As Noah looked at Sharlee and Sky, he was deep in thought. He was happy that they were both being released. However, he realized that he’d miss having just the three of them together like it had been for the past four days here at the hospital. Family and friends had come to visit, but then it had been just him, Sharlee and Sky alone.
He really appreciated Dale and Alissa allowing him and Sharlee to live with them, but after Sharlee fully recovered from Sky’s delivery, they were going to move into their own place. He wanted to take care of his family himself. Noah felt sure that the realtor who had helped him find a site for his dealership would be glad to help find a place for him and Sharlee. He thought it’d be best to rent a place until his dealership was doing well and save towards buying a home. He decided to talk with Sharlee about it at another time though. For now, they would just enjoy having little Sky with them.
After Sky was dressed, Noah took her from Sharlee. He’d never tire of looking into her precious, adorable face! She had the tiniest little feet and fingers and toes. Her little fingers could barely wrap around just one of his. He could tell that already she knew that he was her Daddy! He looked forward to teaching her so many things. Looking at her just made his heart catch and her smile made him smile. She was his sunshine just like her mother was!
Noah looked at her. He wasn’t surprised that she’d told him that she loved him, but he was surprised at the fervent way in which she said the words this time. He knew that she was still very hormonal.
“I know, Babe; and I love you too.”
He looked back at Sky. “Mommy and Daddy love you too, Sky.”
Sharlee smiled at them both.
When they were in the parking lot, Noah took Skylar to put her into her carseat. This was her first time outside; and even though she couldn’t hold her head up yet, she was turning it trying to look around!
After they arrived home, all the children rushed out to the car. Noah was proud of it. Although used, it was a newer model and completely unlike that old clunker that he had bought for Sharlee in Bridgeport. He’d purchased it a few weeks before Skylar’s birth so that Sharlee would no longer have to rely on borrowing her family’s cars to get back and forth for her’s and Skylar’s appointments and running errands.
Although they knew that she wouldn’t be able to drive it until after the doctor cleared her to drive again, Noah had bought the model that she wanted. It was a Toyota Prius, and they could afford the payments with their earnings from Harley. Cara took Skylar, and Joy and Aiden followed her into the house. Noah helped Sharlee out of the car and into the house while Shawn got their bags.
“No Aiden, Skylar was the only one!”
They all laughed again! Noah said, “I guess I have to be ready for it. Anything to make Sky happy.”
Alissa looked at him affectionately. Yes, he was a very special son-in-law. Her wish had been for someone to love and cherish her daughter and grandchildren. Noah was just what she had hoped. Maybe he wasn’t perfect, but who was?
Later that day, Noah and Aiden joined Joy for tea in her newly re-decorated room. Alissa was in the process of re-decorating Aiden’s room in a race car theme since he was so crazy about cars.
Several weeks later, Skylar was supposed to have a brief photoshoot, and it would be Sharlee’s first one since Skylar’s birth. Sharlee looked at herself critically in the mirror. Due to the high risk during her pregnancy, she had not been able to exercise like she’d been used to doing.
She still weighed a lot more than she used to weigh, and it would be several more weeks before the doctor said that she could begin exercising again. The doctor wanted to ensure that her body had completely recovered. She had put on a lot of extra weight even since Sky’s birth despite trying to eat healthy.
Sharlee worried aloud. “What if they want to drop me from the contract?”
“I’m sorry, Babe. I just wasn’t expecting you to describe it that way. Harley and the customers know that you just had a baby. They’ve been pitching us to the public as a real family, and so no one expects you to look like you did before your pregnancy. You are not fat! Even if you were, that would be okay as long as you’re healthy. Anyway, you’re still the most beautiful and sexy woman that I’ve ever seen!”
Sharlee took her and fed her.
Dale and Alissa liked Kent and his parents. Dale had had a talk with both Kent and Cara individually. With Kent, he had told him the same things that he’d told Noah about respecting his daughter. He had reminded Cara that her body belonged to her and that it was not any boy’s playground!
Dale was pleased that Kent and Cara were dating, but Alissa cautioned Dale that Cara wasn’t likely to date him for long. It had only been a few months, and Cara already seemed to be discontent with the relationship. She’d told Alissa that Kent was too clinging now that they were dating.
“I think that we should break up.”
He continued. “It feels like you’re keeping me at a distance. I mean emotionally. You only let me get so close to you; and lately, it seems like you’re completely drawing away. I’m not an idiot, Cara.”
“I….” Cara didn’t know what to say. Breaking up had crossed her mind. Kent was right. She had been slowly distancing herself. She looked at him, trying to gauge her feelings. Was this what she wanted to do? How did she really feel about him?
Cara couldn’t help but laugh. Kent looked confused.
“I’m sorry, Kent, but it’s just the way that you worded it. You said that you “love me today”, and you sort of implied that you might not love me tomorrow. I guess neither of us really knows how long these feelings we have for each other will last.”
Again Cara was at a loss for words.
“Why is it so hard for you to talk about your feelings? Isn’t it guys who are supposed to have a hard time with that?”
“Go on. You what?”
“I honestly don’t know if what I feel is love, Kent. I care about you more than any of the other guys I’ve dated. Maybe that is love. All I can say is that I don’t want us to break up. You’re right. I was thinking about breaking up, but I do care about you too!”
It was the morning of the photoshoot. Noah could see how nervous Sharlee was. He didn’t think that there would be any problems though. He really meant it when he said that she was beautiful and sexy. Her weight gain hadn’t changed that at all! As long as she was healthy, her weight didn’t matter to him.
They drove up to the location, and then they headed inside. The first person that Sharlee saw was Gene. She watched as his eyes widened in unpleasant surprise as he looked at her. He quickly tried to hide it as he came over to them.
“So this is the new little addition! Aww, she’s a cutie! She’ll be a natural in her pictures. I have Andy here today as the photographer, and Bennie is the cameraman.” He looked at Sharlee as though trying to find words. “You look terrific Sharlee, but how about if we call a model to stand-in for you for a while.”
“A model to stand-in for her, why?”
“Well no offense, Sharlee, but you are just a bit heavier than you were before. I always have models on standby whenever I produce a shoot. You never know when you’re going to need an extra person or in this case, a temporary replacement. I mean until you’re back down to your pre-baby weight.”
Sharlee had tried to find an outfit that made her look slimmer, but evidently it hadn’t worked. Gene was used to working with slim models, not new mothers. Noah saw the hurt in Sharlee’s eyes. He didn’t like Gene’s attitude at all, and he wouldn’t put up with anyone hurting Sharlee. He’d walk out and quit the deal if Harley didn’t cooperate. Harley could sue him! He tried to reason with Gene.
“All of these months you’ve presented us to the public and our fans as a genuine, happy Harley family. The last shoot that we did together was of a very pregnant Sharlee, and the fans are waiting to see her and Skylar. They want to see all of us together now that our baby has been born. A stand-in is not going to accomplish that! What? Are you going to imply that Sharlee and I split up, or that I’m cheating on her? Not only that, but I’m sure that not all of Harley’s targeted female customers are a size 4!”
Although she wasn’t crying, Noah could still see how much Gene’s attitude had hurt her. Gene was agreeing with Sharlee when Noah pulled out his phone and called his agent. His agent promptly called Terry. Terry immediately called Gene and chewed him out!
Terry couldn’t believe what he was hearing! “What kind of an idiot are you! Don’t you blow this for the company! You do that shoot as agreed, and I expect it to be perfect! Apologize to Noah and Sharlee and smooth over any ill feelings that your idiocy may have caused! I’ll replace you if you don’t think that you can handle this important contract properly.”
Terry decided that if Gene screwed up one more time with this contract, he’d assign someone else to work on the campaign with Noah and Sharlee. Gene reassured him that he could handle it and would do as Terry instructed. He apologized to Sharlee, and the stylist took them to the dressingrooms.
Unlike Gene, the stylist had known that there was a strong chance that Sharlee had not lost the baby weight. She’d had the foresight to get Sharlee’s measurements beforehand, and she had a seamstress onsite to make any necessary alterations. She reassured Sharlee that she was gorgeous!
However, during the filming of the commercial, she got tired; and Sharlee and Noah ended the shoot. They told Gene that he’d have to work with the footage that they had already taken. Gene didn’t complain.
A few more pics: