together. We once snuck behind closed doors to do it and the vast majority of those stolen moments were spent with her lying next to me as I read from her favorite classic books.
I already know which one she wants me to read from without asking. The Scarlet Letter. “Which chapter would you like to hear?”
She knows it well and loves it dearly because we were once so similar to Arthur Dimmesdale and Hester Prynne in how we hid our love from the others out of shame, fear, and ridicule. “Chapter six. I want to hear about Pearl and what a beauty she is.” Pearl–the beautiful child that came at the highest price costing Hester Prynne everything she had. And in turn, she became her mother’s only treasure.
Avery turns onto her side and wedges a pillow beneath her swollen pregnant abdomen for support so we can assume the position we always use for reading time. I scoot close to her back until our bodies are molded into one and open the original unrestored first edition I purchased for her as a wedding gift.
I begin reading Nathaniel Hawthorne’s words about Pearl–a lovely and immortal flower without a single physical defect. I couldn’t guess how many times I had repeated these lines about how the child is perfect and worthy of being brought forth in Eden.
I speak softly, much like I would if telling a child her bedtime story. I feel Avery’s body relax and she falls asleep within a matter of minutes. I’m glad because the exhaustion she’s experiencing from insomnia isn’t good for her and restful sleep doesn’t find her near enough these days.
I place the book on the bed and drape my arm over her waist to place my hand on her swollen abdomen. There’s a lot of vigorous activity happening between these two tonight. I have no idea how she’s sleeping with the karate showdown happening inside her right now. Hopefully they’re trying to fight their way out.
I eventually fall asleep next to Avery but I wake when I hear moaning and heavy breathing. “Ohhh.” I lift my head to peek over her shoulder because I can’t tell if she’s groaning in her sleep or is awake and in pain. She rolls toward me when she feels the bed shift. “I’m hurting–but in a good kind of way. I think I’m going into labor.”
I shoot up from where I’m lying. “Is this the first pain?”
“No. They were irregular when they started but now they’re every four or five minutes.”
How long has this been going on if they’re that often? “When did they start?”
She rubs her belly. “A couple of hours ago.”
Shit. “Why didn’t you wake me?”
“Because you’re exhausted too. You were sleeping like the dead so I thought you needed your rest.”
She’s being considerate but I wish she had woken me. “I can’t believe you’ve been lying here having contractions for two hours while I slept.”
“Don’t be mad. I’m gonna need you to be well-rested so you can help me later. Consider it a conspiracy to weasel work out of you.”
“I’m not mad, baby doll.” I rub her hip. “Where are you hurting?”
She shows me using her hands. “It starts in my back and radiates around to my lower abdomen.”
I know pain is part of the normal laboring process but I want to take it away from her. “Can I do anything to make it better?”
“I don’t think so. I just want to get up and walk to see if that feels better.”
I slide from the bed and help her to her feet. “Should I take you to the hospital?”
Avery leans over and uses the dresser for support. “I don’t think it’s a good idea to be seen by the staff any more than necessary. I sure don’t want to be sent home so let me make sure the pains aren’t gonna stop. If I’m still having them in an hour then we’ll give Dr. Knight a call and see what she wants us to do.”
An hour passes and the contractions are coming every three to four minutes and progressively getting stronger. “You’re breathing louder and moaning more often. I think it’s time to call Dr. Knight.”
“I won’t argue with you. I’m hurting pretty bad so I think this is it. If it’s not, I better be worrying.”
I phone Dr. Knight and she’s easily convinced by my description that Avery is most likely going into labor. “Okay. She’s gonna meet us at the hospital.” Avery is leaning over the bed rubbing her lower back. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah. I’m just trying to relieve the pressure. It feels like they’re gonna drop out any moment.” Oh shit. I hope we didn’t wait around too long.
I scoop her from the floor and carry her toward the car. “You’re being ridiculous. I can walk.”
“Maybe you can but it’s not fast enough to suit me.”
“It’s time.” I say those two simple words as I cross the living room with Avery in my arms and the room becomes chaotic.
“What’s happening?” Lairah asks.
I don’t have time to stand around answering their questions so I continue walking as I call out over my shoulder, “Contractions every three to four minutes so we’re meeting Dr. Knight at the hospital.”
Shit. Her suitcase. I forgot to grab it. “Lairah. Can you get the bag Avery packed for the hospital? It’s in the chair next to our bed.”
“Sure thing,” she says.
I stop to catch a breath before starting the ignition after Lairah places Avery’s bag in the backseat of our new sports utility vehicle. “Do we need someone to ride with us just in case?”