I nestled against the pillows at the head of my bed, arranging things until I was satisfied. Reaching for my phone, I started up some quiet music. Then, setting my phone back on the nightstand beside my bed, I picked up the book resting next to it.
Smiling to myself, I opened it up and began to muse about the contents.
The title of the book was "Baby Names for Boys Exclusively".
Chuckling at some of them, I found one I rather liked a lot. "Aiden, huh? Means 'fiery'...hot-headed. Sounds about right." Rolling my eyes at myself, I smirked down at my large belly, rubbing it affectionately. "What do you think, sweeties?"
A knock on my bedroom door made me glance toward it, placing the book down on my lap. "Nana? Come in," I called out.
Warm gray eyes hidden behind thick, square-cut glasses were the first thing I saw. Straight, shoulder-length graying blonde hair framed a face that made a swell of happy nostalgia always take me over. Dressed in a deep purple sleep robe and thick white and black striped stockings, my grandmother ventured forth.
"Snowflake, shouldn't you be sleeping?" she scolded me gently, raising a brow in question.
Smiling, I lifted the book back up. "Since I found out for sure that the twins are boys today, I'm pumped to figure out names," I explained around a laugh.
Nana's eyes dimmed a little at my words, but she nodded and smiled as well. "Oh, for sure. Should we continue the 'N' tradition?" she asked around a snicker.
Holding back a groan, I rolled my eyes. "It isn't a tradition!" I shook my head. In a deeper part of my heart, a pang of hurt cut me, but I did my best to hide it.
I knew Nana wasn't happy about this situation.
I understood all too well how it brought back some of her own pain from decades before, but I had made my choice and I refused to back down. I knew she was proud of me for it, but the hurt made it hard for her to look past it.
Grinning from ear to ear, she moved forward to sit down on the opposite side of my bed. "Of course it is! Your grandfather's name was Nicholas, then your father was Nathan, and you're Nisha. If anything, I feel a little left out, being named Grace," she winked.
Saddening a little at the mention of Dad, I smiled bittersweetly. "What are you talking about? You're Nana, aren't you?" I laughed before my sadness started to get the best of me. "Noah is a nice name," I admitted quietly, glancing down at the blankets. "Maybe Noel as well?"
Coming into view from my left, Nana's worn and lightly sun-kissed hand stretched out and gripped mine tightly. "Snowflake, all teasing aside, are you sure you don't want to talk to that boy? I can try to speak to his folks again."
My face paled as I shook it quickly. "Please don't, Nana. It's for the best if we pretend he doesn't exist. We'll just say I was the second coming of Mary or something. He's already made it clear what his thoughts on the matter are."
It was a pretty stereotypical situation, honestly.
A girl had met a boy at university and fell in love.
Then she'd ended up pregnant, but the boy didn't want the baby
He offered her five thousand dollars to abort it, as well as never talk about his role in its creation. When the girl tried to talk to the boy's parents, they explained they would be paying the bill, as they wanted nothing to do with the baby either.
So here the girl was, deciding to move back in with her grandmother and become a single mother.
Nana, I knew, was glad I hadn't let my greed cloud my judgment. But as she had been a single, teenage mother who had been disowned by her parents, she understood the hardships I would face too well. I knew she didn't want to see me go through that, which is why she had mixed feelings about the twins and why she'd offered to let me move back into my childhood home with her.
Now it was just the four of us against the rest of the world, but that was okay. As long as I had these babies and Nana, I could make it.
Hand squeezing mine a little tighter, Nana cleared her throat awkwardly. "Nisha… I have something I've been meaning to discuss with you for a while now, but I never seemed to be able to find the right time."
Blinking, I tilted my head a little in curiosity, watching her quietly. "Okay, shoot," I encouraged.
Gray eyes filled with an emotion I couldn't get a read on, she did so, hesitantly. "Well," her gaze jumped around in anxiety. "You see," she coughed to clear her throat harshly. "It's just that—."
"Nana!" I cried out in exasperation. "Just spill the beans!"
"I recently got back in contact with an old friend of your father’s. …It’s a bit old-fashioned, but they had a son that was around the same age as you. When you were still a baby, the two of you were engaged to one another and it was decided that you would get married. The two of you were raised together and very close. Still, as you grew up, your father felt that perhaps you might want to choose your own life partner.” Her voice faded away as she watched me nervously.
Frowning, I stared at her. “Nana, what are you trying to say?”
Her shoulders slumped heavily and she let out a long sigh. “Snowflake, what I’m trying to say is that the boy has sent me a letter. He’s already on his way to officially meet you as your fiance. Your father drew up a formal contract with the boy’s family shortly before the accident, as they felt a verbal agreement wasn’t enough. He agreed that if you were unattached by the age of twenty, you would marry the boy. This was the most time he could get from the family for you to possibly find someone else.”
I stared at Nana in confused shock. “W, what? But that makes no sense! I’m an adult and able to make my own choices! Why would Dad agree to something like that?!”
Eyes tearing up, Nana shook her head. “…I know you won't believe me, but there are a lot of reasons. The world isn’t as simple as you think it is. If nothing else, he agreed to it for your own protection, Snowflake.”
Her arms came around me in a rush and I was shocked speechless to find Nana crying. Clumsily, murky and heavy betrayal filling my heart, I wrapped her up in a return hug. I had no idea what was going on or why Nana would suddenly throw all of this on me. But it was evident that doing so was very upsetting for her. She kept repeating over and over again “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry!”
I tried to calm her down, shushing her sobs and rubbing her back, kissing her forehead as I hugged her tightly.
What can be so terrible that Nana would be this upset? I haven’t seen her like this since Father passed away six years ago. If we were such good friends as kids, why don’t I remember this guy? Why has Nana never mentioned anything about this before?
An uneasy feeling bubbled up in the back of my mind as a cold chill ran down my spine.
I’ll just make it clear that this supposed childhood friend of mine isn’t welcome and I won’t marry him. I’ll send him packing and back on his way from wherever he came from. I don’t need anyone else besides these boys an—.
Right, he’ll totally ditch when he realizes I’m pregnant! I can say that I’m “attached” that way.