Babies and Bells
Andrea didn’t usually get nightmares like this anymore. He hasn’t for... years. He tried his best not to wake Nealson up as he carefully got up- feeling weak and tired. He made sure that Nathaniel was alright in his crib before he made his way out to the kitchen to just try and clear his head.
It was about his mother, mostly. Bits and pieces of growing up with her. The pills and needles just laying around, yelling back and forth about her addiction- accusing her of not loving him and his sister, when he was kicked out when he was 15, kicked out to run straight to James... It wasn’t like he was completely separated from them, though. Despite the drugs, despite his accusations, she still helped to get him through school as much as she could... He still went back and visited when James let him... Make sure that Theresa was okay, make sure that his mother was, too.
Then it was memories of his short period of addiction. Painkillers- Percocet to be exact. He started taking it after a particularly bad beating, when he didn’t get up and instead just laid there only able to focus on breathing and the pain. James threw it at him and told him to stop being a baby. It was a few months short of a year that he realized what it’d become. He wouldn’t just take it for physical pain anymore- he was taking it for comfort. He realized he was addicted and promptly shoved it all away. It was hard and he went through withdrawals- with no help from James. But he got through it with tough determination, not wanting to end up like his mother.
It was hard, though. Not a time he ever wanted to think back on... or remember in such sharp clear pictures as what showed up in his dreaming. But he could remember how hard it was. He hadn’t even been taking it for a year but he still got the shakes, incredible anxiety, stomach cramps making him throw up more times than he could count... His mother’s been addicted for years and he didn’t want to think how it would be for her. And... he hasn’t been there. He was angry at her. Angry about things that happened way in the past. He’s never actually been there for her. Even when he was still speaking to her. No wonder she hasn’t been able to quit.
Andrea bit his lip, suddenly feeling like an idiot not to mention a horrible son. Just giving up on her even when she said that she’d go to rehab. It’s probably the reason she didn’t go. So, getting up and finding his phone plugged in and charging on the kitchen counter, he knew that she wasn’t going to answer but he was only planning on leaving a voicemail anyway. He leaned against the counter, swallowing nervously as the phone rang five times before a short message in his mother’s voice sounded and as always there was a beep indicating it was recording.
“Hey Mom... It’s Andrea... I uh... I don’t know if Theresa told you but um... You have another grandson. I um... I just thought I should... let you know. Call me back sometime, I... I’d like to talk to you,” he paused for a moment before hitting the ‘end’ button and setting his phone down. Right, now the hard part- getting over his pride and telling Nealson about this after snapping at him so much beforehand. He slid a hand over his stomach when he felt the baby moving and stretching inside. He would want to talk to her first... While he’ll be supportive of her even if she hasn’t managed to quit yet... Andrea still wasn’t sure about having her around Nathaniel and, as he and Nealson decided a few days earlier, Sophia if she was still addicted.
Andrea pushed those thoughts away for now. He’d have to talk with Nealson about it. For now he started to go back to their temporary room, gently rubbing his stomach to try and sooth Sophia back to sleep so that he himself would be able to get back to sleep. He managed to slip back into bed without waking up Nealson, shifting close to him and curling up around his stomach a little bit.
“Nealson!” Andrea called out suddenly- they were getting ready to go over to Theresa’s house. He had talked with his mother, but while he would be supportive and not just give up... He also wanted to be thorough and make sure that she wasn’t lying again. Anyway, he figured it’d be about time to let Theresa know about the pregnancy since he was into his third trimester now at 29 weeks. Not to mention she hasn’t seen Nathaniel for a while.
Which, speaking of... While Andrea was packing the diaper bag, Nathaniel- for the first time -started to crawl. His husband was in there in a moment, giving Andrea a confused look when the brunette smiled at him.
“He’s crawling,” Andrea nodded down to where Nathaniel was on the floor, still slowly but surely working towards a toy just a few feet away.
The redhead laughed, smiling over at his husband. “That’s amazing, but next time could you not make me think that you were in trouble?” he shook his head, though took a few minutes to just stand there and watch Nathaniel until the baby reached his goal and grabbed the soft stuffed toy on the floor. “I’m almost ready, just... have to grab a shirt,” he said, gesturing to his still naked torso.
“Yeah,” Andrea smiled, going back to packing the diaper bag- putting a few diapers in, an extra bottle, the can of formula, and two extra outfits just in case. He glanced down towards where Nathaniel was, happily giggling whenever he managed to get the stuffed toy to play music by pressing on it, and then scanning over the room seeing the toys strewn about... He didn’t think his back would be able to manage bending down a dozen times right now. He’d have to have Nealson get them.
It didn’t take long and soon they were leaving.
Zoe, however, wasn’t very happy. Deandre absolutely loved and fawned over the rounded bump, but Zoe hated the fact that he already actually looked pregnant. He was only 16 weeks- four months -and he was still able to hide it effortlessly when he was pregnant with Nathaniel at this point. But no, unless he really actually tried to hide it through layers of clothes, he looked like he was pregnant. He dreaded imagining how big he’d be by the end of this.
Otherwise, the summer semester of college ended a few weeks ago. Which meant that he’d pretty much shut himself away studying for nearly two weeks straight before the finals. Sure he’d blow off tests in high school but this wasn’t high school and he really wanted to do well and he was pretty confident that he did though the test results haven’t come back yet. He was still talking to Axton, though. Something that Deandre didn’t like.
Zoe even invited Axton over so he could meet Deandre in a non-work setting. It didn’t go so well and during most of the time he was there Zoe just tried to keep himself inbetween them- scared that if he stepped away one of them would attack the other. Not to mention the fact that when Saidey started growling at Axton Zoe didn’t miss the little smirk on Deandre’s face.
Still, Axton was his friend and Deandre was his fiance and he wasn’t planning on changing any of that so they’d just have to get over it and deal with each other.
Fiance. It was still weird to think about that, too. Most of the time Zoe would completely forget about the ring on his finger- it was a simple one, a gold band with three little diamonds embedded into the band so it wouldn’t stick out. Zoe liked it, he had really been expecting something big and flashy coming from Deandre but... he guessed he should have given the older male a bit more credit. Still, very often Zoe would forget it was there and then he’d catch a glimpse of the gold and diamonds and remember that Deandre wasn’t just his boyfriend anymore. He was his fiance- husband-to-be -and not to mention father of the two lives he was carrying inside of him.
It could get a little overwhelming, honestly. Everything was happening so quickly. Zoe was only 19... He’s barely even started college and in a few months he’d be a parent to two. And he’d probably be married before he was 21.
The blonde snapped out of his thoughts, looking up to where Deandre was standing on the other side of the front desk. “I’m on break, if you want to grab some lunch with me,” the brunette stated.
“Sure,” Zoe replied, getting up. This was one of the days where he and Deandre had pretty much the same hours. It’s been happening a lot more now that Zoe wasn’t in college and could take more hours. Which meant that his cadillac really wasn’t getting a lot of use. Not that Zoe really minded- he didn’t actually love to drive that much.
Either way, he was quiet as they went out for lunch- something that didn’t get past Deandre, apparently.
“Are you okay?” he asked at one point. “You’re being really quiet...” he pointed out.
“Yeah, fine,” Zoe replied.
The older male had to bite his lip so he wouldn’t snap at Zoe. It wouldn’t help, he tried to remind himself. But he couldn’t stand how closed off Zoe always was. It was either he wouldn’t tell him anything or when he did he would always snap and be sarcastic and then immediately shut himself off so Deandre couldn’t help. “Well... if there’s anything wrong...” he started calmly, “tell me, alright?”
The blonde nodded a few times. “Nothing’s wrong, De,” he stated.
And somehow that’s exactly what he expected.
Theresa had been incredibly surprised when they showed up- of course Andrea and Nealson expected that, they hadn’t told her a thing about having another child yet. Andrea explained to her why they didn’t say anything before, telling her that they were having a girl this time and decided to name her Sophia. And of course Theresa took a good amount of time holding and fawning over Nathaniel. Her two older sons were at school at the moment, but soon Wilson showed up with Adam.
They continued casually talking for a while, Theresa giving her brother updates about all the wedding plans and when they’re hoping for it to be. When the conversation turned more serious and the subject of their mother came up- Wilson and Nealson just sort of excused themselves to let them talk and took up subjects of their own, mostly talking about fatherhood.
Overall, things went well, and Theresa let Andrea know that if he wanted her with him when he saw their mother then he just had to call and ask. Which Andrea did appreciate. They stayed for dinner so they could see Max and Jacob aswell, and soon after left mostly because Nathaniel was getting really fussy and tired.
Once they got home and settled, though, Nealson couldn’t help but smile over at Andrea. “I think it’s really great, y’know... That you’re talking to your mom again,” the redhead stated, sitting next to Andrea on the bed and wrapping an arm around his shoulders. “I really hope things work out,” he said sincerely, kissing his husband’s cheek softly.
“Yeah... Me, too,” Andrea smiled a little bit, still just trying to get Nathaniel to settle down and sleep. He could tell that Nate was tired, but it seemed as though he was quite frustrated with it which wasn’t really productive when trying to sleep. But he’d been fed and he was in a fresh diaper and bundled up warmly and it was getting to the point where Andrea was thinking of just putting him down and letting him fuss until he finally just fell asleep. “It’d be nice if she can come and see them sometime,” the brunette said. He really hoped that she’d be able to stay on track this time... It would be nice for Nathaniel and Sophia to know their grandmother.
They’d get there, though... And Andrea took the first step towards it after so many years and so far things seemed good.
That whole day, Deandre was sort of fighting with himself... Trying to force an answer out of Zoe would be impossible, but Deandre could tell when something was wrong with him and he hated it that Zoe just wouldn’t open up to him. He’d figure by now Zoe would be better about it. They were living together, having children, and engaged. What else had to happen?
It just couldn’t keep happening, Zoe had to start telling him things and opening up to him if they were going to work out together and be good parents. A relationship just couldn’t work if one of them kept hiding and locking away their feelings. Without that sort of intimacy... they’d just fall apart. It was the last thing that Deandre wanted and he’s been trying to be patient with Zoe and just do whatever he wanted... but it was frustrating and he was running out of ideas.
So after getting back home and taking Saidey outside for a few minutes, the brunette walked in, finding Zoe in the kitchen getting his usual after-work snack- pretty much a simple ham sandwich with some fruit on the side that the usually split with Deandre. The older male walked over to him while he was spreading some mayonnaise on the piece of bread that didn’t have ham and tomato on it.
“So um... Are you ever going to talk to me?” Deandre asked, deciding to be direct now. Since sitting back and waiting hasn’t really been working.
“Huh?” the blonde asked, pausing to look back at the other male.
“There’s obviously something wrong. We’ve been together long enough that I can tell if something’s bothering you, Zoe,” Deandre stated firmly.
“Well... Good for you,” the teen huffed, putting the mayonnaise covered piece of bread on top of the rest of the sandwich and grabbing a knife to cut it in half.
“Zoe...” Deandre sighed heavily. “Talk to me,” he reached over, laying a hand over Zoe’s shoulder and pulling to get him to turn around. Instantly letting go when he heard Zoe hissing and cursing in pain.
“Oh great, now there’s something fuckin’ wrong- I had a freaking sharp knife in my hand! Couldn’t you have at least waited until I was done cutting the damned sandwich?” the blonde spun around, holding his hand up and looking down at his finger to try and gauge the damage, but the blood smeared around the cut wasn’t helping much- all he really knew was that it was bleeding, quite bad for a finger, and it hurt like hell.
“I... I’m sorry... I-I didn’t,” Deandre frowned, leaning over to grab some paper toweling and taking Zoe’s hand, wrapping his finger with it and pressing to try and get the bleeding to stop. “Sorry,” he muttered again when Zoe hissed and winced. “I didn’t see you grab the knife... I’m sorry,” the brunette said again. “I just... would really wish you’d talk to me when there’s something wrong.”
“The only thing wrong is that I’m going to bleed to death through my finger.”
“No you’re not,” Deandre rolled his eyes at the teen, carefully peeling back the paper toweling to look at how bad the cut was. “Doesn’t even look like you’ll need stitches. Go ahead and wash it... I’ll go and get a bandaid to put on it,” the brunette said, walking off to the bathroom to grab that and probably some antibiotic ointment as well, just to be sure it wouldn’t get infected
He came back as Zoe was patting the cut dry, he fixed up his finger... and that was the end of their discussion.
However, that night after they got into bed, laying on their respective sides- not speaking and not touching like usual after an argument... but both still there just for the comfort and feeling of safety, neither of them were asleep and it didn’t feel like they’d be getting a lot of sleep either. Zoe finally rolled over and slid close to Deandre.
“Everything’s just... really overwhelming right now...” he uttered softly, making Deandre turn to face him, staying silent but obviously listening. “Most people my age aren’t having kids and getting married. And... I don’t know... Just thinking that I’m going to have two kids and be married before I’m even legal to drink... With all of this and college and...” Zoe sighed, looking over at the older male and hoping that he’d understand. The part that was there but never said- the reason why Saidey was probably curled up not very happily just outside the door instead of laying on the bed with them... The reason for all of the scars all over his body and trying to get over it.
The older male reached over and pulled Zoe close to him, holding him tight and kissing the top of his head. “Call in to work tomorrow,” he said. “We’re gonna have a nice stress free day out, alright? It’s been too long since we’ve been on an actual date, anyways.”
The blonde looked up at his fiance, and for once in a while gave him a genuine smile. “That sounds nice,” he commented before just relaxing and soon falling asleep in Deandre’s arms.