Chapter Nineteen

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Stevie had always slept better when someone was asleep beside her, and so when her eyelids naturally fluttered open on that sunny, Saturday morning, she felt refreshed and well-rested. Perhaps even too well-rested for someone with a two month-old baby to take care of…

Had Lily slept through the night for the first time? Stevie smiled to herself proudly at the thought of this new milestone.

“Good morning, sleepy head,” she sang softly, lifting her head off the pillow and squinting against the morning sun.

Stevie swung her legs out of the bed and sat on the edge as she pulled on her silk dressing gown and slipped into her fluffy slippers.

“Mommy can’t believe you slept through the whole night! You must be so hungry, sweet girl,” she rambled in baby-talk. “Lily-bee? Come on baby, it’s time to get u–”

The Moses basket was empty.

Stevie almost screamed, but she seemed to have lost her voice all-together. Her mouth hung open and her eyes were wild as she desperately searched the room for any sign of her baby. In her panicked state, Stevie took off at a run out of the room and down the hallway, growing ever more flustered with every room that she checked that still showed no sign of Lily.

As she flew down the staircase, she suddenly heard a rustling coming from the kitchen. Stevie ran at full speed and crashed through the doorway, out-of-breath and beside herself with fear.

“MY BABY!”

Stevie shrieked in relief and Lindsey, who had been standing on the other side of the kitchen with Lily dozing against his shoulder, jumped violently at the sound.

Still blinded by her frenzy of fear, Stevie ran around the island in the kitchen and drew the baby into her arms, clutching at her protectively.

“Oh! Oh baby girl! Mommy’s here! I thought I’d lost you!” she blathered in distress.

A wave of relief suddenly washed over her as she held the baby in her arms.

“Steph?! Steph, what’s going on? What’s wrong?” Lindsey asked worriedly.

He placed his hand on her shoulder and she shrugged it off, spinning around to face him with daggers in her eyes.

“YOU!” she bellowed furiously. “Don’t you EVERdo that to me again! Do you hear me?!”

“What did I do?!” Lindsey said, dumbfounded.

“I woke up and she wasn’t there, Lindsey! That’s what happened! She has always been there when I wake up! I was so scared something had happened to her!” she cried accusatorily.

“Steph, I was awake and I saw her legs kicking in the basket, then she started to whimper restlessly, so I brought her down here to give her a bottle before she woke you up!” he defended himself.

“I’ve had her all to myself ever since she got here, Lindsey! I’m not used to having someone else around to take care of her,” she began to calm down a little as she saw the innocent expression on his face. “It’s going to take me some time to share her with someone else, Lindsey. I’m all she’s ever had and all she’s ever known…”

“I know Steph, I know,” he comforted understandingly, pulling her into his arms and kissing the top of her head. “And I’m sorry for having taken her without telling you.”

His sincere apology highlighted to her just how melodramatic she must have sounded, and she instantly felt guilty for having shouted at him.

“No Linds, I’m sorry,” she shook her head against his chest. “I shouldn’t have shouted at you – I overreacted.”

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