As soon as Liam said that he kissed Sally, Steffy was finished. She had been going over the same conversation with Liam for so long now. He kept saying that it wasn't what she thought and that it was crazy, he was committed and loved her. She thought it was all hogwash, she finally got the evidence that she was right. She decided it was best to stay in her condo as her divorce was being processed.
She was tired of being told that she was overreacting. She refused to stay in that house, it was just a house of lies. Broken promises yet again, another woman yet again. She was done playing the fool, how many times could he say that he was committed to her? It was this merry-go-round for her, she was just done caring at this point. She couldn’t believe that Liam thought being honest about the kiss was going to score him any points. She knew deep down that he had feelings for Sally. The kiss wouldn’t have come from nowhere if they were only friends.
She kept driving until she got to the place that she needed to be. The one place far enough from Liam that she didn’t feel like she had to scream. She got out of her car and was happy to see that at least someone was home. She would have hated to knock on the door, and no one answered.
When she knocked, she felt a little nervous. When the door open, she felt herself lose her breath.
“Stephanie, what are you doing here?”
“I need you… I need you to love me and make me forget about all of the mistakes that I made.” Steffy was tired of the BS.
She went to the one person who set her heart on fire. The only reason she didn’t cheat is because she said vows, she felt stupid now because she was the only one.
“Come in.” It was all he could say, he had an angry woman at his door.
Steffy stepped inside, she felt an ease come over her.
“Baby Jay. Are you mine?”
Jay had been thrown for a loop, he had an angry Stephanie Forrester at his door. He was always fascinated with her, he fell in love with her. He would always see her at these parties. They had the most illuminating conversations, it destroyed him to hear that she was married. It wasn’t happily married but she was committed to her vows. She just thought it was a rough patch.
“Why are you asking me that Stephanie? You’re married.” Jay didn’t want to be a part of whatever drama was going down between a couple.
“I felt so guilty, I love you. I felt so guilty having such wonderful conversations with you, I hate going to those parties, but I went to each one because I knew that you would be there. Even if it was just to pick your brain about your favorite architects or hearing about your next project. I wanted to know it all. You make me smile, I’ve been hurting for so long and you make me smile. You’re the only one who can see that I’m sad. You do anything to put a smile on my face, even if it's just for a night, it means the world to me.”
“Stephanie… You know how I feel about you, but you're married. What do you want me to do?” He was torn, he was trying to respect her wishes, even though she was distraught right now, he didn’t want to be party to regret later. He couldn’t take it if she thought that he took advantage of her. Whatever was going on with her, it was obvious that she was vulnerable.
“I filed for divorce; it was approved. Even if you don’t wanna be with me romantically, can you at least be my friend? Can you give me a hug?” Steffy felt foolish, she couldn’t remember ever actually hugging Jay.
Jay knew that he shouldn’t have felt any kind of excitement, but when Stephanie revealed that she was getting a divorce, he felt like the happiest person in the world. She was his dream girl.
“I’m in love with you, I know that you know that I’m in love with you. On some level that’s why you came here. If you wanna be with me, it's going to be forever.” Jay had said this many times at many parties. There had been numerous times that he wanted Stephanie to leave her husband. He didn’t think that Liam deserved her.
“You know I keep my promises. You know I want to be the father to your children. You know how badly I wanted to fuck you at those parties. Just book a room and take you and fuck you all night. I had to be crazy for you, I would withstand being in a room with all those people I genuinely do not like. I spent ridiculous amounts of money to go to those galas because I knew you would be there.”
“I know you do. It’s one of the things I love about you. I love knowing that you would saw off your hand for me. I know it’s a little morbid to say. I hated feeling guilty being in love with someone who wasn’t my husband. Even though I didn’t act on it, I couldn’t get you out of my mind. I was trying so hard to be a present wife, but I was ignored. I was left alone, and I would dream about how our life would be. How much you would love me? When Liam told me that he kissed Sally, after months of feeling crazy and being told that I was overreacting, and I didn’t know what I was talking about. I was angry, I was angry at being gaslighted but even more so I was angry because I could have been with this man that I really really adore and I felt beholden to vows I took. I felt stuck, I was in a place of perpetual unhappiness, I couldn’t have what I wanted and the effort that I was trying to give to a partner who didn't deserve it. But I don’t need to do that anymore. I’m free.”
Steffy got closer to him on the sofa, she put her hands within his, she squeezed and felt her tension melt away.
“I’m happy you’re free too. All I want… is to be with you, in every sense of the word. You said you filed for divorce and it was approved already?” The last party that he saw Stephanie at, she was still married. It had been less than six months.
“Yeah, it was decreed, I did it with the Brazilian Consulate. I wasn’t joking about wanting to be with you.”
Jay didn’t know that people could do that. He knew that other countries had laws for marriage but he was just expecting it to be filed with California.
“So what do you wanna do now? I imagine that you have some plan, you’re my Junior.” Jay knew that she had something up her sleeve, he didn’t know what, but something was there.
“I want you to marry me right now would be preferable but we can do it tomorrow.”
At first, Jay started to laugh because he didn’t believe that Stephanie was serious. When he looked at her face and saw that she didn’t move an inch, he realized that she wasn’t joking.
“Baby you’re serious?”
“Do you not want to marry me, you promised me forever?”
“Of course I want to marry you, you just got out of a marriage, I would think that you want time.”
“Jay, I don’t need to think about things, I want to be with you. I don’t want to wait on a family. I want to be the mother of your children. I also am high risk; I can have children again after all the treatments but it’s honestly better if I have them now. With my last miscarriage and the scar tissue from that…I’ve had treatments to correct most of damage, but pregnancies are a little more complicated with me. I don’t want you to think that I’m with you because I just want babies. I want your babies and I want them to be viable. Please don’t think that I’m crazy, if I wasn’t married I would have proposed to you the night that I met you.” Steffy started crying, she didn’t expect to be getting emotional, but she couldn’t help herself.
“Baby don't cry please. I didn’t know about you having a miscarriage. I’m so sorry for that happening to you.” Even though they were close on the couch, Jay slipped Stephanie in his lap. He cradled her body to his.
Steffy felt so safe in that moment, she didn’t disclose to most people that she had a miscarriage. It was something that was painful for her, but it was easy to talk to Jay, the conversation was still difficult, but it was easier when it was with him.
She was so close to him; she was sitting in his lap. Her hand reached for his cheek and she tilted his face to hers. She kissed him. It was their first kiss, he kissed her with care and want. She was moaning into the kiss from his eagerness.
She shifted herself until she was straddling him. It made her dress ride up. Jay looked up at her, he felt like he was staring at a goddess.
“You’re a goddess.” Jay couldn’t believe he said what he thought out loud.
“Actually no, my sister Phoebe was named after the goddess. I was named after my grandmother and her name means one who wears the crown. So treat me like a queen Jay. Am I your queen?” Steffy was being a little cheeky, she could admit that. She loved a flustered Jay.
“You know you are, no one could roll up to my house and act like they own the place. Yet here you are, making me a fool with my heart.” Jay was being honest, if William was still here, his brother will call him a sucker.
“You could be my jester if you like Jay. You always make me laugh, you're so good to me. Did you know what you did to me at those parties?”
“What did I do to you at those parties?” Jay really wanted to know. His hands went to Junior’s hips. It was something automatic, he didn’t even think about it.
“Hearing your voice, it always made my pussy so wet, almost as wet as I am now.” Steffy takes one of his hands and places it on her crotch. “Mmm. Oh God… Baby your hand feels so good on my pussy.” Steffy had a good grip on Jay’s arm. She started moving it and his hand started rubbing on her center, it made Steffy moan out loud.
“Fuck!” Jay could feel the moistness from her underwear. Junior was so wet, the underwear was just sticking to her. He felt it all and it made him hard.
“Need you...” It was all Steffy had to say, Jay was picking her up. She had her legs wrapped around his waist as he took her to his bedroom.
He was practically celibate, ever since he met Stephanie Forrester, he couldn’t even think about being with another woman. It was masochistic but he felt like he was cheating on her if he did. They bonded on a random conversation of their deceased siblings. She understood him in a way that no one had. Will’s death was still fresh at that point… sometimes still is.
When Jay laid her down, all Steffy could think about was his bed felt so nice, she had always visualized what his bed would be like.
She started to move back, he had a huge bed, she put herself in the center.
It made Jay chuckle to see her taking off her underwear. He still couldn’t believe that he was about to have sex with her. This is better than any fantasy he ever had.
He stripped himself down to his boxers, he could see her appreciation for his body.
He got on the bed like the wolf and she was little Red Riding Hood. He grabbed her leg and gave her a playful bite and she giggled.
He kissed his way to her cunt, he was thinking to himself, how did he get so lucky? This beautiful woman was in his bed and practically gushing. Man she was so wet for him.
“Is that pussy glistening for little old me?” He didn’t care that he felt like a caveman. He pounded on his chest.
It did the job because it made her laugh some more.
“Yes baby, that’s all for you. You always make me so wet; I would have to go to the bathroom and hike up my dress, I’d have to fuck myself with my fingers, it felt so good to come with you in my head. Sometimes I’d have to do it multiple times in a single party.”
Jay was looking at her with new eyes, he was thinking about every time she would excuse herself to use the lady’s room. It only serves to make his dick harder.
“You excuse yourself a lot, you won't be having to do that tonight or any night after this…”
After he said that, he took the first lick, he made sure to touch just about every part of her cunt.
“Ooh…Jay!” Steffy thought that she might shoot up off the bed.
She felt herself arching and writhing and shaking her head from side to side, he sure knew how to use his tongue. She found something sexy in his sexual possessiveness. She could feel him spelling out things on her. He would suck on her clit hard and grunt, he knew how to make her scream. No one had ever made her scream before; she was glad he didn’t have neighbors that lived close.
“Do that again! Just like that… Yes… yes! Jay!” Steffy could feel her climax at her doorstep, she had never climax so quickly before.
Steffy felt sprung from her climax, she was reaching and clawing for Jay. She could taste herself on his lips, she had no rhyme or reason to her kissing, her tongue was just frenzied in his mouth. She hadn’t even had his dick and she was dickmatized. She was groaning so loud from the kiss, she was rubbing her pussy on his thigh.
Jay knew that he had her going buckwild, his ego wasn’t going to be the only thing stroked tonight.
“Baby…” Jay could note the disappointment from Stephanie when he stopped to kiss.
“Yes?” Steffy was still having trouble forming coherent thoughts.
“I’ll be right back; I’m going to get you some water.” Jay reluctantly got off the bed.
“But I’m not thirsty…” Steffy was really confused.
“Not right now, but you will be. I’m going to be putting a baby in you tonight, so I’m going to be fucking you all night and if you react like that to my tongue, I’m sure you’re going to be coming all night on my dick.” Jay knew that he was a confident man, but he also made promises that he intended to keep. He wasn’t doing any sleeping tonight. He was sure that he was going to tell Antonio that he was not coming into work in the morning. He would probably be fucking Stephanie all morning too.
“Oh okay.” Steffy nodded and smiled. It made perfect sense in her dickmatized brain.
Steffy had woken up feeling different. She was smiling before she opened her eyes. She was replaying everything from last night. She felt stupid for not divorcing Liam sooner. She got to fulfill her fantasy last night. There were many nights where she fantasized having sex with Jay, but nothing lived up to the reality.
She reached out, she hoped that he was still in bed.
She could feel his abs and it made her bite her lip.
“I can see that you’re up. I was wondering when that was going to happen.” Jay had been up for some time; he usually was though.
“I’m usually up so early, but last night, almost all of the night someone was keeping me up from sleep.”
Jay turned and put his hand between Stephanie’s legs. He could hear her gasp when he slipped two fingers in her.
“Were you satisfied? I wasn’t. Even when I was drowning in it, I still wasn’t satisfied.” Jay started pumping her with his fingers and listen to her cries.
“Are you trying to break my pussy?” Steffy was still trying to recover from fucking all night. Jay was trying to punish her with pleasure, she swore it. All she could think about was how long his fingers were. How well they could curve in her... He knew where her G spot was, she knew that he was taunting her.
“I would rather die than do that. Now that I’ve had a sample, I’m never going to stop. I thought what better way to start my morning than fucking my future wife.” Jay knew that he could be a cruel man, he could tell that’s exactly what Stephanie liked. It made her orgasms more powerful. He was going to let her know how was being with him.
Steffy could barely think from Jay’s ministrations. Then he said she was his wife; it made her cum hard. As she started shaking, she could feel his dick sliding in her.
“Ooh baby! Mmph…Oh my God!” Steffy felt like she couldn’t get enough, she kept moaning until Jay was so close to her. She wrapped her legs around his waist. The soles of her feet were pressing into his back.
Her body was subconsciously trying to guide him in deeper. His dick was already stuffed into her, but she needed to be one with him.
“Damn you’re so freaking wet. I’m not going to last.” Jay was still amazed at how much he could arouse her.
He fucked her with slow strokes, even gave her some kisses. He was trying to use the slow strokes to refocus, to not blow his load.
“Touch your clit baby. I’m not going to last long, not with this beautiful pussy gripping me like that. Still so god damn tight.” Jay gave her a particularly hard thrust.
It made Steffy cry out, the sex with Jay was making her go crazy, she felt damn near delirious.
She had her middle finger on her clit, she was furious with her strokes. She had already been building towards her orgasm, she knew that she wouldn’t be long until she came.
“Jay! I’m coming… I’m coming baby!” Tears leaked from Steffy’s eyes. Her orgasm felt sublime, her legs gave out, she couldn’t even hold on to Jay anymore.
As soon as Jay knew that she came, he started fucking her hard with uncoordinated thrusts, she was gripping him with a strength that was inhuman. It was like her whole pussy was trying to steal his cum. He gladly gave it all away.
“Fuck! Fuck!” Jay grunted loud in her ear; it was nearly a growl. Stephanie Forrester made him a damn animal for it.
Steffy knew he was softening, but she still feels a sense of disappointment when he slips out of her.
“It's ridiculous, Jay you know how to make me go insane.” Steffy felt a calm fury in her, it felt like a hurricane, she couldn't describe it. She had never felt this way about anyone before. She felt tendrils of it at the party, now it was magnified. She felt the full force of her feelings for him… of her love for him.
“Good. Now you can feel a smidge of what I feel for you. Get up.”
“Why? Are you going to try and fuck me in the shower?” Steffy laughed at her own joke but Jay was completely silent.
“I just might. But I need you to get up I’m gonna move on. We have a date that we can't miss.”
“What for?” Stephanie knew that Jay was a romantic, he was always giving her declarations at the parties.
“I told you that I keep my promises. We’re getting married as soon as we get to the courthouse.” Jay had used the time where Stephanie was sleeping to see if he could get an appointment. Even though technically you could walk in and get married, he like to plan for things.
Jay knew that he said exactly the right thing, Stephanie had gotten up and ran on the bed before she jumped on him.
“You listened to me.” Steffy just hugged him to her tight, her legs were wrapped around him again. She kissed him with happiness and laughter. She couldn’t believe that Jay actually listens to her.
“Why wouldn’t I? You’re my Queen. You’re my Stephanie.” Jay snuck in a kiss. He couldn’t believe he was doing something so insane. Normally his rational mind would tell him to wait something out, let things fall and see where it goes. He realized that he didn’t want to do that with Stephanie. He knew what it was like to be without her, hoped that one day he would have a shot. He told himself that if he did, he wasn’t going to waste any time.
And then last night out of nowhere, she was at his door. He thought to himself he would be an idiot to pass this up. This was the woman who gave him hope again. It was her empathy that drew him in. They had a shared pain and then she started to make him laugh and smile. It was then she held his heart. Every time they spoke, it felt like a promise, they spoke so intimately, he looked forward to those parties so he could tell her about his day and what he had been doing lately. He loved to hear about hers too.
He was happy that he was going to have that every day, he was also glad that he wasn’t going to have to pay an arm and a leg to tell the woman he loves how his day went.
“Are you going to buy me a Crown?” Steffy was giggling, she couldn’t even hide it.
“I think you get one at Burger King if you get a big kid’s meal.”
“You’d buy me a big kid’s meal? You’re so romantic!” Steffy kissed him long and with tongue. He started moving them into the bathroom.
“Baby, I’d buy you two.” Jay set her down and got her toothbrush from the drawer.
This was when Steffy realized that she had nothing here. She only had the same clothes that she came in.
“I don’t have anything here, once we’re married where we gonna live? Am I going to live here? Are you going to live with me? I have a condo, but your house is bigger. It may be better for us to live here ‘cause when we have babies- -” Steffy started babbling, she was wondering how everything was going to work.
“Baby, we can get some of your stuff and we can live here. It’s bigger… If you don’t like it, you can choose anywhere else you like. I don’t care… I just need you in my space, I need you in my bed, it can be here, it could be in Chicago, it can be anywhere as long as you're there.” He looked at her through the mirror. He hugged her to him.
Steffy could feel his chest on her back, she could see his arms wrapped around her waist through the mirror. She felt his hands shift, he cupped one of her breasts, gently pinched her nipple. She saw him kiss her neck. His eyes focused on her through the mirror. She bit her lip, and he could see everything.
Jay was satisfied with what he saw, he could see that he was with someone who could break him into pieces. He loved to see that he had a similar effect to her as she did to him.
“I love you.” It was all Steffy could say. It was something new for her to be with someone so decisive, she didn’t have that in so long.
“I love you too. I love you so much baby. You don’t know what was like to see you at my door. Sometimes I feel like it’s still a dream. I don’t wanna wake up.”
“Jay I’m real. I’m real and I’m yours. Soon it'll be legally binding.” Steffy closed her eyes and smiled wide thinking that soon she would be married to Jay.
Jay could see the face of peace on Stephanie, he just planning more kisses on her neck and shoulder. He cannot wait to be her husband. He reluctantly let go of her so he could take a shower.
Steffy felt a disappointment when Jay left, but he had to get clean, so did she. But she needed to brush her teeth first. She could join him in the shower after. As much as she wanted to have shower sex, she didn’t think that she could do anymore right now.
After they finished their tempting shower, Steffy had worn her same dress, but she decided to just leave her panties there. She was going to go home anyways. Jay had offered to give her a pair of his sweats and a T shirt, but Steffy had to pass on it. It would be very indicative that she spent all night getting fucked if she was walking around in her man's clothes. Especially when said man is in nice clothes.
As soon as they got to Steffy’s condo, she quickly changed into a nice dress. It wasn’t something overly fancy, but it was something that would look appropriate for a day at court. She opted not to wear white, she wore a light lavender. It was the dress Jay like most among the choices she gave him. She blushed when he said it brought out her eyes.
When they got to the courthouse, they filled out the paperwork necessary. They filed for a confidential marriage; this was going to need to be a secret until they were ready to tell their families.
Even though it was at a courthouse and just them, and a court appointed witness, they were happy.
When a judge said that they could kiss, they both goofily laughed, and it made the judge and the witness laugh as well. They shared a sweet kissed. They were aware of their audience.
After they got their marriage license and certificate, things started to feel permanent.
“Do you want to have Burger King now or later?” Jay was only joking he was not going to have Burger King after just getting married.
“I’ll have to get my crown later; we need to go to the consulate. I need to register our marriage. It will stay private there too, no one is expecting us to be married.” Steffy knew that marriage was public record in Brazil. But she doubted that anyone was going to be looking for her any information on her marriage. She knew that soon that people were going to be talking about her divorce with Liam.
“Okay. If that’s something that you need to do then okay, we’ll do it.” It did run through Jay’s mind that she used the Brazilian government to get her divorce from Liam. But he didn’t think about any kind of divorce with her. He could never dream of hurting her or ignoring her. She was the only one for him and he planned on letting her know that every day.
When they got to the Brazilian consulate, it was like Jay saw a whole new side to his wife. She started speaking Portuguese and he just stood there. He let her do her thing. It didn’t actually take long for them to register their marriage.
When he saw Stephanie going somewhere else, he was a little confused. She was getting her passport updated.
Steffy wanted to do a small gesture for her husband, she knows that she didn’t need to do it, but this was going to be their secret, a trust in one another… she was doing was important to her.
When she got her new passport, she left the consulate with Jay’s hand and hers. When they got to the car, she started giggling.
Jay did not know what was going on with his wife, he could say that now because it was the truth.
“What’s going on with you?” Jay wondered; Stephanie Forrester was just about the most interesting person he ever met. She still did things that fascinated him as much as it perplexed him.
Steffy just passed her passport to her husband.
Jay just rolls his eyes at her; he took the passport and was wondering why some mundane task was making her smile like it was contagious. He opened the passport and next to her photo, he saw her name.
He just looked at her and couldn't believe it. He saw Stephanie D. Forrester Halstead-Voight.
“Baby you don't have to do this, you don't have to change your name for me.”
“I know I didn’t, I wanted to. It will only be on my Brazilian IDs, but I like it. I’ve never done that for anyone before. I love you Jay and I want you to know that I take our relationship seriously, I love you so deeply. And no, I don’t need to take your name to prove anything. But I like the sound of that name. Out in the world I’ll be Stephanie Douglas Forrester, but in my home, I'll be Stephanie Halstead-Voight…” Steffy looked at her husband in his eyes. She decided to reach over and touch his crotch.
She knew that he was hard, she unzipped his pants they got underneath the waistband and pumped him, she got some lotion from her bag.
Jay couldn’t believe he was getting a hand job in front of the Brazilian consulate.
“Baby coming you’re going to make me come. Not in the car please!” Jay knew was going to be a little upset, he did not want his spunk decorating his car.
When Steffy heard that Jay was close, she climbed over, her stomach was on the center console, it wasn’t the most comfortable position. But when she put her lips and tongue on the head of Jay’s dick, it was worth hearing his groans. She could see him biting his knuckle. His come started filling her mouth, Steffy squeezed the base of his cock trying to wring out as much as possible.
When she was done, Steffy went right back into her seat put on her seat belt. She just left Jay out hanging. He was still trying to catch his breath from the surprise that was his wife.
“I love you.” Jay’s voice felt pretty hoarse.
“I know you do. I’m really hungry please get me some food.” Steffy realize that she had nothing to eat so far today.
Jay just started laughing, realize that his penis was still out. He started tucking himself away and ask his wife for some hand sanitizer.
“I can definitely do that.”
Jay started the car and went on the prowl for food, his wife didn’t give him a specific kind of food she wanted, he just thought to himself this was how it starts; he knew he had to choose a good place because his wife was very particular about food... He didn’t care that much because their elbows were resting on the center console, she put her hand within his hand he felt like everything was going to be just fine.
It had been hours since they got married. It still felt a little surreal for Jay, he considered himself a pretty spontaneous guy, but he could definitely say he had never been in a situation where he was proposed to and literally got married the next day.
His wife was an enigma, she had actually made him go to Burger King. They bought two big kid’s meals and ate it in the parking lot. This was their first meal as a married couple, he couldn’t believe it. Stephanie actually wore the crown as she ate the food. He laughed the whole meal; he couldn’t remember the last time he laughed so hard.
After they had gotten married, they went back to her condo so she could get some more clothes, the same spontaneous Burger King eating wife of his was scarily efficient when she was packing her things. It amused him, the same woman who was scarfing down fries in his car, with the same person packing at lightning speed. But she didn’t pack like she was on the run, she packed methodically. Like with like.
When they got home, he could think that now his home was her home now… She started making closet space. He knew that the dimensions of his closet were pretty big, he just didn’t use it all because he didn't have all those clothes. Now he was married to a woman who ruled a whole fashion house. She was testing the concept of his walk-in closet.
“Jay, how do you feel about redecorating?”
“It depends on what are you thinking of as redecorating? Are we talking a room, are we talking the whole house?” Jay already knew that he was going to lose this battle, he still tried anyways. His parents did not raise someone to throw in the towel.
“It's just that, it’s going to be my space too. I think it would be fun for us to decorate it together. I’m not going to be one of those people who changes everything, and you just have to accept it. I know that you would if it made me happy, but I don’t want to do that. I want this to be our house, and I think it would be fun for us to do this together. I want this to be our home, I want you to love it as much as I love it.” Stephanie knew that Jay would acquiesce to make her happy. She knows that she could change this whole house and he wouldn’t complain, but she really didn’t want that. She wanted to be married to him, not run him at least not completely…
Jay was pleasantly surprised; he was ready to say yes just to make her happy.
“I like that baby. Alright, we’ll decorate it together, I have access to the best interior designers. Or did you wanna like go to Restoration Hardware or Crate and Barrel?” It was a serious question, but he realized it did come out like he was a douche.
“Well, why don’t we do both! We can use an interior designer for the big stuff, but then we can choose stuff that we like that will really make our home hours like, choosing a specific rug we like, or I don’t know a coffee table? And I do like Restoration Hardware just for your information.” She bought almost all of her furniture from Restoration Hardware that's in her condo.
“I didn’t even mean it the way it came out, as soon as it did, I felt like a douche.” Jay just sat on the bed as he watched his wife unpack. He offered to help, but she said it would be faster if he didn’t.
“It wasn't that bad, I don’t need you to be a cookie cutter type anyways, I like your honesty, is something that I find to be one of your sexiest qualities.” Steffy stopped organizing.
She started walking towards Jay.
Jay looked at her every single move. He thought that it was funny that he had this big California King bed and yet Stephanie was always climbing into his lap, straddling him like his lap was her only chair.
“You know we got to stop meeting like this.” His hands made their way down her lower back.
“Really, that’s not what I’m feeling, I’m feeling that you really love meeting like this.”
Jay could only laugh; he married a minx.
“Who’s trying to break who now?” Jay's eyebrow rose, he wanted to add emphasis to his question.
“I could never. Your dick is magical.” Steffy feels so silly, she needs to hide her face in Jays neck.
“Are you getting shy?” Jay was only teasing, he started to rub his hands up and down her back. He thought his wife was so cute.
“Maybe a little. You make me shy Jay. You are just so handsome.”
“This is you shy?! Well damn I love my shy wife. My wife thinks I’m handsome. Well that’s the highlight of my day.” he chuckles.
Steffy face was still in his neck. She felt the gentle vibrations from his voice.
“I hope that’s not the highlight of your day, I thought we could do something tonight.” Steffy was not celebrating her first night as Jay's wife like this.
“Well what were you thinking?” He was playing it cool. He didn’t care what he did, not honestly… he knew whatever it was going to be cool.
“Let's go to a salsa club, we can dance all night. It would be so much fun.”
“Well seeing as how I cannot dance, that might be a little hard especially for something like a salsa.”
“I’ll teach you some moves when we get there, I don’t care if you can’t dance. Even if you literally just waltz to the music, I would have fun because it's with you. Also you know those kinds of dances, they can get a very sensual. I love dancing. It heightens my sexual mood. Steffy rolled her neck slowly, she let her hair fall freely. She knew that it would be an intoxicating sight.
Jay got more aroused as his wife was trying to kill him.
“How do you make everything sound so much sexier than I can envision it?”
“Because I’ll be doing it with you…” Steffy reached out and kissed him. She wasn’t planning on going any further, she was going to need to get ready to go dancing but she loved kissing Jay.
He hugged her close, kissing Stephanie was like having sex, he didn't know how she made the simple act so good. He thought he was addicted.
“It's not right, this power you have over me. You make me want things.”
“Well Jay I’m your Queen, aren’t I? Baby if you want anything, you know you can have it. It’s yours, so take it...”
Jay let out of breath; he didn't even know he was holding one in.
“I don’t know if we’ll ever leave the house again…”
“Well you can take it later, because we are going dancing that’s nonnegotiable.” Steffy had to put her foot down on this, she had already put it in her mind that she was going dancing, so she was going to dance.
“Mrs. Halstead-Voight if you’re nasty.”
They both started laughing, Stephanie knew how corny she was.
“Baby I really love you but there’s no way in hell I will ever say that while we’re fucking, that’s my mom’s name too.” That was one line he was not willing to cross.
It makes Steffy laugh so hard, she really couldn’t stop. Tears started coming out her eyes. She had to let one of her arms leave Jay's neck so she could wipe her tears.
“You could always say Forrester. I permit that.”
“I’ll have to think about that, I much prefer Stephanie or Junior. I love saying your name.”
He was just about the only person in her life that called her Stephanie. She personally loved it, something about it when he said her name made her go crazy and googly eyed.
“I love you saying my name. I love it so much, I love your voice in general, anytime I hear you… My panties get wet and I love it. I love when my underwear sticks to my cunt. You’re going to ruin all my underwear Jay.”
“You don’t have to wear any...”
“I’d need to bring you everywhere so you could lick me if that were the case.”
“God, I wish I could do that. So beautiful.”
Steffy didn’t know if he was talking about her or her vagina. Either way it made her feel turned on.
“We need to stop this, you wanted to go dancing. I’m going to take you dancing.” Jay knew he had to get his head in the game. The more they talked about sex the more he was inclined to stop thinking with his brain.
When Jay makes mention of dancing, Steffy shoots up and goes to the bedroom. It didn’t take him long to get ready, he spent most of his time just watching. He saw his wife battling back and forth on what outfit she was going to wear.
He saw her pick a pattern dress the cinched at the waist. It had a more fitted top and the flowy skirt. He guessed it would be perfect for the kind of dancing they would be doing.
“Do you like my dress?” Steffy twirled as she said it, she wanted to give a 360 view.
“I think you look beautiful. You’re going to be the prettiest person there.” Jay had refrained from saying his true thoughts, the last thing he wanted was to tell her that she looked utterly fuckable. He was trying to think with his brain and not his dick.
When she giggled, he knew that he said the right thing. He got up from the bed and went to her.
He gave her a hug. Nice and tight, he didn’t think that he could ever get tired of holding her.
“I hope this salsa club has a menu” Jay was getting pretty hungry; a big kid’s meal was just not going to do it for him.
“Yeah baby... they have food. It’s going to be a full date experience.” It didn’t escape Steffy’s notice that this was going to be the first date ever, married or otherwise. She was looking forward to it.
They started to walk out the house, Steffy was practically skipping. She was so happy; she hadn’t done anything fun in so long.
When they got there, the music already had Steffy swaying to the beat. Jay had a hand on her hip, and it was like he could feel the music hit her body.
They had ordered their food, Steffy saw that Jay was hungry, she wanted him to be taken care of before she got everything she wanted.
It was a funny sight for her to see Jay just scarf down the food. It was like he took no chance to take a breath.
“Junior, this food is fucking bomb. We’re definitely coming back here.” Jay said in between chewing his food.
“I’d really love that. I’m glad you like it here Jay.”
Jay looked up from his plate, he knew so much about his wife, when her voice got so soft, it was because she was really thankful for something.
“I really do, all I wanna do is make you happy.” Jay used his free hand to squeeze his wife’s.
“If I already didn’t give you the cookie, I would have given it to you right now.” Steffy giggled cause she was really telling the truth. Jay knew what to say to make her panties drop.
“Baby, you can’t talk like that. You’re making me hungry.”
“They have a full menu here. You can always order something else.” Steffy was starting to be coy, she loved flirting with Jay.
They had been seated in a booth; Jay had gotten closer to her. He set his fork down and went as close as he could to his wife. And started to whisper in her ear.
“What I’m hungry for is not on the menu… it’s right here.” Jay pressed his hand to his wife’s center. He bit her earlobe and pressed a kiss to her cheek.
“You're not playing fair; you can't do this before my dancing. This is not right Jay.”
Jay laughed because Jr's actions didn’t match her words. She was holding his forearm so his hand couldn't leave but telling him otherwise.
“I’m sorry baby. I’m getting so ahead of myself. Let me just take my hand away.”
“In a second. Let me just have this.”
Steffy closed her eyes and moaned a little, she was manipulating Jay’s hand, she needed the friction. She didn’t know why she was punishing herself.
She reluctantly pushed Jay’s hand away. She came to dance, not get finger fucked. That’s what it was going to end up being if she didn’t stop herself.
She looked towards her husband; he was not helping. He was making animated sounds while licking his fingers. The fingers from the same hand that had been on her.
It was all Jay needed to say to make his wife pout. He thought it was his favorite facial expression of hers.
“If you keep acting like this, I’ll fuck myself in our bed and make you watch. I won’t let you have any pleasure from it. Your dick will be so hard, but I won’t let you cum. You won’t even be able to touch yourself.”
“How are you gonna stop me? Say by some miracle, I don’t get it into that lovely pussy of yours, how are you gonna stop me from just rubbing one out?”
Steffy's face was downright devious.
“You see my love; you’re going to have to go to sleep sometime. When you do, I will handcuff you and chain you to the bed.” Steffy said as she took a sip of her margarita.
Jay's eyebrows rose, he couldn't believe his wife said this in a matter-of-fact tone. He sure as hell didn’t want to dance now, he wanted to go home. But he was going to acquiesce, he was going to give his wife everything she wanted.
“God, I love you so much.”
“Good. Now let’s go do some dancing!”
Jay was first to get out of the booth, he stuck his hand out, so he could help her up. This was something that wasn’t in his wheelhouse. He was a little nervous and a little embarrassed. He didn’t really care what other people thought of him, but it was hard to not feel self-conscious at a dance club that would require you to dance if you’re going to be on the dance floor.
“I’ll keep it really basic. It’s really easy, baby you just have to relax. I know it can be a little nerve wracking to do something that's pretty new to you... You don’t need to be good at it, I just want you to have fun.” Steffy was trying to be reassuring. She could feel some of the tension release from Jay’s body.
She started placing his hands in the right places. They started to go slow. She showed him the steps that he needed to take. At first it was pretty mechanical. Jay started to loosen up when his wife started to bribe him. Every time he did something right, he got something he wanted in return. He started to really get the hang of it after that.
They started off slow, but they got more in tune with the music as time went on. When Jay stopped trying to be perfect, that’s when things really started to flow. When he didn’t give him much thought, his footwork was pretty good for a beginner. Steffy did most of the complicated stuff, Jay was starting to see how this could be sensual. The music was fun, and his hand started to move around his wife’s body. Sometimes he twirled her, sometimes she didn’t move where she would be close to him, his hands at her waist and her back towards his chest.
He didn’t realize how much of a workout it was going to be, he started sweating through his button down. He saw his wife was pretty sweaty too. It must have been why she decided not to wear any makeup. When he looked around at the dance floor, he saw that this was a pretty regular occurrence.
The more they danced, the more laughter started to bubble between the two of them. There was something kind of euphoric for him, doing the dances gave him some kind of release. He realized that happiness had nothing to do with his wife, he really did love to make her happy… But this kind of happiness, it was like endorphins. He kept chasing the feeling and his wife was up for the challenge. She started showing him how to do other dances. She kept it simple, but he found that he had a knack for this.
They spent hours there, he couldn’t even tell what time it was. It wasn’t until his wife told him that she was ready to go home, her feet hurt in her heels. He saw her, some parts of her hair were damp from the sweat on her body, her back was drenched from exertion.
They had walked towards the car hand in hand, Jay was relaying how much he really enjoyed it. Steffy knew that he was going to love it, he just needed to give it a try and not take it so seriously. She knew her husband was going to have fun, was one of the reasons why she brought it up in the first place.
When they got in the car, Jay finally realized why he loved the dancing.
“You know all night; I was trying to figure out why the dancing made me so happy. Like legit happy on a chemical level…” Jay had his epiphany.
“Yeah…” Steffy could only moan out. She had lowered the back of the seat a little to make herself more comfortable.
“That shit is like sex. It was the endorphins. Is not like the exact same, but it feels similar to when I come.” When Jay concluded his thought, he looked at his wife. As soon as he said come, she started moaning and shut her legs. Her legs were clamped tight.
Jay had started driving, but he had other things on his mind, namely his wife.
“Are you wet?” Jay could imagine that her panties were probably soaked right now. He had been touching her body all night long, there was a few times where his hands ended up on her ass.
“Unh…” Steffy bit her lip. She could barely stifle the moan.
Jay started to accelerate; he knew that he needed to get home now.
“Open your legs.” Jay said in that tone that he knew Stephanie loved.
He could see one of her legs was shaking. But she opened it and he knew that his wife wasn't going to make it.
“Jay… Don’t do that to me right now…” Steffy had to bite a finger to keep her wits.
“Baby, I can’t do anything right now. I want you to fuck yourself. I want you to take two fingers and put them inside. I bet that pussy would have no resistance. Go on put it in.”
Steffy pushed her underwear to the side and slipped two fingers in.
“I bet that feels good doesn’t it, it’s not my fingers, but it’ll have to do for now... I want you to curl them and press on your G spot.” Jay had made a right turn; he had almost just wanted to stop. But they were close to their house.
“Jay, it feels so good... Ah! Fuck…” Steffy’s head was starting to get foggy. She wanted to come so badly, but something in her with telling her to listen to her husband.
“Yeah, just like that. Use your other hand to touch your clit. Stroke it slowly.” Jay was getting harder from watching his wife please herself.
Steffy felt like she was going to cry if she didn’t get any relief.
“Jay, I need to come.” she couldn't last any longer. The object of her fantasy was torturing her right now.
Jay could see her arm twitching. He was finally on the road towards their home. Even though it was a residential neighborhood, he did not give a damn he started speeding.
“Come for me.” It was all Jay needed to say.
Steffy let out a near silent scream. Tears were coming out of her eyes. The bliss that was radiating throughout her body was hours in the making. All of the dancing and then her husband voice. It was just too much for her.
Jay parked the car and then ran to the passenger side. He got his wife out and carried her home. They couldn’t even make it to the couch, he sat her down on the carpet. He took a blanket from the couch and set it down.
“Baby get on the blanket.”
Steffy listened to Jay and crawled on to the blanket. He opened her legs and slipped off her underwear. Soaked was an understatement, she had wetness gleaming on her thighs. He licked it all, he had been waiting all night to be able to do this.
Hearing her in the car, he could have exploded in his pants. He lapped up all the wetness he could. He dipped his finger and dragged his fingers on her pelvis lightly. It made her back arch almost instantly.
“I love you… Show your love for me. Show me that I’m your queen.”
Those words egged Jay on. He was originally going to make her come quickly. But he changed his tactics when she spoke, he took his time. He left her moans guide him. He teased her clit ever so often.
Each time she came, he could feel her body twitch, he could feel himself smiling. He ate her out for almost 40 minutes, and she came six times. That’s when she tapped out.
“I love you too.” He covered her up.
When he got up, he could see her whole body was sweating. Her hair was sticking to her skin. He lied down next to her and pulled her to him. He wanted to hug her close.
“Baby, you’re hard. I --” Steffy started to talk.
“I’m good. I can handle it.” Jay couldn’t even imagine trying to fuck his wife right now. She must be so sensitive.
“Oh God, I’m so sweaty. Maybe we could take a bath together? I want to take care of you. I’m not going to let you handle it after what you just did. I can definitely say this is the first time I’ve ever come seven times in one day.” Steffy felt like her brain was as fried as her vagina.
“I do love that you’re having new experiences… A bath sounds like a good idea. All that dancing tonight, we definitely did work up a sweat.”
“Yeah, we did, your tongue was also dancing with my pussy. That definitely made me sweat too.”
“Well get used to it. You’re on the winning team now.”
Steffy started laughing uncontrollably.
“You’re so freaking corny. And I’m such a sucker for you.”
He just hugged her tighter and kiss behind her ear. Steffy could almost forget how hard an unforgiving the floor underneath was to her side.
“Let me get that that started for us.” They got up and went to their bathroom.
His wife had an abundance of this aromatherapy/bath time/whatever this stuff is. He didn’t know what to put in the water. So he kind of just put anything that made sense.
He lit some candles around the room. He lit enough where it was actually enough light that he didn't actually need to keep the lights on. As soon as there was enough water in the tub, he shut it all and went to go get his wife.
He picked up Stephanie from the ground and carried her.
Steffy wrapped her arms around his neck. She kept kissing his jaw which she found out always made him smile.
When she got to the bathroom, she was a little ticked.
“Jay, oh my goodness, you use my bath salts and you put a bath bomb in here.” Steffy was thankful that he was trying to be cute for her, but he wasted a perfectly good bath bomb.
“Do they not go together?” Jay fell out of his depth; he just sat his wife down.
They started to take off their clothes and climbed in.
“Not really. The ones that I buy they both help relieve tension. One would have been sufficient. But I do see the direction you were trying to go in and I very much appreciate it.” Steffy had been resting on his chest when she said this.
She turned around to give him a kiss. She really did appreciate that he was always trying to make an experience for them. It was such a welcome change. The action was quick, she went right back to cleaning herself. She did wanna get the grime off of her. She wanted to be fresh for bed. She cleaned him too.
This was new for him... a peculiar feeling. Jay had taken showers with women before, but it was really just sex. He never had love express to him like this before. This was clearly something that his heart enjoyed. He was kind of embarrassed to admit that, so he pretended that this was a normal that he had before. He joined in himself, he actually took a bath. He was going to take a shower after, but he wasn't going to need that anymore.
“You’re welcome, but next time I’ll just read the labels. It was pretty fun to see the bath bomb do it’s fizzing thing.”
“You're so easy to impress.”
“You are just about the only person who would ever say that...”
“I seemed to impress you.”
“You’re not everybody.”
“Damn right I’m not.”
When they had finished bathing themselves. They just looked at each other.
She pulled him close, she had nothing else on her mind but kissing him. They had finished their bath, she had no interest in staying longer tonight, she didn’t want to get pruny, she had a promise to fulfill. They get their towels to dry themselves off. After they brush your teeth, they head off to their room.
“Go lay down. Lay a towel down on the bed first.” Steffy sealed her demand with a kiss.
Jay had a mind to put some boxers on, but he was going to listen to his wife. The way she said it went straight to his cock. He was still half hard. He did what was asked of him and laid on top of the towel.
“Close your eyes Jay.”
Jay listened to his wife again, he could feel the bed dip. Stephanie was close.
Steffy had poured some Jojoba oil in her hand. As soon as she touched Jay's dick, she could feel it twitching. She started to massage it with her hands, letting the oil spread, she reaches underneath and rubbed his balls. She licked the head of his dick, she hollowed out her cheeks, she could feel some of his precum flowing. She took more of him inch by inch while she caressed his ball some more.
Jay let out a stream of curses, he could only but his knuckles to get some kind of relief. He felt like his wife was trying to take his soul from his dick, he wanted to open his eyes so badly and just watch her. But he was actually afraid if he did, she would stop and there was no way in hell he was going to let that happen.
“Baby…” It was all Jay could say.
Steffy knew that he was close, she sucked harder on the head. He did one last tongue roll around it and he was filling her mouth with his cum.
She saw that he kept his eyes closed, she wanted to laugh but she kept it in. She gave his cock one last kiss, it made him shudder.
“You know you could have opened your eyes.”
“You say that after you do this.” He opened his eyes feeling a little foolish, but he couldn't take any chances. Not with a BJ like that.
“Well I was busy, I’m not done so I want you to put the pillow there and lay your forehead on it and lie on your stomach.”
He looked at her weirdly, but he did as she asked.
She started to manipulate his body. She poured more of the oil into her hands and got on top of him. She started spreading it and giving him a massage. She wanted to get all of the kinks out of his body and make him relax.
“Sometimes it may feel like it hurts, but that’s just me getting into some tension or a knot. Just breathe through it, you'll always feel better after I promise.”
Jay had tensed at some point, Steffy just gave him the time that he needed. He started to breathe, and she would continue. His body became more compliant when he could feel literal tension melting away. He got massages pretty often. It was pretty common for him to get sport massages after some grueling workouts. He was pretty much used to it, but it always took his body a little bit of time to adjust.
He had no clue that Stephanie could do this. he kept finding out about all of these hidden talents, he wasn’t mad at it because he was a benefactor of Them.
She even dug into his calves, that was always his weak spot... it hurt like hell.
“Honey turn.” She got off of him so he would be able to do what she asked.
He turned around again; his wife told him not to use the pillow this time. She rubbed him down from temple to his toes. Felt like she even melted the bones in his feet. When she was finished, she got up and went towards the bathroom here she put the oils away and washed your hands.
Steffy had gotten his preferred night clothes have an undershirt, boxers and flannel and gave it to him.
“How do you feel?” Steffy was anxious to know.
“I feel like all of my muscles and bones melted into the soup. I had no idea you had such a talent.”
She got in the bed and went as close as she could get to him.
He opened his arms and scooted her closer so they could be together. He could breathe him in, her nose was right next to his collarbone.
“I’m a Jane of all trades, I guess. I took a lot of random classes just for fun. I’m glad you liked it.”
“I more than like it, I freaking loved it.” Jay pressed a kiss into her hair.
When she didn’t say anything, he took a look down. She was sleeping, she looks so innocent he thought to himself.
He situated her on her side of the bed, he knew that she liked to sleep with her back on the bed. He turned off all the lights and double checked that no candles had been burning in the bathroom still. He fell asleep himself feeling like a brand-new man.
Steffy was feeling on cloud 9, she didn't even understand how she could be so in love... She knew that she loved her husband, but it was still astonishing to her to feel this giddy. She was at work and it was pretty noticeable to just about everyone. No one made any comments, people were just happy for her. It had been a long time since they had seen a genuine smile. Steffy knew how to camouflage. She had this way of pretending to be happy or pretending to laugh at a joke. If you didn’t really know her, you would think that it was genuine. But for the people who did know her, they could see that she was hurting… Her smiles didn’t reach her eyes, her laughter felt empty. More like those forced laughs you hear at parties or hear dad jokes.
Most people just thought the Steffy was celebrating her freedom from Liam. Unfortunately so, there were some people who knew about his infidelity.
Steffy was done thinking about her past, didn’t matter how recent it was. She was letting all of that go. Liam was a memory, even if it was a painful one, she was leaving it where it should have been… In the past. She was focusing on her future and her present. She was taking FC to new heights. She was in the driver seat and she was not letting up. She had grand ambitions for this company, she knew that with her direction the sky was the limit. She was not going to allow any distractions to take away from that. She was not going to allow any personal turmoil in her past to dictate her company’s success. She had never done that before but even just the perception alone, she knew that it could hurt her company.
People were telling her that Hope was back in town. She didn’t know why people thought that she should care. She let go of her baggage with Hope, that wasn’t on her mind and it definitely wasn’t on her radar. If Hope wanted to pick things up with Liam, that wasn’t Steffy's problem. She was dead set on living her best life, she wasn’t minding anyone’s business but her own.
She could care less about Hope’s arrival, she had better things on her mind. Thomas decided that he wanted to come home. She was focused on his arrival; she knew that she couldn’t lure him back to FC. He was doing his own thing, putting his degree to use. She was happy for him though; he was running things and being true to who he was. She felt like this was finally the time for the Hamiltons.
She had left work and went straight home. There was no other place she’d rather be. Being that she just got married, she couldn’t help but think that she needed a honeymoon. It would be so nice for them to get away. She knew that they would have so much fun going on a trip, she could get Jay to discover new things.
When she got home, she started researching places where they could go. No matter how many places she looked at, she just kept thinking it would be perfect if they went to Fortaleza. She knew how fun it was, but it wasn’t as overwhelming as Sao Paulo or Rio de Janeiro. It was a good way to experience Brazil for the first time. That’s what she wanted for Jay.
She started booking the hotel and flight. She thought there earlier she could secure them, the better. She started to change her clothes; she saw Jay’s shirt from the night prior. She had taken a shower and then slipped on his button down. She loved that it still had his scent lingering on it. She was missing her hubby and it was little things like that that helped the ache.
Steffy didn’t know what time they would be home; he didn’t have a real predictable schedule. Sometimes he came home early, sometimes he came later. But she thought that she would get dinner started now. She was starting to get hungry herself and she thought to herself that Jay could always reheat it later if he came home after she expected him.
Steffy had finished the dinner before Jay got home, she started to eat by herself because she just couldn't wait. As she was eating her meal, she heard the door open. Jay happened to be on the phone, but he still came and greeted her.
Jay had been going back and forth with one of their contractors for a couple of hours. He went to his wife and gave her a kiss while he dealt with business. Junior gave him a longer kiss than he expected, he almost melted in it until he was put off of hold again.
He just gave his wife a kiss on the forehead and then left. He went to his office to continue the call. Since he started his marriage, he usually didn’t bring business home… unless he was working from home that day, but this was a special circumstance.
One of their contractors were going at a slower pace than they paid for. Jay and Antonio weren’t the ones to ever rush a job, they always wanted everything to be done right and above board. But he didn’t appreciate was the delays and the lack of answers. Everything had to run cohesively, one contractor delaying, made other contractors have to delay because things had to be done in a certain order when they were making a development.
Jay felt his temper rising, he had been put on hold just about all day. They had given his assistant the runaround too and he was getting tired and angry.
Steffy saw that Jay had been gone for almost an hour and a half after he came home. She wasn’t really one to bother him, but she wanted to talk to him about their honeymoon. She figured that he would be done with his call right about now. She gathered all the papers that she printed out; she was so happy to think about going away for a holiday.
When Steffy got into the office, she could see Jay sitting behind his desk. He didn’t say anything. He just looked at her wondering what she was going to say.
“Hey baby, I was looking at some sites and I thought it would be great if we got to go on our honeymoon. So I made some flights and booked a hotel in Brazil. Surprise!” Steffy had been excited to tell him the news.
“Stephanie, I don’t have time for this right now. We cannot just go on trips on a whim. I’m too busy for this bullshit.” Jay snapped at his wife; he didn’t have time right now to talk. He was trying to fix his work crisis and he didn't have time to deal with anything else. He was pacing up and down the room, he was really only focused on his call. His back was towards his wife as she started to back away, he couldn’t see Steffy starting to close the door. “You get his ass on the phone right fucking now! I have been dealing with this bullshit all day. I’m not dealing with someone holding up our whole operation, see to it you get his fucking ass on the line now, or we’re really going to have some problems!” Jay was close to just throwing his phone. There was a lot of money on the line. They couldn’t afford to run behind schedule. They had city inspections and he sure as hell wasn’t going to fail any.
The potential to getting shut down by the city was something that would only rile him up even more. Those kinds of delays, ruined reputations. He already had tenants waiting to know about the property, pushing back the opening date was nonnegotiable. His company always had a generous timeframe of how to get a job done, it was always going to be delays at some part of the chain, they had their analysts even put that in their time frame. This contractor was blowing through all of that. It was one of the first times he used someone he wasn't used to. They came highly recommended from people he trusted, so he thought why not, he was saying that it was one of his biggest mistakes.
Steffy thought that Jay would be happy, she knew that he was busy with work, that’s why she did this in the first place. She wanted the both of them to be able to decompress a little bit and enjoy their marriage. She wanted to have a real honeymoon like any other married couple. She just got chewed out by her husband and she was trying to not take it personally. She saw that he was busy, but the way he talked got to her.
It’s easy not to be offended by someone’s words if you don’t care about them. It was a whole other ballpark when it was someone you loved. She loved Jay so much and hearing him talk like that to her hurt her. She was doing her best not to cry and she failed.
Her mind could only replay Jay's words over and over again. She was not trying to make it more than it was, but it was proving difficult. She went to the guest bedroom and locked the door. She got on the bed and try to distract herself with watching some TV. No matter what she did, her heart felt heavy… Her stomach felt like stone.
Steffy just hugged a pillow to herself, she couldn’t hold it in anymore. She let herself cry and go through those emotions. She cried herself to sleep.
Jay cursed out just about every single person he contacted on the phone. He was tired of dealing with this shoddy company, he couldn't believe that someone was running their business like this. When he told him that he would be relieving them of their duties, that’s when they wanted to change. All of a sudden people were available to speak and somehow the owner was no longer occupied. He had no interest in doing any more business with them. They were holding him behind, they were costing him precious time and blowing money, his other contractors we’re being held up which meant he had to pay them extra...
He hated inefficiency, despite all of the assurances that he got when they signed their contract, the chickens were coming to roost. He should have never deviated from his preferred contact list. He’ll be calling them first thing in the morning. He knew that he was going to have to pay them more now because they were coming in late in the game. If they found that anything wasn’t aboveboard, they were going to have to undo and then start their work. They still have city inspections, and he was definitely not changing that time. It was going to be forever before they could get another appointment. This contractor cost him a lot of money and he thought to himself, the gall of them to start acting different when he fired them.
It was about 2:00 o’clock in the morning when he finished his work. He was planning out his day because he knew that it was going to be a busy morning, when he first got into the office, he was going to have to make the calls himself. That’s how he did things. When things went wrong, you have to have the people at the top sort it out. People usually saw the urgency when it was a top-level executive.
When he went to the bedroom, he saw that the bed was still made up. He didn’t see his wife in there and his eyebrows rose. The house was completely silent, he checked the bathroom, and he didn't find her there. He went outside and saw that her car was still there, so she was inside the house.
Jay started checking every room, when he checked the last room… he tried to open the door, but he saw that it was locked. He didn’t understand why it was locked. This was one of the bedrooms that had access to the pool area. So he went outside and walked towards where that guest bedroom was. He could see his wife in the bed, he knew that she wasn't happy. He knew it because she wasn’t sleeping how she typically slept, she was hugging a pillow to her and sleeping on her side instead of sleeping on her back.
Jay barely saw his wife that night, he was trying to figure out while she was sleeping in the guest bedroom and she left the door locked. Then he started to replay everything. His wife had come into his office, he didn’t even remember what he said to her, but he knew that he snapped on her. He started to feel guilty. He had one mind too open the sliding door. It may have been unlocked, but then he really thought about it. He checked for it, it was locked but he wasn't going to go in if it wasn't.
His wife wanted to be away from him right now and if she woke up and saw him in the room after she locked it, she might get upset. He gave his wife her space.
He got ready for bed, but he didn't feel good, this was the first time that he was sleeping without his wife since they've been married. He did not like the feeling; he could barely fall asleep. He decided the first thing he was going to do when he woke up was to apologize to her. He tossed and turned for nearly an hour trying to fall asleep, but he could only think of how he spoke to his wife. When he did fall asleep, it still wasn’t a restful one.
Steffy woke up at her regular time, she woke up at 4:30 in the morning. She was still upset from last night; she took a shower and then went to her room. When she got there, she saw her husband sleeping. He looked upset even when he was dreaming, she started to get ready for her day.
Before she left her room, she went over to his side of the bed and gave him a kiss on the cheek. She had called for a car to come pick her up, she wasn’t in the mood to drive today. When she got to work, she thought about going to the gym before she actually had to start. She couldn’t find the will or the drive to do it. She just started her day off earlier than usual.
Steffy started to wonder why the room felt hot, she had decided that a simple dress was going to suffice for today, even though it was long sleeved, the sleeves were pretty sheer. She pressed on her head and felt beads of sweat. She couldn’t understand why she was hot; she kept the room temperature the same… It wasn’t hot but it shouldn’t have been cold either, she always settled for a comfortable temperature. If someone was coming in a suit, they wouldn’t get hot an if someone was coming in with a sleeveless dress, they wouldn’t get cold.
She really didn’t feel well, she had called for Amelia. She just chalked it up to maybe needing to eat breakfast. She didn’t think about that when she was on her way out the house. She asked Amelia if she could get her something from the cafeteria. Steffy didn’t particularly care about what it was, she just needed something.
She felt her stomach cramping a little bit. She couldn’t understand why because it couldn't have been any PMS, she had just had her period a couple of weeks ago. It was still too early to get her next one. Her body was really protesting on her and she wished that Amelia gets her some food faster. She would have gotten it herself, but every passing minute felt like she was getting worse. She was a little afraid that if she got up too soon, she might get dizzy.
Amelia came back with a fruit cup. Steffy was glad to see it, she didn’t know if she could handle any heavy food right now. This kind of cramping usually also made her nauseous too and it seemed as if fruit might be the best bet. She thanked Amelia and asked if she could reschedule some of her meetings, she really didn’t feel as if she could handle being in a meeting right now.
If anything she could go back and uncancel them but right now she didn't know how she would get through the whole day.
She had been trying to take it easy, she ate her fruit slowly. She took her time to chew because it felt like a chore to even eat right now. At first, she felt the room was hot, and now she felt as if it was cold. It was as if there was a chill in the air, she couldn’t understand it because she didn’t change the thermostat. It was the same temperature it was when she walked in.
After about 5 minutes of trying to eat, Steffy threw up in her wastebasket. She couldn’t even remember the last time she threw up. It was not something she did often, she didn't know what to do.
Amelia had come back in the room because she forgot to give Steffy a document. She didn’t expect to see her boss throwing up in a wastebasket.
“Are you okay?” Amelia asked concerned about her boss.
“I honestly don’t know, I tried to eat the fruit and my body just threw it right back up. This is the second time I’m vomiting into the garbage in like 3 minutes. The room feels so cold now, but 15 minutes ago I was so hot. I don’t get it.”
“You know, we have had so many people say they would work from home today or full on took sick days. I couldn’t understand it because it wasn’t like it was a run of the mill… we’re not going to work... I know that tends to happen after the big workday parties, but we didn't have any.” Amelia did think it was kind of weird that so many people simultaneously stayed away from the office. She had to chalk it up to something besides a collective day of hooky. They were a serious company, and it was hard for her to believe that so many people would purposefully call out of work.
“Amelia that is a little unusual, can you ask HR what’s going on. I know it’s potentially confidential if they’re asking for a sick day. But just start asking around and seeing if you can get any kind of explanation. If there’s so many people calling out of work, I want to know why.” Steffy was glad that most people were saying that they wanted to work from home. At least they would have some kind of productive day. She was never going to chide anyone for taking sick time, they were company who prided themselves on giving people time away from their jobs. She knew that it helped with productivity in the long run.
Amelia went around asking people what was going on. She was finding out majority of departments had called out sick. She was able to get on the phone with the head of accounting. This was a department that she didn’t regularly deal with, however they had heard about her asking around. They had told her apparently there was some kind of bug going around and a lot of people ended up getting sick from it. Several people in the accounting department had called out of work because they were sick and throwing up.
Amelia went back to her boss’s office and relayed to her what the head of accounting told her. Steffy felt like she might have what’s been going around.
“I think I should probably go home. I don’t think I’ll be very productive today. My stomach can’t settle and it's like my body keeps going through these temperature changes.” Steffy just wanted to take the longest nap and just be home.
“Yeah, I think that’s probably going to be the best idea, right now the building looks like a ghost town… No joke.”
Steffy just nodded to what Amelia said, she really didn’t have anything to add to it. She had a mind to call Jay, but her head was telling her it probably wasn't the best idea. He was really busy with work and the last time she spoke with him he was really short with her.
She just settled on calling an Uber to take her home. She gathered the stuff that she felt she could carry and left work. She didn’t know how long it took for her to get home, but it felt like the ride was never ending. She didn’t know if it was just a typical LA traffic or if it was just all of the fatigue setting in. When she stepped outside it felt like the sun was beating down on her. It was so bright outside that it was hurting her eyes. It was starting to make her sleepy, she couldn’t help but go in her bag and get her sunglasses. She hated to look like a douche bag in the Uber with having sunglasses on. But it was the only way to get her some kind of relief, this sun’s brightness was starting to give her a headache.
When she got home, she felt a big sigh of relief go through her. She went into the bathroom and found jay’s pajamas from last night. She changed her clothes and put on his. She was drowning in them, but she loves the way it felt.
She tried to get into the bed, but when she did, she felt bile rising up her throat. She vomited in the trash can near her bed. She barely had anything in her stomach then now she was starting to vomit bile. And made her throat burn so badly. She went back to the bathroom and rinsed out her mouth with some mouthwash to get the taste of bile out her mouth. She felt like utter shit, she didn’t want the smell of bile to be in the room, so she tied the bag, and she went outside quickly and threw it in the big garbage can that the city comes and collects.
She went back into the house and got back into the bed and hoped that she would feel better when she woke up.
Jay had been feeling guilty all day. He was able to get everything back on track, they weren’t going to lose any ground with the project which made him feel good because it meant that they wouldn't have to reschedule with the city inspector. Everything was going okay on a professional front, but he didn’t feel good on a personal front.
He decided that he was going to give a call to his wife. He surmised that she might be mad at him, but this is a long as they've gone without contacting each other since they've been married. He really didn’t like the way that it felt, he felt antsy and worried. When he called her phone, it just rang and rang and then went to voicemail. He called her two more times, and it was the same thing. He knew that she was at work, but she usually would text him telling him that she was busy, and she’d call him back but radio silence.
He decided his best bet was to call for executive assistant Amelia.
“Hello? Go for Amelia.” That was the first thing that they heard; he didn’t talk to Amelia often but every time he did that was her greeting.
“Hi Amelia, this is Jay.” Even though they didn’t reveal their marriage to anyone, Amelia did know that Jay and Stephanie were a couple.
“Oh! how are you Jay?”
“I’m fine, I was just looking for Stephanie. I tried to call her phone, but they kept going straight to voicemail.”
“Oh she's not here. I thought you picked her up? She was pretty sick earlier, she said she was going to call you to take her home.”
This took Jay by surprise; he had no calls on his personal cell. Stephanie never called him, and she definitely didn't tell him that she was sick. It started to make Jay worried.
“You know what, she probably did, and I was stuck in a meeting. We have an inspection with the city and I probably had my phone on silent. Thanks, I’m gonna go check on her now.”
“Oh. Maybe she took an Uber home. Yeah, you should check on her, she really didn’t look good. It’s actually really bad over here a lot of people didn’t come to work today.”
Jay has said a couple of pleasantries and then hung up the phone.
“Hey bro you good?” Antonio looked at his friend and saw that Jays face was contorted in worry.
“Nah, my girl is sick and we kind of got into a fight yesterday. I snapped on her. She was trying to tell me that we should go on a vacation and I was so focused on that bullshit contractor that I yelled at her.”
“Maybe you should go on a vacation, Jay is not like it’s something you ever do, and it seems like she was trying to do something nice. You know this is Halstead and Dawson. You never say anything when I take a vacation, it’s not a big deal for you to have one too. We have way more than enough employees and I can man the fort.” Antonio said this seriously, he couldn’t remember the last time Jay had a serious relationship and he couldn’t really remember the last time he had fun.
“Yeah, maybe I should take a vacation. Everything’s under control here anyways and you can’t fuck it up that much while I’m gone.” Jay was only joking; Antonio was his best friend. He couldn’t even ask for a better business partner.
“I’m going to pretend like I didn’t hear that, remember who’s the boxer between us two.”
“Yeah whatever. I’m out.” Jay hightailed it out of the office. He made sure to buy some ginger ale and chicken noodle soup on his way home, he couldn’t remember if he had any at the house.
When he got home, he put it in the freezer and set a timer for himself, so he didn’t let it freeze.
He went to the guest room to check if Stephanie was there, he saw that the bed was made up and she wasn’t. And made him worried a little, and she didn’t drive to work today so her car was there.
When he went into their bedroom, he saw his wife on his side of the bed hugging his pillow to her body.
He had gotten the desk chair and moved it over so he could sit by her side until she woke up. He didn’t want to disturb her, so he just decided to be on his phone until she woke up.
It was about 30 minutes before Steffy’s eyes opened.
“Jay…” Steffy couldn’t believe her eyes.
“Hey baby. I heard you were sick, and it made me so worried. Why didn’t you call me?” Jay kept his voice gentle. He didn’t want her thinking he was mad at her. Even if his wife was mad at him, Jay didn’t care, nothing was going to stop him from taking care of his wife.
“I didn’t want to bother you; I knew that you were busy with work so I just thought it would be better for me to get a car to take me home.” Steffy wasn’t trying to make Jay feel guilty, she just didn't want to make things worse.
Jay felt his face crack.
“Baby, you mean more to me than my work. You're my wife, if you’re sick, then it's my responsibility to take care of you. One that I take very seriously. I love you and it scared the crap out of me when your assistant told me that you couldn't stop throwing up. I fucked up; I shouldn’t have snapped at you yesterday. Yes, I was angry, but I should have never put it towards you. It had nothing to do with you. And I’m so sorry for that. I felt terrible all night. I couldn’t sleep for hours after that. Even when I was asleep, I didn’t feel good. When I called you, I wanted to apologize and maybe take you out to lunch and then you didn’t pick up which only made me worry more. How are you feeling?” Jay got out of the chair and had bent his knees. His elbows were propped up on the bed and he took his wife’s hands and kissed each knuckle.
Steffy felt happy to get an apology. It kept replaying in her mind that she was being too serious about it, but Jay was apologizing to her telling her that he was wrong. It meant a lot; she had a tendency to internalize things and just try to make things okay in her relationships. She didn’t want to rock the boat so she could just move on. It meant a lot to her that he didn’t belittle her feelings or how his behavior made her felt. She was too used to that.
“To be honest, I feel terrible, I don’t actually know what it is.”
“Well I was watching the news a couple nights ago and there was a voluntary lettuce recall. It said that California was one of the states that may have gotten tainted lettuce, maybe it was that? If you have that many people sick at your job, then it probably started there. It could just be a case of some kind of foodborne illness. I got some ginger ale; soup and we should have some saltine crackers. I know it’s not the most appetizing but maybe that's what you need right now.” Jay didn’t actually know if it was that, but it could definitely be.
Steffy thought about it, she did have dishes with lettuce pretty often at work.
“Soup, crackers and ginger ale sounds wonderful right now. Thank you.” Steffy really was thankful to have someone care like that.
“It's my pleasure. You mean the world to me and I never want you to forget that.” Jay got up and went to the kitchen to get the food and ginger ale...
When he came back, he put them on her nightstand. He had taken off his jeans and his T shirt. He had gotten into bed and propped his back against the headboard.
Steffy watched him, when he padded the space directly in front of him, she started to smile. She picked herself up and crawled over to him. Her back was to his chest and he had a loose hold on her.
Jay wanted to have her close, but he also didn’t want to trigger her throwing up.
He had gotten her a row of crackers so she could have something to munch on.
It was something new for Steffy, she was being taken care of and she didn't even have to ask for it. It was nice and unexpected.
“I was thinking that you were right, we're married, and it would be a great thing for us to go on a honeymoon. I was talking to Antonio and he told me that it would be good for me to take some time off. It’s something that I never do and pretty sure he was calling me an idiot when I talked to him about our fight.”
“Antonio is a wise man. So you’re telling me that you do want to go on a honeymoon?” Steffy turned around to see his answer. She definitely was curious to know.
“Yeah baby, I definitely wanna have a honeymoon. I know how I seemed yesterday, and I don’t think that it's something silly. We owe it to ourselves to be happy and I wanna do that. It’s been a long time since I knew how to be happy. And then I met you, so I want it all.”
Steffy turned all the way around so she could kiss her husband. She felt the same way about him. She knew that you couldn’t find happiness within someone. It had to be something that you had within yourself. But you can find people who help you process or hope you get to a point where you can you happy. You can build more happiness when you have that foundation.
She found that with Jay and she knew that he found that with her. Now she was even happier because they were going to Brazil after she defeated whatever this bug was.
They chilled enjoying each other’s company and caught up on some shows they recorded. Steffy started to feel better already.
Steffy was so excited to share this. She was on her honeymoon, every article of clothing she put into her luggage made it seem that much more real. Ever since Jay said that he would love to go anywhere with her, her spirits felt so high. She couldn’t remember feeling as happy as she was in that moment. This was her new life, she had so much faith that this would be different.
It felt so different, she didn't second guess herself. She felt like she didn’t have to hide or pretend. She had a small hiccup with Jay, but she respected him so much more because they talked about it, they got through it. This was something that she wasn’t used to. Usually she has to just let something go and hope for the best. She loved that even if something got tough, her husband wanted to talk about it with her and not just sweep it under the rug.
Them communicating, led to her knowing that she was going to be going on a vacation. Not just any vacation, this was her honeymoon and she wanted it to be something that she would never forget. She asked Jay how long he could take away from work and when he said that it was open ended, it made her day. She didn’t think that she could only take a week and then come back and do the same old same old. She wanted to take her time enjoying her honeymoon. She wanted to feel everything that Fortaleza had to offer.
She wants to show Jay how to really have fun. When they got there, Steffy felt reinvigorated. Even when they were just at the airport, she thought to herself that it was going to be such a great time.
She told her mother that she wanted to take a private respite in Brazil. Taylor didn’t let her get off that easy, her mother asked her where exactly she was going… when Stephanie answered that she was going to Fortaleza, Taylor told her that she needed to visit her great aunt in Maracanaú. Steffy said it was fine because she had planned to see her great aunt anyways. She knew that this was one of the only members in her maternal grandmother's family left.
Jay was impressed with the hotel there his wife got, he had no properties in Brazil but he could not knock how amazing it was to be there. The suite that they had was definitely somewhere he could envision him staying for an extended period of time.
As soon as they put their luggage down, Steffy was pulling him out the door so they could experience the city. It was one of Steffy’s favorite places. Even though it wasn’t as known as Rio or São Paulo to non-Brazilians, it didn’t mean that I had anything less to offer. She took Jay to a restaurant that she loved. She wanted him to fall in love with the food as much as she loved it.
She knew that Jay was enjoying the meal because he was licking his fingers as if he was a little kid. It made her laugh, they had such good conversation. She loved to hear that he was enjoying his time here and she loved to hear his thoughts…
As they ate, they talked about nothing and everything. Steffy thought that it was perfect, she didn’t want to change anything about it. They walked on the boardwalk and watched the sunset. She didn’t think that there was anything more beautiful than watching the sun go down at the beach. It was almost as if the sun was getting swallowed into the ocean. The colors cascading through the sky, seeing such beautiful warm tones of pink, orange and yellow. There was something so beautiful about it that it just made Steffy stare. She paused and said nothing, she just stared from the railing on the boardwalk.
Jay was looking at his wife enjoying the view. He could see that something is simple as the sunset could reduce his wife to tears. Some people would laugh at that, but he didn't. It was in those moments that Jay could see how much depth his wife had. Her being moved to tears at watching something so simple, showed him that she wasn’t a woman who required much. She could find the beauty in just about anything. She was a tough woman when she needed to be, but her strength was something she wore, it’s something that she could take off. He saw her vulnerability, she was enjoying something. She enjoyed it so much that it causes visceral reaction in her.
She didn’t shy away from those tears, she didn’t try to say it was stupid and she didn’t know why she was crying. She said nothing and just continued to watch what she wanted to watch. She was enjoying something and she was sharing that experience with him. He started to feel how lucky he was. He was on a vacation, his honeymoon… Watching an event that happens every single day, that he always took for granted. He didn’t think about the sun going down as other than it becoming night. He was in the moment, sharing the beauty with his wife. He didn’t wipe away her tears, he just slipped her hand within his and watched the sunset with her.
He had it in his mind that he was going to enjoy a sunset with her again. But it wouldn’t be impromptu, he would make a day out of it. He wanted to share the beauty of it with her again, knowing that she would appreciate something like that. He knew that he didn’t have to get her expensive baubles and he would, she could afford to get anything she wanted for herself. She was a woman that could get anything at her disposal, she would appreciate things that were actual experiences. Things that they could do together…
After they watched the sunset, it was in Steffy’s mind to go to a club. She wanted to have some fun and listen to some music. There was nothing she would rather do than to dance with her husband.
They kept walking until they heard music blaring, they went in that direction hoping that it would be a good time.When they got in the club, the first thing they did was go to the dance floor period since Jay was more confident in his dancing since the first time he went out with Steffy, he felt like this was going to be a breeze. They had so much fun dancing to the mix that the DJ was playing. There was some samba, salsa, merengue, bossa nova... It didn’t matter what kind of music played… Steffy was just happy that Jay didn’t back out. He had the confidence to dance to any type of music.
He didn’t care if he was bad at it, which wasn't the case, he was still dancing salsa to bossa nova but it was romantic to her. He was not letting anything stop him from having fun with her.
The smile on his face and they danced to the music prove to her that this vacation was the right idea.
They kept on dancing until Steffy got tired. She told her husband that she wanted fresh air and for them to walk. See where the night took them.
Steffy was loving this adventure, there was so much to do in the city and she wanted to have little tidbits of it all.
“How are you liking Brazil?” Steffy wanted an honest answer, it was one thing to feel that Jay liked it but it was another thing for him to vocalize it.
“I have to say that it’s been fucking exciting. We haven’t even been here long but I don’t remember smiling this much in so long. It’s something that I really needed, I know that it’s our honeymoon and all that but it’s been really nice for me to get away. And the fact that it’s with you, it’s a bonus. You know how to take me out of my head and want to relax for a while. When I’m with you it’s so much easier to have fun, I don’t take things to be so serious because it's not. I get to enjoy things for what they are. When we were on the boardwalk looking at the sunset... You were crying, something so simple and it happens every single day. And it made you pause, and you looked at it and stared at it. You enjoyed it and I forgot what that was like. I got to enjoy that with you, I’ve gotten to enjoy this whole night with you.” Jay was emphatic at explaining how he was feeling to his wife. It was a happy feeling, something that had been pretty elusive for him lately. The only time he had felt happy in a long time, was when he was in her company.
Steffy blushed, she loved watching the sunset, it was one of the reasons she enjoyed living by the beach. Sometimes she would just go and be by herself, immerse herself in the beautiful colors of the sky. It gave her inspiration, sometimes she would sketch something… Have some kind of idea for a collection. Sometimes she just enjoyed it because it was a beautiful sight.
“I’m so happy that you loved it. I watched the sunset because I’m so thankful for it, I get to see another day passing. It’s something that me and my sister did. I love it so much because it reminds me of her, the sky would be as vibrant as she was. We used to do dumb things sometimes. Sometimes we would dance with no music in the sand as the sun went down. I used to think we were crazy and she would say I don’t want you to look crazy. She started singing, her voice was so beautiful and that’s what sunsets remind me of. Dancing in the sand with my sister as beautiful colors would swirl in the sky. I watch as many sunsets as I can because Phoebe is gone. But it’s a way I can still be with her, I can still share a moment with her… Sometimes I talk to the sunset, it’s like I’m talking to Phoebe. It’s one of the reasons that I’ve finished my day early is so I can enjoy it.” Steffy had never told anyone that. It was something so private and central to her. It made her feel vulnerable, she had a backbone of steel but telling anyone about Phoebe was her chink in the armor. Anyone could hurt her if they tried to use Phoebe.
Jay loved finding out new things about his wife, he's been in love with her for so long that every little thing matters to him. When she told him that it reminded him of her sister, his heart got a little heavy thinking about his brother.
“It means so much for me to know that. To share something like that only makes me love you so much more. I don’t think that it’s possible for that to happen then then each new day teaches me that I’m wrong. Thank you for sharing something a special as watching a sunset with me. Maybe it’s something that we can do together, reflect for our lost siblings together. I miss my brother so much, I used to wait for those parties so I could tell you how much… And you would be right there ready to listen and meant so much to me. You could understand my pain, and you had to go through your own as I was telling you that and you still were there for me. you would hold my hand and just that little bit really helped me. Maybe these sunsets together can honor Will andPhoebe.” Jay loved the idea of watching the sunset thinking of it as a time to talk to his brother. But he wanted to do it with his wife there. Holding her hand watching the sunset was something special for him. It was even more special now since he knew the reason behind it.
When Steffy heard that this was something that they wanted to do together, it made her happy inside. She knew how tough it was for him to lose his Brother. That was his best friend, his confidant, it was something that made them fall in love with each other, they understood each other in a way that just about no one else could. She didn’t only love Jay because of the fact that they had a tragedy in common... She loved him for so much more than that, but he spoke to her on a level that very few people could understand. This was how she knew that he could love her completely.
She knew that she could do the same for him.
“I’d really like that baby... You know what? I don’t need to do anything else tonight. I want to go back to our room and show you how much I love you.” Steffy was being brazen and she knew it.
She used her index finger to trace align on Jay’s body from his chin to his lower abs.
She was going to go lower but he caught her hand.
“You’re insatiable… But I’m game. I think I should show you how much I love you too.” The lascivious smile that was dressing his face made Steffy bite her bottom lip in anticipation.
They walked the streets of Fortaleza going back to their hotel room with one goal in mind… Make it the most explosive night that they’ve had yet.
Jay had gotten used to being in Fortaleza, it was such a fun environment. It helped that his wife knew all of the good places to get food and hang out. He didn’t think he could get enough. But it didn’t mean that they were always together. Stephanie had to go to her maternal family’s hometown. It wasn’t like they broadcasted their marriage to anyone, so he didn't go with her. Every time she visited her great aunt, she was gone for most of the day.
It made Jay happy, he wanted to do something that she knew nothing about. Stephanie knew that he was taking the time she was gone to explore the city by himself, what she didn’t know was he had enrolled in a samba school. They taught more than samba; he was learning all of these dances. It was fun for him, he was an engaged student, he always had the determination to succeed at anything he put his mind to. It was something that he needed because he was learning different dances and sometimes, he mixed them up, but he was getting better. He spent all day at the school, class after class learning the steps. He was sweating buckets he had to bring three changes of clothes.
He told his teachers why he was doing it and they thought that he was cute… wanting to learn for his wife as much as himself. He remembered the first time that he danced at the salsa club. It was his first date with Stephanie. The whole time dancing with her, it felt like a precursor to sex. He felt so freaking alive. He chased that feeling, he felt the chemistry when he held her body. He imagined how much better it was going to be when he had a better grasp on how to dance to the music… how to dance with his wife.
When they got home, they couldn’t even make it to their bedroom At first. He was eating his wife out on their floor. Everything felt so electric, they were so in tune with each other. It was like they were on the same wavelength… he couldn’t… he refused to let go. She was whining for him and he wanted it all.
He wanted to engulf her, take all she had to give. Fuck her with everything he had. He never felt like that before, no one had ever brought him to this kind of precipice. If he had been younger, he would have been scared by it, he would have probably run the other way. Someone having such a hold on him would scare a lesser man, but he wasn’t that man. He wanted that… He wanted that kind of passion.
When he was in a relationship he was all in, this was all in just on a different level. His wife was intoxicating. He knew even at those parties; he got a glimpse of the life he could have with her. She knew how to keep him coming back… She was charismatic and beautiful.
She had so many different adjectives that sometimes contradicted each other. It only made him more fascinated by her. Now knowing that the conversations, they had stimulated her as much as he was stimulated made him know that he was her weakness.
That’s why these dance lessons were so important. That is why he was putting so much effort into them. He made his wife crazy; she was a sex crazed mess in his car. He loved every minute of it. Being the object of her desire, spoke to him.
She had a hold on him since he met her, he's been enamored with her since the first time he heard her speak. It only deepened the more conversations they had with each other, he felt so in tune with her on so many levels. When he fucked her he felt beyond comprehension... When he looked in her eyes as she climaxed, it is euphoric for him.
Dancing felt akin to that, they were in their own world when they danced. They could be on a dance floor with other couples there, but it didn’t matter. She stared at him. With those same eyes, eyes that gave him her all, trusted him with everything. It’s a feeling that is new for him. He thought he had been in love before, but this was different. Everything about it was so different. They connected on such an emotionally deep level and it carried over into every facet of their relationship.
The depth of understanding was foreign to him. He was in a samba school sweating his ass off learning all of these dances for this woman who took his breath away. This was not him, he never goes through so much to impress anyone, yet here he was.
After his intense classes, he went back to the hotel and took a long-needed shower. He tried to scrub all the grime off of him. The hot water took attention away from his overused muscles, he knew that he would be a little sore tomorrow. He didn’t mind though… the ends were justifying the means.
Steffy was having the time of her life, she took the bus to her grandmother’s hometown. She loved seeing her family, and it was nice because her great aunt lived here, it was so far from the rest of them. She knows that it can get lonely sometimes especially as you get older.
Just spending time with her great aunt come already made this trip magical. It was amazing for her to catch up. It was unnerving that her aunt was even more perceptive than her mother. She badgered Steffy into telling her everything about her life. Steffy blushed as she explained. She tried to say that she was feeling free from her divorce, but her aunt was not having that. Somehow… someway… she knew that it was more and didn’t let go.
Steffy did her best to resist but see unknowingly blurted out that she was married. It shocked her aunt, even concerned her a little, but Steffy did her best to convince her that this was something that her heart wanted. She told her aunt all about Jay, how they met and how they found love within each other. She talked about the guilt that she felt because she was having trouble with Liam, but her aunt said damn Liam. She explained how special Jay was to her, how she could share her pain about Phoebe with him.
Steffy told her that Jay had lost his brother and it was how they first bonded and it just grew from that. It was the first time she could ever tell someone that she was romantically interested in about her sister and feel as if she was ready. She felt complete with Jay even before they were together.
Steffy's aunt could see that she spoke so fondly of Jay, even though they didn’t live together, they still spoke on the phone and did FaceTime and she sees such a difference between how she speaks about her now husband versus her ex. She sees the happiness that she hasn't seen since Phoebe was alive. There were times in Steffy’s life of course that she was happy, but this happiness was different, it was a happiness that felt devoid of any sadness. It wasn’t a kind of happiness that was settling, it was complete and effortless even. Steffy was always trying so hard, trying to make relationships work, but she didn't see that here, she didn’t see the kind of heartache that she was used to and her niece. She knew that Phoebe’s death was hard on everyone, it was so unexpected, and she was so young.
She knew that it had to hurt worse for Steffy because that was her twin sister, they shared a relationship that was completely unique from everyone else in their family. It was so difficult for her to talk about this that she didn’t, she didn’t speak about it to anyone, certainly not Liam. So to hear that she shared with Jay that kind of heartache, is showed extreme trust. She thought to herself that she would give this Jay a chance. She told Steffy that she was going to have to bring Jay to meet him.
Steffy freaked out a little, she and Jay had agreed to keep their relationship under wraps until they spoke about when they wanted to say something. She blurted out their marriage, not even that they were together but that they were married. She was a little scared to go home and have to reveal to Jay that not only did someone know, but he was going to have to meet them.
Her aunt was overprotective about their family. Taylor was the closest thing that she had to a daughter and she was the closest thing that Taylor still had to her mother. They had a special relationship which meant that she had a special relationship with all of Taylor’s children.
It was a scary prospect to bring Jay to any of her family members. She wanted them to love Jay as much as she did, he made her so happy and it would tear at her if they didn't respond the same way. She just wanted to have an easy life at home, she could deal with workplace pressure and the ambition that she puts upon herself, but she wants happiness in her home and in her family. They had been through so much that she really didn’t want to rock the boat anymore, she knew that she fucked up with dealing with Liam and his bullshit, it with something that took her a long time to get to the other side about period to see what her family saw.
Steffy told her aunt that she would bring Jay the next time that she would come and visit. Steffy had taken the whole bus ride to figure out how she was going to break the news to Jay. She was wondering if she should just rip it off like a band aid or seduce him and then rip off the band aid.
She figured that it would be best to do it when he was in some kind of orgasmic haze. Men were dumb like that…She was counting on that.
When she had gotten off of the bus, she got a taxi back to the hotel. She was wondering if Jay was back from whatever he was doing. he was always trying to find out more about the city on his own while she was visiting her aunt. She like that he didn't just wait upon her to discover things about Fortaleza, he was taking the bull by the horn and having his own fun.
When she got back to the hotel room, she heard the shower running and an idea popped into her head. She started to undress quickly; she didn’t know how far Jay was into his shower.
She got in there and ran her hand down his back, she knew that she scared him a little. She could feel the tension in his back muscles. She was going to have to do something about that.
“I missed you…”
Jay turned, his wife may have scared him, but he was more than happy to see her. He missed her…
Steffy didn’t give him enough time to get an answer, she was on her knees taking him in her mouth. He wasn’t hard before, but she could feel him growing in her mouth.
Jay did not know what he did to get him a blowjob in the shower but he was letting her do whatever she wanted.
The hot water was cascading down his body made for awkward splashes for Steffy. She was really not trying to get her hair wet but right now she couldn't care about that. She was on a mission. She needed to make her husband come.
Steffy pulled out all the stops, she did everything that she knew would make Jay week he was holding on to the tile wall as he climaxed, Steffy was happy they were in the shower because she didn’t really care to swallow right now. Hot water was going in her eyes and it was burning.
“That's one way to greet me.” Jay felt so sated especially after going through rigorous dance training all day. He felt like his muscles were going to give out. The orgasm helped release some of the tension.
“I love to greet my husband.”
Jay just looked at her, he did not like the way that it sounded. It may sound like something cute a wife would say to her husband, but that wasn’t his wife. There was more to the story than just wanting to greet him.
“Stephanie, why did you suck my dick? Please don’t tell me it’s because you wanted to greet me.” Jay realized how it came out after he said it, but it was too late to take it back and try to redo.
“I love sucking your dick… and I may have told someone that we're married. It was not on purpose, my aunt broke me, she’s worse than my mom. And now you have to meet her the next time I go for a visit. I love you.” Steffy just gave Jay a quick kiss as she left the shower.
She didn’t give him any time to form a sentence before she escaped. Jay could have sworn that his wife said that she sold them out to someone and now he’s going to have to meet a possibly angry family member. He finished his shower and went to go confront his wife.
“Baby, I could have sworn that you said that we need to go see your aunt because she knows that we’re married.”
Steffy was hoping that he was still in the haze, but she could clearly see that he wasn't. She should have probably waited until they were fucking in bed.
“Yes, you heard right. It was not something I anticipated. She saw something in me was different. She saw true happiness and she wouldn’t let go. So I told her the truth because I can’t really lie to her once she's on the trail. She won’t tell anyone. She just wanted to meet the person who has changed me.” Steffy was really hoping that it wasn't something that he was truly upset with her about. She didn’t want their honeymoon to be ruined or for him to overreact, she knew she could trust her aunt to not spill the beans.
Jay was listening to Stephanie speak, his whole aura changed when she had said that her aunt saw that she was a changed person.
“I changed you…” Jay didn’t know if it was a question or a statement here, he just really wanted an answer.
“Yeah… After she cracked me like I was a block of ice, I told her how I felt I could unburden my heart with you. I told her that you know about Phoebe, the depths of the hurt. I told her that you have gone through something similar and we are kindred, and she was happy. She was happy that I found someone who could love me the way that I need to be loved. Someone who could see all of me and love my entire being.”
Jay just smiled because he couldn’t think of doing anything else. He was so happy to hear his wife talk like that. He felt the same way about her, she helped with the trauma and confusion that he went through and is still going through.
“I love all of you. So fucking much, yeah I’ll meet your aunt, she seems like she is on our team so fuck yeah. Next week we’ll go and visit her, I don’t have to be your dirty little secret.”
“Well, I think that you are my clean little secret now because you are freshly showered.” Steffy started to get closer to her husband. She had things on for mind. She wanted to get him dirty again.
“You are always ragging on me for being corny, but you’re like the biggest cornball around.” Even though he was ragging on her, he got closer to her. He loved his corny wife.
“Just because I rag on you for being corny doesn’t mean I’m not a cornball, I love being corny. I’m your cornball.”
Jay just chuckled; his wife knew what to say it’s always make him smile.
“You’re so cute.” he rolled his eyes and hugged his wife.
“You think I’m cute?” Steffy was giggling, she like aimless flirting.
“Yeah, I think you’re cute.” Jay was kissing her hair. Hugging her tighter.
Steffy ripped the towel from his waist.
“Do you wanna get dirty again?” that we were starting to get turned on. She didn’t think that they would be leaving the hotel room anytime soon.
“It's not really environmentally friendly but yes I would.” Jay scooped her up and threw her over his shoulder.
Steffy started laughing full heartedly, she earned a slap on the ass. She wasn’t taking this lying down. She slapped her husband’s bare ass and made him yelp. She was going to make sure that she made his legs felt like jello after tonight. Even if it meant that she would be in the same predicament in the morning it was a risk she was willing to take.
Jay had been nervous; he couldn’t remember a time where he had been as anxious as he was now. He had to reschedule his time at the samba school. He ended up going a day earlier, he didn’t want to ruin his progress, but he did have a prior engagement today.
A whole week that passed, and it stayed in his mind. He had to meet his wife's aunt. She is the only person who knows about the magnitude of their relationship. It was still shocking to him that his cool, calm and collected wife just spilled the beans to this woman.
This woman was practically her grandmother. Even though it was weighing heavily on his mind, his wife didn’t let him think too much about it. They were still exploring the city, they went on some hikes and saw waterfalls, Jay doesn’t think he’s seen anything as beautiful before. He couldn’t remember having an experience with as much depth. He was seeing botanical beauties as well as living the nightlife.
It was such an array of different entities rolled into one, he got to experience this with his wife. This was unlike anything he’s ever done in his life. He’s been on vacation before and has gone to plenty of beautiful places, but this was different. It was vibrant and he felt more alive. He didn’t know if it was the locale or the fact that he was doing this with Stephanie.
His wife knew how to put him through the wringer, they would do things from early in the day until night. And then they would fuck for hours and then sleep.
With a little bit of sleep he was running on; he should have been tired but every time he woke up, he felt burst of energy. He was ready to attack the day with new adventures. He didn’t care what he was doing because he knew that whatever it was it was going to be a fun experience. On other vacations he really just partied and got drunk like most people he knew.
They do that too, but he was actually getting to know where he was. It was amazing for him.
Now he was on a bus going to a place important to his wife. He had opted for the window seat; he was excited to see besides on the way there. It wasn’t a particularly long journey; it was in the same state. It was a peculiar feeling, even though it was the same state, the auras felt different. The cities felt different.
It was like each city had its own particular identity, its own uniqueness even though they were not far from each other. It was kind of special. Jay wanted to experience Maracanaú as well. This was the origin of his wife’s family, she has a connection to this place, just like his family has a connection to Chicago. He knew that his wife’s paternal family had roots in Chicago too which only made him love her more.
He liked to say that he got a hometown girl even though she had been born in LA. This was a place that was important to her, it was a part of her identity and how she viewed the world. She saw a beauty in it, and he wanted to be able to see that too. He was excited for that.
“You've been pretty quiet…” Steffy let Jay do his thinking. She knew that her husband had different modes.
He was methodical and a critical thinker, he didn’t need to say anything and could be one with himself without any words for hours. She usually let him be, but she was bored. And she was tired of listening to her music.
“I’m just thinking about this visit, I’m not mad or anything about visiting your aunt. I’m kind of nervous. She’s someone who’s important to you and I want her to like me. But I also have been loving this whole trip. I love going hiking and seeing how amazing it is here and having fun in the city is pretty amazing too. But this is different, I kind of want to experience what it’s like to be here too. I don’t know I feel like this place connects me to you more. It’s obviously something that’s central in your life and I want to tap into that. It’s crazy because I’ve never felt this way about anyone. If I had been 10 years younger, I would have been scared of a love like this. I would have ran for the hills. But I’m glad that we’re in this moment together now, I’m not afraid of love like this. I’m not afraid of you. But I probably would have been if this happened before I was ready. We have something intense and raw and I love it. If makes me to want to know everything about you. I want to learn how to make you happy, but I need to learn everything about you first. So this trip is a learning experience for me. I’m probably babbling on or does that make sense to you?” Jay was a little confused because he was rambling on and on and he didn’t want to scare off his wife.
Steffy was just hearing Jay’s words and she could find no fault in them. The first time she met him, it was like being caught in the rain and hearing this loud roll of thunder and watching lightning strike. It was deafening and it was the only thing she could focus on. She felt crazy, she looked at him from across the room and her heart started beating so fast that she couldn't even count the beats.
Then she got to know him and only craved more. Jay was like her favorite meal; she didn’t get to have him often but when she did, she was ready to lick her plate clean. Now she got to have him 24/7, she had unrestricted access to her husband. She wanted to experience everything with him, she wanted to know everything about him. Everything he loved… everything that made him tick. She wanted all of that information and she thought to herself it was never going to be enough.
Even though she and Jay are individual people, they had something in common. They liked gathering, they like to have as much information as possible. And it made her feel good that she had someone who was interested in her truly. Someone who wasn’t just with her because they thought she was pretty or good at sex. He wanted to know her as a person, he wanted to see her as a complete human being and something about that was so endearing. She couldn’t remember the last time she ever felt like that or if she ever did.
She was happy to have Jay now, she didn’t know how she would react to a relationship like this if it was ten years earlier. She was content with having fun with her friends and sister and getting drunk. She probably would have hit Jay out for sex, but she didn't think that she would have been ready for a full-on committed relationship on this kind of level back then.
Maybe she had to go through the ugly of being with Liam, to really understand a love like this. Jay set her body on fire, if she was younger… she would have jumped in a pool, now this is all she wants. She didn’t want empty promises of love, she's had that. She knows what that hollow feeling is like, she can hear it in someone's voice. People can pretend to love you, but they don’t care anything for your feelings or your wants. They don’t know you as a person, they love you as an idea but the thing about ideas is that some don't come into fruition.
Jay didn’t want to love her as an idea, he wanted a fully formed thought and was ready to execute it. It was the most alluring thing that she’s ever heard. He wants to know about her past, her family’s origins to create something foundational. He wants their marriage to be foundational, solid ground and they build. That’s all she ever wanted and never dare to tell anyone.
It made her so happy that someone could find the words to articulated back to her. She felt but they weren't only reading the same book… they were on the same page and she has never had that.
“Baby, it makes perfect sense. I get what you mean, I want to know everything about you too. I love you and I’m in love with you, but I also want to know your little quirks… The things that make you happy… besides me of course… I want to have the journey of discovering you. I know that it's going to be an experience that will sometimes annoy me… but I know it’s also going to be an experience that fulfills me. I already love you with everything that I have, but I want to be able to give you the love the way that you need to receive it. I want to be the partner that you deserve. Cause we are a team, anybody you don’t like, I don’t like… anyone I don’t like… you don’t like. I love how we have this natural ability to be on the same wavelength, but the more we discover about one another the more in tune it will be. And I want that journey, I don’t think it’s confusing or weird… I think it’s everything.” Steffy started to think to herself, maybe it was weird… to other people, but it made sense to them and it meant something to them as a couple… so that’s all that mattered to her.
Jay just nodded to his wife’s words, he liked being able to say things how he says them, and she just understands. He picks up her hand and envelops it within his own and give her a kiss. He wants to love her the way that she needs to be loved. He liked the sound of that.
“Yeah, that about sums it all. I have to ask though, is there anything that I need to know about your aunt…”
“No. Just be yourself and I don’t mean that as a way to throw you off or confuse you. I really do mean just be yourself, she loves genuine people, and she can literally see-through bullshit, so I don’t even try to lie to her. It’s sometimes means evading her but just being who you are. She’s going to love you.” Steffy was serious, her aunt did not like false people… it was something that everyone and her grandmother's family was like.
They don’t go out of their way to be brutally honest, just honest. Her family was grounded in rationality, her mother has hit her with the truth a number of times and every single time she used to run from it. Not anymore, she leaned into it now. Ever since she started listening to it, she started to accept less and want more.
It led to her to Jay and she thought to herself maybe there was something to it.
When they made it to her aunt’s house, it started to feel more real to Jay. He could feel his palms getting a little sweaty but Steffy gave his hand a squeeze.
She knocked on the door and waited.
“Olá, bem-vindo! Minha amorinha!” (Hello, welcome! My little love!)
“Oi tia! como vai você?” (Hi Aunty! How are you?)
“Feliz agora que você está aqui! Olá Jay…” (Happy now that you are here. Hello Jay…)
“Oi, Tia Sônia, fico muito feliz em conhecê-la.” (hi, Aunt Sonia, I’m happy to meet you.)
Sônia raised her eyebrows, she was not expecting him to speak any Portuguese. She was impressed… she didn’t say it, but she was impressed.
Steffy smiled a smug smile because she knew that her aunt liked Jay before he even stepped into her house.
She could not wait to get back to their hotel room and let her husband know how much she appreciated him.
“Come in, I made lunch.”
It was pretty amazing to Jay, this woman looked like she was related to closely related to Stephanie. He didn’t know what it was. His wife was like an imprint of her mother and Sonia looked like she could be Taylor’s mother. The only difference was that they had different colored eyes.
It was a very Brazilian thing for them to get to know each other over a meal. Steffy was glad for it; she knew that her aunt was giving her the benefit of the doubt. She was trying to set a mood that was relaxed so Jay didn’t feel nervous.
She told her husband to be himself and he was. He was charming and he made her aunt laugh. He was really enjoying the mac and cheese as well so Steffy thought maybe they were a match made in heaven.
“So I know a little about how you met but I would like to know what your intentions with my niece are… She’s a really important part of my life and I need to know that she is happy, and she is with someone who deserves her.” Sonia didn’t care to beat around the Bush, she was in her own home and she wasn't being mean, she was just being to the point.
“My intention for Stephanie is simple, she is my wife… I love her. I can't do more than that. She’s a capable woman, she takes charge of her life and I’m not trying to change that. It’s one of the things I love about her. She’s passionate and intelligent and I’m lucky. I’m cognizant of the fact that I am lucky. I don’t know if I deserve her, that’s not a question that I can answer, I can only tell you how she makes me feel. I can only tell you how fulfilled I am when we have conversations. She’s the most unique person that I’ve ever met. She has an empathy that has picked me up in my darkest times. I hope that my love makes her feel more happiness. I hope it shows her how special I think she is. I hope that my love shows her how devoted I am to her. I hope that my love shows her how much I need her. I can’t answer those questions for her. I can only answer for how she makes me feel. She is my lighthouse; she shines when I can’t see. She is my home. It’s different than the home that I grew up in of course, but it’s a home that I love coming to, it's the best part of my day to come to her. To see her, to get a hug from her, to share a meal with her. I think of our love as a graph we are (0,0), it’s the only point on a graph where the X&Y axis meet. People think that 0 means nothing, but that’s wrong, zero is the start, it’s the beginning. She is my new beginning; I hope you can see that I cherish every part of her. I know that sometimes that I annoy her, but we all have our faults don’t we…”
After Jay poured his heart to a woman he just met, he was met with the longest silence.
His wife did nothing, she just kept eating her macaroni and cheese like he didn't just say she meant everything to him. He felt like he was on a limb and she was just… eating.
He just looked at her aunt, she had a poker face. As the seconds passed by, he started to feel more nervous. He couldn’t think about eating anything.
“He will do.” it was all Sonia said.
“Oh come on. He just said I am the light of his life and that's all you have to say. I told you, how awesome he was with me and that's all you can say?! He thinks that I’m all that and a bag of chips with a Coke on the side and that’s all you can say.”
“What do you want from me? I said the same about your father. Your mother accepted it, why can’t you?! I made you your favorite meal and now you want me to write a poem. You demand too much.” Sonia rolled her eyes. She liked Jay, but she had to keep him on his toes. What could she say…? She like that bit of mystery. She liked them to be a little afraid of her.
“You're so annoying.” Steffy was exasperated with her aunt.
“You should be saying… Tia Sônia, eu te amo muito. Você é o melhor.” (Aunt Sonia, I love you so much. You are the best.) Sônia just looked at her niece and continue to speak. “I say nothing to your mother.”
Steffy smiled because if there was one person who could handle her mother it was going to be her aunt. The rest of the afternoon was just spent talking.
Jay got to learn about some embarrassing stories about his wife and he loved every second of it. He was actually happy that someone found out about him. It made him feel like their marriage was stronger for it. He was enjoying himself and he knew that since he was on his best behavior that he was going to get some tonight, so he turned the charm up to 100.
Thelma to answer your question... for some background this is what Steffy's great aunt looks like. She is a Brazilian actress named Sonia Braga.
The trip to Brazil was so beneficial for Steffy and Jay’s relationship, they had stayed there for one month. It only deepened their bond; they didn’t have any distractions there. They only had each other and got to spend so much unadulterated time together and really learn about each other.
They both came up feeling as if they made the right choice, the more they learned about each other, the more they loved each other. They got to know each other at those parties, even intimately, they told each other secrets that they didn’t utter to anyone else. They knew so much about the big things in one another's life. The defining things that really shaped who they were as people, but they started to learn about the little things.
They started to learn about the quirks that made their personality. Steffy learned quickly that when Jay brushed his teeth, he did it wildly and toothpaste would be on half his face. Jay learned that Steffy liked her popcorn with an obscene amount of kettle corn seasoning. He learned quickly to make his own bag.
When he found out about her karaoke addiction, he made sure to take her and her aunt to karaoke bars. It was so ridiculous to see the both of them belting out songs, but it also made him laugh. He never knew that he could feel so much joy from watching someone else be joyful.
He loved that his wife had this joie de vivre. She was completely unique; he had never seen anyone quite like her. Every time she finished a performance on the karaoke stage, he would be the one loudly clapping and giving her a standing ovation. He loved that it made her giggle.
He loved it even more when he saw that he got a sign of approval from her aunt. Her aunt was more of a grandmother, he found out that she wasn’t only an aunt to his wife's mother but also her godmother. She was the only mother that Taylor still had. She had incredible influence on both his wife's life as well as his mother-in-law. If she liked him then he was going to be golden in that family.
He also knew that he would need her support when Stephanie’s parents found out about them. He knows that they would question the timing of it and him in general. It was not something that he could even counter because after having a marriage with someone like Liam of course her parents would be guarded.
Even though he had fallen in love with Brazil, he knew that most of it came from the fact that he was with his wife, he loves seeing the sights with her and doing fun things because she was by his side. It wouldn’t be the same experience of it was alone.
They had come home, and he was happy for that too, he missed being here, their life was here. They did have their bubble in Brazil, and it was amazing, but their reality was amazing too. They were happy here and it was only going to continue that way because he loved his wife too much to ever quit.
She had brought back happiness to him; he couldn’t remember smiling this much in a long time. She didn’t even have to try hard, but she knew exactly how to make him smile.
What he didn’t expect was for her aunt to come back with them. Tia Sônia decided that she was going to have an extended trip.
The trip was also good for Sônia, she forgot how much she could miss her family. It was one thing to speak with them in video calls but being able to hug them and have a conversation with them in person, it was something that she missed so so much.
Seeing her Steffy with her husband only made it a stronger urge to be with her baby. She missed Taylor so much and it wasn’t as if Taylor was actually a baby anymore. She was a grown woman who was a grandmother, but to Sônia she would always be that little girl who ran into her arms.
They had all taken a plane back to Los Angeles. It had been a long time since Sônia had been here. But she could feel very nostalgic. She was happy to be close again too her family.
A taxi had taken them to Steffy and Jay’s house. Sônia was impressed, it was a beautiful house, and it was nice to see that Jay took a very concerted effort to make sure that Stephanie was comfortable in every regard. She liked the young man quite a bit, it was very obvious to her that they needed each other. They drew strength from each other, she knew that a part of Steffy’s heart would always be missing because Phoebe was not there, she has come to know that it was the same for Jay as well. It was very obvious for her to see that they had not just love but a deep empathy for each other. She knew that he was very different from Liam, she couldn’t find any carelessness in his eyes or in the way he acted towards Stephanie.
What she witnessed was love and understanding. She knew that Stephanie would need both, she would need someone who is able to pick her up when she was down, love was not enough, and it never could be. She knew that Stephanie needed compassion and someone who could give her patience and comfort. When she saw them interact, she didn’t just see love, she saw more than that she saw that he was in awe of her. He was a fan of her… he truly respected her but could be silly with her.
Sônia could see that he understood Stephanie’s complexities and her nuances. He wasn’t a man who only loved one aspect of Steffy, he loved her whole being and she knew that Steffy never had that. She had people who could love one part of her but not love her as a whole. She knew the games that Liam played. She could remember her conversations with Taylor and how upset Taylor would be because of some kind of fight that Liam would pick. It hurts Sônia’s heart that Stephanie ever had to compete with another woman for this man's love. It hurt her so deeply because that's not love. Stephanie is such a vibrant person and full of life and for someone to try and breed insecurity and jealousy within her makes Sônia so upset. It wasn’t the way that you treated someone you love, that’s how you treat a commodity, ready to trade at a moment’s notice and it made Sônia sick that Stephanie could ever feel inadequate. And she hated the person that made Steffy feel that way, she welcomed the divorce between Liam and Stephanie. It was the best decision that could be made.
She wasn’t a person who believed into jumping into the next situation but what she could see is nothing but love between Stephanie and Jay. She could see the concerted effort that he took to make her happy and she never saw that with Liam. She felt confident that they would be just fine, it was still marriage and she could see when her niece was being annoyed by her husband.
But even when her niece was annoyed, she saw happiness in those eyes.
“What are you thinking about?” Steffy had been staring at her aunt. She could see that her aunt was in deep thought.
“I’m just thinking of how much I missed my family. You know cell phones and computers are so advanced that we can speak to each other in video form, but I forgot how much I could miss hugging you and holding your hand while we have tea. I missed it even more with your mother. I just can’t wait to see her again.” Sônia was being truthful, there was so much more that she could do here than she could do at home.
Steffy understood exactly what Sonia meant. She talked to Thomas every single day, but it was very different than being able to see him in person. A hug or a kiss on the cheek had such a different reaction than being able to see each other through the phone. She knew that it was magnified for Sônia, especially when it came to her mother.
“Well let's not keep you waiting. I have it on good authority that she has a day off today.” It had been a longstanding practice for Steffy to have lunch with her mother on Fridays because her mother had a four-day work week.
“This is good, she is going to be so surprised. Let’s go, I can’t wait anymore.”
Steffy had asked Jay if he could drop them off at the restaurant that she was meeting Taylor at.
Jay dropped him off and Steffy gave him a kiss goodbye. She never got tired of doing that.
If there was one thing that Steffy knew about her mother, it was the fact that her mother was never late to anything.
She walked in with Sônia, but for the maximum effect of surprise Steffy wanted her mother’s eyes to be closed so she could surprise her.
She went over to her mother’s table and saw that Taylor had a wide smile for her. If there was one thing that could make her feel like a little girl again it was seeing her mother smile.
“Oh baby, it’s so good to see you. It has felt like the longest month of my life. I’m glad that you had a good time in Brazil but I’m so happy you’re home.” Taylor was beside herself to have her daughter back, she gave her a big hug and when she heard Steffy laugh it made her heart feel full.
“I had such a good time mom, I brought you back something.” Steffy was so excited because she knew that her mom was going to love this.
“You brought me back a present? I’m loving this day even more now.”
“Yeah, you’re going to love it I promise. But what I need you to do is close your eyes while I go get it.”
Taylor did as her daughter asked and closed her eyes; she wouldn’t open it until her daughter said so.
Steffy saw her mother’s eyes was closed so she had signaled to Sônia for her to come over.
Sônia gently sat in the seat, so it made no noise.
“Alright mom, you can open your eyes!”
Taylor could hear the excitement in her daughter’s voice. When she opened her eyes, she didn’t see a box, she looked up and she was so surprised that she screamed.
"Mãe!?" (Mom?!) Taylor was shrieking loudly; she could not believe her godmother was in front of her right now.
“Olá minha vida.” (Hello, my life.) Sonia felt her smile grow when she saw the happiness on Taylor’s face.
Taylor just shot up out her chair and went over to Sonia and hugged her tight. The feeling was indescribable, this was a point pass happiness. She shed so many tears as she hugged Sonia tight.
“Do you like my surprise?” Steffy knew that this was probably the surprise of her mother’s year.
“You are so good to me Stephanie. This is the best thing you could have given me.” Taylor still hadn’t let go of Sônia. She decided that she was not going to sit on the other side of this table anymore, she was going to sit right next to Sônia.
Steffy started to relay how her trip in Brazil was. She didn’t mention Jay and thankfully neither did Sonia. Steffy did reveal that she spent a lot of time with Sônia, and it made Taylor feel so happy to know that her daughter was visiting Sônia.
It was a great lunch for all three of them. It was three generations of the Cinza clan together again. Sônia had told Taylor that she would be staying in Los Angeles for an extended time. This was something that was music to Taylor’s ears because she thought maybe she could convince Sônia to stay forever. If there was one thing that Taylor was going to do it was to have her family as close as possible. The next thing on her list was getting Thomas back home. In this moment she felt spoiled, and she wondered what it would be like to have her whole family in one place at one time.
“Wouldn’t it be exciting if Thomas came back? If I could have all of my family here at once, it would just be the most wonderful feeling.”
Sônia only raised her eyebrow as she ate her soup. She knew that Steffy could see it, so she smirked. Taylor had no clue how much her family had been expanded, but she would soon… Sônia just kept eating her soup laughing on the inside of the things that comes.
Steffy felt like she was going a mile a minute, she couldn't remember the last time she felt so productive. She always knew how to make herself succeed and put FC in the driver’s seat but ever since she came back from Brazil it was like she had an extra burst of energy like she was on 14 shots of espresso.
It was weird how when you're happy in your personal life it can create a symbiotic happiness with your work. Sometimes at work she would feel sluggish even though she could get through the day and move processes forward, she felt as if she was getting more done.
It was something that was clearly noticed by the office because so many people had been remarking that she looked like she was in better spirits. It was nice that people were recognizing that she was happy, but she didn’t think that she was being that obvious.
She knew that most people would have thought that it was just because her divorce was finalized, and she was completely free of Liam. That is enough to make anyone celebrate. She’s sharing a private marriage with someone she absolutely adores.
No one knows about it except Sônia, but It was not like she was going to tell anyone. Steffy started to feel her stomach rumbling, she even felt some cramps too… It was short but intense. The feeling stopped so Steffy felt more confident that she could go back to work.
The same feeling hit her about 10 minutes later and it hurt more than before. Is felt like a stabbing pain in her stomach and trying to stay calm didn't make it any better.
Steffy did her best not to move, she just wanted to let the feeling pass... But the pain was so acute and intense. She started to feel as if her back was sweating. She couldn’t focus on anything other than the pain that she was feeling. It was as if the pain refused to be ignored and Steffy had no clue what it could be.
Her stomach started roiling and she haphazardly tries to put her hand on her stomach like it would do anything. Just her touch alone felt like a mistake because she could feel her breakfast coming up. She threw up in her wastebasket, it felt so violent with how it ripped through her.
This kind of reminded her when she was sick last time, she started to think about food poisoning again. She did start having lettuce again when the recalls had been lifted, but this felt worse than last time. She started to think to herself maybe it felt so violent this time because she got E coli poisoning or some other kind of bacterial infection.
The second time she throws up, it was completely by surprise. The first time it happened she felt this stabbing pain and then the vomit came up but this time, there was no warning no signs, it just came up and it certainly had more volume than before. it started to burn her throat because she had already vomited all of her breakfast the first time around. Now all she could smell was rancid bile.
Steffy felt horrible… She let herself cry for a minute. It was the only thing that seemingly made her feel better. It didn’t help the acute pain but crying made her feel a slight sense of relief. No one was in the room with her, so she didn’t feel that embarrassed. There’s nothing more embarrassing than throwing up at work and she’s already done that on more than one occasion.
She got her cell phone and went straight for her husband’s number. She couldn’t make it through the rest of the workday, she knew that she couldn’t try and soldier on for something like this. The whole room felt so cold even though she had a jacket on. She always kept the room at the same temperature, and it felt like it was freezing right now even though her body was covered in a Sheen of sweat.
She just hoped that Jay wasn’t in a meeting. She thought that she might cry even harder if it went straight to voicemail.
“Hey baby…” Jay started smiling before he even answered the phone when he saw that it was his wife calling.
Steffy couldn't even answer him back at first, she was crying into the phone. She felt like she could let the full magnitude of what she was feeling go.
“I don’t know what’s wrong with me, I don’t feel good again. It feels worse than last time and I can barely move.” Steffy just kept crying into the phone. It came to a point where she started wheezing.
Jay was already out of his seat getting his jacket. To hear his wife crying so hard made him feel like he was helpless. He told her that he was going to come and pick her up from work.
He thought about the last time she was sick with food poisoning. she had to take it easy for a week and slowly start bringing back food into her diet, but after the first day the symptoms got better.
Her assistant was the person that told him about her illness, but she had never mentioned that his wife was crying the first time around. He started to think that this was more serious than the last time and that scared him.
He knew that he couldn’t just take her home, she possibly needed medical care and that was his prerogative at that point.
The drive to her job felt like he was out of his body, he didn’t even know how he got there because it felt like he didn't have control. He guessed this was the meaning when people tell you that you're running on autopilot.
When he got to her, his heart felt heavy because she was still crying. Her head was on her desk and whatever it was I was hurting his wife had to be bad.
He got all of her stuff ready, and they took the secret exit from her office. He didn’t want any of her employees to see her and possibly ask her any questions. He knew that her employees loved her but right now he didn't think he had the patience to not snap if people started asking questions.
He had taken her to UCLA Medical Center because it was the closest hospital to her job. He filled out all of the requisite forms while they were in the waiting room. He was glad that she fell asleep because it was the first time she stopped crying.
When they got to see the ER doctor, Jay had relayed all of the information that he could. He told the doctor what it could be, he told them that his wife had previously had an illness related to the lettuce recall. He shared with the doctor that It could have been something similar but more intense because she started eating lettuce again when it was deemed safe.
The doctor wrote this down in all of their notes but did say that they needed to run tests so they could rule any foodborne illnesses out.
He drew some blood and told them that they were going to try and get an expedited test because of how acute the pain was.
Jay knew that even though they could do expedited tests it could take hours for them to find out anything. He couldn’t imagine having Stephanie just go through all of this while they just wait for some kind of answer.
The doctor said that it could have also been some kind of dehydration, so they hooked her up to an IV to help her just in case.
After about an hour of being on the IV, Steffy started to feel better. She knew with all of her vomiting that it's stole all of the nutrients from her last meal. She vomited so much that there were no contents in her stomach besides bile.
The sweating had started to subside which made her feel so good because she hated the feeling of her clothes sticking to her.
Jay was happy that she didn’t look as pale anymore. Her skin didn’t feel clammy to the touch, he just hoped that whatever it was passed quickly so she wasn’t in distress anymore.
“Thank you for calling me.” Jay picked up her hand slowly and gave it a kiss. The last time she had something remotely close to this, she had been mad at him the night before, so she kept him in a dark.
She couldn’t imagine how much it hurt to hear from someone else that she was sick, and he had no clue about it. It was his job to take care of her and he didn't even know that she was in pain.
“I love you. I’m glad I called you too. It makes me feel so much better because you’re right here. I really hope that it’s not that bad, I’m really scared…” Steffy was always a person who tried to keep her calm, but whatever this was… Or what it could be, scared her. This was worse than last time and she didn’t want it to be some kind of powerful strain that was resistant to antibiotics.
“I love you too, whatever it is we will tackle it together. I will give you sponge baths and all the kisses.” Jay was trying to bring some lightheartedness back. Everything felt so serious and dire, he just really hopes that wasn’t. He doesn’t know if he could handle his wife being sick. It was something that scared him more than anything.
“Are you gonna be my nurse? You are telling me I get all the kisses. I can think of a place that I want you to kiss…” Steffy wiggled her eyebrows suggestively.
Jay laughed and reached over so he could give his wife a kiss. Seeing the reaction on her face made it so worth it.
“I wasn’t talking about there, but that was nice too.” Steffy bit her lip, she was a little embarrassed to say what she said in a hospital bed, people could possibly hear them.
Jay was beside himself; he was not expecting that, it was definitely the kind of humor that they use with each other, but it definitely got him intrigued.
“I’ll be sure to review a treatment plan for you with a heavy emphasis on affection.” Jay wanted to say more but there was a knock at the door, they could see that it was the doctor because the windows are glass.
The doctor came inside with the test results and Steffy started to feel really nervous, whatever he was going to say was going to make everything real. It was going to be more concrete now. Even though she was afraid to hear the results, she knew that they could finally move forward.
“Stephanie… Jay, I have the results. You don’t have any foodborne illnesses. We did a full panel on just about every foodborne illness that you could have an all test came back negative which is a very good sign.”
“If it isn’t food poisoning then why is my wife sick?” This was throwing Jay for loop because he for sure thought that this with food poisoning. He did feel a little bad about interrupting the doctor, but he wanted answers and he wanted it now.
“I was just getting to that. It’s a good sign that your wife has no foodborne illnesses because if she did that would make her situation more precarious, it would make the situation with your child more precarious.”
Steffy was in shock… The doctor was insinuating that she was pregnant. she didn't know what to say, for so long she had wanted a child and to hear that it was truly made her speechless.
Jay was in disbelief himself; he could not believe the words that came out of the doctor’s mouth.
“I’m pregnant.” Steffy could finally find her voice and she just wanted to cry because this was more than a relief. This was everything she wanted.
“Yes, you are, you seem to be about 6 weeks. I’ve observed your charts and you know this will be deemed as a medium risk pregnancy. Obviously if you want to move forward with the pregnancy, I can give you an interim prenatal plan until you can visit your primary OBGYN, and they can get a more in-depth prenatal plan for you.”
“Yeah doctor. I want to know about the plan.” Steffy really started to burst into tears after, she felt like her emotions were everywhere.
“Of course, let me go get some literature for you and write down a good interim plan for you and I’ll be back.” The doctor leaves and it's just the two of them in the room.
“I’m pregnant.” Steffy really started to think about it, the doctor said that she was six weeks along. That’s how long that she and Jay have been married.
“What did I tell you the first night?” Jay was so happy; he couldn’t contain how he felt.
Steffy started thinking back to that night. Her cheeks started to furiously blush as she went over Jay’s words.
“You told me that you were going to put a baby in me…” Steffy whined because she felt the heat in her rising as she remembered that night.
“Why are you being shy now?” Jay loved to tease, and there was no one he loves teasing more than Stephanie. “You certainly weren’t shy that night, or any night since then.”
Steffy hid her face within her hands. Jay got up and pulled her hands gently away from her face just kissed her. He was getting everything he wanted so much quicker than he thought. Even though he said he was going to put a baby in her that night, he didn't actually expect her to be pregnant from that night. He was definitely happy about everything, but he thought about exactly how both sets of their parents were going to react to the news.
He could think about that another day because right now all he cared about was the smile on Stephanie’s face and his own happiness at the fact that they were going to have a child together.
They had another checkup. Steffy had done everything to make sure that she adhered to the prenatal plan. She was doing her best to stay as stress free as possible. It was a good thing that she shared CEO responsibilities with her father and able to delegate out to her executive team. She did that on a normal basis, so it didn't look any different when she did it now. She still woke up early and did everything that she had to do to get out of work in the mid-afternoon.
She had slowly introduced her parents to Jay, she didn’t divulge that they were married or the fact that she was pregnant… But it was clear to her that both her parents liked Jay. It made her breathe easier and she knew that she would have to tell them everything when she started to show.
The doctor said everything was going as right as it could. She was officially in her second trimester and Steffy didn't know how to contain her excitement. She was trying to be cautiously optimistic about everything. She knew that the whole stage of pregnancy can be difficult by getting through the first trimester was always a great sign.
Ever since Sônia came back to town Taylor had insisted on weekly family dinners. It was also a mandatory requirement that Jay come as well. So they had six dinners so far and Jay did really well. Steffy on the other hand was not as lucky. She was being watched like a hawk by two different people for two different reasons.
Steffy knew that she was under scrutiny. Even though she didn’t know exactly why both ladies were looking at her, she could feel it. Even though it was clear that Jay was devoted to her, it was always going to be examined by her mother. Her mother was a tactician and a scientist, she was going to put their relationship under the microscope. This was something that Steffy knew she couldn’t fight.
It didn’t matter who she seeked out for her next relationship, it was always going to be something that her parents were going to be overprotective about. They loved her and she loved them for it. She had been through the wringer with Liam a couple of different times, and she made excuses for it plenty oh, it had her mother exasperated and her back to the wall. Sometimes it made Steffy upset with herself, everyone in her life was trying to make her see, but she always was trying to make everything work.
She was willing to keep herself in an unhappy place because of all the time she invested. She didn’t want to be wrong; she didn’t want the years to mean nothing. She allowed her voice to be snuffed out. Every time she will voice a concern about Sally, Liam would be there to refute her and say that she was seeing things that weren't there. That was what hurt the most, she let someone pull the wool over her eyes, she ignored her instincts. She ignored her mother’s instincts.
She was taught a lesson that she would never forget now, don’t go against your gut. If you get that feeling that something is wrong, you need to investigate it. Sometimes we see what we want to see, sometimes we hope what we are seeing is the truth. But sometimes people show you what they want you to see, and you have to find that place within yourself that shows you the truth.
She trusted her gut now, it told her that she needed to go to Jay. She fell in love without meaning too... She found it in the most unexpected of places, but that was a thing about love, you can go searching for it for years and come up empty handed. She fought so hard and long for happiness that at best was fleeting.
She kept trying to make the sacrifice worth it. Parts of her kept chipping away and she felt like she was running on autopilot. She felt invisible in her relationship, it was devolving into something that she couldn’t recognize. Her mother called her out on it which led them to having fights that made Steffy cry because she couldn't admit to anyone that they were right. It had to be worth it because she gave up so much of herself and so much of her life to making it work.
Then she met Jay and things started to change. Even though they had heavy conversations and she literally cried on his shoulder, he was the first one to bring back her laugh. It made her laugh even harder when he told her that her laugh was obnoxious and loud.
She got quiet and told him in the quietest voice that it sounded like that because it was a true laugh. It was a laugh that came from deep within her, he had a humor that can make her laugh until her stomach hurt. She told him that her laugh was so loud because she was happy and didn't feel like she had to hide it and he caused that.
After that, it was when everything shifted. She notices that she started going to the parties not for her friend Jay, she went for the man who put a smile on her face, she worked for the man who looked at her like a with more than a friendly glint in his eye...
He started whispering things in her ear, things that he wanted to do to her. Even though she didn’t physically cheat on Liam, every time she fucked herself, she was thinking of Jay. She let him say things to her without ever telling him to stop. They both knew that she was married but neither cared. Their relationship only escalated. He was always giving her a fantasy of how their life would be. It was a life that Steffy always wanted, this man kept promising her the world, if she could just leave her husband for him.
Some part of her was scared, scared to be given exactly what she wanted. She said that she wanted love and happiness, but she had been denied that multiple times with Liam and here was Jay telling her that he would make it happen as if it was some kind of business deal. He had such conviction that it was a new concept for her. She had only been given lies and mistruth; it was all she knew. When the lies and the mistruth hit her in the face, she knew that she couldn't do it anymore. She couldn’t sacrifice anymore of herself.
She couldn’t deal with the fact of letting herself chip away anymore because she could laugh again, and she didn't want anyone to take that away. She went to the person who was able to make her laugh and smile and hope that he would do it again and again.
He did so much more than that, she knew that he was a daring man, that's what she needed in her life. Someone bold with conviction and squarely focused on her. She wanted to fantasy that he would whisper in her ear. She wanted the promises he would tell her, she wanted him to do the things that made her have to excuse herself. He told her to bet on him and she had finally been in the space to do just that.
He was stubborn, prideful and all about her. There was no bigger aphrodisiac for her then to have a man so powerful have her as his singular focus. He always was about making her happy, and she did the same for him because it wasn't one sided. She wanted to be everything for him too, she wanted to be the one to pick him up when he was down. When he was having a bad day, she wanted to be the shoulder that he leaned on, she wanted to be his support, she wanted to be his wife in every sense of the word.
Their sex life was out of this world, but it was only one piece of the puzzle, he was emotionally fulfilling too. He would do anything for her including her parents weekly dinners. Under the scrutinizing gaze of two crazy Brazilian ladies. He accepted it all, she knew that he knew that he was being graded at all times by the both of them. He didn’t crack under pressure and that meant a lot to her.
So here they were, at another Sunday dinner enjoying food with her family. Even though she was being scrutinized, Steffy was still happy to have these. She missed the closeness, things change because they got older, her mother became more relaxed about not having family dinners every week because Thomas was on the other side of the country.
But with Sônia coming, it meant a great deal for the Sunday dinners to come back in full force. She didn’t know if it was because she was pregnant or the fact that her marriage with Liam made her little distant, she missed this... The best part of it all was that she got to share this with Jay. It made her smile that her dad and Jay both had a love for Bayern Munich. They were always talking about soccer. She felt more connected and more grounded that he was comfortable around her parents.
It made her happy because somewhere in the fog of pregnancy brain, she felt her happiest that she was finally having the good times that she wanted, she was with everyone that she needed in that moment. It was so nice to feel support, even if they didn’t know yet, they were making her pregnancy that more enjoyable.
As her father and Jay were having a spirited debate about the UEFA championships, she had to use the bathroom yet again. She really did not understand how she needed to pee just about every other minute. She knew the mechanics of her bladder being compromised because of the growing baby but it was still annoying for her.
As she got up, she felt Sônia’s eyes on her. Even as she came back, she felt like a marked woman. When she and Jay left her parents’ home after they played some board games, Steffy felt as if she could breathe a little easier.
She didn’t have to be so guarded with how she spoke, she was free to call Jay her hubby or talk about the pregnancy.
“Thank you for dealing with two unpredictable and crazy Brazilian ladies.” She was grateful that he was just rolling with the punches, they weren’t really punches, but she was glad that he had no problem with doing these.
“It's really three but who's counting…” Jay just kept driving, but he knew that he was riling his wife up.
“touché, mon mari.” (my husband.) She chuckled at the quick comeback. “That was really good, slipped off the tongue really easily, perfect delivery. I’m proud of you babe.” She knew when to give him kudos on his quips.
“I think it went well; I know that your dad likes me. Your mom she’s really hard to read, but I think she likes me way better than Liam, so I’ll take that as a win. Sônia practically is in love with me, so you better not act up come I got backup choices.” He laughed to himself as he thought about everything.
She just looked at him like he lost his mind. She heard her phone chiming; someone was calling her which she found to be a little interesting because she didn’t talk to most people on the phone on Sundays. Those were her days for her family and her husband.
When she looked at her phone, she saw that it was Sonia. She immediately answered because they just left her parents’ home.
“Eu sei.” I know.
“O que você sabe?” (What do you know?) Steffy was mighty curious to know exactly what her Sônia was talking about.
“Você é muito cuidadoso minha amor. Você não Bebeu nada em 6 semanas. Você usa o banheiro o tempo todo. Eu sei que você vai ter um bebezinha Sônia.” You are very careful. You have not had any any alcohol for six weeks. You are always going to the bathroom. I know that you are having a baby Sônia.
Steffy was stunned into silence. She was as careful as she could be, but there was nothing she could do about the challenges that come with pregnancy. If she had to use the bathroom, she had to use it. Now she understood exactly why Sônia was looking at her… really scrutinizing her.
In her mind, Steffy knew the only reason that her mother wasn’t on the same track was because she just started her relationship with Jay, at least out was what was in her mother’s mind. If her mother knew the true scope of her relationship, she probably would have been just as astute as Sônia was. More than that her mother would have forced her to pee on a pregnancy stick.
Steffy could only look at her husband, when Jay felt her eyes on him, he turned and wondered what was going on. He could only hear what Stephanie was saying, he had no clue what Sônia had said.
Steffy had put her hand over where the microphone was and whispered to Jay that Sônia knew everything. She was definitely not expecting him to just shrug.
In Jay’s mind, it didn’t hurt that Sônia knew everything, she was the person who knew that they were married so if she could keep that secret, she will keep the secret that they were having a baby until they were ready to say so.
“She's got our back. So what if she knows…” Jay was trying to calm Stephanie, but also give her the reality of it not being as big of a deal.
Steffy thought about what he was saying, Sônia did keep their relationship status under wraps so she would keep this secret too.
“Por que tem que ser um bebezinha Sônia?” Why would the baby have to be a Sônia?
“Porque eu sei e sou fabulosa.” (Because I know and I am fabulous.) Sônia thought it was quite obvious why the baby should be named after her.
Steffy just laughed and told Sônia that she didn’t disagree. However she would need to speak to her husband about names. It was too early for them to even start sorting names for the baby. Steffy spent the rest of her time talking to her on about how excited she was about becoming a mother. It was nice for Steffy to be able to share this news with someone other than Jay. There was one thing that she knew, even though Sônia wouldn’t say anything to Taylor, Steffy knew that she was going to have to tell her mother soon. Her mother was one of the most perceptive people she knew, it was her damn job. If Sônia noticed, it was only a matter of time before her mother was on the same kind of track.
Another two months had passed and Steffy was still able to keep it a secret. She didn’t show much and it was on trend to wear dresses. So she had been wearing dresses and blazers to work most of the time. She started working at home more, it didn’t look out of the ordinary when she didn’t make it to the office. She also loved working with her dad because as long as she did what she had to do; he rarely asked any questions.
Her dad’s obliviousness was working to her advantage. She decided that they had to come clean to her parents and have Jay’s parents visit as well. She wanted to meet them honestly as soon as possible because she was only growing. She didn’t want the first time meeting them to be after the baby was born.
Steffy had been so incredibly nervous about how this was going to go… She knew that her parents were going to feel blindsided and upset. She wouldn’t change any part of what she and Jay did. She knew to have the life that she wanted, she couldn’t think about what anybody else wanted. She was always thinking about what other people wanted. She couldn’t make any apologies for following her heart.
Jay becoming her husband was honestly the best thing that ever happened to her. It wasn’t because she was pregnant, it was a bonus that he was able to manifest that. She started telling him that his dick was magic. She believed Jay was the best thing that ever happened to her because she never felt this kind of bliss in her marriage is to Liam or Wyatt. She felt that kind of happiness where you feel as if you're forced to. It's a happiness that feels superficial, it was like wanting chocolate only to find Tootsie rolls there. Technically it was deemed a chocolate but is certainly what she wanted or what she liked. For a long time she settled upon that because she thought it would be the only thing she could have.
Being with Jay gave her hope again for a future that was bright. The happiness in her professional life matched her personal life and she never had that… she never thought she was going to have that. Every time he smiled at her or told her about his day, she wanted more. She wanted every part of him and it was as if it was not enough.
The type of devotion that he had for her took her breath away. He learned how to dance for her. She was so surprised when they went to another salsa club when they got back to the states and he knew how to do almost all of these dances. He even knew how to do the lambada and she wanted to know where did he ever get a chance to do this because she knew he couldn’t have gotten this from YouTube.
When she found out that he had enrolled himself in a samba school just so he would be able to keep up with her, it made her cry. And it wasn’t those sexy movie cries, it was snot-filled and trying to catch her breath. When she was going to visit Sônia, he was going through six-hour dance lessons every week as a way to surprise her.
This was something that she would have never asked him to do, it was something that she didn’t even expect. The fact that it was something in his mind and important to him, made her feel valued in a way that she never knew could happen. He did it because he loved her, that was the only reason. He told her that he thought it would be great to actually know what he was doing so when they went to the clubs and next time, they could dance all night properly.
In those moments when he told her about the dance lessons, she felt so cherished and unbelievably in love with him. It deepened because it was so unnecessary in her opinion, but he didn't share the same thoughts. She felt appreciated and valued and it had been a very long time since she felt truly valued in a personal relationship. Needlessly to say they had quite a bit of sex that night.
She wanted to make her parents understand that there was no other person for her but him. She didn’t have to look any further and she didn’t have to wait any longer, she was confident in the decision that she made and she would do it the same way again and again. She decided that she was going to tell them at Sunday dinner.
But when Sunday rolls around, she was nervous. Even though she didn’t regret her relationship with Jay, she knew that her mother just might go nuclear. It wasn’t coming from a place of malice; she knew that her mother loved her. She knew that her mother wanted the best for her and the timing wasn’t the best, but life didn’t work that way. She didn’t need to take two years or three years to know that Jay is her forever.
She had known where his heart lied for over a year. If anything she was the one that was playing catch up, he was always in the same place waiting for her. She was just glad that she didn’t wait too long and him possibly losing hope that they would ever be.
“You seem tense.” Jay could tell from the body language that she was overthinking everything. They were parked in front of her parents' home. They had been sitting here for about 5 minutes now.
He didn’t want to disturb her process, bed he was feeling awkward from the silence. He just wanted to gauge where her head was at.
“I’m just trying to figure out how I’m going to tell them. They’re going to flip; I just want them to see how happy we are with each other.” Steffy was little scared that her parents wouldn’t like Jay anymore because of them being married.
“Yeah, they’re most definitely going to flip, we can’t really change their reactions. But we’re in it together and I’m going to make sure that they know that I cherish you and love you. I would never do anything to harm you or take you for granted. If it takes a lifetime for me to show them, then so be it. It’s not like they can tell us to get a divorce.” Jay knew that he had to be respectful of her parents’ feelings. He knew that they were going to have to go through the same thing with his parents but he was never going to apologize for loving his wife.
He sure as hell wasn’t leaving, they were having a child. They were building the life that they want together. If their parents had a problem with it, it was going to be personal because he was not going to let anyone’s feelings dictate their happiness. He didn’t care who he had to shut down, but he certainly would.
“You’re right, we just need to rip the band aid and do it. I’m just thinking to myself should I do it before we eat or after.”
“Well, let’s look at it this way if we do it before our meal, it’s going to be awkward as we eat and if you do it after, there’s a big chance that you will upset yourself and get a really bad case of indigestion. There’s no perfect time to do this baby... I just think we should try and get it out of the way as soon as possible. This is not like work, there is no best way to break the news, we just have to do it and stick to it.” Jay knew that Stephanie was trying to rationalize this and make it as if it was some kind of business meeting but this was completely different.
Emotions were bound to leak out and people were going to be upset or hurt, that couldn’t be avoided.
Steffy didn’t feel any better from Jay’s words, but she realized that she didn't want anything but his honesty, she couldn’t take it if he tried to assuage her and give her unrealistic advice. She would know that it was bullshit and she would call him out on it.
“You’re right, we just have to buck up and deal with it. Come on let’s go.” Steffy just got out of the car and went towards the house.
When they got into the house, they saw that Ridge was sitting down watching television.
“You know you’re a little late, I had to calm down your mother because she was getting in her head about something maybe happening. You know how she gets...” Ridge got up and gave his daughter a hug.
He gave Jay a handshake and asked him if he had seen any games recently.
“Dad before you and Jay get all weirdo about soccer matches, I need to talk to you and mom about something.”
Ridge could see from the expression on his daughter’s face that this had to be important, he just nodded and went to get Taylor from the kitchen.
“I was wondering when you were coming, I started to get worried. How are you baby?” Taylor had been dying to see her daughter, to her Sunday couldn’t come fast enough.
“Mom I’m good. I’m really good, I wanted to talk to you two about something.”
“Of course honey, you can tell us anything.” Ridge new whatever it is it had to be serious so he was trying to be as encouraging as he could for his daughter.
“I don’t know how to say this in any way that will not sound so abrupt, but it can't be avoided, Jay and I are married.” Steffy looked at her mother straight in the eye as she said it and could see the slow reaction from her mother.
There weren’t many things that could shock her mother in life, she had patients that were on a spectrum of a lot to handle. But she could see that this was probably the first time her mother guffawed.
“I had to have heard wrong, did you just say that you are married?! Stephanie you just left Liam; I know that being in a new relationship may make you feel on top of the world but married. You two just met each other.” Taylor felt herself on the verge of laughing, she couldn’t believe what she was hearing.
Her daughter was impulsively married to the first guy she met after Liam. It didn’t matter that she likes Jay, just about anyone in this world was better than the last doofus. But it didn’t mean that she would think the first thing her daughter would do would be marry him.
“Mom that’s not really true, I have known Jay for a long time, yes we met while I was still married to Liam, but Liam and I had been having problems for so long and I found a friend in Jay. I fell in love with my friend, I was able to talk to him about things that I haven’t really been able to talk to anyone about. I didn’t feel judged or wrong. We bonded because we both lost a sibling and that's how it started. We knew the kind of pain that we were in and I felt connected to him. We never did anything physical with each other, but he made me feel seen and loved. I know that us getting married seems like a shock to you. But mom I couldn’t wait, not with him. I wanted to leave Liam sooner, you know that I just kept saying to myself that I had to do it because I had sacrificed so much for the relationship that I had to stay in a marriage that was tearing me apart. I had to make my sacrifices worth it, that’s what was in my head. Jay promised me the world and I believe him. I know him, I know where his heart lies, I know he’s loyal to me and no one else. He’s always been loyal to me, even before I ever got divorced. He is true to me always.” Steffy was doing her best to make her parents see that this was right. Jay was her future, soon he would be known as her baby daddy.
“What’s going on here?!” Sonia had been waiting for them to come, when they were late she had decided to take a brief nap.
“Well it seems as if Stephanie here, made the choice to get married without telling anyone. Right after she got out of a relationship with Liam.” Taylor was going to start listing the reasons why jumping headfirst into another marriage wasn't a good idea.
Sônia had heard enough, she wasn't going to entertain any fighting. She knew that she had to protect Stephanie.
“Mãezinha, isso é muito para absorver.” (Mom, that’s a lot to absorb.) Taylor was trying to reason with Sonia, but from the look on the woman's face she was not having it.
“Eles são casadas grande coisa…E daí? A Terra ainda está girando…” (They are married… big deal... So what? The Earth is still spinning) Sonia's voice was calm but it definitely had the authority in it to tell Taylor she needed to calm down and she needed to calm down now.
“Como você pode ser tem indiferente sobre isso?" (How can you be nonchalant about it?) Taylor felt like she was in the Twilight Zone, she didn't understand how Sonia could be so calm.
“Eu já sabia que eles eram casados. Eu os vi como um casal no Brasil. Eles estão felizes e isso é o que importa para mim. Eu não quero mais discussão, não é bom para a bebezinha Sônia.” (I already knew they were married. I saw them as a couple in Brazil. They are happy and that is what matters to me. I don't want any more discussion, it's no good for baby Sônia.) Sonia didn't want to hear any more of this, she was hungry and she was pretty sure that Stephanie was as well.
“Bebezinha? Você esta tendo um bebê? Você ouviu isso Ridge, ela está tendo um bebê?!” (Baby? Are you having a baby? Did you hear that Ridge, she’s having a baby ?!) Taylor's mood completely changed, when she heard that Steffy was pregnant, it felt as if she had been given the best news. She knew how complicated was for Steffy to go through those fertility treatments just to be able to have children. This was something that her daughter wanted and she was so happy for her. She went over and hugged her daughter.
If Steffy had known that just saying she was pregnant was going to elicit this action she would have probably led with that
“Sim, é verdade que é vou ter um bebê.” (Yes, it’s true I’m having a baby.) Steffy’s hand gravitated towards her middle without any thought.
Taylor came closer and she moved Jay out of the way and rushed Steffy to the couch. She wanted to know everything.
Sônia went to the other side and that next to Steffy as well. All three of them started talking excitedly about the baby.
"Por que o bebê está se chamando Sônia? O bebê deveria ser chamar Taylor!" Why is the baby being called Sônia? The baby should be called Taylor.
Ridge had learned long ago to let them be, they were in their own world and it didn't concern them. He told Jay they could go to his man cave and watch the game while they let the women go through their thing. Jay just shrugged and followed his father-in-law.
“Não haverá discussão sobre isso. A bebezinha será Sônia. Sim da história.” (There will be no discussion about this. The little baby will be Sônia. End of story.) Sônia didn't even feel like this was a necessary endeavor. She is the matriarch, that's it.
“Não importa o que você pensa. Minha linda filha, o amor da minha vida. De quem você vai dar o nome do bebê? Sua mãe que te ama de tudo o coração o minha mãe?” (It doesn't matter what you think. My beautiful daughter, the love of my life. Whose name will you give the baby? Your mother who loves you with all her heart or my mother?) Taylor didn't care about laying it on thick, she was not going to let Sônia win this.
“Umm…” Steffy just looked from her left to her right. She was met with two stone faced women who were expecting an answer from her. She was literally caught in the middle and the husband who claimed to be devoted to her escaped with her father. “How about we eat and discuss?”
“Good idea, I make you a real meal, your mother’s cooking is what I would use to lure a mouse out of hiding. If I kept my home as untidy as she does.” Sônia got up and went for the kitchen.
Taylor took offense and got up to argue with her.
“I learned to cook from you so if it lures mice then yours must lure rats…” Taylor was exasperated at the insult.
The arguing got more distant and Steffy could breathe a little easier now that the duo of doom were gone.
“Let’s go find your daddy.” Steffy wanted to have a talk with her lovely hubby. He scattered just like her dad. She was going to have to break that habit before it took hold.
Everything was nerve-racking, Steffy felt like her heart was in her throat. She wasn't normally a nervous person, but this would be the first time she was meeting Jay's parents.
They had no clue about her, well she knew that Jay told his parents about the fact that he was in a relationship however this was more than that. They were married and she is 8 months pregnant. It’s going to be a lot for his parents to wrap their heads around. She really wanted them to just like her but given how pregnant she is and how little they know of her, she was afraid that things would be very difficult.
Jay told her that all she needed to do was be herself and everything else would fall into place. Of course he would say that it was just by luck that her parents were so accepting. It was a good thing that they went to weekly dinners because that helped them get to know Jay. But it was different for Steffy because Jay's parents lived on the other side of the country. It wasn’t as if she and Jay could just go to their house every single week and share a meal.
So there she was, anxiously waiting to meet Jay’s parents at LAX. It was so nerve wracking because she's so pregnant and it would be the first thing that they see. He had a tight grip on her hand, she didn't know if it was for support or so she couldn't run away.
They had gotten there a little early, no specific reason but the both of them had always been the type of people who believed there was no such thing as early period early was on time and everything else meant you were late. The fact that they were so early only gave Steffy trepidation because she had nothing but time on her hands. She kept over analyzing what would happen when she met jay’s parents. She wanted them to love her more than anything. It had been her number one goal to impress his parents.
They were going to be parents soon and she wanted to make sure that she had a good relationship with her in-laws because she didn’t want to affect her husband or her child. But more than that she also wanted to get along with them because it was important to her too. They were people who matter to Jay and it meant that they matter to her too.
Steffy could see them, she knew who they were because she’s seen photos of them before. They were with another woman. Before she could scrutinize it any further, they were already there.
Hey mom, dad… This is Stephanie, don’t get mad but she's my wife. You can see why we accelerated the process.” Steffy kept her mouth shut to Jay’s words. They got married before they ever knew they were pregnant, but she knew that it would soften the blow.
“Well you always did make quick work.” Jay’s father Hank tried to break the ice with a joke. “Nice to meet you doll, my son talks about you all the time. I feel like I know you.”
Before Steffy could say anything, she was getting a hug from her father-in-law. It made her feel good that he didn't hate her guts.
“Nice to meet you Stephanie. I have been waiting a long time to get to know you.” Jay's mother was a little more subdued, her words were careful and precise and it made Steffy feel on edge because she needed her mother-in-law to like her. A lot of trouble can arise in marriages if the mother-in-law doesn't like you.
“It’s nice to meet you as well Catherine. Jay is always talking about you. I’m so glad that you guys could come from Chicago. We would have traveled but it's not advisable for us right now.”
Steffy could see the tight smile that Catherine gave her.
“Where are my manners? Stephanie this is Natalie, she is Will’s wife.” Jay didn’t know that Natalie was coming on this trip, but it made him feel happy. It’s been a long time since he got to see her.
“Hi, it’s so nice to meet you. Thank you so much for coming.” Steffy was excited to have a sister-in-law. She hoped that Natalie could be someone on her side.
“It’s nice to meet you too. Jay is always gushing about you, so I thought why not? I thought I was going to be the one to surprise but you have me beat. How far along are you?” Natalie was really excited to hear about a new member of the family.
There was so much doom and gloom because of her husband dying but this is also a celebration of life. she was also tired of wallowing in sadness, she wanted to be around people again and this trip felt like the start of that.
“I’m about 8 months. It’s really exciting time for us. I’m really glad that we get to share that with you. Jay talks about how family is the most important thing to him and I agree.” Steffy’s excited demeanor wasn’t going to be dimmed by Catherine. She didn’t even know if her mother-in-law was mad at her. She didn’t really know the woman’s personality yet, so she didn’t want to judge.
“Alright, I think it’s best if we start moving because maybe we shouldn’t have a long conversation in an airport, I’m sure that all of you are hungry. I know it was a long flight and you probably just want a nice hot meal.” Jay was ready to get out of there, he wanted to get his parents and Natalie home.
He also knew that his wife would be getting hungry any minute now. It was almost as if he could sense it down to the minute when she was start getting hungry again.
During the drive back, Steffy didn’t say much. Everyone kept talking about Chicago and stories about it. She just took it as a chance to learn about her extended family. It was a little weird to not say anything, it was about 40 minutes of just listening and not participating. She didn’t want to seem as if she was standoffish or prissy. She didn’t have any of the experiences that they had so she had nothing to add to the conversation.
She laughed at the right times with subtle chuckles, she felt like she was stressing herself out. She really wanted to be liked by Jay’s parents, she wanted to be able to contribute something, but she didn't have anything to say. Which is weird because she’s a very evocative person, she always has something to say.
Jay noticed that his wife was pretty quiet, he knew that them talking about Chicago would mean that she was pretty much just a listener to the conversation. He just reached over for her hand when he saw her looking out the window. He didn’t want for her to be disengaged. He didn’t want her to feel excluded or ignored. He loved her and he wanted her to be able to be herself around the people he loved. He tried steering the conversation into something that they all could talk about. Jay talks about the dance lessons he took, it made his dad laugh, but he wasn’t deterred.
He had explained that Stephanie was a very adept dancer and he wanted to be able to keep up with her. Jay knew that his dad had two left feet, for years he used to swear that it was genetic until he started taking the dance classes which erased all of that. He was ribbing his dad telling Hank that he should take dance lessons and take his mom out for a night on the town.
Steffy added that it made really fun date nights, she hadn’t even known that Jay had took it upon himself to take dance lessons. It was a wonderful surprise because she loved dancing and thought it was something fun that they could do together.
“I would pay to see you dance. It seems my daughter-in-law has you being more adventurous. I knew I liked you when I saw you Stephanie. Jay has been so boring as of late, I’m glad that you’re able to make him have a little fun. He’s always about business business business, but there is more to life than business. This is the first time I’ve seen him smile in a very long time and that makes me a very happy man.” Hank was not a man who was very verbose, he kept things close to the vest, but he always wanted the best for his kids. He and his wife had always tried to make a happy household and it's been a really hard time since their eldest son passed away.
“I agree with your father, I’m going to have to see these dance skills. You don’t even have a good robot, so I’ll have to be the judge of that.” Catherine was trying to be as lighthearted as her husband, he had squeezed her hand.
He knew that it was her first inclination too be abrupt and blunt with their new daughter-in-law. People always thought that he was the grizzly one, but he had nothing on his wife. He didn’t want past mistakes too occur here. It was different because Stephanie was pregnant. Catherine had been hard on Natalie to when she had met her, it had caused Natalie and Will to actually break up for a spell.
Natalie had told Will that Catherine was too intense for her and it didn't seem like anything she did was right. And that was when she was just a girlfriend. It was one of the first times that Will had a fight with his mother. It was the first time he ever brought someone home that he was serious about and Catherine had given Natalie the third-degree numerous times. Hank didn’t want that for Stephanie, she was heavily pregnant and the last thing he wanted was for his other son to have a fight with his wife.
They had gotten to the house and Jay and Hank had taken all the bags while Steffy had taken Natalie and Catherine into the house. She had been proactive, she knew that everyone would be hungry, so she had already made food and kept it warm in the oven.
She waited for her husband and father-in-law to come back into the house before offering food to everyone. It seemed to endear Natalie and her father-in-law more to her, but her mother-in-law stayed pretty distant even though she wasn’t far away. Catherine mostly nodded and just made sounds of approval. Steffy really didn’t know how to react to it, so she just put her best smile forward and try to be a good hostess.
The more she tried to stay engaged, the more tired she felt. She was in the last stretch of her pregnancy and it was so easy for her to become tired. Jay watched his wife; they were taking every precaution because of the risk of her pregnancy. Their OB told them that Steffy shouldn’t overdo it, if she felt tired then take her body’s advice and rest. He could see the fatigue setting in, so he asked her quietly if she wanted to take a nap.
Steffy really didn’t want to take a nap because she didn’t want it to seem as if she was being rude. Jay said that he would handle it, but it would feel better if she took the time to rest. Jay knew if she didn’t take a nap now then she could probably fall asleep at the table.
Steffy was grateful, even though she didn't want to take a break, she felt happy that she had a partner like Jay to help her when she was being unreasonable. He didn’t get mad at her or berate her; he was just gently laying out the facts for her. She wanted to impress but their baby was the most important priority for her right now, so she took her nap.
When Jay came back from his bedroom, his mother has something to say.
“Did we scare her off already?” Catherine stone was clipped, she was upset, she tried to keep her voice leveled but it didn’t fool Jay.
“It’ll take a lot more to scare my wife… more than your sour attitude mom. If you want to be mad at anyone be mad at me. She has to get a lot of rest because it's a high-risk pregnancy. I’m not going to risk my child so you can feel good about grilling her. I’m not going to let you run her off. So whatever your beef is… Take it up with me not her.” Jay loved his mother, but he was going to be damned if she was going to treat his wife the way that she treated Natalie when Will had first brought her home. “You know what, dad… Nat, I’m starting to feel tired myself. If you need anything just give me a call but the house has a pool and a game room so if you guys wanna just hang out… you can do that.”
Jay was over it, he left the room and went back to his bedroom. Nat had felt awkward because she knew what her new sister-in-law was going through, getting the third degree from Catherine was no fun and Catherine was only getting started.
Catherine scoffed, but when she turned, she saw that her husband had a frosty look that was just for her. Hank had apologized to Nat because he was going to leave her by herself, but he really needed to talk to his wife privately. Nat had just nodded and decided to just pick a guest room and watch some TV and hopefully find a comedy because this was too much drama.
It hadn’t been any easier for Steffy to connect to her mother-in-law. It wasn’t as if Catherine was mean or anything, it was just like there was a wall. It wasn’t something that she felt with Hank or Natalie. She got along with them really well. They were so candid and warm to her, she thought Catherine would be the same way.
Every time that Steffy thought they would be getting to a better place, it was as if Catherine was putting up another boundary. It was hard for Steffy to not feel singled out because Catherine’s whole demeanor changed with everyone else. She had done her best to strike up conversation and make really good meals to impress but nothing worked.
She didn’t know what else she could do, Steffy felt like nothing would work. She just stopped trying after awhile. She was getting so worked up and stressed about making her mother-in-law like her. She realized that she had to take a step back because the more she tried to make it work, the more she put stress on herself and it wasn’t good for the baby. Trying to be a good hostess was taking a lot out of her because she kept second guessing herself and didn’t speak really because she didn’t want to second guess everything she said.
Jay had noticed that Stephanie had been more withdrawn as of late. The warning that he sent to his mom seems to have done no good. All he could see was his wife doing her best to impress his mom. It broke his heart for him to see his wife so quiet, it was like she was trying to take herself out of the room even though she was in it. Everyone else were just talking and he could see her smiling at the right times and nodding her head, but she was basically mute.
He didn’t know why he could do to make it better, it made him upset that his mom was doing this shit again. She didn’t learn the first time, his brother almost lost the love of his life because of his mother’s interference. His mom had this uncanny ability to make someone feel unwelcome. It made him so upset for his mother to do that in his home. He was going to have a child soon and he didn't know how to fix this situation.
Jay had asked if he could spend the day with his father, he wanted to speak to his father privately about this situation. There was no other way around it, Jay told his dad that if his mom didn’t change, he didn't want her there. He can’t stand the fact that his wife feels uncomfortable in her own home. It’s not good for the baby, he told his dad in confidence that Stephanie had a miscarriage before and it made her higher risk. The stress of having Catherine there posed a risk. He didn’t want to risk his child's life and possibly his wife because his mom was upset. He really didn’t know why she would be upset.
It really couldn’t be from the fact that they were married, his mother was the ultimate pragmatist. He was raised to not think of marriage is a party. Catherine always complained at the expensive price tags that came with weddings, some of them cost as much as buying a house. She was always ready to criticize that, so Jay didn’t know what it could be.
Hank could see that it was weighing really heavy on his son’s head. He honestly didn’t like his wife’s behavior towards Stephanie as well. He thought it was unbecoming of his wife because this wasn't the first time she did it. He didn’t like the idea of his wife being able to dictate anyone's relationship. Especially if it would have a detrimental affect on their relationship with their children.
Hank told Jay that he would speak to Catherine and finally nip this in the bud. He was tired, he's been having the same conversation with his wife, but he really needed to put his foot down. The situation was becoming untenable and the last thing he wanted was for them to go back to Chicago like this. His son was really close to shutting down communication with his own mother because she refused to back down. Hank really didn’t understand the reason for this, he didn’t understand when she did it with William. Even if Jay didn’t tell him about Stephanie having a prior miscarriage, he didn’t like the way his wife was treating her.
He didn’t like anyone treating a heavily pregnant woman to high amounts of stress because of pettiness.
“We need to talk.” Hank had entered their bedroom, his voice was gruff and unyielding.
Catherine rolled her eyes, she already knew what their conversation was going to be about.
“Let me guess, Jay ran to you because he’s too afraid to talk to me.” Catherine thought it was very obvious why the two men left together.
“You are definitely right about that. I don’t get you. Why are you making it so difficult for Stephanie? She is about to bring a grandchild for the both of us into this world and you’re giving her the cold shoulder at every turn.” Hank was trying to be reasonable because he did not want to be angry with his wife. He did not want to devolve into a fight.
“So what? Just because she’s pregnant I’m supposed to change how concerned I am? We come to California and our son tells us he's married with a kid that is going to be born within a month. You don’t think that their relationship is moving at a pace that light years faster than it should be?” Catherine couldn’t understand how Hank was so ambivalent towards this.
“I don’t think that their relationship honestly is our business. I don’t give a damn because my son is happy. He fucking smiles Catherine, I don’t remember the last time I saw him smile. And it fucking feels nice to see my son happy. She does that. He smiles because she makes him smile. I don’t give a fuck if they’ve been married for a minute or three years. That’s his decision to make not ours. He’s more than a grown man, you don’t even care about weddings, so I know it can’t be because of that. You never think to yourself the reason he didn’t say anything is because he knew you would be exactly like this no matter if he told you or not?”
“What is that supposed to mean? She’s been married to other people, she's been married to the same man multiple times. She is obviously a person who runs from relationships easily. I’ll be damned if my son is going to be the next one in line for her.” Catherine was concerned with the amount of times this woman has been married.
“So what? Your sister married the same guy three times, he beat the shit out of her. I’m not saying that Stephanie’s ex husband beat her, it's obvious that it was a toxic situation if she's divorced him that many times. Sometimes it’s easier to go back to someone who treats you wrong when you feel that no one else wants you. Maybe our son saved her as much as she saved him. She doesn’t deserve your disrespect. This is her home.” It was okay to have concerns about Stephanie’s prior relationships but it wasn't okay to disrespect her because of them.
“No this is our son’s house.” Catherine didn’t appreciate her husband bringing up her sister.
“And she's his wife. She lives here… they’re going to raise their family here, this her home too. If you continue this track, you’re going to lose Jay. You already did this with one of our kids and the time that you didn't get to talk with William haunts you to this day. You missed out on a whole year of his life and now he's dead. I don’t wish that on our other son, but you should know better than anyone that nothing in life is guaranteed. This game that you’re playing you will be the only one who loses. You’re making our son miserable. He hasn’t seen you in so long and you take this trip to make his life difficult. That’s unbelievable, you didn’t learn from the first time you did this. If you don’t fix yourself, then we are going to have some problems because I’m not going to let my son suffer because of your pride.” Hank hardly ever fought with his wife. He didn’t have any use for it, but he would fight his wife in a defense of his kids any day of the week.
Catherine was done with this conversation, she left her room and started venturing through the house. She could hear voices, it was a voices of women. She got closer so she could hear what they were talking about.
“I got you a present. I couldn’t help myself.” Steffy had been really happy to see when Natalie would think about the present she got for her.
“What? You got me something… You really didn’t have to do that but I’ll never turn down a present.” Natalie was excited to see what it was, it was a small rectangular box so she knew that it had to be some kind of necklace or bracelet.
She opened it and she saw a necklace with two gemstones within an Infinity symbol.
“I hope it was okay, it's your birthstone and Will’s too. I have one for myself as well but it was a while back.” Steffy could feel herself tearing up because she could see that Natalie was taken aback by the gift. She hopes she didn’t make a mistake.
“Thank you for this. It’s really so thoughtful. Some days are harder than others. I really love this necklace, my husband might be gone but I will always love him forever. He was my forever. Your necklace has the same birthstones though but you and Jay have different months.” Natalie was so appreciative by this gift it was so unexpected, but she really loved it.
“The stone isn’t about Jay. I got this years ago. I lost my twin sister in a car accident. She’s the person that I love most in life. I still think about her every single day and it's been over a decade. It’s a crippling feeling sometimes. Sometimes I can get through the day and sometimes a feeling of acute pain just rips through my whole body and the pain is so fresh of losing her. This kind of became this catalyst for a lot of bad decisions that I’ve made in my life. It’s so difficult to lose a part of yourself, you mourn for the person you lost but he also mourned for the big chunk of your heart that is broken. I felt like a fraction of a person for a really long time. I didn’t know my worth for a long time. I learned to accept less and just be grateful for that. It honestly changed when I met Jay. He understood me in a way that a lot of people didn't or just couldn't. He went through the same thing as I did. Your husband was such a wonderful man who inspires the man I love. Jay can get so happy to tell me about a ridiculous story from when they were kids. The memories bring such happiness to him, is clear because it’s who it was with. I knew that you have to be hurting in such a different and profound way because you were promised forever and it was taken away. Obviously I can’t bring your husband back but maybe the necklace could be a small version of your forever.” Steffy hated getting emotional but she had so many hormones coursing through her body. She was crying and she really couldn't stop and the fact that her sister in law was crying too only made her cry more.
“Honestly thank you for this. It mean so much to me that you've done something like this for me and you don't even know me like that. This is such a sweet gift and I’m never taking it off.” Natalie rushed to put this on because she loved the idea of it.
Catherine heard the whole exchange, her opinion of her daughter-in-law was changing. She felt guilty in a way, here was this woman who was new to her family extending such a kindness to her other daughter in law. She remembered the year that she didn't speak with her son, it was one of her biggest regrets because now he was gone, she didn’t want to lose her other son. She knew that she wasn’t giving Stephanie a fair shake.
“I got one for Catherine too but I’m really afraid to give it to her. I don’t want her to think that I’m exploiting her son’s death in any way. I just feel like anything I do seems like the wrong move. I’m just going to give it to Jay and have him tell his mom that is from him.” Steffy thought that was the best course of action, she didn’t want Catherine thinking that she had ulterior motives.
“It'll get better. Catherine’s a really good woman she just is very protective about her family.” Natalie was trying to be diplomatic, she had her own issues in the past with Catherine, but that’s where they were in the past. It was one of the reasons that she knew that Stephanie would be able to get over the hump because she was able to.
“I hope so. I know that she loves Jay fiercely. I’d do anything to make him happy. I don’t know maybe with the baby coming, she might hate me less, I don’t know. It’s so stressful to even think about.”
Catherine was still eavesdropping, she felt like she was getting a wealth of knowledge and at this point she didn't want to stop.
Natalie was a little concerned, the doctor in her didn't like the idea of a woman close to term being in a stressful environment that her mother-in-law was causing.
“Stephanie you have to be careful, you have to keep stress to a minimum. I know that it can be challenging with Catherine, but you have to keep your stress levels really low. You’re in the homestretch but this is also the most dangerous time in your pregnancy. I’m not trying to make you feel worse, I specialize in reproductive health, so sorry occupational hazard.” This was Natalie specialty so she had no problem being a guide for her sister in law.
“No I completely get it. My mother is a doctor as well and so is my aunt so between the two of them they’re very protective right now. My whole pregnancy has been a risk, I had a previous miscarriage and scar tissue accumulation. Most of the scar tissue has been removed but my OBGYN is very transparent and letting me know that any pregnancy I have always be at a higher risk because of it. I’m pretty much doing nothing these days because of it. It’s so weird sometimes because I’ll be OK one minute and then I feel like I have to sleep for 20 hours. At this point Jay is pretty much on babysitting duty. He’s taking care of me and the baby and I’m so grateful for him. I never knew that I could be so deeply in love with someone. I thought I had been in love before, but I was wrong. He’ll take me out on walks or see that I’m tired sometimes before I even realize it and will help me go to bed to take a nap. It’s the small details, grand gestures are nice but their fleeting, it’s small things that matter most. Even though I’m as big as a blimp now, I love making him coffee because I make it better than he does. I know he likes illy coffee from Brazil, I was very happy when he told me that because I’m a little bias. I make his coffee and put a spoonful of cinnamon. Every morning, it’s nothing to do… Well it used to be nothing, now it is a little bit of a struggle to get out of bed especially without him noticing but I find a way. I’m pretty sure that he is awake but he just lets me get away with it so I can make him his coffee the way that he likes it. It’s the little things.”
Catherine felt that she was learning so much about both of her daughters in law. She stayed there for a little longer, but she knew that things had to change. She didn’t want to cause any distress to Stephanie or the baby or even her son. She had been looking for reasons to right Stephanie off, she wanted to prove her point the Stephanie was fickle, but the way that she was trying to really establish a relationship with Natalie made Catherine realize that she was wrong. She was sad to hear that Stephanie had gotten her a gift but was too scared to actually give it to her. She could see her husband’s point, Stephanie made her son happy and her son made Stephanie happy. Catherine was starting to open her eyes and see that Stephanie was a kind person who had a great capacity for empathy and that was the kind of person that she wanted for her son. She had been looking for reasons why her son wouldn’t be happy instead of actually seeing that he was the happiest he has ever been.
Steffy had been happier for the past couple of days. She didn’t know what happened or why it was happening, but Catherine was more open to her. She was actually smiling at her and it made Steffy feel like she was in heaven. She had been so afraid of Catherine not liking her causing problems.
Even though she was getting more tired as of late, she felt the excitement from Catherine liking her being some kind of energy boost because she was showing her mother-in-law and Natalie around the city. At first it was something that Jay didn’t like because he was always afraid that she was going to tire herself out.
It had surprised both Steffy and Jay when his mother had said that it was a lovely idea and if Stephanie got tired that either her or Natalie would just drive them home. It had made Jay really happy to see his mom trying. He really loved her, but he didn’t want any bit of the past touching his present in any way. Not one it was one that was a source of sadness.
“There’s this really good Turkish restaurant and I think the both of you would really like it.” Steffy was really in the mood for lunch.
She had taken Catherine and Natalie to an art show. The one thing that she loved about living in the city was that there was always some kind of event popping up. It was a great way to show tourists or people just visiting something fun and new because the events were always changing so nothing was ever like the last thing.
She also wanted to make sure that she stayed on her mother-in-law's good list. So she was always trying to make fun activities for them so Catherine could see how inclusive she was.
“I’ve never had Turkish food before but I’m willing to try it if that’s what Natalie wants to do too.” Catherine could admit to herself that it took way less energy to be nice than it was to be mean or standoffish.
After she took the stick out of her ass, she could see that her daughter-in-law was pretty fun and just a sweet girl. She was a little disappointed in herself though. Catherine had realized if she had given Stephanie a chance from the get-go, they could have been doing more activities around the city. She could see that it was something that Natalie really enjoyed, and Catherine enjoyed them too.
Stephanie was able to take them to places where all of them would be interested, they could have been having fun throughout the County instead of being in the house doing nothing while on a vacation.
“I love Turkish food! There’s a really good place in Chicago, when you come, I’ll definitely take you there.” Natalie was psyched when she heard about Turkish food. She wasn’t really that hungry yet because her breakfast was a decent size and her sister-in-law was a really good cook, but she wasn’t going to pass up the chance to have really good food.
Steffy had been really happy when Natalie had mentioned Chicago. She had loved that both Catherine and Natalie were talking about future plans and things that she would be doing when she went to visit them. It made her really happy because she felt like she was a part of their family now. Natalie had always welcomed her with open arms, but she was careful to speak about future plans in front of Catherine.
“I would really love that. I have a food blog, now it’s really based in LA because I live here full time again, but I do have some posts when I was on vacation or I had to travel for business, I never did one for Chicago which is so weird because that’s where my grandparents on my dad’s side are from.”
“Really?! I didn’t know that… That’s amazing, it’s funny how the world can be so big and small at the same time right?” Catherine had been surprisingly shocked at the fact that Stephanie had roots in Chicago.
“That’s the same thing that Jay said when I told him. Yeah, my grandparents they had move to Los Angeles so my grandfather could open his business here. It honestly was a gamble, but my grandmother believed in him and they took their chances.”
“And now you're running it?! That’s really something…” Catherine was impressed with her daughter-in-law. If there was one thing that her sons could do it was choose high achieving women.
“My grandad always says that because the charter was made in Chicago that it’s a Chicago company that happens to be in LA.” Steffy always love to talk about that fun fact.
The ladies kept talking as Steffy drove them to the restaurant. The three of them were having such a good time, the combination of their windows being down, and loud laughs caused on lookers to look at them as if they were crazy. Steffy didn’t care because who cares what they thought about her, the only opinions that matter to her were the people who were related to her.
Steffy had pulled into the parking lot as Catherine got a call. Even though Catherine had been on vacation, justice never sleeps… there was always a junior public defender calling her for something and she would never decline a call because it could decide the fate of someone's freedom. She told the girls that she would meet them inside so Steffy and Natalie walked together.
“See I told you all you had to do is give it time and look at you guys now…” Natalie was really happy that Catherine was being welcoming to Stephanie. She didn’t want what she went through to be something that her sister-in-law had to endure too.
“I’m really glad to. She’s a really beautiful person and I’m glad that she’s extending that part of her personality to me. I know Jay loves her so much and I just want to be a part of this family.”
“Can I ask you something?” Nat had been nervous because what she was going to ask would be super unorthodox.
“Yeah of course, you can ask me anything. Remember we’re sisters, we got to stick together.” Steffy’s eyes looked words to sky, and she had a sing song voice about her that made Natalie feel more comfortable.
“Obviously you know that my husband is gone, but I have this chance to have a piece of him still. Will and I were talking about creating a family before he died. It was unexpected when he did, we had been trying to get pregnant. It wasn’t like we had any difficulties or anything like that. We were just in that phase of we're trying but we're not putting like a serious emphasis on it. So whenever we weren’t at work obviously, we were trying it out the natural way. And seeing you kind of made me a little envious. I haven’t spoken about it to anybody really… When we were looking at all of our options, it was our backup plan to harvest some of my eggs and for Will to store some of his sperm. Since we were both doctors, it was the logical choice for us. We had high octane careers and five years could pass by and it would feel like a blink of an eye for us. Do you think it’s weird to get pregnant without him? Do you think that dream should die with him? I don’t want to do something that might make Hank and Catherine and even Jay uncomfortable. The idea of Will having a child a year, actually the baby if there would be one it would be almost two years since Will died.”
Steffy definitely was not expecting Natalie to say that. This is a situation that is so layered and complicated. She really didn’t know how to answer the question. She really didn’t know what Jay’s parents or Jay would even think. She'd like to think that it would be something that they would support, but you really don’t know what someone thinks until the action happens. She could see why Natalie was so hesitant and even speaking it out loud.
They had gone into the restaurant and sat at a table, Catherine was still not inside which was probably a really good thing.
“This is very heavy. There’s no clear-cut answer. Natalie all I can really say is your husband left everything to you. Including his spunk… it was clearly something that you two were actively striving for before he died. I think you should have the chance to have the child you want with the person you want it with. It’s something that he wanted to… so I don’t think it’s bad if you were to go this route. I get that it might be complicated when you have to deal with the feelings of his family, but ultimately, he wanted a child with you. He wanted to expand your family and that was the plan. I can’t tell you what is right and what is wrong because I really don’t feel like that is applicable to what's happening here. I can just tell you this from my experience, if the roles were reversed, I would definitely choose to have my husband’s child. To me it’s really the only choice. I’ve always wanted kids and for a while I thought that was unavailable to me. I was going to adopt and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that too, but I love the idea of Jay and I bring the life into this world. I’m pretty sure that’s the same thing that you and Will felt as well. At the end of the day, Natalie you have to ask yourself, is the possibility of having a child with Will going to make you feel more fulfilled or will it not?” Steffy tried to be as measured as she could. It was so complicated to even ask the question from Natalie’s part and it was even more difficult for her to answer because it was clear to Steffy that this was something that Natalie wrestled with herself.
“For the longest time I didn’t think that I wanted that. The pain was so fresh and every day I woke up, I had this kind of hope and it was dashed every single time. Even though we’re doctors, Will and I were completely different in how we started our routine. He always woke up early, he had been waking up early his whole life, I always waited to the last possible minute that I had to in order to start my day. I loved being in bed, I love sleeping. So every time I woke up, I didn’t see him on his side of the bed it didn't register with me much. He always got up before me and he would be making coffee for the both of us. He would always have our door open so every time I woke up, I could smell coffee being made. Every time I woke up and I saw his side empty, it didn't mean anything, what hit me was every time I took a sniff, I couldn’t smell coffee. It was always how I was reminded that he was gone. The idea of having a part of Will live on is so amazing to me. Obviously, a child will never replace a spouse and I don’t want that for my kid. What I do want is to have his child... I was just afraid that it would upset his family. And that’s the last thing that I want to do because as much grief as I have for him, I can’t imagine what it’s like to raise a child and love them with everything you have and try to do right by them only to lose them.”
“I completely get your reservations and I really think that you should talk to Hank and Catherine, they don’t even know that this is an option. And they are excited for the baby that I’m having. I think that it would be honestly a miracle for them if you were to have Will's child it’s not the most ideal situation, but this is where we are at. With how much I know they value family, I think that the chance they could have being grandparents for the child you want would be something that they would be amenable to.” Steffy knows what she would do if this was her, she would not even ask for permission. She would do it and then tell them, but she wasn’t Natalie.
They decide to table the talk for now because Catherine was coming over. When their mother-in-law sat down, they picked up their menus.
“What were you girls talking about, you just picked up your menus now I thought that you would have been eating appetizers already.”
Steffy could never eat before everyone was at the table, that was one of the life lessons that her mother taught her.
“There was no way that we could start eating without you. We were just talking about sister stuff. I hope your staff was able to get what they need, the call was kind of long.” Natalie was trying to steer the talk away from Catherine's natural investigative senses.
“They’ll be good for now, hopefully… sometimes I think the building would catch fire if I wasn’t in charge.” Catherine loved her team but sometimes they could call her about things that we're just so ridiculous. She had been happy that this particular call was actually important.
“Definitely wouldn't want that! Now that we’re all free, we can decide what to eat.” Steffy was really happy to share this restaurant that she loved with for new family members. She hoped that they enjoy the food as much as she does.
Even as they enjoy themselves, Steffy and Natalie always took sly looks at each other. It was as if they were trying to support each other even as if they were having conversations with their mother-in-law about completely different subjects.
Trigger warning for aggressive grabbing.
Everything had went so right. They had enjoyed their lunch. Steffy thought it was about a 90% chance that they would, but you never really know until it happens.
They started to make their way out of the restaurant. Catherine had said something and Steffy turned and laughed. Steffy couldn't see that Liam was also in the parking lot.
Liam on the other hand could tell that head of hair from anywhere, it’s been so long since he seen Steffy. He’s been doing his best to try and win her back, but she never returns his phone calls. He had one mind to think that she blocked him because they always go straight to voicemail and his text messages aren’t even left on read. He had been going crazy for nine months trying to figure out how he was going to win his wife back. He realized when she didn’t come back how big of a mistake he made.
He saw her with women that he’d never seen before and he just thought maybe she was having a business lunch, but she looks so casual.
“Hey Steffy!” Liam had been so happy to have this chance.
He’s been waiting for so long, seeing her in this random place it felt like fate was bringing them together again.
Steffy had felt a chill in her bones. She knew exactly who the person was shouting her name. Natalie and Catherine could see the grimace on Stephanie’s face.
Steffy turned and saw Liam there. It did give her some satisfaction that he looked terrible. He deserved to look the way that she felt when she was betrayed by him.
Liam went from happy to furious within a couple of seconds. When he saw Steffy turn, he was so happy to see her face. She was as beautiful as ever and then he saw that she was pregnant. It made him feel cold inside. How dare she not tell him about her pregnancy?
“What is this?” Liam felt confused and angry.
He felt angrier now more than he ever did when he was served with divorce papers
“Leave me alone Liam.” Steffy didn't want to have this conversation with him.
She moved on with her life and she wasn’t looking back so seeing him here only made her upset.
“Are you kidding me? I have been calling you and texting you, trying to pick up the pieces to our marriage. You’re pregnant with my child and you ignore me. We’ve been through so much and this is our time. When were you going to tell me?” Liam was flabbergasted because it looked as if Steffy was due any day now.
“We are divorced and I owe you nothing. You cheated on me and expected me to just take it and forgive you. All you do is lie and manipulate and you expect me to want that for my life, you’re an idiot if you think that’s going to happen. I wasted years on you and I’m so glad, I’m so fucking glad that I don’t have a child with you.” Steffy felt like she was seeing only the color red. The entitlement that came from Liam was always astounding to her.
Everyone in the world had expectations when it came to him, if you did any little thing wrong, he was ready to read you the riot act, but when he did something so foul, he would throw a couple of sorries and just expect to move on. She decided that she was going to move on, but it wasn’t going to be with him. She wasn’t going to waste her life doing the back and forth of forgiving him only for him to make the same mistakes again.
She woke up to that and when she did, she realized that she could actually have happiness. She could actually be with someone who loved her and put her first. She didn’t need someone to tell her sorry after hurting her so intimately. There was absolutely no trust with Liam. The life that she had now was something that she could never give up because she was in love with a man who treated her right. Who treated her with respect at all times. Even if Jay was mad at her for some reason, he wouldn’t disrespect her, he would speak to her and want to solve it. He was a person who didn’t want to go to bed angry or conflicted and that was something that she appreciated because the both of them knew that tomorrow is never guaranteed.
“And the first time I see you which is only by random chance you're pregnant?! You really moved at the speed of light didn't you? You’re having some bastard’s baby? You just have a child with the first guy after me? What does that say about you?” Liam was so upset at the news of this wasn't his child.
It was like she jumped to the first person she saw and decided to get pregnant. That’s what they were supposed to do and it felt like his heart was being ripped into small pieces. He was so mad the first thing he started to think of was to go on the offensive. He was going to make Steffy feel as her as he was.
“It says that I’m with someone who loves me. Not that is any of your business… I’m having a child with my husband, a person who honors me. A person who respects me always. It’s not his first inclination to try and call me or insinuate that I’m some kind of slut. And it doesn’t matter if I was not married and I was having a child all by myself. I owe you nothing. You do not get to have anymore parts of me. I’m happy, I’m in love with someone who actually deserves me. You are a sad sad piece of shit, I am so glad that I was smart enough to leave. The only wish I left sooner. There’s so much happiness in the world when you aren't there to dim my light. So have a great life Liam, the next person who is dumb enough to be with you, I hope you don’t cheat on them too.” Steffy had had enough.
Just seeing Liam’s face was enough to make her so upset and the last thing she wanted to do was be upset. She started walking away and Liam was shocked that she thought she could just leave this conversation like she left their marriage.
The woman that she was with started to walk with her and he felt like his skin was on fire. He wasn’t going to let Steffy get away this time. He jogged closer to her and pulled on her arm.
Then he caught her other arm and held tight so she couldn’t move.
Steffy felt terror when she felt hands digging into her bicep. She started screaming, the more she tried to fight and get free… the tighter the hands were on her arms.
Natalie and Catherine heard Stephanie’s bloodcurdling scream. They saw her being held by her ex-husband and he was holding on to her and shaking her.
Catherine could see the tears rolling down her daughter-in-law’s face and it made her frozen in a way. It couldn’t have been more than two seconds, but it felt like a lifetime. She could see the fear in Stephanie’s eyes.
When Natalie saw Stephanie trapped, she ran over and started kicking this guy and punching him in the stomach. She hit him as hard as she could so he could loosen his grip on Stephanie. Catherine started to run over to so she could pull Stephanie away from this crazy man.
When Natalie started to scratch his face, it was then Liam let her go.
“You fucking bitch, you just scratched me.” Liam grabbed onto his face because he could feel the air stinging it, he knew that he had some open cuts.
“Yeah this fucking bitch did. You don’t touch my family and think that you can get away with it.” Natalie was so mad that this guy thought he could do whatever he wanted.
Her anger started to boil over that she didn’t even think about the next action she did. She swung her foot with so much force and kicked him in the crotch. She got her mace from her bag and sprayed it into his eyes. She wanted to teach him a lesson about keeping his hands to himself.
Catherine started walking Stephanie over to the car, she had been afraid that with Natalie being over there with that crazed man that she might be in danger, but when she looked over, she saw the man writhing on the ground.
“It’s okay Stephanie he can’t hurt you. We’re just going to go home and relax.” Catherine was doing her best to try and calm down Stephanie, but she could feel her daughter-in-law shaking.
“We can't go home. We can’t go home…” Steffy felt all over the place.
“It's okay you don't have to drive. Me or Natalie can drive doesn’t matter we just want to get you home.”
“We can't go home because my water broke. We need to go to the hospital.” Steffy was scared because even though she was 34 weeks, her doctors wanted her to carry the baby as close to 40 weeks as possible.
Catherine felt her heart dropped to her stomach when Stephanie said that her water broke. She started to go in hyper drive and became focused on getting to the hospital.
Natalie started to walk back to the car when she was sure that Stephanie’s weird ex-husband wouldn't follow them.
Natalie thought it was peculiar to see Stephanie in the back seat, but Catherine started telling her that they needed to get to the hospital and that made Natalie worry. She went into doctor mode and told Catherine it would be best if she drove so she can focus on Stephanie.
Catherine didn’t really know the area, so she just punched in the hospital that Stephanie told her and just follow directions thankfully it didn't take them long to get there but it felt like an eternity.
Stephanie was being admitted and Catherine decided to call her son and let him know that he needed to get to the hospital quickly.
It was just a normal day and then everything went to shit.
Jay had gotten a call from his mother telling him that Stephanie was in the hospital. All he could think of to himself was it was too soon. Their OB had told them that it would be best if Stephanie got as close to 40 weeks as possible, but she still had six weeks to go.
It didn’t make any sense, they were taking every kind of precaution. She promised him that she wouldn’t overdo it and he believed his wife, for it to happen at a lunch just made no sense to him. He thought about it and realized that sometimes you really just couldn't do anything about it. If the baby wanted to come, then it would come. He rushed to Cedars and hoped for the best. He happened to be with his dad, so he was glad that Hank volunteered to drive. Jay felt like he was buzzing, and his mind was all over the place.
He had to get himself right because as soon as he got there, he would need to be able to support his wife. She was going to be doing all of the heavy lifting. As much as he wanted to help her, he knew that all he could do was just hold her hand. He took it upon himself to call her parents and some of her other relatives. If there was one thing that he knew, it would be that Stephanie was going to need her mother.
When he got to the hospital, he saw Natalie in the waiting area. As much as he wanted to speak to his sister-in-law, he needed to be with his wife. He saw his dad go over to Natalie and he knew that they would be fine.
He finally got to the room, before he went in, he took a deep breath. As soon as he stepped into the room, he knew that everything else would start to become real. His wife was in labor and she was going to bring their child into the world. The only thought in his mind was his wife and his baby had to be OK. There was absolutely nothing more important than that.
He opened the door and he saw his wife in the bed, he felt a sense of peace come over him when he saw his wife. All of the nervousness left his body, and he knew that they would be fine. She was excellent at everything she did so childbirth would just be another goal that she would conquer.
“Baby…” He heard his wife's voice, and it didn't sound like what he expected. He could hear her voice crack.
As soon as he heard it, he was upset. The first thing that came to mind was maybe a doctor told them some not so good news. He could see that his mom had a grim look on her face. She was sitting down besides Stephanie holding her hand, he didn't show it on the outside, but he was a little scared.
“Hey, why so blue? There’s a baby for me and you.” Jay walked over, he was going to say anything he could to make it easier on his wife. He wanted to lift her spirits and make sure that she was in the right state of mind to be having their child.
When Stephanie chuckled a little bit and made him feel better.
“I’m sorry.” Steffy felt so bad because it was too early. She felt guilty when she saw Jay come into the room.
Jay sat on the opposite side of Stephanie’s bed. He picked up his wife's hand and gave it a comforting squeeze.
“You never have anything to be sorry about. Never to me. Tell me why do you feel as if you have to be?” Jay meant every word, he hated when his wife said sorry to him.
Half of the time it was an automatic thing for her because it was something she learned in her past relationships. He hated it because she never did anything to warrant apologizing, but she was felt as if she had to. He didn’t want to be like her ex-husband who treated her like dirt. It takes time to unlearn things, but it doesn't mean that it doesn't break his heart when she does it.
“We were having lunch, everything was going great and then we were leaving. When we were going back to the car. Liam saw me and his voice made me feel cold all over…” Steffy started crying thinking about what just happened to her not too long ago. “He started berating me because I’m pregnant. I told him that it wasn’t his child and he started getting even more upset. I got so mad, and I don’t know what came over me, but I just told him that I was happy with my new life and I wasn’t looking back. It seemed to antagonize him because he got even madder…” Steffy started to cry harder, she couldn’t continue with the story. She could feel Liam’s hands on her still.
When Jay heard Liam’s name come his face turned into stone. This guy was like the plague, you think you get rid of it and the worse is over, but the second wave comes.
Catherine saw the metamorphosis on her son's face. It was like he turned into a completely different person when Liam’s name was mentioned. It was clear that Jay hated the guy. By what she just witnessed, it wasn’t hard to believe. She didn’t even know the guy for more than 2 hours and she already hated his guts. Every time she closed her eyes all she could see was her daughter in law’s face.
“Did he do anything else?” Jay was looking at his wife, but he was asking his mother. He just picked up his wife’s hand and gave it a kiss.
He knew how much of a loser Liam was, he knew that Liam would blow a gasket seeing Stephanie pregnant. He felt a sense of ownership over her and in his caveman line of thinking, he knew that Liam would think someone else getting Stephanie pregnant was them possessing her in a way.
“Stephanie was walking away, and he started running and grabbed her by the arms and shook her. He kept shaking her until Natalie started punching and kicking him. I held on to her to try to get her away from him. Natalie hit him enough and we were able to get away from him. We were just going to go home and then Stephanie said that her water broke and now we’re here.” Catherine relayed everything to her son.
Her son was usually happy-go-lucky, and it was really hard to get him riled up about anything. But in that moment, she could feel as if he was every bit of Hank’s son. It was like she could feel a chill in the air. He was quiet when he was upset… even when he said nothing you could see the gears churning formulating a plan.
“Baby, look at me.”
Steffy had opened her eyes when Jay spoke, she was just trying to breathe deeply and not let what happened earlier get to her. She turned her head so she could look at her husband.
“I told you I would never let anything happen to you. Nothing is going to happen to our child. I’m so sorry that you had to deal with that. I’m so grateful that you're able to be here now and we are going to welcome our child into this world and take care of them. I’m going to take care of you.” Jay was going to take everything one step at a time, but he was going to make sure that Liam never messed with his wife again.
It was in that moment that Jay had decided he didn't care how long it took, he was going to dismantle Liam’s life piece by piece. He was going to enjoy every single minute of it. The days of Liam thinking that he could occupy his wife’s mind was over. He was mad at himself because he had told Stephanie that she should take it easy and not even leave the house.
He also thought it was a little silly of him and overboard, it wasn’t as if he could really make her anyways. She had to have freedom and that's what he wanted for her, but it didn't make him any less afraid. Liam was not even in his mind when he thought about that. The fact that this guy thought it was his right to be able to terrorize her because she moved on, she was ready to have happiness with someone else and he thought of it as some kind of betrayal to himself.
It was astonishing to him how people these days could think that they were upstanding, Liam was the definition of a ‘nice guy’. As long as you did what he wanted you to do and never questioned him or his motives you can get away unscathed, but as soon as you did something, he didn’t like he turned into completely different person. He always took it upon himself to manipulate Stephanie, lovebomb her when he did wrong and gaslight her when she did things he didn't like.
“I love you.” Steffy’s voice was so low you could barely hear her. it was almost as if she was whispering but had a hint of a voice.
“I love you too. I love you so much.” He got up so he could kiss her on the lips.
It was quick, it was a reassurance for the both of them. As he sat down the door opened.
In through the door was Taylor, Ridge, Sonia and Eric.
Catherine had met all of them except Eric, since her son and her daughter in law went to her parents’ home on Sundays for dinner, her family had been invited to and they had a really good time.
They didn’t know that Stephanie was in early labor because of Liam, and she kept her mouth shut because she knew that there should be something Jay or Stephanie share with them. She could only imagine how Ridge or Taylor would feel. Her heart was still angry at what happened, and she wanted blood. She knew that it would be magnified for them.
Jay got up so Sonia could sit down. Catherine did as well so Taylor could be next to her daughter.
“Avozinha está aqui. Tudo ficará bem. Você vai fazer o parto a bebezinha. Eu não vou te deixar meu amor.” (Grandma is here. Everything is going to be fine. You’re going to deliver the baby. I won’t leave you my love.) Sonia was excited at her family expanding. She slipped a little red armband on Steffy just to protect her too just in case.
“Tia Sônia, te amo muito.” (I love you so much.) Steffy was so happy to have her family here to support her.
Taylor saw it and tears formed in her eyes. It hit her that four generations of her family would soon be here. She focused on timing her daughter’s contractions.
Almost everyone in the room started to clear and went to the waiting area, it was only Sonia, Taylor and Jay in the room. Even though Steffy was still upset about what happened earlier, she put it out of her head because she needed to focus now.
She knew that she couldn’t allow Liam to invade her thoughts, and she wouldn’t let him stress her out anymore than he did. Right now the only thing she could focus on was her child. She let her mom know every time she was hit with a new contraction. It started to get more intense and when Taylor saw her daughter grimace, she asked Steffy if she needed an epidural.
Taylor wanted to make sure that they could administer it before it was too late. If her daughter wanted to be as pain free as possible, they had to do it before too much time had passed.
Steffy decided that she wanted the epidural. She wanted to be able to just focus on the baby and not let her pain psych her out. It was a good thing that she did because her contractions started coming in more rapidly.
It seemed as if every five minutes Jay was wiping her forehead. Time started to meld together because Steffy couldn't differentiate if it had been 5 minutes or half an hour. She just felt increasing pressure.
Taylor had pressed the call button when she examined her daughter and saw that she was fully dilated. The birthing team came and gave final examinations. Steffy felt a sense of relief when the doctor said that she could push. She had such an urge to do it for so long, but she wouldn’t do it because she wanted to make sure that she didn’t cause any distress to herself or her baby.
She thought to herself while she was giving birth that this was the most endurance she ever had to have in her life. Every single time she pushed it didn’t seem as if it did anything at all. She kept pushing when they told her to push, and she stopped when he told her to stop. She finally just wanted to be done with it. When they told her that they could see the head she felt such joy that it was almost over. She gave another six pushes, and her baby was out in the world.
She waited to hear her baby cry and it felt like the wind had been knocked out of her when she did. It was the biggest exhale of breath that she probably had in her life.
They have been thinking long and hard about names, but Steffy knew that there was only one name that mattered.
She named her daughter Phoebe Sônia. She could see her mother putting on red little booties, it was real when she did.
It was the most magical feeling to have her daughter in her arms, she thought it was almost like a dream. She had been a little scared that things might go wrong because the baby was still early. Her doctors assured her that things were fine because the baby's height and weight were pretty in line with how most newborns work.
Steffy started to feel tired again and gave little Phoebe to her husband. She couldn’t find a more beautiful sight than to see her husband looking at their child and smiling.
Sônia volunteer to let everyone know the news which was something that was appreciated by everyone in the room. Taylor wanted to stay just in case anything arose with her daughter.
Everyone rejoiced at the news, everyone wanted to wait so they could give their congratulations.
It was about another 15 minutes before people started trickling in the room. Ridge came in first because he wanted to see his granddaughter, this was his first granddaughter and he thought it was such a special moment.
The baby was sleeping so he didn't want to disturb that, he knew that his daughter was up for a lot of sleepless nights, he wasn’t going to add to it just because he was excited. He just marveled at the little baby sleeping. Eric was with him and both of them were just cooing at the site. Jay’s parents came in next, they were pretty excited themselves this was their first grandchild.
They were so happy that they could make the trip because it had been unexpected that the child would come today, but it was such a beautiful surprise for them too be able to experience this.
Thomas had come back home to be close to his family. It was something that Taylor and Sônia wanted. When Douglas found out that Michelle would be moving to LA after the school year ended he begged his dad for them to go as well. He didn't even have to convince Douglas to come to LA himself.
Natalie and Luisa came in next, Lu decided to bring Michelle as well.
Michelle had gotten on the chair to give Steffy a kiss. Steffy had asked what she did to deserve this, and Michelle replied that she gave her a godsister to love, and it melted Steffy’s heart. She loved her goddaughter so much.
Jay had let everyone have their time with his wife and kid, he just watched them. He liked it best when everyone left, and it was just the three of them. He was glad to know that they were supported and loved by their whole family, but he wanted to cherish the alone time.
Jay sat down again and looked at his wife.
“I’m so proud of you. You brought our kid into the world. You made me the happiest guy.”
Steffy smiled at the praise, she could always draw strength from him, even in doubt she could look towards him and know that everything would be okay.
“I can do it because you’ve made me the happiest lady. I love you Jay and with that love, it only multiplies.”
Jay was happy to hear this, he was happy that his wife was happy. He could let go of his anger for a moment, but this moment only reinforced his desire to utterly destroyed Liam, it was going to be his new mission.
“Fuck me harder baby.” Her stomach was in knots, she could feel orgasm building but it was soon going to plateau, and it only mounted her frustration.
“You’ll take what I give you.” He wasn't going to give into her. Not after what she did.
“Why are you being so cruel to me? Fuck me the way I know you want to.”
“It seems to me as if your definition of cruel varies with time, even down to hours because not just two hours ago you were teasing me knowing that I could do nothing. So I have to punish you for that.” He kept the same pace.
As much as he just wanted to pound her and make her climax, he was going to impose his will on her just as she did when they were at dinner.
She knew exactly what she was doing.
“Why would you punish me?” Even though she was trying her best to look innocent, she couldn’t stop the smirk on her face.
“Why would you want me to relay what happened as if you weren’t there?” He decided to be callous and press her clit so lightly with his thumb.
It was enough to make her moan and get her excited for a millisecond until she realized that that was all she was going to get.
He enjoyed when her smirk turned into a deep frown. A frown that overtook her whole face.
“I don’t appreciate you testing my patience like this.” She hated that he was in so deep, her ankles were interlocked at his neck.
It was a position like this that he could be his most cruel to her. Having him in so deep and him refusing to let her enjoy it fully. He would give her enough to make her want more.
“I could say the same thing. You had just as much pleasure having me at your mercy at dinner, didn't you? You loved to stroke my dick knowing that you weren’t going to finish the job. You know how I feel about quitters.” He was still instead about it, the whole ride home he was driving with a boner and refused to let her help. It was moot at that point in his opinion.
It was her fault that he was in the predicament and she wanted to help after the fact. Her motive was clear, and he promised himself that she wasn't going to get away with it.
“What did you want me to do suck your dick at the restaurant?!"
“That's exactly what you should have done. If you’re going to start something, you better finish it.” He was not going to let her excuse what she did.
“I’m sorry baby… I shouldn’t have done it. You know how I get… It’s not my fault you’re so sexy.” She was hoping flattery would get her somewhere.
“No. You don’t get to do that. It might work the first couple of times because I was being nice and let your bullshit slide… I can’t be nice anymore. You take advantage of that, case in point tonight.”
She lets out a couple of whimpers of sadness and disappointment when she didn’t get what she wanted.
“If I promise I won’t do it again will you let me come?” She thought she was close to crying, he picked this point to thumb her clit again.
“I’d be more inclined to believe you if I didn’t know that you were seasoned liar. I’m sorry you’re going through a hard time right now, so am I…” He chuckled darkly at his double entendre.
She stopped talking she just let him fuck her hard and deep. The only thing she could do arch her back and meet him thrust for thrust. It felt electric when his dick hit her just right. That was a problem with him, he could do that to her with precision. He could make her feel so good but make sure that it was just enough for it to taper off.
She squeezed him tight and is satisfied her a little when she saw his brow furrow. She liked knowing that she had the same kind of power over him that he had over her. He was making her work for it, but she knew how to make him work for it too.
She would never admit to him that she really liked it when he was like this. It really didn't matter because she knew that he already knew that. It was why he did it in the first place. All she could do is bite her lip and moan.
He decided that he had enough, he took one of her legs down and straddled it while he kept the other one over his shoulder. He turned her on her side and started fucking her hardthat way.
She could feel some of her wetness dripping down her thigh. That's what he did to her, he can make her so wet that has descended on her legs. Sex has never been like this for her before, she used to think that it was satisfying to make love. Boy was she wrong because she like to be fucked.
"Don't you do that. Don't you fucking close your eyes. Look at me."
She opened her eyes and looked at him. Her lips were parted, and she let out a pleasant sigh. He knew how to fuck her so good that she couldn't speak.
He saw that her thigh was glistening with her come, he used his finger to pick some of it up.
“Open your mouth wider.”
She did as he asked, and he put his fingers in her mouth. She could taste her wetness on her tongue. She swirled her tongue on his fingers like she would if as if it was his dick. she saw his nose flare and his eyes darken. So she persisted, when he tried to slip his fingers out her mouth, she bit it gently.
He knew that he wasn’t going to be able to hold on longer. Even if this was a punishment for her, he was also punishing himself.
“Do you want to come?” He already knew the answer, but he was an asshole.
She finally left his fingers out her mouth. She arched her back so quickly and wanted to hug him closer to her. It was a quick action and she felt herself yanked. He started to feel a little bad and picked up his pace.
He started fucking her earnestly and played with her clit. She wanted to scream but she was cognizant that she couldn’t, so she just settled for moaning and mewling. She just looked at him with her blue eyes. He could see the desire and then because her pupils were so dilated that the blue was like a small ring around black.
“Please…” her voice cracked.
When he heard her it went straight to his dick… He started fucking her wildly and make sure that her clit was stimulated. He knew that she was close because she was thrashing and crying. She always cried when she came like this.
He could feel the exact second when she did, she yelled his name, forgetting that she couldn’t scream. he kept fucking her through her orgasm.
It only took him twenty seconds before he was grunting loudly in her ear. It made her eyes flutter. Just the sound heightened her orgasm.
He immediately untied her hands from the headboard. She like that these ropes left no rope burn on her wrist.
He slipped a nipple in her mouth and started to suck. Her hands found his head and held it closely to her chest.
The sensation was otherworldly for her.
“Yes baby… yes baby… I love that. I love you.”
Before she started fucking him, she never had an orgasm that could last minutes. She felt 2 minutes of absolutely bliss.
“Maybe I shouldn’t have tied you up tonight? Sorry baby I didn't mean for that to happen." He felt bad when she subconsciously yanked herself hard.
He had been fucking her for the better part of an hour and he knew that her arms would have been sore by then.
“It's okay. I wanted you to tie me up. That’s why I teased you in the first place. I knew that this would happen and always feels better than I could ever imagine. Next time I tie you up.” She liked that he could be all about reciprocity.
“If that’s what you desire.” He just looked at her in a primal way and already thinking about the next time they would be fucking.
She loved and hated the way he was looking at her. She couldn’t handle anymore sex right now, but her nipples were hard and felt that familiar feeling in her stomach. He started to warm her arms. He never did believe her when she said that her arms were okay. She wasn’t going to stop him because she liked the feeling of his hands on her.
“I’m sorry I screamed.”
“I’m not. I like to know what I do to you...” He could admit that it served his ego.
“I didn’t want to wake up Douglas. It’s not like I can be screaming like a banshee and he won’t hear.”
“Baby how many times do I have to say this? My walls are insulated. I paid good money to make sure that when I’m fucking you that I can do so freely without any worries.” This was a recurring conversation that Thomas really didn’t care to have.
“It still makes me worry okay?” She knew logically that he was correct, but it still made her anxious. She cuddled into his warm body and felt happiness when his arms blanketed her.
Hope kept watching the video, she came so hard fucking herself as she watched Thomas fuck her.
If there was one trick, then she knew that she could use to make sure that she had a good climax it was watching him fuck her. She could still feel it and smell it and is sent her mind into overdrive. It was more than enough.
But she was mad at him, even more so she was mad at herself. She had told him that she wanted to move back to California.
They didn’t label what they had in New York. Douglas just thought she was his daddy’s friend. Thomas had said that they would move back home, and she wanted it to be as soon as possible.
She thought it was a great idea to move back in December. Douglas would be finished with school and he could enroll in a new one in California.
Thomas told her no, he deserved to have his school year uninterrupted. It had made Hope upset because it felt like a broken promise. He told her no that it wasn't, they would be moving but it would be better if they just waited until the summer. They had a big fight, and he wasn’t backing down.
Hope hated the cold, she couldn’t imagine staying there in the deepest parts of winter. She tried to convince Thomas that it would be a great idea for Douglas to come now, he wouldn’t have to deal with the weather being so extreme. Thomas just looked at her as if she was crazy.
He told her that his son needed to be eased into change not just telling him and then making him accept it like he has no say in the matter. Thomas knew that it would be tough for Douglas to say goodbye to his friends and basically the only life he's ever known and move somewhere else. It wasn’t a vacation or a holiday to see his other relatives this was a permanent move.
Hope jumped the gun and left and when she did, she knew that she made a big mistake. She had ignored his calls. He didn’t even know that she left the state yet. He left a voice message many of them actually but the one that she listened to the most the one where he said that he was going to stop.
If she wanted to ignore him then so be it. He didn't have time to indulge in these games, he called her churlish and selfish. He didn’t make decisions with just himself in mind. He had to make Douglas the priority and she wanted a relationship where she was a priority. He told her that was something that he couldn’t give her.
She knew when Thomas made a decision that he stuck by it. She had gone back to New York for a weekend and saw him in May. They had sex and he so that was all they could have. She felt like her heart was breaking when he said that.
She heard a knock on the cabin door. She still had the smell of her climax on her fingers, so she decided to wash your hands just in case.
She came out of her bedroom and saw that it was Liam at the door. She knew that he was going to come eventually... He was only coming now because she decided to spend time in San Fran by herself. She knew the first thing her mother would do would be send Liam her way. It was nice to see a familiar face, but she actually just wanted to be alone.
She opened the door, and he had a huge smile on his face.
“I heard you were back in town. I just wanted to come by and say hi and catch up.” Liam had been ecstatic at the news when Katie told him that Hope was back in town.
He had been down in the dumps because of everything that happened with Steffy. He thought maybe he could have this reset with Hope since Steffy was out of his reach.
Hope smiled a little, she saw that Liam brought food, but she was still a little weary.
“I see that you have brought food, is this some kind of homecoming?” Hope could admit that she got hungry after an orgasm if it was in the middle of the day.
“Yeah, they were having Taco Tuesday and I just thought it would be great to catch up over some good food and tequila.”
“I guess.” Hope let Liam into the cabin.
She saw that his face was different, he had this long pink line on his face. It looked like a scar, but he never had this on his face before.
“Before you get up in arms, I brought you the tacos you like so it’s not like you have to eat veggie tacos.” Liam knew that Hope didn’t care for beans, so she wasn't going to want to eat the tacos if he got her veggie tacos.
“Okay I’ll bite.”
They settled on her sofa and started to catch up. Hope had asked about his marriage to Steffy, and Liam just looked at her with disappointment. He told her that they didn’t workout.
Hope was actually shocked, she wanted to know where they went wrong. She had told her mother and her aunts that she did not want any updates about Liam’s life. She thought that she would care after a while, but she didn't and that was the most of surprising to her.
Liam told her that Steffy was cheating on him and got pregnant with someone else's baby. That through Hope for a loop. She would have never thought Steffy would do something like that but then she asked what would prompt Steffy to cheat on him.
Liam just told her that Steffy didn’t have faith in their relationship anymore and he was over it. To Hope’s ears it didn’t sound like he was over it.
He told her he didn’t want to think about that and they just had shots of tequila. She took multiple shots and felt good to ignore this shit that she put her own self through. It felt nice to block that for a while.
Liam kept talking about missing her, she didn’t really listen to him. She heard bits and pieces. And then he was kissing her. It felt familiar and she didn’t stop. Right now she didn’t want to think about anything in her life. So she welcomed the distraction.
As he was fucking her on the floor all she could think about that's how it was so different. She felt as if she was going through the motions. She felt that it was mechanical and no passion. She wondered how she ever like sex with him before. But she guessed it was ignorance. She never knew sex before Liam. She made herself like it because he was the person who introduced her to it coming back, she’s had more now. She felt him come in her, but she didn't come herself.
He was sweating over her and it was so different. She liked feeling Thomas's sweat but Liam...It was different. It felt gross. She didn't want him on top of her anymore, so She just rolled over and he fell out of her.
Liam took this as Hope wanting to cuddle and he felt like they might get back to how they used to be.
The only thing going through Hope’s mind was she made a big mistake. Thomas was in town and she was fucking Liam.
She thought that her cheeks would lock by now. She was obsessed with her baby. Her little Phoebe… She never got tired of seeing that pretty little face. Steffy had always been a person who didn't believe in perfection. She could see that she was wrong because everything about Phoebe was perfect. Even when she cried, Steffy thought it was as beautiful as an operatic performance of Carmen.
Jay kept calling her crazy, but she didn't care. She had her baby and she wanted to savor every second of it. She would take Phoebe everywhere she went. If she needed to go to the bathroom as long as it wasn’t a number two, she took Phoebe with her.
She knew that she was hogging the baby. She told Jay if he wanted to be with the baby then he would have to hang out with her because she wasn't leaving. She was in love and no one was going to stop her, least of all her dopey husband. His parents and Natalie had stayed for another week. It seemed as if everyone was so smitten with Phoebe.
Steffy could understand how they could be because the baby was just everything to her... She was easily impressed by everything she did. Before Natalie had left, she and Steffy had spoken about the conversation they had.
Natalie had shared that she spoke with Hank and Catherine and they gave her their blessing to do so. Natalie felt like it was the right decision because the more time she spent with Phoebe the surer she was that she wanted to have her own child. She was so enamored with her niece that she knew that she wanted to have her baby too.
Natalie had gone back to Chicago with the mission. She was going to do the best she could to make sure that she could get pregnant. She also felt different being back in Chicago. Something shifted in her, she wasn’t originally from there. She got matched and worked at a Chicago hospital. It was where she fell in love with her husband.
She felt once she had this baby that she could actually move on in a way. She didn’t have to be physically in Chicago to feel her husband close to her anymore. She would have a piece of him with her wherever she decided to go.
When she started the journey of having a child, she wasn’t expecting to be successful the first go around. She was an OB, and she knew how the probability worked. But she was pregnant, it was amazing because she cried when she got the news. It was as if it was one step closer to a new beginning. The beginning that didn’t feel like a nightmare.
This beginning made her feel hopeful, she called her sister-in-law one day and asked her if it would be weird if they raised their children together... Their husbands were more than brothers they were best friends and in a way, she thought this would be something that her husband would want. It was something that she wanted to because she wanted to make a new start somewhere else.
She was originally from the West Coast her parents weren’t with her anymore so she was inclined to stay in LA rather than Seattle. She didn’t want to leave Hank or Catherine. It was a hard decision, but they said that it was okay. She didn’t need to feel guilty about living there anymore.
They told her at the end of the day all they wanted for her was happiness. They could understand the kind of grief that she was going through and they thought it was a nice idea for the children to be raised together. They made promises to visit, and it made Natalie feel as if she was making the right decision.
Steffy told her that if she wanted to move in with them it would be perfectly okay. She told Natalie that she had people who loved her, and she didn't need to do this alone. It was also okay if she didn’t want to live with them it didn’t mean that there would be strangers.
Natalie felt comfortable with moving in with them. She thought it would be great for her to get this trial run with Phoebe. Even though she was in Pediatrics and dealt with pregnant women all the time, it was transient. She saw children now and again. She knew about them in a professional manner and not a personal one.
She got to help Stephanie take care of this baby. It was the first time she’s ever been in aunt before, and she took it so seriously. Some people would be grossed out by changing diapers, not her. She loved it because it was practice for having her own kid. She also loved her niece… She also wanted to give Stephanie breaks every now and then.
She could see that her sister-in-law was all about her baby, but she knew that both Jay and Stephanie needed balance. She always volunteered to watch the baby so they could go out and have dates. She wanted them to cherish the time that they had as a couple. She knew more than anyone that how fragile that can be. Even though she was constantly with Will, it didn't mean that they were always together. They happened to work in the same place, but they had different specialties. They had a lot of high and byes and interrupted lunch because being in emergency medicine always meant that the ER was overflowing with patients.
She didn’t get nearly as much time as she would have liked being with her husband in their outside life. She didn’t regret it because they both were so serious about their role in helping people, but she also didn’t expect her husband to die and a lot of the things they wanted to do together went poof.
She could see how deeply that Jay and Stephanie loved each other so she wanted them to be able to express that within themselves. To have that time away and just be a couple and not just Phoebe’s parents. What else was she going to do… she quit her job… She had to so she could make this move. She had more than enough money from everything Will gave her and his life insurance and her career savings. She could work on her timetable. She knew that she would continue her career in LA, but she wanted to take the time to breathe.
She had only taken a week off after her husband died. She couldn’t let herself feel the grief, so she buried herself with work. She was dealing all the time with broken bones and life and death from a myriad of things from so many patients. It put things in perspective for her that even though she was going through the worst time in her personal life that the world doesn’t stop. She knew that her husband would want her to use her talents to help people instead of wallowing for him.
It helped and hurt her in a way. She just pushes the hurt into a box and kicked it down the road and she knew that eventually she was going to have to reckon with it, but it didn’t have to be that day. It took her a long time to reconcile the fact that Will wasn't on some sabbatical or a trip… he was gone permanently. So she decided that when she got pregnant that she was going to take a breather and live life. It didn’t need to be about traveling and doing some bullshit eat pray love… She just wanted a chance to do nothing.
There’s a beauty in simplicity, there is a pleasure in not having everything planned out. She had been planning out her life for years. She and Will made plans for their life and it was upended. Life showed her that it didn’t matter how much you planned, things can always go wrong. She was living a new life, one that she didn't expect to have. But this was the reality that she was living.
She was finally okay with it because she was doing it on her terms now. She was taking it day by day. Stephanie went with her to every appointment. It was so nice to have that kind of support, she didn’t want to do it alone… It felt good to see her baby growing and not doing that alone.
Every day that she got to be with them was so much fun. She loved going to the park with Phoebe, sometimes it would just be the two of them. She would think how soon it would be for her to have this with her baby.
So many of her stories with Stephanie would be about some weird crazy thing Phoebe did. It felt like an inside joke sometimes because Jay would be at work. He was a great dad, and he was in the trenches too, but it was them in the daytime. Phoebe came alive when the sun was out at it’s highest. Natalie never knew that she could have so much fun just taking care of a baby with her sister-in-law. It felt like the three of them were in hijinks all the time.
That’s what Steffy called it, she was always saying that they were up to no good and it was great that the three of them were together because it was like Three Musketeers. Steffy knew that she had so much support in her life, but the person she was most thankful for was Natalie. Everyone in her life stepped up for her daughter, she could always count on her best friend and her mom and her dad, but Natalie lived with them.
It wasn’t just that Natalie lived with him it was she wanted to be there for Phoebe. It was so important for her, Steffy could see the joy that Phoebe brought into Natalie’s life. She could see the hope that her daughter brought into Natalie’s life. Natalie was going to have her own child. A child that they were going to raise together to be as close as siblings. It made Steffy so emotional to think about because even though she did not know Will his influence in his family looms large.
She could see the excitement and fell to herself the bigger Natalie got every day. Every appointment they had, they saw every milestone on the ultrasound and each time it just became a little more real that a new baby would be in the fold. It was going to be a new baby in their family. Phoebe was going to have someone who would always be there with her. It was pretty magical, she knew that it was something her husband was excited about. Their whole family was rallying around Natalie and her baby. It was Natalie’s turn to be showered with love.
Steffy wanted her to feel as supported as she felt when Natalie came into her life. She was a positive force from day one and she wanted to give that same positivity to her sister-in-law. It meant so much to her to have that unconditional support from day one. She knew it was paramount to her having a good journey. Even though it was pretty much the end stretch of her pregnancy. Natalie was a calming force, a force that was more to bring togetherness instead of divisiveness. She was the one telling her to hold on and not give up because it would be a breakthrough right around the corner with Catherine.
It was Natalie that made her believe that everything was going to be just fine, she had to just give it time and be patient which normally Steffy could do but being so pregnant made her impatient she just wanted everything to be okay by the time she gave birth, and it was.
It was a new chapter in their lives, soon everything was going to change, and they were going to bring another Halstead-Voight into the fold. It was a wild ride but Steffy was all for it. She was so ready to meet Natalie’s baby when the time came. The future was looking bright, and she never thought that she would be at this kind of place. She could never envision her life being filled with such happiness two years ago. People that she would go to war for. She was so happy to move on from the hurt and the lies because she would have never been able to meet someone as incredible as her sister-in-law. She couldn’t think of anyone better to be on this crazy journey with. What made it so fun was because Natalie was just as crazy as she was. It was like two peas in a pod, and they broke the pod and decided to go to the club even with a Baby Bjorn.
Hope wasn’t feeling well… After a couple of days she felt nauseous and started to think back on what she ate. She couldn’t think of any kind of food that would make her feel this way. She didn’t eat anything she was allergic to.
It wasn’t until she threw up that she had a horrible feeling. She thought to herself that she should have had her period by now. She never really thought about it because it wasn't something that she was marking an X on a calendar about.
The last thing she wanted to think about was being pregnant. She had unprotected sex with Liam. It was not her finest decision and just because she was drunk didn't make it any less horrible to think about. It was nice to revisit their old times, but she was different now. She knew that Liam would only talk about the good times, but she remembered the bad ones too. The ones that would make her feel like she was shattered into million pieces and not optimistic if she could get over it.
She had gotten a pregnancy test from Rite-Aid and had hoped that anything else would be the reason she felt like this. All she could do was wait for the results, it didn’t even take long but she felt like she was waiting forever.
Even though she wasn’t with Thomas anymore, she had faith that they could get their relationship back. But that was going to be exponentially harder if she was pregnant with Liam’s child.
She started crying thinking about how ruined her chance would be if she had this child. She didn’t even have children on her radar right now because the last time she was pregnant it went so horribly wrong.
As she picked up the test, she heard the door to the cabin open. She was shocked because she didn’t hear anything and she saw her mother and the pregnancy test was in her hand and it was the first thing that Brooke looked at.
She saw the shock on her mother’s face and then it turned into a hopeful smile.
“I guess I came at the right time. What does it say?” Brooke started talking before Hope could actually form a thought.
All Hope could think about was this was probably the worst time for anyone to come into her home, she didn't think of this with the kind of joy that was on her mother's face.
Hope was silent because this whole moment felt surreal.
“I can see the moment is very big for you, I’ll just read it for you.” Brooke looked at the pregnancy test and a huge smile came on her face. “It looks like it’s positive. It looks like you’re going to have a baby. I’m guessing that time Liam came over to visit proved to be fruitful didn't it?”
Brooke was happy to see that they had the reunion that she wanted them to have. She had wanted Hope to come home sooner, it would have been so easy for her anytime this past year to get Liam back because Steffy left him in the dust. She didn’t have to worry about Steffy being any kind of competition for her daughter anymore.
Hope could have Liam without any barriers, they can finally get back to the life that they were supposed to have. They wouldn’t be cheated by Steffy or any interference anymore. She was going to make sure that her daughter finally got everything she deserved.
Hope felt a myriad of emotions, on one hand she was grateful to be pregnant, but it came at a time where she really didn't want to be. This would only complicate her life and hearing her mom talk about reunions with Liam just sounded so hollow in her ears. She’s not that little girl anymore who thought Liam was some kind of fairy tale to her.
She never felt half the amount of passion that she had with Thomas in any of her relationships before whether it was Liam or Wyatt. She saw that there was more… And it wasn’t bad to have more. If she had never explored anything else than maybe she would have been okay with a life with Liam because she wouldn’t have known any better. She would have been ignorant and think that Liam was this end all be all.
She hated to think this way, but this baby was kind of like a trap. She told her mom that this was a lot to digest and she needed some time alone. For once Brooke actually listened to her and left.
She had to quickly text her mother and let her know that she wasn't allowed to tell anyone about her news because somewhere deep down she knew that her mother would have been ready to tell everyone.
Even though she was pregnant it hasn’t really sunk in for her yet that she was having a child. She felt like the positive sign on the pregnancy test was mocking her. It didn’t feel like a complete blessing, it felt like a compromise in happiness.
She knew that she couldn’t abort this baby because after the last time she was pregnant she wanted children even more, she just wanted to be able to control when that was happening. She was normally so good with her birth control she doesn’t know what happened. She always took it on time and had never missed a day. She hated to think about the statistic of it being 99% effective. Why did this have to be the 1%? Why did it have to be some drunken hookup on the fucking floor with the man she didn’t wanna be with?
Hope eventually went to the doctor a couple days later to actually get it confirmed and to see what she was supposed to be doing. She knew that since she had a higher risk because of her previous pregnancy. Her doctor confirmed the results that she was pregnant and the timeline they gave her made it more definitive that this was Liam’s child and there was no chance that it was Thomas’s. She wanted to hold out hope that it could be Thomas’s child. Hearing the doctor made it more real for her and it broke her heart.
Her mother kept pressuring her to tell Liam. Brooke started going on and on about how they could navigate this together and it was a sign for them to get back to how they used to be. It felt so wrong in hope’s ears.
It got worse when Brooke ‘accidentally’ Let everyone know. She felt so betrayed because she had asked her mother to keep her mouth shut and it seemed as if her mom took the opportunity to have the best opportunity to embarrass her. Her Aunt Katie decided to have a gathering and Liam was in attendance and so was all of the Spencer guys. She was so embarrassed, everyone kept hounding her. They were offering her congratulations, but she felt like she was slowly dying inside.
After that Liam was at her house every single day. It all came to a head when Liam said that he had a surprise for her. She should have said that she wasn’t feeling good because she walked into her own wedding and saw all of these faces waiting on her decision. But most of all she felt her mother watching her every move. It was an out of body experience because she didn’t even feel like she was there. She couldn’t even remember saying I do. She went from a drunken hookup to being married to Liam in record time. Everyone was happy except her and she had no one in her life where she felt that she could actually be truthful about this.
She had texted Thomas telling him that she needed to speak with him. She was so afraid of telling him. She could preemptively feel the disappointment. She knew when she told him that it would make it real and as much as she didn't want to say anything, she knew that she had to because she wanted him to hear it from her and not anyone else.
She had met him at his condo. This was where they were supposed to live. That was the first thing that she thought to herself in the building looked beautiful. It was a nice high-rise and she knew that the inside probably looked even better than the outside which only made her more upset at herself for her mistake.
When he let her in, she could feel her nerves coming back three-fold.
“I don’t like how we left things last. We both said things that I’m sure that we regret but baby we can finally be together... There is nothing stopping us now and we’re both here.” Even though Thomas had been so upset with Hope over her rigidness, he still loved her.
He still wanted a future with her and the timing was perfect now because they were both in LA.
“I don’t like how we left things either and I owe you an apology. I was thinking selfishly, and I know that Douglas has to be your top priority and I don’t want him to be anything less than that. I wish that we could be together, but we can’t…” Hope was choking on her words. It felt so wrong to do this, but she had no choice.
“What do you mean that we can't be together? This is what we wanted… nothing is stopping us now.” Thomas was confused because geography wasn't keeping them apart.
Hope pulled up the sleeve of her hoodie and revealed her hand and Thomas was shocked. It wasn’t like it was a long time that had passed since the last time they had been together. It was spontaneous and he told her that he couldn’t do anything about their relationship. He didn’t want to swallow his pride yet, but he didn't care about that anymore. He just wanted to be with her.
“What the fuck is this?” Thomas was surprised but more than that he was angry.
“I married Liam. I didn’t feel like I had a choice. I did something really stupid, I shouldn’t have done it Thomas, but I can’t take it back. I got drunk and I had sex with Liam. I don’t know how but I got pregnant. I don’t know how my birth control failed me ‘cause I always take it on time and I never forget, I even have reminders on my phone in my Apple Watch for it.” Hope felt the same emotions going through her just like she did when she had taken her pregnancy test.
“Yeah but we had sex as well. Are you sure it's not my baby?” Thomas became less upset because there was a chance that it could be his child and she could always get annulment.
“I wish that it was your baby but the doctor’s timeline of when I got pregnant doesn’t fit when we had sex. I wish that it did because I want to have your baby. I wanted to be with you so badly.”
Thomas was silent for about 5 minutes. It made him want to punch a wall with the news that he's been given but he loves Hope enough to try.
“Divorce him… annul the marriage. You don’t have to be with him to raise this child. The plan was always for us to be together. A child doesn’t have to change that. We can take care of your kid when you have them and he can be a father on his time.”
“Thomas, I have to give this marriage a chance. Yes I don’t love him but I want my child to have what I didn’t. Please respect that, it would make my life so much easier because I don’t feel like I can leave… They all want me to be with Liam.” Hope was always so tired, she felt defeated with this pregnancy.
“Fuck what they want. It sounds like Brooke’s words not yours. You just said you wanted to be with me. If that’s what you want, then be with me baby... If they don’t like it then they don't like it, but you can't let them decide your life for you. They have taken so much from you, but you let them. You have to take a stand for yourself and think about your happiness.” Thomas knew that it was a losing battle.
Being the child of a psychiatrist, you know when you can't win with someone. Hope has a highly codependent relationship with her mother and Brooke bullies her with it. Brooke holds onto Hope with an iron grip because she fucked up royally with Bridget. She’s highly effective at it. It's the most central relationship that Hope has in her life. It's how he knows that she can't pick him. He knows that it feels wrong to her to go against her mother. It hurts him that she can't decipher that yet. It was one of the reasons he loved living in New York because they were away from that. She was able to make her own decisions without feeling as if she had to look towards her mother for acceptance.
It was one of the biggest reasons that he couldn’t be completely mad at her because it would only make her feel worse. When someone is in a codependent relationship, they need therapy, they need a licensed professional to help them navigate how to have healthier relationships. It could destroy someone’s psyche and as much as it hurt him to not be with her, it hurt him even more if she were somehow to have a nervous breakdown. Badgering her about this would be the least productive thing that he could do. He wouldn’t because he loved her, he refused to break her just because he hates Brooke for doing this to her. He wouldn’t put it past them too make her feel like she had no choice but to marry Liam.
“Please Thomas. Everything is too much.”
Thomas felt alarmed by how Hope was talking.
“I’ll respect your wishes if you do one thing for me. Can you do that for me?”
“I’d do anything for you Thomas.”
Thomas got up and went to his desk, he pulled out a pen and legal pad. He wrote a name and number on it and he tore the paper from the notebook.
“Baby, I will respect your wishes. But I need you to do one thing for me. I need you to commit yourself to seeing this therapist. That’s the one thing you need to promise me. Can I trust you to do that?”
“I promise you I will. Do you think I need a therapist?” Hope would just about anything Thomas would ask of her. She was in love with him, but she wanted to know what his thoughts were.
“Yeah, I think you do. You’re feeling a lot of pressure and I want you to be able to cope with that because I couldn’t live with myself if something happened to you because you felt like everything was too much.”
“I didn’t want to scare you, I’m sorry.”
“I don’t want you to be sorry for telling me how you feel. I love you even more when you do that. I like it when you’re honest with me because that’s the only time, I’ll be able to help you. I don’t want you to hide from me. I need to know everything because baby that's the only way. Do you hear me that’s the only way…”
“I hear you. I promise to be honest.”
She went closer to him for comfort. She felt safe enough to do that. She tiptoed a little and kissed him. Even though she was married, she didn't feel guilty to do this. She felt even less guilty when Thomas lifted her up. Her legs automatically wrapped around his waist like they always did. He took her to his room and he laid her on the bed and took his clothes off. It had been too long since she had him last.
As Thomas started to go down on her, Hope could only think about one thing… She might have given them what they wanted but she was going to have what she wanted too.
Steffy wanted to have a conversation with her husband. Having a child made her feel different on a personal front. It was such an incredible feeling to be fulfilled this way. Being entrusted with a life was the ultimate responsibility she was willing to take.
She didn’t want Jay to think that she was going crazy or anything like that, but she was open to the idea of adopting a child. Even though Natalie was having a child and would live with them, she thought about all of the children that are already out there. How many pregnant women who we're going to give their child away for adoption…
She wanted a chance to be able to make another life easier. She had so much love to give and she wanted to give it. She was willing to learn everything there was about how to approach adopted children. How to interact with them and what kind of education you need when dealing with them and making them happy.
She didn’t want to go into this blind and with the best intentions to only cheating the child out of a full and meaningful life. She had asked Natalie if it would be okay to take Phoebe to the park while she talked with Jay. He was coming home early from work because she asked him too.
She knew that she freaked him out a little bit because the first thing his mind went to was if the baby was okay. Phoebe was more than okay she was happy, and she wanted to be the catalyst for more of that sensation for another child.
When Jay came home, he knew that whatever conversation he was going to have with his wife was going to be heavy. He could see how she was acting lately. She always liked to make fun of the fact that he was oblivious to things but one thing he wasn’t oblivious to was his wife. He always paid attention to her and what she needed. She wasn’t quite distant, but he knew that something was weighing on her mind.
It didn’t affect their sex life, which was good for him, but he knew that whatever it was, it had to be something important because he could see her drifting off and going into her own head sometimes.
“Hey baby… You’re looking extra pretty today…” The first thing that Jay thought was his wife was wearing the wrong dress to be having a serious conversation.
It wasn’t overly tight or anything like that, but it showed off her silhouette so well and all he wanted to do was rip it off and fuck her.
“We talk first and then we can have sex later.” Steffy was having a little trouble focusing now because she could see her husband's clear intentions in his eyes.
His stare was intense that it made her nipples hard. She hated the fact that he could just stare at her and it made her crazy.
“So I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and researching, this is only a talk I promise. When I wasn’t sure if I could get pregnant… one of the avenues that I was looking at was adoption. I know it hasn’t been long since we’ve had Phoebe, but I’ve thought about it and Jay I feel we have so much love to give. I know we’re going to let Natalie’s child and Phoebe grow together, but I also feel that I want to expand our personal family as well. It doesn’t have to be something now because that’s not what I want. I just want us to be able to talk about possibly doing something in the future with adoption. Is that something that you would be open to? Obviously, I’m not going to do this without you. This is a decision that we would need to make together it's just when we plan to have another child, I would think that that could be something on the table.” Steffy didn't realize she was holding her breath until she finished talking. She let out a big sigh, she had been so nervous to say any of this to anyone, so she felt like she had so much pent-up energy.
Jay just listened to Junior talk. He knew that his wife was a planner, she probably did enough research that she could write a college paper on it. He honestly had never thought about adoption, he was not opposed to it, it was just never in his mind.
He knew that they wanted to have more kids, he just didn’t know realistically when that was going to happen. They didn’t plan to have Phoebe, he just fucked his wife and she got pregnant... With adoption that comes with planning so you have to get the ball rolling because it can take a long time for it to happen. He could see the hope in his wife's eyes.
It was an interesting way to expand their family and he wasn’t so macho where he felt as if he had to have a biological tie to all of his children.
“I’ll be honest, that was not something I had really ever thought about. I don’t mind it… I know that whatever decision we make whether to have more kids via adoption or having it the natural way, we’re going to give them a home that they know that they come first. This is a lot to take in because I don’t even know how that works. But it's something that I’m not opposed to down the road. I don’t know when we’re going to have more kids, but I know that I wanna do it with you always. Always with you… Always for you.” Jay had hoped that his wife could see that he was on board with having kids either way when they chose to expand their family.
“Well that went better than I thought it would. I didn’t think you would be mad or anything, but I did jump the gun and think that you might have thought it was too early to think about more kids. I’m not saying I want them now, I’m just thinking about down the road. It’s a nice option to have.” Steffy was always glad that she was an articulate person because if she wasn't, it would have been so much harder to explain that to her husband.
“I got what you meant. That’s the thing with being with the person you're in love with… You can always get to the same wavelength. It’s easier to make them understand because they know you in a way that other people don’t. It just makes me happy that down the line we’re going to have more kids because Phoebe is such a rock star, I can't get enough of her. I think… and I know I’m biased but I think she is the most amazing person I’ve ever met. She’s only five months old but I always feel like when she discovers something it’s monumental. When she’s fascinated by my keys, I am so proud that they are my keys. When I put a smile on her face it feels like the greatest achievement I’ve had. It sounds stupid because I’ve done so much with my life but with her it feels so fucking amazing. She makes me feel… I don’t even know how she makes me feel it’s something I can’t describe. I can’t wait to be amazed by more of our children.” Jay had only been in love in his life once before his daughter… That person is the woman who brought her into this world.
He was amazed at how excited he could be to hang out with someone who had no teeth.
“I get how you feel. I feel that way about her too. Everything that she does I want to catalog it because she will only do it once. I was bawling the first time she crawled. She makes me happy in a way that no one else can. It’s a different kind of happy, it’s a different kind of fulfillment and it's such an amazing feeling. I just want to love her and let her be herself. I love watching her play with toys, I love being her playmate. I don’t think it’s unusual for us to not be able to fully describe what she means to us. She is like the infinity symbol for us. She never ends, our love for her never ends. I’m so glad I get to have this with you.” Steffy knows that this could have gone so many other ways.
She knows that if she wasn’t strong enough to leave Liam that it could have been a child as she had with him and she knows that she would have loved the child, but she wouldn’t have this. She wouldn’t have this implicit trust in the father of her child. The type of parenthood that she was experiencing wouldn’t be the same because the person with her in the trenches would have been completely different.
“Infinity I like that. So now that we’ve had this talk, you said I would get the chance to fuck you so are we gonna do that now or do I have to wait until later?”
“You know that you have this remarkable ability to be so thoughtful and poignant and then within a blink of an eye, you can be so crass and a downright pig.” She was amused more than anything else.
She knew who this man was when she married him.
“Oink. Oink.” He enjoyed being entertainment for his wife.
Her laughter was just about the best aphrodisiac he could think of. He loved it even more because it was him that did that, no one else.
“Since you’ve been good, I am amenable to some carnal pleasure. But I don’t feel like walking, so you have to carry me.” Steffy was being dramatic but if you couldn't be dramatic with your husband and who could she be dramatic with?
“Pssh, that’s it. Girl you know I’ll carry you any day of the week!” It’s never been a problem for him to carry his wife, he does it all the time. She is usually falling asleep just about everywhere but their bed, so he is used to carrying her.
“Good. I want a piggyback ride.”
“Might as well seeing as how I’m your pig. Time to hop on the oink express.”
Steffy started to laugh earnestly because her husband was too much for her sometimes.
She hopped on his back and he really did make it a ride because he had her jumping, and he was running side to side oinking like a pig. She laughed so hard that it made her stomach hurt. It wasn’t a quick ride to their bedroom. He took this so seriously, he even made detours.
He had her jumping on his back so much that she held his neck so tight because she was actually afraid, she would fall off. When they finally got to their bedroom, she felt a sense of relief because as much as this piggyback ride was fun… she doesn’t think she could handle anymore laughter.
She slid off of him slowly.
“You know Jay, since you were so gracious to give me a ride… I think it’s only fair that I give you a quid pro quo.”
She traced her index finger from his cheek and made her way to the shell of his ear and down to his jaw.
When his nose flared and his eyes fluttered closed, she was pleased with herself. She could feel him clench his jaw. The action made her lick her lips.
“Go sit on that chair Jay.” her tone left nothing to argument. "You better be as naked as the day you were born by the time that I turn around.”
Steffy went to go get some lube so she could fuck herself. She was going to need to be ready to ride Jay. She also wanted to give him a show.
As Steffy went to the nightstand drawer, she could hear her husband bumbling to take off his clothes. She chuckled to herself thinking that men were just so easy sometimes.
“I love it when you listen to me Jay. I fucking love seeing you naked. I could lick every inch of your skin. That can be for later though. Right now I’m going to fuck myself. And I don’t want you to touch yourself. You can only watch. Is that something you can do, or would you like to just beat one out?”
“When I come, it's going to be in between those walls. Go ahead and do your business. You know I love to watch you.”
Jay had impulse control, his wife wasn't going to catch him slipping because it was always going to be better fucking her than rubbing one out.
Steffy relaxed on the bed, she went slow, she traced her body with a finger pressed so lightly. She bit her lip because it felt so good.
She made her way over to her breast and when she pinched her nipple, she could hear her husband moaning and it turned her on even more she opened the lube and started warming it on her finger. She had made sure as she was directly in front of her husband.
She opened her legs nice and wide so he could see when she slipped a finger into herself. She started moaning when she slipped the second one in. She curled her fingers just the way she liked and touch her G-spot. She grounded her palm into her clit which made her calves twitch.
She felt her orgasm coming to her like a light wave. She got lost in the experience that she forgot everything in that moment. When she came back to herself, she felt feverish, and her fingers just wouldn't do anymore.
“Jay, I need you right now. Baby I need you. Oh God I need… Fuck…” Steffy was fucking herself with her fingers trying to catch another orgasm.
“I know you’re so close baby.” Jay slipped two of his own fingers to add to the two she already had in there in her eyes snapped open.
Her fingers we’re going at the same speed as his. He removed her hand and added two more fingers and sucked on her clit. She started screaming as her orgasm hit her. It made her whole back shiver and shake.
She felt goosebumps up and down her arms.
“You can ride me later, I need you right now.”
Steffy could feel her husband in her. The longest moan came out of her mouth. The feeling of his dick in her pussy was probably the single greatest feeling she had ever known.
She used the soles of her feet to take him in deeper and she just kept screaming for him to not stop.
“I’m going to come… Jay fuck I’m gonna come… oh god!” As her climax hit her, she took a fistful of the bed sheets in her hand.
Jay didn’t even last a minute after she did. He was coming like he hadn't had sex in a year even though they had sex that morning.
After about a half a minute he slipped out of her and had to catch his breath.
Jay had gotten an alert that the front door was being opened when they were fucking. He saw that it was Natalie.
“This has been really great. But I got to go now. I got a kid to go play with.” Jay had been missing his daughter all day and couldn’t wait to see her.
Steffy thought she can feel more bliss than she did, as soon as Jay said that he wanted to go play with Phoebe… her heart felt like it was in her throat.
Jay gave her a long kiss, she didn’t even open her eyes… she just let herself enjoy the sensation of his lips on hers. When he let her go, she could hear him putting on clothes. She just stayed in the bed to happy to even move. She didn’t think that her day could get any better than that.
Even though it was going to be a while before they actively started looking to adopt children or have them the old-fashioned way, Steffy and Jay knew they had to start looking at adoption agencies. They had done some interviews that were pretty informal and let them know that they were just starting to put their feet in the water. If there came a time where a child couldn’t be placed, they wouldn't mind being called but they knew that was a long shot.
They went back to their lives and didn’t really think of it much. The different adoption agencies gave them a lot of literature about the process of adoption and the possible legal ramifications that could come from it. That part became a little weary for Jay because the last thing he wanted was any kind of litigation.
He knew that it could be complicated when or if the father of the child was not in the picture and they come much later. It was one of the drawbacks of adoption, things can come up in the future and you really have no clue what to do until it happens. He didn’t like the surprise factor, even though he knew it most likely would be rare, it always seems as if you go into a thinking that it’s going to be a long shot and then you realize that the long shot will be you.
Stephanie looked happy which made him happy too. The ability to be able to be a parent to a child without any is a noble thing when done for the right reasons and intentions. He tried to not let the logistical hurdles change his mind. They haven’t even gotten to that hump yet. He knew that the adoption agencies would have to be realistic with them. He appreciated the kind of honesty that they gave because he would have hated to have something happen later down the line and feel ill prepared for it.
Steffy was excited to hear about everything concerning adoption. Some parts of it were scary because it was pretty overwhelming. It was a different kind of overwhelming versus having a newborn baby that you gave birth to. Even though she was excited, a part of her was a little worried. She didn’t say anything to the adoption agency officials, but it worried her about bio-parent rights if it’s a close adoption.
It wasn’t as if she wanted to cut off a child from their biological links but situations like that can become complicated and her mind kept going to the nightmare scenarios. All she could think about was a disgruntled grandparent who feels that they've been cheated out of knowing their grandchild or a biological father finding out that he had a child after the fact.
It was a scary thought for her to have to share custody with someone she didn’t know especially when that wasn’t what she envisioned in the first place or worse. She knows that is highly unlikely, but she knew if they were going to go the adoption route then both parents had to sign away their parental rights.
She had a talk with Jay and told him how she felt, and he pretty much agreed with her. He didn’t want any unresolved mumbo jumbo keeping them from being able to just be parents. They told all of the adoption agencies that it would be their preference to go through with an adoption if both parents signed off and not just the mother of the child.
They had to draw a line in the sand because the both of them had kept coming to that kind of conclusion. Steffy had done some research and saw that there had been several cases where adoptive parents have lost custody because of fathers establishing paternity after the fact. She knew that she could never handle something like that. She could not dream falling in love with a child and doing everything she could only to have them taken away from her.
Not because she was a bad parent or she was neglectful, because of a technicality and it was something that she refused to deal with. She didn’t want Phoebe to get used to having someone there, she didn’t want a baby to become so central to her family and then possibly having them taken away from her. It wasn’t just about protecting themselves from a legal standpoint but an emotional one too. To become so invested in your family and to have it taken away is the ultimate cruelty.
And it’s not like you can really even blame a biological parent who didn't know of their child's existence. It’s one of those situations where nobody is at fault and everyone is hurting. It’s a gray area and she doesn’t want that for herself, Jay or Phoebe.
Steffy got back to regular life, instead of thinking about everything that could theoretically go wrong with an adoption that they haven't even started a process on, she decided to focus on what she did have.
She was taking it upon herself to celebrate every milestone that Phoebe had, she had just had her first steps and ever since then Steffy has been doing whatever she could to make Phoebe take more steps. She knew somehow that when her daughter started to walk that it was going to be over. Phoebe already had mountains of energy she knew that baby would be running everywhere she could.
Natalie’s pregnancy was progressing nicely. They just had another check up and the baby was doing well. It was such an exciting time for the both of them. Steffy liked the distraction of making a baby shower for Natalie.
They were having the most trouble with figuring out what color they wanted the new baby's room to be. They had Jay paint the room twice and it didn't quite fit what they were going for. Jay was highly annoyed at the fact that he had to paint a room twice and still it was something that was up in the air. It was like the girls didn’t even care about the hard work that he had to do.
He just felt like he was a live-in handyman. He was pretty annoyed that he kept having to paint the same room different colors, but he could see that they were excited, so he wasn't going to burst their parade. He was pretty excited himself, Natalie was having his brother’s kid. It was something that he didn't even know was possible.
Every day that passed… They were one day closer to meeting the new baby. It was an exciting time for their household. Phoebe was growing and she was developing a personality that was very reminiscent of her mother. Just so filled with life that she made everyone who knew her fall in love with her. When she laughed it touch your heart because it was filled with such joy.
Every time she smiled it could turn your day around. Steffy had been so proud when her daughter’s first words were mama. She had been sure that she was going to lose that battle. She always saw Jay practicing with Phoebe. She was sure that her first words would be some kind of derivative of dad.
If there was one thing that Jay and Steffy like to do with each other it was being smug. She felt like she could lord it over him till the end of time. She thought she was killing it at this parenting thing. Her dad did ask her if she still had work on her mind.
It was something that Steffy thought about over and over. Right now she loved the fact the only worry she had was about making sure that Phoebe was okay. She loved her job, and she loved her career, but she asked her dad if he could hold the fort down because right now, she just wanted to experience motherhood without having to think about the grueling grind of being CEO again. She knew that she wanted to come back it was just not wanting to miss any of Phoebe’s milestones.
It was a beautiful thing for her to see her daughter’s first steps and listen to her first words in real time. She knew when she went back to work that her focus would have to be split. There was no way around it, and she wanted to exercise her full year of maternity leave. She was glad that her dad didn’t give her a hard time.
She knew that she was lucky to be able to set the precedence at FC of how parents can still have a job waiting for them but also have the ability to be a parent to their child. Three months is just not enough, it’s barely enough time to do anything.
She was still getting Phoebe set up on a schedule during those first few months. She couldn’t imagine having to go back to work while doing those things. She wasn’t completely away from the business, see sometimes did some light work at home when Phoebe was taking naps, but she wasn't doing her usual power broking.
What shocked her the most was she was fine with that… She had enough trust in her dad to know that he's done this before, and he knows the vision that she wants to have for the company, so she trusted in him. You have to be able to trust in your team to make sure that they can carry you through when you’re gone.
“You've been pretty quiet… what’s going on in that pretty head of yours?” Even though Junior had been in the room, Jay hadn’t heard a peep out of her in so long.
He had been playing with Phoebe and she was squealing loudly and still his wife was silent. Usually when their daughter squealed it made his wife giddy with laughter. It was like Phoebe squeals and chuckles were contagious, but he heard nothing from his lady.
“Honestly, I’m just thinking about everything. Even though I miss working, I don’t miss it enough to want to leave her… at least not yet. I’m just glad that my dad can hold down the fort until I decide to come back. And I’m not regretful of it, I thought I might have been early on but every single day that I spend with her… it becomes harder for me to want to leave her. I guess it’s just hard because I don’t want to leave my career behind too because that’s one of the most important things in my life.” She didn't know how to make her husband understand because he was in a different boat.
“Well it seems as if there's perks in being the boss. You’re in a position that a lot of moms are not. You’re running a family business and if you want you can bring Phoebe with you… who’s going to tell you no?! You don’t have to leave her if you don’t want to. You have options, you can exercise them and not have to feel guilty about it. I think you’re a brilliant businesswoman and I don’t want you to have to think you need to trade that into just be a stay-at-home mom. I know that’s not going to satisfy you in the long run. You’re going to get the urge to be back there sooner or later. And you’re not doing it by yourself, remember baby I’m right here with you. I love taking her to work with me. There is the occasional getting stopped by just about every person because they want to see her because she's so cute but that just makes me brag about her more.” Jay wanted his wife to see that it didn’t have to be this or that.
Steffy knew that her husband was right, logically there was no one who could tell her that she wasn’t welcome to bring her child. She can make the rules as need be and change them just as quickly.
She knew that she was just a little in her feelings. It was a little overwhelming to think about the totality of everything that they had been doing for the past couple of months. Taking care of a new child and thinking about the possibility of adopting one down the road… it was a lot, and she knew that she needed to just take a breath.
“As much as I hate to admit it, you’re right. I have so many options at my disposal it's an embarrassment of riches to be honest. I just… I guess I let the moment too get ahead of me." At this point she was only teasing, one of the reasons she loved her husband so much was because he could dole out great advice and encouragement to her.
“You see that baby?! Mama said I was right!” Jay animatedly puts his ear near his daughter’s mouth and pretends as if she's telling him a secret. “Oh you want me to ask mama that, okay I’ll ask.”
“What is it now Jay?”
“Well my beautiful and intelligent daughter said since daddy is right what is mama going to do for him? Isn’t that right baby?!” Jay gave Phoebe a light shake to make her shoulders shimmy.
Steffy rolled her eyes because of course Jay would use a child to get some.
“Is that so? My little darling asked you all of that?”
“Yes… yes she did, and she said it better be good.”
“You should be ashamed of yourself Jay using your child to seduce her mother.”
Jay just shrugged, he wouldn’t be shamed in using every resource he could to get into his wife's cookie jar.
“I could be ashamed, or I could be between those thighs." Jay knew once he said that his wife had no retort nor willpower.
“Natalie!” Steffy needed her sister-in-law to come immediately because the temptation was too great and the idea of Jay’s face in between her legs right now was the only thing fogging up her mind.
After the wedding, Liam had wanted to go on a honeymoon and Hope refused. The last thing she wanted to do was go on some romantic getaway with someone who she didn’t want to be romantic with.
To have to spend all her time with him sounded like the worst idea possible. She also didn’t want to leave because she had just started therapy here, she had done therapy before and it helped, and she didn't really remember why she stopped. The first couple of sessions she was pretty guarded, and her therapist didn't pressure her to speak if she didn't want to.
But the third time she went… it was different. She realized that she needed to do this in order to help herself. Thomas was concerned about her and suggested that she get therapy and if it was serious enough for him to refer her to someone then she knew that deep down inside she was just scared.
Even though her therapist had told her that anything said in their sessions would always be confidential and it was no judgment, it was scary to be vulnerable with someone. She was only truly vulnerable with Thomas and she could only be that way because she was in love with him. This was a clinical setting and so completely different. After the first session, her therapist had suggested that maybe she take up some fitness classes. It was something that she recommended to a lot of her patients.
It was a way to relieve stress and tension when you couldn't speak about what's bothering you. She began to trust her therapist because she went to some yoga and Pilates classes and she felt better. She still had the same problems, but it was nice to be in a place where all she had to do was focus on her movements for an hour. All of the outside noise was able to be quieted within the class.
It was the first time in a long time since she came back home that she felt some kind of foundation or something grounding her. At her third session she found it easier to speak to her therapist now, she was finding it easier to trust in her therapist and their abilities. She talked about her childhood and her mother. She talked about her relationships, her first pregnancy. She talked about Thomas.
She learned so much within those sessions, she learned that she had what the therapist called a codependent relationship with her mother. Hope had never thought about it being some kind of dependency she just thought she and her mother were really close. Her therapist asked her which she does for fun, and Hope didn't really have an answer to that because she never really went out. The fun that she would have would be within her relationships and most of the fun she’s ever had was with Thomas and before that it was with Wyatt.
With Liam it was always some big drama that was happening, and she didn't really get to enjoy moments for long. It came to a point where she was always expecting something to blow up because of Liam’s back and forth.
Her therapist asked her why she would get married to Liam, if she didn't love him or the fact that it seemed as if she didn’t really like him either. Hope explained that when everything happened, she felt like she was being ambushed.
She felt a huge sense of trepidation when her mother’s eyes were on her. She felt as if she couldn’t say no, there were so many people in the room and it made her anxious and afraid of what would happen if she didn’t get married to Liam. She wasn’t a person who naturally liked confrontation. She told her therapist that she suffered from anxiety and she used to see a therapist about it and was even hooked on anxiety pills to try and make herself have sex with Liam… in a weird way to make her more level playing field with her rival.
When Hope admitted that to her therapist, she felt ashamed. She felt shame because she doesn't understand how she could allow herself to do that to herself, hurt herself to try and hold on to someone who she wasn't even sure completely loved her. She only feels shame, she felt stupid. She could have gone down a very bad rabbit hole because she was in this warped mini version of the Bachelor.
But her therapist got her to see that the way that she relates to her relationship with Liam is one of dysfunction and shame. Hope had never been able to put words to it before, she used to just say she didn't want to feel that way anymore. She saw that Liam was just toxic for her, he pushed her into being a person that she was afraid for. She was able to get a handle on her addiction to the anxiety pills but the guilt of getting hooked on them in the first place was something that didn't completely leave. It wasn’t something that she thought about every single day but when she thinks about the totality of her relationship with Liam it was something that was glaring, it wasn’t something she could just dismiss.
That’s why it became harder for her to go back to the cabin and see him. His face made her mad, eventually it just turned into being resigned and indifferent. She didn’t allow him to sleep in the same room with her. He kept wanting to go on dates with her and it was something that she rebuffed each time he did. She could see him getting upset and him trying to rein in his anger.
But she didn’t care, she didn’t care to talk about it or tried to resolve it because there was nothing to resolve for her. She didn’t want to be his wife but if she was going to, she wasn't going to concede anything more. Every time he said that he wanted to get back to how they used to be, she knew that it was a metaphor for having sex with him and she told him that since she got pregnant, she had no urge to have sex.
Hope was recounting the past couple of weeks in her mind as she sat on the sofa in the cabin. It was so awkward for her too after sit through a dinner that Liam set up. He was trying to be romantic with candlelight and it didn’t move her. She also didn’t have the wherewithal to pretend that it did. She just ate her food, and it was stifled silence. The atmosphere was filled with tension. She knew that she only added to his frustration, but she wasn't going to offer herself to him to appease him in any way.
She wasn’t going to give up any of her agency to make him feel better. It was something that her mother tried to talk to her about. It only angered her because it meant that Liam was crying to her mother about the lack of sex in their life. She realized how much of a little bitch he was. Who goes crying to their mother-in-law about their sex life?! It’s highly uncomfortable talking to your mother about sex that you may or may not be having close or not…
Even though Hope didn’t love Liam, she realized that one of the reasons in the myriad of reasons they didn't work was because they were always going to other people about their relationships. Inviting other people in their relationships was just a recipe for disaster but it wasn't something they stopped. But it was different now because Hope has had real intimacy and she knew what it was like to communicate with a partner, and it would have abhorred her if someone wanted to know about the intimate parts of her sex life.
That was something incredibly private to her and the fact that her mother was asking her if she had intimacy issues was honestly gross. It made her feel so uncomfortable and she told her mother as such. She told Brooke that her sex life is none of her business and she would never be talking about that with her again. The look on Brooke’s face was just filled with shock. That’s all Hope could remember because it was something that she rarely ever did. Her mother has been shocked many times in her life, but it usually wasn’t by Hope’s hand.
She had cursed out Liam for speaking to her mother about their sex life or lack thereof. It showed that he didn’t have a respect for her to say it to her face. He would always just purse his lips and then just drop the issue. It wasn’t something Hope really wanted to fight about but if he was going to be telling anyone, she felt it should be her since she was the subject of the whole issue.
She heard the door open, she rolled her eyes because she knew who it was before she ever turned.
“How was your day?”
“It was fine.”
“That sounds good. I wanted to talk… I know it’s been pretty different for us lately. I thought that we would be able to get back to how we used to be and how in sync we were. You know I’m starting to see that you know with time, that can become harder and I’m thinking that we need a reset. You know I think we should take a weekend to go away and just spend time together away from all of the stresses of LA.”
“Liam, maybe we can do this later… I have to get to my Pilates class.” Hope had started to gather her things and left the cabin before Liam could say anything else.
When she heard Liam say that it should just be the two of them getting away, something in her told her don’t do it. Even though she would have never entertained the thought in the first place it was a different kind of feeling. It was something foreboding. She didn’t really examine it, she did have to get to her Pilates class.
Ever since she started the Pilates and yoga classes her flexibility has gotten so much better. It’s actually made it easier for her to walk with better posture, she never noticed how much tension she was carrying when she walked.
After her Pilates class she texted Thomas to see if he was free. The biggest smile went on her face when he told her that she should come over. She thought that Thomas would stop having sex with her once she started to show. She was embarrassed that he wouldn't want her anymore, it wasn't something that would be hard to believe because she was having Liam’s child.
When she got to his condo, she started to get more excited. She wished she could see him more often, but he worked in she also didn't want to arouse any suspicions.
She knocked on the door and before she could do her last knock, the door was already opened.
The burst of happiness that she felt when she saw Thomas was similar to the endorphins that she felt when she was in her Pilates class.
“Hi Thomas.” Before she kissed him, all she could think about was hugging him.
His arms around made her feel like she was so secure. She yearned for that feeling every time she went to bed.
“Hi baby. I’m guessing your class went well. You’re looking really happy.” Thomas enjoyed the smile on Hope’s face.
The situation that she was in was kind of bleak so any happiness that she could find it made him feel better.
“The class was fine but I’m really happy because I get to see you. I missed you so much.”
He swooped down and gave her a kiss. What was supposed to be a quick kiss turned into a full on make out...
After Thomas broke the kiss, he took them to the sofa and they just sat in silence. She hugged herself close to him and wanted to have her solitude.
“You hungry?” Thomas knew that it was a stupid question because Hope was always hungry since she gotten pregnant.
“Yeah I am. Do you want to order something?” As soon as Hope heard the mention of food, she was starting to get those hunger pangs.
“As soon as you texted, I thought it would be best to order food, I got the same Chinese that you got last time because I figured it might be safe enough for you to have again. I don’t know how long you would be able to stay so I thought ahead.”
“I’m so glad that you think ahead. I am so hungry right now.” Hope's hand went straight to her stomach.
“I do what I can. I’ll be back… don’t move.”
They ate their food as they caught each other up on the week that they were having. This is exactly what Hope needed. All of the tension and weird energy she felt throughout the week was only alleviated by therapy, exercise and seeing Thomas.
She asked him how much time they had before Douglas came home… Thomas told her that they had some time to burn because Douglas was sleeping over Steffy’s house. Hope was happy because even though she would love to see Douglas, it gave her some private time with Thomas to get what she needed. She was only having sex once to twice a week when she was able to get away and meet up with Thomas. But sometimes he had business and that made it difficult. Being pregnant had only made her want to have sex more, if she couldn't be with him that and she would pull up one of their videos and listen with her headphones as she played with herself, but it was a poor substitute.
“Thomas the food has been delicious but I’m looking to burn some calories.”
“I’m sure I could help with that.” He stuck his hand out and waited for her to take it.
He took his time and they both savored it, but Hope had stayed longer than she had intended. She wished she could have just stayed the night, but she knew that she had to go home.
When she got to the cabin, she saw that Liam was sitting on her sofa. She could feel the confrontation coming as she put her key in the door.
“Hope where have you been?! I ordered some dinner for us from your favorite place and now it’s cold.” Liam was trying his best to keep his patience in check, but Hope made it so difficult for him.
“I went to my Pilates class and after I went to China Moon and ate dinner. I’m sorry that you ordered dinner for us, but you didn’t tell me that.” Hope refused to feel sorry for Liam because he always did stuff like this.
He was always trying to guilt trip her because she wasn't fawning over him by a gesture that he did when she knew that it always had ulterior motives.
“I can’t even surprise you. I don’t know what’s going on with you?! It’s like you’re trying to fight me at every turn. I’m just trying to make this marriage work, but you make it so difficult. It’s like you’re not even trying!” Liam felt as if his recent past was somehow infiltrating its way into this marriage.
Hope didn’t like Liam’s tone with her, but she bit her tongue.
“Liam, it’s not my fault that I ate dinner. I was hungry and I did something about it. I am not going to let you make me feel bad about wanting to eat when I want to eat. You didn’t even text me telling me that you were ordering food. I get that you wanted it to be a surprise but guess what when you do things like that, there’s always a chance that it’s not going to work out in your favor. I always get hungry after working out and I’m fucking pregnant on top of that.”
“You always have an excuse for everything.”
“I’m pretty sure that’s more your territory isn’t it? I’m not doing this. I’m going to bed. Have a good night Liam.” Hope marched out of the room but when she got to the hallway she jogged into her room and locked her door. She let out a breath, her heart was racing. Her anxiety was flaring, and it made her hands shake.
She didn’t like the look on Liam’s face but even worse than that she didn't like the feeling in her gut telling her that she needed to leave. The more she refused to have sex with him, the more he would blow up and have pointless fights.
Every single day that passes, she comes to regret her marriage more and more. She can’t even justify this baby being a reason to stay anymore because she was so miserable. She just thought to herself just a couple of more months and she'll have her baby. She just didn’t know what would come after that…
Hope is being kinda messy... and I'm not even mad at it...
I’m in the house all by myself and I’m feeling bored. Natalie had felt like going outside and thought it would be a good idea to take Phoebe to the park. She said it was like two birds one stone and it was something that I couldn’t disagree with. But it left me with just about nothing to do.
I had been slowly easing myself back to work, but it was really just going over analytical reports. Those don’t take too long which means I have so much free time. An idea goes through my head, if I don’t really have anything to do… Then I just have to make something happen.
I start to go through my lingerie drawer and really look. The first thing that popped into my head was to wear stockings and a trench coat but then I thought that was silly. People would know my intentions and that’s the last thing I wanted. I was going to surprise Jay, but I didn’t want his whole office to be able to decipher that, so I decided on foregoing on the stockings and the trench coat. I decided on to wear my lingerie and one of my favorite tie wrap dresses.
I made sure it was something that would accentuate my body so I could have Jay drooling. Just the thought itself started turning me on. I sit on the sofa in our bedroom. I lifted up my dress and slide two fingers inside my panties and start rubbing and smearing some of the wetness around my pussy.
Just the idea of Jay being turned on could make me wet like nothing else could. I could feel his hands on me and it made me shiver, sometimes my fantasies can be torture because if I open my eyes, I know he won’t be there. I closed my eyes and pump my fingers faster and harder. I curl them every so often and press on my G spot which makes my leg shake. I add a third finger and use my other hand to play with my clit and I don’t even last another 10 seconds before I’m coming.
I hope that climax is enough, I need it to last me before I can get to Jay. All I know is I’ll go fucking crazy if I go to his office and he's somehow at another building or doing something dumb like getting lunch instead of having it ordered.
I know that I’m in no condition to drive right now because I’m all over the place. I order myself an Uber and go straight to Jay’s office. If I drove myself that I would probably get crazy with road rage because LA traffic was something that could always surprise me.
When I got to his office, I could tell that the receptionist was surprised to see me. I usually call ahead when I’m coming but I didn’t really feel like it this time. I wanted it to be a surprise for Jay.
“Hello, Mrs. Halstead-Voight.” It was always funny to hear people call me that. Only my Brazilian IDs had my married name on it, but I did like the sound of it.
I would always love my name and never change it here, but there was something about hearing that name with people who know Jay. It showed my proximity to him and it turned me on.
“Is my husband in a meeting?” I can admit now that I didn’t fully think this through.
It wasn’t as if I was given an itinerary on everything Jay did in a day… That’s the one thing I don’t like about doing things spontaneously, it could always make you the one that’s surprised.
“I believe he just finished a meeting about 15 minutes ago. He should be in his office but I’m not sure if he’s on a call.” I saw his assistant reached for her phone…
“That's okay you don't need to... I’m just going to go in and if he’s on a call then I’ll just wait for him to finish. Thank you so much.”
I start walking before she can give me an answer and I open the door.
I don’t know how he does it but every time I look at Jay… My breath quickens.
I married a man who takes my breath away… It sounds so corny and unbelievable but it’s so true when it comes to him. He used to make me so mad that he had such a way with me, but I didn’t feel that way anymore.
The more I get to love him… the more I feel so lucky that I can feel this for him. I’ve been through the ringer emotionally for years so it's so nice to have this kind of bliss.
It wasn’t to say that he doesn't get on my nerves sometimes, but I’d rather have him annoy me on my worst day then have any of my exes on the best ones.
“Stephanie, what are you doing here?” I can hear the practiced annoyance in his voice.
He can’t really fool me, and it makes me laugh. It’s the start of a cat and mouse game… At the moment I know that both of us don’t know who is who.
“I was in the neighborhood and I thought I should visit my husband.”
I didn’t waste any time… I started to pull at the belt of my wrap dress.
I can see his eyes widen and it makes me bite my lower lip. I try to be as sexy as I can as I let the dress fall from the momentum of me walking.
“You’re trying to lead me to believe that you were simply in the neighborhood… I find that hard to believe. What did you think you were going to achieve coming here? Did you think that you could be inconsiderate of my time?” Jay was always a funny one.
He had a poker face for clients… people he did business with but with me… he was never guarded. His voice could sound hard to people who didn't know him, but the fact that he got up and sat at the corner of his desk…
I knew what it meant… He wanted me to come over. He was amused and I’m pretty sure he knew exactly what I did before I came to his job.
“I’m so sorry that I’m inconsiderate of your time.” I unzip his pants and descend lower. “I’m so… so sorry. I hope you can forgive me…” I don’t even try to muster up an innocent tone.
I could feel the weight of his dick in my hand and he was only half hard which made me feel like I didn't do enough. I'm actually upset with myself, so I pumped him a couple of times and look straight at him and I let the tip pass my lips.
I can feel his legs tense. I keep looking in his eyes and he refuses to shut them. He's challenging me as much as I’m challenging him. That’s why it feels so good… I love that he doesn’t back down.
I suck his dick sloppily, making sure to make loud slurping sounds... it's more for my benefit... I’m toying with Jay because it’s so fun. I swirl my tongue up and down and trace that one protruding vein that I know makes him so weak. And just like clockwork I feel his thighs tense again. I suck hard on the tip and it makes him groan loudly. I'm so glad that this room has insulated walls. Even though I like the idea of getting caught… I don't want anyone hearing us.
I bobbed my head and let him in as deep as I could. I relaxed my throat, and my bottom lip was touching his balls. I let myself choke on it for a couple of pumps. I could see him gripping his desk. His knuckles were so white that I actually laughed with his dick was in my throat. I’m glad that I stayed calm because I would have gagged otherwise. I closed my lips as tight as I could and slowly let him out of my mouth… when I did… there was a nice audible pop that hit the air in this silent room.
I licked the under part of his cock until I got his balls and sucked the both of them in my mouth. I gently massage them with my tongue and it was as good as taunting him.
“Fuck… Baby… If you keeps sucking my dick like that, I’m going to accidentally come in your hair…”
My laughter just hummed with his balls in my mouth and made him grunt again and I thought to myself that this was well worth the Uber ride.
I suck his balls as hard as I can and then let them out of my mouth so I can talk.
“Do you forgive me Jay? I’m so sorry for being inconsiderate of your time.” I do my best impression of Puss in Boots from Shrek as I say my faux sorry.
“Absolutely not. What did you think did you think that I was going to be hunky-dory with a blowjob? At very least I'm going to need is bury myself in that pussy of yours. That was a nice warm up though. Are you ready to show that you're actually sorry?"
Mmm, I just felt myself getting even more wet when he was so rude to me. I liked it when he talked dirty because it was always mixed in with attitude and something about his Chicago bravado went straight to my pussy.
“I’m always ready to show you that I’m sorry.” I made sure to kiss the tip as I looked at him.
When I saw that his nose flared… it went to the deepest parts of me because I knew he was going to be rough.
I used his desk to help me and I made sure to have my head down to cover the grimace on my face, wood floors could be so unforgiving towards my knees.
“Where do you want me? Or should I say how do you want me?” I don’t know how this is going to go but what I do know is that it’s going to be good.
I could feel him reach behind me and take off my bra. he didn't do anything with my panties which made me a little hesitant. I knew it was in his mind to rip them but I actually like this set so it would make me sad if he did that.
“I want you up against the window. I want your breasts pressed against the glass.”
My back shivered… I’ve never done something like that. It actually made me kind of scared because Jay was only on the third floor, people would be able to see me if they looked up.
I could feel him pull me closer to him. He dropped a kiss on my neck and it made me feel warm and my stomach fluttered.
“Are you going to show me that you’re sorry or was it all a lie?” He bit the lobe of my ear and I could feel my face scrunch. My desire was churning, but I was a little fearful.
I decided in that moment that I was going to be brave and never do this again after I give Jay what he wants.
I walk over to the glass it was so cold as I pressed my chest to it.
“I guess you really are sorry.” As he spoke, I could feel him slowly pushing down my underwear.
I never took off my heels, so we are almost the same height.
His arm snakes around me And I let out a gasp… it made the glass in front of me fog.
“I love it when you’re sorry.”
“I love being sorry.” This was one of the few times in my life that I was shy… Even though we were alone I could only whisper. As much as I was afraid… a thrill went through me.
I was naked pressed against a glass window.
He pressed a kiss to my shoulder blade and I felt two fingers sliding into me slowly.
“It seems as if you were practicing. Here I thought you could go a whole workday without me... What a shame…” I could hear him tsking in my ear.
“I’m sorry that you’re wrong. I couldn’t help myself when I started thinking about you… I had to touch myself. I closed my eyes, I could almost feel you and it was a torture that I was tired of feeling.” It was the truth.
As I told him how I felt he added another finger… there was no resistance. I was too turned on for that.
“It looks like you came ready.”
I arched my back, and he slid all the way into me. I felt my hot breath bouncing back from the glass to me as Jay fucked me.
The pace that he set was brutal… I could barely catch my breath. I kept arching my back so I could meet him thrust for thrust or at least try. Even though I couldn't speak , I felt like a maniac. He kept rubbing my clit in a frenzy, I bit down on my lip. I hadn't even noticed that I started bleeding until I tasted blood on my tongue.
I had to keep my eyes closed because all of my hot breath was bouncing from the glass into my eyes, and it made my eyes irritated, and I didn’t want any distractions.
When Jay bit into the meat of my shoulder I came so hard it frightened me.
I could feel Jay holding on to me tighter because my legs gave out. We slowly started to descend to the floor… The sensation of my nipples dragging against the glass only stimulated me more and I felt aftershocks.
I pressed my cheek to the glass, it felt so nice to feel the coolness on my face versus how hot my body felt.
At this point Jay was rutting me like an animal. I could only whimper and every time I did, I could feel him twitching inside of me. When he finally came, he cursed so loudly in my ear that it made me shake.
We were a mess on his floor. I could feel his come leaking out of me, but I could barely move. The AC was blaring but he held me tight, so I didn’t really feel cold.
“Baby you're leaking...” I had just noticed that my right breast was little wet.
I felt Jay press his middle finger to my nipple and It made me so sensitive. I could hear him licking his finger.
“It tastes almost as sweet as your pussy does.” He says this right against my ear and hugs me closer.
He starts to kiss my cheeks and it makes me feel so loved.
“Jay you broke me.” I really do feel like I’m out of order.
“I guess I’m the sorry one now.”
He just keeps giving me kisses all over and it makes me smile. I feel like such a goof.
He asked me if I wanted to clean myself up which was to be pretty much a given. His come was leaking out of me and onto the floor.
I went into his private bathroom and tried to make myself look presentable. It was pretty hard because I forgot to get my clothes from all around his office. I just cleaned myself up and use the bathroom.
When I came out, he had all of my clothes in his hands. It made me smile because he was always so thoughtful with me.
“Thank you.” I don’t know why feeling so shy all of a sudden.
When he looks at me like that with his carefree smile, I feel like a schoolgirl with a crush. He started to put my clothes on me and something about that was really sexy. but it was a sexy that had nothing to do with sex. I just felt cherished in the moment.
“You're always welcome. Did you drive or did you get a ride?”
“I was too wired to drive so I took an Uber here.”
“I do have one more meeting… it’s on the phone but we can go home right after if you decide to stay…”
“I’ll stay. I’m really tired… you fucked all the energy out of me. Can we get food on the way home?”
“Yeah baby. We’ll get something on the way home. You can take a nap on the sofa if you want? Let me get you the throw blanket so you don’t get cold.”
I went to the sofa and I waited for him to come back from the closet in his office. I burst into tears, even though I wasn’t pregnant anymore… these postpartum hormones really fucked with my emotions.
“Baby, are you OK?” The look on his face only made me cry some more.
“Yeah, you're just so thoughtful to me. I love you. It’s the hormones that are making me cry because I love you so much.”
He just fixes me so I’m lying down and the throw blanket is covering every inch of me. He sits on the floor and reaches over to kiss me.
He pushes back my hair from my face and holds my cheek in his hand. His hand is so warm, and it feels nice.
“I love being thoughtful to you. I love loving you.”
“I love loving you too. I love you so much that I let you fuck me against the window, anyone could have seen me.”
“They can't see you. You can see outside but it's one way glass… They can’t see inside. There’s no one who’s going to be seeing your body except me. You’re mine Stephanie… the day you crossed the threshold of my house.”
“You're mine… and I’m yours.” There was no way anyone would ever be seeing Jay.
“That's right. All of this prime real estate is yours.”
I giggled because he was such a geek sometimes.
“I’m glad you know.”
“I’ve been yours since the first time I saw you across the room.”
He gave me another kiss and stayed with me. I could feel his hand on my arm like an anchor until my eyes felt heavy and I let them fall without a fight.
It had been pretty much smooth sailing for Natalie’s pregnancy. They had their routine down to a science. She and Steffy would go to Lamaze class and prenatal fitness classes.
Natalie had been so excited she wanted to do everything right and experience as much happiness as she could. It was obviously not the experience that she thought she was going to have because she wasn’t getting to share it with her husband but even though it was different, she couldn't say that she was unhappy. Every day she was looking forward to what could be.
It helps so much that Steffy decided it was best for her to work from home. She wanted to be as present as she could for Natalie. Even though this pregnancy experience was different for Natalie, Steffy knew just how important having ready support was. Having Jay by her side and having her mom ready meant everything for her. She had constant support just waiting for her at her fingertips and it meant was paramount.
She even had Natalie and Catherine at the end of it with her. She knew that pregnancy could be scary and nerve wracking, and she didn’t even go through it alone. It was a no brainer for her to try and be there for her sister-in-law. It made her happy in a way. They got so close that it felt like they had been friends for years.
They were having fun and going out with Luisa. It was kind of funny to have girls nights out with a pregnant woman and one that was breastfeeding. Lu was the only one who could drink with no problems because her daughter was 5 years old.
Natalie was so proud of herself that she made it to 40 weeks. She had practiced medicine for so long and her specialty being obstetrics, it was pretty rare for her patients to actually make it to 40 weeks. She was usually getting calls when they were 36 to 38 weeks. Natalie envied those women because being 40 weeks pregnant was annoying.
She knows from a medical standpoint that it’s a good thing, but she was ready to have this baby out of her. Even though she loved her pregnancy experience she wanted the finale to start. She wanted to meet her daughter. She couldn’t even narrow down any names because she thought all of the names that she wanted were amazing. She didn’t know how to choose one when she had 15 on her short list.
She laughed every time Stephanie called her crazy. This was crazy, it was a pretty surreal experience. If someone had told her that she would be having her husband's child at this point in time and living in a completely different place, she would have had them committed and sent on a 5150 because it was a ludicrous notion.
Every time she felt her daughter kick, she could only think about Will, he was a good soccer player. He played it all the way up into college. She was so anxious to meet her kid because she wanted to know what they would look like. Would she take more after her father’s side or would she look more like Natalie? Would their daughter be a mix of them?
Every time she caught up with Hank and Catherine about her progress, Hank would always say that the baby needed to take after her because it would be a sad day to be cursed with Halstead genes. It would send Natalie into fits, but she didn't think that at all.
To her, her husband was so cute. The thing she loved most about him was when he didn't expect a compliment, he would have a shy smile… which would showcase a dimple and his head tilted down. It always reminded Natalie of a puppy.
“Are you daydreaming again?” Steffy was making lunch and she asked Natalie a question from the kitchen, but she didn’t get an answer.
Natalie was in their breakfast nook which wasn’t even far, but it was clear that Natalie was spaced out. Steffy remembered being like that. Sometimes she would daydream, sometimes she would be making lists in her head. Sometimes she would think of nothing and it just felt so nice.
Her pregnancy risk was higher than that of Natalie so Steffy had nothing, but free time and it got so boring, so quickly.
“I’m sorry were you asking for me? I was honestly just thinking about how my daughter is going to look. I was wondering if she was going to look like Will, me or a combo of us both.”
“I think it’ll be a combo, hopefully. Could be the best of both worlds. I do think that their genes are pretty strong. Like I know brothers are supposed to usually look like each other but I mean Jay and Will, no one who ever saw them would ever believe anything otherwise than them being brothers so I think some of those genes will pass through. But she’s going to be gorgeous just like you. I can already tell.” Steffy was being completely serious.
The jury was still out on her daughter because her mother's side was very dominant in features. It was evident on her face and Douglas too. Her daughter’s eyes had settled into being completely blue, but it was a blue that was different than Steffy’s eyes. It was more of an aquamarine than cobalt. It was like Catherine’s eyes, so there was definitely some of Jay's side of the family and her child. There was a selfish part of her that hoped that her daughter ended up looking just like her.
Taylor and Sônia said that it was going to be highly probable That little Phoebe was going to look like them. Steffy knew that was going to make them completely happy of course. They liked Jay but they wanted her daughter to look like them.
“Thanks. You always know the right things to say and when to say them. Ah –” Natalie felt a sharp pain and even though it was the first time she’s ever felt it this intensely she knew that it was a contraction.
“Are you okay?” As soon as Steffy heard that sign of distress, she was in birth coach mode.
“I’m definitely having a contraction but it’s the first time that I felt one. I’m okay. Could you get me a glass of water please?” Natalie could smell that lunch was almost done but she really had no appetite now, but she felt thirsty.
Maybe that really wasn’t the right wording to use she needed water because it helped her be able to focus herself.
“Of course I’ll be right back.” Steffy got up and went straight towards the dish rack and got one of the clean cups that she just washed and got some water for Natalie.
“Thank you.” Natalie drank the water slowly.
Anytime she did anything suddenly ever since she got pregnant, it always made her stomach upset and sometimes she would throw up. The last thing she wanted to do was throw up while having a contraction.
“Does the contraction hurt?”
“No, it doesn’t hurt because I know what to expect. It feels like a nuisance but it’s not this overwhelming pain. A lot of times the pain is exacerbated by fear. Because this is my specialty, I know everything that goes into it and I know not to be afraid. So it might be a sharp pain once it hits but it's not like I’m being stabbed right now. I’ve had worse PMS than this first contraction, but I definitely reserve the right to change my mind later because it’s probably going to get more intense.” Natalie was honestly excited to have the contraction because it meant that she was going to be giving birth most likely soon.
She felt confident that she would because she was already at 40 weeks.
Natalie had asked Steffy if she could cut her up some fruit. She had been looking forward to lunch, but she didn’t want anything too rich or heavy because she didn't think that she could handle that right now. She didn’t want to take a wrong chew and then get hit with a contraction and it trigger heartburn or making her throw up.
Another contraction ended up hitting as soon as Natalie finished her apple. She had looked at her watch and saw that it had been 15 minutes since her last contraction.
“Stephanie, I think it would be best if we go to the hospital. My contraction was 15 minutes apart and Even though my water didn’t break, it doesn’t mean anything.” If it had been 30 minutes apart or even 20 minutes apart, Natalie would have not paid any mind, but since she was 15 minutes she didn't know when the next contraction would hit.
She knew that it didn’t necessarily mean that the contractions would start decreasing in time, but she wanted to take all the precaution because she was at her due date.
Steffy was on it, she got the go bag and her keys. She already had Phoebe in her arms ready to go.
Natalie was able to walk on her own, so it made the both of them feel good. As Steffy was driving, she had used the Bluetooth to call him and let him know that Natalie would be going into the hospital.
As he was driving, he got another call, but it was one of the adoption agencies that he and his wife had been looking at. They had decided to holdoff, but they did let the agencies know if there was a woman in crisis who needed to put up her child for adoption and no one was matched that they would consider it.
He had answered the phone.
“Hello?” Jay was wondering what was going on.
“Hi, this is Florence Fulton. I saw in your file that you and your wife Stephanie had made mention if there was a child that wasn't able to be matched with any of our clients that you would be interested.”
This was possibly the worst timing in the history of timing because Natalie was going to have her baby and they would have two babies in the house.
“I understand but the circumstances have changed.”
Flo felt her stomach drop. She had to dig deep and get this guy on board.
“Oh, I’m so sorry to hear that. Is just that we have this unwed mother who is from an abusive background and she is trying to escape that, she doesn't have the means to take care of the child because her abuser was also her financial security.” Flo was hoping that she could get this guy to feel guilty and help. Reese was counting on that and she wanted to help him as much as she could. He also promised her a cut if she was able to reel in a whale.
Jay actually felt bad because his mom did a lot of pro bono work for domestic abuse survivors. He was thinking about it, it might be a little hard, but he could talk to Stephanie about it, and they could figure it out.
“I’m sorry to hear that, listen I don’t have my wife with me. This would be something that we would have to discuss but just so I would know what next steps would be… what would that look like?”
“Well officially if you do take the responsibility of this child, the agency would have to be reimbursed for all of the medical costs, the private security we paid for her, her housing and the stipend that we gave her. Then there would be the actual adoption costs and that would amount to about 250,000.” Flo knew that this couple were rich out the ass. The both of them were CEOs, this money would be no big deal for them.
It was about 100K more than what they usually would charge a client, but every case was different so she would be able to figure out a way to bill it.
As soon as Jay heard the price tag, he wanted to laugh in her face because that was ridiculous. Even if there was a child on the line, he couldn't justify spending that much money especially when every agency they went to including the one he was talking to now had given them a breakdown on costs. He knew that these companies had insurance anyways so it could have been billed to them. It probably was and they were probably going to take someone’s money as well.
He felt like a scam was afoot, so he started recording the conversation. Even though it would be inadmissible in court, he was going to take this to the FBI. At the very least they could do an investigation into this agency’s practices. It was fraud to overvalue the cost of services. If they would do this so casually over the phone, then who knows what they were doing when someone was in person.
“So you’re telling me if I were to agree to this that it would only be 250K?”
Flo got happy when it seemed like he was receptive to this. She knew that this would be miniscule for someone like him. It was like $25,000 for him instead of a quarter million.
“Yeah, the baby will be born soon. If you and your wife are not able to take her the day she is born, the agency will have no problem with taking care of her until you and your wife can make plans for the child, but it would add to the cost. But it would be all state of the art, we would have a doctor on hand and a nurse. She’ll be well taken care of.” Flo knew that this wasn’t a part of the plan but if she could get even more money out of them the better. She didn’t even have to tell Reese.
He was only giving her 50K anyways so if she can make more money on it than the better.
Jay couldn’t believe what he was hearing, this woman would actually try to scam him even more on a per diem basis. He had to give it to her that she had gusto, it was only going to make it even better for him when he went to the FBI with this.
“OK, I think my wife might be interested in this, but I have to talk it over with her. We have been looking to expand on our family so how about I give you a call in a couple of hours. But this sounds like a route that I know she wants to take.” Jay was lying through his teeth.
He knew that as soon as he told Stephanie that she would be through the roof. She would want blood.
If they were promising the child, then most likely a child did exist, but it just made him upset to know that there was somebody ready to make a profit on top of a profit.
He was going to make it his mission to get this agency decertified and dismantle it piece by piece. He had a buddy that had transferred to the LA office a couple of years before he moved from Chicago. Even though this wouldn’t be his area, Jay knew that it would get routed to the right place and an investigation could take place.
But right now he had other things on his mind. His niece was coming into the world so all he could do was send a text with the recording for now and deal with it after Natalie gives birth.
Sorry to the readers waiting for an update. Even though I am not watching the show, I read recaps time to time and I have been so uninspired by #BB which has made it hard to concentrate on the story at hand even with having an outline done. Only thing remotely interesting on B&B was a clip of Carter and Quinn which was definitely not the mopey dreary crap that has been playing since Jacqui's maternity leave. Hope you all enjoy :)
It was such an exciting time to be in this moment. She felt such excitement for her sister-in-law. She was going to have this baby that was honestly a miracle. She knew that it had to be a bittersweet moment for Natalie, but she would still have her husband in a way that was tangible. She knew just how deeply last could be for someone. She was still reeling from it, and it had been years since she dealt with her sister dying. It's not something that you truly get over. You make peace with it, you try to move on with your life, but you get reminded on birthdays… holidays… weird random times . It was extra hard for her to celebrate her birthday because Phoebe was her twin. They were born nearly at the same time, so every birthday is just a reminder. When you share yourself with someone... The memories connect you. As much as they can hurt you, they can also give you strength.
She knew that was what Natalie had. She still had the sadness and melancholy that goes with losing someone you love dearly but she also had smiles. She was utterly grateful for the time she had with her husband. Every time that I trade stories with her about our husbands, I could see how proud she was. I can see how happy she is to relay those memories. It's the memories that keep them alive. You truly know that you love someone when those memories are what sustains you.
“How are you feeling?” I knew that it was a loaded question because Natalie definitely had to be feeling some kind of pain because she was in labor, but she wanted to make sure that she was as comfortable as possible.
“I'm doing okay under the circumstances. I'm just trying not to psych myself out. It's actually not that bad though so I think I feel good. The room is a little hot, but I feel like it doesn't matter what the temperature is I'm going to be running hot for a while.” I could see that she was excited even though she was sweating.
The happy anticipation was starting to rub off on me and I can definitely tell it was rubbing off on Phoebe. It was like she could feel the good vibes and our content.
“I'm so glad to hear that but I can definitely get you some ice chips and that can cool you down...” I was ready to do anything that would make Natalie more comfortable.
I remember when I was giving birth that everyone making sure that I was comfortable went such a long way.
“You know that's actually not a bad idea… I do have a bit of a stinging headache... Maybe cooling myself down will trick my brain into settling itself down.” I could see there was a discomfort on her face.
She actually winced and touched the back of her head. I got up quickly because I was going to do whatever I could to help ease some of that pain she was feeling.
They had already given her a shot of the epidural and told her that it would be guessing game of when it kicked in. It was different for every single person that gave birth.
“You got it... Just call me Nurse Steffy and I'm reporting for duty.” I don't even know why I do a military salute, but it makes Natalie laughed so I count that as a win.
I started to get up and I took Phoebe in my arms.
“No! Leave her with me. I love my Phoebe time. You're only going to be gone a couple of minutes, I'm sure that I am an adequate babysitter. It's not like anything is going to happen while you're gone.” I can see her rolling her eyes... I'm just so used to taking Phoebe with me everywhere that it's become second nature.
“You know what you are right. Baby… you're going to stay with Aunt Natalie while I go get her some ice chips to help cool her down.” I give my baby girl a kiss and then place her in the bed right next to Natalie.
“See you later alligator!” She is so cute I swear.
“After a while crocodile.” I can’t believe how dorky we are.
I step out of the room and go to the nurses’ station and ask them where I can go get some ice chips. The lady started giving me directions and I was pretty confused because she kept saying make a left and then another left and then a right turn and I started to get confused and I'm sure she saw it all.
“You know what the nurses’ station is not busy right now, so I'll just walk you there.”
“I'm honestly so thankful because I was pretty sure I was going to get lost. It's my sister-in-law's first-time giving birth and I just want to make sure that I'm not gone too long because I want her to be as comfortable as possible so I'm trying to wait on her hand and foot. My husband is stuck in traffic trying to get here.” I started wondering when Jay was going to get here.
Today was not one of those days where it was OK to just be stuck in LA traffic. As much as the traffic can annoy me... I know I can't really do anything about that.
“Oh that's so sweet of you! Is she a single mother or is her partner also going to come? I can definitely be on the lookout for them so as soon as they come, they can go straight to her.”
It's kind of a crazy situation to try and explain to people about Natalie’s pregnancy. Of course I was going to respect her privacy about the circumstances of her child, but she did want to make it make sense.
“My brother-in-law actually passed. So this is kind of like the miracle child in our family right now.” I know all about having that miracle baby.
I think it's probably why I'm so protective about Phoebe. I never thought I would get to have the chance and she brightens my day every time I wake up. I'm happy with Jay... I love him so much but there's always a chance in falling in love again, but it was something entirely different when it came to being able to have children when you were told that it most likely would not be a reality.
“I'm so very sorry to hear that. It's not ideal but it's not as uncommon as you would think. We have a lot of mothers who have to go it alone because of those kinds of circumstances. It's really nice to see that you and your husband are stepping up for her. A lot of people don't have that kind of support in their lives, so if it's getting ice chips or holding her hand while she gives birth or just making her comfortable when she needs it... it's nice to see that there's people that care for her.”
Hearing her say that makes me get a little emotional. I had so many good people to me including Natalie when I was pregnant. She literally fought Liam for me when I was terrified, she was so sweet to me even when Catherine was finding faults within me. It would be something that I never forget... Being there for her as a friend and a family member was nothing to me. It felt like the least I could do... I just wanted to do it because I love her.
“Yeah... I'm glad that I get to be there for her. She has been a very big presence in my life since I was pregnant and since my daughter has been born. She's been a really calming force in both of our lives. I'm so lucky to have her honestly. The support goes both ways.” I don't know why but a tear falls down and I wipe it with the back of my hand.
I'm at the ice machine and I start filling the container. It looks like a lot of ice, so I hope that it's enough. I don't know how much ice I had when I was in the hospital, but I felt like I had to have at least a bucket's worth.
“It's beautiful that the both of you can show support to each other. You'll get to raise your kids together…” When Nurse Paxton says that I have the biggest smile on my face.
Natalie told me that was one of the biggest reasons that she had been so excited about the pregnancy and moving to the West Coast was our children were going to be close no matter what. They were going to be close in age and it just felt right that they were together.
“That's definitely one of the biggest draws of having our kids so close together. Who knows they may even be in the same class when they are old enough…?” Even though I hate the idea of Phoebe growing up because I like her as a baby so much… I like being able to hold her and take her anywhere with me. She's so portable, I know that she's going to grow up and I'm also very excited to see that.
On the walk back I talked to the nurse about general things. I find out that she is a fan of Doctor Who and all I could think to myself was Jay would absolutely adore her because it was one of his favorite shows.
As we got closer to Natalie’s room, I see people rushing in. The only thing I can think of is she's so dilated that she's going to give birth. I start walking quicker to her room and I hear Phoebe screaming.
I hear the cacophony of all of the doctors and nurses talking. I just stand at the door and hear the beeping noise coming from the monitors.
I look at Natalie and her eyes are closed... This is so weird.
I hear the sound of something hitting the ground. I looked down and I see that it's the ice bucket and the ice is everywhere on the floor.
“Who are you?!” I don't know who this person is asking me this question, but it feels so aggressive.
I was speechless and I was thankful that the nurse was still with me instead of just going back to the nurses’ station.
“She's the sister-in-law of the patient and the mother of that child that Stacy is holding.” I can hear the nurse talking but she sounds so far away even though she's next to me.
When I hear the mention of Phoebe it's when I start to come back to reality.
“What's wrong with Natalie?! Give me my baby...”
“Unfortunately, Ms. Conte—”
“It's Dr. Conte… she's a doctor!... Her specialty is pediatrics.” I don't know why I'm saying this, I'm really nervous.
“I apologize ma'am. Dr. Conte is suffering a stroke... She's incapacitated at the moment. we believe that the kind of stroke that she had was latent, it seems to be a very rare kind of stroke that afflicts .3% of pregnant people. We're trying to contain it, but we need to do a C-section now. The baby is not waiting.”
I feel like there's so much being thrown at me... all I hear the word is stroke and C-section and I feel like I'm going crazy. Natalie was fine when I went to go get ice and now, they're saying that she's having a stroke?!
“Do whatever you have to, but you have to save her! She can't die!” I can't stop crying which makes Phoebe upset and she just cries more.
There willing her out and taking her to some place that they do surgeries.
Nurse Paxton asks me if I wanted her to stay with me, at least until Jay came.
I can't trust my voice, so I just nod yes. I stop making audible sobs because I need Phoebe to stop crying.
She asks me if I would like her to hold Phoebe and it was something that I needed in that moment because my hands were just shaking.
I couldn't think about anything else other than Natalie needing to make it.
It was about 45 minutes later that one of the doctors that I saw before came into the room.
They brought the baby, but Natalie wasn't here yet. But that's we expected right because Natalie had a stroke... She’s probably in the ICU.
“We were able to deliver the baby successfully via C-section. She is healthy and doing well under the circumstances.”
“That's great to hear. How's Natalie? Have you been able to successfully stop the stroke? Did you stop the bleed?”
I could tell from the grim look on the doctor's face that he didn't have good news.
“I'm so sorry... We did everything that we could, but Dr. Conte had one of the most severe types of strokes... it's very rare but highly lethal. Unfortunately she was unable to survive it. We did everything we could to resuscitate her, but we were unsuccessful. I'm so very sorry for your loss.” All I could think about was how professional the doctor with.
I was so glad Nurse Paxton was holding Phoebe because I could have probably dropped her if she was in my arms from shock. All I can feel is my hands wiping away add my tears furiously. I don't even feel like I have control over my body. This seems like a nightmare... Natalie is somehow dead. She had been alive a couple of hours ago and now she was dead.
I tried to brace myself and grab on to something, but there's nothing for me to grab on to because I had been standing. I could feel myself falling. As I blink, I see Jay at the door.
I can see the confusion on his face and him rushing to me trying to pick me up.
“Baby, are you okay? Where is Natalie?!”
I can't say anything... I don't know how.
“Sir, unfortunately Natalie did not make it. She had a very rare stroke that affects pregnant women, it's also very deadly she sustained it prebirth and we have done everything we can to try and revive her, but we did not succeed. She passed on the operating table. I will give you some time alone.” I could see the doctor backing out of the room.
“Stephanie... Do you want me to watch over the kids while you can have some time to process this alone? I won't be far I'll be in the next room if you need me.”
“Thank you, Nurse Paxton... that would be much appreciated.”
She nods to me and has Phoebe in one hand and wheels out the baby. A baby without a name.
“Jay, I don't know what happened. Natalie asked me to get her some ice chips because her body was hot, and she thought she was getting a headache from being overheated. When I came back, I saw all these doctors and nurses in the room and they were telling me that they had to do with the section now because the baby was coming and Natalie had a stroke. They said it was latent, so she didn't even know. This can't be real... this has to be a dream... this has to be a dream. Fuck!” Maybe this wasn't actually reality. Maybe I am dreaming.
I usually wake up after the most horrible part. I should be waking up anytime now because this has to be the most horrible thing that could happen.
I look at Jay and he's so silent. He always knows what to say and he's silent.
“Tell me this is a dream. I'm going to wake up from a nap and everything will be okay. I'm going to wake up anytime now.” I nod to myself because it's going to be any moment that I wake up.
I hear a scream... it's so guttural... it's like a wounded animal. I see Jay crying and screaming. This is the second that I realized that this is not a dream... I'm not going to wake up. I am up and this is real. Natalie is dead. I hug my knees to try and comfort myself from the horror of everything.
I don't know how long I stay like this. After a while I can feel Jay hugging me.
“Stephanie, it's going to be hard but we're going to get through this. We're going to get through this baby...” I can feel him kiss the crown of my head.
Jay had this way of making me feel like everything he said was the truth. I just hope that this moment hasn’t made him a liar because I'm choosing to believe him because I don't know what else I can do.
This is truly one of the worst days of my life... Natalie should be here! None of this makes any kind of sense.
“How does this happen?! How the fuck is this fair Jay?!” My sadness is replaced with anger.
“I have no clue baby. This is not fair at all... But we have to do right by Nat and Will. There's a baby that's going to need us to be strong for her. This is hard I know it is... But there is the baby who is so brand new to the world who knows nothing.” I can see how upset he is, he's still crying. I'm still crying.
I nod to him because he's right. The baby needs us.
“You're right. I know we have to be strong. I can be strong Jay… I know I can.”
He nods at me.
I get up from the floor and I go into the next room and find nurse Paxton with the babies. I thanked her for staying with them, but we were ready to be with the children now.
I took a look at Natalie’s little girl, and she was tiny and perfect. She was up and she looked at me... I know in that moment that I will do everything to protect her and love her like Natalie would want.
“Jay, she doesn't even have a name… Natalie had so many names that she was thinking of... What is the right thing to do?”
“Let's call her Renee... It means new beginning. That's what Natalie wanted and even though she's gone we can honor her by giving her what she wanted her child to be.”
“Renee… I like it. I think Natalie would have liked that too.”
“After we see Natalie and they do all the tests on the baby, we’ll go home okay…”
I nodded… being given this horrible news took everything out of me. I don't know how long I'll be able to last in public at this point. He just knows how to read me and give me what I need even when he is hurting.
“We're going to give her all of the love... I'll never love her any less then I would Phoebe.”
“I know that baby. I know.” He looked me in the eye as he says it and I believe him.
He brings me close and our foreheads touch. I feel so much comfort in that. Comfort that I really need right now. We're going to be okay... I'm going to honor Natalie the best way I can, and I still love her baby with everything that I have. She deserves nothing less.
Steffy is back but it's still not enough!
TW: mentions of child death although they are false.
She was finally in the homestretch of her pregnancy. It was also the hardest part of the pregnancy. She always felt so stressed out. She didn’t feel like she could stop this stress which was the worst part.
It was her biggest worry that her baby wouldn't make it. She didn’t want it to be like last time. It made her so scared… Thomas did his best to try and calm her down, tried to use every trick in the book but it was something that still weighed on her. It was a fear that she has never gotten over because with pregnancy and giving birth, there were no absolutes.
Outside of Thomas, she didn’t really feel like she had support. Her mother was basically badgering her to forgive Liam and move on with their lives. But there was nothing to forgive, she didn’t want to be with Liam. She was in love with Thomas… not that anyone knew about their relationship.
She always felt like her mother and Liam were trying to trap her. They just don’t believe her, they think she’s just trying to test him. Maybe if it was the past and if Steffy was still in the picture she would have. She had been guilty of things like that in the past, she wouldn’t deny that, but she grew up. She had been in a real adult relationship, and she finally found respect for herself. But it was still tricky for herself, sometimes she could literally feel herself being manipulated by them and she would still say yes. They knew how to prey on her most vulnerable points, and it felt terrible. They knew how to ambush her and corner her into an answer even if it was something that she didn’t want to do.
She knew that Liam was upset that she didn’t want to have sex with him. There was no way her body could get turned on by him. He always had this expectation of her giving herself to him. Like it was only a matter of time and she hated it… She hated him. She gave him what he wanted, and she wanted to back out of it as soon as she did, but it was hard because she really only had her mother and every time, she tried to talk about maybe Liam not being the answer for her, her mother would tell her she was wrong.
It was like talking to an automated wall. Her mother just didn’t compute that she didn’t love Liam. Or maybe her mother didn’t care, and it was some kind of one upmanship. She was tired of this tug of war for Liam. Clearly Steffy didn’t care because she got on with her life. She was the one that was stuck. She could never spend the night with the man she loved, so she had to settle for day naps.
It wasn’t to say that she didn’t respect herself, but she knew that she couldn't tolerate a lot of the things that she has done in the past with Liam. As much as she wanted to blame Steffy, it was really Liam. He pitted them against each other. She always felt like she was losing, not just Liam but herself. Every single time he left her he left her with a little bit less, and every single time he did she didn't know how she was going to recover. But she found a way and then he would come right back and break her again.
She truly didn’t get why her mother was such a big cheerleader for him. Sometimes he scared her. sometimes she would see him losing his patience and he would get so mad. She would just leave the room and lock her bedroom door. He wasn’t even allowed to sleep there anymore.
His anger sometimes felt more amplified than it should be. Even if she didn’t love Liam, he was claiming to love her… If he truly loved her, why was he always thinking about his needs? She enjoyed the fact that they hadn’t had sex her whole pregnancy, besides the fact that she didn't want to have sex with him, it also felt like it was a betrayal to Thomas but more importantly to herself.
She felt like all of this was a betrayal to Thomas. He asked her to be patient and she wasn’t, and she got herself into this mess. She thinks to herself that if she had just waited then she would be pregnant with Thomas’s child instead of Liam’s.
She still has dreams of their family. She saw them having a picnic, Thomas would take Douglas to the swings while she played with their daughter. It would just be the four of them, happy as can be. But Doctor Buckingham said that she was only eight months pregnant. It hurt her so much because she felt like this baby was Thomas’s. He had been trying to convince her her whole pregnancy to just leave Liam, but it was harder to do then she anticipated.
Every time she thought that she would have enough strength to do it, her mother was right there to make her feel guilty.
She got a text on her phone, and it was from Thomas. He was wondering if she was going to come over today, it brought a smile to her face because it was the perfect distraction from her thoughts.
As soon as she was going to start texting back, she heard a knock on the door. When she turned, she saw that it was her mother.
In true Brooke like fashion, her mother came in instead of letting her get the door.
“Hey honey… I was wondering if we could talk.” Brooke knew that it was a complicated time for Hope right now. She knew that she had to help facilitate things.
“Hi mom. What was it that you wanted to talk about?” Hope was a little disappointed that she wasn't going to be able to text Thomas back.
It was definitely something that she would never do in front of her mother. It would open a can of worms says she didn’t want opened. Thomas was persona non grata to her mother because that was Taylor’s son. Any reminder of the fact that she didn’t have Ridge in her life because of Taylor was met with derision.
“I know it’s been a really tough time for you lately, so I wanted to do something for you.” Brooke thought her plan was going to be genius.
She thought that her daughter and Liam just needed a change of scenery and to get out of town. She knew that Hope was having a tough time. She knew that the key to fixing that would be fixing the relationship she had with Liam.
“Okay? What did you do for me?”
“I was thinking that you should have some time to get away. Obviously, you can’t fly now because you’re too advanced in your pregnancies, so I thought how about we take a trip to Catalina Island. It’s beautiful this time of year and I know it’s been really stressful for you, and I want to help with that.” Brooke knew that her daughter was going to say yes, she was going to text Liam when things really started rolling.
Hope was pleasantly surprised at her mom’s kindness. It’s been really tough with her mom lately. It always felt like her mother was on Liam side instead of hers. She thought there should be some kind of loyalty or at least for her mother to see her side of things but she felt ignored most of the time. She thought it was very sweet of her mom too do something like this. Maybe this trip could be something that made them closer, and her mom would start to see where she was coming from.
“Oh wow! Mom that’s really sweet of you. Yeah, I’d love to go. When were you thinking?”
“Now. I know it seems a little last minute but Catalina is filling up with people so I tried looking for other dates and I couldn’t find anywhere that wasn't already booked. I just really wanted you to have some time to really recharge and regroup. Soon we’re going to have another member of the family.” Brooke was excited she had been making a lot of suggestions with names for the baby. She was really gunning for Elizabeth after her mother, and if that wasn't what Hope wanted then Helen was a great second choice after her grandmother.
“Oh wow, Okay?! That is very sad and, but I know Catalina is really popular and I’m really excited about this. I’m going to go pack some things. We’re going to Catalina!” hope felt like this could be a small step.
She left the room to go grab some clothes. She talked to Thomas telling him that she wouldn’t be able to come today because she was going on a trip to Catalina with her mother. She smiles when he quickly text her back telling her that he hopes she has fun.
As soon as Hope is gone, Brooke sends Liam a text telling him that the plan is greenlit.
After Hope packs her things, she comes back into the living room and sees her mother. They go back to the main house together.
Brooke got her luggage, she had to make it believable that she was actually going on the trip, so she packed as well. They left the house and went into the taxi.
Even though things have been tense between them lately, the trip was a great icebreaker for them. It was an easy topic that made them both excited for different reasons.
Brooke was happy that Hope was excited at the prospect of going to Catalina. She couldn’t wait to give Hope the true surprise, it was going to be a romantic getaway. Liam told her that he would be there right after work. She thought that this was perfect because it would give her enough time to make up an excuse to get away.
She had booked her own suite at another hotel on the island. She was going to give them a chance to reconnect.
When they got to the ferry, Hope did have a worry that she might get motion sickness, but she was surprised when she didn't. But she was also very relieved about it. When they got to the hotel she was mesmerized. It was a really beautiful property. The check in was pretty easy. The first thing on Hope’s mind was to sit down.
More often than not these days she wanted to sit down rather than stand up because her feet would have so much pressure.
She had been talking to her mother about very topical things which was probably best for right now.
When they got to their room, hope was a little confused because it was really only one bedroom. She didn’t have any problem sleeping in the same bed with her mom, she done it plenty of times, but she would have thought her mom would have gotten a suite and Hope shifts often since she’s been pregnant…
It felt good to be able to talk to her mother again. These were the times that she missed. She was glad that Liam was not a topic of conversation.
“Honey, I forgot to do something. I’ll be back okay. I just want to make sure everything is perfect for this trip.” Brooke was finally getting to put the final stages of her plan in motion.
She had booked her own room and would be staying there for the night and then go back home.
“Mom, you have done so much already you really don't need to do anymore.” Hope really didn't think it could get any more perfect in this.
“Honey, I want this trip to be absolutely perfect. I want it to be relaxing and fun. I know this time has been difficult for you and I want to help take some of that away. I just wanna help… so let your mother help.”
“Okay, mom. Thank you.”
They gave each other a hug and Brooke with out of the room.
Brooke decided that she was going to go to the jacuzzi. She needed to destress a little. Hope would be thinking her later… Catalina could be very romantic.
After she got in the jacuzzi, Brooke texted Liam.
Everything is set. Hope is going to be in the room, I made sure of it. Now it’s up to you Liam. You have to win Hope back, I’m rooting for you too. – Brooke
Brooke felt triumphant when she pressed sent, it didn’t last long because her fingers were wet. Her phone ended up dropping in the jacuzzi. She couldn’t find the phone because it was dark stone, she kept trying to feel her phone with her foot and all that did was just kick her phone to another spot.
What Brooke didn’t realize was instead of texting Liam, she texted her last contact which was Hope.
Hope had been wondering what took her mother so long, she thought that she would be booking something like a mother-daughter massage. She saw her phone time and she saw a message from her mom, she was glad because she was starting to get worried it's been a while.
When she saw the message, it made her so upset… Her mother lied to her. This trip wasn’t about them, she was trying to trap her here with Liam. She felt so stupid and betrayed for actually believing her mom. It made her so upset she started to feel a sharp pain at the bottom of her belly.
It was definitely a contraction, and all Hope could think to herself was she was only eight months, it was too early.
She had no clue about anything here, she called the local hospital and ask for an ambulance to come pick her up. Then she called Doctor Buckingham to tell him that she believed that she was in labor, but she was on Catalina Island.
He told her just to take deep breaths and go to the hospital and let him know the name of it he would be right there.
She texted Thomas because she didn't know what else to do. She couldn’t trust her mom… she couldn't even stand the sight of her mother right now.
Honey, I think the baby’s coming now. But I’m on Catalina Island. Can you please come? It’s early and I’m scared and I’m sorry I know that it’s last minute. – Hope
I’ll be there. Baby, I’m coming… don’t worry, I want you to stay as calm as you can, and I will reach you as soon as I can. I love you. – Thomas
I love you too. – Hope
Hope didn’t even bother to take her luggage with her. That didn’t matter. She went to the lobby and told them that she called an ambulance because she was having her child now. The receptionist was nice enough to stay with her until the ambulance came.
Reese Buckingham couldn’t believe his fortune. He needed to deal with his gambling debts and the first thing that came to mind to him was getting his hands on a kid and charging a surcharge for adoption so he could cover his gambling debts. He recruited Flo, which was pretty easy, she would do anything he asked. He was the one that got her a job at the adoption agency. She was beholden to him, he made her feel like he was the only one who cared. She had reached out to a couple different families, but he would be doing the actual selecting.
He had to be able to cover his trail, he would tell the adopting family that he would be the one to be the liaison between them and the state. It was so easy with rich people, they were always counting on people to do their work anyways. He needed to use multiple families, just in case things went awry he could at least cover his tracks a little.
He was so happy when Hope Logan stepped into his office, she was gullible. He was going to have to manufacture a child's death. It wouldn’t be real, but he had to sell it that way. He told her that she was one month behind than she actually was. She was on month nine but he made her believe that she was only eight months pregnant. The more time he could shave the more believable it would be that she gave birth to a preemie which would up the chance of non-survival.
He almost felt bad because she was excited about having another child especially because her last one was stillborn. She was going to have another dead child, but he knew that he could manipulate her enough where once he told her that the baby was dead, she wouldn’t want to hold them. It would be too traumatic for someone in her situation. He was going to hone in on that.
He was mad as hell that she was in Catalina, but he pretended like nothing was wrong. He was as professional as can be… calming her and talking to her gently. It was so easy with women like her.
When he got to the hospital, he told him who he was, and they directed him to her room.
Hope had been so happy when her doctor finally got there.
He was so wonderful asking her if she wanted to have an epidural which she agreed to. She wanted to be as ready as possible when she was giving birth.
Reese gave her an examination and she was pretty close. He put a short reactive sedative in her IV bag was a good thing that she gave birth before because once the body knows it usually becomes easier and faster. He wanted to get this show on the road. It was gonna take some maneuvering.
The birth wasn’t long at all, Hope felt happy… Hope was going to meet her daughter soon. She had been thinking of names and she loved Elena. She loved when Thomas said it, he made it sound so fancy. He told her that she was silly because it’s literally him pronouncing it the Brazilian way or literally any way where a romance language is spoken. She loved the way it was melodic. She hated Liam in that moment.
She really hated that this was his baby, why was she eight months pregnant and not nine? She wishes it was Thomas’s baby.
But she was happy to have a baby nonetheless, it encouraged her to push every time doctor Buckingham told her too. She started to feel really tired. It was only a couple more pushes and Hope were finally able to do it. She saw the baby but there was no sound and that made her scared. She started to hear cries which made her happy, but she felt like she wanted nothing but sleep, she decided she was going to close her eyes for a second and then she would meet Elena.
It was almost too easy, there were plenty of preemies that didn’t make the night that he could choose. Hope had never seen her daughter’s face she wouldn’t know the difference. She was going to be groggy anyways, so she was going to be in and out of it for the next half hour.
When he came back into the room, he saw that she was waking up.
“Did you finish your examinations with my baby?” Hope was ready to meet her daughter.
“I’m so sorry to have to tell you this, you know it is very critical when dealing with premature children. I’m so sorry but your baby actually died. I brought her here just in case you wanted to hold her before they had to take her away.” Reese was sure that she didn’t want to, but you never know so he had to be prepared.
Hope felt like her whole world was shattering, it wasn't supposed to be like this. She honestly felt like this baby was her miracle and now she had two dead babies.
“I want to meet her anyways.” Hope said through her sobs.
She thought to herself it didn’t matter if she sobbed or not because it wasn't going to make the baby cry. All she could think of as she was holding her daughter that it felt wrong. It didn’t feel like the truth, she didn't feel connected to this baby but then she thought about it… her baby was alive when it was within her. Life ceased in this child so she couldn’t feel a real connection. And that’s what hurt her the most she wished she could just have one minute with her daughter.
Thomas had gotten to the hospital as soon as he could, the thing he hated about Catalina Island was you had to take a damn ferry or charter a helicopter.
When he got to the nurses’ station, he told them that his wife was giving birth. Hope wasn’t his wife, but he figured that it wouldn’t make them move things faster.
When he got to her room, he saw her crying and it broke his heart because he knew before she said anything that something was wrong.
“Baby… what’s wrong?”
“She didn't make it. Elena didn’t make it. It’s my fault… the baby came too early. Maybe I’m just not meant to have any babies.” All Hope could think to herself was she was two for two now.
“I’m so sorry. Baby I’m so so sorry.” Thomas kissed the back of her hand.
Hope that she would be numb to it, the last time she gave birth she was numb to everything and everyone, but she felt his touch.
“Thomas, I need you to take me away from here. I can’t stand to be on this island for another second. My mom lied to me. She pretended like she wanted this trip for us, but she was tricking me. She was trying to keep me on this island with Liam. She sent me the text that was meant for him by mistake. It’s her fault that I’m even here. Maybe if I had been home and didn’t have any stress I wouldn’t have given birth early. When I saw that text, I went into labor. It’s too early… that’s why the baby didn’t make it. She did it. She killed me baby.” Hope didn't blame herself anymore.
Brooke and her lies are the reason she got upset and stressed. So stressed that it would cause a contraction. She would never forgive her mother.
“Hope, I’ll take you as soon as they give you the all clear but you just gave birth, it took a lot of your energy out of you. Let’s just stay for a little bit. Would you do that for me? I just wanna make sure that you’re okay. I won’t go anywhere baby. I’ll be right here beside you the whole time.” Thomas knew it was just about the worst thing for her to be on her feet right now.
“Okay, I’ll stay but as soon as we get the all clear, I don’t wanna be here. promise me…”
“I promise you as soon as it's OK, I’ll take you home. I will take you to our home. I’ll hold you all night… I’ll do whatever you need me to do.”
“Our home. I love the sound of that. The way it was meant to be.”
The nurse had come with the birth certificate form and death certificate form. When Hope filled them out come in space that it said father… She put Thomas’s name. it felt good, she wouldn’t have her baby, but it felt good to put Elena Hamilton Forrester, instead of Spencer.
Thomas had to leave the room because he had to make calls. He had to get someone to watch Douglas, she could hear him because the door had stayed open. She knew that Liam would want to see the birth certificate. She was just going to scan it and then make a fake one with his name on it. She was going to keep the real one and have the reality that she wanted. Nothing could bring back her baby but at least her baby would have the identity that she wanted.
It was a couple of hours later when she was given the okay to go home… they had wanted to keep her for observation, but she said absolutely not. She couldn’t stand being in this building one second more.
She had been very sore, but she could walk. Thomas wasn’t having it, so he carried her. He had called for a helicopter, and she thought it was the best news to be given because she didn’t want to wait for a ferry.
It had taken them an hour and a half, but they were in his condo. She felt empty, she went so long with her baby inside her that it felt normal period now the baby was out, and it was almost like a foreign feeling.
She was in bed, but she couldn't sleep. She was happy that Thomas was next to her awake. They said nothing but he held her hand and that meant everything to her in that moment. It was what she needed… What she really needed was her baby, but some things weren't meant to be…
She got a text on her phone and she saw it was her mother… Hope had to rethink… she saw Brooke texting her. Her mother was dead to her. As dead as her baby…
Leave me alone you lying bitch. -Hope
Life became a big adjustment when they brought the kids home. The first thing that Jay did after they got home was called his parents. It was late and he knew that they would know that something was wrong because of the time difference. It was gut wrenching to admit to them what happened.
Nothing was the same anymore… Natalie had lived here with them. Their home became her home as well. It was really hard for Steffy to reconcile. Even just sitting on the sofa was a reminder, that was what was hardest. Having all sorts of memories of someone that you spend so much time with. Share a space with. The first couple of nights she thought it would be best to find another home.
Maybe making a new start in a new place would have been more helpful, but then she thought about it… She didn’t want to run away from the feelings or the memories. She wanted to acknowledge them. She wanted to raise Natalie’s daughter in a place where Natalie was. The biggest source of her pain was that Renee would never know just how awesome Natalie was. She would only have stories and Steffy made a promise to herself that she would always have an abundance of them for this little girl. But that didn’t ease any of the pain.
Natalie had been so happy… Looking towards the future with this baby. A future that she wasn’t going to have, and it was a really bitter pill to swallow. It was all just so unfair.
Jay was still trying to wrap his head around all of this. For the first week he was just trying to remember what reality was and what it wasn't. He took time off of work, Antonio told him take as long as he needed. He had no urge to be anywhere else except with his family. He hated that there was no real way to make sense of this. Natalie has such a rare condition. So rare that it wasn’t even 1% it was 1/3 of a percent.
He had a distraught wife that he had to take care of. Two kids too be a father too and find a way to cope himself. A couple of weeks passed since that day, he actually forgot all about his conversation with that agency. It wasn’t until his friend at the FBI told him that they forwarded that message to the appropriate division, and they were opening a case.
His friend told him that there was a big industry in trafficking children especially babies because there was a market for this. Jay wasn’t given anything in particular about the case, he just asked his friend to make sure that this agency got shut down.
When Jay had the conversation with his wife about being propositioned from the agency… It was the first time he saw her anger in a while. She had been withdrawn and sad… He was too. He actually got excited when she was upset, he didn't want them to be sad forever. Kids pick up on that and he wanted Phoebe and Renee to be happy… That’s the only thing that mattered… The happiness of the kids and Stephanie. He would settle for her anger right now because it meant that she was feeling something else.
Steffy couldn’t believe there were people out there who wanted to take advantage of her and Jay. It made her really upset because she knew what it was like to want a child so bad and to have it taken away from you. There were people out there really trying to exploit that kind of pain for monetary gain and it made her sick.
She hoped that they got caught and shut the operation down. She hates that actual reputable adoption agencies have to pay the consequences for grifters and thieves like this who take advantage of people who just want to be parents. She had one mind to go to the agency and give them an earful and tell them what she thought of them. Jay told her that she couldn’t because there was no way that they could tip them off. They could disappear and find a new place to swindle.
Steffy knew that Jay was right. If they got spooked, they would just do the same thing somewhere else. They had to let a case be investigated and then get charged with crimes and get hit with jail time because then it meant that they couldn’t set up shop somewhere else.
They had their own problems to deal with and the last thing they needed was some kind of crusade against an adoption agency that Jay wasn’t entirely sure with actually committing anything illegal. He just thought that they were price gouging at the very least even though it was hard to prove because the seller can set the price they want for a product or service. His gut told him that something else is going on, but it wasn’t something that he could prove. It was also something that he was not equipped to handle because he was a guy in real estate… It wasn’t like he could go undercover again because they knew what he looked like. He had enough problems.
The most difficult part about everything that happened was telling Hank and Catherine that Natalie didn’t make it. It was so important for Natalie to enmesh herself with the family because her parents died when she was young. She came to think of Hank and Catherine as surrogate parents. It was one of the reasons even after Will had died that she stayed so close with them because they were the parents she had.
After the rough go in the beginning with Natalie and Catherine, they became so close… Natalie would go to Catherine for advice on life and everything within it. It was something that Catherine cherished because she had two boys, she never had a chance with a daughter. Her relationship with Natalie was something that she took pride in and nurtured. She couldn’t believe there was ever a time where she doubted Natalie. Somewhere deep-down Catherine knew that Natalie was such a good person that she was little envious about the role she would have in her son’s life with such a good partner by her side.
She couldn’t believe that she let herself be fed into those stereotypes of having to be difficult. She had friends who didn’t get along with their daughters-in-law and their children’s girlfriends. She knew logically that some of them were organic, and hostilities were on both sides but that wasn’t the case with Natalie. She was a warm person who had a high constitution within herself. Stuck to her convictions and saw it through. Stubborn and sometimes foolhardy but it came from her having such a big heart. She was always trying to find the good in people and go the extra mile not with just her patients but her friends and family.
Hank and Catherine immediately went to California when it happened. It was such a shock and they still can't believe it. They couldn’t understand how or why this could happen to their family... They had already lost Will and it just didn't make sense to them to lose anymore of the people they loved. They had already made plans to come for the birth, but Natalie went into early birth.
There was nothing about her being high risk or anything signaling that anything was wrong with her pregnancy or her body. The checkups went perfect, the baby was growing at the normal rate. When they got the call from Jay, they thought he was crazy. Catherine insisted that he had to have had a really bad nightmare.
She called Stephanie because she wanted her daughter-in-law to talk some sense into her son. It became real when Stephanie couldn’t even say a word… she was just sobbing the whole time. That’s when it all became real for Hank and Catherine.
They had a funeral and it felt wrong because it wasn't supposed to be like this. It had already been decided that Natalie would be buried next to Will in Chicago. They made the arrangements and the whole process was hurtful all over again. They had already done this once and it was so painful the first time. It wasn’t like burying your parents. It’s logical to believe that one day will come that you have to do that, but it is a parent’s worst nightmare to outlive their children.
After Hank and Katherine made sure that Natalie was laid to rest next to her husband, they took some time off and went back to California to just be with their kids and grandchildren. Them being with Phoebe and Renee was very necessary for them. Even though everything was heavy, those two babies brought them joy… light in a very dark tunnel.
Jay’s parents stayed for a couple of months, but they had to get back to their life in Chicago. His mother wasn’t retired, and his dad still did have to attend to his business even though he had someone doing the day-to-day operations for him because of everything that happened.
He needed a reset, not just for himself but for his relationship with his wife. He couldn’t have asked for anyone better. She was so devoted to the kids, but they needed to have their time too. He felt so far away from her even when they were in the same room.
He knew that she was just trying to do her best and be everything that Natalie can’t for Renee while also being the best mother she can be for Phoebe. But he could see her wearing herself thin and it was something that he couldn't let happen. His wife always wanted to be more than that. She wanted to be the sum of all of her parts and not just one part.
He didn’t want her light to dim and didn’t want her personality to change. He wanted to see her vibrant again… he wanted her to be herself fully.
He found her in the nursery looking at the kids sleep.
Steffy looked up and saw that Jay was at the door. She smiled… Things were hard, but he made them easier.
“I was wondering if we could talk.”
Steffy got a little worried because she didn't like the way it sounded. It sounded serious and her first inclination was it was about that case.
“Okay.” She took one last look at the kids and then left the nursery.
They walked in silence into the next room.
“I was thinking of having your parents come over and babysit the kids.”
“Why? We are here and I love my mom and dad, but I don’t see why they need to come over.”
“Baby… I know it’s been a rough four months for us. We’ve had to make a lot of adjustments and get through a really bad ordeal. you've given a lot to Phoebe and Renee. I see it every day and I love you so much for it, but—”
“But nothing. They are the only thing that matter…” Steffy didn’t even know where this tone came from. It was aggressive, she felt defensive.
“What about me? What about you? What about us?”
Steffy couldn’t understand what Jay was talking about. Of course she thought he mattered to her.
“Jay, I didn’t mean it like that. Of course you matter to me… Where is this coming from?”
“Stephanie, I love you so much and I just think that we need time away from the kids. Where we can be just us… I love that you’re devoted. I am devoted to them too. I want to make sure that they have the best life possible, but I don’t want you to lose yourself. You haven’t hung out with Luisa, you haven’t seen Douglas or Michelle. Anytime your parents, Thomas or Sonia come, you're there but you're not really there. You haven't gone on a date with me. I’m not saying that being with the kids is a problem. I just don’t want you to shut everyone out or think that you can’t have time away from them. I want you to be able to live a full life, there is no guilt in that. When you are happy, they will be happy because they will see that Mama is happy.” Jay tried to be as gentle as he could. He didn’t want Stephanie feeling that she was being attacked least of all by him.
Steffy was thinking about everything he was saying. She never really thought about it because no one ever said anything. She couldn’t believe that she hadn’t seen her nephew or goddaughter in four months. She loved them so much that it felt wrong. Even though the girls were growing she didn’t actually think four months went by.
She didn’t know that she was ignoring basically every relationship she had in her life. She couldn’t believe how lonely she made herself until Jay said it aloud. some tears started running down her face because she was feeling guilty about everything.
“I just… I wasn’t trying to push anyone away. I’m definitely not trying to push you away. I just wanted to be the best for them, but I didn’t realize that I was ignoring everything else.”
“You didn’t push me away. I am always with you. I just want you to know that you don't have to do this alone. I know that you cling on to whatever you can when you lose someone. We know what that’s like baby. You have to lean on the people who love you. You are so independent and it’s one of your best qualities, but it does not mean that you have to go through this alone. You don’t have to punish yourself or let yourself neglect, Natalie wouldn’t want that. You have to live your life as happy as you can make it. You can’t keep living your life as just Phoebe and Renee’s mom, that’s one part of you. But you also have to be Stephanie, auntie, daughter, godmother, friend, the love of my life, businesswoman, adventurer, queen of game night, fearsome competitor and so much more. You don't have to punish yourself, you're allowed to have a life outside of them. You’re allowed to have a dinner out with me or girl’s night or game night. You’re allowed…”
Steffy was sobbing because these were things that she told herself but didn't listen to because she needed to be focused on the kids and nothing else.
“It's just that, I told Natalie to go through with it, I told her that she should have the baby.” Steffy thinks to herself even though Renee is a blessing, and she loves that little girl with everything she has… but if she knew what was going to happen, she would have told Natalie different.
“No, that’s not on you and that’s not on Natalie. What happened to her was highly improbable and none of us including Natalie who was a trained medical professional could tell something was wrong. I’ve known Natalie longer than you have and I promise you there is nothing that someone else can make her do. She made her own choices… and no one could tell her different if it was what she wanted and her having a baby and having that experience was what she wanted. Obviously, it did not go the way that we thought it would, but you cannot have that guilt. Stephanie, it serves no purpose and it’s not even true… All you can do is love them and guide them. That’s what Natalie would want. Baby you are so caring… But don’t let that caring be a punishment because no one thinks it's your fault… I don’t… are kids don’t. Our parents don’t and I know for sure Natalie and Will don’t.”
Steffy nodded, she felt guilty because Natalie wasn’t here. She thought with the miracle of Phoebe, that Natalie would have something similar.
“I miss being Stephanie. I think would be nice to have a night out… Nothing that’s too much. Maybe dinner and a movie, I want to be myself again. I want the people in my life to know that I love them because I do. I’m going to be the best mother I can be, but I’m also going to be the best version of myself.” Steffy didn’t know if she was saying this for herself or for Jay.
On some level she might have been saying it to the both of them.
“That’s what I want… That’s all I’ve ever wanted for you. I’m always for you.” Jay sealed his words with a kiss.
“I’m always for you too.” Steffy gave him a hug and felt like she was coming back to herself.
It took some time, but she was going to be back… back like she never left.