Several long and brutal hours later, the baby was placed into my arms. “Isn’t she precious?” I cooed happily. “She is. She looks just like you.” Johnny rested his head on top of mine while we both admired our daughter. “I should go let your Mom know that you’re ready for visitors and I’ll call my family while I’m at it. My grandma will burn down half of the town trying to get here.” He snickered. I was only half listening, all of my attention was focused on our newborn. “Hurry back.” I murmured then realized he was already gone. “Good, now I get you all to myself.” I snuggled her close to my chest.
Johnny came back a few moments later with my mom in tow. She fussed over the baby for a while then we heard a loud cough. “Hello.” Nancy waltzed in and stood at the foot of my bed. “I didn’t know if I was welcome in here or not. I decided to take a chance on it.” Lucky for her, I was feeling generous. “Of course.” She gave me a grateful smile. “Lovely. Could I speak to you alone? Only for a moment.” She appeared anxious. “I think that would be okay. As long as you’re not offering me something to drink.” I raised my brows in jest and Nancy’s cheeks turned bright red. “I’ll go see what kind of snacks are in the vending machines.” Mom kissed me on the forehead and quietly slipped out of the room. “I’m staying.” Johnny dared his mother to say otherwise.
“Very well.” Nancy nodded and moved closer to me. “As I watched my son pace the waiting room floor while you were in labor, I realized that if he ever lost you or the baby that he wouldn’t be able to get through it. It would change him…for the worst. I should’ve never taken it upon myself to meddle in your life.” She pursed her lips then finally said the words I thought I’d never hear. “Valerie, I owe you an apology. I’m so very sorry.” She told me sincerely and squeezed my hand. “I’ll never be able to make up for all of the horrible things I put you through but I promise that I’ll be on my best behavior from now on.” She glanced at the bassinet that held our bundle of joy. “I want to be in her life.” Johnny put his hand on his mother’s shoulder. “I was hoping you’d come to your senses.” He chuckled warmly.
“Did you already decide on a name?” She asked. I looked up at Johnny and he grinned. “Yes. We’re going to call her Lemon.” I informed her. “Lemon?” Nancy repeated with a grimace. “Lemon…Zest?” She sighed then surprised us with a small laugh. “I suppose that’s rather cute. But maybe the next child can be named after me?” I gave her my best fake smile…the one I used to save especially for my clients. “Sure, Nancy. That’s what we’ll do.” It was one last little lie.