Alissa watched as Shawn and Cara played with Joy. Joy was growing up so quickly. She was already toddling along. All three of them were laughing and enjoying themselves. “I’m gonna get you!” Joy giggled even more.
Dale enjoyed sitting in the rocking chair with her and rocking her to sleep. Joy loved to dance even though she had just begun walking. Dale had surprised her by bringing home a tutu for her and ballet shoes like the dancers she watched on television.
She was a very sweet, loving child and her name perfectly suited her. She had brought more joy into their lives. They all loved her, but Alissa knew how disappointed Shawn was that he didn’t get a baby brother.
Dale came home from work after a very tiring day. There had seemed to be one emergency after another that day. He still had more work to do in his office. Alissa walked over to him and began to massage his shoulders.
“Dale we need to take a vacation, a family vacation. We all need a break.”
“That sounds so wonderful. When?”
“The kids have winter break coming up. Let’s spend the holiday at a resort in the mountains.”
“Okay, let’s do it!”
“It looks even nicer than in the pictures.”
Sharlee decided to stay with her mother. She was trying to be enthusiastic about the trip, but she just couldn’t seem to do it. Noah was due to be released in a few weeks and to Sharlee the time just seemed to be dragging by. She hadn’t seen him for such a long time.
She’d kept her promise and gone out with other people a few times, but it hadn’t gone well. Even though she made it clear that she was only interested in friendship, the guys had tried for more. That had even happened with David. She’d explained her feelings to Noah, and now she just went out with her girlfriends from time to time.
“Boy Dad is good!”
Dale looked at Sharlee on the dance floor. She finally seemed to be enjoying herself. However, they didn’t know the boy that was dancing with her, and he didn’t feel comfortable leaving her downstairs alone with him.
Alissa realized what he was thinking. “Honey, I’m sure she’ll be okay, but I love that you worry about her so much. I’ll take the kids upstairs, and you can wait for Sharlee. Maybe you can meet the boy after their dance and see what you think of him. While we’re here, it’d be great if Sharlee interacts with other young people. There are several kids her age staying here too.”
After about an hour Dale and Sharlee went up to the suite. The young man’s name was Carl and he’d introduced Dale and Sharlee to his friends, his sister and his parents. They’d invited Sharlee to go snowboarding with them the following day and with Dale’s permission she’d agreed. She and Dale were laughing and talking as they entered the suite.
Sharlee smiled. Then she said, “I still miss Noah, but I am having a nice time. I’m heading to bed. Goodnight.”
“Dale you are a wonderful father.”
“Are you pregnant?”
“No, not yet, but what about just one more child. We were talking about having another baby before you went missing.”
“Yes, I remember, but that was before Joy.”
“I know, but I think that it would be wonderful for her to have someone close to her own age to grow up with. Shawn and Cara have had each other, and I think it would be good for Joy to have someone too. Part of the reason why Sharlee has matured so early is because she was so much older than the twins.. Almost like an only child. We can try to give Shawn the brother that he’s always wanted. Then too, I would love to have another baby with you, Dale!”
Slowly Dale smiled. He hadn’t considered having another child, but the more he thought about it, the more right it seemed. “I think our family will be perfect with one more child. I’d love to have another baby with you too Alissa.”
The last day of their trip, Sharlee insisted that her parents spend some time alone together while she and Deanna looked after the kids. Dale and Alissa went iceskating. It was Alissa’s first time and so Dale had to teach her.
They flew back home the next day, but they all had enjoyed the trip.
“Sharlee, David is here.”
Sharlee wondered why he was there and went downstairs to talk with him.
“Sharlee, I know you weren’t expecting me, but I thought we needed to talk.”
David asked her, “Why have you been avoiding me?”
“I haven’t been intentionally avoiding you. I’m sorry if you thought that.”
“David, I told you from the beginning that I’m in love with Noah. That isn’t about to change.”
“Are you avoiding me because I tried to hold your hand? I didn’t mean anything by that.”
“Sharlee, I promise that I won’t do anything like that again. I know that you just want to be friends and I’m fine with that. I haven’t made any secret of the fact that I like you a lot. I really value your friendship.”
“David is here.”
“If you meddle in her relationship with Noah, you will damage your relationship with Sharlee. She won’t feel free to talk with you the way that she always has. She’ll draw away and she won’t come to you when she needs to.”
Dale knew that Alissa was right.
Before long, Alissa was pregnant again. This time, she wanted to tell Dale in the special way she’d always planned. At first Alissa was disappointed when Dale called and told her that he would be late getting home from work. Then she realized that would work out even better. She would be able to feed the children and have them in bed before he came home. Then they could have dinner alone together and she could tell him the good news.
Sharlee had gone out to dinner and to the arcade with friends including David.
“You didn’t have to wait for me, Alissa.”
Dale was glad to hear her say that. He intended to do everything he could to ensure that this pregnancy really was stress free, and that she and their baby were healthy.
“Hopefully that’s what it will be this time.”
“Thank you, Baby.”
“Yes, like Cara and Sharlee are your big sisters.” That made her smile. She was always imitating Cara and Sharlee. “The baby is right here in my tummy.”
I thought Alissa and Dale deserved at least one happy pregnancy. This will be their last baby and her pregnancy will last for just two chapters. I also wanted them to have at least one child who looks like Dale too and not just Alissa. I hope it works out that way!