Chapter 8: Talking Daughters and Jealousy

I managed to escape from the party long enough to change Lily. Isaac’s mother had directed me toward a bathroom equipped with a change table for me to use.

I carried Lily down the stairs to the main floor, as Lily was settling against my shoulder with her thumb in her mouth. She was tired and ready for her nap, I could tell.

Natalie had tried to lay Ezra down for a brief nap some time before, but I wasn’t willing to let Lily out of my sight, not in a new environment.

I wandered into the kitchen, where Isaac was standing in the kitchen with the fridge door open.

“Hi,” I smiled.

“Hey!” He said loudly.

I held my finger to my lips and motioned to Lily who was asleep on my shoulder.

“Sorry,” He whispered. “Do you want to find a place to put her down for a bit?”

“No, I think if she wakes up and I’m not there she’ll break into a screaming fit.” I replied, gently patting her back.

“Okay.” He agreed. “Do you want a bottle of water or anything?” He offered.

“No, I’m fine, thanks.” I smiled.

“You know, I think today is going pretty well, don’t you?”

I nodded. “Yeah, I’m glad you invited me. I’m having such a nice time catching up with everyone…”

Isaac grinned at me, sheepishly.

“What?” I asked with a smile.

“Nothing… I just think its kind of funny… I was talking to Taylor earlier… he is insanely jealous.”

“He is?” I asked, glancing at Lily to make sure she as still asleep.

“Yeah, it’s kind of funny to me… I mean, when he was dating you, I was so insanely jealous because I liked you too, and now, here we are and he’s jealous of me.”

“You’re taking kind of a sick pleasure in your brother’s misery, aren’t you?” I teased.

He laughed. “You’re lucky you’re an only child.”

“I’ll grant you that.” I smiled.

“Do you want to go back out and sit?”

“Okay,” I nodded.

Placing a hand gently on my lower back, he guided me through the back door.

I was somewhat relieved to see that Taylor was out in the back yard chasing around his son, while Natalie sat nearby laughing.

They looked like such a wholesome family unit, it made my stomach lurch just to think about it.

“Oh, Andy. Why don’t you put her down for a bit? She can sleep in one of the spare bedrooms-“ Mrs. Hanson offered.

“Oh, it’s okay, really.” I said genuinely, easing myself carefully onto a seat on a wooden bench. “If she wakes up and I’m not around she’ll freak out, I’d like to be able to keep an eye on her in a strange place anyway.” I smiled assuredly, and was thankful when Mrs. Hanson didn’t press the issue.

“Lily really is the sweetest kid.” Isaac continued, sitting next to me and opening a can of beer. “She hardly cries, and she’s so smart.”

“She must have inherited that from her mother,” Isaac’s father spoke up from a lawn chair on the other side of the deck. “What did you go to school for again?”

“Teaching.” I replied. “I want to be a high-school history teacher…”

“Any luck finding a job around here?” Diana replied.

“No,” I admitted sadly. “I’ve been looking online at the job postings, but most jobs are either looking for elementary school teachers or they’re clear across town.”

“You know, I admire that in you, Andy.” Mrs. Hanson continued. “When my kids were small I could never even imagine going to work and leaving them in someone else’s care. I wanted to be with them every second.”

I rested my cheek against Lily’s warm body. “Well, ideally, that’s probably what I would want too, but it’s just not… it’s not in the cards right now.”

“Oh, do you know who just got married?!” Mrs. Hanson turned to her husband quickly, “Taylor’s friend Jeremy, they eloped in Vegas of all places. His parents were so disappointed! You went to school with him, didn’t you Andy?”

I nodded slowly, but didn’t remember. She didn’t need my input anyway, already continuing on with the conversation.

I felt Isaac’s warm hand on my knee, and I looked up at him with a smile.

“Do you want me to hold her for a bit? In case your arms get tired?” He offered.

“It’s okay, I’ve got her.” I whispered back.

He gave my knee a reassuring squeeze and turned his attention back to the conversation.

Taylor came clomping up the stairs carrying Ezra. He shot me a brief glare before stomping off toward the house. Natalie followed lightly behind and sat down heavily on a deck chair. She opened a bottle of water from the cooler and sighed.

“Your daughter is really adorable. She’s so well behaved too!” Natalie smiled, and lightly pat her stomach, “I hope this one is a girl. I would love to have a daughter.”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

It was getting late when I carried Lily’s sleeping body toward my mother’s car. It was already dark out, but the Hanson’s driveway was remarkably well lit.

I carefully buckled Lily into her car seat, and backed from the back seat, closing the door behind me quietly.

I turned and bumped into a body, crying out in alarm. “Oh!”

“Hey, sorry.” Isaac said softly, holding out his arms to steady me. “I heard you were leaving and came out to say goodnight.” He peeked in the back seat. “Lily’s out?”

I nodded. “Zac chasing her around the back yard really wore her out today.”

Isaac laughed. “Yeah, he’ll do that.”

He shoved his hands into his pockets and for a brief moment, he looked like a nervous teenager trying to muster the courage for a good-night kiss. “Listen, what are your plans for tomorrow?”

“Umm… tomorrow, I’m going to pick up some furniture. I finished painting Lily’s room and I’ve got to get her a crib and some other things….” I replied.

“Oh… okay…” He seemed somewhat disappointed.

“What are you doing Monday?” I asked.

“Nothing, yet. Why?” He smiled.

“Would you like to come over? I’ll cook you a nice meal, and we can… hang out.”

Isaac laughed softly. “Okay, that sounds great. Can I bring anything?’

“No, it’s alright. I’ll handle everything.” I tried to suppress a yawn.

“Looks like Lily isn’t the only one who is tired.” He teased.

“I know… she wears me out sometime.”

“Do you want me to follow you home? Just to be sure you get there okay?”

I smiled. “It’s alright. I can make it.” I stood on my toes and gently kissed his cheek. “Thank you again for inviting me, I really did have a good time.”

“Any time.” He smiled. He bent and gently kissed my lips.

We stood kissing for several minutes, until I felt a chill rise in the air. “Maybe I should go.”

“Alright.” Isaac teased, “Don’t fall asleep at the wheel now.”

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