'Carmen, it's just awkward ok? I'm trying to focus on Nick as the father of my child, not as the object of my affections. We've done 'trying' to death. We need to prioritise the baby now'
'You sound like a fucking robot. Remember when Nick told us about how he answered questions when he was with Disney- well that's you now! You're saying all the right things but I know you don't believe it and are still trying to convince yourself. You love Nick. It's literally the worst kept secret in the world and what's worse is we all know he loves you too' she replied
'I'm going to go now, I'm too fat, tired, hot and fed up for this. Call you tomorrow ok?'
Carmen was my rock, I was just devastated she was so far away, but at least I had Sean nearby to talk to. We'd talked things over and decided it was never meant to be between us again but he told me he was my personal guard dog and not going anywhere.
Alongside the two of them, Sophie was really keeping me going too. I was joining Nick for most of the weekly family Skype sessions and Sophie and I were keeping everyone up to date with bump watch. Sophie seemed so cool and calm about it all, which I was jealous of. I was absolutely terrified.
When we got the call to say Soph was in labour early one morning it made me even more anxious, it meant that our little one would be here any time too. I did wonder how life would change after he or she arrived. One thing that never worried me was how much of a great father Nick would be. As far as the pregnancy aspect went, he'd been great through all of this. He'd enjoyed baby shopping more than me, in fact most of the clothes we'd bought were his choice and the nursery he'd planned with the designer was just perfect. I'd watched him sit and watch reviews on car seats for hours trying to find the safest ones. As a dad to be he was dedicated to day the least and between us things had been much better, except for the odd hiccup, but let's face it our situation was far from normal.
Nick was busy all morning so I decided to go for my daily walk early, I was walking as much as I could to try and get baby moving. Sean has asked to join me today so I met him nearby. Nick was still salty about him being here so I just didn't mention when we were seeing each other to keep the peace. He wasn't going to tell me who I could and couldn't see. Although lock down was still in place we were allowed to exercise and we were being careful with social distancing.
'I can't believe you're still standing let alone walking with a bump that size Abs, what's in there quads?' He laughed watching me waddle rather than walk towards him.
'Definitely just one, i keep making them check' I wasn't joking, I'd asked several time's if they were sure.
'So anytime now huh? How's things with you and Nick?' He asked.
'If you mean are we shagging then no, we're not. It's all perfectly above board. We're having a baby together and we're trying to be mature about it' I said it so mater of fact, I almost believed it myself. The past months my feelings for him were growing rather than decreasing but I was trying to ignore them; I rationalised it was just my hormones talking and once baby arrived it would be easier.
'I didn't mean that actually Abs, but it's interesting that's the first conclusion you jumped to' he replied with a smirk. I punched him in the arm.
'My backs killing me, don't push it. I'm unpredictable and hormonal here' I joked.
He rubbed my back 'I'll try and keep on your good side then' and we'd laughed.
When I got back home and Nick was stood waiting for me. I could already tell he was in a bad mood with me. Here we go again.
'Why didn't you tell me you were going out?' He demanded, arms crossed tightly in front of him.
'Calm down, I'm not in jail, I went for a walk! Same as everyday, I need to get the baby moving, honestly I've had enough of pregnancy now' I groaned.
'And did seeing Sean help with that? I saw you with him, he had his arm around you and you looked pretty happy about it. I came to find you to tell Sophie's had the baby. It's a girl named Willa in case you're interested'
'Nick, just stop about Sean but that's fantastic about Soph, of course I'm interested, are they both well?'
'They're fine. So want to tell me why Seans still hanging around you? Touching you? Are you seeing each other?'
'It's like Groundhog Day with you Nick. It was a walk, nothing more, so what? He's a friend and God knows I need one of them right now. Im starting to think I should have taken the flight back to London that Dad offered me but for some reason I decided to stay here with you to have our baby together. Clearly that was a big mistake' I shouted, completely losing my shit. I could feel my blood boil.
'Clearly a massive mistake. I've had enough of this, I'm going out' he said grabbing car keys and slamming the door behind him.
I stood for a moment watching the door in case he was going to come back in but I heard him speed out of the drive so I decided to do some work on an article I was writing. I'd been doing some tv work from home and I'd just started a magazine column back in the UK. The talent show my dad has offered me had obviously been postponed because of Covid but work was starting to pick up for me now that restrictions were being slowly loosened.
I'd barely opened my laptop when I started to feel sick and dizzy. I sighed, what was next. I ignored it and tried to keep working but the backache I'd had all day was driving me insane so I gave up on work, took painkillers and ran a bath. It still didn't help much though so I decided to go for a nap to forget it. Eventually I managed to drop off to sleep but when I woke up it was dark outside and the pain was even more intense. I got out of bed and went to fetch Nick, I knew I was in labour.
I tried his studio and he wasn't there, in fact he wasn't anywhere, I searched the whole house for him. Defeated, I went back to my bedroom and felt a strange pressure. I rushed into the en-suite and there was a pop, my waters had broken all over the floor, then a huge contraction made its way through my body causing me to yell out. After it passed I picked up my phone and called Nick repeatedly- no answer. Then another contraction hit, and another, almost immediately they were 3 minutes apart. I couldn't do this on my own. There was one person I knew I could call- Sean.
The minute he answered the phone and heard my voice he knew and came rushing over. I gave him the gate code so he could let himself in and when he did, he took one look at me and dialled 911. This baby wasn't going to wait for anyone. He then tried to call Nick again and still there was no answer.
'Leave the fucking phone and come and help me, I think I need to push' I screamed, things were moving way faster than I had expected. What happened to ridiculously long labours?
Sean grabbed a towel and placed it between my legs so the baby wouldn't land on the cold tiled floor and he held me while I pushed with everything I had. Where was the ambulance? I wanted an epidural, I wanted gas and air, just any pain relief whatsoever. It was too late though, he told me he could see the head and despite the pain I just had to keep pushing until my baby was fully born. Sean caught the baby and handed it to me. He then grabbed a blanket from my bed and wrapped baby and I in it. I looked down at this little purple coloured baby, cord still attached and crying for the first time and I thought my heart was going to burst. The dizziness came back and I started to feel my body shaking with what I assumed was the shock. Sean was sat behind me with his arms around me and the baby, even he was in tears. I was just so glad he'd been there for me.
Soon we heard voices, the EMT had arrived. 'We're in here' shouted Sean and they came running in to see us already sat with the baby.
'Congratulations, I'm sorry we couldn't get here faster but it looks like Daddy here has done a fantastic job' the first EMT said.
'Actually, I'm the father' I said walking into the room just behind them. I didn't know what to take in first, the fact the baby was here or the fact that Sean was holding Abbi so tenderly. I should have been here. I'd seen a couple of her calls and silenced them. I thought she was calling because of our fight but she'd needed me and I'd let her down. I'd let myself down.
'It's a girl Nick' Sean told me with a beaming smile and I wanted to kill him for knowing that before me.
The EMT decided that Abbi needed to go to hospital to be checked over. Sean even had the balls to say he'd go in the ambulance with them but I put my foot down, he'd had more than enough time with Abbi and my daughter. My daughter. I was a dad now.
At the hospital they admitted Abbi, she had lost a lot of blood and needed to be monitored but our daughter was just perfect, even if we hadn't chosen a name yet. Although she was feeling poorly I watched as Abbi fed our daughter and held her, she was just so natural and I knew she was going to be the best mom our daughter could have ever hoped for. I couldn't take my eyes off of our baby, she was so beautiful, more than I could have ever imagined. I literally filled up my camera roll with pictures of the two of them. I chose my favourite and sent it to all our important people to let them know she was here safely.
I stayed with them as long as I could but eventually Abbi had insisted that I was to go home and get some food and rest, I didn't want to but I was exhausted and I gave in. I knew better than to argue with her stubbornness. As I left I kissed her and baby on the head and promised them I'd be back tomorrow. Sophie was already home with Willa so I was hoping Abbi would be back soon too.
When I walked into the house it was the first time since February that she hadn't been there. There was no singing coming from the kitchen or the smell of dinner. She wasn't laughing at something stupid on the tv or splashing her way up and down the pool. The house was dark and it was just me and my dog.
As much as she'd annoyed me, I missed her. I really missed her. The house didn't feel like a home without her and I realised I'd made a colossal mistake in letting her go. This whole time she'd been living here we'd been giving things a go without realising and we'd been great together. The only thing that has ever got in between us was my jealousy and both our stubbornness. What had I been thinking? I sat for a moment, contemplating jumping back in my car and going back to tell her that she was the only one for me but instead I decided to talk to my dad first. I FaceTimed him,not caring it was late. Thankfully he was up because he'd been at the restaurant.
'Congratulations again grandpa' I smiled, it was hard not to, our baby was perfect. I'd spoken to him briefly earlier in the day so he already knew baby was here.
'How are they both doing son?'
'Great, Abbi had to stay in though, she had a tough time so they want to keep an eye on her but baby no-name-yet is amazing, she's so beautiful. I just can't believe I missed her birth'
'I know son, it's one of those things though, you've got the rest of your life as her Daddy to make up for it'
'Dad. Talking about the rest of my life, I need to put things right with Abbi, she's the one and I've been an idiot pushing her away. I came home tonight and the house was empty and I realised I need her here with me for good. How do I fix this?'
'Finally you've realised?' He laughed, 'Mom and I were taking bets on how long this would take to happen. Every time we spoke to you both you were so happy and body language doesn't lie. You need to think about what you want, do you just want to raise baby together, live together or even get married again?'
'All of that Dad, I'm not going to let her go again'
'Well then you need to tell her, go into the hospital tomorrow first thing and tell her,
I'm pretty sure you'll find out she feels the same'
'I will' I said already trying to think of a gesture I could make to show her what she meant to me.
I came to that conclusion that there was none big enough to tell her how much I loved her, because now I was allowing myself to admit it. I loved her with all my heart and always had. I went to bed imagining how I was going to tell Abbi, and remembering how it felt to hold our new baby. I was a lucky man to have such a beautiful family, I just hoped she'd feel the same way. She would wouldn't she?