Chapter 9: Angelique's Affection

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When the couple opened the door to the nursery, they tentatively approached the wooden crib and stood on opposite sides of it. Simon and Angelique watched the little boy kick his legs and move his hands up to his face rubbing at his closed eyes.

The therapist couple differed in their expectations for how Jacob would react when he opened his eyes. While Simon thought that Jacob might get verbally abusive, Angelique speculated he would initially have an internalized emotional reaction. However, they were both certain that the 22-year-old inside of that toddler's body was going to be a force to be reckoned with the moment he realized the procedure had been successful.

But, neither of them could have predicted the events that unfolded next. To the astonishment of his caretakers, the toddler opened his eyes and let out a few whimpers before breaking out into a heart-stopping wail.

Without any hesitation, Angelique reached into the crib and took the little boy into her arms. She bounced him a few times hoping to calm him down, while Simon stood still, momentarily stunned into silence.

Watching Angelique try to soothe the crying child, Simon reflected on the little boy's response. He knew Jacob's reaction was not anything close to the behavior they were told to expect. Anxious, his immediate questions echoed in his mind. Is this a complication? What went wrong? Will he permanently remain this way?

The only thing he knew for certain is that they had to call Mr. Hammond right away as he would be the only one who could advise them on what to do next. Before he could finish gathering the thoughts and observations he'd need to describe to Mr. Hammond, Angelique tapped on his arm.

"Simon, did you hear me?"

He focused his eyes on her, taking in her attentive expression. "No, I didn't. I'm sorry. What did you say?"

She rocked the screaming child. "Could you get him a bottle from the fridge? I made one earlier. It should be in the door."

"Oh, okay."

Seeing that her husband was a little dazed by the recent development, she added. "Don't forget to use the bottle warmer on the counter."

Angelique placed her free hand on the boy's head that was nestled into her shoulder. Swaying gently, she cooed softly to him, "It's okay."

After a few moments, his loud wails dwindled into quiet sobs. The veteran babysitter expected that his throat must have been rather parched since he hadn't drunk any liquids in days.

She saw Simon re-enter the nursery with the bottle in his hand and his cell phone pressed against his ear. He handed her the warmed bottle and immediately left the nursery to continue his phone call.

With the bottle in her hand, Angelique sat in the rocking chair and propped the little boy's head up against her arm. It took her a few tries to get the rubber teat into the boy's mouth, but once he got a taste of the milk, his instincts took over. For a short while, the only sound that could be heard in the nursery was the little boy eagerly suckling the milk from the bottle.

****

When Simon made it to the kitchen, he retrieved the bottle from the fridge and turned on the bottle warmer. He reached into his pocket for his cellphone and dialed the number for Mr. Hammond's office phone. The phone rang a few times before it was answered.

"Hello. This is Mr. Hammond speaking."

"Mr. Hammond, this is Simon from yesterday."

"Gotcha. Is everything alright?"

As soon as the light on the bottle warmer disappeared, he grabbed the bottle and made his way upstairs. "Well, we aren't sure. Jacob just woke up, but he...well, he isn't Jacob."

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