“Jesus woman, you try to do too much.” Frustration and love crinkled his brow and tugged at his mouth as he watched yet again as she tried to do three tasks at once.
“I have to get the kids' lunches together before they have school at Tara's house she explained.” She even tried to tease him by giving him her best Susie Homemaker fake attitude she had affected so well when they first arrived behind these walls. “Gavin has that nut allergy remember, so it's a special lunch for him. Denise wants Meme on a low sugar diet until we can find out if her blood sugar is still outta whack. And Bre can't have dairy. That eliminates all of Jesus' gifts of dairy, the commissary pb&j lunch and those fruity candies you brought back. That is three kids with special needs right now Daryl, and I can help them.”
“Gavin, Meme and Bre ain't our kids! Our kid ain't even born yet and you are already a mother hen. I get it. That's your thing. You mother. You take care of them (and us) all – but you are six months pregnant for Christ's sake Carol. Let me help a little. You ain't gotta do everything yourself.”
“Fine. You can put together the other 12 lunches that need to go into bags. Those are all standard issue commissary lunches – but you better hurry or Miss Tara will have a hissy fit if you interrupt her class again with bagged lunches. Be sure to ask her her opinion on the name. I know I am right. It's a boy. I know it is.”
“No you ain't” he said. “Gorgeous though.” He groaned and put everything she was carrying in the kitchen and firmly placed her down on the steps to rest. “You are in time out mommy”, he joked. “Let our little girl kick your ass a bit instead of bein' set on kickin' your own doin' chores.”
Carol sat and thought about things; rubbing her belly and letting her mind drift. It had been 7 months now since Daryl and she had “started dating”. Meaning he moved from Rick's house to hers and they were together. It was now approximately 6 months worth of Baby Dixon growing in her belly. Wow had things changed quickly. Rubbing her belly she whispered to her baby the mantra that had become her focus. Her “boiling everything down” statement on life.
“We only get one chance in this new life. We gotta pick the flowers and enjoy the color in life.” The color in her life consisted of her family. By that she meant the members of her group, Daryl and Sophia.
Sophia was gone. She walked out of the barn and her color went away. Black and white. Fade to gray scale. Daryl and her family had brought her back – pumping a bit of pastel back into her life view slowly. Things went technicolor when she and Daryl finally admitted their two years of longing and love. Color was back.
She missed Sophia still terribly, but was hoping in her heart that this baby would look like Daryl – not her. Sophia had been the spit and image of her mother at that age. Auburn hair, freckles and pale skin. Her Sophia was precious, and she did not want to even harbor a whisper of melancholy when she looked at this baby. She wanted their child to be strong and resemble their father – a more tanned complexion, brown hair, and squarer. More made for this harsh world.
Daryl watched her out the window as he tried to gather all the lunches without asking her to help carry. He made her wait while he delivered everything three doors down to Tara's garage – just moments before class began. Jeez that woman was strict. He didn't want to have to stay behind and clean the blackboards again just cuz the lunches arrived after bell. There weren't no damn bell after all; although Tara had been adamant about finding one on the next run that was done.
He turned back and watched her watch him. He knew she was nervous. They never dreamed (sometimes feared) they would be bringing a baby into this world. They had taken precautions. As Denise had said to them – condoms failed even before the world went to shit.
His baby. A Baby Dixon. He was terrified. He was elated. He was proud. He was so in love with his woman and his child it made him even more anxious about the journey ahead of them today. He was also certain that regardless of Carol's protests, a little ginger haired girl would be arriving soon – probably coming special delivery with everything pink that could be scavenged. He was terrified of having a child that was not more Carol than he. He wanted his little girl (dammit he was gonna be drowned in pink) to look like her mamma and have her and Sophia's innate sweetness.
Denise didn't have the equipment. Dr. Harlan Carlson at the Hilltop did. When Maggie and Glenn had found out they were pregnant, they had been elated to find out the resident doc at the hilltop was an OB/GYN. He had no idea how or what was involved, but he knew that hilltop had some old yet functional ultrasound equipment. He had spent too many nights waking Carol from nightmares, holding her tight but never tight enough when she would go into a hell of her own making – picturing their child not making it. Not being healthy. Of being a walker. Today they were making the risky trek up north to the doc. Today they would hopefully learn enough about their child to allow Carol some peace. Some inner happiness. Some relief. They were “tagging along” on Sasha and Abraham's normal run to the Hilltop. They were gonna know – one way or the other. He knew they would make it regardless. Even if their hearts broke today – they would hold each other up with their love.
________________________ 8 hours later______________________________________
Harlan was nervous. Let's face it – he was about to tell Daryl Dixon some of the most life changing news of his life. He hoped the presence of Carol would allow him to live through this. Whatever the news was, it was bound to be core shaking. This was a baby. A rarity now. A blessing. A risk. And he had no idea what Daryl and Carol pictured him saying.
He guided the probe around Carol's belly. Trying to get the best info possible without dragging the agony on for the parents to be.
How was he gonna tell them? Was he gonna live? He tapped on the window and motioned Craig to come in. He thought it best he have a body guard closer than right outside that flimsy trailer door.
“Carol . . . . . Daryl . . . . everything is progressing normally. You are as expected roughly 26 weeks pregnant. Everything is healthy and strong.”
Daryl's eye and mouth twitched and Carol started weeping. Relief in their hearts at last.
“Uh . . . there is one issue however.”
Daryl froze. Carol stopped breathing for a hitch.
“What? What? Fuck it you ass, tell us what's goin' on with our kid!” Daryl was about to strangle Harlan if he didn't hurry up. Craig was no obstacle if his woman was hurting.
“Twins. Two babies. One of each.” Then Harlan ducked, not knowing if the father to be would hit him or not for the news.
“Two?” Carol's breath hitched even more. Daryl looked into her eyes. He was tearing up. Looking long into Carol's eyes. Praying she was as happy as he was . . . . scared as he was.
“Well Daryl, we better get more used to juggling items in the kitchen. We will have lots and lots of bottles to go through.” She laughed. She repeated her mantra to calm herself. “We only get one chance in this new life. We gotta pick the flowers and enjoy the color in life.” Then realized that solved their petty fun filled squabble from this morning. “Now we won't have to argue about names anymore. We both get our way. Daddy Dixon, we will have one of each. A Cherokee and a Rose.”
And unto them three months later, their children were born. A dark haired squealing little girl and a more reserved ginger colored boy. Technicolor. No more black and white. No more gray.