G1 Chapter Fourteen – Life With Destiny

The Farmers settled into a new routine with Destiny as the central focus. Everything Fran and Charlie did revolved around their miracle baby. He took two weeks’ vacation to help Fran settle into a schedule. They both had precious bonding time with their daughter.

Destiny’s hungry cries woke Fran from a sound sleep, so she went to the crib, lifted her, and carried her back to bed. Propped on a pillow, she cradled their daughter in her arms and nursed her. The baby’s soft grunts were music to Fran’s ears as she ate, in love with the babe she held in her arms. 

A soft burp awakened Charlie about ten minutes later as Fran coaxed the bubbles from Destiny’s tummy. Fran snickered and greeted him. “Good morning, Daddy,” she said. 

“Good morning, beautiful,” he replied. “How’s the baby this morning?” 

“She was hungry, but I didn’t want to sit in my rocker to feed her this morning, so I came back to bed.” She nestled Destiny back into her arms and settled her to finish nursing.

“I’m glad you did, honey. She is so beautiful.” The baby had a silky, fine crown of sparse red hair, violet eyes, and fair skin.

Fran stroked Destiny’s cheek. “I wish I could say she looks like you love, but in reality, she’s a Hutchins through and through.” 

Charlie smiled at them. “There’s nothing wrong with that, sweetie.” 

“Her eyes are so unique. No one has violet eyes.” Fran sat Destiny up to burp her. 

Charlie shrugged. “I don’t know. No one in my family has eyes that color, either.” 

“Well,” Fran said, “it doesn’t matter where she got them. They are unusual, and they are hers.” She adjusted the baby and settled her in her arms, her pacifier in her mouth. “She will be asleep soon. Would you like to hold her?”  

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“I will next time, sweetie. She looks comfortable, but I’ll take her from you when she is asleep, so you don’t have to get up.” He touched Fran’s arm. “How are you feeling, my love?” 

“I’m tired, but I feel okay. Starla said everything looked good when she was here yesterday. She played with the baby for a while.” Fran yawned. “I think she’s almost asleep.” 

“Will you need help with the baby, Frannie? How are you managing?”

“I’ve been doing okay. I’ll rest when Destiny sleeps, and what doesn’t get done while you’re not home, I’ll do when you are.” Fran brushed a lock of hair from the baby’s forehead. “Would you get her, Charlie?”

He smiled. “Of course I will, love.” Charlie took Destiny and kissed her forehead and walked to the nursery with her.

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He placed her into the crib and watched as she settled down to sleep. 

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“She is such a good baby, Frannie. We are so lucky.” Charlie walked back to the bedroom and laid down beside her.

“Let’s sleep while she does, love. Housework will still be here when we wake up,” Fran suggested. 

“Why not?” Charlie agreed and curled up with Fran in bed. They fell asleep, holding each other.


“Please, baby girl, don’t cry,” Fran begged her three-month-old daughter. Destiny cried all night with colic and wore Fran out. The baby stopped crying for a moment, and Fran breathed a sigh of relief. She tiptoed up the stairs and walked through their bedroom. Please don’t cry, please don’t cry, she thought. Charlie slept a full night. His alarm would sound soon for work, but she didn’t wish to wake him. Fran cuddled Destiny in her arms and kissed her forehead. “That’s my good girl—”

Destiny screamed and startled Charlie awake in the next room. Fran sighed in frustration, almost in tears herself. She sat on the floor, a pillow under her leg, and draped the baby over her arm. Charlie crawled from the bed and hobbled to the nursery. 

“Oh love, I’m sorry,” she cried. “I thought her screaming was over, so I brought her upstairs. I had hoped to get some rest. She’s had me up all night.” 

“Oh, honey,” he sat down beside her. “Do you need my help today? I can call in sick if you need me.” 

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Fran looked at him, tears in her eyes. “You would do that for me?” 

“Oh, sweetie, why do you even question that? Of course, I will.” He tilted her face to look into her eyes. “You must be sleepy. I’ll call Lorne, and I will take her for a little while. You get some sleep.” 

Fran handed Destiny to Charlie, who took her place with the pillow propped under his leg, and as she had done, draped their daughter over his arm. She cooed and settled down in his arms, and Charlie rubbed her back. Fran kissed him before she stood. 

“Thank you,” she said. “Don’t let me sleep past noon, please?” 

“Anything you want, Frannie love,” he said as she walked into their bedroom.

Charlie and Destiny played together for an hour, sitting on the floor in the nursery. But she fussed well before Fran wanted to be awake. Destiny’s hungry cries broke the silence in the bedroom, and Charlie cringed when he saw Fran stir. 

“I’m sorry, sweetie,” he said. “I thought the monitor was off.” 

“It wouldn’t have mattered anyway,” Fran replied. “I have her food.” She sat in the rocking chair and reached for Destiny. “Here, love, I’ll take her.” 

Charlie sat and watched Fran nurse the baby, in awe of her. She was a natural. “Frannie, I love you. You’re a wonderful mama.” 

Fran blushed. “This is the simple part. It’s juggling everything else in the house in the few hours a day I have when she is content. Once I get that mastered, I’m golden.” She crossed her legs to get a better angle for the baby and settled her again. “That’s better.” 

“I’m going to suggest something, Frannie. I’d like you to think about it.”

Fran stiffened up. “I’ll listen, but I’m not fond of where this might lead.” 

“It’s nothing bad, I promise. With spring coming soon, I was thinking about hiring some help for you in the garden this year, and with Marne. You have your hands full with a three-month-old baby, honey. Wouldn’t it be nice to not worry about the garden this year?” 

Fran lowered her eyes from his gaze. “I was already considering not planting this year, Charlie. Between Marne, Destiny, and Sweetie will be back on the farm in late spring. I won’t have the time this year.” 

“Not at all?” Charlie asked. The garden had been vital to their survival, and he couldn’t imagine going a whole growing season without it.

“Not at all. Hiring someone to help will eat the profits we would have made by planting it. I don’t see an upside to doing it.” She sat Destiny up to burp her and rubbed her back. 

“Well, I guess that’s a no for Marne and Sweetie, too.” 

“I’m sorry, love. I don’t think we’ll be able to justify the expense of a stable hand for them. Once Destiny is old enough, I can put her playpen on the back porch and care for the horses while she plays.” The baby burped, and Charlie laughed at her. Fran chuckled at both of them. “Your daddy thinks you’re silly, my sweet baby girl.” Destiny gave her first good giggle, and Charlie’s heart melted into goo. 

“She laughed! And I heard her do it, too,” Charlie exclaimed.

“That’s the first time she has done that, love. I’m so happy you didn’t miss it.” She reached for his hand, and he took it, gave it a quick squeeze, and kissed it. “It’s a welcome sound after a night of crying. Maybe soon she’ll be over this hump, and she will sleep better.” 

“I sure hope so for your sake, Frannie. You look wiped out.” 

“I feel wiped out, but she’s almost asleep. Maybe if I lay her down, we can both rest.” Fran yawned and rubbed her eyes.

Charlie stood. “Well, I will not waste today, love. I’ll take Marne for a nice long ride while you two nap. She needs a little TLC.” 

“That sounds good. Marne will enjoy the extra attention today.” Charlie placed the baby into the crib. Fran looked at him, her eyes bleary. “Thank you.” 

“Anything for you, my love,” he replied. 

Charlie changed clothes and went to take Marne for a ride. The mare greeted him with a friendly nicker; her hopes high for a cube of sugar, or a fresh carrot from the house. He patted her nose and hugged her neck. “How’s my girl today?” he asked her. A sharp whinny answered him, and she nudged his shoulder with her nose.

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A light coat of snow dusted the ground, not unusual for the time of year, but it wasn’t cold either. Some trees still had leaves from the fall, and the snow cover was beautiful. He led Marne back to the barn to get her saddle and pad and then mounted on her back, cleared the fence in a quick jump. 

He guided Marne toward the equestrian center to run some jumping fences. Marne was a fast, agile horse, sure on her feet and capable of clearing the most challenging gates. The sun was out. The snow had stopped and had already melted. Charlie hadn’t jumped with her this season, but she was a quick study. On their first obstacle, Marne jumped with ease and cleared it. 

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Oliver Farnam was out with his Arabian stallion grooming him when he noticed Charlie on Marne’s back. He whistled to Charlie and caught his attention, so Charlie nudged Marne toward him.

“Hi, Oliver!” Charlie greeted him. “It’s a beautiful spring day, is it not?” 

“Indeed!” Oliver replied. “How’s our girl doing?” 

“She’s fantastic. Thanks!  I thought I’d bring her out and do some jumping this morning.”

“How’s Fran and the baby? I heard you had a little girl. Congratulations!” Oliver shook Charlie’s hand and patted his knee. 

Charlie beamed with pride. “We did and thank you. Both of my beautiful little ladies are doing great. Frannie could use a little more sleep, but she loves being a mama.” 

“Well, I’m happy to hear you two have caught a good streak. I know you’ve had a rough time since your last deployment. It couldn’t have been easy to see your brothers cut down like that.”

Charlie swallowed a lump of emotion. “It wasn’t. It’s something I will never forget as long as I draw a breath, Oliver.” 

“Well, Sophie and I are happy for you two. If anyone deserves it, it would be you and Frannie. When will Sweetie be back from training?” Oliver inquired.

“Late spring is what Frannie said. She had planned to ride Sweetie, but with the baby, we will need to have a jockey ride her if we race her.” Charlie patted Marne’s neck. She fidgeted and got restless. 

“It’s not a bad idea. If you two need help, I’m always here.” 

“Thank you,” Charlie replied. “I think I either need to keep riding Marne or get her home. She’s getting antsy. It was good to see you!” 

“Tell Fran I said hi, and congratulations from Sophie and me.” Oliver waved as Charlie turned Marne toward home. 

“Will do!” Charlie yelled and waved.

*****

Charlie finished grooming Marne after their long ride and jumping exercises and strapped her warm blanket around her. “Sorry, girl, it’s too cold tonight to leave the barn open. You’re staying in here.” He patted her neck, and she nickered at him. Charlie spread some fresh hay in her stall and locked the gate behind her. “I’ll see you tomorrow, Marne.” 

Fran sat by the fireplace when Charlie came home. He kicked his muddy boots off in the sunroom and padded into the kitchen.

“Charlie?” Fran called him.

“It’s me, love,” he replied. “Do you need me?” 

“Not anymore,” she sighed. “Destiny screamed all day. I just got her settled. You were away for a long time.” 

Charlie looked at his watch. Five-thirty in the afternoon! “Oh, Frannie, I’m so sorry, love. I stayed home to help you, and I spent the day away from you when you needed me.” 

She stood and handed their daughter to him. “Tag, you’re it,” she said, a chilly tone in her voice. “I haven’t slept all day or all night, and I’m exhausted. I’m going to sleep.” 

“Have you had supper?” he asked.

Fran shook her head. “I’m too tired to eat, love. I just want to go to bed and forget today ever happened.” She kissed his cheek and turned to go. “I love you.” 

“I’m sorry, Frannie. I’ll take care of her tonight.” He caught her arm as she walked away and looked into her eyes. “I love you, honey.” She only nodded at him as she climbed the steps.

Charlie looked at their daughter, who smiled at him and giggled. “I guess it’s just you and me tonight, sweet pea,” he cooed at her. While Destiny played in the swing, Charlie fixed dinner for himself, a quick grilled cheese sandwich. But as he sat to eat it, the baby cried. 

He walked to her swing and stopped the motion, picked her up, and cradled her into his arms. She quieted in his arms long enough for him to eat his sandwich, but when he set her down to wash dishes, she screamed again. 

“What has you so upset, little one?” he tried to comfort her. He rocked her in his arms, and paced the floor with her, bounced her, rubbed her back and belly to no avail. She cried no matter what Charlie did. Nothing soothed her. 

At two o’clock that morning, Charlie was tired. He’d been up with Destiny and held her as she cried, fed her, changed her, and nothing helped. At his wit’s end, he woke Fran. 

“Charlie?” 

“Baby, please help me. Destiny won’t stop crying. I’ve done everything I can think of, but nothing helps to settle her. I need to report to base soon, and I haven’t slept.”

Fran sat up in bed. She considered making him deal with it, but she took pity on him. “I’ll take her, love. Sleep while you have the chance. I’m surprised you didn’t wake me earlier.” 

“I was going to, but you were a bit chilly to me. And I figured I deserved it after leaving you with her all day.”

“We will talk about that later. Sleep, Charlie. Get some rest.” She wrapped her warm robe around herself and took a whimpering baby from him. She kissed him and walked from the room, Destiny in her arms. 

Downstairs, she placed the baby into her swing and set the speed to low. Destiny giggled and babbled while Fran put the teakettle on in the kitchen. She noticed the thick layer of frost on the grass and a ring around the moon. It meant snow. 

She prepared her tea, took the baby from the swing, and sat in front of the television with her. For about half an hour, Destiny was comfortable and laid in Fran’s arms. When she fussed, Fran nursed her, and she acted ravenous. “Aww, baby girl, didn’t Daddy feed you?” 

When Destiny fell asleep in her arms, Fran carried her upstairs to the nursery. She hadn’t cried since Fran had been awake, and she settled into the crib and slept. Tired, Fran walked back into the bedroom and saw Charlie sleeping. So she crawled into bed with him and curled around him. He stirred when he felt her beside him.

“Frannie, I’m sorry I left you with a crying baby today. I didn’t plan to leave for the day.” His regret was tremendous, and he felt terrible.

“It’s okay, Charlie. Time flies when you’re riding a horse. It does with me, too. I will call her doctor in the morning. It’s hard to see her scream for hours at a time.” 

“I’m going to stay home today, sweetie, and when I get up, I will take baby duty. I tried to give her some formula last night, but she didn’t want it. I guess she either wasn’t hungry or didn’t like it.” 

“That explains why she was hungry last night,” Fran said. “She nursed very well before I came to bed.” She snuggled up to Charlie, and he embraced her. “I’m sorry I left you hanging last night with Destiny. I was angry, but I shouldn’t have just pushed her on you. Was she okay?” 

“She was for a little while. Then she screamed for hours until I came and woke you. I don’t have enough sleep to be productive at work, but I promise you I am here to help you today, love. Marne can run in the yard and graze in our little pasture.” 

“We’ll care for her together, babe. For now, let’s just sleep. I know you’re exhausted, and I still need sleep, too.” She snuggled closer into his arms, and he kissed her forehead. 

“That’s the best idea yet, honey. I love you so much, Frannie, it hurts.” 

“I love you forever, Charlie.” They clung to one another and slept.

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Up Next: Chapter Fifteen, Part One, Generation One


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