The first trimester of Skylar’s pregnancy went very smoothly. She took excellent care of herself and made sure to get enough rest while the kids were at school. She even started writing a children’s storybook in her spare time.
By her second trimester, things were getting a lot more difficult. Darren’s work hours were so demanding and the maid they hired to help out was the laziest servant! Skylar still ended up doing most of the cleaning.
“We’re eating salad for dinner again?” Jack complained as he grabbed his bowl.
Skylar felt like scolding him and telling him he should be thankful that she prepared a healthy meal for him, but she just scrubbed the countertop a little harder. “I’m sorry I didn’t have time to make your favourite tonight,” she said instead.
“It’s okay, Mom,” Iris reassured her. “Your salads are the best!” Jack agreed and offered to finish the cleaning for her. After dinner, Iris asked, “Why isn’t Dad around much anymore? Shouldn’t he be taking care of stuff for you?”
“Your Dad’s really busy up in space!” Skylar bragged and pointed upward for dramatic emphasis. “They need him to fix the ventilation system on their fancy space station.”
“It is awesome, so we need to be really supportive of Dad right now, okay?”
Darren got off work and decided to go to the bar before going home. He’d had the worst day at work, but when he stepped off the Tube platform near the bar, he spotted Daria Sayansky.
“Daria!” he greeted her enthusiastically.
“Hello, Darren!” Daria smiled brightly at him.
“We really need to quit meeting like this,” he joked.
Daria laughed and explained, “I’m actually performing here tonight. I’m really glad you could make it.”
Darren stayed and listened to Daria sing all night. When her shift finally ended, she sat down next to him and asked if he enjoyed her singing. “It was truly amazing, Daria. I’m really not just saying that.”
“Thanks. You know, I wanted to be a rock star,” she sounded slightly sad when she said it. “But I’m just so lucky. I don’t mind being a lounge singer.”
“No. I bet it beats life in the camps.” Darren felt awkward the second he said it.
“The fields, actually,” Daria corrected him, “and you don’t have to feel bad about it.” Darren let out a sigh of relief, and Daria asked him about his work. They chatted about his work on the space station, but he wasn’t bragging. Darren confided in her about a problem he was having with one of the astronauts.
They talked until dawn. “Oh my goodness, look at the time!” Darren stood up. “I had such a great time talking with you, Daria.”
He took her hands and kissed them softly before he even realized what he was doing. He instantly dropped her hands again.
He never even finished that sentence; Darren just walked away quickly. His guts were churning and as he stepped into the Tube, he felt like crying.
He composed himself during the ride home, and when he got there, Skylar greeted him. “I think I’m about to go into labour, honey!”
“What? Right now?”
Skylar laughed melodically. “This never gets any easier for you, does it?”
“No, Sweetheart, it’s definitely not any easier for me.” Darren rubbed her shoulders and simultaneously berated himself for acting like such a hustler.
Skylar turned around and saw the look on his face. “Darren, what is it?”
“It’s…” Darren took a deep breath and said, “I already told Bradford I’d put in a double shift.”
“No!” she whined and pouted. “He can’t do this to you! We’re having a baby.”
“He can and he did. I’ll stay with you as long as I can.”
When her husband had to leave for work, Skylar couldn’t help but cry before she rode the Tube to the hospital alone.
Skylar brought their new daughter, Lily, home in the evening.
Lily’s proud big sister came to see her before bedtime. “Hi, Lily! I’m Iris. We both have flower names. That means we’re going to be best friends, you know that?”
“Here, I made this picture for you.” Iris hung the picture above Lily’s bassinet.
Later that night, Darren got home and went straight to meet his little girl. “I’m sorry I couldn’t be there when you were born,” he said as he cuddled her. “I promise you I’ll be the best father ever.”