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Authors: Brie Paisley

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BOOK: Temptation
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Eto budet khorosho moy dragotsennyy
,” he says to me again. I still have no clue what he’s saying.

“Viktor, I have no idea what you’re saying to me, but keep saying it.”

And he does. Over and over he tells me whatever he’s saying in Russian in his soothing voice. Even when the pain and pressure come again and again, I listen to him. I close my eyes as I try hard not to give up. I feel the nurses put my legs in the stirrups. I hear Dr. B tell me it’s time to push.

I start to do as they tell me, and I thought the pain before was bad. This is so much more. I feel everything. I feel as if my insides are going to fall out. I push and push. Everyone in the room keeps telling me to push hard as they hold my feet giving me leverage. I don’t think about Viktor being one of people holding my feet. I don’t know how long I push before I hear her. I hear that loud cry and I fall back against the bed tired and filled with absolute joy.

I did it.

I smile and start to cry when they hold her up and show me her. They ask Viktor to cut the cord and I don’t even care if he sees the hairy and bloody mess I have going on down there. All I care about is my little girl.

Gabriella Ann Walker.

The nurse places her on my chest and I stare at my beautiful baby girl. I touch her small cheeks and I kiss her on her forehead. I don’t even care she is covered in vagina gunk. I don’t care she has blood on her. Holding her in my arms after all this time is surreal. I still can’t believe I did it. I can’t believe she is so perfect.

“Ona absolyutno sovershennym,”
Viktor says and even if I have no idea what he just said, I agree with him.

It’s strange knowing how much love I feel for Gabriella already. I didn’t know I could love someone this much. When one of the nurses says she has to take her, I almost protest. I just want to hold her but I also know the nurses have a job to do. As much as I hate to let her go, I do. I want them to tell me she’s in perfect health. I lay back on the bed as the nurses and Dr. B finish their jobs.

Viktor slowly moves out of their way and I look over to a nurse giving me more pain medicine. After a few moments I feel the rush of relief, and I sigh in contentment. I cannot believe how this day has went. From realizing Malcolm was gone, to being whisked away by a stranger, and now knowing I just gave birth, all these emotions are overwhelming. I want to laugh, but cry at the same time. I know in my heart I’ll do whatever I can to be there for my Gabriella. I refuse to leave her as Malcolm has. I promise myself, to always fight for her and do whatever I need for her. Today’s not the day for me to be sad, but to be happy and over joyed my baby is healthy. Seeing her finally has spawned something inside of me. No matter what, I will make sure she has the best life possible. I will fight for it, for her. Always for my Gabriella.

 

One month later

 

“Mom!”

“Yes, Ava?”

“Can you please come help me? I have no idea what I’m doing.”

I hear mom’s steps coming up the stairs and to my room. It has been a long and frustrating month. Since getting out of the hospital, I’ve had a hard time with Gabbie. She always cries and most of the time, I have no idea why. Thank God, mom and dad told me I could come stay with them as long as I needed to. I finally told them my last day at the hospital what happened with Malcolm. I had no choice when he never showed up to see Gabbie or when he didn’t call. I know mom was upset about the whole deal, but dad, he was livid. I’d never heard dad utter one cuss word until that day. I still didn’t understand the reason why Malcolm up and left when he did, but I decided, that Gabbie and I didn’t need him.

Viktor, on the other hand, never left my side. A stranger stayed with me over the father of my child. Go figure. Viktor has been great. He has come over every day to see Gabbie and me. Mom’s officially in love with the man, but when I ask her how she knows he doesn’t have an ulterior motive, she shrugs her shoulders and simply says, “I can tell.” Dad, well let’s just say it’s going to take him a little longer to come around. I still can’t figure out how I feel about the whole situation. A part of me loves he continues to come over, but another part of me, is afraid of what it means. I’m so conflicted of how he makes me feel every time I see his gorgeous smile. I can’t help but to be weary and to have my guard up.

“Ava, you’re going to have to learn how to do this on your own. I can’t always be here to help you.”

I sigh knowing she’s right. “I’m sorry, mom. I just don’t want to get this whole motherhood thing wrong. What if I mess it all up? What if I’m a terrible parent?”

Mom smiles at me and I think for a minute she has lost her mind. “Honey, all new parents feel this way. I know I did after I had you.”

“Seriously?”

“Yes. I remember the first month I hardly slept worrying about you. I worried that I wasn’t feeding you enough, or then feeding you too much. Motherhood doesn’t come at the snap of your fingers. It’ll take some time to get it right. But honey, you won’t be a bad mother. Gabbie already knows she’s loved. That’s why she cries a lot. You have spoiled her holding her all the time.”

I roll my eyes at my mom. She’s being over dramatic. I don’t hold her that much. Okay maybe I do, but I can’t help myself. I have to be near her. I have to make sure she’s alright and is still here. Some days I think this is all a dream.

“Mom, I just need you to hold her for just a minute. I need to figure out this bath tub thing. I don’t want her drowning.”

“Ava, stop worrying. She’ll be fine. Now, hand me my grandbaby.”

I give mom her wish and I go into the bathroom to make sure I have everything right for her bath. Mom’s right about me worrying all the time. I worry about anything and everything. No matter how big or small it may be. I feel like I might be going crazy, but then again, I tell myself it’s better to worry about the small things than nothing at all. Like the way she sleeps scares me to death. I worry she’ll roll over and smother herself, even though I know she isn’t old enough to be able to roll over yet. I worry about SIDS. I wouldn’t know what I would do if I walked in on her and she just wasn’t breathing. Or the way random people walk up to us in the grocery store and want to hold her. What about germs? I know one lady thought I was insane for making her use hand sanitizer before touching her. The thing is, I can’t help myself from worrying about these things. I hope all new mothers go through this and it’s not just me.

I hear mom talking to Gabbie and it makes me smile. I love that mom and dad are showing my little girl so much attention. It warms my heart knowing she’ll always know she is loved. Just like me when I was growing up.

I lean over the tub and I start to fill the baby tub with lukewarm water. I fill it just enough to where I can bath her. I don’t want to risk putting too much water in there. I check the water three more times before I go and get Gabbie from mom. She hands her over and leaves the room before I can ask her to help me with bath time. This is the fourth time I have done this and I still feel nervous about it. Gabbie on the other hand, loves bath time. She just lays back and watches me in wonderment. I’ve a feeling she’s going to be a very smart little girl.

As I bath her, I talk to her like she’s old enough to understand me. The crazy thing is, she looks like she’s listening to me. I’m sure she can’t comprehend what I’m saying, but the way she looks at me, makes me think she might. Maybe she just likes the sound of my voice. Either way, I love how she looks at me. One month old and she knows who her mama is. She makes little gurgling sounds and she moves her arms and legs. She likes it when I talk to her. Gabbie makes me smile and I never thought I would be so happy. Funny how I thought my whole world was ending the day she was born. Turns out, Gabbie is the best thing to ever happen to me.

She mostly sleeps whether it be in my arms, moms, or dads. She’s really a great baby. Well when she isn’t crying. I still haven’t managed to get her to sleep in my old bassinet that mom found in our garage. And even though I’m back living with mom and dad, I wouldn’t change anything about having her in my life. I think maybe Malcolm did me a favor leaving the way he did. If he hadn’t proposed and told me he wanted us to be a family, I might have given her up for an adoption. As much as Malcolm hurt me by leaving without a word, I owe him a thank you. At times I when I hold Gabbie, I look at her beautiful face and I let the tears fall. I hate that Malcolm is missing out on so much already and I hate that Gabbie won’t know her father either. How could he up and disappear without a single word, and not want to be a part of this amazing baby’s life is unimaginable to me. But, at the same time, I won’t make someone try and be in her life if they choose not to be. It’s not like I haven’t tried more than once over this past month to get a hold of him. I’ve called so many times, only to get his voicemail. I even called his parents’ house to get the maid. I leave a message every time, but I’ve yet to get a call back from any of them. I’ve given up on trying to make Malcolm see how much he’s missing, but the silver lining is, I don’t have to deal with Tina anymore.

I take Gabbie out of the tub and I wrap her little body in a towel. It’s crazy how small she is. She yawns and I know it’s going to be time for her afternoon nap soon. Maybe today she’ll let me look for work while she sleeps. I’ve no clue how she knows when she isn’t in someone’s arms. I’m telling you, she’s a smart baby. I bring her close to my chest and I take in her sweet baby smell. I give her a kiss on each cheek and I walk into my bedroom. I lay her down on my bed as I get her onesie. She starts to cry a bit and I quickly pick one before she starts crying louder.

“Shh, don’t cry baby girl. Mommy’s right here,” I tell her and she instantly stops crying.

I start to dress her and I continue to talk to her. Who would’ve thought I’d have so much to say to her. I don’t really talk about anything in particular. But I do talk about ballet mostly. Of how I used to dance and how much I miss it. How one day I’m going to teach her and I hope she loves it just like I do.

“Maybe one day you and I can have our own ballet studio. How does that sound?”

“I think that sounds like a dream you can have.” I jump and turn around when I hear his voice. He makes my heart jump a second time but this time in a good way.

“You scared me.” Viktor walks into my room like he owns the whole house. I still don’t understand why he continues to visit us. I’ve asked him more than once, only to get a vague answer. A part of me is starting to look forward to him coming by, and how he makes me feel. But another part of me is scared. I don’t want to let my guard down not knowing if in the end I’ll get my heart broken. I’ve kept my distance, not acting on all the feelings he makes me feel. My parents are slowly starting to love him more and more. Even dad has started talking to him more.

“I didn’t mean to. Your mom told me to come up.”

Gabbie squawks as I pick her up and hold her close to my chest. Viktor gives me a weird look, and I think he knows I’m using Gabbie as some sort of shield to protect myself. I feel comfortable around him and I’m worried that I’m going to get used to his closeness, his kindness and then it’s going to be snatched away. I can’t predict what Viktor will do and I have to continue to keep my distance from him. I might owe him for saving mine and Gabbie’s lives, but I can’t let anything happen between us.

“Is there a reason you came?” I ask. I ask him this every single time he comes. I hope he doesn’t hear the quiver in my voice.

“I wanted to see you and
dragotsennyy
.”

I swallow, trying to calm the butterflies in my stomach that delight in him saying he was coming to visit me. “Okay. Do you want to hold her? She’s tired, so she’s going to pass out in your arms.”

Viktor smiles as he takes her from me. I feel the brush of his hand on my arm, and I try to push away how great it feels to be touched by him. He cradles her in his arms. I watch him closely and I’ve a strange sense as though he has done this before. He seems confident with holding her and pretty much with anything else he does with her. I try not to stare at how sexy it is to watch him hold her. I can’t help but to notice how he leans down and kisses her forehead. My stomach flutters and my heart starts to race. How can he look so hot doing such a sweet thing? I cross my arms, trying as hard as I can to push these emotions away. But the way he’s looking at her now makes me think he loves her as much as I do.

I look away as I clear my throat and I ask, “What does that word mean?”

“What word?”

“The word you always call Gabbie. I want to know what it means.”

Viktor looks up at me and then back down to Gabbie. He rubs her little head with his fingers and I see her eyes slowly start to close. I don’t know what it is about him Gabbie likes so much. It seems every time he holds her, she’s falling into the best sleep. She fights it with me, and with mom and dad. But not Viktor. Seems as though he’s presence with Gabbie is the same with me. Relaxing. Calming.

“It means ‘precious one’ in Russian. I think it’s perfect for her. Don’t you think?”

BOOK: Temptation
11.05Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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