The holidays has seemed unimportant this year when they’re waiting for something much bigger than a few days off work and good food.
Now with everything in order and her due date already passed, Juno just walks around in her brother’s house, counting the hours and baking holiday cookies.
David has been hired formally as a curator down at the Barchester County Museum, which is a relief since Juno hasn’t felt up to working extra hours while juggling teacher’s college and her pregnancy. They’re not struggling financially but she prefers wide margins, not living from day to day.
Martha has never really been a big fan of her first grandchild’s daddy – though, to be fair, they haven’t had a lot of time to talk either and she’s positive their relationship will improve with time. She would have preferred it if Juno and David had sorted out their lives properly before having children, but she also realises that it’s not her business.
Lately David has begun to redeem himself in her eyes, at least, having landed a proper job and putting his somewhat lackluster degree to use.
And six days before Christmas, little Minos Wester is born. He’s got his mother’s hair and his father’s eyes and the whole family is excited that he’s finally here.
* * *
Three days before Christmas, Simon comes by Ada’s house. It’s late, almost too late, and part of him had wishes she would be asleep already but when he texted her and asked, she had replied that if he was in the neighborhood, sure, he could come in. She immediate regrets it.
She’s too tired after preparing the holidays for her kids, too tired from being pregnant, too tired to discuss back and forth how to handle their little accident that’s growing inside her body.
“I’m not asking you to sacrifice anything for me here.”
“I know. I want to do this.”
“You don’t know me, Simon.” Her back aches and she feels tired and confused. And tired of being confused. Part of her would like him to be with her, for real, move in here and help her out. Part of her just wants to be left alone because she knows how to do this, she knows how to raise children.
“It’s not about you. Or me, for that matter. The baby…” he sounds so miserable that she pities him. It’s something she can relate to, after all, the immense power in craving a baby, a child of your own. Gods know she had felt that way once. Even as Ed grew sicker and sicker, Ada kept having the dream of another baby. “It’s my baby, too.”
Ada lowers her head for a moment, then she nods.
“Yeah. Whatever it is that you want to do. However you want to help.”
They look at each other for a while – evaluating, calculating. It’s never going to be a love story, it never was one to begin with and it won’t end that way. It has always just been a story about loneliness and Ada catches herself hoping he’ll find his way back to Clara, that it’s not too late for them. When she tells him, Simon smiles, wistfully.
“So do I,” he admits.
He has brought a gift. For the baby. A couple of outfits he had spotted in a shop and been unable to resist.
“Thank you,” Ada says and means it. “You didn’t have to.”
“Of course I did.”
“We can make this work, Ada.”
She slips into his hug with ease, with no stronger feelings than affection and that is relief in itself. She had feared falling in love with him when she found herself pregnant. Had feared her own wants, not trusted her brain to win over her heart because her heart is sentimental, family-oriented and mushy and thinks babies equal marriage and happily ever after.
They might have their happily ever after, Ada thinks, but it won’t be with each other.
* I’ve just poured out these latest updates because I felt the round has dragged on forever and I just want to get on with the next. 😀