Charlie spent the day painting perched atop a small stepladder. “Almost there,” he said, pleased with his progress. He loaded the roller with paint one last time and touched up his work.
He set the paint roller down and stepped back off the bottom rung. The sitting room next to their bedroom was now the nursery for their baby.
“It looks great,” Fran said. “I love the paint color. I’m surprised it covered the dark blue Daddy painted it all those years ago.”
Charlie laughed. “The paint soaked right into the wall. I should have primed it first, but it covered it. The pink looks pretty.”
Fran rested in the chair that sat in their bedroom and patted the baby. “The nursery will be beautiful and decorating it will give me something to do.”
“I don’t want you to overdo it, my love. You still have plenty of time.”
“As long as I’m working to get things ready. Just sitting here is making me crazy.” Fran felt the baby flutter, and she smiled. “She’s on the move.”
Charlie walked to Fran, excited. “I’ve been waiting for this moment,” he exclaimed. “Hello, sweet baby girl.” He placed his hand near Fran’s and felt a slight movement.
“Are you disappointed it’s not a boy, honey? I know you’re the last Farmer to pass the name along.” She touched his hand and intertwined her fingers with his.
Charlie looked at her, incredulous. “Of course not! Frannie, as long as she is healthy, I don’t care what we have. I love both of you beyond measure.”
“We still have to pick a name for her. What if we named her after your Ma?”
Charlie shrugged. “She always hated the name Faith, which is why she went by Dolly. How about Penny?”
Fran wrinkled her nose. “I mean no disrespect to Mama, but no. And I don’t want her named after me or you either. It needs to be a meaningful name, but not a family name.”
“We have time to figure it out. You’re only twenty-two weeks along.”
“That reminds me,” Fran said and stood. “I need to take my belly picture.” She walked into the bedroom and stood before the full-length mirror.
“For posterity,” she sighed and captured her image on her phone. “I feel so fat!” Fran called Charlie. He walked into the bedroom behind her.
“Let’s see it, baby,” he whispered into her ear and held her. She showed the picture she had taken to him, and he hugged her closer. “That is a beautiful picture, my Frannie. It’s perfect.”
She nuzzled into his embrace and smiled. “I love that you still love me, even though I’m the size of a house.”
Charlie laughed. “Honey, you’re nowhere near house-sized yet.” He kissed her cheek before he released his grasp. He expected a swat, but Fran erupted in a fit of giggles.
“Not yet, huh? I’d chase you, but I’m pregnant.” She gave him an impish smile.
“Yeah, you are,” Charlie replied with an ear-to-ear grin. He held his arms open for her, and she embraced him. “I hope you never doubt how much I love you, Frannie.”
“Never, Charlie.” The sun disappeared and made the room dark—thunder sounded in the distance. “I guess we’re not opening the window.”
“Will you be okay to sleep in the next room tonight if we can’t open the window? I know the fumes make you sick..”
“I should be. Maybe open the window before it rains? We should have about half an hour before it gets here.” She peered out the window in their bedroom. “It might not even rain here, though. The thunder clouds are in the western sky.”
He walked back to the nursery and opened the two windows closest to their bedroom. “There,” he exclaimed. “This should do it.” Fresh air entered the room with a breeze from the east. “It smells better already.”
“What would you like for supper tonight, love?” Frannie asked him. “I can make anything you’d like.”
“Why don’t I cook tonight, baby? You need to take care of yourself.” In the months since her pregnancy began, Charlie’s cooking ability had grown. “Let me spoil you, Frannie.”
“Charlie, I’m supposed to be spoiling you,” she protested. “How about steak tips? I know it’s your favorite thing.”
“Steak tips sound amazing, but I’ll cook, my love. Why don’t you cuddle up in my recliner and rest? It would make me happy, honey.”
Fran smiled. “Okay, Charlie. You win.”
After supper, Charlie fed Marne, collected eggs and fed the chickens, and watered the garden. He was tired when he walked up the steps to their bedroom, and when he opened the door, Fran stood in the nursery, her hands on her belly.
“Your crib will go here.” She patted her tummy as she spoke. “It’s going to be so pretty, my little princess.” Charlie walked up behind her and placed his hand on her shoulder. “Hi, love,” she said.
“Showing her around?” he asked and chuckled.
She nodded. “Yes, in my way. I just like talking to her. I want her to know my voice, to know it’s me. Do I make sense, Charlie?”
He hugged her and rested his head on her shoulder. “You make perfect sense, love. No one will break your bond with her. You’re her mama, honey. She is your destiny.”
Fran’s eyes brightened with excitement. “That’s it, Charlie! That’s what I want to name her!”
“Yes!” Fran was excited. “When we first got together, Mama told me you were my destiny. That would be a perfect name for her, don’t you think?”
Charlie smiled and nodded his head. “I love it, Frannie. Destiny Farmer. You’re right, baby, it’s perfect.”
“Charlie, my back is aching. Would you give me a massage?” she turned around in his arms and kissed him.
“For you, my love, I’ll do anything.”
Fran did not open her stall at the farmer’s market that year. With one-third of the plants, Charlie had less to tend. Since Fran entered her second trimester, he had taken over every responsibility she had on the farm, despite her loud protests.
Fran hadn’t seen their friends Caleb and Sunny Bradford since he tilled the garden earlier in the season, so she took a stroll down the street with Marne in tow on her halter. The doctor advised her not to ride, but Marne still needed exercise. Fran felt a little foolish walking a horse like a dog on a leash.
Sunny saw her friend approach the house and waved from the mailbox. “You’re looking great, Frannie!” she chirped. “I can see why you didn’t rent your stall this year.” Sunny reached to pat Marne’s head, and the mare nickered at her.
“Charlie finished painting the nursery yesterday, and I’m almost ready to decorate. There are a few pieces of my old baby furniture. We haven’t gotten things we need yet.”
“What do you need for the baby?” Sunny knew Fran would never ask for help, even if she needed it. She believed no new mother should have a baby without a proper shower. If no one else would plan one, then Sunny would.
“Mama kept my old crib, which Charlie is going to fix up. He’ll refinish my old dresser. The rest will come in time. The procedure set us back a bit more than we’d hoped, but you know, I’m not getting younger. We had to act, or we would have missed out.”
Sunny shook her head. “Nope, that’s not acceptable. Frannie, I’m going to throw a baby shower. You and Charlie have had more than your share of hard times, and we’ve been happy to bless you in the valleys. But that precious baby you’re carrying, Frannie, that baby deserves every good thing because you and Charlie deserve it. I’m not taking no for an answer on this, either. I’m going to organize it and take care of everything. You just need to show up!”
Fran’s eyes welled with tears. “Sunny, we can’t—”
“Nope!” Sunny replied. “I’m throwing a shower for you, end of discussion.” She hugged Fran in a friendly embrace. “Do you know what you’re having, or is it a surprise?”
“A daughter. We’re having a girl.” Marne tugged on her lead and pawed at the ground. “Her name will be Destiny. I’m struggling with a middle name because I don’t want to carry my Mama’s tradition forward.”
“What’s the tradition, Frannie?”
“The first female child takes the first name of her maternal grandmother, and the first male child takes the first name of his maternal grandfather. I hate my middle name,” Fran said.
Sunny chuckled. “Dare I ask?”
“Justine. Frances Justine is my full name. Charlie doesn’t even know my middle name!” Sunny wrinkled her nose. “That would make Destiny’s middle name Penelope if I were to follow the tradition. But it doesn’t go with her first name.”
“Well, a tradition is a tradition, Frannie. Maybe Penelope will grow on you?”
Fran shrugged. “It might, but I can’t stomach the thought of it right now.” Marne nudged Fran’s shoulder and whinnied. “I think my girl is trying to tell me something, Sunny. I suppose I should walk her back home. Besides, my back is aching to beat the band.”
Sunny smiled at her friend. “I’ll let you know when I get things arranged for your shower, but expect it within the next month or two. We’re going to get you and Charlie all ready for Destiny’s arrival. You can count on it, my sweet friend. Do you need me to bring you home? It’s a long walk from here, Frannie.”
“Oh, no, it’s okay. I should exercise. I don’t get anywhere near enough anymore. Besides, Marne and I have had little bonding time since I got pregnant. She misses Sweetie. I know that for certain. She isn’t the only one, either.”
“Well, when Charlie asks, don’t tell him I didn’t offer!” Sunny laughed and waved as Fran turned to go. “I’ll call you.”
“Thank you, Sun,” Fran yelled.
“How was work today, love?” Fran asked Charlie as he plopped in his recliner.
“Long. Boring. Having a desk job isn’t as exciting as being in the field.” He sat forward in his chair and rubbed his temples. “I know you prefer my desk job, especially after my injury and the fiasco overseas, but I rather miss being out with the guys.”
“You’re right, Charlie, I do like your desk job a lot better.” She rubbed his shoulders, and he breathed a deep sigh of relief. “Does that feel better, love?”
He nuzzled his face into her hand and kissed her fingers. “Mmhmm,” he groaned. “Oh Frannie, I need to care for Marne and the garden. I’d much rather stay in here and take care of you. Why don’t you sit and let me cook supper tonight?”
“Charlie, you work all day, and then you come home to do my chores. At some point, you’re going to burn out. I don’t want you to resent me.” She kissed the top of his head and continued to massage his neck and shoulders.
“Aww, I will never resent you, sweetheart. Your job is the most important one. You’re growing our precious baby girl. It’s the only job you need.” He stood and kissed her. “I’m going to change for yard work. If you need me, I’ll be outside, my love.”
After supper, Charlie sat on the floor at Fran’s feet to massage them. One by one, he rubbed the muscles in her legs and ankles and worked out the soreness and fatigue. Fran sat content in his recliner and enjoyed the pampering, her eyes closed. But he noticed her relaxed state, gave her an impish smile, and ran his fingertips along the insole of her foot. Fran jumped out of her skin and giggled.
“Charlie! My feet are ticklish!” she laughed.
“I know, sweetheart. Why do you think I did it?” he flirted.
She continued to laugh as he switched feet, and she remembered her visit with Sunny earlier that morning. “I meant to tell you, babe. I saw Sunny this morning while I was out with Marne.”
At first, Charlie glared at her. “You’re not supposed to be riding.”
“I wasn’t. I walked Marne like a dog on a leash. It felt a little foolish, but she needs exercise, and so do I.”
It relieved Charlie to hear it. “What’s up with the Bradfords?”
“Oh, not much. Sunny, um, wants to throw a baby shower for me.”
“Well, that’s nice of her.”
Fran fiddled with her shirt. “Well, I tried to tell her no, but she wouldn’t hear it.”
“Why would you say no, love? Baby showers are pretty standard, right?”
“They are, but I feel funny about it. I mean, Caleb and Sunny have done so much for us over the years. I will need to repay their kindness.” Charlie hit a tense muscle in her calf, and she sighed relief as he massaged it. “Oh, that’s good right there,” she purred.
“I’m sure someday we will repay their kindness. But we could use the baby things, at least to get us started. That old crib in the attic, it’s just not in workable condition, love.”
Fran sighed. “Really? That’s disappointing. I hoped our daughter could sleep as I did when I was a babe.”
“There is a lot of dry rot in the wooden frame, honey. I wouldn’t trust it for a cat right now.” He finished his massage and kissed her foot.
“You are a brave man to kiss these tootsies,” Fran laughed. “Ugh, Charlie, I feel so fat. I don’t know what I would do without you.”
He ran his fingers up to her leg and snuggled closer to her. “Oh, you would be totally lost without me.”
She swatted him. “You are such a brat,” she giggled.
“But you know you love me, anyway.” He laid his head in her lap.
“Why don’t we go snuggle in bed together?” she suggested.
“Snuggle, you say?” he flirted.
“I like the sound of whatever,” he replied. Together, they climbed the steps to their bedroom.
Two months later, Fran and Charlie walked up the steps to the Bradford house. Caleb decorated the house with pink balloons and streamers, and a wooden stork cutout he had crafted and painted at work. Sunny prepared her home for the baby shower, and it was beautiful.
“Welcome!” Sunny greeted both of them. “Come in! Make yourselves at home.” She took Fran’s hand and led her back to their sizable living room. “I hope you have a good time today!”
“We can’t thank you enough, Sun, for everything you have done over the years.”
Sunny embraced her friend. “Psh. It was nothing. You and Charlie deserve this shower. You know that, right?”
Fran smiled at Sunny. “Thank you.” Her emotions choked her words.
One by one, the guests arrived, greeted, and congratulated Fran and Charlie. With money collected from their friends at the market, Sunny purchased most of the larger items Charlie and Fran would need for the baby. Besides the pooled money, each guest brought a smaller gift and a dish for a potluck supper.
Everyone sat and shared a meal. Sunny asked Charlie to pray. And he did so, thankful for their friends and their unborn daughter.
After supper, Fran’s chair sat in front of the fireplace by a growing pile of gifts. Charlie made himself comfortable on the sofa closest to her seat, a borrowed camera by his side. He wanted to ensure Fran never forgot this day. Sunny sat by her side, a baby book in her hands, and recorded each gift into it for her while Charlie took photos.
When the shower ended, Fran and Charlie had almost everything they needed for the baby. Caleb helped Charlie pack the gifts into the back of their pickup, and together they secured it. “Do you need help at the house, Charlie? I can follow you and help you bring all this stuff inside.”
“That would be fantastic, Caleb, thank you!” Charlie replied.
An hour later, the guys had every piece of furniture in the house. Charlie tried to give Caleb money for his help, but he refused. “Please, Caleb, your help was so valuable to me. Let me do something.”
“Charlie, this is what friends do. You have done more than your share by serving this country. It’s the least I can do.” Caleb patted Charlie on the back.
“I don’t tell either of you how much I appreciate you—how you helped Frannie while I was overseas. Tilling our garden every spring, and just being here when we needed friends. Thank you.”
Caleb nodded his head. “We love you guys, but I’m sure you know that.”
“We do, and we love you and your sweet family. Hey, thanks again, Caleb. We’ll do a cookout together before the summer ends, and we’re into cold weather again.”
He nodded. “When is Frannie due? We don’t want to impose on you guys.”
“Oh, her due date is close to winter, but not quite Snowflake Day. We have some time yet.”
“Then, we’ll plan on it!” Caleb replied. “We’ll talk soon.”
“Count on it,” Charlie said.
Upstairs, their friends’ generosity overwhelmed Fran. She looked at everything in the nursery. In her mind, she tried to picture how she would arrange everything, and she smiled. Charlie walked up behind her and wrapped his arms around her.
“A penny for your thoughts, my love.”
“Charlie, we are so blessed. I mean, look at all this stuff. We won’t need anything else.”
“We have wonderful friends, honey. There is no doubt about that.” He nuzzled his face into her hair. “By the way, I invited Caleb and Sunny for a cookout.”
Fran laughed. “That would be fun!”
“How about we relax, sweetie?” You look like you could use a massage.”
“I can always use a massage from you, my love.”
Snow fell that day, even though the calendar said autumn. A month ago, frost and cold destroyed the garden, but none of their produce made it to the market. Fran preserved everything for use over the winter. Charlie placed another two logs into the fireplace and poked at the fire. “I’m going to check on Marne, honey,” he said as he wrapped up in his coat. “I’ll be back inside in a few minutes.”
She nodded. “I’m okay. Take your time.” Fran’s pregnancy had progressed well. The baby was healthy and due soon. But she was active, and Fran was uncomfortable. She put the leg rest of the recliner up and snuggled into the chair’s cushion. The fire crackled and popped in the hearth.
Charlie came back inside twenty minutes later, his coat covered in snowflakes. He shivered as the warm air hit him. “It’s freezing out there, love. I hope Marne’s blanket is warm enough for her.”
Fran groaned. “I’m sure she will be fine. The barn should shelter her from the weather and cold.”
“Are you okay, Frannie? You don’t sound good.”
“I’m ready for Destiny to get here. I’m uncomfortable. My feet swelled up, my eyes won’t stay open, and I’m just plain miserable.”
Charlie sat at her feet, a place he had grown accustomed to sitting, and took one foot into his hands. “Oh, honey, I’m sorry you don’t feel well.”
Fran laid her head back on the chair and exhaled. “I will not let you stop doing that, Charlie.”
“As long as you need it, love, I’ll be here for you.”
“I need to get up and stretch. Help me up?” She sat forward on the recliner, and pain shot through her back. Charlie saw the discomfort on her face and frowned.
“Are you okay?”
“I’m not sure,” she said. “I’m going to lie down in the sitting room.” Fran waddled to the adjoining room and settled down on the couch. She napped for a couple of hours until a sharp pain awakened her. Fran sat up and yelped. Charlie, who napped by the fireplace, heard her and ran to her side.
“I think the baby is coming, Charlie!” she exclaimed.
“We’d better get going, then. It’s still snowing like mad out there.”
He helped her to the garage and into their pickup truck. Charlie eased into the street, headed toward the hospital.
“Hurry, Charlie,” she cried. “She’s coming fast!”
“I’m doing my best, love,” he replied. “Breathe, Frannie. We’re going to make it.”
Minutes later, they walked through the doors of the emergency department. “Labor,” Frannie croaked out, her hands on her belly. A nurse summoned a wheelchair for her and whisked her away into a room.
Dr. Engle got Charlie herself from the waiting room and brought him to the delivery room. “Fran’s ready to go,” she told him. “Let’s go meet your daughter.”
Destiny Penelope Farmer was born just before midnight on the eve of winter’s arrival, and she was beautiful, pink, and perfect. Dr. Engle handed the baby to Charlie after she wrapped her in a pink receiving blanket, and tears filled his eyes.
“Hello, my sweet baby girl,” he cooed at her. “Let’s go meet your mama.” And as he promised Fran twenty years earlier, he placed their baby girl into her arms. “I love you, my Frannie,” he whispered into her ear as his wife cuddled their newborn daughter. “You did good, my love.”
She looked at Destiny, a fluff of red hair on her head and the prettiest violet eyes she had ever seen, and Fran cried. “Hello, my sweet pea. I’m your mama.”
Not long afterward, they moved Fran to a room with the baby’s bassinet nearby. She was sitting up nursing Destiny when Charlie walked in. Fran moved over and Charlie laid down beside them, in awe of the miracle his beautiful wife held in her arms.
“Oh Frannie, we made a beautiful little girl, perfect in every way, just like her mama.” He snuggled close and watched.
“Thank you, Charlie, for our daughter. You promised you wouldn’t stop until you placed a wiggly, pink babe into my arms. You’ve been steadfast and determined to make this happen. Today, I am the luckiest woman alive.”
“This baby, Frannie. She is your legacy. You waited years through setback after setback, through two deployments. And now, you have what your heart desired most. I can tell already she is going to be your spitting image. My two beautiful ladies. I couldn’t love you more.”
Dr. Engle checked on Fran before she headed home for the evening and found the family snuggled together in Fran’s hospital bed. She approached them and whispered.
“How are you feeling, Fran?”
Fran yawned. “I’m sleepy, I’m a little sore, but I am the happiest I’ve ever been.”
“I’m thrilled for you two. You’ve been through much, and you deserve this happiness now. Enjoy your new baby. Destiny is adorable.”
“Thank you, Starla, for everything,” Fran whispered.
The next morning, Dr. Engle discharged Fran and Destiny from the hospital. Charlie brought them home in their pickup truck. He carried the baby upstairs with Fran right behind him, and he placed their daughter into her brand new crib.
Fran yawned and laid her head on Charlie’s shoulder. “I’m sleepy. I’m going to nap while Destiny sleeps. Care to come to snuggle with me, love?”
“I would love that, my Frannie.” He took her hand and together they walked to the bed, laid down and cuddled together, their first night at home as a family.
Up Next: Chapter Fourteen, Generation One
Little Big Pose Dump – Standing Poses
Dream Pose Pack (Cover Photo)
BFF Poses by Clover
You Name It, I’ll Pose It
Request 12 Pose Pack by Blams
Hospital set by Hekate999
Rover Desk Chair by Nynaeve
The Sims Resource
Short ladder and Gift Box by DOT
Garden Rose living chair and lace tablecloth by Severinka
Sweet Pea wall hanging, Diaper holder and Starry Night curtains by Lulu265
Gift Boxes A, B & C by BuffSumm
Custom content and poses are not my property and used in compliance with the TOUs.