Chapter 12: Baby Love

I’m going to be a father. In the world’s very long history of things that should never have been allowed to happen, I’ve probably made the Top 10. I mean, look at me: I’m broke, I’m living in a dilapidated shack on land that was handed to me by my dead father, and my job involves stealing other people’s work and reposting it to the internet for clicks. The idea that I’m going to be responsible for teaching another living thing how to navigate the world is pretty ironic and at least a little horrifying.

Breaking the News

As I mentioned last time, Nalani came out of the bathroom that morning with the news. At first, I wasn’t sure how to react. As incomprehensible as it may be that I could be a father, part of me was nevertheless excited about it. I was already head-over-heels in love with Nalani, and the prospect of bringing a little mini-lani into the world seemed sure to be a good thing. Hopefully her contributions to the genetics and upbringing of this new being would be enough to counteract the obvious downside that we’d simultaneously be bringing a mini-Addison into existence as well.

I waved goodbye to Nalani from the porch as she left for work ahead of me, and my mind began wandering, as it does. What would we name our son… or would it be a daughter? Would it look like her, me, or a combination of both? What was this child going to need, and how were we ever going to afford it?

“Do they make cargo shorts for newborns?” I inexplicably asked aloud. “Any child of mine is going to need a lot of pockets.”

It was then that I realized what a major doofus the offspring of Addison Rex was likely to be, and I was, for a moment, deeply sorry for what I had done.

The Laugh

When we were together again at the end of our workdays, our impending parenthood was obviously the primary topic of discussion. Nalani expressed quite a bit of optimistic excitement about it, which went a long way toward setting my mind at ease. We talked about changes we’d need to make to the shack to accommodate a baby. We discussed our financial situation, and finally concluded after a bit of math that, between my social media work and her waitressing job, maybe we could afford to raise a kid, assuming we both had promotions in our future. And we talked about potential names.

“Kermit for a boy, maybe,” I suggested. “I like frogs.”

She shook her head and laughed that strange little barking, clicking laugh of hers, and I smiled at her in amusement. Then the mood changed. Suddenly, she had turned to look at me, all of the humor gone from her face. Something was obviously troubling her.

Fire Two!

“I, uh, have another thing I need to tell you,” she stammered.

“Twins?” I guessed, jokingly. She did not appear to be amused.

“No, Addy,” she continued. “Not twins. But I need you to listen to me. I’ve been keeping a secret from you, and I feel awful about it, but if we’re going to raise a baby together there’s something you need to know about me.”

“You can tell me,” I assured her. “I love you, Nalani, and there’s nothing you could say that would change my mind about that.”

“I guess we’re about to find out if that’s true,” she said, and beckoned me to follow her. She entered the bathroom and began to fill the tub with water.

“I like how this is going so far,” I joked, a lewd grin spreading across my face.

She silenced me with a “Hush, Addy.” She was dead serious. The bath filled, and she climbed inside. What happened next may have been even more improbable than the news of that morning that I was about to be someone’s dad.

Holy Mackerel

So, Nalani’s a mermaid, apparently. I did not see that coming at all.

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