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Stepping into the aisle, he rushed to her, wrapping his arms around her, and kissed her. “It’s true?” he asked through his tears.
Olivia looked at him through her own tears. She nodded, a grin on her face. “Yeah. We’re having a baby, Alex. September.”
He crushed his lips to hers once more, not caring that everyone was watching.
“Hey, man. I haven’t given her away yet,” Mo said.
Olivia laughed as Alexander pulled back, staring deep into her big brown eyes. “You better get up there, Mr. Burnham. You knocked me up. You’ve got to make an honest woman out of me now.”
“Oh, love. I’ve been waiting my entire life for this moment.”
“Me, too.” She tilted her head and brushed her lips against his.
AUGUST TWENTY-FOURTH, A DAY that he used to hate, no longer lay heavy over Alexander’s heart. The sun woke him up early that Sunday and he lovingly admired his wife, her belly protruding from her slim frame, before hopping in the shower. When he was finally ready to start his day, he returned to the bed where his Olivia was still resting peacefully, and gingerly placed a kiss on her forehead.
Olivia stirred, rubbing her eyes. “Hey,” she said sleepily.
“Good morning, love. How are my two best girls this morning?”
She smiled. “One of us is tired. The other one is running a marathon. Take a guess which is which.”
Alexander laughed. “She’s definitely taking after her mama then.” He leaned down and planted an affectionate kiss on her lips. “I need to head into the office for a quick meeting. I’ll be back in a few hours. Will you be okay?”
“Go. I’ll be fine. I’ll probably be in the same exact position when you get back.”
Alexander raised himself off the bed. “Okay. I’ll see you soon, Mrs. Burnham.”
“I can’t wait, Mr. Burnham.”
He turned to leave.
“Oh, and Mr. Burnham?”
“Yes?” Alexander said, spinning around.
“Happy birthday, Daddy.”
Alexander smiled, leaving Olivia resting in their bed. She soon drifted back off to sleep for a bit before the excruciating pain set in. She raised herself into a sitting position, feeling something sticky between her legs. Looking down, she saw blood.
AFTER HIS MEETING, ALEXANDER decided to stop and get sunflowers for Olivia. It was August twenty-fourth, after all. Why break with tradition? Instead of having Martin cart him around, he let him have the day off, hating to ask someone to work on a Sunday when he could easily walk to the office. After the meeting, he strolled through the city streets of Boston, love overwhelming his heart when the vision of Olivia’s pregnant frame flashed through his mind. Stopping at a flower market, he grabbed a beautiful sunflower bouquet before making his way back to his penthouse.
As he approached the front door of his apartment building, he reached into his pocket, suddenly realizing that he had left his cellphone on the nightstand. “Crap,” he said, running to the bank of elevators and pressing his code for the penthouse. He hoped Olivia hadn’t needed anything while he was gone.
When the doors opened, he ran out of the elevator and up the stairs to the bedroom. Olivia was nowhere to be found.
And on her side of the bed was a pool of blood.
“Shit!” he exclaimed, grabbing his cell phone, seeing several missed calls, mostly from Kiera. “FUCK!”
With shaking hands, he called her.
“Alex!” she shouted, answering the call. “You left your phone at home!”
“Don’t you think I know that?! Where’s Olivia?”
“She’s here at M.G.H. Her placenta ruptured. They had to knock her out. You need to get here. They’re getting the baby out.”
“Fuck! I’ll be right there.”
He ran down the stairs and scrambled into an elevator, willing it to move faster. Within thirty minutes, he pulled up out front of M.G.H., rushing to the labor and delivery floor to find out what was going on, the entire time thinking about how nothing good had ever come out of August twenty-fourth.
“Alex!” Kiera shouted when she saw him run through the doors leading to the registration area.
“Kiera! Mo! What’s going on?” he asked nervously, his expression changing when he saw their calm, smiling faces.
She beamed. “You’re a daddy, Alex. Come on.” She grabbed his hand, walking him down a long corridor as he tried to process the fact that he was a father. “Olivia is still knocked out. They had to give her general anesthesia and perform a C-section. She’s a little small considering she was born about three weeks early, but baby and mommy are fine.”
“Damn it. I missed it.”
Kiera laughed. “We all did. No one could be in the room with her. They kicked me out, too.” She stopped in front of a door and gently pushed it open. A nurse sat feeding a bottle to a tiny pink bundle, looking up when she heard the door open.
“Are you the daddy?” she asked.
Alexander’s heart beat faster. Holy crap. I’m a daddy. He simply nodded his head, speechless for the first time in recent history.
“Good. Then I’ll let you do this so she can start to bond with you while Mrs. Burnham sleeps it off.” She got out of the rocking chair and Alexander sat down. “Everyone is okay. It was scary for a minute, but Mommy and baby pulled through wonderfully. May I introduce your daughter.” She placed a small bundle in Alexander’s arms and he held his daughter for the first time, rocking her as she drank from the bottle.
“Am I doing this right?” he asked.
The nurse smiled. “You’re a natural.”
He looked down at his daughter. She wasn’t even an hour old and she already had a full head of dark hair. She kept her eyes closed as she nursed. He rocked back and forth, feeling overwhelmed with love for his Olivia and the little person that they created through their love.