This wasn’t the way it was supposed to happen, Paul thought, staring at the tiny infant beside him in the double bed he shared with Aiden.
They’d discussed the idea of children. Although there wasn’t anything lacking in their relationship they’d at least visited the idea of adding a child to it. And then summarily rejected the thought.
They liked their freedom, their financially stable lifestyle. Bringing a child into it meant uncertainty at the very least. What if they didn’t like being parents? There was no going back once the deed was done, even with adoption. The commitment scared the hell out of them both.
But now parenthood had been forced upon them. The infant in the bed was Aiden’s two month-old niece, Delilah. A gift from the will of Aiden’s thirty year-old sister, Mary and Mary’s husband, Gabe. Two incredible people who’d perished in a car crash only three weeks ago.
Aiden had been wracked with grief at the loss of his sister, but he’d manned up to the challenge of taking on Delilah, since it was Mary’s wish that the child be with him and Paul. Paul admired Aiden’s courage and his commitment to his sister’s wishes but, truth be told, he was scared to death.
He gazed at the tiny, diapered baby in the bed beside him. Where had Aiden gone? When would he be back? Paul knew nothing about babies.
Delilah burbled, her tiny fists moving, her chest going up and down. She stared with wide blue eyes at the ceiling, then at the wall, then at Paul, her head jerking with the unsteadiness of her new reflexes. She reached out an arm and placed her small hand on Paul’s open mouth, her tiny finger reaching bumped his nose. Her eyes fixed on his and she moved her mouth as if she were trying to say something, but all that came out were puffs of air and tiny little chirps.
He loved Aiden. More than he’d every loved anyone in his life before. If this was what had come unbidden into Aiden’s life then Paul had a responsibility to rise to the challenge, as intimidating and all-consuming as it seemed.
As he stared into the baby’s limpid gaze he felt a small stirring of something inside him. Was it love for Aiden transferred to this flesh of Aiden’s flesh? This child was a part of Aiden, as much as any child would ever be a part of Aiden. Paul could see his partner in this small child and his heart expanded, in wonderment and fascination.
They would be okay — he and Aiden, and Delilah. They would be a family, whatever that might mean.