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Four's Company

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Elizabeth Hunter Barry-Selden was born a week early on a freezing winter day, three years into John and Eliza’s marriage. Violet drove the car to the hospital, as John was busy hyperventilating in the back seat next to Eliza.

The baby was born without complications. John held Eliza’s hand through the whole ordeal. However, the doctors insisted that Violet wait outside, as she was just a family friend, but when Violet threatened them with mild arsony, they quickly changed their tune.

Finally, the ordeal was over. In the bed sat Eliza, a sweaty, disgusting mess, holding the baby in her arms. Violet and John had never seen anything more beautiful.

“Boy or girl?” asked Violet. Eliza had been determined not to know the baby’s gender. “It doesn’t matter anyways,” she had said, “It could end up being all sorts of genders.” But there was still pride in Eliza’s eyes as she looked up at Violet and said, “Girl.”

“Violet, you should name her,” said John.

Violet blinked. “Are you sure?”

“Of course!” said Eliza. “John and I gave her the genes, you should give her the name.”

A wide grin spread across Violet’s face. She’d hoped, secretly, that she would have some input in the naming process, but she’d never thought that John and Eliza would give the task to her completely.

Violet took a minute, thinking. “Elizabeth. After you, Eliza.”

Eliza nodded, smiling. “Perfect.”

Violet leaned over to John and whispered in his ear. “You can call her Ellie for short.”

The fact that Violet had given John the opportunity to name his daughter after his favorite Jurassic Park character meant more to him than Violet could know. Overwhelmed, he tried to kiss Eliza, but she batted him away.

“John, I’m gross. Go kiss Violet instead.”

John and Violet didn’t kiss much, but at that moment there seemed to be nothing more natural than John putting his arm around Violet’s waist and bringing her close. Eliza watched them, content, but reached out to tap John on the arm after a few seconds.

“John, we gotta let Violet hold her.”

John nodded, pulling back. Carefully, Violet took Ellie into her arms, cradling her head. She’d held babies before, but never a baby like this.

“Say hi to Mommy, Ellie,” said John, and Violet almost choked up.

“Other Mommy, I think.”

“We’ll figure out a better word,” sighed Eliza, drifting off to sleep. John gave Eliza a peck on the forehead, and then moved to join Violet in gazing at the child. The baby cooed, then settled into her mother’s arms, falling asleep, surrounded by her family.