Author's Note: This idea came to me when I was watching my cousin have her baby. Which I do not recommend for the not so average thirteen-year-old (me). It was gross, yes, but slightly fascinating, and now you have a ficlet! Woo-hoo!
"He had this really weird 'Oh-my-God-I'm-a-Dad' grin the whole time I was visiting... but yeah, he seemed happy." --Rory, 'William'
For most people, ten years seems like forever. Especially the first ten years. I mean, when I was about five and watching my father go around the world, talking about meteorology and stuff I couldn't even pronounce, I couldn't wait to grow up. To be like Dad. Funny, 'cause now ten years ago seems like yesterday.
Maybe it's because that one day changed the fate of our planet ten years ago.
I was seventeen. A hopeless, yet slightly intelligent boy with a crush on a girl. Because no story is worth telling without that girl; the girl next door that happens to look like a heavenly being, and a personality to go along with it. Laura Chapman. Oh yes. Her.
Brian thought I was obsessive. My Mom thought I was just normal. Laura… well, Laura loved me. Loves me still, if I'm thinking correctly.
Despite the fact that my hand feels like it's about to explode in her sweaty iron grip, and she shrieks my name at odd intervals as if it's a profanity, I know she must love me. I hope so, anyway. What am I thinking? Of course she does! That's why we got married almost exactly eight years ago, that's why we were almost inseparable since then, that's why…
That's why she's pregnant. But not for long.
She screams again, and it's a sound I most loathe in all the world. Laura in pain. But this is normal, I tell myself. Normal.
A few minutes later, a group of doctors and nurses gathered around a tiny pink baby. A girl, they tell us. They clean her up, wrap her in the standard pink blankets and hand her to the glowing parents. Me and Laura. Parents. Who would have thought it?
We sit in the hospital bed together for a few awkward minutes, our daughter staring at us, her screams subsiding. She yawns, waves one fist haphazardly and firmly closes both bright blue eyes that I know mirror my own.
"Hey, Dad," Laura whispers hoarsely. "There's something on your face."
"Where?" I reply automatically. She kisses me briefly, and giggles like her inner seventeen-year-old.
"There." She answers teasingly as she pulls away, and hands me our daughter completely. "What's her name?"
"Tessa." I say, and Laura smiles. Her sister's name was Tessa. She had died in the horrifying superstorms, and would have been an aunt at twenty years of age today, had she lived. Laura agrees, and I hold Tessa silently in my arms.
For a moment, Tessa is all mine. Not that there's much of her… but her eyelids flutter… I feel her breathing. She is terribly alive here, in my arms. And so small…
She makes me want to be the best I can for her. I foresee and await the finger paintings and tantrums and goofy smiles.
She will discover how to walk.
She will watch her mother laugh.
She will cry. A lot.
She will say her first words.
She will rebel against me.
She may even hate me someday.
She may love a boy called Jake. Or Orlando.
Okay, forget Orlando.
She probably will receive a sibling.
She probably won't have a cousin, though.
I love Tessa, even though she's only existed for a manner of minutes. We love Tessa… before she knows of anything, before she's experienced nothing beyond the room in which she was born into this world. Before she even knows she's Tessa.