- Text Size +
Chapter Six


Asleep. Breathing. Check.

1:00 a.m.

Asleep. Turned over on side. Still breathing. Check.

2:00 a.m.

Arms thrown above head. Snoring. Snoring = breathing. Check.

I pressed my head against the rail of the crib. Sometime not long before midnight, the bus had started moving. After having the most stressful day of my life, I irrationally thought Bentley had crawled out of the crib and was moving the bus. Instead, I jumped up to find him sleeping peacefully. But I couldn't fall back asleep. Every hour I checked on him. Now the kid was snoring.

At three o'clock the snoring stopped. I had fallen asleep standing up. Hearing the silence, I panicked. I ran to the bathroom, grabbed a mirror, and hovered it by his face until it fogged up. Satisfied he was breathing, I backed up and crawled back into bed.



I swiped at the covers and bolted upright in bed. My heart was pounding against my ribcage so hard that for a second I thought I cracked something. I patted down my body.


My body swung over the crib. Bentley's body flailed as I scooped him up. Snot dripped from his nose. His head fell back and he screamed right in my ear. I took a hesitant sniff.

No foul odor.

My mind blanked. No crap. So then what? I pressed him to me to the point where I felt like anyone peeking through the window might mistake the scene for me trying to smother the kid. I relaxed my grip. At the same time, my stomach growled. Lightbulb.

"Hey! Are you hungry?"


I didn't know a lot about babies, but I knew how to make a bottle. Of course, I had pretended not to know when Leighanne showed me early. She had sat there cooing at him while he sucked as I stared longingly at my XBox.

But now, no one was around. And I couldn't exactly stop moving busses to go get Brian. (Well I could have...) I put the formula in the bottle, did my shake-shake thing, and sat down on the edge of the couch. I adjusted his weight against the whole length of my arm and plopped the bottle into his warbling mouth. Instantly, his hand reached for it and he let out a sigh.

"Rough day, right?" I asked. His blue eyes looked up at me and I swear he nodded. I leaned back a little, trying to detense. My head fell back against the cushiony couch. I was exhausted. I'm pretty sure I fell asleep again while he was sucking away. The set-up would have worked perfectly...

Except the bottle soon became empty.


The bottle hit the ground. A 9-month old fist hit my chest. I almost choked on my tongue. I blinked rapidly, disoriented.

Bentley's face had turned a shade of purple. Large milk stains formed on his sleeper after running down his double chin.

"What now?" I whined aloud. I scooped him up and peeked into his diaper, doing two quick inhales. It was fine. Bentley's face slammed into my neck.

Sing, Brian's voice commanded. I wiped my sweaty palms on his pajamas, the one with the running giraffes all over is. I wracked my mind for a lullaby, but I came up empty. I closed my eyes and just sang the first thing I could think of.

I keep on sinking in this black hole
Somehow we gotta rise above
No Captain Kirk here to save me
Stuck in this vortex love

The cries faded to little snuffles. The little baby body bounced back slightly with the help of chubby legs. I put him back in bottle position and kept going.

I think I’ll put my space suit on
So I can jump into my rocket
Call ground control ’cause something’s wrong

I stopped. Something was wrong.

He was smiling at me. One little bottom tooth jutting out of raw pink gums and all.


"I feel pregnant." Leighanne was standing in the bathroom door way, staring at her profiled stomach in the full length mirror. She glanced at me. "Do I look pregnant?" she asked.

"It's been thirty minutes, wifey," I said. I was laying on my back on the bed, watching her, my head propped up on my arm and the pillow.

"But I feel pregnant." She ran her hands over her flat spanse of abdomen. She looked at me. "I could be pregnant, couldn't I?"

I looked away.

She sighed. A moment later the light of the bathroom clicked off and she crawled onto the bed next to me, her head laying across my bare chest. We laid there like that for a long few minutes, then she looked up at me. "Why do people that don't want a baby get a baby?" she whispered, her voice thick.

"I dunno," I whispered back. I reached over for the lamp switch and cast us into darkness, interrupted only by the pale blue light of the moon sneaking in the blinds.

Nick was laying in the crib, Bentley resting in the crook of his arm, his legs hanging out of the side of the crib. He had a line of drool hanging over his cheek to the mattress. Bentley, too, had drool. I snuck closer and reached into my pocket and pulled out my phone. I held it up.


Nick's eyes fluttered at the bright flash. He groggily stared up at me, squinting. "What the hell time is it?" he muttered, running a hand across his face. He looked at Bentley. "Ugh." He looked up at me. "It wouldn't stop crying like half the night," he complained.

"Did you sing?"

"Did I sing?" Nick demanded, "Did I--- YEAH I SANG!" He struggled to sit up, rolling Bentley off his arm. The moment skin contact ended, Bentley's eyes flew open - and that's not all that opened.


"I sang our entire catalogue," Nick wailed over Bentley.

I reached quickly into the crib and pulled Bentley up into my arms. "What?"

"All of them. Every song. Name a Backstreet Boys song, released or b-side and I sang it last night."

"Larger than Life?"


"Quit Playing Games?"


"Color My World."


I went for the big guns. "If You Want It To Be Good Girl Get Yourself a Bad Boy?"


I looked at Bentley. "Jeez, lil man, you got your daddy to do stuff the fans have been asking for for years." Nick sighed. I studied him a moment. "How'd you end up in the crib?"

"I..." Nick hesitated.


"He wouldn't stop when I put him down, and I was falling asleep standing up."

"So you climbed into the crib?"

Nick looked at his feet, still dangling over the side of the crib, the little giraffe blanket pulled across his chest covering about a square foot of him. "...I guess I climbed into the crib," he answered.

I rocked Bentley back and forth, my hand carefully patting his bum.

Nick climbed out of the crib a bit sheepishly.

"Your daddy's a weird one," I muttered to Bentley, "Yes he is... yes he issss..."