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Authors: Ariadne Wayne

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Chapter Thirty-Four
Kyle

I
was so overwhelmed seeing
her pain and joy at the birth of our child, all I wanted to do was take her in my arms and kiss her. It wasn’t my turn, though. Our baby was placed on her chest, with warm towels to cover her up, and Rowan and I both fell in love.

She was beautiful, with big blue eyes and tufts of blonde hair. Somewhere deep down inside, I fought the thought that she wasn’t mine, that somehow Andrew had fathered this child. Where had the blonde hair come from? The thought of that made me sick to my stomach, but I swallowed it as I kissed Rowan and this beautiful little newcomer to our lives.

Rowan was so affectionate. She stroked the baby’s head while squeezing my hand, saying all the right things, like how much she loved both of us. How we were a family.

Were we?
Was there something she hid from me?
I knew I was her first, but had he squirmed his way back into her life behind my back? I didn’t want to be suspicious, but I couldn’t help it. He was like this insidious parasite, ready to latch on as soon as he had any opportunity.

“Kyle?” Rowan looked up at me with so much love in her eyes, I felt guilty for ever thinking that way. Today we had become parents. Holy crap, I was a dad. I don’t think anyone ever thought I’d have kids, let alone be married and blissfully happy about it.

The nurses took us to a private room, where the three of us could spend time together to bond. Rowan was just amazing. I’d gone to ante-natal classes with her, but she was on a whole other level to me. She knew just how to hold the baby, and with some help, feed the baby. I watched as she rocked our daughter in her arms, instinctively knowing just what to do. In comparison I felt clumsy.

“You should hold her, Kyle. I’m sure she would love a cuddle with Daddy,” she said, smiling at me.

Still unsure, I held my arms out and she passed the tiny bundle to me. Those big blue eyes looked up at me now, and I smiled as I studied the little face. She had a tiny button nose; it was just too hard to not fall in love with her.

She was so precious, so small and fragile, and she captured my heart. Just as her mother had.

Are you mine?

I felt so guilty even thinking that.

“She has your eyes,” Rowan said.

“Don’t all babies have blue eyes?”

She laughed. “I don’t know if all do. But I think she is going to. Just like her daddy.”

H
er parents arrived later
in the day, and I excused myself to get some fresh air. My mind kept going back to the blonde hair, just like Andrew’s. She was a baby, though; maybe that was something she would grow out of. I didn’t know, it was all so confusing.

I stopped to get a cold drink before finding a seat outside the hospital. I watched cars pull up to drop off patients, and parents leaving with their babies. It was a beautiful sunny day with just a hint of a breeze, and the fresh air was helping clear my head.

Surely Rowan would be honest with me if this baby wasn’t my child. She’d spent her whole life wanting to be with him; if she’d had the opportunity then why did she marry me?

“Kyle.” Rowan’s dad came up behind me. “I figured I’d leave the ladies to talk and get some fresh air with you. Are you okay?”

I didn’t know what to say. “I’ll be fine. It’s just been a long day, and we have so much to think about now.”

He sat down on the bench beside me. “That little girl up there is very lucky that she has two parents who love each other as much as you and Rowan. I have to admit, when we first met, I wondered what a big city boy wanted with my girl. She’s so sweet and naive at times. You’re a good man, Kyle Warner. I couldn’t ask for anyone better to love her.”

I looked up at him, and he had this big grin on his face, as if he’d won the lottery.

“This is your first grandchild.”

He nodded. “Sure is, from my youngest girl. How backwards is that?”

“That’s really cool.” I couldn’t tell him what I’d been thinking. Everything seemed so screwed up. I looked back down at the juice bottle in my hand. I should grab one for Rowan on my way back.

“There’s something bugging you. I could see it when I walked in that room. What’s going on, Kyle. Are you two okay?”

“It’s just stupid. I never thought our baby would be blonde. Maybe if she had married Andrew instead …”

He nodded, slapping me on the back. “Do you know that when we had Rowan, she had all this fine, blonde hair? I was sure I had a cuckoo in my nest. She grew out of it, and so will that little girl up there.”

I laughed. “Thanks. I really needed that.”

“She’s not the type to cheat, Kyle. No matter what happens. I’ve never seen her so miserable than when you two were apart. You don’t have anything to worry about from Andrew Carmichael. Rowan wouldn’t look twice at him now.”

“I love her so much.”

“I know you do, Son. When you two are together, it’s written all over your face. That’s why I trust you with her heart. I know you won’t put her through more crap. Now, come on, let’s go see this daughter of yours again.”

We walked back up to the ward in silence, no more words needing to be said.

Rowan’s mother stood in the hallway, baby in her arms, and a look on her face that I’ll never forget. I ran to her, looking into the room as she did and seeing the medical staff surrounding Rowan’s bed.

“What happened?”

She looked at me, tears on her cheeks, and I felt my stomach sink into my knees as she tried to find the words.

“We were just sitting talking, and Rowan said she felt funny. She had some type of fit. I called for help, and one of the nurses fetched a doctor. I came out here to get out of their way.”

I walked through the door and the doctor looked up as I entered the room. He opened his mouth to say something.

“I’m her husband,” I said, making my way to her side. Her eyes were closed and my heart skipped a beat looking at her, she looked as though she was sleeping quietly. “What’s happened?”

“She’s had a preeclamptic seizure. We’ll monitor her and get her onto some medication to help prevent this happening again,” the doctor said.

She looked so peaceful, and I felt like crap for leaving the room, especially over something so stupid. There was no way she would ever be with anyone else. Not my Rowan.

Her eyes flickered open, and she looked confused by the people around the bed. She squeezed my hand. “What’s going on?”

“Rowan, you had a seizure. We’ll be keeping a close eye on you, and giving you medication to prevent it from happening again. You’ll be in hospital for a few more days at least, and when you do go home we’ll organise a care plan for you.” The doctor smiled at her. “You’ll be well looked after, even though I know you must want to go home now.”

“My baby,” she said, trying to see where the baby was.

“Your mum has her; she was in the corridor when I came back in. She’s safe, babe.”

“I want to see her.” She was struggling to push herself up, desperate to see our daughter.

I went out to the corridor, smiling at Rowan’s mum. “She’s had a preeclamptic seizure. She’s fine now, but she wants to see the baby.”

She held her out to me, and I took my precious little girl in my arms. She gazed at me with those big blue eyes—my eyes. As if she could ever be anyone’s but mine.

“Hey you, let’s go see your mum.” I looked up at Rowan’s parents. “Once that lot have cleared out, come back in. There’s not much room in there right now.”

Her mother breathed a sigh of relief, closing her eyes as Rowan’s father put his hand on her shoulder. This whole thing must have been as terrifying for them as it was me.

I kissed the baby on her forehead. “Come on, princess.”

Rowan lit up as I sat back down beside her. “There she is,” she said. “She looks content in your arms.”

“She’s so new, Rowan. She’d be happy wherever she was.”

“What are we going to call her?”

The doctor, midwife and nurse filed out, leaving us alone for just a moment.

“I don’t know. We made that huge list.” I nuzzled her nose with my own. This beautiful creature we had made.

“Look at you, Mr I’m So Staunch I’m Not Going To Fall Apart When I See My Child.”

Her mum and dad rejoined us as the three of us cuddled together. This was just awesome.

Chapter Thirty-Five
Kyle

L
eaving
her in the hospital was hard. Her parents went to our place to settle in for a few days, while I stayed as late as I was allowed to. I had hoped that this would be the only night we’d be apart, but it seemed we’d have to wait a few days to be at home together.

I got home, ready to collapse into bed, and the house smelled of dinner. Rowan’s mother had cooked, and was waiting to feed me. I loved being part of her family. My father was in the living room with Rowan’s dad; they were laughing together like old friends, and I stood and watched them for a while before joining them.

“How’s it going?” Dad asked. “How are Rowan and the baby?”

I grinned, pulling out my phone to show him pictures. He smiled, shaking his head at the screen. “She looks like a real mix of you both. I’m sure that’s Rowan’s nose and your eyes. Look at all that hair. She’s beautiful, Kyle. Well done.”

“You have to come and see her at the hospital. They won’t be home for a few days, so go and see Rowan. I’ll probably be there every waking moment anyway.”

“That’s why we need to keep you fed and looked after.” Rowan’s mother came in with a huge plate of food, and I stuffed myself silly while they all talked and fussed over the photos.

Rowan and I hadn’t spent a night apart since our wedding. The bed was so empty. I missed being curled up with her, her warm body pressed against mine as we spooned all night.

I even missed her cold feet against my calves. I just missed her.

There was nothing more I wanted now than to grow old with Rowan, surrounded by our children. I guess seeing the birth of your child makes you sentimental in that way. That’s what it did for me. I had a cold bed, but a warm heart, filled with love for my wife and child.

I couldn’t wait for them to come home, to hold Rowan in my arms at night again. My phone vibrated on the nightstand and I grinned as I saw what Rowan had sent me.

It was a selfie of her cradling our baby with one arm, breastfeeding her as she smiled for the camera. I didn’t know if she was showing off her newfound abilities or just letting me know they were okay.

Y
ou are gorgeous
. I love you.

I
pressed
send and waited for the reply. I’d have given anything to be at the hospital with her, but I would just have to content myself with going up in the morning.

C
an
you bring my laptop in tomorrow?

I
shook
my head with a laugh. She would get bored over the next few days; I guess it made sense she wanted something to keep her entertained. This separation would be as hard for her as it was for me, though she had it worse. At least I got to sleep in our bed.

She had the baby with her, though. Damn it, we still needed to work out what we were going to call her. She couldn’t be ‘baby’ her whole life.

Maybe that was why Rowan wanted her laptop. The list of names we made was on it. Maybe tomorrow we would name our little girl.

I
love you too
.

T
here was another text
, and I tucked the phone beside me in bed as I nestled between the sheets.

R
owan’s mother
had cooked breakfast in the morning, and I ate quickly. The number one thing on my mind was my wife and child, and the sooner I could be with them, the better.

“We’re going to do some sightseeing today, give you two some space. We’ll be up in the afternoon,” she said.

I nodded. “Thanks. Rowan asked for her laptop. I think she wants to go over the list of baby names so we can give this girl her name.”

“Naming children is so hard. We struggled with all of ours.”

“Where did Rowan’s name come from?”

She smiled. “From a book I was reading at the time. I liked it, and so did her father. We might have rethought it if we’d known the teasing she was going to get. That was upsetting.”

“I’m sure it was. I like it; it really suits her.”

I grabbed another piece of toast. “Now, I’m in the shower. Be back soon.”

When I came back out, I heard her talking on the phone, telling someone what ward Rowan was in. I assumed a family member or friend was sending her flowers, and thought nothing more of it as I set off to see her.

I tucked her laptop bag under my arm as I left the car. Just the thought of being with my girls again made me warm inside. All I needed was them.

He sat beside the bed, and the atmosphere was so thick you could have cut it with a knife. Rowan sat, paying all the attention to the baby and very little to Andrew, who was talking about something. She very clearly wasn’t listening, and I could see the irritation on his face that only increased when I walked in.

“Hey, babe,” I said, placing the laptop bag on the table beside the bed. She looked up at me with that hazy, far-away look on her face. Blissful and serene.

I bent to kiss her, lingering on her lips before nuzzling her nose.

“Now I know who your mother was talking to,” I said, looking at Andrew.

“I got to the hospital, and didn’t know which ward Rowan was in,” he replied stiffly. I wondered if he thought he could sneak in and out early to avoid me. Too late for that.

“He brought flowers and a present for the baby,” Rowan said. She was completely focused on me now, and I didn’t know if it was a concerted effort on her part, or if she was ignoring him.

“That was nice. Thank you, Andrew,” I said, smiling at him. All I wanted to do was to take him out and punch him in the face, but that wasn’t going to happen.

“Thanks for bringing my laptop in. I had an idea last night on how to solve the problem of not knowing what to name this one. I’ll just write a little programme, add all the names into it, and we can randomly select one and see if it fits.”

I laughed. “Trust you, smarty-pants. It’s as good an idea as any.” I looked down at the wrapped bundle in her arms. “Want to come to Daddy while Mummy is putting you through the computer?”

She rolled her eyes as she passed the baby to me. Andrew sat forgotten as she pulled the tray table around and started up her computer.

I stroked my little girl’s face. “We might just have a name for you shortly, sweetheart. Wouldn’t that be nice?”

Rowan grinned. “Cheeky. Won’t take long. I’ll just put all the names in and we’ll draw one out.”

I looked at Andrew. He had this sulky look on his face, left out of everything.

“I’m surprised to see you here,” I asked.

He shrugged. “I know things haven’t been good between us. I wanted to show Rowan that I care.”

“You have great timing. Rowan and I have never been happier. Our little girl is amazing.”

He glared at me. “I’m glad she’s okay. Her mother said something happened.”

“Nothing we can’t work through. Just means I get to keep a real close eye on Rowan.”

At that, Rowan looked up. “How close?” She had that gorgeous grin across her face, the one she’d worn almost non stop since our wedding day.

“Oh, very close, Mrs Warner.” I leaned over to kiss her. Never in my life did I ever think I would feel so much love. All for my wife and for my daughter.

“Give me five, and maybe we’ll have a name for our girl.” She was so excited, and I stroked her face with the palm of my hand before settling down on the bed with my girl in my arms.

“So, how are you, Andrew?” I asked.

He shrugged. “Okay, I guess.”

I wanted to ask if he’d replaced Charlie yet. After all that crap with him coming onto Rowan, I wondered if he would just move on. But asking him that might prove to be the wrong move, and I didn’t want to stir things up too much. Turned out I didn’t have to.

“So, have you got a girlfriend?” Rowan asked, not looking up from the screen.

“No.” He looked at her expectantly, as if he were waiting for her to interact with him more. Instead she tapped away at her keyboard, smiling as she finished what she was working on.

“I should get going,” Andrew said.

“Sure. Bye.” Rowan said. It took everything for me to hold my laughter in. Rowan wasn’t giving him an inch.

“Are you ready?” she asked me.

“Ready as I’ll ever be.”

Andrew stood, leaving with room with just a glance over his shoulder.

“That was a bit rude. He was here to see you.” I teased.

She rolled her eyes. “I don’t care what he does.”

Rowan turned the screen so we could both see it, closing her eyes as she hit a key.

“What are you doing?”

“What does it say?” she asked.

I leaned over to get a closer look. “It says Mia.”

She opened her eyes, that grin slowly appearing again. “What do you think?”

I looked down at our daughter. She gazed up at me with those big blue eyes and I took in her features, nodding as I kissed her forehead softly.

“I think you look a lot like a Mia.”

She wriggled in my arms, and Rowan laughed. “Aww, she knows her name.”

“Mia it is.”

Rowan pushed the tray table out of the way, moving down the bed towards us. She leaned over to kiss me, and I even got to slip the tongue in for just a few seconds.

She laughed. “You are naughty, Mr Warner. I think we have a name for our daughter though.”

“So do I.”

She waved at the baby. “Hi, Mia.”

Mia wriggled again.
I love my family so much.

BOOK: Loving Rowan
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