Outtake: The Newborn (A Dante Outtake) Catrina POV #FreeRead #FilthyMarcellos

Hey, loves!



*waves*

So, I kind of got caught up in work and stuff yesterday, so I forgot to upload the outtake for Friday to the blog yesterday.

But ... it's okay, I have it today. And all the giveaways I posted yesterday can make up for it, and you can find them in my reader's group, The Bella Dushkas, and on my Facebook fanpage. Lots of paperbacks (all signed) being given away.

Now, onto the outtake.

This was picked from the Outtake Requests Form (find it HERE to drop in your own request) and kind of relates to The Birth Outtake we seen with Dante.

However, this is Catrina's POV ... and not quite the birth.

Enjoy.

***

The Newborn
A Dante Outtake
Catrina POV

Catrina Marcello had never been more terrified of anything in her life than the moment when she needed to leave the hospital after her daughter's birth. She had come to learn several things in her cozy, comfortable stay in the Labor and Delivery ward with the nurses close by.
One, she didn't know fucking anything about babies.
Nothing.
Two, having to do all of this alone—take care of a newborn, and keep the baby alive—was going to be everything but easy.
Her birth and hospital stay had been rather easy, all things considered. No interventions needed, and nothing to be concerned about. The pain had been terrible, as she expected it to be, but it wasn't anything she couldn't handle when it came right down to it.
Honestly, she had been so excited to meet her baby girl—this beautiful creature she had only gotten glimpses of during ultrasounds, and listened to her heartbeat week after week—that the pain became a distant memory to Catrina the moment little Catherine was put into her arms.
Nothing mattered after that.
Nothing ever would.
Oh, she loved her daughter instantly. Completely and entirely. She fell in love once—on sight—with the boy her sister birthed, who had subsequently became Catrina's son. And then she fell in love a second time with her husband—a man she had never thought she would find for herself.
So, yes, she knew love. She knew how powerful it could be, and how instantly life-changing it was when it came along to strike her back to her knees, and remind her why faith was good, God was real, and life was beautiful.
She had loved Catherine before she was ever even born. But then she was born, and in a blink, it all changed for Catrina again. In a single breath, her life and heart was upended all over again by nothing more than love.
A love so fierce, uncontainable, and unbelievable that Catrina barely even understood how to handle it. Her heart felt too full—too big. How was it supposed to handle all of this? How could she feel all of this?
But she did.
So, she let it reign.
And then as quickly as that amazing feeling had come, it was replaced slowly over the following few days with a deep-seated fear and insecurity that Catrina just couldn't seem to shake no matter how hard she tried. She was not the kind of woman to feel like the lesser—to find herself put down by silly things like insecurities.
But as she watched the nurses easily bathe, change, and feed Catherine while the very actions felt so foreign and strange to Catrina when she tried to do it, those ugly monstrous feelings made themselves known time and time again. She could take care of her daughter, of course, but not without being shown how first.
And not without feeling as though she were doing it wrong every single time. She always just assumed during her pregnancy that the natural maternal instincts would kick in for her, and she would know what to do. She would already know how to take care of her child, and how to keep this precious little girl alive.
After all, she had a son, now. A toddler, sure, but he was still practically a baby, wasn't he? Did he need similar things to Catherine?
Catrina figured so.
She was wrong.
A newborn was not the same at all.
And that just created a bigger, and more awful, feeling for Catrina.
Those doubts grew.
They were burrowed into her heart now.
Could she even be a mother?
Was she supposed to be one?
“Cat?”
Catrina glanced up at Dante's call of her name. Sitting in the hospital issued wheelchair—as she was not allowed to leave the hospital walking due to their policies—she kept a firm grip on the swaddled bundle of pink in her arms.
Catherine's green eyes—like her father's—were opened, and staring up at her mother. An innocent stare, yet still seemingly mesmerized all the same, too. It made Cat's heart hurt a bit. This beautiful little thing was depending on her. Catherine already looked for her. She needed her mother, and very little else.
So why did Catrina feel like a fraud?
“You okay?” Dante asked.
Catrina offered her husband a smile, and nodded. “Yeah.”
It wasn't entirely the truth. She didn't know what she was. Dante was a little too busy stroking his palm over the top of Catherine's mop of dark hair to notice Catrina's off tone. “Car is all pulled up and ready whenever you are, bella.”
That did make her smile. Even in sweats, and an oversized sweater, no makeup, her hair in a messy bun, and probably looking like she was still a few months pregnant, he called her beautiful.
And she knew he meant it.
“I'm ready,” she said.
She wasn't.
Dante scooped the baby up anyway to move Catherine into her car seat in the backseat. Catrina finally got up out of her wheelchair, and moved further away from the hospital. Further away from the safety it provided, and the comfort it had allowed. Further away from where she was just starting to learn how to be a mother to a newborn, and closer to something else entirely.
Insecurities.
Wariness.
Fear.

***

“Cat?”
At the slightest whisper of Dante's voice, little Catherine's tiny limbs spasmed, and her eyelids fluttered. It was the threat of the baby possibly waking up after Cat had just spent two hours to get her to finally go to sleep that sent her hissing at her husband.
“Shut up!”
So, maybe that was a bad idea.
Instantly, Catherine's eyes popped open, and the wailing started. Nothing was getting this child to sleep well, or rather, nothing that Cat did was getting Catherine to do anything well. She failed at breastfeeding, the baby had gone through four different types of bottles to no avail, and little else seemed to make the girl happy.
One week after leaving the hospital, and Catrina was still just as lost as the day she had walked out of it. Fucking wonderful.
“Sorry,” Dante murmured. “Didn't mean to wake her up.”
It wasn't even him.
It was Cat.
But he took the blame because he was wonderful like that, while she was fucking awful.
Dante quickly crossed the living room, and scooped baby Catherine out of her wicker Moses basket. All it took was a few whispered hums from him, his arms rocking her to and fro, and the baby girl was back to sleep like she had never even been awake to begin with.
“Why is that so easy for you?” Catrina asked.
Dante passed her a look that she couldn't decipher. “Pardon?”
“The baby—everything is easy for you with her. She'll sleep for you, and eat for you. She doesn't cry for you, and when she does, you soothe her like it's nothing. I try everything you do, and everything everybody else does, and she just ... it doesn't take. It's like I don't fucking know how to take care of her or something.”
Dante just stared.
Catrina swallowed hard, and glanced down at her clenched hands mumbling, “I don't know.”
She had never felt so entirely out of place with something in her life before. Never so entirely useless at the one thing she should be good at. This was her baby. She made her, and birthed her. And she didn't even seem to know how to keep her alive, for Christ's sake.
“Cat,” Dante said softly, “why don't you go relax for a minute. Lucian called to let me know he came to pick up Michel earlier, so I know he's not going to be back for the night. And I'm home now, so I've got Catherine. Just ... go have one of your salt baths, and take five minutes to breathe.”
“I—”
Go.”
His tone offered no room for argument. Usually, that would be the cue for Catrina to stand up, and do exactly that. Their entire relationship was built on the fact he loved her because she was a challenging woman who liked to challenge him.
They wouldn't be them, otherwise.
And still, she hesitated.
Still, she was too exhausted for even that.
So, she didn't.
She just did what he said.

***

Catrina came out of the bath to find her house was ... strangely quiet. She knew it was just about the time Catherine would need to feed, and so, the baby's cries should have been filling up the house until she finally got a bottle.
And even then, she still cried sometimes.
What a strange thing ...
“Oh, you're out, Cat.”
Catrina tightened her silk robe a little more at her waist at the sound of her mother-in-law's cheery voice. Leaning out of the nursery, Cecelia wore her usual sweet smile.
“Dante didn't say you were coming over,” Cat said.
Cecelia shrugged. “He called me to come over a little while ago, actually.”
Oh.
“Why?”
“Because he thought ... well, he thought maybe I could help,” Cecelia said.
Catrina's throat tightened a little bit, and her chest ached. She had the strangest urge to be pissed at her husband, and yet grateful at the same time. She wanted to refuse and deny any help or the idea that she needed it because of foolish pride, and the need to make everyone believe she was entirely in control of every single aspect of her life.
And yet, she couldn't do that at all.
“I thought this would be easy,” Catrina said quietly. “Not ... taking care of a baby, but just ... I don't know.”
“I do,” Cecelia said, stepping out of the nursery and closing the door behind her. “Suddenly, you get this baby shoved into your arms, and the first thing you think is, Oh, I love them. And then the second thing is, What the hell am I supposed to do?”
Cat laughed. “Even you?”
“We all have moments when we feel out of our element, Cat. There's nothing wrong with you, either, just because you're feeling that way. Not every woman is born knowing how to be a mother, and that's okay, too. Some have to learn it, but as long as you love your baby with all of your heart, then the rest will work itself out.”
“You think?”
Cecelia smiled in that way of hers again. “Oh, I know. And since you have me here, I would love to show you all the things that helped me with fussy little Dante. Did he ever tell you about the night he was born?”
“No. What happened?”
“He cried loud enough to keep his entire wing up for hours on end. They released me early just to get him out of the hospital, I swear. And he kept crying, and crying. I swore he only stopped crying when Antony held him during that first week, or if I swaddled him tight enough that he didn't know if he was still in the womb, or out in the world.”
“Huh,” Cat said.
Cecelia nodded. “But it passed. All of this passes, Catrina. Eventually.”
“I do, though.”
“What is that?”
“Love her entirely,” Catrina said. “I just wish I didn't feel so fucking bad at it.”
That is the very last thing you are bad at, I promise you.” Cecelia waved a finger. “And that feeling? Yeah, that will pass, too.”
Her mother-in-law was right.
Cat just needed someone else to tell her it.
Sometimes, that was just how life worked.


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