No, I'm not expecting... but a couple of our favorite characters are!
Please enjoy this flash fiction bonus content - created just for my Facebook group and newsletter subscribers - as my way of saying "Thanks for being a reader!"
Their Christmas Miracle
© 2020 - H.C. Bentley, All Rights Reserved
Snowflakes fell in lazy bits of white fluff, bright spots in a gray day, as Charlotte Bedford-Montgomery stood on the sidewalk, admiring the window display of a Christmas store in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Christmas was still weeks away, but it was Charlotte’s favorite time of year. And this year would be extra special.
It was her first Christmas as Landon’s wife. And her first one as a mom.
Besides Landon, no one in her family knew she was pregnant. Laying a hand on her still-flat belly, buried under her fluffy winter coat, she smiled. Charlotte couldn’t wait to tell them.
“Shopping?” Landon chuckled as he handed her a steaming cup of hot chocolate from one of the shops along the strip. “Or daydreaming?”
“Little bit of both,” Charlotte confessed. “More like marveling over the fact we’re going to be parents.” She sipped at her drink and sighed. “I wish we could tell our families.”
“I know. But, the doctor said there could be some complications, which is why we agreed it was best to wait.” Landon glanced at his watch. “Speaking of which, we should get going. Your appointment is in less than an hour and traffic is crazy today.”
In the car, Charlotte relaxed into her seat as Landon pointed the car back towards Gatlinburg. It was true, her doctor had been concerned by an unusual amount of bleeding early on in her pregnancy. While she hadn’t restricted Charlotte to bedrest, her doctor had been very firm about Charlotte limiting her activity as much as possible.
Today’s appointment would dictate the rest of Charlotte’s pregnancy.
“Hmm?” Absently, Charlotte turned to her husband, studying his profile as he focused on driving.
“I can feel your nerves vibrating from here.” Reaching over, he took her hand in his, bringing it to his lips to kiss her knuckles before settling their joined hands on the armrest between them. “I’m nervous, too.”
“I just want everything to be okay,” she whispered.
“I know.” Landon’s reply came to her in a low, husky voice. “Me, too.”
Neither spoke another word the rest of the drive, their worried silence a thin layer at odds with the cheery Christmas music murmuring through the speakers.
An hour later, Charlotte found herself sitting on the edge of a cold examination table, with Landon holding her hand once again. He’d barely let her out of arm’s reach since they’d left the house that morning, but Charlotte found comfort in his closeness.
The door opened and a petite blonde in mauve scrubs stepped into the room, carrying Charlotte’s chart.
“Hello, Charlotte. I’m Molly. I’ll be doing your ultrasound today.” She shook Charlotte’s hand before turning to Landon. “You must be the dad.”
“Landon.” He shook her hand with a small smile.
“Nice to meet you.” Molly walked over to wash her hands and prep her equipment with brisk moves. “Okay, Charlotte, I’m gonna have you lie back now. Pull your shirt up and your pants down a bit.” While Charlotte followed her instructions, Molly reached for the bottle of gel. “Sorry, but this is going to be a bit cold,” she warned as she squirted the clear substance on Charlotte’s bare abdomen.
The room went quiet as Molly pressed the ultrasound wand into the gel and began moving it around, pressing a bit harder as she went. A whooshing sound filled the room, followed by a series of rapid thumps.
“There’s your baby’s heartbeat.” Molly smiled. “It sounds good.”
Without a word, Charlotte squeezed Landon’s hand, continued to watch the monitor as he squeezed back. They listened as Molly studied the images, pressed buttons, and printed pictures. They waited to hear the results they’d been praying for ever since their first scary consultation with the doctor when they thought Charlotte might lose the baby.
“I’ll be right back.” Molly stood, patted Charlotte on the shoulder, and left without another word.
“Oh, no,” Charlotte whispered, tears forming.
“We don’t know anything’s wrong.” He leaned over to kiss her head. “Breathe, babe.”
They sat, studying the frozen image of their baby on the monitor, praying they’d get the chance to meet their child.
Finally, the door swung open again, this time with her doctor leading Molly into the room. She greeted Charlotte and Landon before sitting to study the ultrasounds as Molly had.
“Well, folks,” she said, swiveling towards them on her stool, “I hope you’re ready.”
“Ready for what?” Charlotte asked, apprehensive.
“To go and tell your families the good news.” The doctor smiled.
“They’re okay?” Landon asked, his voice hoarse.
“Everything looks perfect. You’ll come back in a month, as usual.” Standing, the doctor handed Charlotte her ultrasounds. “Merry Christmas.”
“Thank you.” Tears streamed down Charlotte’s cheeks as she studied her miracle. “And Merry Christmas to you, too.”
If you'd like to get to know Charlotte and her family, you can begin their story with Take Me Home.