Kiena had gotten increasingly more tense and emotional as the weeks rolled on. Luke didn’t know much about pregnancy or pregnant women but she seemed to have reached the stage where each day she seemed bigger than the day before.
She was struggling that much was clear, she was struggling with the emotional turmoil within her and though she refused to complain simple task’s where becoming difficult. He often lay at awake at night listening to her toss and turn as she battled with the bulge trying to find a position in which to sleep.
Still she didn’t let it slow her down, no matter how difficult she was finding it she did not complain, still determined as much as she could ignore it.
“Let me take that” he offered taking the firewood off her, as she entered the cabin. “I would have fetched it”
“I ain’t an cripple” she hissed angrily.
“No you arn’t” he snapped back, “Your a pregnant woman, who should be taking care of herself and isn’t because she’s too damn stubborn to accept help”
Dumping the armful of wood in a pile next to the stove he span, “Don’t you Pah! You listen to me, you need to stop acting like your doing this alone, I’m here let me help”
“You help right enough” she grumbled seeming defeated as she headed towards the couch. “Well if yer gonna make yourself useful you can stoke the fire”
Nodding he chuckled, damn fool woman. Doing as she asked he threw a couple of the most sizeable logs onto the fire.
Suddenly there was a wail, spinning Kiena stood bent over using the arm of the couch to support her while she held her stomach. Leaping to his feet he rushed to her side. “What’s the matter?” he begged. “Is it time?”
“Don’t be soft” she retorted, “Just a twinge that’s all”
“Well sit down” he insisted guiding her carefully into the chair it was only once she was sat down he noticed the look on her face. “What’s the matter?”
“I’m scared” she admitted, “Do you think it’s normal?”
“I would guess so” he reasoned, “I think I’d be scared if I was about to push a baby out of a hole the size of a penny”
“Thanks!” she smiled, allowing a chuckle to escape as she slapped him playfully. “That makes me feel much better”
“I’m sorry” he apologised, casually pushing a wisp of hair from her face. “You shouldn’t be scared though, I’m here”
“You done much midwifery then” she asked, allowing herself to lean against him. It wasn’t a common occurrence but occasionally usually when she was scared she sought comfort with him.
He paused, considering for the first time that while she had meant it in jest, he was the only thing the young woman had. “Not much” he agreed, wrapping his arm around her. “At least none I can remember”
“You can’t remember anything” she giggled.
“True but we’ve found lots of things I’m good at, perhaps midwifery is one of them”
“Somehow I doubt it”
“Somehow I think your right” he agreed, suddenly nervous “But don’t be scared, we’ll work it out and we’ll work the baby out as well”
“Oh Luke” she began to protest “Please not again”
“I’m not going to lecture” he agreed, in truth he didn’t really know what else to say. He’d argued with her until he was blue in the face. It didn’t make any difference, he no longer knew what else to do bar deal with it when the time came.
“Do you like being here with me?” she asked, nuzzling into his shoulder.
“Yes of course I do” he nodded, “I would have left if I didn’t”
“You ain’t here cause you think you owe it?”
“I do owe it” he reasoned, “But it’s not why I stay”
“Then why do you stay?” she asked, suddenly looking up at him.
He didn’t now how to respond there where so many answer’s because she needed him, whether the stubborn woman would admit it. Because he liked it here, because he liked her. Honestly he didn’t really know the answer to the question he just knew that right now he had no wish to leave her.
Bending down he kissed her… he hadn’t meant too. It hadn’t been a conscious thing, if it had been he would have undoubtedly re-considered the action. Still it was something he’d thought about doing a hundred times and something he’d rejected each time until now.
She responded gently and as they kissed, his hand dropped onto her stomach but even the sudden reminder of her condition did little to discourage him, it felt natural and right. This was where he wanted to be.
Suddenly not wanting to be left out of the party the baby kicked, the surprise of it causing him to pull away as a tiny limb kicked his hand. Chuckling he smiled nervously. “Someone wants me to his my hands of its Mama” he smiled.
“Don’t call me that” she frowned, pushing him away suddenly bursting into tears,
“I’m sorry” he anthologised trying to catch hold of her as she stood. Then watching helplessly as she almost ran to the far side of the cabin to be away from him. “Kiena I’m sorry” he repeated, unsure if she was upset at the kiss or simply that he’d referred yet again to the baby.
“It’s aright” she reasoned, sniffing as she lent against the wall unable to look at him.
Standing he came nervously up behind her, putting his hands on her shoulders, “I didn’t mean to upset you” he reasoned.
“No I’m sorry” she replied, “I shouldn’t… I shouldn’t have let you”
“Let me do what? Kiss you?”
“Yes… I’m sorry, I didn’t mean too”
“No.. No.. I’m sorry” he argued, “I didn’t… I shouldn’t have done it. I thought… did I misread it?”
“No No you didn’t” she agreed, finally managing to face him, her tear streaked face still beautiful. “I do like you”
“Good because I like you” he smiled, “I like you a lot” leaning forward he tried to kiss her again.
“Stop!” she begged, dodging him.
“But I thought… you said” he asked suddenly unsure.
“Luke… please your making this too hard”
“What’s hard about it?” he asked.
Then suddenly it was there, he didn’t even register where it had come from. Sitting in the palm of her outstretched hand was a ring.
He stared at it gormlessly, it shook gently as she cried.
“Whats that?” he asked, as a sinking feeling told him he recognised it.
“A wedding ring” she whimpered “Yours…. I took it from your finger when you where sick”
“The infection, you where swelling” she explained mournfully.
“No… I mean why didn’t you tell me”
“I don’t know” she replied, “I thought it was best, I didn’t want to upset you”
“I suppose” she nodded, “I thought it was best, you didn’t remember anything I thought it would drive you mad for not knowing”
“I have a wife” he replied stunned.