Well here it is, the epilogue that I've put off for about a year. I'm sure you guys have taken me off your alerts by now, so I'm sorry about that. However this isn't the last you'll hear of me, I have some stories coming on the way. So here it is, the last installment of "You and Me." Until then, my duckies.
"And I don't know why, I can't keep my eyes off of you"
I looked over to the boy sitting next to me, the one that was transforming into a man. His once strawberry blonde curls had straightened out into the same disheveled locks as his father's, however almost everything else about his features resembled his deceased mother. I knew he hated it when I stared at him, but I couldn't help it. Where had my little boy gone?
"Mom, stop it," Auden whined, "You're creeping me out."
"Well, no one told you to be so cute," I smiled.
"Stop," he growled.
"Oh honey, that tone never works for your dad," I said, "and it sure as hell doesn't work for you."
His cheeks bright red, he returned to the ice cream he'd been working at. It didn't hurt my feelings that he was embarrassed of my affections –hell, I supposed all twelve year olds were that way. What bothered me was that he'd been like this for the past few weeks. Edward had told me that he was jealous, what with my pregnancy, but I found it hard to believe that Auden would feel that way. Did he think he had competition with the baby on the way?
"Peanut, you know you can talk to me about anything right," I asked him.
"Yah, I know," he sighed, "just…don't call me that in public."
"Why, are you afraid your girlfriend might hear," I teased.
"You are so annoying," he grumbled.
"And you are just like your father," I noted, "Speaking of which, he and I have an interview to go to once he comes back from the airport, so we need to head out."
Auden looked disappointed as he got up, and threw his ice cream into the trash violently. If one thing hadn't changed about him it was the fact that when he was upset anyone could tell. He was unable to hide any of the emotions, and wasn't shy about expressing them with a bit of colorful language. And to think we were worried about his vocabulary…
I blamed it on Edward.
Nevertheless, it still hurt me that he was acting so hostile towards me. Normally when I bothered him he would make a few sly comments about how I needed to get a life, or at least get a hobby that didn't involve molesting him. So imagine my surprise when he stormed off. I waddled after him, my large belly making it extremely difficult for me to keep up. Eventually I reached where he was sitting on the park bench, green eyes blocked by his shut lids. I poked his side, which elicited a grunt. Knowing that he was seriously upset, I let up on the annoyance.
"Auden," I picked up his hand, "What's wrong?"
"Nothing," he sighed.
"Don't give me that crap," I nudged him again. Okay…so maybe he got it from me too.
"It's nothing mom, just forget it," he begun to get up. I yanked him back, forcing him to sit down.
"Come over here, peanut," I sighed, pulling him into my arms. He was now much too big to fit onto my lap, especially with the added space of my stomach, but there were still times when Auden would lie down with me, and rest his head against my chest. In this moment he put his head to my shoulder, allowing me to run my fingers through his frayed locks. While I did this his hand laid on my rounded stomach, the baby responding to the contact. I could feel the thump of her feet, loving the attention from her brother.
"What're you going to name her," he asked.
"Theodora," I answered.
Auden picked up his head to give me a disgusted look, "Mom. No."
I gave a laugh, my belly jiggling with the motion, "I'm just kidding. Your dad came up with that one. Since he's completely inept at picking names I was actually hoping you would help me."
His eyes widened, "I can help name her?"
"Well she is going to be your sister," I rolled my eyes.
"Is that…" Auden started, "Is that what I'm supposed to call her?"
"Your sister," I raised a brow, "What else would you call her?"
"I dunno," he shook his head, "I'm just so confused."
"About what, darling?"
The conflict was evident on his face, and I was more confused than he was as to what put it there. Auden and I have always been so close. It was to the point that Edward joked that I was more his best-friend than a mother. I then reminded him that at least I didn't let Auden get away with everything.
Edward had been pleasantly silent after that.
But needless to say, we shared everything with one another from the finest points of our day to the embarrassing occurrences of the week. (You would have sworn my clumsiness rubbed off on him somehow.) So now when Auden was withholding from me, I could feel the stress pooling in my chest. It's not as if we've never had our put outs before, but we were always sure to talk about it.
"Are you," he started, "Are you going to love her more than me?"
My breath caught in my throat, causing my eyes to water. I could blame the sudden tears on the pregnancy hormones, but I knew that it was only because of his question. Edward and I had always been as honest as we could with Auden about his birth mother and my adopting him. I had signed the papers shortly after our marriage two years ago seeing as I already served as the mother role to him. Auden has always been accepting and understanding, handling it as well as someone his age could. His maturity still astounded me, and I sometimes had to remind myself that there was information he didn't need to know. Then again, withholding information while we remained in the limelight was hard to do, but Edward and I always tried our best to keep Auden out of the paparazzi. Granted that couldn't stop him from reading the tabloid. It was something that Edward forbade Auden to do, but I knew that sometimes Auden would sneak a few, or press his schoolmates for answers. It pained me that he had to ask others for information on his own parents, but there were aspects of our Hollywood life that an eleven year old boy didn't need to worry about. He was already worrying about different things –like whether I would love him after the baby was born.
"Auden," I said, "Do you remember when you asked to start calling me mom?"
He shook his head, slightly confused by my change in topic. "No."
"Well, at that time your dad and I weren't together," I said, "and so it wasn't right for you to call me mom. I told you that, and you were so upset, that you smacked me in the face with your book."
Auden's mouth popped open, "Are you serious?"
"Dead serious," I nodded, "and you ran to your room and threw your piggy bank at the door after you'd locked it. I had to break in."
"Huh," Auden smiled, "I was a pretty bad ass kid."
"Don't let your Aunt Rose hear you talk like that," I warned, "Anyways, you were so upset, but I ended up telling you that I could only be your best-friend."
"That was before you went on that vacation?" he asked.
"Yah," I nodded, trying to hide the bitterness in my tone, "but do you know what happened, Auden? When I was cleaning up your stupid mess, and you were fast asleep, I was crying."
"Why," Auden's eyes widened even further.
"Careful kid, they might just pop out," I teased.
"Why were you crying mom," he pressed.
"Because," I sighed, "I loved you so much, and I wanted more than anything to be a mother to you."
"Really," he smiled.
"Really, really," I squeezed him lovingly, "So don't you ever think that anything, or anyone is going to change that. This is your sister coming on the way, and regardless of whether I gave birth to you, or Tanya gave birth to you, I will love you both equally. There's enough to go around."
I watched as relief spread across his face at my reassurance. Although I was still bothered that he'd even had the slightest notion I would forget him, it still calmed me to know that he felt better. Auden was my little boy, and I wanted him to know that he always would be no matter what changed. I stroked my fingers through his locks while we watched the clouds drift by.
"Hey mom," he said.
"What peanut," I replied.
"Even after the baby is born, can we still do this," he asked.
"Did someone tell you it's a crime eat ice cream after a pregnancy," I questioned.
"No," he rolled his eyes. I knew I shouldn't mess with him so much, but he made it so fun. "I mean, can we go out together…just the two of us?"
"Well, I don't know," I placed my hand to my chin, "Won't we hurt dad's feelings?"
Auden laughed, "He'll get over it."
"That's my boy," I chuckled before adding, "And of course we can keep getting ice cream."
A wide smile spread across his face as he pressed a kiss to my cheek, and settled his head on my shoulder. I leaned my head back and absorbed the California sun, while also keeping my tears at bay. I had cried many tears in my life; a lot of them out of sadness and a lot of them out of frustration. But once in a while there came a glorious time when the tears would be shed out of pure joy and contentedness. This was one of those moments. I let the crystal droplets streak down my face, as I held Auden in my arms.
"Just you and me," Auden made sure.
"Yah peanut," I pressed a kiss to his forehead, "You and me."