A/N: So sorry for the delay. Been an exceedingly busy few months. That and my will/motivation to write have been pretty sad. I’ve actually had this update written since my trip in January, I just couldn’t seem to get my butt moving to get it up. Well, it’s done and I hope you enjoy. Going to try to keep a semi-regular schedule in updating. Especially since I haven’t played my dynasty because I’m really far in game and hope to get caught up before I continue playing. We’ll see how that goes 😄 Anyway, without further ado, here ya go!
Rogelio ran a hand over Azura’s back as they cuddled on the couch. Then he leaned over to kiss her temple. “How’s your latest manuscript coming along?” he asked his wife.
“Oh,” she said nonchalantly, “It’s coming along alright. I uh- got an extension actually.”
“Really? I thought your editor was really adamant that you get it done by the deadline.”
“She was,” Azura murmured, “but uh… well, I convinced her otherwise.”
Rogelio frowned. “Is everything ok, my love?”
Azura smiled wide. “Everything is wonderful. It’s better than perfect, actually,” she murmured. She shifted a bit, facing him more fully. “Rog… the reason she moved my deadline is because I’ll be on maternity leave by then. I’m pregnant! You’re going to be a father!”
He froze and just looked at her, dumbfounded. Then a slow, almost smug smile spread across his face.
He pulled her close for a long, slow kiss, his grip around her gentle but tight.
Then he just rested his forehead against hers. “A baby… I-I can’t… how long have you known?”
“Not that long, I swear. A couple days. I-I was actually trying to keep it quiet. I only told my editor because she wouldn’t stop badgering me about this latest manuscript.” She blushed and looked sheepish. “I’m afraid I snapped a bit and told her ‘that deadline will just have to pass! This baby is more important!’ I’m sorry, my love!”
Rogelio chuckled. “That’s quite alright, my love.” He held her close. He couldn’t stop grinning. A baby! He was going to be a father. The idea had always been an abstract thought. Sure, he’d thought about having a family, especially when Azura had come along, but now it was going to be reality!
Azura let out a soft sigh and leaned her head against his, their arms entwined around one another.
After a moment, Azura grinned. “I need to go and get the cake ready! I can’t believe it, but Cassie and Alex’s birthday is today! Our Miss Cassie is going to be 18 and Alex will be taking that first step into teenager-dom.”
“Oh that’s right!” Rogelio exclaimed. “Do you need any help?” He was suddenly anxious for his wife. Should she be doing things while pregnant?
Azura laughed. “Don’t worry, Rog. I’m fully capable of baking a cake without any help.” She kissed him, then stood up and went out to the kitchen so she could bake the kids’ cake. Before long, it was in the oven.
They’d decided it was going to be a private birthday party, just the household. The kids were perfectly happy with that arrangement. Azura set the beautiful chocolate cake with a white, decadent butter-cream frosting down on the little kitchen table. She set the candles out just as Cassie came down the stairs. She hadn’t even bothered to change out of her pj’s. When Azura and Rogelio picked on her a bit, she just grinned and said, “Well, it is my birthday, right?”
They’d laughed and agreed. When she saw the cake, Cassie couldn’t help but gush over it. “Oh Azura, it’s beautiful!”
Azura smiled and nodded her head. She lit the candles. “Well, c’mon then birthday girl! Blow them out!”
Cassie approached the cake. She pulled in a deep breath, then let it out, her family cheering.
With a spin and a flourish, Cassandra Goth became a young adult.
Then it was Alex’s turn. Azura lit another batch of candles and the young boy stepped up to the cake, took a deep breath, then blew out his candles.
With a spin and an explosion of sparkles, Alex was a teenager.
After Alex ran to the mirror and the dresser to fix things, he and his sister gave each other a hug, then took a selfie. Cassie laughed at the look on her brother’s face. “Really, Alex? What kinda face is that?”
“Mine,” he replied with a snicker.
Everyone sat down for a bit of cake. As they sat there, everyone noticed the way that Rogelio couldn’t stop smiling or the way he kept looking at Azura. “Ok, what’s going on?” Alex demanded.
“I’m pregnant!” Azura blurted out.
Silence descended for a moment, before everyone began to talk at once. There were tears from Bella and Cassie, and lots of back slaps from Alex and Mortimer to Rogelio and everyone went around hugging one another, but especially Azura. It was a day for celebrations. By the time everyone got to bed, they were stuffed with cake and everyone was looking forward to the arrival of the newest member of the family.
The next few months passed swiftly for most of them, though as Azura’s pregnancy progressed, she thought things could go a bit faster. Rather take her maternity leave early, she chose to work right up until she gave birth. Of course, she came home absolutely exhausted most nights.
Rogelio always greeted her with a kiss and a special drink he’d prepared for her. It was full of vitamins and provided a much needed pick-me-up for her.
“How’s Azura feeling?” Mortimer asked Rogelio one day while the two ate a late lunch. The two had become very good friends and were often seen off fishing together. They even had a bit of a friendly competition going on.
“Alright, I think, for the most part, but she can’t seem to shake the nausea. It actually wasn’t as bad in the beginning as it is now,” Rogelio told him, sighing. He felt sorry for his wife. Just that morning, he could hear her in the bathroom. She’d looked miserable.
Mortimer nodded. “With both kids, Bella spent a lot of time near a toilette. The only thing that seemed to settle her stomach was buttered toast. She still can’t eat it to this day because of that,” he said, wincing.
“Well, hopefully it won’t be that bad with Azura,” Rogelio murmured. He didn’t enjoy seeing his wife in such discomfort.
As she came waddling out to the kitchen, he beamed at her and stood up. “There’s my beautiful Mama. Are you feeling better?” He immediately put a hand to her stomach as she smiled at him.
“Much better, thank you, love.” She smiled at him. It was so cute to watch him speak to her swollen stomach. He got such a look of awe over his face. He kissed her cheek and went off to take care of a few things around the house. As he did that, Azura began to clean up the kitchen.
Cassie came in. “Hey! Let me do that!” she exclaimed, taking the dirty dishes from Azura’s hands without letting her give no for an answer. “You just sit, relax.”
Azura pursed her lips. “I’m pregnant, not an invalid!” she protested.
Cassie grinned at her unrepentantly. “No, you’re right on that. Enjoy it while it lasts. I can see you’re hurting. So sit, just relax, ok?”
Azura sighed and did as the younger girl said. Cassie joined her, reaching across and grabbing her hand. “We only baby you because we care.”
As the weeks progressed, Azura got bigger and bigger yet. “I feel like a whale,” she’d grumble to her husband. Rogelio would promptly bend down to pat her stomach, assuring their child that mommy didn’t mean it, that mommy was just impatient to see their little one.
It never failed to bring a smile to Azura’s face, but as she sat there with Bella one morning, she couldn’t help but heave a sigh. “I can’t wait for this to be over. I-I just want to hold our baby…”
Bella reached across the table and took her friend’s hand. “I know, sweetie. I know. It’ll be here before you know it.” She grinned, though there was understanding in her eyes. “Trust me, soon as you go into labor, you’ll be begging to wait just a bit longer!”
Azura laughed. “Yes, I suppose you’re right.” Bella left her to go and work out in the garden for a little while. Alex sat down with a plate of food.
He smiled. “Heya Aunt ‘Zura. How ya feelin?”
Azura smiled. “I-“ She grabbed at her stomach as a fierce pain seemed to radiate through her. Memories of her mother, of what had happened began to whirl through her mind. She felt like she couldn’t breathe even as contractions began to wrack her body.
“Aunt ‘Zura!? What’s wrong?” Alex demanded, hearing the whimper she let out.
“B-baby!” she whispered, all the color draining from her face.
Alex’s eyes went wide. “Mom!” he shouted. “Dad, Cassie, Uncle Rog!” He went through the gamut of names, trying to get someone- anyone- who know more about these things than him.
But Rog and Mortimer had gone out fishing that morning and were on the other side of the road. Bella was working in her garden and it was impossible to tell where Cassie had got to. “O-ok, Aunt ‘Zura,” he said, pulling in a deep breath, “b-breathe in, breathe out. L-let’s get you upstairs.” Before he lost the nerve, he gently escorted Azura up the stairs by linking his elbow with hers. When she was safely in the nursery, he looked at her again. “I-I’m going to go get Uncle Rog. Y-you gonna be ok?”
She nodded, still breathing in and out. She was trying so hard not to be terrified. Alex nodded and then ran out as fast as his legs could carry him. Without anyone there, Azura let out a short scream. “O-ok little one, here we go,” she whispered.
“Azura! Azura!” Rogelio burst into the room and then froze as Azura let out a short yell of pain. Everything they’d talked about went out of his head at that moment. All the preparations they’d made… all the coaching classes. He remembered nothing as his wife labored in front of him. He could only stare, absolutely frozen.
He shook his head, coming to his senses. He was about to ask if there was anything he could do, anything at all, when Azura threw back her head in a long, loud scream. Then, in a burst of sparkles, his daughter was born.
Welcome to the world Liadan Chroma.