Reaper's Legacy(7)By: Joanna Wylde
“Can you see the baby’s head?” the operator asked. Ruger froze.
“You want me to look?”
He was pretty damned sure he didn’t want to look. Fuck. Sophie needed him, though. The kid needed him, too. Ruger dropped down to peer between her legs.
That’s when he saw it.
A tiny head, coming out of her body, covered with dark black hair. Holy crap.
Sophie sucked in a deep breath and gripped his shoulders even harder. She let out one loud, long moan as she pushed again.
Then it happened.
Ruger reached down—almost in a trance—as the world’s most perfect little human slid right out of her and into his hands. Sophie started crying with relief as blood streaked her thighs.
“What’s happening?” the operator asked. He heard a siren in the distance.
“The baby just came out,” Ruger muttered, awed. He’d seen a calf born, but that had nothing on this. “I’m holding it.”
“Is it breathing?”
He watched as the newborn opened its little eyes for the first time and looked right at him. They were blue and round and confused and fucking gorgeous. They closed again as the baby screwed up its tiny mouth, sucked in a deep breath and let out a piercing wail.
“Yeah. Fuck. The kid is fine.”
Ruger looked up at Sophie as he raised the baby between them. She smiled hesitantly and reached for her child. Her exhausted, tear-streaked yet radiant face was the second-most beautiful thing he’d ever seen in his life.
Right after those tiny blue eyes.
“You did good, babe,” he whispered to Sophie.
“Yeah,” she whispered back. “I did, didn’t I?”
She kissed the boy’s head softly.
“Hey, Noah … It’s Mommy,” she said. “I’m gonna take such good care of you. I promise. Always.”
SEVEN YEARS LATER
Our last night in Seattle didn’t go so great.
My babysitter, my emergency backup sitter, and my second emergency backup sitter all had the flu. I’d have been screwed if one of my new neighbors hadn’t volunteered to keep an eye on Noah. I didn’t really know her, but we’d been living next to each other for a month and no red flags. Not the best, I know.
You do what you have to when you’re a single mom.
Then Dick yelled at me for coming in late for my shift.
I didn’t tell him I’d nearly missed work altogether because of Noah. And no, I’m not just calling him Dick because he’s actually a dick (although he is). It’s his real name.
That night I truly understood why he was in such a bad mood, because of the six girls who were supposed to be on, only two showed. Two had the flu (genuine—half the city had it) and two had dates. Or I’m assuming they had dates. Their official stories were a dead grandmother (her fifth) and an infected tattoo.
Apparently none of the drug stores in her neighborhood carried Bacitracin.
Either way, things fell to shit fast. We had a band, which put the customers in a good mood, but the live music and drunken dancing made it even harder to keep up with my tables. Also made us busier than usual. We would’ve been stretched even with a full staff. To make things perfect, it was a local band and most of their fans were college students, which meant crappy tips.
By eleven I was already tired and needed to pee in a bad way, so I ducked into the bathroom. Out of toilet paper already (of course), and I knew damned well nobody had time to restock. I pulled out my phone, doing a quick check for messages, and saw two. One from Miranda, my babysitter, and a second from Ruger, the world’s scariest almost-in-law.
Miranda first. I held it to my ear and listened, hoping to hell everything was all right. No way Dick would let me off early, even for an emergency. Ruger could wait.