bonus chapter #1

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Author's Note: Hey, guys! I've been sitting on these extras forever and I decided to finally post them. They contain major spoilers for Oneitis, so if you're following that and don't want it ruined - stop here. If not, enjoy.


Ryan

Please be positive. Please be positive. Please be positive.

Squinting, I held it up to the vanity light attached to the mirror. No luck. But the dark navy walls could be throwing off the light, I reasoned. I held it up to the power room window for natural light-- even though it was now dusk. Blank. I tried different angles, tilting it to one side, and then the other. Nothing but a an empty white space.

I tried to convince myself I saw a second pink line. But I didn't. Again. I guess those cramps that I'd been feeling really were PMS and not some kind of implantation like I'd been hoping.

The front door opened and then slam shut as Ethan arrived home. I knew I should go greet him, but I didn't want him to see the tears in my eyes or disappointment in my face. So instead, my feet stayed glued to the floor while my hopes plummeted past.

Every month, it was the same story. Any possible symptom or out of the ordinary twinge spawned hope within me that this month would be different. This month would be it. This month... I'd be pregnant. And then my hopes were crushed every single time.

Don't stress, everyone said. Be patient, everyone said. It can take a few months, everyone said. We were closing in on a year of trying. My stress was now through the roof and patience had run out.

At first, we chalked it up to Ethan's erratic schedule. It's hard to time things perfectly when your husband is traveling all the time for work. And so, we had gone from 'throwing caution to the wind and seeing what happens' right after the wedding, to 'actively trying', to 'impatiently trying', to where we were at now, which was some form of hell consisting of ovulation kits, sex on demand, obsessive record keeping.

Even when the timing had worked out perfectly according to the data, something else didn't. I didn't know what, yet, but I hoped to find out soon. Our first appointment with a fertility specialist was next week.

Ethan was, of course, apprehensive about the appointment in the way that men tend to be when they believe their manhood is being threatened. Although he wouldn't admit it, I could tell that he was worried that our issues stemmed from him. I tried to tell him it could be a number of things, many of which could be easy to fix, but he didn't seem convinced.

The buzzer rang— two long, two short. I scrambled to throw the pregnancy test in the guest bathroom trash quickly, hiding it under a bunch of crumpled toilet paper. Smoothing my hair in the mirror, I plastered on a smile and went out into the foyer to get the door.

I opened the door without checking the peephole, already knowing who our visitors would be. In toddled Zane, followed by a prancing Sloane and finally, a tired-looking Isabelle and Axel.

"Hey, guys!" I leaned in to hug each of them. Kneeling down to Stone and Zane's level, I added, "Are you ready for a super fun weekend with auntie and uncle?"

"Yeah!" Sloane and Zane said in unison. They were the cutest godchildren a person could ask for. Even if I was a teeny, tiny bit biased.

"Good. Because we have tons of fun stuff planned for you. In fact, I have a surprise waiting in the living room. See if you can go find it."

"I love surprises," Sloane said. "I hope it's a doll." The kids ran off to play out of earshot and to hunt for the present I'd planted for them.

"You sure you're ready for this?" Isabelle asked, widening her eyes and making her 'yikes' face. "Zane is in a biting phase and Sloane is a study in how the terrible twos don't actually end at two."

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