Charlotte's standing in front of the glass window, looking at the sick babies, with Mason by her side, his hand on the glass. She has tears in her eyes still, and her heart is still beating faster than normal, not fully recovered from the conversation she just had with her stepson. She keeps glancing at him and quickly turning back to the babies. She's not sure what to do or what to say. She wasn't expecting him to call her anything other than Charlotte, let alone expecting him to want to call her anything but her first name.
Mason searches around the room. "So all these babies had something wrong with them?"
She nods. "That little guy right there has a heart defect and needed emergency surgery shortly after birth. His momma and daddy only got five minutes with him 'fore the doctors wheeled him to the OR." She pauses. "And that precious girl there had fluid around her brain. She had a stent, a little tube, put into her skull to help drain the fluid. She's doin' well, and so is he. Modern medicine is extraordinary."
He sighs. "But it doesn't save everybody."
She rests her hand on his shoulder and squeezes. "Unfortunately, modern medicine is no match for some modern illnesses and defects. It just hasn't caught up yet. But like I said, that baby girl was born with barely any lungs at all, and ten years ago, she would have been dead. Modern medicine hadn't caught up to her current condition yet."
He nods. "I bet those parents are happy."
She smiles. "That's a safe bet." She pauses. "How about we go find your daddy."
He slips his hand in hers and smiles up at her. "Ok."
She relaxes her hand and breathes in and out slowly.
Their fingers interlock, and they walk down the hallway, towards the elevator.
Charlotte walks in the door of their loft late the next day. She smiles at her son and husband who are sitting on the couch watching Phineas and Ferb. She shuts the door and walks through the living room towards the bedroom.
Mason turns his head and smiles. "Hey, momma."
Cooper coughs and glances at Charlotte, furrowing his brow.
She swallows and blinks. She's still not used to being called momma. "Hey, Mase."
Cooper shakes his head and turns back to the TV. He's not sure he heard his son correctly, certainly he didn't because Charlotte didn't seem all that shocked, at least not as shocked as he figures she should be. He chooses to ignore it."How was your day?"
She takes off her coat and sets her purse down on the chair. "Long. I stopped by to see Amelia before I left."
"How's she doing?"
"Not great, but I didn't expect anythin' more." She pauses. "I'm tryin' to give her space 'cause I know when I was—well, after you know what, I just wanted to be left alone." She takes off her heels and walks into the living room.
Cooper nods. "But you're worried about her."
"Course I am. As strong as I wanted to pretend I was, I still had feelins—strong ones at that," she says, hoping he'll get what she's implying. "I can't imagine what she must be goin' through, but it can't be easy, 'specially when she was carryin' that baby boy for nine months. Pain like that and grief are particularly hard when you're an—."
"Ex taco eater?"
She raises an eyebrow. "Sure, we can go with that." She sighs. "She's had an astronomically hard year, but I trust her. I know she's stronger than she appears to be. I can't just assume she'll slip."
Cooper smiles. "Come here, sweetie."
She walks over to him and sits down on the couch. She shifts on the cushion and crosses her legs. She leans into him slightly and rests her hand on his knee. She lets out a breath and brushes her thumb against his pant leg. "After seein' Amelia go through that, seein' how much pain Mason's in, it's not makin' me wanna have babies of my own."
Cooper sighs. They haven't really talked about the baby thing in a while. There's been way too much stuff going on. "Oh?"
She turns her head and presses her lips against his neck, just below his ear. She runs her hand over the top of his head and whispers, "Let me rephrase. After seein' Amelia go through that, seein' how much pain Mason's in, it's not makin' me feel any better 'bout havin' a baby of my own." She takes a long pause and sucks on her bottom lip, her eyes unfocused.
With his head still turned towards her, Cooper asks, "What is it, sweetie?"
She swallows. "I'm pregnant," she whispers.
Cooper's eyes go wide and he arches an eyebrow. "You're serious?"
She nods. "And it scares me to death."
Cooper hooks his arm around her back, kisses the side of her head, and lets out a hushed squeal. He rests his thumb on her chin and turns her head. He presses his lips against hers, and slowly slides his hand up the side her face, tangling his fingers through her hair. He breaks the kiss and smiles.
"Guys, can you please be quiet? You're ruining the show," Mason says, leaning against his father. "I'm missing all the good parts."
Cooper laughs and drapes his arm around his son. He looks over at Charlotte and kisses her softly on the lips again. "We'll talk later."
She nods and lets out another deep breath, turning her focus to the cartoon.
So here's the first chapter. Do you want more?