“We can leave tomorrow,” Dan immediately began making plans.
Fionna shot him a quizzical look. “Honey, we cannot leave tomorrow. You have a job. Aida’s in school. Jeff and Becca are moving into their new house tomorrow. You just promised to help your dad and Governor Haydenshire figure out what’s going on at Venton. We can’t leave at all.”
“If you need to go back to Kauai, that’s where we’re going.”
“Okay, deep breaths both of you. I said she might have to return to Kauai. You do not have to leave right away. The problem is that you arrived back here and jumped into Dan’s new job, and Aida going to a new school, after a summer of being on the only land on this planet that has the ability to keep her rhythms in balance, and where there cannot possibly be much stress at all. You only have eight to ten weeks of your pregnancy left, but I’d really like your little girl to stay inside of you for as long as she’s able. Give your body and Halia time to adjust. Stress will cause contractions and contractions can cause discharge. Your rhythms are extremely stressed Fionna,” Adeline eased.
“I know,” Fionna nodded her defeat. “It’s just been a lot lately. I’m so tired.”
“I’ll break my contract at Venton and have Aida in school in Kauai by the next week. My dad can find someone else to figure out the shit at Venton. We’ve been talking about moving there permanently. Let’s do it.”
A flash of hope lit in Fionna’s eyes. Dan knew she would deny it. He knew she’d swear she wanted to stay in D.C. and that she was fine, but he knew better.
“Dan.” Adeline stood off the bed and narrowed her eyes. “You affect her rhythms more than anyone. Your constant panic over her isn’t helping. Let’s give this a week or two before we make any major life changes, which are only going to bring on more stress. I’m talking about little changes first, and I said nothing about you moving out there permanently. I don’t think you need to be throwing us a dinner party tonight. No more yoga for a week, lots of rest, naps, early bed. Dan she needs you to cast her more often, soothing restorative time in your shield. I’ll check you at Georgetown next Friday. If the scarring from the gunshot wound is better, and there’s no more bleeding, then we’ll ease up. If it isn’t, we’ll discuss you spending some time in Kauai.”
“I’ll do anything. I just want her healthy.” Tears began to leak out the sides of Fionna’s eyes.
Feeling his heart fissure, Dan leaned and cradled her head on his shoulder.
“She is healthy,” Adeline assured them again. “I really think taking a little time off will be the cure.”
“We’re supposed to help Jeff and Becca move tomorrow,” Fionna fussed.
“You will not be helping anyone move anything. You will be here relaxing. I’ll go unlock the storage unit for them, tell them to take anything they want, and then I’m coming back here, and we’re laying on the couch all day,” Dan commanded.
Adeline shook her head as she lifted Fionna’s stretch pants back over her belly.
“She’s a receiver, Dan. She takes on the emotions of everyone around her. She also feels guilt extremely quickly. She’s going to want to be there tomorrow to help and she’ll feel worse if she isn’t. You know this. You’re just overreacting and your shield is running the show. You can help us move Jeff and Becca in tomorrow, but no lifting, and lots of sitting.
“After lunch, Dan should bring you home and let you rest and relax. For the most part, do what he says. He adores you and he takes excellent care of you, so whatever Dan says goes, within reason.”
Still blinking back tears, Fionna sighed, “Don’t tell him that.”
“Can I get that in writing?” Dan was only partially kidding.
“Lots and lots of casting. Your rhythms soothe Halia’s and Fionna’s. Remember that. This isn’t a normal pregnancy, as much as we’d all like for it to be. The timing between the gun shot, your miscarriage, and your conception makes this complicated.”
“Can we just go downstairs and see everyone?” Fionna pled.
“That’s fine, but for tonight, no getting up to make people more drinks. We can do that. You sit and enjoy the company.”
“We’re supposed to have Dan’s family over Sunday night,” Fionna recalled.
“That’s fine as well,” Adeline guided. “But no standing all day to cook, no more extended shopping trips either. Let Dan and Aida help you with Sunday dinner. Sit down often. Drink lots of water. If your rhythms are calm, according to your husband not you, then you can keep going. If you feel your rhythms tense, then sit down and relax for at least a half hour before trying again.” Adeline smiled as she closed up her laptop and bag and headed out of the room just before another round of tears began to fall.
“Hey, shhh, I’ve got you.” Dan cradled her in his lap.
“I didn’t mean to hurt her.” She did her best to curl herself up in her customary ball. Dan tried to surround her physically. He tucked her closer and let his shield spill from his pores.
Calm and steady, became his mantra. “You didn’t hurt her, sweetheart. You heard Adeline say that she’s perfectly healthy. We have to find a balance that works for us, and it has to work for Halia as well. I think everything that we’ve done this week, Jeff, and Becca, Aida’s new school, along with all of the shit at Venton, it’s just more than we can handle right now. We’re not too far from me holding my baby girl in my arms instead of in your stomach,” he reminded her gently. Her rhythms tensed with fear and anxiety but he felt the excitement beneath the fear. “And I will be right here for each and every single thing. This is my fault,” he lamented.
“It is not.”
He brushed a tender kiss on her cheek. “Let me take care of you. You and my baby girls are all that really matter, and we will make this work. I need you to promise me even when I’m at work that you’ll rest for me. No more whirlwind days. A little at a time and a lot of rest.”
Fionna hid her face in his neck making him smile at her feeling the overwhelming love he held for the woman in his arms well throughout his soul.
Dan kept his hands on his wife constantly as she moved down the stairs. Logan’s eyes held grave concern as he watched Dan seat her on the couch. Jeff and Becca’s whispering halted quickly.
“I got the pizza.” Logan pointed to the dining table where numerous pizza boxes were stacked.
“Then let’s eat.” He fixed Fionna a plate of pizza and a large glass of water. Announcing that they would all eat in the living room so Fionna could stay curled up on the couch, everyone immediately caught on to the fact that she wasn’t to lift a finger. After they ate, Becca cleaned up including storing the leftover pizza in the refrigerator and wiping down the kitchen.
“You ready?” Adeline asked Becca.
“Oh, uh, sure, I guess. Do you think you’ll be able to tell us if it’s a boy or a girl?”
“Possibly. It just depends on how strong the fetus’s rhythms are at this point.” Adeline used the guest bathroom to scrub her hands and donned gloves before following Becca into the guest bedroom.
“Jeff.” Dan gestured his head up the stairs.
“Oh, I’m supposed to go too?”
Logan and Dan tried not to chuckle.
“If you were in the bedroom with her when the baby was made, man, best to be in there when she’s getting everything checked out,” Logan chided.
Jeff sprinted up the stairs.
“Portwood tore him up today. He’s trying to get him up to speed quickly because we could use some help, but he’s beat.”
“I seem to remember someone else who could barely stand upright for the first week or two after he got hired,” Dan reminded him.
“The first week we were there you sent us out to the Gifted prison to sling rocks because Rainer pissed you off. I don’t think that’s the same thing.”
“Are you whining, Haydenshire?”
“It can’t be whining if it’s also reminiscing,” Logan laughed.
Fionna joined his laughter. “I’m pretty sure it can be both.”
“You know, you don’t always have to take his side.”
“Yes, she does. I put it in the vows.” Dan felt a little of the earlier tension slip away as he listened to his wife giggle.
“Hey, can you and Rainer help get them moved in tomorrow? Fi needs to take it easy,” Dan asked when the laughter died down.
“I’m fine,” Fionna sighed.
“We’d be glad to help,” Logan immediately agreed. “I know he isn’t telling you this because he doesn’t want you to do anymore for him, but his truck is a piece of shit. It’s broken down again. You think you could get him out to Sam’s while Rainer and I move them in?”
“Yes! You were going to see why that TPMS light-thing keeps coming on in my car anyway. I promise I’ll lay on the couch and watch Supernova with Aida the whole time you’re gone,” Fionna reminded him.
“Fi,” Dan huffed. “We just said we were going to stop doing every thing for everyone.”
“I could cart Em over here. Make her sit on Fi for you,” Logan teased.
“I may take you up on that.”
“It never takes Sam long to fix anything, and I solemnly swear that I will rest.”
Letting the all too familiar feeling of overwhelming helplessness wash through him, Jeff offered Becca a sheepish glance. “Sorry, I didn’t know I was supposed to be up here.”
“It’s okay,” Becca soothed. “This is all kind of new.”
Supplying her his hand, Jeff willed as much calming energy as he could manage to give her. He was still exhausted after working out at Iodex that afternoon, though he would never admit that to anyone but her.
Adeline gave Jeff a kind smile. “If you’ll just pull your shirt up, Becca, and lower your jeans.
It was distinctly odd to have Becca undressing in a bedroom with another person beside her. Jeff tried to focus on the baby. That did nothing to soothe his nerves.
Becca laid on the bed and unbuttoned her jeans. She lifted her shirt to her bra line, and gnawed her lip. He squeezed her hand tighter. “I’m right here.”
Adeline gazed at them sweetly but then wrinkled her nose. “I’m so sorry, Jeff, but I need you to wait over there.” She pointed to the other side of the room. “I have to work through all of Becca’s energy and read the baby’s, which isn’t easy this early on. There’s not much there yet.”
Pushing his discomfort aside, he tried to determine what he was supposed to feel. Nervous confusion seemed to be all he could access at the moment.
“I looked over your chart from the last time Medio Metzger did your exam and everything looked perfectly healthy,” Adeline assured. “Just relax for me.”
Jeff fought the urge to pace. Adeline moved her hands over Becca’s belly.
“There we go.” Adeline smiled as she locked onto the baby.
“Can you really feel it?” Becca gasped.
“I feel it. Based on the rhythms, I’d say you’re about six weeks along.”
“And it feels like it’s supposed to?”
“Rhythms from the developing placenta are strong. I do hope it moves, however. We’re going to keep an eye on that,” Adeline assured her. “I’d say he’s about the size of a small pea.”
“Wait. He?” Tears welled in Becca’s eyes.
Jeff couldn’t stand it. He leapt to her side.
“It’s a boy,” Adeline confirmed. “Sometimes I can’t tell so early on, but you’re definitely having a little boy. His rhythms are very similar to Jeff’s.”
“So, you’re sure. It’s a boy. We’re having a son?” Jeff stared at Becca’s midsection trying to envision himself with a wife and a little boy.
“I’m quite certain.”
“Is that what you wanted?” Becca quizzed suddenly.
“I just wanted you both to be healthy. That’s all that matters to me,” he vowed adamantly.
“All right, Dad,” Adeline urged. “If you’ll give me your hands, I’ll let you lock onto your son. I can show you where he’s implanted.”
Dad Jeff let the word bounce around in his mind as he held his hands over Becca’s abdomen. It took him a few moments to calm enough to feel his son’s tiny rapid rhythms.
“If you want me to be your obstetrical medio and the placenta moves to a better location, I’ll see you once a month for the first six months or so then it will be more often. My office is at Georgetown. As long as everything goes according to plan, you’ll be delivering around the middle of May.”