As the weeks rolled by, it soon became clear that Riley was the one who ran the roost. When he cried, either myself, Niall or mum rushed to his side to see what was wrong with him. When he made strange noises, Niall and I would go into panic mode, convinced something was wrong with him.
Yes. Parenthood had made us paranoid about every little thing. Sleepless nights had made us grumpy about every little thing. Riley Adam Gallagher was the tiny human being with huge lung capacity that our lives revolved around.
And I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
He had learnt to smile by now; a huge cheesy grin that made his entire face light up whenever something pleased him. It didn’t take much; Tommy talking to him about exchange rates was enough to break Riley into a fit of giggles.
“We’re out of formula,” I said to Niall, tipping the last of the powder into one of Riley’s bottles. He gurgled in his dad’s arms, his eyes bright. It was scary how alike they were; Riley’s hair was almost black like Niall’s, his face the same shape. Apparently, the only thing off me had had inherited were the dark eyes and the fondness of food.
“I’ll get some after work,” Niall yawned, taking the bottle from my hand and putting it in Riley’s mouth. He guzzled greedily, his tiny fists rising to meet the sides of the plastic. I had never really thought about babies as sweet; they’d always been a sort of non-entity to me.
But I was absolutely smitten with my son.
Don’t get me wrong; he could be a nightmare in the middle of the night, when he was screaming to be let out of his cot, desperate for a feed. But most of the time he was perfectly content.
“It’s fine,” I sighed, flopping down in the seat next to Niall’s, “I’ll go to the shop; take Riley out in the pram.”
Niall nodded, taking the half finished bottle from Riley and winding him. Since when had he become such a natural at this? It was as though the fairies had taken away my Niall and replaced him with Super Dad.
At least he finally had his cast off; it made going down for bottles during the night much easier and Evie-friendly.
“Evie?” Tommy was standing in the doorway, his hand behind his back, and looking very guilty about something. Oh God, I hope he hadn’t flooded the bathroom again.
“Yeah?” I asked, quirking my eyebrow.
“Can I use your hairdryer?”
I stared at him, trying to work out whether or not he was being legit. He then proceeded to hold up the burnt out, broken handle of my previously functioning hairdryer, his face sheepish.
“Tommy!” I groaned, leaning back in my seat.
“How was I supposed to know that it would set fire to the glue!” he exclaimed, throwing the mangled carcass of my hairdryer at me. “I thought flammable was just a fancy word for flames!”
It was sometimes hard to remember how old Tommy really was. It didn’t matter if he could recite all the stares in North America. It didn’t matter that his math skills were eons better than mine.
But at the end of the day, my wee brother was still just that: wee.
Niall chuckled, stroking Riley’s mop of hair lightly. I sighed, taking the remains of the hairdryer from Tommy and letting it dangle from my fingers. Well, that would never fly again.
“Why did you ask after you’d blown it up?” Niall asked.
Tommy shrugged, starting to move down the hallway.
“Because I wanted to know before I hid it from her…”
I shook my head in disbelief as I listened to Tommy skip back into his bedroom, pulling the door shut. My life had descended into full blown, full scale madness since we’d brought Riley home from Gretna. We had arrived on the doorstep, tired and weary, with the baby in our arms.
And the only thing my mum had said?
“You could have at least told me you’d had the baby! Honestly, Evie; I’m your mother!”
Yeah, well…at least she hadn’t completely flown off the handle like Sian had done. Mind you; she was pretty chuffed to be the Godmother, even though she had moaned about Riley the whole way home, insisting that there was no way in hell she was ever having a child and that Adam could just completely forget about sex all together.
That probably lasted until we reached the service stations at Kinross, when they made a break for the toilets as soon as the car stopped.