Trying something new, branching out a little. I've always thought Steve and Miranda were a lovely couple. This may end up being a series of one-shots, depending on the activity level of my muse.
It had been a long day, and New York was sweltering in a late-summer heat wave. Miranda dropped everything she was carrying on the floor of the apartment, kicking off her shoes as she staggered across the room to the sofa, basking in the central air. The baby kicked and twisted inside her, and she smiled at him.
"Is it as hot in there as it is out here?"
She tried to avoid speaking out loud to the baby in public. Especially in front of Charlotte, who managed genuine enthusiasm most of the time but occasionally froze when Miranda did or said something maternal. Fortunately those moments were rare.
The baby kicked in response to the sound of her voice now, and Miranda put her hand over the spot, since there was no one there to see her. Danny, she thought. Danny Hobbs.
Somehow it didn't have quite the usual ring to it. "Danny." She hadn't revealed the name to the girls yet, wanting to wait for Steve's okay. It seemed only fair. But now, Steve having approved, she imagined what their reactions would be. Carrie wouldn't care; she'd be happy with whatever made Miranda happy. Samantha probably wouldn't deign to notice the baby, and if she did, definitely wouldn't call it by name. But Charlotte … Charlotte would be disappointed. She would ask what the name meant. And Miranda would say something sarcastic, and Charlotte would be hurt, and Miranda would feel bad. Not that it was her fault, or Charlotte's, for that matter. They'd both been screwed by circumstances, in their own particular way.
She couldn't help thinking about it, though. What did Danny mean? It was a not-fussy name that she'd thought she could live with. Not dorky, or silly, or kre8iv, which was a whole new concept Miranda had discovered on the Internet, misspelling a kid's name just to be different. In Miranda's experience, different in kid-speak meant 'bad'—like having red hair, or dressing oddly, or … growing up without a father.
Miranda groaned, struggling to sit up. These kinds of thought processes were what led to falling asleep sprawled on the couch and waking up at 2 am with a sore back and a bursting bladder, so hungry she could eat the cat. She pushed herself off the couch, waddling into the kitchen in search of something to eat. She almost looked forward to labor, at this point, for a light at the end of this long, fat tunnel.
Later she might nuke something, order in, or even go out. For the moment, it was cold Chinese leftovers straight out of the carton. She ate standing up in the kitchen, flicking on the radio, which should have been set to NPR. Instead, music came blaring out. Magda, she thought, sighing inwardly. It was a catchy tune, though—"Walking on Sunshine", by … somebody. If she'd ever known the band's name, it had vanished in the depths of pregnancy brain. What she did remember, suddenly, was walking down the street with Steve, hearing this song coming from an apartment window above them.
He'd grinned at her, that goofy grin, and said, "Hey, I like this song!", catching her around the waist. He couldn't dance, the ultimate white boy, but it hadn't mattered, not after her first half-hearted attempt to escape. His joy had been infectious, at least that once, and she had danced with him right there on the sidewalk.
She caught herself now, swaying her hips there in the kitchen, the carton of food forgotten on the counter. Her belly felt lighter, somehow, like the baby was dancing with her. He kicked, hard, and rolled over. For some reason the movement reminded her of Steve.
They had tried, she and Steve. Both times. They just hadn't been meant to be. She didn't want him back … but at the same time, she wasn't unhappy that her baby would have Steve for a father. He'd be a good father, loving and patient and fun, all the things Miranda was afraid she could never learn to be.
Steve and little Danny shooting hoops together. Miranda closed her eyes, trying to picture it, but she couldn't imagine what Danny Hobbs might look like. He didn't seem real. More, he didn't seem to have anything to do with Steve, or with her, or what they had been together once.
A feeling of sadness rushed through her, deflating the good feelings the song had brought on. She snapped the radio off, having had enough of its bubbly high spirits. That was the problem, wasn't it, right there? Joy tired her out, made her cranky, while Steve seemed to thrive on it. He didn't even have to look, just found it wherever he happened to be. Walking down the street, standing behind the bar … or even with Miranda. She had never really thought about it before, but maybe her decision to have Steve be part of the baby's life had been less about what she should do and more about what she wanted to do—wanted her son to grow up like his father, to be someone who could see the joy in life that she so often walked right by.
For a moment, the idea flitted across her mind—Steve Jr.—but that was untenable. It wouldn't work at all.
And then it hit her, the perfect name.
"Brady," she whispered. The baby kicked and she stroked the spot. Yes. Brady Hobbs. The best of both of them.