Authors: Jennifer Bryan Yarbrough
FOUND BY LOVE
Jennifer Bryan Yarbrough
FOUND BY LOVE
Written by: Jennifer Bryan Yarbrough
Copyright 2014 by: Jennifer Bryan Yarbrough
Book Cover by Jennifer Bryan Yarbrough
All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce
this book by any form
This book was printed in the United States of America
First Print: 2013
FOUND BY LOVE
CHAPTER TWENTY ONE
CHAPTER TWENTY TWO
CHAPTER TWENTY THREE
CHAPTER TWENTY FOUR
CHAPTER TWENTY FIVE
CHAPTER TWENTY SIX
CHAPTER TWENTY SEVEN
CHAPTER TWENTY EIGHT
CHAPTER TWENTY NINE
The doctor has just left the room and informed me that I wasn't any closer to delivering the baby from when I first got here almost 24 hours ago. He doesn't understand why I won't allow him to move things along or let him give me anything for pain. I asked him if the baby was okay and he said that he was so as long as he’s fine then he will stay put until he is ready to come out. This is an excruciating pain that I never want to forget and the kind of pain that I want to remember for the rest of my life so that I will learn from this hard, hard lesson.
"Claudia? Why won't you let the doctor help you? I can't handle seeing you in so much pain and for what? What are you trying to prove?" My best friend has held my hand throughout this whole pregnancy and has helped me keep it a secret from everyone. She has been pleading with me to let the doctors give me something to ease the pain for hours. I rolled my eyes at her and shook my head for the hundredth time.
"Vanessa, you can leave anytime you feel like it. I've already told you why I am doing what I'm doing, so if you can't handle it? Well... The door is right over there." I waved my hand towards the door and I see my brother Derek standing there with a hesitant grin on his face.
"Derek? What are you doing here? I told you I didn't want you here for this." The thought of him dropping everything for me has me crying and I hate crying, especially in front of people. He rushes over to me and wraps me in his arms and I finally fall apart.
"I told you that I've been trying to make sure that I had jobs on the west coast for when you got closer to deliver so that I could be here for you since you refused to tell Olivia about... Well-” He waved his hand at me and the monitors that were hooked up to me. “About this... When you called me yesterday I had assumed that you had already had the baby by now but it looks like my nephew is as stubborn as his cousin Jordan. Do you need me to do anything for you?" I know that he meant well but his words hurt me worse than he could ever imagine.
"Other than not calling the baby your nephew, no, I haven't changed my mind Derek. I'm still putting him up for adoption." He took his baseball cap off and slapped himself on the leg with it and proceeded to run his fingers through his hair. I got ready for whatever he planned to say to try to change my mind.
"I can't talk you into letting Olivia and I raise him as our own? Or how about you keep him and move back home and finish college there and we help you while you're going to school? You know we will." I vehemently shook my head at him and pleaded with him with my eyes to drop it
"Derek, Olivia just found out that she is pregnant again so you already have a houseful. No! I'm not changing my mind. If it'll make you feel better, I'll let you meet the adoptive parents when they come in tonight from California. I promise you, I’m not handing him over to devil worshippers or crazy people. They've tried for years to have a baby and they found out years ago that they're infertile so he will be their first and maybe only baby. Please trust me in this because I'm doing the right thing for my s.... this baby." I almost said son and he knew it but thank God he didn't try to guilt trip me like he has been.
"Alright Claud... I'm sorry... I just figured I'd give it another shot. Don't feel like I'm disappointed in ya or anything. I just wanted you to know that I love you and that I'm here for ya in case you changed your mind."
Wow! I can't remember him ever telling me that he loved me because it's a word that my family doesn't know how to say out loud. His declaration has me crying again and I’m sure it has to do with my stupid hormones and labor pains that seem to be getting worse.
I look over at Vanessa and forgot that she was in the room because of Derek's grand entrance and she has an uncomfortable look on her face and keeps looking at Derek and then to me which makes me realize that I haven't introduced them to each other.
"I'm kind of busy here... You guys can introduce yourselves... Geez..." Vanessa stood up and grinned and offered her hand to Derek that he reached over for and shook.
"Hi Derek... I'm Vanessa Hernandez. I guess you could say I'm Claud's best friend out here because I know that your wife Olivia is her oldest and dearest friend from back home." Vanessa is so genuinely sweet and gorgeous to boot and I couldn't help but notice how my brother blushed every time he looked into her big brown beautiful eyes.
"Hello Vanessa... It's very nice to meet you, too. I've heard so many good things about you and funny stories from time to time that include your fiancé. Cash isn’t it? I'd like to meet him one day... I hear he gives my little sister here a hard time like I do haha." Every time Derek and I talk on the phone he always asks me what kind of hell I'm giving Cash because he loves to hear about it and gets a good laugh out of how bad I terrorize him.
"Yes he does... They tend to have a love hate relationship half the time. Sometimes they make me feel like the referee when we all go somewhere."
"Oh I bet! Did he really run around the school naked as a jay bird from losing a bet to Claud?" I think Derek has told everyone that story from here to Florida because he always brings it up and laughs harder every time he tells the story.
"Yes he did and he's still mad at her but it was hilarious and annoying at the same time. He has so many girls following him everywhere that he's contemplating on if he should file protective orders against them. He gets so mad at me when he tries to get me to shoo them off for him but I refuse. One of these days he's going to have to learn to not make bets with her because he's going to lose every time." I smiled through a contraction knowing that Cash will never quit trying to beat me at my own game.
"I learned that when I was about 10! I couldn’t tell ya how many times she won my lunch money from me, haha." Okay, enough of this. I'm the one in labor here. Geez!
"I'm really glad that you two are hitting it off and everything but could I get some more ice chips? Vanessa? Do you mind getting them for me? I need to talk to my brother for couple of minutes if you don't mind."
"Oh I'm sorry... Sure... That's not a problem at all. I'll be back in a few." She looked over at Derek and asked if he wanted anything but he shook his head no and then pulled a seat up to get closer to me.
"Thank you." I waited until she shut the door before I started in on my brother. I can tell that he knows what I'm going to ask by the look on his face so he beat me at the punch and started talking.
"I haven't said a word to anybody Sis. Not Olivia... Not Mom and Dad… Nobody! I understand why you don't want Mom and Dad to know but why not Olivia? You two have been best friends, since you two were fourteen and she's not gonna judge you, because she loves you, as much as I do and you know it."
"I'm not worried about her judging me because I know she'd never do that but I know and you know that if there's anyone that could talk me into keeping this baby it would be her!"
"So what's wrong with that? You know how loving and caring she is. I meant it when I said we would raise him as our own. Doesn't it make you sad that a piece of us is going to be out in the world somewhere, with our blood in his veins? He's not even going to know us and I might see him somewhere when I travel and not even know that he's my nephew. It's something that I'm always going to think about and if I'm going to be constantly thinking about it then how can you not? You're his mother!"
"Derek! You don't get it! I'm not changing my mind and that's why I don't want Olivia to know. She'd say way more than what you're saying to me which would make me feel guilty about what I'm doing. I want to finish graduate school and pass my bar exam and I have to do what's best for the baby. I don't want him growing up to be raised by his aunt and uncle, who he thinks are his parents, and years later find out that his aunt Claudia is his mother. That's just crazy! I picked the perfect parents for him and they've tried for years to get pregnant and my heart went out to them. I can already tell that they love this baby just as much as I do." Why? Oh WHY does he not get that I'm only doing what's right for this baby?
"You love the baby? If you love it then why are you getting rid of it?"
"Are you kidding me right now? Of course I love this baby! I'm not GETTING RID of him! I'm GIVING him to a mother and a father, who will love him, as much as I do. I'm doing what's best for him Derek! Why should he have to suffer for my mistakes and be raised by a single mother, that works full time, and goes to college full time, when he can have both? A mother AND a father!" I was screaming at him and I knew that if I didn't watch it my blood pressure was going to get out of control. Not to mention the nurses will probably come check on me if I don't calm down.
"Calm down Sis... I'm not trying to upset you... I'm just trying to make you realize that you don't have to do this alone. Where's the father of the baby at anyway? Does he even know that you're putting his son up for adoption?"
"No he doesn't, because he assumed I got rid of it, and he doesn't matter anyway, because he moved away, after he threw money at me, to get it taken care of. The only thing he did, other than the obvious, is teach me a hard lesson, of never falling in love again. I will NEVER drop my guard again and let some man do to me what he did!!"
He cleared his throat and grabbed my hand and started patting my hand like I were a child that he had to try to calm down.
"Sis, not all men are like that asshole. You will meet a great man one day that you can start a family with."
"Oh the hell I will Derek! That's not in the cards for me and men better run from now on when they see me because if they don't, I'll make damn sure that they do! I'm through with men!"
"Well you're not gonna go all lesbian on us now are ya? I mean... Fine if you do but I think that would kill Mom and Dad. You know how they are. They don’t miss a day of church!" I'll never know how he graduated from college, with a degree under his belt, by some of the stupid shit that comes out of his mouth. I pulled my hand away from him before I dug my nails in and hurt him.
"No I'm not going to turn into a lesbian you idiot! Let’s change the subject... How are Olivia and Jordan doing? Is Jordan walking yet?"
"Walking? Heck no... That kid’s running around everywhere and getting into everything! He got into my shaving kit last weekend and emptied all of my shaving cream out onto the dog! I know Olivia's tired all of the time because of her pregnancy but she has got to watch that boy better. There's no telling what he's going to end up getting into if she don't start watching him better." I shook my head at him, not believing half of the things that come out of his mouth.
"Did you ever think of putting the shaving kit where he couldn't reach it? You need to help her out with him when you're home Derek. She's with him all week long and just because she's a stay at home mom doesn't mean she doesn't need a break or a NAP from time to time. And to think... You guys are having another one. I feel sorry for her."
"What? You feel sorry for her? I had to buy a new shaving kit! She's the one that stays home with him so she should have put it somewhere where he couldn't get it. How was I to know that he'd get into it? Why do you always defend her all of the time? Don't get me wrong... I love her more than anything and she's great but that's her job and not mine."
"Derek... I swear... The older you get the more you sound like Dad. I don't know what I'm going to do with you."
That's the main reason I wouldn't tell Olivia about the baby. As much as I love her and know that she loves me too, there's no way that I could tell her about the baby and her not end up talking me into keeping him. I knew that she would raise him as her own in a heartbeat because she’s that beautiful of a person. I didn't want her to have to raise another child by herself because even though she's married to my brother, he's never home, and when he is he hardly has much to do with Jordan and now they have another one on the way. Jane and Thomas Brown are going to be the best thing that I could ever give my child. Derek might not realize how much I love him but there's no one else in the world that I love more than this precious baby that has spent his first nine months, growing inside of my body.
The heart ache that I can already feel from missing him will be worse than the heart ache his father caused me and I pray I can make it through it. If I can make it through the next few hours of having him and giving him up then I will be able to make it through anything.
"Claudia, will you look at me please? I know you want me to leave you alone but I can't do it. Will you let them give you something to at least help you sleep?"
Vanessa stayed by my side throughout the whole delivery and stayed in the room with me when I handed my precious healthy 8 pound baby boy over to his parents. The family of three left a few minutes ago and I'm trying so hard, not to lose it, by watching the clock. He was born at 8:25 A.M. and was out of my arms by 9:15 a.m. I never realized that the whole experience would go by as fast as it did once my labor progressed. I think that I'm in shock more than anything and can't seem to do anything except watch the second hand move around the dial of the clock.
I was told that they named him Grayson Ryan and I couldn’t have picked a better name for him. He even looked like a Grayson to me as I held him those short five minutes after his birth. I kept looking into his beautiful eyes that were dark blue with brownish copper flecks in them and I knew they would turn a deep mahogany brown like mine. I ran my fingers through his full head of hair, and counted each of his fingers and toes, to make sure he had all of them like every mother does. The devastation is that I was only his mother for fifty minutes until all of the paperwork was signed. The short fifty minutes seemed like nothing compared to the nine months I spent talking to him and loving him every time I would feel him move around in my body. Nine long months of utter heartache and the betrayal, that I tried to get over, what was done to me by his father. I refused to take my heartache out against my precious baby boy and throw him away, without a care, the way his father expected me to do.