Title: "The birth of a family"

Author: Ras

Description: Hurt/Comfort, Angst, Romance Cameron/Amanda. This is a sequel to "A Christmas for Cameron."

Rating: PG-13

Disclaimer: I don't own Another World.

********

Cameron stood at the counter and stared at the small objects gleaming in front of him. He came to the mall jewelers hoping he could afford at least a cheap diamond. The prices were much higher than he had expected. It wasn't that he wanted the Hope diamond or anything, just a real one.

"God, I wish I had just a little more money," he thought to himself. Luckily, Amanda had pulled a few strings and found him a contracting job a few months ago. He had managed to save up most of it since Christmas just for this purpose, but it still wasn't enough. "You're just going to have to buy her a fake diamond, Sinclair. There's no way around it. Maybe if you're honest with her up front. Right, I'll just tell her it's a fake before I even give it to her and then tell her that I'll buy her a real one as soon as I save up enough for one. . . Yeah, that's going to go over real well. She'll laugh in you're face. Amanda's had everything she could ever want her whole life and you're going to walk up and ask her to marry you with a fake ring." Cameron argued with himself in his head. He even considered just walking out of the store right then and there and forgetting about it.

But, he couldn't do that either. "Amanda loves you, Cameron. Why can't you get that into your head? She isn't going to care about the ring. . . I just want to give her something to show her how much she means to me. She's given me everything I have, and I can't even give her a decent engagement ring."

Gary walked into the jewelers, not paying any attention to its occupants. A gentleman came and asked whether he could help him, and Gary showed him the cracked crystal in his watch. It would only take a few minutes to fix. He decided to wait on it.

Gary glanced around the store. Standing over a counter was a man that looked remarkably like his brother. "No," thought Gary. He walked over anyway. "Cameron?"

Cameron jerked in surprise and looked up to see his brother. "Hey, Gary. What are you doing here?"

"Getting my watch fixed." Gary glanced down at the jewelry counter Cameron had been so intently staring at. "And you?" he asked slyly.

Cameron grinned and took in a deep breath. "I'm . . . I'm going to ask Amanda to marry me."

Gary smiled from ear to ear and gave his brother the biggest hug. "I am so proud of you Cameron. You're going to have a baby and a great wife. You've . . . you've changed so much in the past few months. You've really turned your life around. I'm proud of you Cameron."

Cameron nodded, not really wanting to talk about the turn around part. He closed his eyes and thought. He never thought he would ever hear his brother say that he was proud of him, never. It meant a lot. But then that little voice in his head started talking again. It said that he had nothing to be proud of because he couldn't even get his girlfriend a real engagement ring. Amanda was never going to agree to marry him. A family was something he would never, ever have. Cameron frowned and shook his head but refined his comment to "I just wish I could get her a nicer ring."

"Amanda won't care how big a rock you give her. She may come from money, but you're giving her the ring will matter more to her than the ring itself."

"Yeah, I know that . . . I just want to give her a real one. Amanda means so much to me . . . so much! I want to give her something that really symbolizes our love. A cubic zirconia doesn't exactly say that."

"Yeah I'd say that fake diamonds aren't a good idea. Why don't you just get a loan on a small real diamond?" Gary asked.

"Gary," Cameron said with a mocking look. "I' have no credit history whatsoever. I've been out of prison for less than a year, and I've had a real job for all of two months. No one is going to give me a loan for $10, much less enough to buy a ring with. This was just a stupid idea anyway."

"Well, I'll co-sign for you." Gary said shrugging; it was an obvious solution.

"Gary, no. No way."

"Why not? It would be the same as you taking out the loan yourself. I'd just have my name on it."

"I couldn't ask you to do that, Gary." Cameron looked at the floor. It was embarrassing enough not to be able to afford a ring for Amanda, but it was humiliating to have his brother offer to get a loan for him.

"You aren't asking; I'm offering. Let me do this for you, Cameron. Okay, let me do something nice to help out my little brother."

"Gary . . . I want it to be from me . . ."

"It would be. You'd be paying for it. Like I said, it would just have my name on it, too. Now come on and pick out a moderately priced ring and let's check into this loan thing."

"Gary, I don't want to use you like that."

"You're not using me. It's a gift for my brother. I'm allowed to do that aren't I? We're family! It's a present for my brother. Please let me do this for you."

Cameron smiled. "Okay." He couldn't argue with Gary. "Hey, Gary, can I . . . ask you something else?"

"Sure thing, ask away, anything you want."

Cameron paused. "If Amanda does say yes, will you be my best man? It would . . . it would really mean a lot to me, Gary, to have my brother up there with me."

"Are you kidding me? What's with this 'if she says yes?' She is going to say yes. There's no doubt about that, and you had better let me be your best man or you are in big trouble, Bro."

"Thanks," Cameron said, giving his brother a slight slap on the shoulder. "It really does mean a lot to me."

"It means a lot to me too, Cameron. I didn't think I'd ever get my brother back, and now I'm going to be the best man at his wedding. I couldn't be happier. Amanda is going to be a great addition to the family."

Cameron smiled. Gary's support meant the world to him. Gary was one of the few people, other than Amanda, that could tell him he was worth something. That he deserved happiness. It just didn't seem real.

"Now you just have to pick out something Amanda would like," Gary said glancing down at the array of rings before them.

"Oh, I already know which one. That one," Cameron said pointing to an exquisite, yet reasonably priced diamond ring.

"Okay then let's do this."

"Thanks, Bro."

********

Cameron strode into the Cory mansion with a grin across his face.

"There you are. You're late," Amanda smiled and kissed him hello. "And what are you so happy about?"

Cameron avoided the question. "What are you doing tonight, gorgeous?"

"I don't know . . . just spending it with the man I love I guess." Amanda grinned as she rubbed her hand up and down his muscular back.

"Good, because we're going out tonight."

"We are? Where are we going?"

Cameron kissed her again, pulled her close, and held her in his arms. "That part's a surprise."

"Um, a surprise." Amanda couldn't keep her hands off of him. She loved to touch him; she loved the feel of his warm body up against hers. "I love surprises . . . but, how do I know what to wear?"

"Well if it were up to me you wouldn't be wearing anything, but I doubt that would be appropriate." Amanda gave him a good hard nudge. Cameron responded by kissing her neck and shoulders.

"Let's go up to your closet and pick out something good." He grabbed her hand and ran up the stairs to their bedroom.

"Goodness, he's got a lot of energy today," Amanda thought to herself. "I wonder what he's up to."

Cameron flung the closet doors open. "You think you have enough clothes here?" He loved teasing her.

"No," Amanda said meekly. "A girl can never have enough clothes."

He started shifting through her fancier dresses. "No," he said moving a more conservative dress. He flipped through a few more. "Ah, here we go," he said stopping at a simple, elegant black formal . . . that just happened to show quite a bit of cleavage and thigh when she wore it. "This one," he said holding it up to her beautiful body.

Amanda smiled, "That one? How did I know you'd pick something like that?"

"Now, I would tell you to get ready since I know it takes you hours to do your little make-over routine, but you're gorgeous already." Amanda smiled. "So that gives a while before we get ready, and I have no idea what we could do with that hour."

"Oh you don't do you?" Cameron shook his head even as his hand was moving up her miniskirt and caressing her thigh. "Well, I'm sure we can find something exciting to do."

********

After eating at the best and most expensive restaurant in Bay City, Cameron held Amanda's hand at the table and asked her to dance. She joyfully agreed. His body curved into hers as they slow-danced. Even just being this close to her sent thrills up his spine. Never in his wildest dreams did he imagine a life this happy could exist, much less for him. As the song came to an end, Cameron nodded at band director.

A familiar song began to play in the background. "They're playing our song!" Amanda said, amazed. Cameron nodded.

The director took the microphone and began to speak, "Is there an Amanda Cory here tonight?"

Amanda blushed. "That's me," she said cautiously.

"Ah, well I think there's someone here tonight that has something he wants to say to you."

Cameron took the microphone. His heart was pounding. Maybe making this such a public thing wasn't such a good idea. He was horrible with words, but he wanted this to be perfect for Amanda. What if she said no? What if she ran screaming from the room? He forced himself to ask her. "Amanda, you know I'm not good with words, but I'm going to try this anyway. . . I love you Amanda. You've made me the man that I am right now, and I can't imagine my life without you. You're going to have our child, and I want us to be the happiest family ever." He paused and took something out of his tux pocket. "I guess what I'm trying to say is . . ." he lowered himself onto one knee, "Amanda Cory, will you marry me?"

Amanda was taken aback. She hadn't really thought about marriage. She knew that she would be with Cameron forever, and that they would be wonderful parents to their baby, but marriage . . .

Cameron took the ring out of its box and held it up to Amanda. She wasn't saying anything; he started to get nervous. Maybe her feelings weren't as strong as he thought. Maybe she didn't really love him at all. Maybe she would consider it an embarrassment to marry poor white trash. "No," he told himself, "she loves you, and you know it."

Her eyes lit up at the ring, "Cameron, it's gorgeous."

"Is that a yes?"

"Yes! Are you kidding; of course, yes. There's nothing that would make me happier in this world than to be your wife."

Cameron sighed in relief and got back up on both feet. He kissed Amanda more passionately than he had ever kissed her before.

"Yes, ladies and gentlemen that was a yes. Let's hear it for the newly engaged couple," the director announced as he turned around and started directing the song again.

Amanda and Cameron danced in each other's arms all night.

********

Amanda stood outside of Gary and Josie's house giving herself a little pep talk again before knocking on the door.

Josie answered it. "Hi, Amanda. Come on in," she said with a smile. Their relationship had certainly improved in the last few months. "Gary isn't here right now, he's working on a case."

"That's okay. Actually, I came to talk to you," Amanda responded.

"To me? Okay, what's up?"

"Josie, I'm going to ask you something, but I don't want you to feel obligated to say yes."

"Okay, what do you want to ask me?"

"Well I'm sure Gary told you that Cameron and I have set our wedding date."

"Yes, we're both so happy for you. Gary couldn't be more excited about being his brother's best man. That's something he never thought he would get to do. He's so proud of Cameron."

"Well this kinda has to do with that. I know that our relationship in the past hasn't been the best, and there was actually a time when we pretty much hated each other . . ."

"Hey, that's over with. We've made up now, right?"

"Just let me finish, okay? Ever since we made up you have been a great friend to me, and you've always been there when I needed to talk to you about stuff I couldn't tell anyone else, and in a month we're going to be sister-in-laws. Where I'm trying to go with this is . . . you don't have to say yes but . . . I'd like for you to be my matron of honor."

"Me?" Josie asked incredulously.

"We're practically sisters now, Josie, and it would mean so much to Cameron."

"Wouldn't you rather have Paulina or Sophia or someone?"

Amanda shook her head. "Like I said, I don't want you to feel obligated to do it. If you don't want to because of what happened before I'd understand, but I really want you to be my matron of honor."

"Of course I'll do it Amanda," Josie smiled. She couldn't believe this. Who would have believed four months ago that she'd be the matron of honor at Amanda Cory's wedding?

Amanda hugged Josie. "Great! Will you help me find a dress? Something that won't show how huge I'm going to get and will be ready in less than a month?"

********

Matt walked into the family room and saw Amanda, just for whom he was looking for. "Hey, Amanda, can I talk to you for a moment?" he asked.

"Sure," Amanda said to her brother. "What do you need, Matt?"

"I want to talk to you about something serious, but you have to promise me you won't be offended."

"Okay, although those words together in a sentence frighten me. What's wrong?"

"I just thought that maybe we should talk about you and Cameron talking to the lawyers about a prenuptial agreement."

"A prenup? You think that Cameron and I should get a prenup?"

"Amanda, I know you love Cameron, but you have to think about the future."

"Matt . . ."

"We both know that marriages don't last forever, Amanda."

"Well, mine is going to. Cameron and I have a love that's deeper than that."

"Listen to me Amanda. Cameron's never had any kind of money right?" She nodded. "Well then he doesn't know how to deal with money. It would be for the best."

From behind the door, Cameron turned his thoughts away from what they were saying. He had just come down to kiss his fiancé before he went on his run. He hadn't meant to overhear them. Tears started to trickle down Cameron's face. "Amanda wants me to sign a prenuptial for her. God, doesn't she know I don't want her money? I thought she trusted me, but I guess I thought wrong. You know better, Sinclair. Why should anyone trust you? You're a worthless piece of crap." He started to listen again.

"Come on, Amanda. How much do you really know about the guy anyway? He spent years in prison for murder for God's sake. Do you really want to trust your money to a felon?"

Cameron couldn't take anymore. He ran out of the house; he ran from the words. "That's what they still think of me, I'm a criminal and murderer. I'll never be anything more, never, not even to Amanda."

Back in the Cory family room, Amanda became furious with Matt. "That is none of your business, okay? You don't know the situation! You have bno/b idea!"

"Amanda, I asked you not to get mad."

"How can I not get mad, you just completely trashed my fiancΘ and the father of my child?"

"All I'm saying is that it's great that you trust Cameron, but think about it just in case. What harm can it do?"

"Asking Cameron something like that would tear him apart, Matt. I trust him, and he needs to feel that trust. I won't break his heart like that. I bwon't/b do that to him!"

"If Cameron really loves you then he won't mind signing a form."

"My answer is no, Matt. That's my final decision. I don't want you to ever bring this up again." Amanda stormed out of the room.

********

Cameron ran for what seemed like forever. He wasn't angry; he could never be angry with Amanda because he loved her too much. He was hurt, no, he was devastated. "I really believed her when she said all that trust stuff. I believed that shit about being part of the family, too." He laughed at his own stupidity. "Don't you know that you will never belong? No one will ever trust you Cameron? Why should they? You've never done anything to earn anyone's trust. You're a loser, Sinclair. That's all you'll ever be."

He ran on, faster, faster, faster, trying to calm himself down. Words ran through his head, words from the past. His father yelling, "You're a loser; you know that. You'll never be anything," followed by a few blows to his face. When he pushed that voice out, he heard Gary's, "I'm so disappointed in you. You aren't my brother anymore. I'll never trust you again. No one will ever trust you, because you screwed everything up. I wanted so much more for you, but you ruined it all. You've ruined everything." He ran faster.

Finally, he was so out of breath that he had to stop. He bent over and his lungs heaved. "Don't make such a big deal out of this, Cameron. All she wants you to do is sign a form. Don't lose everything you have over this. Even if . . . even if she doesn't really trust me she does still love me . . . bSHE DOES/b. Just sign the damn form for her. Maybe she'll trust you then."

He made up his mind and ran back to the house.

Amanda was sitting at her desk reading something when Cameron went back to their bedroom to change.

"Hey, honey! I wondered where you went."

"Just went for a jog, is that okay with you or do I need to check in and out?"

"No," Amanda said in a hurt tone. "I just missed you that's all." She stood up and tried to hug him, but he pulled away. "Honey, what's wrong?"

"Nothing, nothing. I'm . . . I'm fine."

"You don't sound fine. Do you want to talk to me about something?"

"I should ask you. Don't you have something you want to tell me?"

"I don't think so."

"No? You don't want me to sign anything for you?"

"Honey, what are you talking about? What's up with you?" Amanda couldn't understand why he was so upset, or why he wouldn't let her even touch him.

"A prenuptial agreement, that's what you want right?"

"Wherever did you get an idea like that?"

"Are you saying you've never even thought about it?" The words flew from Cameron's mouth like sharp swords, sharpened to hurt . . . bad. He tried to make himself be nicer because he had decided to agree with anything she said just to keep her. So why was he being so mean?

Amanda stopped. Damn Matt for doing this to her! Well, she couldn't lie to him now. They had a trusting relationship and she wasn't about to ruin it. She had to tell him the truth, even though it hurt. "Matt did ask me to get one."

"Oh, . . . well . . . where are the forms then? Let's just get this over with." The loving Cameron that needed Amanda so much peeked back through, "I'll sign anything you want me to, just as long as we're still together and you still love me."

"Cam, I told him 'no', honey." Amanda said in a soft, confused tone. Did Cameron really think she'd make him sign one of those things? She shook her head; his insecurities were sneaking back in.

"What?"

"Matt asked me to get one, and I told him absolutely not because I trust you."

Guilt flowed through Cameron's body. How stupid was he? He knew he'd find a way to screw this up, he just didn't know it would be that easy. He was so dumb not to trust Amanda. He stared at the floor. "I'm . . . I'm sorry. I just . . . I overhead you and Matt talking and I just assumed . . . I'm sorry."

Amanda could have taken offense at this. Actually, she was very tempted to blow her top, but Cameron looked so hurt and ashamed of himself. "It's okay, Matt had no right to bring that up. How much did you hear?"

"Enough,"

"I'm sorry you had to hear that, honey."

Cameron shook his head. "I'm sorry I jumped to conclusions and didn't trust you." He grimaced and turned his head away. "I'm just so stupid, Amanda. I can't do anything right."

"Hey," Amanda said sympathetically pulling his face to hers, "it's okay. Matt said a lot of crap he shouldn't have. I don't blame you for getting angry." Cameron shook his head. "You at least brought it right to my attention. That's pretty good, right? I mean we worked it out pretty fast here. Why? Because we talked about it. That's a major improvement right there." Cameron nodded. Before Amanda, he would never talk to anyone about anything.

Amanda leaned in and hugged him; she held him. She started to kiss him gently. "You're sweaty," she whispered.

"Am I?"

"Uh, huh,"

"Maybe we should do something about that."

"Like a shower for two?"

"I like that idea."

********

(One month later)

"We had better put some of this stuff upstairs now," Amanda said to Paulina and Josie after her wedding/baby shower had nearly cleared out.

"Oh stay still, I'll get it."

"I'm not helpless yet Paulina. However, if this wedding were any later I'd never fit into my dress and a whale would be walking down the aisle."

"Don't be ridiculous, you're hardly even showing yet. I swelled up like a balloon when I had Dante."

"Really, Amanda. You're the tiniest four-month-pregnant woman I've ever seen! I'd never guess you're pregnant if I didn't know." Josie added.

"Well, I did rush the wedding so I could at least still buy a dress. I really wish I had a year long engagement like most people do." Amanda said.

Amanda, Paulina, and Josie began picking up presents and putting them in boxes together.

"Have you thought of a name for the baby yet?" Josie asked.

"You know we haven't even started talking about that. Of course, we still have a few more months until we have to decide for sure, but we should start picking."

Paulina hopped up and started digging in her purse. "Paulina to the rescue. I brought a book I bought when I was pregnant with Dante."

She handed it to Amanda who immediately flipped to the boys names.

Cameron and Gary knocked on the door and peeked into the room. "Is it safe to come in yet?"

"Yes," Josie smiled. "No more female stuff."

"Shew," Gary said.

Cameron looked around at all the presents. "Wow, looks like we made out pretty well."

"That's what you get for having it be a wedding and a baby shower, double the presents." She greeted her future husband with a hug and kiss. "Paulina just gave me a book of baby names. We really have to start thinking about this."

"They lied, they're still doing female stuff," Gary teased. Josie hit him lightly.

"The name you give your child is important. How a child turns out can depend greatly on what you name him," Josie said.

"Uh huh and what does it say my name means?" Gary asked.

Paulina read the description in the book, "Ha! Fits you to a tee, Gary."

"Okay," Gary conceded. "Just as long as you name my nephew something cool."

"Listen to him, 'something cool', " Josie mocked her husband.

"Maybe you should name him after someone in the family. I've always thought it would be great to be named after a relative; someone you really admire. Then he'd have a role model for life." Paulina reflected.

Amanda kinda crinkled her nose at the idea. She didn't really like any of the male names in her family. "Well, whatever we decide on, it has to go well with Sinclair."

"Oh, there's a section for that, in the front of the book it talks about how many syllables and what it should start with," Paulina suggested.

"Hmm, one or three syllables, and we don't want it to start with an 'S'," Amanda read. She began flipping through the boys names again. "Do you have any idea's, honey?" she asked Cameron while pulling him down onto the couch next to her.

"No," Cameron was quiet, withdrawn. "Whatever you decide is fine."

"Well, aren't you enthusiastic?" Paulina taunted.

"I think that three syllables would be good," Josie said. "You and Cameron both have 3."

Amanda nodded. She read a few names allowed, laughing at how horrible a few were. "Here's one," she said putting her finger on a name. "Anthony, I like that. It could be Anthony or Tony Sinclair."

"No," Cameron, Gary, and Josie all said in unison.

"Not that name, okay?" Cameron asked quietly.

Amanda looked around the room. "Okay, what did I say? I didn't think it was that bad?"

"No," Paulina said, "I thought it was nice."

There was a long pause. Gary was giving his brother a chance to answer this one himself. When he could tell that he wasn't going to any time soon, Gary nudged Josie so that she would tell Amanda. Neither Gary nor Cameron ever wanted to mention that name ever, ever again.

"Anthony Sinclair was your son's grandfather," Josie said trying to put it tactfully.

"Oh my God! Oh honey, I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to . . ." Amanda stuttered.

"It's okay," Cameron shook his head. "You didn't know."

Amanda kissed him, "I'm really sorry. Are you okay?"

Cameron nodded, but Amanda knew that he wasn't.

Josie took the book out of Amanda's hands, trying to distract. "We've always liked Jeremy. What do you think of that?"

********

Amanda lay fast asleep on Cameron's chest. They were snuggled in their bed; however, Cameron was anything but comfortable. Nightmares raged through his mind. Nightmares were common for him, real bad nightmares. He hadn't been getting as many of them lately, but tonight's was worse than any nightmare he had ever had before.

In his dream, Amanda had delivered their son, Anthony, and he was 5 years old. But, when Cameron saw his son, he saw a child covered in bruises who hated his father. Cameron had nightmares of hitting his own child, or of his son becoming an alcoholic just like him. The images raged through his head intermingled with scenes of his own abusive childhood. KABOOM, KABOOM, his heart raced beneath Amanda's head.

"Nooooooo," he screamed at the top of his lungs while sitting straight up in bed.

Amanda was startled into consciousness. "Cameron, honey?" she whispered sweetly. He was dripping in sweat. "Was it another nightmare?"

Cameron nodded and started crying. She pulled his head up against her chest and leaned up against the back of the bed. "Okay, baby. Just close your eyes and relax. You're safe, baby."

Cameron started sobbing. Amanda ran her fingers delicately over his head. She was well use to the routine by now. Her mind wandered back to the first time this had happened.

********

(Four and a half months earlier)

Amanda couldn't sleep; her mind just kept replaying the day's events. She had forgiven Cameron for Boca Lynda; it was time. But now her body ached for him. She had waited to be with him for so long.

She slipped out of her bed and scampered to Cameron's room. Allowing him to move back in was definitelya good idea! Her heart was pounding with anticipation. Forcing herself to calm down, she knocked gently and stuck her head inside the door.

Cameron was surprised to see her, but it was a bvery/b happy surprise. He looked her up and down, glaring at the way her night gown revealed her thighs and upper breasts.

"Can I come in?" she asked as if she were a child requesting permission to sleep with mommy and daddy. All Cameron could do was nod.

That was how it had all started. Actually, now that she thought about it that very probably could have been the night her child was conceived. He had been amazing, but the best part came afterword when she snuggled in his strong arms. That was the most wonderful position in the world. She had drifted to sleep in the arms of the man she loved.

Unfortunately, the evening wasn't over for Cameron. He had the nightmares all the time, up to three times a night, but it never occurred to him that he would have one while Amanda was asleep on his chest.

He woke himself, and Amanda, with his screams. She had tried to question him about it, but he blew it off.

It wasn't but a couple days later that he permanently moved into her room. Still, the nightmares didn't stop. Amanda started getting concerned when he had them every single night, but if she even mentioned it he got all defensive.

Finally, Amanda had the nerve to ask him if it were a nightmare about Boca Lynda. That made Cameron finally decide to tell her just a little about them. "Look, I'll tell you what they're about, but I never want to talk about it again. Okay? NEVER. . . "Cameron had to close his eyes and turn away from her before proceeding. "You know my old man was an alcoholic . . . well he was an abusive alcoholic. My childhood was spent in Hell I and get to visit there every time I close my eyes."

"Honey, I'm so sorry. Why didn't you tell me?" she asked.

"I don't wan't to talk about it . . ever."

Amanda laid off after that night. She tried to be considerate and comforting.

After Christmas, when he had finally broken down, Cameron cautiously began telling her about some of the nightmares; others were still too horrific for him to put into words. Recently, the nightmares had become less and less frequent. Amanda had really hoped he was getting over them.

********

But, none of that really mattered; he was having a bad one right now. "Do you want to tell me about it honey?"

Cameron shook his head and wept some more. Amanda hadn't seen him this bad in a long, long time.

After a while, Cameron pulled away from her and wiped away the tears. "Pull yourself together, Cameron," he yelled at himself. He had to tell Amanda what he was feeling, but he dreaded it.

Not daring to glance at her, he whispered, "I have to talk to you."

"Okay," Amanda gently answered. "What do you want to tell me?" She rubbed her hand up and down his back.

"I don't . . . I don't want the baby to have my last name."

"What? Honey, why?"

"You heard what Paulina and Josie were saying today about a name affecting how a child turns out."

"Oh, Cam, that's just superstition. No one really believes that."

"I don't care . . . I don't want our little boy to be a Sinclair! Nothing good has ever happened to a Sinclair. We're all monsters."

"Hey, I happen to be marrying a Sinclair and I'm pretty happy with the way he turned out."

Cameron shook his head and leaped off the bed like it was a scorching iron. He stood over by the window and stared. "I don't want our baby boy to have the life that I've had, Amanda. He doesn't deserve that. I want him to have happy childhood memories."

"He will. He's going to have the best two parents in the world."

Cameron sobbed. "What if I turn out to be just like Pop? What if I hurt our baby? What if I hurt you?"

Amanda's heart ached for the pain Cameron was going through. "Where's this coming from, honey? Hmm? You would never hurt our baby. You are going to be a great daddy." Amanda tried to hug him, but he pushed her away.

"How do you know that? I told you from the beginning to stay away from me that I'd hurt you. I hurt everyone I come into contact with! I can't be a good husband to you. I'm an asshole, Amanda, and I'll never be good to you or the baby. It's in my genes."

That did it! Amanda had tried her hardest to be patient and understanding with Cameron, but this was just too much. "So what, you don't want to marry me anymore? Is that what you're saying?"

"No, that's not what I'm . . ."

"You don't want to have our baby? It's a week away from our wedding, and I'm four and a half months pregnant, Cameron. Don't you think it's a little f . . . ing late to decide you're tired of playing house with me?"

"Amanda, I didn't mean . . ." he abruptly stopped when she grabbed her robe and stormed towards the door.

"Where are you going, now?" he asked.

"I'm sleeping in one of the guest rooms!"

"Amanda!" He screamed after her, but she ignored him. "Amanda," his tone changed, "please don't go."

"Give me one reason why I shouldn't!"

He pushed his humiliation aside and cried, "because I need you. I need you, Amanda."

Amanda's determination and fury melted. She turned around and stared at him as a tear trickled down her cheek. He approached her and brushed it away. "That's not what I meant, honey."

"What did you mean?" she cried.

"I just . . . I'm scared, Amanda. I'm scared I can't be the kind of husband you deserve, or the kind of father I want our baby to have. I'm inadequate, and I know it." Finally, he had admitted what was bothering him so much.

"That's it? Honey, I'm scared, too. Getting married, having a baby, those are scary things. But, I know we're going to make it."

"How do you know? How can you be so sure?"

"There's only one thing a family needs, and that thing is love. Not infatuation, not sexual desire, not mutual concerns, I'm talking true, deep down, I'd give my life for you love. I think we have that kind of love. I mean . . . I love this baby more than life itself," she said putting her hands on her stomach. "And I love you."

He hugged her, "I love you too. I love our baby. I just want what's best for him."

"Love is what's best for him, and we're both already giving it to him. I truly believe that he can already feel the love in this family; he can feel the love from inside of me."

"Our little . . . Jeremy? Jeremy Sinclair."

Amanda nodded, "Jeremy knows you love him. We're already a wonderful family."



-----Fine-----