So far the night had been still, it was nearing the middle of winter and it seemed that overnight, as the temperature dropped below zero everything froze. There were no bird calls or out of control plants whacking against the side of their house to disturb a perfectly good nights sleep, however that was soon to change.
Wailing pierced the silent, dark night and Simon snapped awake. Before the new member had joined his family, he had been a very deep sleeper; he slept through torrential rain battering windows, storms and even Kieren’s most imaginative attempts at waking him had little effect if it was the middle of the night and the younger man wasn’t completely invested in waking Simon. But now, now he was completely intuned with his new baby’s calls of distress, even the quietest of whimpers that bled through the baby monitor could rouse the Irishman from even the deepest depths of unconsciousness.
As his baby’s wailing continued, Simon rubbed his eyes and rose himself into a sitting position - careful not to wake the sleeping man next to him - swinging his legs off the bed and sliding his feet into his slippers (he had slippers now, this was how much Amy and eventually Kieren coming into his life had changed it so. Before, he had walked around barefoot without a care in the world. Now? Now he had slippers). Tiptoeing down the landing of their small family house, Simon made his way into his little girl’s room, the room elegantly decorated yet still homely, the walls a light blue colour covered by paintings on every side. Paintings of flowers, of wildlife, of Piglet, of Roger Rabbit, of so many childhood book characters Simon could hardly name them all. Every image was hand painted by Kieren of course. They’d both needed something to do while they waited for their baby girl to be born and while Simon had stressed over work arrangements and money, Kieren had shut himself up in the spare room, painting, and explicitly not allowing anyone to see until he was finished.
Said baby girl was still crying in her crib as Simon approached her. Her bright blue eyes were red from tears and she squirmed uncomfortably across the mattress. Lifting her from her ‘cage’, he cradled her into his arms, rocking her gently and began speaking to her, hoping his voice would calm her cries.
“Shh, sh, baby girl. It’s all okay, I’m here now, you can sleep. You know, yer Daddy and I also would love to get some sleep so if you could just nod off right about now that would be great.” It seemed even his supposed dulcet Irish tones (that his boyfriend often told him he possessed) were doing nothing to calm his daughter. Racking his brain for something to do was difficult when he held a screaming baby in his arms, he was beginning to become desperate, he really didn’t want Kieren to wake up, it had been an emotional week and it was draining him, it was draining the both of them, bringing home their new baby girl and getting her situated but Simon still thought Kieren definitely needed more hours sleep than he did.
Simon began to rock her a little quicker as he tried to think of an idea, he tried to remember his childhood, how his mother or father would calm him, when the idea hit him. God he really hoped this worked.
“I see the moon, the moon sees me, shining through the leaves of the old oak tree.” Simon started, his voice a little scratchy and the words slightly out of time from sleep deprivation and it being a long time since he had heard the words sung. Even though, it still looked like the singing was working, the cries were beginning to peter out into sniffles and hiccups, so he continued “Oh, let the light that shines on me, shine on the one I love.”
A whole verse and a bit later and his baby had finally fallen into dreamland again, peaceful breaths moving her small chest up and down rhythmically. Sighing in relief, Simon lowered her gently into her cot, careful not to jostle and wake her as he lay her down. After seeing that she was completely comfortable and settled, the dark-haired man took a moment to run his hands down his face, heaving out another sigh.
“It’s been such a long time since I’ve heard you sing, I forgot how much I love it.” A voice whispered loudly from the doorway, turning around quickly Simon’s panic subsided when he realised the figure at the door was only his boyfriend and not an intruder.“I’ve not heard that song before either, where did yer learn it?”
“My mam used to sing it to me when I was a kid, I was a very fussy baby apparently.” Moving closer to the doorway and his boyfriend, Simon smiled slightly at the memory, but it was a sad smile, one of regret and guilt.
“Oh Simon, I didn’t know. It’s such a sweet song.” The older man could barely see Kieren’s features in the darkness but he was close enough to see the turn of his lips into a sympathetic smile within the silhouette that shrouded his face.
“S’alright, I like to think that although baby girl over there will never meet her Nana, she’ll still have a part of my mother with her.” Kieren had no words for a reply, so he simply embraced Simon, pulling him down slightly and wrapping his arms around the other man’s neck, kissing him softly, trying his best to comfort.
“Speaking of baby girl, we really need a name yer know, she can’t be ‘baby girl’ forever.” He said, voice slightly muffled by Simon’s pyjama top.
“Maybe she can, it’s quite an unusual name.” Simon joked, chuckling quietly at himself. God his boyfriend was such a dork, Kieren thought. He pulled away from the hug just far enough to send Simon the look which he hoped the man would see in the dark. “Okay, okay, I understand, though maybe tomorrow morning? I’m not sure thinking of a name at-” Simon glanced over to the small LED clock in the corner of the room “2:30 in the morning would be the best idea we’ve ever had.”
“Mmm, I suppose you’re right.” Kieren said, barely suppressing a yawn. “Plus, then we can ask Amy for inspiration, I’m sure she’d be glad to help.” He stared sleepily up at his boyfriend.
“I’m sure she would,” seeing the tired look on his younger boyfriend’s face, Simon began to lead Kieren back to their bedroom, “she was the one suggesting names before we’d even started the adoption process.”
They crawled back into their double bed, tired muscles crying with relief, and both men snuggled deep into the warmth of each other. Kieren backed up until his back was in line with Simon’s chest as the dark-haired man wrapped an arm around his waist, pulling him closer. Simon burrowed his face into the pillow just above Kieren’s head and took in a deep breath. A mix of strawberries, vanilla and paint overwhelmed him, it was a strange blend of scents but he felt like it perfectly summarised Kieren and he pretty much adored the smell, it was homely. Just as he was nuzzling into the soft hair on top of the already sleeping Kieren’s head, the baby monitor crackled slightly. No, please no, Simon prayed.
Crackling again, the monitor erupted with a loud wail that shattered the sleepy silence of Kieren and Simon’s bedroom.