Finn looked down at the ultra sound picture in his hand. “I was terrified. I was 13. What was I supposed to do?” I ran my fingers over the picture in my hands. “My mom hated it so much when she found out I was pregnant. She screamed at me and smacked me. She hated that I got pregnant.” I shook my head. “I just wanted to get rid of it. I wanted it all to go away. It was just causing me trouble, pain, resentment. But Benjamin, he, he was so happy.” I leaned my head back against the bed and closed my eyes. “He was ecstatic. He had always wanted to have a child.
“I don’t remember what really changed my mind. Zander took me to his doctor for an ultra sound to see what our options were. I heard his heartbeat and I saw his face.” I looked at Finn he was watching me with calculating eyes. “I fell in love that day. He was small, but he was so perfect.” I looked into the box again and smiled as the tears streamed down my face. I put down the picture next to me and picked up something else. “On January 1st, Ryder Alexander Sanders was born. He was a small little baby with the perfect little hands and perfect little feet, a little button nose and these amazing blue eyes.” I smiled at the little footprints on the birth certificate in my hands. “So perfect. I loved him so much.” I looked up at Finn again. “He would just curl up on my chest and just smile at me. He was perfect. He didn’t even cry that much. He would just make faces at me till I made him happy.” I turned back to the box pulling out another picture of when Ryder was asleep on my chest with me asleep as well. “He was the perfect baby.
“He made everyone happy with just one smile.” I closed my eyes letting the tears continue to stream onto my legs.
“What did your Mom think of him?” I shook my head at his question.
“She hated him. She wished he was died. That she didn’t have to see him. I think she was just jealous. That I could have a baby with him and she couldn’t.” I wiped my eyes roughly. “She said that I better give him up or else. Or else she was going to hurt him then me.” I fought the sob in my chest. “I told her to go fuck herself. That she wasn’t going to hurt my baby. So I moved out. I left.” My hand was shaking as I ran it through my hair. I heard the springs in my bed move as Finn moved to sit next to me and pull me to him. “Zander had a bedroom ready for us. He loved Ryder like he was his own. Ryder used to even call him Dada. I miss my son, Finn.” I cried leaning my head into his shoulder. He wrapped his arms around me rubbing my back.
“What happened?” I looked up at him as he gently wiped the tears from my eyes. I pulled the rest of the pictures out for him to see.
“He started to not be himself when he was about 8 months old. I took him to the doctor to see what was wrong. I was afraid that I did something wrong when I was pregnant. Zander had his doctor with me most of the time but I was young I could have been an idiot and hurt him. It turned out the he had a heart problem. He was getting worse and worse, sicker and sicker. It was so hard to watch. He needed surgery.” I shook my head pressing my face into his arm.
“Ana.” He whispered to me.
“He needed surgery and my Mother wouldn’t sign off for it. She wanted him to die. The doctors did all they could while Zander tried to get a Judge to let off on me being able to sign for my son. But it was too late. Ryder got a cold and it caused his heart to fail. He died in my arms. The last thing I was able to tell him was that I love him to the moon and back. I would always tell him that before he went to sleep. It was all I could think of to say to him. I wanted him to know I would never forget him.” I felt Finn’s hands in my hair.
“I don’t think you could ever forget him.” He whispered. I shook my head.
“I feel like I do. I shove everything he loved into a box, every picture I had of him, everything that related to him I just put away trying to ease my pain.”
“You’re healing. No one deserves to lose a child. No one.” He whispered kissing my head.
“You would have loved him. You and he were a like.” I smiled weakly. “It’s hard sometimes. I wake up and think he’s still alive, still okay. I hear running in the next room and I think it’s him. He loved to wake me up in the morning. But then I realize that it isn’t. It’s just Matty coming in for breakfast. I can’t look at him some times. He and Ryder would be the same age. God, they are like the same person.” He kissed me gently.
“Everything will be okay.” I wrapped my arms around his neck and held him tightly.
“What if it isn’t?” He hugged me tightly.
“We’re going to help you get through this. It may have been three years, but you’re still broken. I’m here to glue all the pieces back together.” I snuggled into his t-shirt as I sobbed my heart out.
“I’m sorry.” I whispered trying to wipe my eyes.
“There is no shame in tears, Ana.” I turned my head to look at him.
“What do you think of everything I’ve told you?” He sighed looking into the box of all of Ryder’s things I saved.
“It was a lot to take in but I’m good. I don’t think of you any less for what you have been through, Ana. What doesn’t kill us only makes us stronger.” I snuggled into him. My head is pounding it was killing me.
“My head hurts.” I curled my legs up and snuggled into the crook of his neck.
“Come take your pill. I’ll bring you back to mine. I don’t trust leaving you here.” I nodded standing up looking for my headache pills. I found them in the bathroom and took two. I watched back into my bedroom to find Finn looking at all the pictures I had taken out.
“He had your eyes.” He smiled at me. I looked down at the picture in his hands and smiled.
“That one is one of my favorites. He loved to smile at the camera and he just woke up. He had the cutest smile.” The picture was of Ryder lying on his stomach smiling at the camera showing his two little teeth on the bottom he had. He loved crawling round on my bed. Finn picked up all the pictures and put them into the box. Zander was right. I feel much better after telling Finn. It was the right things to do. I don’t have any secrets anymore.
“Let’s get going.” He smiled at me. I picked up the discarded ice to take to the kitchen. I put it in the sink and put the food back into the bag to take it with us. My medication started to kick in making me tired. “You ready?” I turned to look at Finn as he stood in the hallway. “You okay?” I nodded.
“Just tired.” I walked out of the room with the food in the bag and leaned against the car my eyes closing. I shook my head walking to the passenger seat and sitting down. Finn got in after turning the lights off and locking the door. Finn drove us back to his house with me fighting to stay awake the whole time. If I fell asleep now, I’d be out for a while. He turned off the car and looked at me as I closed my eyes again.
“Come on, let’s get you to bed.” He smiled at me. I rubbed at my eyes groaning trying to keep my eyes open enough to get to bed. Finn got out and opened my door. “Come on.” He unbuckled me and pulled me into his arms. I wrapped my arms around his neck and snuggled into his shoulder. He grabbed the bag out of the car and shut the door. I wrapped my legs around his waist and molded into the muscles that clung to me. He opened the door to the house and closed it behind us.
“Finnley?” Mrs. Andrews asked looking at Finn.
“She fell asleep, Mom.” He said rolling his eyes. She started to laugh at him.
“Finn?” He stroked my hair as his mom took the bag of food from him.
“Yeah, Baby?” He asked me kissing my head. I moved my head to look at him.
“Don’t her hurt me, protect me.” My eyes got blurry and I fell right into a dreamless sleep right there in the living room of the house, in Finn’s arms. What am I turning into?