I watched as Alec, Cassie and Chord brought in all of the gifts from the baby shower. Exhaustion weighed heavy on me. I’d been on my feet a lot longer than the doctor allowed. The little monster was particularly active. She was using my bladder as a trampoline.
“Baby, why don’t you go rest?” Chord said as he was bringing in a large box.
“No you aren’t. Get your ass back in bed.” Cassie snapped. When I didn’t move she said, “Do I need to call Grams?”
“Ugh! Fine.” I marched into the bedroom.
A tight pain clenched my stomach. I sat on the bed taking deep breaths. My belly had grown so big that I couldn’t see my swollen ankles. Another pain made me suck in a breath. I was still a month and a half away from my due date. I tried not to let fear enter my mind.
“That little monster is fine. Relax.” Queen B said as she leaned against a mountain of pillows.
“What?” I was confused on Queen B’s positivity. That wasn’t her norm.
“Are you talking to your voices again?” Cassie asked as she plopped on the bed.
“I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“What are you doing in here?”
Cassie fell against the bed dramatically. “I’m exhausted.”
I laughed. “If you’re exhausted how do you think I feel?”
“I can’t imagine. That was a pretty crazy baby shower. Granted I’ve only been to this one but I didn’t think most ended with a pole dance off.”
“Don’t remind me. Who’s idea was it to invite Emmerson?”
Sitting up Cassie turned toward me. “The whole thing was her idea.”
“Are you fucking with me right now?” Little monster gave me a hard kick making me wince.
“Yeah. She’s just really active.”
“As long as you’re ok. I don’t want to have to get Chord in here. He’s busy with Alec putting together everything you got.”
“I’m fine. Now, tell me what’s going on with Emmerson.”
“Why don’t I tell you?” My mother’s voice came from the doorway.
“I’ll just go see if I can help Alec and Chord or more like just irritate the hell out of Alec.” Cassie jumped off the bed.
“Traitor.” I grumbled.
It was my mother that approached the bed. It wasn’t the international superstar lead singer of Blue Vengeance. She was even dressed like a normal human being instead of the get up she wore to the baby shower.
“Can I sit with you?”
She joined me on the bed. “I’m sorry.”
My mother stared down at her hands folded in her lap. “I’m sorry that I’ve been a piss poor mother.”
She huffed out a breath. “Don’t hold back, Rhapsody.”
I shook my head. “What do you want, Emmerson?”
“I don’t know. I wanted to make amends before that little one was born. That’s why I insisted on throwing the baby shower. I wanted to make it special.”
“Instead you made it yet another Emmerson Lee show. For fuck’s sake, you felt the need to challenge the exotic dancers to a dance off. You had to make it about you just like everything else.”
“I didn’t mean anything by it. I thought it would be fun.”
“Fun for who?”
“Look, it doesn’t matter. It’s done and over with. You can go back to your touring and do what you do best. Disappear.”
“I’m not going back out on tour. We are taking an indefinite break.”
“I’m serious. I talked to Blue Vengeance and we decided that it was time to take a break and spend time with our families. I’m going to be here when the baby is born. In fact, I want to be in the room with you, Rhapsody.”
A vision of Emmerson Lee delivering my baby while being live on social media. I really didn’t need my vagina all over the internet.
“Nobody wants your vagina all over the internet. Especially, a picture of the baby’s head poking through like some alien bursting from a corn beef sandwich.” Queen B grimaced.
“I don’t know if I want anyone around when I’m giving birth.”
A hurt look crossed her face. “Oh. Well, I just want you to know I will be there when my baby has her baby.”
A tense silence filled the air around us. I could hear muffled curses coming from the baby’s room. Either it was incredibly complicated to put together a stroller or Cassie was succeeding at annoying Alec.
“There is something going on with those two.” My mother said.
“You noticed that too?”
She snorted. “I think everyone but them notice what’s going on there.”
“Isn’t that how it always is? You don’t know what’s right in front of you until you’re falling on your face in front of them?”
“You don’t know how right you are.” She turned to me then continued. “I’m serious, Rhapsody. When the time comes and you need me, I’m going to be there. It doesn’t matter when.”
I nodded. “What happens when you and Jimmy implode? Will it go back to being don’t associate with them blah, blah, blah? You’re granddaughter will have Jimmy Ray’s DNA too. If that happens neither of you will see her. You two don’t have to be together but you at least have to act like damn adults.”
My mother took my hands in hers. “I can’t promise Jimmy and I are a forever thing. However, what I can promise is that no matter what happens I will be able to ignore him expertly minus any kicking and spitting.”
A laugh huffed out of me. “I guess that’s the best thing I can ask for.”
The next thing that happened made me freeze. My mother wrapped her arms around me pulling me into a tight hug. Little monster must have been surprised too because she finally stopped using my bladder as a trampoline.
“That was beautiful.” Queen B said dabbing her eyes with a tissue.
I ignored her and just enjoyed a rare Emmerson Lee hug. I was enjoying it so much I didn’t hear the commotion happening outside of the door. The door banged open making me jump.
“That’s it! I can’t stand his ass any longer! I’m out of here.” Cassie stomped out of the bedroom.
Alec followed behind her with a smirk on his face. My mother shook her head and stood from the bed.
“Definitely something going on there.” She said as she closed the door behind her.