Unnamed/Hero

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic
This is an excerpt from a novel I am writing about a brother whose 16 year old sister who becomes pregnant with a teacher's baby. The story chronicles Kinley's pregnancy, the birth of Tallulah, and Tallulah's infancy, as Hero and Kinley try raise her together.

Submitted: January 27, 2011

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Submitted: January 27, 2011

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Tallulah Mirabelle Rose Flannery was born on the 13th of November, 4 days before Kinley's 17th birthday. Mirabelle is a family name: it's Kinley's middle name, and Mom's middle name, and her mother's middle name, and her mother's middle name, and so on, as far back as we can trace. Rose is after Grandma. I was there with Kinley while she gave birth, holding her hand. I couldn't let her go through that on her own. Mom sat in the waiting room, sobbing as though someone had just died. I don't think it hit her until Kinley was actually in the delivery room giving birth. I left the delivery room a little while ago to let Kinley spend some time alone with Tallulah. I talked to the doctor for a while, who assured me that both Kinley and Tallulah were doing fine. Mom was still in hysterics. I figured I should do something to calm her down. After getting her a cup of coffee, I sit down next to her.

“Mom?”

She didn't look up, but sobbed harder into her hands.

“Mom, I got you some coffee.”

She takes a few deep breaths, and removes her hands from her face. Her eyes are red. She looks exhausted, she looks old, older than I've ever seen her looking. I hand her the coffee. She holds it tightly in her hands but doesn't drink it.

“Umm...”

I don't know what to say to her.

“The doctor says that Kinley and the baby are fine. I think she'll be able to come home tonight.”

Mom still doesn't say anything. We sit in awkward silence, her still clasping her hot coffee cup.

“So, you're a Grandma now!”

I said it too loud, too cheerful. She glares at me.

“Maybe you should go home?” I suggest, “I can handle it here, and you look like you could do with a rest.”

She doesn't say anything for a while.
“Yes, Hero, I suppose I should.”

She turns to look at me.

“You're a wonderful brother, you know. I'm a horrible mother, I wasn't even in the delivery room with my own child. My little girl. Oh, Hero, what happened?”

I don't know what to say. Instead, I put my arm around her. She looks like she is going to cry again.

Mom, would you like to see Tallulah before you go home?”

Tallulah? She had a little girl?”

Yes, didn't the doctor tell you?”

Maybe. I don't even remember.”

Would you like to see her?” I repeat.

No,” she sighs, “No, I should probably go home. Call me if anything happens, okay?”

She pulls herself from under my arm, and leaves without saying another word. I stare after her until she is out of sight. I stand up and walk back to the delivery room. Kinley is sitting on her bed in the far corner. Tallulah is on her lap, but Kinley isn't looking at her. She's staring off into space, her expression blank, one arm wrapped loosely around her baby girl. Kinley doesn't look up until I sit in the chair next to her.

How are you feeling,” I ask, almost whispering.

Tired,” she replies, “Sore. Overwhelmed. Scared.”

She sighs, still not looking at her baby.

I gently place a hand on her knee, inches away from Tallulah's tiny feet.

You did wonderfully,” I say.

She smiles at me.

And now you have a beautiful baby girl”

Kinley's face falls.

Hero, what am I supposed to do? I don't know how to look after a baby.”

I can her the quiver of fear in her voice. She looks down at Tallulah. She puts both arms around her and holds her.

I've done the wrong thing, haven't I?”

I look at Kinley as she looks at her baby. I still see her as the little sister I grew up protecting. She looks so young and scared, just a child herself. A tear rolls down her cheek.

Kinley?”

She looks up at me.

You haven't done the wrong thing. It'll be hard, but we can get through this together.”

She smiles again. I look at the newborn baby that she's cradling so naturally in her arms. I know she'll be a wonderful mother.

She's perfect, isn't she?” I whisper, “She looks just like you.”

Kinley looks at Tallulah again.

I think she looks like him,” she says, “Like Kit.”

I look at Tallulah too. I don't see it.

I don't think so,” I say gently.

I think I want to call him, Hero.”

She looks up at me, her face anxious but sincere.

Kinley...”

Hero, he's her father. He should at least know she's okay.”

Kinley, you remember what he said when you told him you were pregnant. Do you really want to go through that again?”

She doesn't seem to hear me. I know how stubborn she can get, and I know she won't let this go.

Okay,” I sigh, “I'll look after 'Lulah.”

She hands me the baby and gets up of her bed. It's weird seeing her again without the huge baby bump sticking out in front of her. As she leaves the ward, I pay more attention to the baby in my arms. Tallulah looks just like any other newborn I've ever seen, her skin red and wrinkled. She looks like a little old man, but I can see Kinley in her face. She has a few wisps of dark blond hair on her head, the same color as mine and Kinley's. Her eyes are closed, and I can't tell if she's asleep or not. She's wearing mittens over her little hands. I gently hold one of her hands in mine. Her tiny fist inside its mitten automatically closes around my thumb, the grip surprisingly strong for such a small person. I can feel tears prickling in my eyes and a silly grin creeping up my face as I fall in love with little Tallulah.

New father, are you?”

I look up, jumping a little. I wasn't aware I was being watched. A woman sitting on a bed across the ward is smiling at me. She looks about 35, has red hair, and is holding a small bundle wrapped in a pale blue blanket. I open my mouth to correct her, but the words that come out of my mouth surprise me.

Yes,” I say, still grinning, “Yes I am.”


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