Chapter 36 : Baylin

As I finished folding the last of the baby clothes, I put them neatly into a box next to my bed. It’d been a week or so since the baby shower and I’d just gotten to picking everything up. The lack of storage space in here was making it hard to clean up with all the gifts. I shoved the box against the wall with my foot, it being harder and harder to bend down and do stuff these days. I heard the door creak open slightly and my boyfriend walked in. That’s right, boyfriend. Tayden O’Connel was officially my boyfriend now. And oddly enough, Rain was perfectly okay with it.

He peeked in further, noticing the lack of baby clothes on my bed. Or should I say our bed now? Rain had offered us some good advice within the past week, telling us that we should just make Tayden’s room into the babies room until she was gone. Of course when she said those last few words, none of us spoke. None of us wanted to even think for a second about her being gone.

“Wow, you finished already? I was going to come help.” He scratched the back of his head, a small smile on his face. He was totally bullshitting me.

“Right. You were so going to help.” He laughed and walked up to me, kissing me softly on the lips. It was then that our baby decided shoving one of her body parts into the side of my stomach. My eyes got wide and I smiled at Tayden. I silently grabbed his hand and placed it gently against the side where she’d touched. When he felt what I had, he grinned wider, kissing me once again. She liked to kick more when Tayden was around, it was almost as if she was psychic and could tell exactly who her father was. I had a feeling she was going to be one smart kid.

“I can’t wait until she’s here.” Tayden said, bending down to kiss my stomach. He did it more and more every day. It was almost as if the larger my stomach got, the more places on it he could kiss. I could tell he was giddy about it at last. But me? I was nervous. Was I even going to be a good mother? I had helped with raising my brother by babysitting a bit, but he was so close to my age that by the time I could babysit him, he could practically babysit himself. And as time ran out for me to prepare to become a mother, it seemed as if I just got more and more nervous as the days went by.

“Speaking of her being here. We need a name Tayden.” I laughed and he did too, before glancing back at me and walking through the door. We’d been procrastinating, never exactly agreeing on a name. I followed him down the barely lit hall, the lights still off from the night before. I didn’t bother to turn them on as I walked with him towards his old room. I knew this house like the back of my hands now. Most of his stuff was in boxes in the living room, and he was assembling the baby bed in his old room.

He wouldn’t let me in the room. ‘Not yet.’ He’d said when I asked, only about a dozen times, to see the inside. He told me it’d be a surprise, and because of that I didn’t like surprises at the moment.
He jogged ahead and pulled the door close. I could hear laughter from inside, no doubt coming from Patrick, who Tayden had somehow roped into helping him set up our little girl’s room. I shook my head and walked towards the living room couch. Rain was curled up in a blanket, her eyes watching the television with such intensity that if she had super powers, the TV would surely explode into a million tiny pieces.

“Paint my toenails?” I asked, suddenly wishing for some girl bonding time with my best friend. It had felt like forever since we’d done something together, and I realized now how stupid that was. There was no stopping what was going to happen to her. Something she seemed to mention more and more these days. I was trying to hopefully get all of the bonding time we’d missed out on throughout the past couple of months, down to her last days. She’d been my rock ever since I could remember knowing her. And at a time like this, I was going to be solid for her. No more weakness, no more stupidity. I was officially an adult, and it was about time I acted like it. Especially, since I was bringing a child into this twisted world. Such a world that took best friend’s from each other at such an early age.

She simply turned her head to me, her eyes flickering over my face before settling on my stomach. I knew the thoughts that were running through her head, they’d been going through mine more and more, the sicker she got. Was she even going to see this baby? Was she even going to be able to see this little girls face? I was just at eight months, and I felt bigger than ever. Every pound I gained made fitting into tiny places even harder. Tayden had reluctantly decided that doing my laundry was best now, because I felt as if I were squished trying to fit between the washer and dryer and the clothes rack on the wall just opposite. We really had to do something about that.

“I’m in the mood for pink.” I rubbed my stomach, and hopefully Rain got the gesture. Pink for a baby girl. When I saw the small smile on my best friends face, I knew she had. I got up and grabbed the bottle of polish out her room, then climbed back on the couch with her, resting my feet on her frail legs.

I watched as she slowly painted each nail, making sure it was completely covered and looked it’s best. I remembered all the times growing up we’d done each other’s nails. Laughing and talking about how awesome our lives would be once we were through with middle school, and high school, and out into the real worlds. I remember one conversation quite clearly.

“And when we’re old and gray, we’ll still be in little old lady rockers sitting next to each other. Laughing at everything our grandchildren will do. And of course you’ll fuss yours more than me, because you’re meaner.” Rain had said, laughing as she curled her hair. I had sat on the floor beside her painting my toes myself for a change. We’d been in seventh grade then, so naïve to how the real world worked.

“Grandchildren? I don’t even know if I want kids.” I’d muttered, fixing where I’d smudged nail polish across my big toe. “I have to find a guy that would want to deal with me first.”

And Rain had given me a look, one that said I was being stupid. That of course I’d find a guy. And I’d argued that she would too. And we’d both live happily ever after, with white picket fences. And I could smile at her every morning as we set our kids off to school. Set play dates between the children, because that’s how close we’d stay. We’d live right next door, we’d be best friends for life.

But back then we didn’t know that our plans would be cut short. Or that I’d only get nine or ten more years with her. Nine or ten years had been practically our whole lives back then. At the ripe age of twelve we didn’t know such tragedy. Living in a great community, with healthy families was all we knew. Our lives had been simple, almost perfect back then, and we’d taken them for granted.

It had been after Rain spoke that Tayden had crashed through her bedroom door, his fifteen year old frame was lanky back then, and pale. That was before he’d started running without a shirt on throughout the warmer months. That was before he had ever been attractive to me. He’d had braces and an odd haircut from letting Rain’s mother cut it in their kitchen one summer afternoon when his long hair had become too hot. I’d thought of him as a brother back then, nothing more.

He came in telling us it was time to leave. We’d been getting ready to go to a birthday party, or some other sort of celebration. Maybe it was a graduation, someone just about to start their lives. Even though at nearly the same age, Rain would be ending hers.

I was jerked out of my thoughts at the broken yet beautiful girl staring at me. She’d simply spoken my name, waking me from my thoughts. I looked at my toes. All ten of them were perfectly painted, just the shade of pink I’d been hoping for. I took my feet off her lap and she placed hers in mine, asking silently for pink toes in return. I did my best, even though my best was nowhere near her best.

“What are you thinking about?” her fragile voice said. Her hearing had come back, just as the doctor had said it might. It’d been a full two days of texting back and forth instead of speaking out loud, and every time she’d receive a new text, it looked as if she wanted to cry.

Ever since I’d known Rain she was the strong one, the one to stand up to bullies, to not be afraid of embarrassing herself in front of complete strangers. The complete opposite of me. But she was so different now; this horrible disease was eating her away. Eating away everything I wanted so badly to hold on to.

“You.” She glanced up from my hands at her feet and her eyes glistened with tears at the words I’d said.

“I love you.” She whispered, and it was followed by a loud bang from the room the boys were in. Thinking back to our conversation years ago I felt like laughing. In a way, we’d found what we’d asked for. We both had guys that loved us, but the picket fences, and granny rocking chairs? Those dreams would never come true.

“I love you more.” I spoke just as softly as she had, the little bundle of joy in my tummy kicking as if to agree. And I knew when I said it, that it was true.
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I made Taylor cry writing this! Hahaha.