‹ Prequel: So Close Yet So Far

Meant to be

Deception

*July 1st*

Jakob runs out of the TV studio, he was already running late to pick Stella up at her dorm. He runs to his car and gets in before speeding away. He gets to her dorm building and heads inside.

"Hey babe." Stella says opening the door and kissing his lips.

"Sorry, I'm late," Jakob says as he takes two of her bags.

"You're not that late," She giggles, grabbing one of the lighter bags.

They head down to the car, after a couple of trips, they finish loading up all Stella's boxes and bags into the trunk.

"Hey where's your stuff?" Stella asks furrowing her eyebrows. They were headed back to Oakland for the time being, starting with the Independence Day celebration.

"Gotta go pick it up," He says climbing into the driver's seat, she nods, "so how's our baby?"

"Being a brat, made me puke three times today," Jake puts his head near her belly.

"Be nice to mommy or you won't get candy until you're five!" Stella just bursts out laughing. Jake starts up the car and drives towards his college.

"Where are you going?" Stella demands as Jake takes a left turn instead of a right, about ten minutes away from his campus.

"Uhh, uhh, detour." He stutters, she just glares at him. "It'll be quick."

"Jakob, you've been acting very suspicious these past few days," She lectures, "Its like as soon as my parents left after the graduation you-" she stops as they pull into a parking lot of an apartment building.

"What are we doing here?" she demands bluntly.

"Just come," Jakob says rolling his eyes, he could tell this was one of those mood swings Tre so thoughtfully warned him about.

"Jake," She says crossing her arms.

"Please, it won't take long." She gets out of the car and they head into the building.

Jakob leads her to the elevator and they go up to the fourth floor. They walk silently down the hallway up to a door numbered 43. Jake digs through his pockets.

"Knocking would help." Stella grumbles. Jakob pulls his keys out of his pocket.

"You don't knock on your own door," he says opening the door wide for her to see their new apartment.

"Oh my god!" She squeals happily, "You got us our own apartment."

"Yeah," He says as she wraps her arms around him tightly. "Spent the past few days painting the walls."

"Jake this is perfect." She says looking around. There was a decent sized kitchen and living room, two bedrooms and a pretty up to date bathroom.

"This is our room." Jakob says opening one door. She looks inside, to see several boxes in a corner along with a mattress, the walls were a soothing blue on two walls and beige on the other two. "Still have to set everything up."

"You did this yourself?"

"Well, I sent Ramona some pictures of the place, she really has nothing better to do in Italy than to help me pick out paint," Stella just laughs. "Come I want to show you the baby's room."

He opens the next door to exhibit the pale green room, with teddy bare border near the ceiling and sheer yellow curtains.

"I uh didn't buy the furniture yet, 'cause I figured you'd want to-" he interrupted by Stella putting her lips against his.

"I love you," she whispers.

*

Ramona types vigorously on her lap top, finishing her final entries for the month. She has a pen clenched between her teeth out of nervous habit.

"Are you done yet?" Joey whines, he had the day off, his Italy contract was almost over and there wasn't much left to do.

"Hold on baby," She mumbles as she writes the final note to the editor. She clicks send and pulls the pen out of her mouth and onto the desk.

"Are you done now?" Joey whines again.

"Yes!" Ramona exclaims as she shuts her lap top.

"Yay!" Joey says childishly as he goes to sit on her lap.

"You weigh a friggin' ton." She says trying to push him off.

"Just more of me to love."

"Over dose! Over dose!" she yelps arching her back so he slides off her lap onto the floor. He pulls her down with him and presses his lips against hers under the desk. In the heat of the moment Ramona goes to sit up to remove her shirt but ends up hitting her head on the desk.

"Ow!" she mutters bitterly as she rubs her head. Joey burst out laughing receiving a slap on the arm in return, "Your fault."

"How's it my fault?" he pouts as Ramona gets up and adjusts her tank top.

"Hey! Suze is back from the hospital." Ramona calls excitedly catching a glimpse of Denny's car through the window. "Oh I wanna see the baby."

"But I wanted to do the dirty!" Joey jokes as he gets up off the floor and follows Ramona down the stairs.

"Suze!" Ramona calls happily as she reaches the second floor. "Congratulations."

"Thanks." Suze says rocking the newborn in her arms, "This is Talia Berlin Dubois."

"She's beautiful." Ramona says adoringly.

"Come, it's a billion degrees out here." Denny insists as he opens the door. The four of them head inside.

"Congrats man," Joey says patting his friend on the back. Suze places baby Talia in the bassinet and the four of them sit in the living room.

"How'd you name her?" Ramona ask curiously.

"Well since we're in Italy we were going to name her Italia," Denny starts, "But we had agreed to make her middle name Berlin. We didn't want a double place name so we chose Talia."

*

After a long but worth while drive Stella and Jakob arrive at the Armstrong house. Stella and Jake get out of the car and head to the front door. Jakob rings the doorbell, as Stella rock on her heels nervously.

"Good to see you again Jake!" Billie Joe exclaims as he pulls his son into a hug,

"And Stella." He hugs her too.

"Whoa Dad, did they up your meds?" Jakob jokes.

"Jakob, Stella!" Adie exclaims, coming over to the front door. She kisses her son on the cheek then goes over to Stella, "So how is everything? Is the baby healthy?" she rambles as they go off into the living room.

"How are you holding up?" Billie Joe asks his youngest son.

"Fine." He says out of habit.

"I've been through the same thing and if you're fine, you're stoned."

"Well I'm scared shitless every moment of the day."

"That's better," Billie laughs. "You don't plan on running do you?"

"Fuck no." Jakob says insulted, "I wouldn't do that to Stella."

"Smart." Billie nods, "Mike bought himself a shot gun." Jake just rolls his eyes at the repeated joke that Mike wants to kill him.

*

Joey and Ramona get back to their condo. Ramona steps out onto the balcony in their bedroom, several twinkling stars were visible in the night sky. She looks out thoughtfully and lets out a short sigh. Joey creeps up behind her wrapping his arms around her waist and resting his chin in her shoulder.

"I know what you're thinking."

"Hmm?" Ramona asks.

"You want a baby."

"How do you know?"

"Saw it in your eyes," He chuckles.

"You're cheesy," She giggles as he tightens his grip around her. "Do you?"

"Yeah," He whispers, they barely ever discussed having kids, they both just figured when the time came.

"I've been thinking about it lately," She spins around, still in his grasp so she's facing him.

"Let's have a baby," She whispers as she puts her lips lightly on his.

"I'm up for it," He says picking her up and slinging her over his shoulder.

"Now?" she laughs. "I'm still on the pill!"

"Practice." He says laying her down on the bed.