Expecting

Finish It! #34 begins with:

She saw the bundle in the corner, covered by dirty blankets. It moved. It was freezing cold. No wonder it was trying to find cover or at least a little bit of it under the shredded and filthy fabric. It must be desperate, she thought. She was just about to walk on when she heard the sound coming from under the blankets. And it was not what she had expected to hear. She froze and slowly turned around….

And here’s my story:

Diane slowly unwrapped the blankets.

It couldn’t have been more than a day old, it’s eyes barely able to open in the sunlight. Its tiny fingers clamped onto her thumb. Despite its small size, it pulled her closer, drawing in her body heat.

It cried louder. Clothed in only the dirty blankets it lay in, it spread its legs to reveal that it was a girl.

Diane scooped the baby into her arms, pressed her against her chest and pulled her fleece coat tightly around her to seal in the heat and warm the child’s shivering, cold body. She looked around and inside the nearby dumpster for evidence that a birth might have taken place there. She walked further up the sidewalk, searched the alleys between buildings for the unwed teenager or homeless mother who’d assumed this innocent child had a better chance of survival abandoned on the side of the road when the closest hospital was only two blocks away.

Diane paused before turning the corner toward Hudson General. The child’s shivering had stilled, her breaking steady. She pulled back the collar of her coat to look down at her. Her skin was caked in dried blood, but Diane could see her natural color beginning to flush her cheeks as her body temperature slowly rose.

She would wash her when she got home. Maybe there was a pack of diapers, some bottles, a few onesies still stored in her garage from her fraudulent baby shower last spring. She would have to check the expiration date on the formula, but she was certain there was a can on the top shelf in her kitchen cabinet.

Diane smiled to herself as she bounced the baby against her chest. Pregnant women are magnets for touchy hands. However, none of her friends, or colleagues, not even her husband, thought to reach out a hand and feel how squishy her stomach was.

Unfortunately, faking a birth was more difficult. She had to go to the hospital, and her Griffin had to go with her and discover her whole charade. If only she had found this little bundle three months prior— before Griffin moved back to West Memphis and mailed her the divorce papers.

“My water broke while you were at work,” she imagined telling him. “I had her in the bathtub. She came so quickly, I didn’t have time to call you.” Of course, she would have had to obtain some fake blood to corroborate her story.

“Come on, Stephanie,” she whispered into her coat, kissing the top of the baby’s head. She turned in the opposite direction of the hospital. The lights emitted from the facility dimmed against her back. “Mommy’s got some clothes for you to try on.” They were blue for Griffin, Jr., but the doctor had obviously gotten it wrong. Besides, fingers are often mistaken for little wangers on the sonogram.

—Nortina

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