Road To Eden
chapter three

When we got home, there was something between us that hadn’t been there in a while. I couldn’t stop touching her, or holding her close, even if it was just out of hope that I’d feel the miracle of life moving in her once again. I changed for bed, throwing my dirty clothes in the hamper by the bedroom door. I suddenly had an urge to start working on the nursery again – okay, have someone come in and help me work on the nursery again, because if it was left up to me alone… Well, let’s just say it wouldn’t be pretty. I wore a white tee shirt and a simple pair of blue cotton boxers to bed, and Natalie came out in her pajamas. They were a coral color, and they had a satin feel to them; there was lace around the neckline, and around the edges of the short sleeves. I felt something toward her just earlier that day I didn’t think I was capable of feeling for her anymore. She sat down on the bed beside me, and leaned back into my arms. She smiled a little, thinking back to my mother’s kitchen. She seemed to glow, at that moment, in my arms. Her dark hair was spilling beautifully on her shoulders, framing her flawless face. She really was very pretty – quite a beautiful sight, I do have to admit.

“You’re beautiful,” I said softly in her ear. I kissed her neck gently, and then kissed her cheek.

“I can’t believe it. I mean… We felt our baby move, Tay.” She was still in awe. Those two movements had been it, but it was enough. More than enough.

“I know,” I replied softly, smiling a little to myself. I’ll never forget that. Not as long as I live. I nuzzled my face in her neck, and she pulled my arms tighter around her. I just closed my eyes. God help me. What the hell was going on inside my heart? Do I love this young woman or not? “I love you,” I said. That was the first time I’d said it first in a while. Whether or not I knew for sure if I meant it… I guess it was worth chancing it to make her happy. I could feel her smile. She really needed to hear me say that.

“I love you too,” she whispered. I let my arms fall away as she leaned forward and shut off the lamp on her nightstand. She lifted the covers and we crawled beneath them. I held her close, both of us drawing from each other’s warmth. “Tay…?” She whispered. She kissed me softly once and then again a little longer. She lightly traced her finger down my chest. She didn’t have to say anything more; I knew what she was asking. But I was honestly afraid.

“Won’t we hurt the baby?” I asked quietly. That was what I was afraid of. I didn’t want to do anything that was going to harm the child inside of her. She giggled softly.

“I’ve talked to my Mom, and yours, a lot. We won’t hurt the baby,” she said quietly. “I promise.” I reached out – more like my hand had taken on a persona of its own and reached itself out – and undid one of the tiny buttons on the top part of her pajama top, and another, and the third. I slid across the small space, closing the tiny gap between our bodies until my body touched her stomach. I kissed her lips tenderly. Regardless of my fear, I am only a man – barely. I’ve been married for a month, almost two, and I’d barely had sex. Regardless of what could have been going on in my head if the baby hadn’t decided to show off its first real signs of life, and regardless of my reservations about hurting the baby, my body was not going to listen to any rationalization my brain was going to give it. The clothing we were wearing made it to its respective places on the floor, and lost places in the sheets.

When I woke up in the morning she was still in my arms. I didn’t want to get up. I knew I had to go to the mixing studio again, and I was probably going to cause everyone to be late again, and I was probably going to get bitched at for it – but I didn’t care. I wanted to sleep. I was tired. Is that a crime? Besides, if I got up, I knew I would wake Natalie up, and I’d feel really guilty because we didn’t exactly get a lot of sleep. I don’t think I need to explain in explicit vulgarity. I could, but I won’t. I laid there for a long time, quietly, just thinking to myself, or rather not thinking. I was comfortable, and it was peaceful. The sun was filtering in through the blinds on the window, and the curtains were sheer so they didn’t help any in stopping it. As much as I wanted to go back to sleep, the fact of the matter was: I wasn’t. So I carefully slid my arm out from beneath my wife, and slipped quietly out of bed to the master bathroom, located in the far corner of our bedroom.

I stood in the spray of the hot shower for God only knew how long. It was relaxing, although, I don’t really know what exactly I was tense from. I washed my hair, and my body, and got out, proceeded to shave and get dressed. She was still asleep when I was through. I kissed her forehead gently, and crept quietly from the room. I slipped my shoes on downstairs, and made some coffee. I only made the instant stuff; she can’t drink the caffeine anymore, so why make a whole pot? Even though, I could drink the whole pot myself, black. Yeah, I know, black coffee is disgusting to most people. But let’s face the facts: I’m not most people. I wanted to stop by my parents’ house to see my mother before I met my brothers at the studio – I had a couple of things to ask her. I’ve always been close to my mother – I guess she sort of sheltered us, all of us, to a certain point, and she kind of babied me so… Let’s get one thing out in the open. I’ll admit it: Yes, I’m a Mama’s boy. I went running to my Mommy for everything, even when I was young and curious myself how babies were made. It was like that until we were traveling a lot, then I got closer to my Dad for a while. I could, and in some cases still can, talk to him about almost anything. My parents are very trustworthy people. I’ve confided in my parents about my relationships, my brothers, my own personal problems – little bit of depression got me not too long ago. Then again, I’ve always been close enough to my brothers to do the same when I felt like I couldn’t go to my parents. I closed the front door quietly, sunglasses on my face. I shivered slightly in the morning air – July was coming to an end, and the colder mornings were moving in. I got my Santa Fe, turned the key in the ignition, and turned the radio on.

It was still early when I pulled into the driveway. The front door was locked, but I still had my key. I could smell amaretto coffee from the kitchen, and eggs, and blueberry pancakes. That set my stomach growling fiercely, a harsh reminder that I hadn’t eaten breakfast yet.

“Mom?” I called quietly, heading into the kitchen. She turned around when I reached the doorway of the kitchen. Her long blonde hair was pulled back in a ponytail, and she wore a light blue – more of a baby blue – robe over her pajamas.

“Hi honey.” She said to me. “You’re here pretty early. I didn’t even know you were coming, or I would’ve made a little more.”

“Trust me,” I said, looking at the heap of food that was already growing, “there’s enough.” She smiled.

“Something on your mind?” She always read into to me too well. I wasn’t going to tell her everything I was thinking, because that would entail my thoughts on my wedding, and I didn’t care to share those with anyone.

“Well… sort of.” I answered, sitting down. I hadn’t talked to my Mom like this in a while, and it felt… weird, to be honest. “I just had some questions – “

“About Nat’s pregnancy?”

“Something like that.” Here came the hard part: how exactly to ask her what I wanted to know.

“Well?”

“Well last night, we… Natalie… “ God this was hard. “If we were to… If I…” I sounded like an idiot. “If we, um… If we had…”

“Sex?” She finished for me, eyebrows raised – which I knew to be part in amusement. I nodded.

“Would it… hurt the baby at all? I mean, she said she talked to you, and to her mom, but I don’t know for sure and – “

“Honey, it’s not going to hurt the baby.” She replied, a little more sympathetic to the fact I was so embarrassed I could feel my face burning. I knew my cheeks had become a wonderful shade of scarlet.

“It’s just…” I shrugged. “I don’t know. This is so… difficult?” I wasn’t sure if that’s the word I wanted or not, but that’s the one that came out.

“It’s not meant to be easy,” she said, turning over some pancakes. “Pregnancy is hard, Taylor, for her, and for you. This is your first child – it’s a real challenge for the both of you. You’re both so young –“ She stopped when she knew she was voicing her own thoughts. She was quiet for a moment.

“I didn’t mean it, you know.” I said quietly, avoiding looking at her. “It was an accident.” She didn’t say anything at first, and for a moment I didn’t think she was going to say anything at all.

“I know.” She finally replied. “Fact of the matter is, Taylor, it’s done. You can’t change it. But at least you took responsibility for it.”

“I’m sorry I disappointed you.” I said. I was feeling a little self-pity at the moment. What I was really looking for was for her to tell me that I didn’t disappoint her. Her response was something like that, but not exactly what I wanted. Then again, life isn’t all about what you want.

“You didn’t disappoint me, Taylor,” she said quietly. “Your actions did. Your irresponsibility did. I know how I raised you – how your father and I raised you. I know we raised you to be a good Christian – and you were, for a while.” That stung. “But I guess people change. You are who you are, Taylor. And I’m going to love you no matter what you’ve done, or what you will do.” That was a little touching – I kind of wanted to cry when she said that. I guess I never realized that mothers would always love you no matter what.

“I love you too, Mom.” I said.

“Are you hungry?” She asked, changing the subject, and looking at me. I was going to tell her ‘no’, that I was going to have to get going if I wanted to meet Isaac and Zac on time, but she heard my stomach growl loudly at the mention of food. She smiled. “Eggs or pancakes?”

“Um, both?” She smiled again, and began fixing me a plate.

Mixing at the studio was fine. There was no talk of my marriage, or of Natalie, or of any romance or love life of any kind for that matter. It was just us, the same three brothers from Tulsa, Oklahoma that started this thing back in 1997. It was a productive day, and relatively fun. Zac had to be home by five to play with Mackenzie like he promised, and Ike was just anxious to get out of the studio and go home. He still lived with my parents, but kept pretty much to himself, living his own life. He and Zac had separate rooms – actually, the only people in that household who still shared rooms were my parents, and Jessie and Avie.

I knew when we were through at the studio that I really didn’t want to go home just yet. There was a Barnes and Noble nearby, and that was where I headed first. I still haven’t decided if it was one of the worst or the best decisions of my life. I know one thing for sure, it definitely changed my life.

I ordered an Irish Crème cappuccino, and grabbed a book by Danielle Steel. I know what everyone would think about that, so I’m not even going to get into it. Besides, it held my interest for about three minutes flat. Then, I turned to Stephen King for some enjoyment. I picked up a copy of The Stand and sat in a comfortable armchair. I made myself comfortable, and read four chapters in an hour, and I was hooked. Something about it was just… intriguing.

“I love that book.” The person speaking had a soft, almost melodic voice, yet throaty, but not deep. It caught my attention far better than the book had. When I looked up from the wordy pages I was met with an extravagant pair of green eyes. She had dark eyelashes that curled up like the girls’ on magazine covers. She had very dark, chocolate hair that draped past her shoulders nearly to her elbows; she had a very thin layer of dark bangs – more like a few short wisps of hair – that hung just below her dark eyebrows, which framed her eyes perfectly. Her skin was olive toned – not too dark, and not too light for her hair color; she didn’t look like a vampire, and didn’t look like she “faked and baked” four times a week. Her smile was absolutely radiant.

“You’ve read it?” I replied. She nodded, smiling again.

“I’ve read it three times. It’s my favourite book.” She replied, sitting in the armchair next to mine. “I’m reading it again now.”

“Oh. Well that’s cool.” I smiled a little. “This is the first time I’ve ever read it.”

“It’s amazing.” She said dramatically. “It’s my favourite, beside some of Tolkien’s works.”

“Tolkien?”

“J.R.R Tolkien. The Lord Of The Rings trilogy?” She said, hoping that I would catch on.

“I’ve heard of the books; saw the movie. Never read it though. Are they good – the trilogy, I mean?”

“Good? Oh my God, they’re excellent. I’ve never liked fantasy fiction until I read those books. It’s just such an amazing tale – it’s so surreal, yet, it’s like you’re there through the whole thing, and you’re just experiencing each thing with them.” Her words came out sounding so profound; I realized that I had goose bumps.

“Wow. When I finish this one I think I’m going to have to read those.” I said. She’d definitely sparked my interest. She seemed so incredibly intelligent just from the way she spoke, that I could only imagine how smart she really was. I stuck out my hand politely. “I’m Taylor.” I said to her. She reached out her hand the same and took mine, gently but firmly, and shook it.

“DeLorean.”

chapter four
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