The Naz & Roz Chronicles: Chapter Eighteen
Hey, loves. This is the last chapter for the blog series this month, so do enjoy. I still have no clue when it’ll finish, haha.
Want to catch up?
Naz and Roz Blog Series
Onto the chapter.
“I can’t wait to meet you, little man.”
Roz smiled, the sleepiness drifting away from her mind as she listened to Naz murmur to their unborn child. She swore the baby could hear his father perfectly fine, too, and knew it was his dad talking to him because he suddenly became far more active than he usually was first thing in the morning.
The graze of his warm, calloused fingertips drifting across the expanse of her stomach had Roz finally opening her eyes. Sunlight spilled in from the bedroom window, making streaks across the gray sheets on their bed. She had the perfect view of Naz in his mostly naked glory, laying sideways on the bed so he could talk to her stomach.
She loved him more.
It just kept growing.
“One more week,” he said to the baby.
“Or more,” she said tiredly.
Naz’s gaze lifted sheepishly over the blankets to meet hers. “Did I wake you up?”
Roz shrugged. “It’s okay. This was a nice thing to see first thing in the morning.”
“More than you know.”
Naz put his palms to Roz’s swell where her over-sized tee had ridden up throughout the night to press a kiss to her skin. Just like that, the unborn baby boy calmed, and she dragged in a calming breath.
Thirty-nine weeks pregnant today.
And it was her baby shower.
“Is Penny awake?” she asked.
Naz hummed under his breath. “Don’t know, haven’t left the bedroom.”
“How long have you been talking to the baby?”
He wouldn’t meet her gaze.
“Not long, like an hour.”
Her heart swelled.
“You are the cutest thing,” she told him.
Naz sighed, and stared at her over the crest of her stomach. “Glad I can amuse you. Now,” he said, pushing up from his elbows so that he could hover over her slightly. He dropped a kiss to her lips, soft, slow, and teasing, before murmuring, “… what can I do for you, hmm?”
“What does that mean?”
“You seem to think I’m cute … which means I need to remind you what I really am.”
Oh, she didn’t need to be reminded.
She knew very well.
Roz wasn’t about to refuse his suggestion, though.
Grinning, she said, “You better hurry up and show me before I forget, Naz.”
Roz ignored the slight twinge in her back, more caught up in the flying confetti that filled the room from confetti cannons. Blue, silver, and gold confetti danced high in the air before it covered the floor. The shouts from her family, and Naz’s, had her smiling wider than ever as the large blue and white cake was pushed in from the entryway of the mansion’s ballroom. It was five layers high, and amazing.
“Oh, wow,” Roz said.
Her mother laughed at her side. “Isn’t it beautiful?”
“Well, we never do things half way.”
That was fact.
“Okay,” Catherine called out, “cake first, gifts second!”
Roz was only half listening. “Where’s Penny?”
Katya peered around. “I don’t know. I can send Naz out to look for her, if you want.”
“Maybe she needed a breather,” Roz said, “there’s a lot of people here tonight.”
Sometimes, that happened with Penny.
Roz didn’t fault her for it.
“If you’re sure,” Katya said.
“Yeah, let’s cut the cake.”
Naz was already there, knife in hand and a big smile firmly in place. Not that it was shocking—his sweet tooth was widely known.
“How big of a piece do you want, hmm?” he asked her. “You get the first one.”
Roz’s smile slipped when that twinge came back in her back. Naz didn’t miss it.
“You all right?”
She waved it off. “Long day on my feet.”
This baby shower was way more than she asked for. The pile of presents on the large table nearly reached the ceiling, and that wasn’t an exaggeration.
God knew she was grateful, though.
“Naz will cut your piece,” Catherine said, coming up to press a quick kiss to her son’s temple, “and we will find you a seat to relax for the rest of the party. How’s that?”
“There you are.”
Penny glanced up from where she sat on the back steps of the mansion. After eating the cake, and spending three hours opening gifts—Naz had to step in to help—Roz realized Penny was still nowhere to be seen. So, when she had the chance, she slipped out to go in search for the seventeen-year-old.
She found her.
“Sorry,” Penny said, her grip on the gift box tightening, “I just … so many people wanted to talk to me, I couldn’t get a break.”
Roz smiled before making her way over to sit beside Penny. “You know that’s not a bad thing, right? The fact they make an effort to talk to you, and spend time with you, I mean. It means they care.”
“Still overwhelming, though?”
Penny shrugged. “I’m not good with people, that’s all.”
Roz bumped the girl’s shoulder with her own. “It’ll take time, and they don’t mind waiting.”
Penny was worth it, after all.
“What’s that?” she asked, pointing at the gift box.
“Oh, the baby’s present.”
“Well, you have everything you want. And I wanted to get the baby something special. Not just … clothes or toys. Something important.”
Roz’s heart swelled.
Penny smiled. “Yeah, I mean, it’s not much, but—”
“Whatever it is, it’s perfect.”
Because it came from Penny, and the girl actually cared enough to do something for someone else, but especially Roz. That meant the world to her. All she wanted was for this young woman to find her place in the world, and get healthy. To love life, and find a reason to keep living for it.
The gift was a small thing.
Insignificant to others.
Everything to Roz, though.
“Want to open it?” Penny asked.
Roz sniffed back the tears—stupid hormones—and reached for the box. She carefully untied the silk ribbon on the top, and lifted the lid from the box. There, resting inside white tissue, was a brown teddy bear with a blue ribbon around his neck.
“Press his hand,” Penny said.
Music filtered from the bear.
Soft, and calming.
A song she never heard before.
“Is that yours?”
Penny nodded. “I wrote it for the baby, and had it recorded to go inside the bear. It’s about ten minutes long, so I thought maybe it would help to put him to sleep.”
“Oh, Penny. That’s beautiful.”
So much more than just beautiful, really.
“It’s perfect,” Roz told her.
“You really like it? I know it’s not something like what they gave you or—”
Before the girl could continue, Roz leaned over and took Penny into her embrace. She hugged the girl until Penny hugged back.
“It is perfect,” Roz said, “the best gift you could have given the baby. Don’t think differently.”
Then, that small twinge of pain returned in Roz’s back, only this time it was sharper, and lasted longer. She stiffened, a small groan leaving her lips before Penny gave her an odd look. She felt the warm rush of wetness between her thighs.
And all Roz could think of was of course.
“What’s wrong?” Penny asked.
“Could you go find Naz for me?”
“My water just broke.”