‹ Prequel: Infinite

Summer Boy

Baby Days

Ronnie came to get Arch on Sunday so that I wouldn’t have to take him to Nicholas while Heather and I went shopping. Officially, we were going shopping for Kyat, but I knew that Heather wouldn’t let me walk out empty handed.

Arch was at the kitchen table, still in his pajamas, when the doorbell rang. The little boy was up and out of his seat before I could head that way, and Ronnie didn’t wait for one of us to open the door before he came inside.

I came around the corner into the living room as Arch threw himself into Ronnie’s arms. Ronnie caught him and lifted him up, holding him with his arm wrapped under the boy’s legs. “You’re not even dressed,” Ronnie commented, rolling his eyes as he dropped Arch down onto the couch as he passed it. “We can’t go anywhere with you looking like that.”

“I’m almost ready!” Arch shouted. He climbed to his knees and then scrambled to jump over the back of the couch.

“He’s not done eating yet,” I said to Ronnie, nodding to the little blonde who was gearing up to make his escape. “You can stick around until he’s done.”

Ronnie reached over and lifted Arch from the back of the couch, effectively putting a stop to his antics. He nodded, stepping carefully between the coffee table and the couch as he made his way over. “Got enough for me?” He walked past me and into the kitchen. I turned and watched as he set Arch back down in his spot and then joined him. He was dark jeans and a baggy black sweatshirt to Arch’s blue shorts and t’shirt.

I set a plate of food down in front of Ronnie before I joined them. I sat at the table across from them and ate quietly as they talked. Mostly Arch talked, but I wasn’t surprised when he managed to finish first. Ronnie put their plates in the sink before he followed the boy upstairs to get him ready for their day. I didn’t know what they had planned, but they weren’t going to stick around the house for long.

I headed upstairs to get dressed to meet Heather. I was putting my phone, wallet, and keys into my bag when Ronnie knocked on the door and called my name.

“Come in,” I said, glancing at the handle to double-check that it was unlocked.

Ronnie stepped in and leaned against the door frame. His eyes stopped on my stomach before continuing up to my own. “You look great,” he said, noting the shorts and t’shirt. He nodded back towards the second floor balcony. “We’re going to get going.”

“Where are you taking him?”

Ronnie shrugged. “We’ll probably stop at the apartment, but I figured we’d just play it by ear. If anything, we’ll hangout until later and then get lunch with the guys.”

“Okay.” I commented. “I’ll probably be with Heather most of the day, but call me if you need anything. Or if you decide to do anything specific.”

“We’ll be fine.” He nodded. “We’re just going to hangout.”

I turned back to the closet and grabbed my tennis shoes. I sat down on the edge of my bed and slipped my feet into my socks as I spoke. “Still, Ronnie, he’s been looking forward to this, so try to keep out of trouble and have fun, okay?”

“Don’t worry about us, Att,” he spoke, taking another step into the room. “What about you? What are you getting into today?”

“Heather and I are going shopping for Kyat,” I answered, giving him the official answer, “but she’s really excited to shop for the baby, so I know I won’t make it out of there without a few things for him. If anything, I’ll detour her by picking out some things for Arch.”

“Why don’t you want to shop for the baby?” Ronnie asked. “We’ll have to get everything eventually.”

“Did you see the stuff in Arch’s room?” I asked, referring to the pile of gifts we’d gotten at the baby shower. “There’s not enough room for all of it. I can’t just keep filling Arch’s room with baby stuff.”

“We could keep it at the apartment until we find you and the boys a place,” Ronnie offered. “There’s plenty of room. That way Arch won’t feel invaded by the baby.”

“I haven’t even started looking in LA,” I sighed, mentally adding it to the list of things I still had to do before the baby came. I also hadn’t told Chance that I was planning to move out of Pasadena, or that I’d agree to let Ronnie help me buy a place. I hadn't had much time since his confession. Hadn't spoken to him at all.

“I’ve been looking,” Ronnie answered, surprising me. “If you give me the information for your realtor, I can get in touch with him and we can start looking. When I find something, I’ll let you know and we can check it out. That way you don’t have to worry about it.”

“You’re seriously going house hunting?” I asked, sliding my arms over my chest.

He grinned, lips turned up at the corner. It was one of his easy, signature smiles. He rested his hands on my shoulders and guided me around him to the door. “Go shopping with Heather, buy all the stuff you want for the baby, and you can pick Arch up from the apartment when you drop the stuff off. I’ll take care of it, Att. Don’t worry.”

We stepped out into the second floor landing and separated from each other. Ronnie called for Arch, and the boy emerged after a minute. His shoes were still untied, but at least on his feet, and he was grinning. “You ready to go yet?” Ronnie asked, stepping over to kneel down in front. “We should get out of here because Atti needs to lock up after us.”

Arch darted down the stairs and Ronnie followed, laughing like a kid as he raced to catch up with him. Ronnie grabbed Arch at the base of the stairs and lifted him from the ground, yelling as he moved over and dumped Arch onto the couch, letting him free fall from Ronnie’s height to the cushions.

Arch bounced and then rolled off onto the floor, ducking under the coffee table for cover. His giggles transformed into a screeched of laughter as Ronnie leaned down and dragged him out by his ankles.

“Alright, alright, get out of here,” I said, motioning to the front door with a broad sweeping motion, “and don’t be too crazy today, I don’t want broken bones or bruises on either of you.”

Ronnie threw Arch over his shoulder and grinned at me, turning those on me. “We’ll see you later,” he said, wrapping his free arm around my shoulders. “Be careful today.” His glance dropped to my stomach for a split second and then he was out the door with Arch.

“Don’t forget to grab his booster seat from the car!” I called after them. “I’ll see you boys later. Be good, Arch! Love you.”

Heather was in the living room when I came through the door into her house. My godson was in his playpen in the middle of the room, and I grinned at the sight of him.

“What are you doing here, Ky?” I asked, sweeping across the room to lift him up. “I thought you were going out with Daddy today?”

Heather came in behind me. “Daddy had to work, so he’s all ours,” she said, looking a little dejected about the idea.

“It’s fine, Heath,” I answered, brushing Kyat’s curls down. “I’ve got my son built-in, and you’ve got Ky. No big deal.” The authentic, no kids, girls’ day out would have to wait. “Now we can make him try on different little outfits,” I said, grinning evilly.

“His bag’s upstairs,” Heather answered, shaking off my antics. “I’ll be right back and we can go.” She headed out of the room, following the wood floor down to the stairs and then she was gone.

I shifted Kyat higher on my hip and headed down to the front door with him. He was already wearing a long sleeved shirt, but I grabbed his zip-up from the hook in the front hall and unlocked the baby gate, so I could set him on the bottom step. I sat down next to him and slipped his feet into his Velcro shoes.

Heather stepped around us when she came back downstairs. “You think those shoes are getting a little tight on him?” she asked, stuffing his jacket into the diaper bag. “I think I’m going to pick him up another pair today.”

“Yeah,” I agreed, lifting Kyat with me as I stood up. I put the gate back into place. “They’re not squeezing the life out of his toes or anything, but if he keeps growing this fast, they’re definitely going to be too small for him soon.”

“We’ll pick out a couple pairs,” Heather said, smiling at her only child. “He’s walking all over the house, so I’m excited for him to get outside soon. He’s going to need new shoes for that.” She bounded back to me, slipping the strap of the bag over her shoulder. “You ready, Atticus? We can take my car.”

“Yeah, no sense in moving Ky’s carseat,” I agreed. She stepped back and I headed outside first so she could lock the door behind me. The car beeped and I opened the back so I could put Kyat into his seat.

Despite the fact that he was starting to talk and walk more, he was still little enough that his car-seat faced backwards like Holland’s. I’d gotten so used to having children in the car that I was familiar was every car-seat stage. I gently laid him down into his seat and then fastened the straps over his shoulders and buckled them over his stomach.

Dangling from the back seat was a line of toys and a mirror that allowed Heather to see him when she was driving. Kyat reached for the toys. When he had both hands on them, I shut the door and headed around to the front as Heather joined me.

She checked the back where her son was. “You’re a natural, Atticus.”

I laughed as I climbed into the car. “No, I just have baby sisters,” I argued, remembering back to when Nico was a baby, and I had to learn all the tricks.

Heather started the car. “Still, you shouldn’t be worried. You’ve taken care of Nico like she was your own and you’ve had Arch for a couple years now. There’s nothing you can’t do.”

“This is my own baby,” I answered. “It’s different. Nico went home. If not every day, then every couple of days. And Arch was already four when he came to me. There’s a huge difference between a four-year-old and a new born.”

“You’re going to be exhausted and frustrated, but it’ll be the best kind of tired you’ve ever experienced, Atti. I can’t explain it. I know you love Arch, but you grew to love him. When you see this baby, it’ll be instantaneous. You’ll love him just as much as you love Arch and you’ll make it work. Don’t worry so much.”

“That’s the same thing Ronnie said to me today,” I told her, remembering the way he looked as his lips formed around the words.

“Oh yeah,” she commented. “He picked Arch up today, right? I bet Arch was thrilled to see him.”

I nodded. “They needed some one-on-one time before the baby gets here. I know it’s going to be hard on Arch when Ronnie has a kid of his own. It’s different with Ronnie. With me, Arch knows that I’m always here, but Arch barely has time with Ronnie as is and when the baby gets here, the time they do have is going to be split even more.”

“Arch will adjust,” Heather answered. “He’s excited too. Everyone will have to make a little room when the baby gets here and Arch knows that there are changes coming.”

“Speaking of changes,” I said quickly, another topic coming to mind. “Ronnie is house hunting. He’s going to get in contact with Rob, and they’re going to locate some places for me, Arch, and the baby.”

Heather shot me a confused glance. “You told me he was going to pitch in for his son, but I didn’t know he was going to literally pick it out for you. I thought you had something specific in mind?”

“I do.” I nodded. “And I have the final say, but Ronnie has more free time on his hands now that he’s completely ignoring the label, so he’s going to hunt down some places and when he finds some, I’m going to check them out.”

“So this means that we can shop for that little man?” she asked, grinning at me. “The infant clothes are so adorable. I can’t wait to spoil him.”

I laughed as we pulled into a parking spot on the south side of the mall. Heather turned the car off and I got out with her, waiting as she unbuckled Kyat. “Heather, the baby is going to outgrow everything. I’ll be happy with Kyat’s old clothes.”

Heather glanced at me accusingly. “I already gave all his old clothes away,” she said finitely. “So you’re going to have to buck up and let me spoil your son because he’s your first child and I didn’t get to do this for Arch, so you need to just deal with it.”


“As a matter of fact,” she continued. “If I see anything I like for Arch, I’m buying it, because he deserves new clothes too. I don’t care if you dress that boy like a fashion model or that he’s already drowning in clothes, I’m buying him stuff too.” She lifted Kyat up and situated him on her side before walking off, leaving me laughing as I caught up to her.

“Fine, Heather,” I relented, reaching to take Ky from her, “but if you get to buy for my boys, then I get to pick out a new wardrobe for yours.”

Heather laughed, jutting forward as she grinned at me. “Fine, Gurewitz, but I expect some Falling in Reverse merch among the designer brands.”

I grinned. “Hot Topic sells baby sizes.”