Outtake: Four Queens #CeceJuan
Hey, loves! Sorry this is so late today. It's been a day.
We’re back for the next outtake of the month, and this was one of those pieces for Cece and Juan that I had sketched out for their blog series, but felt would probably be better as just an outtake – mostly because I felt the natural end was where I had it, and anything further didn’t fit the constant narrative of the blog series which had mostly been them finding their way into a stable HEA moment.
This a snapshot after that.
A Cece & Juan Outtake
A streak of muted yellow warmed a streak of the off-white bundle wrapped in soft, off-white muslin. The ray of sunlight peeked through the slate in the hotel room’s blinds. It was early enough that just three weeks ago, Cece wouldn’t have dreamed of rolling over in bed. Now, she was usually up before the sun even thought to say hello.
For good reason.
One she didn’t mind.
“Shhhh,” she said, a soft murmur as much as the sound was musical at the same time. She kept the sway of her body moving side to side as well, something her newborn daughter seemed to like after every single feeding because it helped to soothe little Catherina Cecelia back to sleep. At first, Cece hadn’t really considered breastfeeding beyond the first two weeks, but here they were at three and she hadn’t found a reason to stop yet. Even if it meant she was the one getting up hour after hour in the night to care for her and Juan’s first child—he would if he could, she knew, and as it was, he already did so much.
She struck it lucky that way.
They both did, really.
“Hey,” Cece whispered when Catherina’s dark eyes fluttered open before quickly falling closed all over again. She was nearly there—almost in her sweet dreamland. Cece didn’t have the first clue what a baby might dream about, never mind a newborn like her daughter, but she was fascinated with it all the same. “Mommy loves you, bambina.”
And she did.
More than the girl would ever know.
Mostly, she’d never considered having children. If someone asked did she want them, Cece used to shrug and say sure. But that was as far as her mind ever went down that particular road. Then, a few short months after she married Juan, something was just … different. It’d been two days before what would have been a missed cycle, and yet Cece just knew. She took a test early—wasn’t at all surprised when it showed she was pregnant.
Now that her daughter was here, she couldn’t imagine going back to life where having children and being a mom was something she only considered in passing. Everything changed the moment she found out she was pregnant.
She learned a lot.
One—it was possible to love someone you never met.
Two—this was not easy.
Three—she wouldn’t change it for the world.
The sleepy call had Cece turning away from the window that overlooked the busy Manhattan street below. They were using the penthouse suite in the Waldorf that her grandparents had rented for decades just because they liked to have it on hand in case they or someone else might need to use it. Like Cece and Juan when they came into town for a weekend to visit. This was their first trip to New York after the birth of Catherina.
“Hey,” Cece said.
Juan grinned from the mess of sheets. “Could have woke me up.”
His gaze drifted to the baby.
She’d finally fallen back asleep.
“I have her,” Cece said. “All’s good.”
Besides, she was just starting to get used to this whole little sleep thing. Juan helped by letting her nap in the daytime—soon, though, she would be heading back to work as she’d only taken the month. That was going to be interesting. Her mother made it seem like it was just another thing Cece would figure out, the sae way she did everything else.
We all did it, too, Catherine said.
Cece kept that in mind.
“Everything’s perfect,” she told Juan.
“I got it—no worries.”
Juan smiled sleepy, humming under his breath, “Queens always do.”
Juan didn’t know it, but his words lingered with Cece long into the day. She remembered them while she hung back to show off her daughter to her cousins while her grandmother managed the kitchen, readying to feed their very large family like she did it every single day of her life. And later, she thought about his words while she watched her mother fuss over and herd each family within their large unit, all the kids included, for family portraits because Catherine had managed to get her favorite photographer into town that weekend.
Dinner and a show, really.
Two birds, one stone.
Women got shit done.
That’s what Juan meant.
That’s why his words didn’t leave her.
“One more picture,” the photog called to Catherine from across the room. “Since we’ve got all the ladies here to do it.”
“Which one is that?” her mother asked.
“The four queens—we can do another when Catherina’s old enough to stand but let’s get one of her brand new with her great-grandmother, grandmother, and mother. On the grand staircase, I think.”
Catherine smiled Cece’s way. “What do you think?”
Was there ever really any question?