Sonny and Amanda’s Apartment - Saturday Morning
A typical Saturday morning in the Rollins-Carisi household was usually full of fun and commotion. But instead of Amanda and the girls prancing around in the living room to music while Sonny whipped up pancakes for everyone and Frannie happily chewed on a brand new dog bone, the mood was much more somber.
Beth Anne had picked up Jesse and Billie earlier in the week and brought them up to her house so the couple could take time to process some shocking news. And then yesterday they were hit with even more. They purposely didn’t talk about it then but today they knew they would have to.
Amanda walked out of the bathroom and made her way into the living room where Sonny sat on the sofa.
She took a seat next to him and the two sat together quietly for a while before she finally broke the silence.
Amanda took in a deep breath and exhaled slowly. “I want this baby.”
Sonny said nothing at first before eventually turning to her. “And I want you to have an abortion.” He said to her very seriously.
“How could you of all people say that?” She asked him, blinking back tears.
Sonny sighed. “Because you and I both know it’s what needs to happen.”
“But it doesn’t.” Amanda said very matter of factly. “And I won’t do it.”
Sonny shook his head in frustration, stood up and began pacing around the room.
“This is gonna be our one and only chance to have a child together.” She told him, sniffling. “I want this and I know how much you’ve wanted this.”
“Not if it means I have to lose you.” He said as he started to grow teary-eyed. “Amanda, you have cancer. It needs to be treated. That should be the priority.”
Amanda closed her eyes and took in some deep breaths before responding.
“But they caught it early and it’s growing slow.” She said to him. “I can hold off on the radiation for a bit. Just until the third trimester when it’s safer for the baby to be exposed to it.”
Sonny sighed. “I know it was discovered early and it’s not an aggressive type, but it’s still cancer and it can kill you.”
Amanda slowly nodded her head in acknowledgement. “I know.”
“Then how can you even think about continuing with the pregnancy?!” He asked as he grew more and more emotional.
Amanda fixed her lips to respond but he cut her off.
“What about the girls?” He asked her firmly. “If you have the baby and died you’d be leaving three kids motherless. Not only that, they’d all be split up from each other. The baby would be with me, Billie would go to Al, and Jesse would go to your mom. Is that somethin’ you want? It’s not what I want.”
She knew he was right. There was a possibility she could be leaving her kids without their mother and separated from each other and Sonny. Because even though the couple shared their lives together and he helped raise the girls, he wasn’t their father and he had no legal relationship with them. It was something she thought about, but tried not to focus on because it upset her.
Amanda wiped away the tears that had started to flood out of her eyes. “Of course it isn’t.”
“Then how can you be OK taking such a risk?” He asked her. “Sure you could delay treatment, have the baby and still beat the cancer. But there’s also a chance you wait to do the radiation, the cancer spreads to the point where treatment won’t work and you die after having the baby. Maybe even beforehand.”
She took a few moments to collect herself. Amanda then motioned for him to sit back down next to her.
“I could terminate the pregnancy, start treatment right away and be OK.” She told him, adding, “But there’s also a possibility I could have an abortion, immediately start radiation and…s—still…die.”
The idea Amanda might still die, despite terminating the pregnancy and starting treatment right away, distressed him a great deal. It was a scenario he did not like to consider, but knew he couldn’t ignore.
“I know…you c—could.” Sonny said, his voice quivering.
She took his hands into her own.
“Sonny, I’m a detective and you used to be one. You know the nature of the job. Every time I walk out that door for work there’s a possibility I won’t be coming back. I’ve been shot. Kidnapped. I put my life on the line everyday for people I don’t know. How could I not do the same for our child?”
He contemplated her words in his head, but remained quiet.
“I know you think I’m playing Russian Roulette with my life.” Amanda said to him. “That what I want to do is risky. But neither of us has a crystal ball that can predict how this will play out. I’m choosing to have this baby and I am choosing to believe that when everything is all said and done I’ll still be here. With you, Jesse, Billie and our child.”
Sonny buried his head into his hands and began to sob.
She put her arms around him and cradled his head close to her chest.
“I know you’re scared I might die.” Amanda whispered in his ear. “I am too, despite this choice I’m making. I also know this isn’t the choice you would make for me if you could. But I need you to trust my judgment and I need your support. Now more than ever.”
Sonny stopped crying, slowly pulled away from her, wiped his eyes and stared deeply into her own. He stayed silent for a long while before quietly telling her, “OK.”
Amanda sniffled, nodded and then rested her forehead on his.
16 Months Later
Saturday Morning - 8am
Sonny stirred as the sun, which was beaming into the bedroom through the window, hit his face.
He laid quietly on his back for a few moments before slowly opening up his eyes. Sonny turned onto his side and briefly stared at the empty space beside him. He then pulled the covers off of himself and got up out of bed.
Sonny yawned as he made his way down the hall toward his son’s nursery.
He slowly entered inside and found the happy, giggly 8-month-old wide awake in his crib, reaching up for him.
Sonny smiled softly as he scooped the baby up into his arms. He then brought him over to the changing table, gave him a fresh diaper and the twosome made their way into the quiet and empty kitchen.
Sonny set his son down into his high chair and put his bib on. He grabbed a baby spoon from the dish rack, headed toward the fridge, picked up a container of Gerber’s and made his way back to the high chair.
He peeled the top off, scooped a little bit of the puréed pears onto the spoon and fed it to the baby, who having never had pears appeared to be briefly pondering whether or not he liked it.
“How is it Zander?”
After a couple of seconds, Zander’s eyes grew big and he immediately opened his mouth up for more.
Sonny smiled as he fed him another spoonful, which he gulped right down.
Once he was finished feeding the baby, Sonny cleaned him up, lifted him out of his high chair and set him down on the living room carpet. He handed Zander his toy remote control, which he happily accepted and put right into his mouth.
Sonny plopped down on the sofa and stared intently at his blonde haired, blue eyed little boy who, though inherited his demeanor, was the spitting image of his mother, Amanda. The only woman he ever truly loved and the only woman he knew he would ever love.
He was soon interrupted from his thoughts when the front door to the apartment swung wide open.
Jesse and Billie came storming inside and immediately headed into the living room.
“Hi Sonny!” Jesse said as she carefully picked her baby brother up into her arms.
“I saw mom was gone, but I thought you two were still in bed.” He said to the girls as he set Billie down onto his lap. “Where were you guys?”
“Gettin’ groceries.” Amanda, who had been a few paces behind her daughters, answered for them as she entered the apartment, closed the door, and set her bags down on the counter. “Us three woke up early and saw we didn’t have stuff to make pancakes.“
“So we went shoppin.’” Billie told him very matter of factly. “Because we can’t have pancake Saturday without pancakes.”
Sonny smiled. “No we can’t.”
“Sorry I didn’t leave a note sayin’ where we were.” Amanda said as she started removing items from the bags. “I thought we’d be back before you boys got up.”
Sonny set Billie down on the couch and then made his way over to Amanda to help her unpack and to get breakfast started.
The couple stood quietly going through the bags when Sonny suddenly stopped and stared at Amanda. Her wavy blonde bob length hair was pulled back into a very short messy ponytail. She had no makeup on and was wearing an oversized blue sweater with a tear in it and a pair of black leggings that had Frannie’s hair all over them. He knew she probably wouldn’t agree, but it was moments like this he found her to be the most stunning.
And it was these seemingly insignificant moments when they were in the kitchen together getting breakfast going while the girls and their little boy played close by that he treasured most. Because there was a time not so long ago he thought there wouldn’t be such moments. But there she stood. Amanda, now in remission, had bravely battled and beaten cancer. And while she fought, she brought their son into the world. A son who, along with the girls, filled their hearts with so much joy and laughter. A son he knew wouldn’t be here had Amanda listened to him.
But instead she chose to listen to her heart. To take a leap of faith. There were some ups and downs along the way, but everything worked out. Just as Amanda chose to believe it would. It was because of her Sonny now had a life he didn’t think would ever be a reality for him. One with Amanda, Jesse, Billie, and their son, Zander. A life with the four people he cared about the most. One he cherished more than anything.
“Do I have something on my face?” Amanda asked when she finally caught him staring at her.
Sonny shook his head. “Nah. I’m just staring at you because your beautiful.”
Amanda blushed, but smiled back at him.
Just then the apartment flooded with music after Jesse had quietly activated the family’s Amazon Echo.
Both adults turned their attention to Billie and Jesse, who was still holding the baby, dancing around the living room.
“Be careful with Zander.” Amanda reminded her daughters.
“We will be!” Jesse yelled back.
The couple chuckled and then refocused on getting breakfast started.
When Sonny was finally ready to make the pancake batter he shouted out to the girls, “So what kind of pancakes should we have?”
Billie scurried into the kitchen. “I want chocolate chip!”
Jesse, who walked in slowly and handed her brother to Amanda, said, “But I want blueberry.”
“Guess that means mom’s the tiebreaker.” Sonny said, looking at Amanda.
“I am, huh?”
Sonny nodded and motioned toward the bag of chocolate chips and the one filled with blueberries. “The choice is yours.”
Amanda looked back and forth between the two options before finally reaching inside the bag that was in front of her and pulling out a large box of raisins. “I choose cinnamon raisin.”
Sonny smiled. “Cinnamon raisin it is.”
He then rolled up his sleeves. “Ok who’s dancin’ and who’s helping me cook?”
“I’ll help!” Billie exclaimed.
“I’m dancing.” Jesse said as she ran back into the living room.
“So am I.” Amanda said as she moonwalked into the living room behind Jesse. “Alexa, play ‘You Should Be Dancing’ by The Bee Gees.”
’You Should Be Dancing,’ by The Bee Gees, on Amazon music.
Sonny laughed as he watched Amanda move Zander’s arms around, having the baby mimic the dance moves John Travolta did in Saturday Night Fever.
He then turned his attention back to Billie and the two of them got started making the pancake batter.