Copyright 2024 Victoria Paige
Three years later…
“I hate you!” Natalya yelled.
“No, you don’t,” I replied as mildly and as calmly as possible, even when my wife’s nails were digging into my forearms after another contraction contorted her face. We had been in the birthing room for hours. Our daughter was being stubborn about leaving her mother’s womb just like my wife was, who thought we could do this without an epidural. We argued about it until I couldn’t take the agony on her face anymore. I told her in a firm voice that I was telling the anesthesiologist to administer the therapeutic. Natalya finally relented.
“Give it a few minutes and you’ll remember how much you love me,” I said.
“I’m never having sex with you again,” she declared with total vehemence, as if she meant it.
The nurse who’d come in to make sure Natalya was comfortable after the procedure tried to hide her snorted laugh but failed. She quickly left the room when I glared at her.
“Now you’re making the poor nurse feel sorry for me,” I told her.
“You think I’ll let your cock anywhere near my vagina again after this?”
Right before her water broke, that was exactly what we were doing. And a horny, pregnant Natalya was so fucking sexy. I could call her out on her lie, but given how exhausted my wife looked, there could be truth to her statement. I knew that sentiment would pass. A slight anxiety formed in the pit of my stomach, but I easily nudged that away.
We’d come a long way in three years.
“Oh, tesoro.” I wiped the perspiration from her forehead. I was trying so hard not to lose it myself. “Our beautiful daughter is waiting to be born.”
“Well, I wish she’d hurry up,” she groaned. She closed her eyes. Natalya and I had gone over her birth plan with her doctor, Rachel, which, as I reminded Natalya earlier, included the epidural. My involvement had been so different this time from when she was pregnant with Elias. I was such an idiot to have missed all the milestones of that pregnancy. With this one, I hardly left Natalya’s side. If I was needed in Chicago, Natalya came with me. In the last eight weeks, we stayed at Tralestelle. I even toyed with the idea of having the nursery outfitted with everything a birthing room needed, but Rachel and Natalya shot down that idea. It was safer for her to deliver in the hospital just in case she needed a C-section.
Her nails on my forearms eased. I looked down wryly at the half-crescents that marked the skin enough to draw blood.
“Thank you,” she whispered, voice raw from her exertions.
My eyes flew to her face. “For what, tesoro?”
“For being here,” she continued.
“There’s no other place I’d rather be than by your side.” My voice roughened with that emotional conviction. “You are my life, Natalya. My world. Wherever you are, my place is with you.”
Her eyes, already reddened from the trials of labor, brimmed with tears and, to my relief, they appeared to be happy ones. “As you are mine, caro. You’ve been everything I’ve ever wished for and more.”
“I don’t know about that,” I teased.
It had taken two years and Natalya’s second pregnancy for us to be able to look back at those lost years and not feel the stab of sorrow and regrets. For the first year, it was an adjustment to being together, and that was why we delayed having another child. Natalya finished her college degree by taking online classes and a few visits to campus. I loved seeing her thrive without having to hide her intelligence. Sometimes she even advised us on our gaming and gambling websites. But my wife was, at heart, a vigilante. She continued to work with the Archer Syndicate to keep the balance in the underworld. But amid our duties, our priority was still each other and Elias. But when Natalya became pregnant with our daughter, that was when I realized that was my true second chance.
A do over.
I’d been to every checkup and every birthing class. I pestered Natalya to eat properly when she wanted to sneak in her cereals. I accompanied her on walks and gave her foot massages. I took over taking care of Elias when her belly became too big to maneuver quickly. Our son was almost six-years old and very eager to become a big brother.
“The past year we’d put the past in perspective.” Natalya reached for my hand and squeezed. I guess that epidural finally kicked in and she wasn’t cursing me and my cock anymore. “Everything we’d been through led us to this point.”
The pain of those two years had finally dulled. Wonderful memories replaced the bad. The fear of losing Natalya had faded, but the lesson remained.
I lifted our joined hands and kissed the back of her fingers. “I’ll never take for granted each day I wake up beside you.”
She was about to respond when she winced. “That’s another one, but I think the epidural has kicked in.”
I checked my watch. “About three minutes from the last one?”
Natalya cocked her head. “Wow, what a difference. Why didn’t you use your infinite powers of persuasion for me to do it sooner?”
I rolled my eyes. “Would it take more persuasion from me to massage your shoulders and back?”
“Oh, that would be so good,” she moaned, as if I’d already started doing it.
I gently kneaded her shoulders and rubbed circles around her back. We fell silent for a while. My hand wandered over her pregnant belly. I still couldn’t wrap my mind around how gorgeous my wife was while carrying my child. There was an accompanying pride and satisfaction knowing a part of me was inside her.
“I should get you pregnant more often. You’re breathtaking, baby.”
“So you say,” she muttered. “But you changed your mind about the nude pregnancy photos.”
I grunted. It occurred to me I did not want other eyes to see my naked pregnant wife. “Your earth goddess beauty belongs to my eyes only.”
She started laughing, then her breath hitched and her brows knitted. “That’s another contraction. It rolled right into…Oooh, I felt that one.”
I had memorized the stages of labor. “Breakthrough pain?”
Natalya simply glared at me.
“Okay, okay. Right, I’m getting Rachel now.”
Minutes later, Rachel swept into the room with several nurses.
“Looks like we’re ready,” she chirped.
Natalya could only nod, and her grip on my hand tightened. I had no idea she was so strong. Rachel glanced at me and I gave her a tight-lipped smile. Now that my daughter was about to be born and Rachel could take over being the calm and steady one, the strength in my legs started deserting me.
“You okay, there, Daddy?” Rachel winked.
“I’m fine,” I gritted.
Natalya glanced up at me. “You don’t look fine,” she panted, then her hand tightened even more, if that was possible.
The power bar Dario handed me earlier felt like it was backing up my throat. Activity buzzed in the room. And I faintly heard Rachel declare Natalya was fully dilated.
I helped my wife to get into position, and then everything was just a blur.
One second I was telling my wife to push and the next I was hearing my daughter cry.
That feeling of wonderment captivated me and it was a feeling I wanted to bottle up and keep with me forever.
Pressure stung the back of my eyes.
My wife’s face was red with the effort of childbirth but she was half-laughing and half-crying when Rachel laid our feisty, bawling daughter on her chest.
As for me, it was love at first sight and I vowed to protect her with my life.
I barely heard Rachel ask me, “Do you want to cut the cord?”
I looked at the doctor. She was also fighting back tears. “Yes.”
As soon as I snipped the cord, it was as if the lingering heaviness of the past also got cut away.
A full circle. A second chance.
I stared at Natalya and our fussing baby.
“I love you.” My voice was hoarse at the enormity of emotions that were hard to contain inside me. I kissed her. “Thank you, tesoro, for giving me a beautiful baby girl.”
“What are you going to call her?” Rachel asked.
Natalya and I looked at each other and said, “Isabella.”