Broody

 “Oh, look at her tiny little fingernails!” Jordan held out a finger and the tiny baby grabbed it out of instinct. She jerked her arms, trying to move the bulk of the adult’s finger with her own tiny simulacrums. Jordan gently tugged back and giggled.

“Who’s a pretty girl? You are, yes you are. You’re a beautiful little girl. You’re going to break so many hearts.”

“The first one will be her dad’s,” said Rose. “He’s already rehearsing what he’ll say to the first boy she’ll bring home.”

“Jeez, can you imagine that? This tiny little bundle will be a teenager. My God, she’ll be an adult one day, and here she is, so tiny. What?”

Rose smiled and shook her head. “I’ve seen chickens less broody than you.”

“I’m not broody, I’m just – I mean, she’s just so – oh, okay, I’m broody, but who wouldn’t be? She is gorgeous.”

“Go on then.”

“What?”

“Hold her, you know you want to.”

“Hold her? Really? Are you sure?”

“Here.” Rose picked the baby up carefully from the carry-cot and handed her over to Jordan. Jordan reverentially took the precious charge from her and held the infant awkwardly, tense, frightened to move a muscle.

“What is it about men, that they can’t hold a baby? She won’t break. Look, like this.” Rose lay the baby on Jordan’s lap, head towards his knees. “See? Now she’s comfortable and she can see her Uncle Jordan’s face.”

“Uncle Jordan. God, I’m an uncle.”

“Are those tears, Jordan? Are you really that much of a girly?”

“No,” said Jordan, looking away and trying to look manly. “It’s, um, allergies.”

“Ha, right!”

The door opened, and Jordan’s wife joined them.

“Anne, Anne, look. I’ve got little Jasmine.”

“I can see,” said Anne.

“This is your Aunty Anne,” said Jordan. “Say hello. Hello Aunty Anne.” He held her arm between thumb and finger and gently waved it at his wife.

Anne sat on the couch opposite Jordan.

“How are you, Rose?” she said. “Better?”

Rose laughed. “I wasn’t sick, Anne, I was pregnant. But I’m fine. Tired like you have no idea, but apart from that, I’m good.”

“You’re looking well.”

“Yeah, Roy thinks so too.” She thrust out her chest. “He’s going to be so disappointed when she goes onto solids. Hey, Jordan, look. I’ve finally got boobs.”

“There are certain phrases a brother should never have to hear from his sister, Rose,” said Jordan, frowning. “That’s one of them. Besides, watch your language. There’s a child present. Your mummy’s got a little potty mouth, hasn’t she? Yes she has. Naughty Mummy.”

“She can’t understand you, Jordan,” said Anne. “And quite frankly, that’s probably just as well.”

“We were just saying,” said Rose. “Jordan’s broody. I’ve never seen anyone, man or woman, go so gooey over a baby.”

“What’s not to love?” said Jordan, leaning down to bring his face closer to Jasmine. “Oh, what a fantastic smell. You know, I’d heard people say that, but I didn’t realise what they meant. What a fantastic new baby smell. Here, Love, come smell her.”

Anne gave Jordan a pained smile. “No, that’s fine. I’ll take your word for it.”

“Oh, oh, look. She smiled. She smiled at her Uncle Jordan.”

“No, she’s too little for that yet,” said Rose. “It’ll be wind. Here, hand her over. She needs burping.”

“No, I haven’t finished playing with her. You always did that, took my toys away.”

“Yeah, yeah,” said Rose, lifting Jasmine from Jordan’s lap. “Tell me that when she starts projectile vomiting.”

“Babes,” said Jordan, a wheedling quality suddenly in his voice. “You know I said I wanted a motorcycle for my birthday?”

“That’s not going to happen,” said Anne.

“Okay, so instead, can we have one of them?” He pointed to Jasmine, lying across her mother’s shoulder. “I’ll look after it. I’ll take it for walks and clean up after it. Honest. Can I have one? Can I? Please?”

“Hmm. Let’s see. Are you going to suddenly get a hundred percent pay rise? Can we afford to move to a bigger house? Are you going to give up our foreign holidays? Are you still going to fancy me when my boobs droop and I have baby sick down my blouse. Oh, no offence, Rose.”

“Aw. You spoil all my fun.” Jordan affected a pout.

“Seriously, Anne” said Rose. “If you wait until you can afford it, you’ll never have kids.”

“I know, but we really can’t afford it just at the moment. Well, good to see you, Rose. I’ll take my big baby out now, while you look after yours.” She rose. “Come on, Jordan. We’ll be late for the movie, and you know I hate that.”

“Okay.” Jordan rose and gave his sister a peck on the cheek. “One last sniff,” he said, nuzzling the baby. Both women shook their head at each other.

***

Jordan spat the toothpaste into the sink.

“That was a good film,” he called out.

“Yes, but next time we’re seeing an action flick,” Anne called back. She pulled her nightie over her head.

“An action film? But I thought you liked Rom-Coms.” He opened the bathroom cabinet and replaced the mouthwash. He looked at the shelf and grinned. He took a condom from the packet. Film nights were usually a sure thing.

“I do,” said Anne. “It’s everyone staring at you crying at the end I don’t like.”

She opened her bedside drawer and slid the book from the table into it. She wouldn’t be reading tonight.

Jordan paused, his hand still on the open cabinet door. On the bottom shelf lay the first aid box.

“Rose looked well. And isn’t Jasmine the cutest baby ever?”

In the bedroom Anne sighed.

“We can’t, Jordan. Not now, with everything that’s going on. Look, we’ll talk about it next year, okay?”

Jordan stared at the transparent lid of the box. The safety pins were clearly visible. He looked at the foil packet in his hand. Next year was always a year away.

“Yeah, okay. We can still practice making babies in the mean time, though?” He reached out for the box.

“Sure,” said Anne. She reached into the drawer, deep into the back of it, and pulled out the foil strip of pills hidden there. “We can practice till we’re ready.”

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About snodlander
Snodlander is the nom de plume of Bob Simms. He is an IT trainer, but it's not as glamourous as it sounds. When he's not enthralling classes with adventures through SQL Server, he writes, draws and drinks his own home-brew. Buy his novel on Amazon Kindle at The Young Demon Keeper, It's 74p, for crying out loud!

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