The next morning I sat at the kitchen table, my book propped open. I leaned over a bowl of cereal, and quietly read. Soft warm lips brushed against my neck, below my ear. I smiled and took in his scent, “How about we practice on that making a baby idea.” I chuckled, “My brother, and sister in-law are upstairs. Awkward.” Hunter smirked, “It’s ok they know where babies come from now.” I shook my head, “No. Now behave. We have company.” He kissed my cheek, and left me to my breakfast, and my book. I continued to read, because I had to keep up a facade that I wasn’t affected by this. I was happy to be an aunt; but deep down it was something I longed for.
A sleepy looking Chloe came down wearing a pair of my shorts, and a tank top. “Hi Leah.” I smiled, “Sleep well hun?” she nodded rubbing her eyes. “I will change out of this,” I shook my head, “In my closet I have extra clothes. Find something you like, and wear it ok. Leave your clothes and I can wash them for you if you want.” She smiled, “Really?” I smiled, “I’m about to run a load right now. Just have Seth bring them down.” She hugged me, “Thank you again.” She went back upstairs quietly. I finished my cereal, and put my bowl in the sink. I grabbed a cup of coffee, and went back to reading. Seth walked through, and set the clothes in front of the washer, “Can we talk?” I set my coffee mug down, and looked at him, “Everything ok?” He nodded, “Yeah. Listen would you be upset, well if we took over the old place in La Push. It’s perfect for us, as a family.” I smiled, “It needs a family to live in it. I don’t have one, so by all means.” Seth smiled, “Thank you sis. It mean’s a lot to me.” He hugged me, and went upstairs.
I did some chores around the house, and was sitting out back when the phone rang. “Hello?” I answered after the second ring, “Hi Leah it’s Esme.” My heart stopped, concern was filling her voice. “Hi everything ok?” She spoke softly, “Your mom called us, and,” Right there my whole body froze, I was terrified of what news was going to come. “And what?” She spoke calmly, “Your grandfather had a massive heart attack. Your mom is ok. She’s sad, and was busy checking on your grandmother. She asked me to call you.” I licked my lips, trying to revive some moisture to them. My mouth felt like sandpaper. “Ok. I will tell Seth. Thanks.” I just hung up. I didn’t know what to do. “Hey sis clothes done?” Seth stood there smiling, then it faded when he saw my face. “Leah what’s wrong?” I shook my head, “Grandpa had a massive heart attack. Esme just called to tell me. Mom is checking on grandma.” Seth nodded, “Ok. I will let Chloe know. Is Grandma ok?” I shrugged, “I assume so.” Seth smiled, “It’s sad, but honestly he was really old, and not in the greatest health.” I nodded, and Seth hugged me.
The house was quiet, since Seth and Chloe decided to head back home. Hunter sat in his office at his desk, grading papers. I walked in quietly. “Hey,” He gave a soft smile, and pushed back from the table, pulling me onto his lap. I laid my head against his chest, “I think my grandmother is going to go soon.” Hunter shifted so he could look at me, “What makes you think that?” I let out a soft sigh, “Broken heart.” Hunter smiled, “Nobody truly dies of a broken heart.” I shook my head, “No it’s like the life in them is gone. The body shuts down. The one you love, is gone. Johnny Cash is a perfect example.” Hunter shrugged, and nodded, “You have a point there.” I kissed him, “Goodnight.” I stood up and went to bed. I laid there just beyond drained. When you receive news of any significant magnitude, it’s like the life is sucked from you. Hunter quietly climbed in behind me, and wrapped his body around mine, “I couldn’t let you go to sleep alone. I love you.” I whispered back, “I love you too.”
My mom had called me, and explained she was setting up the funeral arrangements. She told me she was so excited to hear she was going to be a grandmother. Charlie was thrilled as well. He said he was hoping for a grandson. My mom said as long as the baby was healthy, she didn’t care about the gender of the little life growing. We continued to chat for sometime. She asked when would I be down for a visit. I told her I’d have to get back to her. “Leah Clearwater, don’t try and stall me. I’ve not seen you recently, and you owe it to us. Plus your niece, and sister, and her husbands family would like to see you. I hope this weekend you’ll come down. Friday night be here for dinner.” I sighed, “Mom I don’t think I can.” She sighed, “Why are you lying to me? What is the problem Leah?” Did we really need this topic of discussion right now. Wasn’t it obvious?! “Sure mom Friday evening we’ll be there.” I heard the triumph in her voice, “Good see you then. Give my love to Hunter. Love you sweetie.” She hung up. I let my head fall back, “Woman you drive me mad.” Travis laughed walking in, “Oh mother’s they have a way of doing that to us.” Hunter sauntered in behind him, “Why are you desperate to get out of going?” I shook my head, and shut my laptop, and went upstairs. “Oh cold shoulder bro.” Travis walked over to the fridge, grabbing them each a water. “Not a cold shoulder. Hunter’s smart enough to figure it out, or so I hope.” I yelled from the stairs as I walked up them.
Travis looked at Hunter, dying to know what was going on. “Leah’s brother Seth, is expecting. He and his girlfriend eloped over the weekend. Leah’s mom, and dad, well step-dad are super excited. Leah’s just feeling a bit down. She’s wanted a child for a long time. We’re going to start trying, and see what happens.” Travis nodded, “I just assumed you were being careful.” Hunter half shrugged, “We were, but she really hasn’t been able to get pregnant.” Travis nodded, “It will happen if it’s meant to.” Hunter shook his head, “Two things Leah’s wanted in life. A soul mate, and children. She has one, and is desperately seeking the other.” Travis smiled gently, “You’ve guys have been together almost six years.” Hunter nodded, “I will give her anything, to make her happy.” Travis chuckled, “Most women want money, jewelry, or a car. You have a beautiful woman, who just wants a child with you. Don’t lose her man.” Hunter smiled, “I don’t expect to.”
I sat upstairs on our bed, and researched on my computer adoption. Multiple sites, with tons of information popped up. They displayed demographics, pie charts, and grids. There were countless pictures of children, and tons of information, explaining the costs of adoption, based on each country. There were waiting lists, and all kinds of information that would be needed from us. I really considered all of our options. After going over everything on the webpage, I just closed my laptop. I set it on the floor, and rolled over, and waited to fall asleep. Lying there it slowly came to me that I had considered the possibility of adopting somebody else's child. This person couldn’t take care of this child; or they didn’t want this little person. I realized little human being needs a home, and Hunter and I may be the answer.
I woke up to feeling movement behind me, and felt the bed shift under his body. “Did I wake you?” He asked wrapping his arm around my waist, as his head met the pillow. “Nope; I wasn’t in a deep sleep.” He buried his face into my neck, taking in my scent, “Mmm lavender.” I smiled, “As usual. Listen I was thinking, and well,” I stopped, and mulled over how to phrase the question. It was simple, just ask it. Throw out the opening pitch to the game. It’s either a hit, or a fowl. The only way I would know is if I swung. “Babe what is it?” I inhaled then spoke, “I was looking at adoption. There are so many kids out there that need a home. There’s also In-Vitro fertilization, and that can be very pricey. It would be genetically our child. My concern is passing on the gene.” That right there, it knocked the wind out of me. He smiled, softly kissing me on the cheek, “If adoption is what it's meant to be, then it will be. And as for the gene, don’t worry. You’re not sure if it would be passed down. Honestly though, for now I think you need to get some sleep. You're exhausted, and have been working a lot. It's been a crazy night. So tomorrow morning we’ll look at our options. For now, close your eyes and go to sleep beautiful.” With that I slowly drifted off to sleep, in the warmth and comfort of soon-to-be husbands warm arms.
As the night continued, my dreams came in like waves crashing hard against a sea wall. My dreams weren’t of something pleasant nature; they were cruel and taunting. Children ran around me. Women whom were pregnant with different size bellies surrounded me. They were talking about me, and around me, “She can’t have children. She has some genetic disfunction. Oh what a shame.” They’d rub their swollen stomachs, and look at me. Mean while children, with nothing wrong with them, ran around me. Then there's just one child that just stood alone. She had black hair braided. Beautiful blue eyes, that reminded me of Hunters. She was beautiful. Her innocence drew me closer.
Finally I made my way over to the little girl, she ran away. I watched her, before I tried again. Once more she had runaway. Finally I decided this was the last time. I half expected her to run, but she stood there timidly looking at me. “Hi there sweetie, where’s your mommy?” She looked up at me, and her eyes filled with warmth. “She’s right here.” I looked around, trying to figure out which woman was her mother. “I’m Leah, it’s nice to meet you.” She smiled, “I’m Hope.” I smiled, “Such a pretty name, with such a nice meaning.” She nodded, “My middle name is Destiny.” I smiled once more, “Hope Destiny. Sweetie that’s a great name.” She wrapped her arms around my waist, “I know you picked a pretty name for me.” I looked at her, “I picked it?” She nodded, and the let go and ran over to Hunter, “Daddy.” He smiled and swung her around, “Hi baby girl.” He walked over and kissed me.
I startled awake from the dream. The alarm clock read 4:32 am. I couldn’t fall back to sleep. I was too startled. I decided to get dressed, and go for a run. There was nothing else I could do. I just needed to clear my mind. I didn’t have the ability to face anymore right now. My thoughts and, I just need the security and peace of my own mind you know my mind. Right now peace and, my mind were not friends. They were like demons who were fighting amongst one another; and pulling my sanity in every direction. I needed some peace, and serenity. I tiptoed down the stairs grabbing my iPod, keys and my phone, and headed out the door
I must have run every street in Port Angeles that morning. It took me about two hours, and I was running to get away from whatever was haunting me. The problem was how do you run away from something you want. Sadly I wasn’t being a good sport about the news of my niece, or nephews arrival. My brother and his wife never planned on it this soon. I’d been in a committed relationship, and had been abstinent, to pursue my career. Here in the heat of the moment, they were blessed with this miracle. Why was I so selfish? It wasn't like I couldn't be a mother to a child. It might just be a different way for Hunter and I. While I tried to view the endless possibilities, something was nagging at me. I just kept telling myself don't get your hopes up. I couldn’t bear the feeling of having my dreams crushed. It just kept bothering me bothering me, so I prayed to God, “If we have one child that’s all I want. Just one child with my husband would complete my dreams.
I got back home Hunter was sitting in the kitchen quietly reading the newspaper. A cup of coffee sat beside him on the table. He looked over the newspaper. “You’re back finally.” I looked at the clock. I’d been gone for about two hours. “Everything ok now?” I was nervously shifting back-and-forth on my feet. You were gone a long time. I’ve been awake since I heard the front door shut. Seriously you’re starting to worry me. I know nothing is the way you expected it to be. I just assumed that you need to get out, and away from whatever it was. Next time, please wake me up. I worry when you go out so early. So care to talk now?” I sat down and pulled over my water that I had grabbed from the fridge. “Something is bothering me. Well my dreams are what’s doing it. I should be happy for Seth, and instead I’m sulking like a god damn child.” Hunter slid his hand across to mind toying with the engagement ring on the left-hand, “Nothing is wrong with you being a bit down. Relax, you’re going to be my wife within a year. You're my soulmate you're my love and I want to know what's going on with you. It scares me when you get up in the middle of the night, and just take off to go for run; because something is stressing you.
It took me a couple minutes before I could finally find the words I needed. I told Hunter about my dream. “Hope Destiny was her name.“ I smiled. Hunter looked at me, “I think maybe it’s your intuition telling you something.” I smiled, Hunter you’re always so optimistic.” He smiled winking at me, “Well now we have the house to ourselves. I was thinking we could be practicing.” I shook my head, “I'm all sweaty from my run.” He grinned, “You’re a little dirty, and just think raising a child you'll be getting dirty because, he or, she will be playing in the dirt so relax.” He kissed me softly, and I forgot about everything.
Several days had put me on the exhausted listed. Funeral arrangements had been made for my grandfather. I'd been working 12 hour shifts the past couple of days leading up to the funeral. Friday morning it was raining out, and gray. What a perfect day for a funeral I thought to myself. I dressed in a black fitted sleeveless dress along with, black heels. I’d opted for french braiding my hair and , applied makeup. Last was my jewelry, small silver hoop earrings, and my watch were the added accessories. I was trying to put on my necklace Hunter had given me. It was the infinity charm. I struggled with the clasp, and cussed with frustration. Then I could feel his hands moving behind my neck carefully closing the clasp to the necklace. “Thank you.” I spoke softly. “Beautiful angel, for such a sad occasion.” I just smiled. Hunter wrapped his arms around my waist, “You know he would want you to be happy. It was a long happy life for him, and this is his time.” I turned and looked and Hunter, “How is it so easy for you to say that?” Hunter smiled, “Don't forgot I lost my father when I was very young. I lost my mother when I was young as well.” He was right, but somehow he managed to keep it together when this happened. “Your grandfather watched his family grow, and blossom. So chin up, and let’s get going.”
My jaw tensed, and I did all I couldn't hold back the tears. Hunter pulled me into a embrace. Slowly gently rubbing my back, he reassured me, everything would be okay today. Finally we let go of one another and I gathered my stuff that I remembered that I needed, before we left. My eulogy was long enough that it would pass. “Ready babe?” He asked, and I nodded. We descended the stairs and headed out the front door. I walked to the Hunters car, as he locked up the house. He walked over to my door, and helped me in the car, “Thank you.” I smiled, and slid in putting on my belt. “You’re welcome.” He leaned in and gave me a kiss, before I shut my door. I sat there staring at the house just remembering everything about my grandfather.
My grandfather was not super young when I was born. He must have been mid fifties. He loved his grandchildren, and he made sure that he was involved in our lives. We had such fun with him. I remember him pushing me on the swing he made, that hung in the back yard. I thought back to the time, Uncle Lucas sat down on my swing, and it broke. I was a little seven-year-old, who went storming up to her grandfather, to say my uncle had broken my swing. My grandfather carefully leaned down, and he looked at me and said, “Everything serves it’s purpose in life. Whether it must die, or break; it has served it’s purpose.” He continued on to say, “That I shouldn’t be sad because something new and, better will come along the way.” That always stuck with me. I remembered telling myself that, once Sam and I had broken up.
We arrived at the funeral home and, everybody surrounded my mother, and my grandmother. I was relieved my grandfather was no longer suffering. He had not been well for a while. His memory had faded and, his health was in decline he walked with a slight hunch. It was hard to watch the person you knew so well, slowly fade away over time.
"Leah," my grandmother called out. I turned and caught her smiling at me. She moved towards me, pulling me into an embrace, "The fast one." She whispered. I shook my head, "No more." She pulled back looking at me, "Well speak after the service. Spend the night with me. I have cookies." I chuckled, "Come to grandma's I have cookies." She swatted at my hand, "Behave." I smiled. "That's sounds perfect. We'll make dinner." Hunter smiled. "Another sweet grandson." She touched Hunters cheek, and linked her arm with his. “Escort me inside so mother, and daughter can speak.” Hunter winked, and left us alone.
My mom walked over to me, “Hi sweetie.” She hugged me. I had to hug her back, “Hi there.” She let me go, and looked me over, “Have you slept at all?” I half shrugged, “Somewhat. Long shifts at work. For Port Angeles being small, a lot of emergency room patients. Elderly people recently.” My mom smiled, “Sadly they’re the business. They’re like Humpty Dumpty. We can put them back together again.” I shook my head, “Bad analogy mom.” She smiled, “It may be, but it’s the recent truth. We saw three hip fractures this week at work.” I couldn’t believe it.
We arrived at the funeral home everybody surrounded my mother, and my grandmother. I was relieved my grandfather was no longer suffering. He had not been well for a while. His memory had faded and, his health was in decline he walked with a slight hunch. It was hard to watch the person you knew so well, slowly fade away over time.
"Leah," my grandmother called out. I turned and caught her smiling at me. She moves towards me, pulling me into an embrace, "The fast one." She whispered. I shook my head, "No more." She pulled back looking at me, "Well speak after the service. Spend the night with me. I have cookies." I chuckled, "Come to grandma's I have cookies." She swatted at my hand, "Behave." I smiled. "That's sounds perfect. We'll make dinner." Hunter smiled. "Another sweet grandson." She touched Hunters cheek, and linked arms with him and started inside.
I started to walk with them, and someone caught my arm. My mom stood there, and looked at me, "Are you not speaking to me?" I shook my head, "No. I was just under the impression you were talking to people." My mom looked at me, "You're acting funny, what's wrong?" I shook my head, "Nothing, I'm exhausted ok. I've been working twelve hour shifters. I got home at midnight last night, and I was up at 5:00am. I went for my run, showered, came back, and we're here. So I'm quiet ok?" My mom smiled a little, "I didn't know." I snipped at her, "Maybe I don't need to give you a damn itinerary of my life." I turned around heading inside.
My grandmother sat quietly, and spoke with Hunter. I walked in and saw them, then went for the bathroom. I sat on the chair inside quietly. "What happened?" Charlie's voice was outside the door. "She snipped at me, I don't know why. Charlie I love my children, but I'm worried about her." His famous sigh, kicked me in the knees. "Let's give her some time." I opened the door and looked at them. "I'm brutally exhausted ok. Are you doing this at grandpas wake right now?" Charlie straightened up to his full height, "Your mother is very worried. Why won't you come home?" I whispered, "Because home is where Seth is. You've moved on, which is fine. No offense dad, it's not my home. I feel welcomed, and relaxed. That's not where I grew up." Charlie wasn't one for displays of affection, but he pulled me into a hug, "I'm sorry Hun." I hugged him back, then slipped out of his embrace and into the viewing room.
The day passed, and we were at my grandmothers house sitting around. The service was small, and he was laid to rest. Dad, mom, Seth, Chloe, Lucas and his girlfriend Maya joined us. We sat around the table, and charted quietly. I traced the rim of my coffee mug with my index finger. "So a great grandmother. I'm quite excited." My grandmothers voice was soft, yet had a wise crispness to it. "I remember when Lucas, and Sue were born. I did it naturally. I practiced my breathing, and relaxation." Chloe looked at my grandmother, "Could you teach me maybe? I plan to deliver at the hospital. I'm not sure about the epidural." My grandmother smiled, "Those are great. I had one before, dislocated my hip." I winced thinking about it. "How'd you do that mom? Riding the Harley?" Charlie joked. "No it was the Kawasaki Ninja. I was racing those young boys. Thought they could beat me in a race." Chloe's jaw was on the floor. Grandma looked at her, "Fell off a horse dear.” She smiled. Lucas burst out laughing. “I’m sorry I thought you were serious.” Chloe apologized. Seth smiled, “Where do you think I get my sense of humor from?” Chloe smiled.
My grandmother locked her eyes on me, and I looked back at her. “So what is this about not phasing anymore?” I sighed, “I just haven’t for a while now.” Seth swallowed, “I still do, but at my own control.” I felt the tear slide down my cheek, as I looked down at my knotted hands. Hunter wrapped am arm around my shoulder, and pulled me against him. He kissed the top of my head, “It happened shortly after we moved in together. It started to slow down. Well now she’s completely unable to.” My grandmother smiled, “Don’t cry child. This means it’s your time. You’re finally able to start a family, when you’re ready.” That was it, I lost it at that, and tears were flowing. I stood up, and winced grabbing Hunter’s shoulder. “Leah?” several voices were quick to call my name. I shook it off, and stepped away leaving the room. I held my lower abdomen, and made my way to the couch. My mom followed quickly, “What happened?” I shook my head, “Muscle spasm.” She sat beside me, “Fever hun?” I shrugged, “Not that I feel like.” She gently touched my forehead, “No you’re cool. Try and rest for a few minutes ok.” I nodded. She whispered, “When was your last menstrual cycle?” I thought about it, “Month ago, but it was lighter then normal.” My mom looked at me. “Mom I’m not pregnant. No symptoms.” She held my hand in hers, “Please just check for me ok. Do you have a test?” I wanted to crawl on the mortified bus, and get the hell out of here. “Leah, you could be pregnant.” I shook my head, “No I don’t have one. I’m not.” Maya walked in quietly, “Hey. I’m not trying to intrude but, I thought you may need me to run to the store?” My mom nodded, “Yeah if you wouldn’t mind. There’s money in my purse.” Maya smiled, “Don’t worry. I will be back soon.” She quietly left. My mom sat with me, and gently holding me like I was a child again.
Maya returned a little while later. “I bought three. I wasn’t sure how many you might need.” My mom smiled, “Thank you. Leah go upstairs please.” I quietly got up, and did as I was asked. I waited patiently. Usually the lines would appear right away. I waited, Negative. I threw the test away, and went to our room for the night. A soft knock, then the creak of the door, “And?” My mom asked. “No mom, no more grandkids, sorry.” I sat on the bed, and wrapping my arms around my waist. She joined me, “I’m not upset. I just want to make sure you’re ok. Leah you’re different then other women. I worry because I care.” I laid down, resting my head in her lap. My hair was longer now, and she gently brushed it with her fingers. I wasn’t upset it was negative, I’d figured on it being that way. My mom though, she was the one who seemed disappointed. Once again, what did my future hold.