Chapter 250: Patterns
Eventually, even with a new baby in the house, you start to develop a new set of patterns. Habits reform, and with them a new sense of comfort appears.
Eventually, you get better at determining what has to happen when, and what little bits of life pre-kids are necessary to keep you feeling at least vaguely tethered to sane.
And at two weeks of parenthood, Abby’s feeling like she’s getting a handle on this.
It boggles her mind how much more real and normal and she feels when she gets a shower every, single day.
She’d never felt particularly tied to showers before. It wasn’t like it was any sort of ritual for her. But now, twenty minutes a day, usually after the dinner feed, of alone time, of doing something that hasn’t changed, of doing something that scrapes off the accumulated crud of being a new mom, because a fourteen-day-old baby means that you’ve always got something, somewhere on you, that you’d rather not.
After shower time, forty minutes of sitting on her bed, reading or watching something, something not very complicated, while she puts her skin lotion on and brushes out her hair is a must. She has to have that little bit of time where she doesn’t smell like milk or baby or blood. That little chunk of time where she can just focus on something completely unrelated to her own life is vital to her.
It recharges the batteries enough to make it possible to get through the rest of the day. And yeah, Breena says that she won’t be clinging to that little hour of time like a life preserver for the rest of her life, but for the time being, it’s doing its job, and that’s all she needs.
For Tim the pattern that’s keeping him sane involves getting Kelly to sleep on something other than a person. Between Abby’s c-section and not being able to go up and down the steps the first ten days, and then him being on night time baby fetching duty, he’s been in charge of a lot more of Kelly’s naps than anyone else.
The pattern, walk Kelly to her room, patting and singing to her, get her to burp, pat and sing a bit more, wait for pacifier sucking to slow down and eyes to get droopy, and then put her in the crib, and walk out again (the hardest part) is, when it works, the best feeling on Earth.
He has never, ever felt more accomplished than when he successfully manages to get her into her crib, still slightly awake, pat her one last time, and then walk back out again without her yelling at him.
It happens about one out of four times.
Sometimes, especially at night, he’s sleepy enough that he drifts off while patting and singing. Next thing he knows his neck is sore from sleeping in the rocking chair, and she’s looking for her next meal.
The other two times, he puts her down, her little eyes spring open, and suddenly she’s annoyed and very awake, so he picks her back up again, gets her calmed down again, and puts her back down again (hopefully still awake, but not always) and then she just drifts off.
But when it works (and it’s working more often today than any previous day) he feels like they will get a handle on this, and eventually they’ll get more and more of their life back as she sleeps in her crib on a regular basis.
And for both of them, there’s another pattern, the return of which will make a huge difference.
One of the realities of sleeping with a woman who has just had a baby is that, no matter how comfortable sleeping naked might be, it just doesn’t happen. Night sweats, nursing, bleeding, all of that means clothing. Panties to keep a pad in place, bra for the same reason, some sort of night gown/jammies to deal with the sweat.
But as he was sitting in bed, waiting for Abby to get out of the bathroom and join him, he noticed something changed when she stepped out of the bathroom. No pajama pants. T-shirt, yep. Panties, he can’t tell, the shirt comes down to her thighs, but he still occasionally catches the scent of blood on her, so he’s fairly sure she’d have on panties and a pad. Bra, definitely. Her breasts are way too big to be comfortable without the extra support.
She climbed onto the bed, and he smiled at her, then bent down and kissed her knee.
“Hello knee, it’s been a while.” Then he looked up at her and grinned.
That got a ghost of a smile out of her, so he straightened up and kissed her lips gently. Nothing demanding or forceful, mostly just reminding her that he’s something other than the father of her baby.
That got a little smile, too.
A bit more sleep, getting her iron levels up, and antibiotics knocking out the infection means she’s acting a bit more like herself. But a thought hits him, and he wonders… she’s been complaining about being short on time, and not really feeling like herself, and she wasn’t sleeping for so long… The idea of something else that probably wasn’t happening hit him. So, he sat back against the headboard of their bed, legs wide, and patted the bed between them.
She sat between his legs and rested against his chest. He cuddled her, chin on her shoulder, holding her close and tight for a moment, and then he kissed her neck, slowly dragging his lips along her flesh, and biting very gently on the little bit of shoulder right next to her neck.
“How long has it been since you got off?”
Her eyes close and she sighs. “Day before pelvic rest.”
He kisses her shoulder again. “Oh, Abby. Come on, let’s make you feel good.”
She looked really alarmed by that.
“Is that okay?”
She’s not looking enthusiastic. “It’s only been two weeks. What were you thinking?”
“Not thinking sex. Not like that.” He thinks he might have an idea of part of why she was looking so alarmed. “We don’t have any birth control do we?”
She shook her head. After all, why would they? It’d been more than two years since they’d used anything that wasn’t hormone-based.
“Not a problem. Just want to touch you. Soft and slow and gentle. Want to make you come. Make you remember that your body’s good for something besides feeding Kelly.” He tilted her face towards his and kissed her long and deep. “Want to remind you you’re more than just a mom. Want you to know I adore you and crave you and want you. Want you to know you’re beautiful—“
She laughed at that, and he kissed her again. Stopping the laugh with his lips.
“None of that. You are beautiful. You are my wife, my love, my life, and you are beautiful.”
She rested her forehead against his, eyes closed, letting him hold her. Then she kissed him, first time she’s taken the initiative and kissed him, really kissed him, in weeks. His hand traced over her hair and neck, down her arm, settling on her hip.
“I’ve missed this,” she said, voice quiet.
“Me, too.” He twined his fingers between hers, and lifted her hand to his lips, kissing each finger. “At least five minutes, every single day, we do this. Five minutes together, alone, thinking about each other, touching. Might just be snuggling when we’re falling asleep, but every single day we need this time.”
“Yes.” She flipped her hand, so his hand was on top, and kissed his fingers, then trailed her fingers over his, stroking his wedding band. She reached up to stroke his lips, and the goatee around them. “It feels soft on my fingers, but prickly on my lips.”
He smiled at that. “Feels kind of itchy to me. Still want me to keep it?”
She tilted her head to the side, and he kissed her neck at that invitation. “For now. That feels nice.” He stroked his chin gently along her shoulder and she shivered. “That’s good, too.”
“If your shirt came off, it could be good in a few other places.”
Now she looked very alarmed. “Not my breasts!”
“Wasn’t planning on going there. I know they’re a look, don’t touch sort of thing right now.” He started to edge the hem of her shirt up, and she shifted a bit to help him. “But, you’ll let me know when I can touch, right?”
“And whenever you feel like more than just messing around. Well, let’s just say, I am ready, willing, and able to hop to and help you out with that. In fact, it’s entirely likely that I’d happily drop everything, including a murder investigation, and come running as soon as you call.”
That got a little laugh. “So, you’re telling me you can’t be trusted to hold Kelly?”
“I’m telling you, you should make sure not to say, ‘Let’s have sex,’ to me while I’m holding her. ‘Cause I’ll be on you in a heartbeat.”
“Didn’t realize you were that hard up.”
He bopped the tip of his finger against her nose, signaling no bad mouthing yourself in front of me. “It’s your gorgeous body wrapped around mine. Of course I’m gonna leap at it.” He finished getting her shirt off, and lightly stroked from her ears to her fingertips, making sure to gently scrape his fingernails along her to make her squirm.
“I love you,” she said with a kiss. And he smiled back at her.
“Damn right you do.”
“You getting sassy with me?”
“Trying, too sleepy for full on sassy, but I want you to feel good all over, and I know you like some teasing.”
“Uh huh.” She kissed him again, and he wrapped his arms around her waist, enjoying a long, slow, wet kiss, her tongue slipping along his, making him sigh. She pulled back for a second, nibbling lightly on his bottom lip. “Much better use for them than sass.”
He kissed her again, showing her exactly how good he was with his lips when he’s not talking, and this time she moaned.
So she moaned again, soft and breathy.
“Want to make you sound like that, a lot.” His hands slid to her panties, lightly stroking over them, getting her hips, the bottom of her tummy, he knows she’s wearing a pad, so he doesn’t think there’s much use to trying her pussy, so he stays to the edges.
“I’m still bleeding.”
He nodded. “I know. We’ve fooled around when you were on your period. It’s not a problem. I mean, unless it’s one for you?”
“No… Just… You looked like you were going to pass out the day after Kelly was born.”
“That, you remember?”
Of course she does, and yes, just thinking about it does make him feel a little shaky, but bringing it up does flash him back to those images. “That was a whole lot of blood. There was enough that we ended up with puddles of it in the shower.” And it was running down her legs, and there was that one clot the size of his thumb, and he’s got to stop thinking about that or he’s never going to get hard again. “If you’re still bleeding like that, I think we need to take you back to the doc to get checked out again.”
“It’s not that bad anymore.”
She got up, and he wasn’t exactly on board with that, Abby close and warm and in his lap had been a good thing, but after a second, when she returned with a towel, he figured out why she’d left.
“Me between your legs?”
“That’s what I was thinking, unless you’ve got something else you want better?”
“That’ll work. Get up for a sec?”
He did and she laid the towel at the head of their bed.
She was standing next to the bed when she asked. “What about you?”
“Let’s take care of you. If you feel like giving me a hand after, great. If not, I can handle this,” he said, getting back onto their bed.
She’s still standing beside it, in her bra and panties, arms crossed over her chest. “I haven’t shaved or waxed.”
He flashes her a seriously? look and then rubbed his chin. “I know. I haven’t, either.”
“Yeah, but you not shaving isn’t a big deal.”
“Abby, I know you have body hair. I know you’re bleeding. I know you don’t like the way you look right now. I know you hate the stretch marks. I know your breasts hurt. I know you’re feeling a bit insecure with your body, and like it’s not really yours, and I can’t change any of that, or make it better, but I can say this. I love you. You are beautiful. You were beautiful before and you still are. And I can, if you’ll let me, make that body you’re less than perfectly thrilled with right now, feel awfully good.”
“I just… feel so fat and flabby and saggy and… just… wrong.”
He kissed her forehead, hands settling on her hips. “I know. But you’re not wrong to me. I mean… look. I was 205 the first time we dated. I got up to 220 before deciding it was time to lose weight again. I like this version of me better, and I think you do, too, but I was still me and you still loved me when I was fat.”
“You weren’t fat!” and she does look indignant at that. “You were big… and cuddly!”
“Uh huh.” That was awfully sarcastic. Then he kissed her again, long and slow, kneeling next to her, slipping her panties down her legs. “I see you the same way you see me Abby. The same way.” He sat back against the headboard, made sure the towel was between his leg, and then patted it. “Come on, settle back, relax, let me take care of you.” She sat between his legs, chest against his back, head resting on his shoulder.
He takes his time, petting her legs and hips, kissing soft and gentle, remembering what Jimmy said about a woman’s body not wanting to get pregnant and not really getting into it. And Jimmy didn’t exaggerate. Abby’s looking pretty happy, her face and chest is flushed, and she’s moaning, but by the time he got to her pussy, she still wasn’t wet.
Well, lubricated. She’s wet. There’s blood. But they have done this before when she’s been on her period, and yeah, it’s been a while, but he knows the difference by feel. So he wipes his fingers off quickly, and sucks them, getting them good and slick, before going back to her pussy, lightly grazing over the hairs that are almost fully grown back in, and yes, he loves her skin bare, but there is something to be said for how hair transmits sensations.
She’s rocking against him, arching against him for more pressure, so he finds her clit and settles in for long, slow, focused circles, just rolling over her skin, like they’ve got all the time in the world. Stroke after stroke, taking his time for a good, steady build.
He takes his cues from her hips, speeding up when she speeds up, slowing when she slows. And eventually she is moving pretty fast, legs clenched tight, head back against his shoulder, eyes closed, mouth open, gasping each breath, right hand clenched on his, and he sped up just a little more, nibbling her earlobe, and in a second she was crying out and twitching.
Then they both stopped dead, wondering if they’d woken Kelly up. But after a minute with no crying, Abby relaxed against him again, and took a few minutes to enjoy the glow.
“Good?” he asked when her breathing had slowed down.
Her eyes were closed, but she looked awfully happy and peaceful, pretty sleepy, too. “Yeah. I needed that.”
He grinned at her. “Good.”
A minute later, she squirmed a little, rubbing her back again him, and that felt awfully nice. There may, possibly, be a day when Abby getting off doesn’t get him hard, but he’s fairly sure he’ll be dead before that happens.
“So, can I help you out?”
“Any particular help you were thinking of?”
“Yes… It’s a little messy, but… should be quick.” And they’re both tired enough that quick is a real selling point these days. Especially since, if quick means less than five minutes, they could both get an hour of sleep before Kelly’s due for her next meal.
“What are you thinking?”
Tim wiped off his fingers, then leaned over to his bedside table and grabbed the lube.
“I was thinking of both of us on our sides, facing each other, able to see and kiss, my dick between your legs, rubbing off like that.”
Abby nodded at that. “I like that idea.”
“Just, tell me if your breasts are too sore for it.”
“Don’t press up against me too hard, and we’ll be fine.”
She got up and they rearranged themselves, and yeah, getting the lube in place, and him situated was pretty mechanical, but… well… quick…
But once they were situated. Well, soft and wet and slick and hot, and he can kiss her and look into her eyes. God, he’d missed that. Been… probably three months since they’ve been able to have face to face sex. And it doesn’t matter that he’s a few inches away from full on sex, this is good, this is warm and close and pleasure and love and being happy with his favorite person, making her happy as well.
And sure, it wasn’t the best orgasm he’s ever had. But they’re together, and it’s her body doing it, not his hand, and it’s all good.
Maybe it’s not what it was, but it wouldn’t be, because they aren’t who they were. But it was good. And the promise of better is out there. And eventually, as they get more patterns set, they’ll find their groove again, and figure out how to be parents and lovers.