“Just one last finishing touch…” Lucas lifted the large statue and placed it gently on the dresser. “There. Perfect!”
He stood back, admiring it proudly.
“Uh…” Mel looked down at the hideous piece of “art” in front of her.
For a moment, she was reminded of that art show she and Lucas went to at the museum, way back when they’d first met. It was more than a decade ago, but she still remembered how much they’d giggled at some of the more bizarre pieces in the gallery – but even that stuff had been better than this.
“Okay, honey… Remind me why this… thing is going in our daughter’s bedroom again?”
“It’s tradition, Mel!” Lucas replied defensively. “Ninjapig will be her noble protector.” He continued, smirking. “It’s always been that way.”
Mel rolled her eyes. “I know about your silly ‘tradition’… but I feel like I never got the whole story…”
“Well, we don’t even know the full story…” Lucas laughed. “I’m sure I told you this before! Noah’s 21st birthday?” When Mel just continued staring at him, he sighed softly. “We couldn’t go out ‘cause I was the only one still underage… So we went to Noah and Cam’s place… We all got way too drunk…” He began laughing again, much harder this time.
“And when we woke up the next morning…” Lucas gasped through his giggles. “There was this fugly pig statue on the coffee table… Covered in black paint… Oh man, the paint was still wet too…” He wiped a few tears of laughter from his eyes as he calmed himself. “No one had any idea where it came from… And actually, we never figured out where the paint came from either…”
Melanie could not help but laugh herself. The story did sound vaguely familiar… Lucas must have told her about it when they’d first started dating.
“Okay, I think I remember now…” She said with a smile. “And a few months later, when you guys found out Laura was pregnant…”
“Noah gave it to Sam at the baby shower!” Lucas finished happily. “Yes! Told him ninjapig would protect the baby… And now it’s tradition.”
The statue had ‘protected’ the nurseries of all three of Sam and Laura’s children, and when Zane was born two years ago, Sam had given Noah the statue back to continue on the joke. And now it was finally Lucas’ turn…
It was a ridiculous tradition, sure. But after fearing for so long that he’d never be a father, well… seeing ninjapig sitting on that dresser meant so much more to Lucas than he ever thought it would.
“Okay, okay…” Mel allowed. “I guess the pig can stay.”
“Good.” Lucas smiled and paused for a moment, glancing down at Mel’s stomach.
“Less than two weeks to go…” He said softly. “I can’t believe it.”
“I know.” Melanie replied excitedly. “Think you’re ready for this?” She teased.
“Are you kidding? Do you realize how many times we’ve watched Sam and Noah’s little rugrats over the years?” He smiled confidently. “Piece of cake.”
“I think we’ll do great.” He continued, a bit more serious this time. “What about you though? I mean… do you think we can do this whole ‘parenting’ thing?”
Though he teased, Melanie caught a slight edge of genuine concern in his tone.
“I think,” she smiled, “that as long as we’re in this together, we can do anything.”
“Lucas! Get up!”
Lucas groaned and rolled over wearily, but did not open his eyes. “W-what’s… What’s going on?” He mumbled.
“Aauughhh…” Melanie groaned in pain. “The baby…”
“Stop kicking, babygirl.” He muttered into the pillow. “Let mommy sleep.”
“She’s not kicking! She’s –” Mel’s words were cut-off as she winced in pain once more.
Wait… So… She’s…? Lucas’ eyes snapped open.
“Oh my God!” His stomach was suddenly doing somersaults as he literally leapt from the bed. “But… But I thought you weren’t due until next week!” He cried.
“Well I guess she decided to come early!”
“Oh God. Okay… Um… Okay… Just… Just don’t… Don’t… Don’t panic…”
“I’m not the one panicking!” Mel snapped. “Grab the bag, we gotta go.”
“The hospital bag!” She practically hissed at him. “Ahhh…” Melanie clutched her stomach. “Sorry, sorry…” She apologized. “I just…”
“It’s okay.” Lucas took a deep breath, calming himself slightly. “Let’s go!”
“Didn’t Dr. Gilman say…” Mel paused for a moment, wincing in pain as he nurse pushed her down the hallway in a squeaky wheelchair. “… that he’s on vacation til Saturday?”
Lucas nodded nervously as he walked quickly beside the wheelchair to keep up.
As the nurse got Mel onto the hospital bed, Lucas felt his panic begin to rise yet again. His father was always complaining about how under-staffed the hospital was, and with Mel’s regular doctor out of the state… Who would deliver the baby?
When the doctor finally walked through the door nearly half an hour later, Lucas nearly fainted. “Dad?!”
Mel couldn’t help it – she started giggling, despite all the pain. “Fancy seeing you here.” She said as her father-in-law walked by her.
Damien smiled, and got to work right away.
“When I got a frantic call at 3am asking me to come in to deliver a baby, I had this weird feeling…” He laughed as he peered intently at the monitor in front of him.
“Y-you know what you’re doing, right dad?”
“Are you kidding? Do you know how many babies I’ve delivered in my career?” Damien smiled. “Of course, it’s been years since I’ve worked labor and delivery, but…” He added under his breath.
“It’s fine son, calm down.”
Lucas did his best to do as his father had told him. He took a few deep breaths. Come on, you’ve gotta keep it together. He told himself. For Mel.
He approached his wife nervously, trying his best to smile. “How’re you doing?” He asked.
“I’m okay.” Mel smiled. “Maybe a little scared though.” She admitted.
“Well, you’re doing great…” He replied seriously. “You’ve got this, babe, don’t worry. I love you. ”
The whole thing took much less time than either Mel or Lucas had been expecting.
Guess you were just as anxious to meet us as we were… Lucas thought happily as he laid eyes on his daughter for the first time.
Lucas knew his life would never be the same again. And truthfully, he was terrified. But he was also more excited and overjoyed than he’d ever felt before. Mel was right — as long as they were in this together, they’d be just fine.
His heart burst with happiness as he watched Melanie hold their precious Krystina Lynn in her arms for the first time.
“Mommy and daddy love you so much.” She whispered. “Welcome to the world, babygirl.”