Who would have guessed that I would settle down so easily into the role of wife and mother? I wouldn’t have. Lincoln, April and I became a cozy family unit. I was grateful that Linc was so good with April. I know she missed having her real father around. Austin called occasionally and spoke to April, but he had made a life for himself in Bridgeport and didn’t seem to want to bring April into it.
Linc was a good substitute dad. He spent as much time with April as any real father would. He taught her how to build a snowman, took her ice skating, and taught her how to play soccer and video games, too.
Of course, Linc and I started talking about having children of our own almost immediately. We agreed that Linc would continue to work full time, and I would reduce my case load if I got pregnant. It didn’t happen right away for us which was sort of unfortunate. However, just before we were planning to see a specialist, I started feeling sick in the morning.
Once we knew for sure that we were pregnant, we let April know that she’d soon have a new cousin to play with.
I worked all the way up until my due date. Linc, who read every baby book he could find, thought I was over-doing it, but I knew I’d be fine. Toward the end of my pregnancy, I did most of my work at home on the computer. I also reduced my work hours and informed my clients I’d be taking at least a month off.
Of course taking care of an infant requires a lot of time and patience. And my beautiful new son, Christopher Fields, seemed to require even more than the books said he would. He was fussy, crying all of the time and keeping us awake. He had colic. Both Linc and I took turns trying to soothe him.
He grew out of the colicky stage, but he still demanded a lot of our attention. I guess he was just used to getting his way. Chris would wake up and bang his crib and scream at the top of his lungs to be let out. He was so different than April had been. She had been a quiet baby and toddler.
Don’t get me wrong. I loved being a mother and I loved my little boy. When he wasn’t crying and screaming, he was really sweet. He liked to be held, read to, played with. I think he just needed to be noticed, which is why he screamed so much. He was only content to be in his walker or playpen if someone else was around. If you left him alone, he’d cry to be let out.
Even though he was a loud little boy, April particularly loved him. She played with him every chance she got. It didn’t seem to bother her when he cried. She was often the first person to cheer him up. April was also the first person to make Chris laugh. He loved his older cousin!
With such a demanding toddler, many people thought Linc and I were crazy to have another baby, but we really wanted to give Chris a little sister or brother. Again, Linc and I tried and tried to have another baby. We didn’t want our children to be so far apart in age that they couldn’t be friends.
Unfortunately, getting pregnant wasn’t easier the second time. It wasn’t until April became a teen that we found out we were expecting again.
Oddly, as hard as it was to conceive, once pregnant, everything was great. The doctors told me I was perfectly healthy and everything was progressing nicely. I again reduced my working hours and informed my clients I’d be taking time off.
This time Linc and I welcomed a daughter into our family, Sarah Fields. When we found out we were having a girl, Linc had been a bit disappointed. He’d wanted another boy. But once Sarah was born, she had Linc wrapped around her finger. That girl could do no wrong in his eyes.
Although Sarah wasn’t colicky like Chris, she wasn’t as quiet or sweet as April had been. Linc speculated that it was my influence.
“Your sister was always calmer than you. Maybe that’s why April was such an angel and our two are little devils!” Linc said to me one night when we were trying to play chess while Chris was stomping around his room in his dino costume and April was trying to soothe Sarah, who’d just woken up from a nap.
“Shut up. I wasn’t that bad!”
“Ha! Your dads tell me stories about your childhood. They said you were overdramatic and rebellious. They warned me that our kids would probably be just as dramatic because you deserved a taste of your own medicine!”
“What about you? What kind of kid were you?” I asked, slightly offended, but knowing that my dads were probably right.
“I was athletic. Whenever I got out of hand, my mom sent me outside to kick a ball or run or something like that. And then she enrolled me in sports.”
“Good,” I said. “We’ll just do that if Chris or Sarah is too rebellious or rambunctious.”
Luckily Chris and Sarah both seemed to have inherited Linc’s athleticism. If Chris wasn’t playing pretend games with his box of costumes or building things with his erector set in his room, he and Linc could be found outside playing soccer or just tossing a ball around.
“Mommy, mommy!” Chris came in one night all excited. “I actually shot a goal that Daddy didn’t catch!”
“Good job, Buddy,” I congratulated him. I looked at Linc who was smiling proudly.
“He totally faked me out,” Linc said, ruffling Chris’ hair.
It seemed like very little time passed but our children were growing up rapidly. Chris had become a Scout and was playing on a youth soccer league. Sarah had learned to walk and talk and was soon going to start school. Even April was growing up! She’d actually attended her first dance at high school and had a boyfriend!
Linc was pretty cool about the boyfriend. His name was Roger Smith-Jones. “Sounds like an alias,” Linc teased April, but we both met the boy and we liked him.
“Have fun at your dance,” Linc said to April as she headed out. “Don’t let Roger get grabby!”
“I already talked to Roger. He knows I have a gun and am licensed to use it.”
“Don’t listen to him,” I told April. I pulled Linc into the house and waved as the two teens got into their rented limo.
“I did a background check on the boy,” I told Linc as the limo drove away. “I’m sure you did, too. He’s clean. His family is good. We have nothing to worry about.”
“Doesn’t mean I can’t act like a concerned parent.”
“I know. Was it fun to show him your service revolver?”
The main reason I wanted to have my kids close in age was that I wanted them to be friends with each other. Chris and Sarah got along great, for the most part. Like April had with him, Chris was always keeping Sarah entertained.
It wasn’t as if Chris and Sarah were best friends and that sometimes she didn’t annoy him, but once she was really old enough, Chris was the perfect big brother. He and Sarah would play together in her room or in his for hours.
Both of them had such great imaginations. They would make elaborate block structures and tell stories about them. Or sometimes they would dress up and act like they were the prince and princess of our little kingdom.
I loved it that they could do these things together. I’d always been an imaginative child, but Lydia wasn’t close enough in age with me to be a part of my fantasy games.
April was wonderful with both kids. She made sure they got to school and home ok. She even played chess with them and taught them how to make snow angels and forts in the winter.
But April now had a boyfriend and a part-time job at the bookstore, so more often than not, Linc and the kids and I spent our time without her. One of my favorite days was during Leisure Day. Linc and I took the kids to the park. April had gone with Roger and some other teens to the beach.
We had a great water balloon fight, boys against girls. Unfortunately Linc is just a better thrower than me. Poor Sarah and I were drenched at the end. Then I made grilled salmon steaks and we waited for the firework show.
During April’s last year of high school and Chris’ first year, my brother-in-law Austin came back into our lives. He had lived in Bridgeport while April was growing up. She’d never seen him, but he wrote and called fairly often. It wasn’t like he’d be a complete stranger.
He was getting ready to retire from dance, though, and I guess he realized what he’d been missing and wanted to meet with his daughter.
“April, it’s your dad,” I handed her the phone once Austin had asked my permission to come to Twinbrook. I had told him it would be April’s decision.
It took some time for him to ask her if she wouldn’t mind if they met, but I wasn’t going to give him an out in this. I was still upset that he’d ignored her, for the most part, all of these years.
“I’m nervous,” April admitted to me after she’d hung up. “He’s my dad, but he’s like a famous dancer and all of that. Maybe he will be upset that I’d never continued with dance after elementary?”
“I wouldn’t worry about it sweetheart. He was a great husband and father before your mom died. He loved you. I know he still does.”
“Do you think we’ll have anything to talk about? Does he like books?”
“You guys always talk easily on the phone. I’m sure it will be fine.”
I was secretly terrified for April, but I shouldn’t have been. Lydia wouldn’t have picked Austin if he’d been a bad person. He and April met at the café and then they went to the movies. Later, he took her to a show at the theatre and to a concert. Slowly, they built a relationship together. By the time her birthday came around, she even invited him to the party. It was the first time that Austin had been back to my house since he’d left.
I was just happy that he’d decided to mend the rift between himself and his daughter. She’d never complained, but I know his being gone had weighed on her. Luckily Linc and I had been there to love and support her.
After graduation, April decided to start work at the local television station instead of going to college. Her boyfriend, Roger, was going to the university. We had feared that she and Roger would move too fast and get married right out of high school. I shouldn’t have let myself get worked up about it, though. April was a practical girl. She’d always been like that. She and Roger exchanged promise rings, but she wanted him to graduate from college before they got married or moved in together.
I should never have had to worry about my children. Both Chris and Sarah found ways to channel any restless energy that they may have inherited from me. Chris and Sarah both liked to paint. Chris had also taken up guitar.
Linc was disappointed that sports weren’t Chris’ only interest, but he was proud of his son anyway. I think we both recognized that Chris had many talents. I couldn’t wait to see what he would accomplish with his life!
Soon after Sarah started school, I had decided to get back into full-time PI work. I updated my website, contacted my clients, and got right back into the swing of things. As my children grew up, my business grew. I figured Bruno was looking down on me and smiling at all of the success I had.
My favorite part of my job was questioning suspects or witnesses. The great thing about not being part of law enforcement was that if I needed to get rough with someone, I could. I may not be as strong or athletic or coordinated as my husband, but I’d learned a few things over the years.
However, I didn’t have to resort to strong-arm tactics that often. Most of the time, my work consisted of snooping in people’s mail or garbage, hacking into computer databases or just plain staking out a location and reporting back on what I’d found out. Maybe that sounds boring to some people, but I really loved my job.
Linc also loved his job at the police station. He had made detective. You’d think that since we were both somewhat related to law enforcement, no criminal would dare come to our house, but that was proven false. I think the dumbest criminal imaginable picked our house to rob.
Linc had been called in to the station that night and had just gotten home. That’s why he was awake when the idiot thief broke in.
“I’m going to investigate,” he whispered to me when we first heard our front door opening.
“I’ll call the cops,” I whispered back.
I was on the phone when I heard Linc tell the criminal to “Stop!” and then I heard the tussle when the criminal refused (like a fool!) to do so.
I came out of our room just as Linc had subdued the thief. I was surprised that she was a woman. At that moment, the officers that I had called arrived on the scene.
“Take this woman downtown, Brett,” Linc ordered the young officer. “Book her and hold her until I can get there to question her.”
“You have the right to remain silent…” the officer read the thief her rights as he cuffed her hands behind her back.
Once the thief was taken away, Linc and I were too revved up to go back to bed…and sleep. The adrenaline of the break in had to be expended somehow.
Little did we know, though, that we’d get a little more than we’d bargained for after that break in.
When I told Linc what I suspected, he was shocked but excited. I, on the other hand, was worried. It wasn’t healthy for women my age to get pregnant! When I’d been pregnant with Chris, Linc was the one who worried, but now it was my turn. I was almost 40. I knew that the risks were greater.
This time I was the one who read every pregnancy book. I even went to the doctor several times a month to have them reassure me that all was well. I didn’t like going to the doctor, however. Something I’d noticed lately was how many more vampires were moving to Twinbrook. Apparently the Twinbrook Memorial Hospital was conducting research into synthetic food supplies for vampires and was also working on a medical cure for what they termed as the “vampire disease”.
Whatever. I didn’t like seeing so many other-worldly types in my small town. I knew my family’s history. Vampires are dangerous, corrupt people. They shouldn’t be trusted.
Although Linc and I were happy to be having another child, I couldn’t help but regret that this new baby wouldn’t have siblings close to his or her age.
Sarah and Chris were so close to each other. They hung out together as friends. They enjoyed many of the same interests. I felt bad that this new baby wouldn’t have that kind of relationship with them.
“Linc,” I worried. “Do you think we should have another baby after this so that this one has a brother or sister to play with?”
Linc leaned down and rubbed my belly. “You worry too much. This baby will have a big brother and sister to take care of him or her. You and I didn’t have close siblings. Everything will work out.”
“But we could…”
“No. You are already worried that you are at risk. You know we can’t have more kids.”
“We could adopt.”
“We could. Maybe we will. Let’s not worry about that until this one is born.”
“I love you.”
Linc gave me a hug and kissed my forehead. “I love you, too. Now waddle over to the couch and sit down. You look like your back hurts. I’ll come and rub it.”
I groaned and did as he asked. My back did hurt.
Just before the baby was born, April dropped a bomb on us.
“I think it’s time I got a place of my own,” she said over breakfast one Saturday.
Linc nearly choked on his food, he was so shocked by her announcement. Me, I had thought that this might be coming. I’d tried to mentally prepare myself.
“I just got a promotion,” April continued. “I found an apartment that’s close to the TV station. I can walk to work.”
“What about Roger”?” I asked. I knew that April still had plans to marry Roger after he graduated.
“Roger wants to move back to Twinbrook once he finishes at the University. The place I found will be good for us at first, but we’ll eventually want a house so we can have kids.”
Hearing this sent Linc into another coughing fit. Sarah, who was sitting next to me, laughed.
“Jeez, dad. Get a grip. You like Roger.”
“Not this moment, I don’t.”
“Oh, Uncle Linc! We aren’t getting married anytime soon. Next year, maybe.”
It was a strange night when I went into labor. The moon was full and I’d felt weird all day. Linc had worked a double shift the night before. He always seemed to work more when the moon was full.
The weather was odd when we were heading to the hospital. The air was tinged a strange bluish-green. I’d never seen anything like it.
The hospital was full of people when we got there. Emergencies were happening all over. A frantic receptionist checked us in and then we were hustled to a birthing room. We only saw the doctor for a few minutes until I was actually ready to push.
“We have 12 women delivering tonight,” one of the nurses said. “It’s a bit hectic.”
Despite my worries, our second daughter, Natasha, was born healthy and easily. We were released right away even though it’s customary to stay overnight.
“We need the room,” the nurse said. “If you are comfortable going home…”
I was. I didn’t like the atmosphere. I was tired and sore, but I wanted the comfort of my own house.
When I put Natasha into her crib, I felt a lot better. I watched her laying there, peacefully sleeping. Little did I know how much she was going to change our lives.