Stories from Lightport, Massachusetts
More stories from your favorite characters in The Front Row Series
Stories from Lightport, Massachusetts
More stories from your favorite characters in The Front Row Series
July 24th, 2020
Summary: As Chloe and Micah build their family, Chloe still wonders at times if she's really worthy of God's blessings. Then she gets the most amazing, overwhelming answer . . .
Chloe buttoned her blouse and flipped her curled hair over the collar. She nodded in satisfaction at her reflection as she fastened the necklace Micah had given her around her neck, now with a charm inside of Lincoln’s birthstone. Micah had added the charm a couple of months ago on mother’s day. She glanced at the clock and knew she needed to hurry. She hadn’t meant to lose track of time in the shower, but she kept thinking about the dream she had the night before. A wonderful, beautiful dream.
She turned to hurry out the master bedroom door, hoping Micah wasn’t having too much trouble getting the boys ready for church. She heard his voice coming from Lincoln’s bedroom, and she paused in the hallway to listen. She could see them through the open door; the four year old sitting on the edge of his bed, and Micah crouched in front of him, tying his shoes. Luke was in his little brother’s room too, jumping around and making lightsaber wooshing noises as he always did.
“Why does Mom take so much longer to get ready than we do, Dad?” the seven year old paused to ask.
“Women just have a lot more to do than us men, son. Curling their hair, putting on makeup,” Micah muttered a reply as he finished tying the second shoe, “though your mother is naturally beautiful without it all.”
Chloe smiled at his words and leaned against the wall, enjoying the sight of her boys together.
“So why does she do all that stuff then?” Luke asked.
Micah chuckled. “That’s just a mystery that men will never solve. Now, Lincoln, we have to do something about that cowlick in your hair.” He stood and looked around the room. “Where did I put that spray bottle your mom uses? Aha!” He snatched up a blue plastic spray bottle filled with water from the nightstand then turned back to the little boy.
“No!” Lincoln squealed, shaking his head and kicking his feet.
“No?” Micah laughed, bending over Lincoln with the bottle in his hand.
“You’ll get me wet!”
“Oh, you mean like this?” Micah asked teasingly, grabbing him with one hand and squirting him a little in the face with the other. Man and little boy both laughed.
“Stop, Daddy!” Lincoln giggled.
In the hallway, Chloe clapped her hand over her mouth as she gasped. Micah stilled, gazing down in slight shock at the little boy he held in the crook of his arm. “Daddy?” he repeated in almost a whisper.
“Yes!” Lincoln continued to squeal, still laughing, “It tickles, Daddy!”
Micah recovered from his initial shock and gave Lincoln one last squirt and tickle. He smoothed the boy’s hair back with a fond gesture, and when he glanced up, he saw Chloe standing in the hallway. The emotion she saw in his eyes was a bit overwhelming, and she turned and fled into the bedroom. She heard Micah tell Luke to put on his shoes (he had probably said it half a dozen times already), and Chloe stood there, her heart pounding. First last night’s dream, and now this. Was God trying to tell her something? Maggie had told her once, “Chloe, God is always speaking. The question is, are we listening?”
But for some reason, Chloe still had a hard time believing that God would really want to give her something. Not if it was something she actually wanted.
“Chloe, are you alright?”
She turned to see Micah standing behind her. “He – he called you Daddy. He’s never done that before.”
Micah’s eyes grew a bit watery as he smiled. “I know.”
Chloe bit her lip and fiddled with her necklace for a moment. “And I had a dream last night . . . I was . . . pregnant.”
Micah swallowed as he took a step towards her. He cupped her cheek. “Was it . . . a good dream?”
Chloe nodded and a small smile filled her face. “Yes,” she whispered, “Micah . . . I think . . . I mean, what do you think . . . about trying to have another baby?”
He answered by swooping in and kissing her soundly. When he pulled away, he pressed his forehead to hers, and whispered back, “Absolutely.”
Chloe grinned and then kissed him back. Micah reached around and hoisted her up off her feet, then he turned and flung her down on the bed, peppering kisses down her neck. Chloe laughed as he started undoing the buttons of her blouse.
“I didn’t mean right this minute.”
“Why not go ahead and get started?”
Chloe halfheartedly tried to squirm away from his grasp, although her fingers digging into his hair sort of contradicted the maneuver. “Well, for one, you’re going to be late for praise band warm up.”
“Hmm,” Micah mumbled against her cleavage, “I’ll just tell them, sorry I had to ravage my wife. That’s holy, you know.”
Chloe laughed again. “Oh really?”
“Mhm,” he replied as he nipped at her ear lobe, “Proverbs 5, delight in the wife of your youth, may her breasts satisfy you always, may you be exhilarated by her love. My favorite chapter in the Bible.”
“Your favorite chapter? In the whole Bible?” Chloe chuckled as she yanked on his hair. He looked up at her, his hair an absolute mess, a roguish grin on his face.
Suddenly, the boys burst into the room, and Chloe hurriedly buttoned her blouse.
“Why are you wrestling with Mom?” Luke asked, wrinkling his nose.
Lincoln laughed as he pointed at Micah’s head. “Now you need the squirt bottle, Daddy!”
Micah jumped from the bed, grabbed a squealing Lincoln, and headed for the door. “You two are getting buckled into the van.” He turned in the doorway and winked at Chloe. “We’ll continue this later, Mrs. Barrett.”
Chloe rolled her eyes even as delicious warmth settled low in her belly. She couldn’t wait.
Chloe had the tiniest niggle of worry that the one time she actually wanted to be pregnant, it would be difficult. But she must have been one of the most fertile women in the world, because it was only two months later that she missed her period. And now she stood, her eyes squeezed shut as she counted down the three minutes until she could look at the pregnancy test that sat next to the bathroom sink. She then took a deep breath and opened her eyes.
She clapped her hands to her mouth to stifle her squeal at the sight of the tiny pink plus sign on the test. She didn’t want Micah to hear her in the next room, so she did a silent little happy dance, mouthing the words, “Thank you, God! Thank you, thank you!”
Then she took three long, soothing breaths to calm herself down before stepping out into the bedroom to get her husband. “Micah,” she said, trying to sound calm, but unable to stop the smile from filling her face.
“Yeah, babe?” he asked, looking up from the book he was reading.
“I want to show you something.”
Micah’s brow furrowed at her odd request, but he cast the book aside and rose quickly from the bed. A blush crept up her cheeks as she pulled him gently by the hands into the bathroom. She guided him to the sink and wrapped her arms around him while she waited for his reaction. She remembered another test, over eight years ago now, perched on the side of a bathtub. She remembered so clearly the panicked look in his eyes back then, the way the color had drained from his face.
But this time, he looked at her with wide eyes full of wonder, his mouth wide open. Then he grinned broadly. “Really? We’re having a baby?”
Chloe laughed as tears welled in her eyes. Stupid pregnancy hormones already.
“Yes,” she choked out.
Micah grabbed her in a firm embrace, laughing and spinning her around right there in the middle of their bathroom. When he put her down, he whispered into her hair, “I hope it’s a girl as smart, strong, and beautiful as her mother.”
Chloe cupped the back of his head and kissed his cheek. “I’m so happy.”
He pulled back to look into her eyes. “So, do we want to keep this to ourselves for a while?”
“No,” Chloe replied immediately, “the last time we were so worried and afraid. We were terrified for people to find out, so we hid it as long as we could. But this time, it’s wonderful, exciting news. Why hide it?”
He grinned and kissed her lightly. “Well, my parents are going out to dinner with us tomorrow night. Want to tell them then?”
Of course, before they told Micah’s parents, they had to break the news to the boys. So they called them both over to the couch the next night to talk to them before they all headed out for dinner with Tom and Elizabeth. Luke, of course, couldn’t sit still. He bounced side to side on the couch.
“When are we meeting Grandma and Grandpa? Are we going to The Daymark? Or somewhere outside Lightport? Cause I like going outside Lightport. There’s more stuff. Like Burger King? They have a playground!”
“We’re not going to Burger King,” Chloe quickly told him.
“And we need to talk to you and your brother about something,” Micah added.
Luke got that curious look on his face that was identical to his father’s while Lincoln scrambled into Chloe’s lap. Over the top of his brown head, Chloe caught Micah’s eye.
“Lincoln?” she asked. “How would you like to be a big brother?”
Lincoln twisted around to look up at her. “Like Luke?”
He nodded. “Yeah. I wanna be a big brother.”
“Well,” Micah told him, “you’re going to be. Mommy’s having a baby!”
Lincoln scrunched up his face. “Where is it?”
Chloe and Micah both laughed. “It’s in my tummy right now,” Chloe explained, “and when it has grown big enough, I’ll go the hospital and the baby will be born.”
“I want another brother,” Luke announced firmly.
“Well,” Micah told him, “it could also be a sister. We won’t know for a while.”
Luke crossed his arms over his chest and replied stubbornly, “Well, I’ll just pray for a boy.”
“It doesn’t always work that way –“ Micah warned.
“Why not?” Luke argued. “I prayed for you and Mom to get back together, and that worked.”
Chloe shook her head as Micah gave her a look that clearly said, help! Before they could get into a theological discussion on prayer with their eight year old, both their cell phones buzzed. Chloe grabbed hers from the coffee table.
“Your mother says she has a gift for the boys, so they’re heading here first.”
Micah arched a brow as he gave both boys a stern look. “Don’t tell Grandma and Grandpa about the baby, okay?”
“I want to ask Grandpa why I can’t pray for a brother,” Luke argued, scowling in perfect imitation of Micah when he was upset.
Chloe sighed. “Guess we better tell the news quick.”
When Micah’s parents arrived, Elizabeth went straight for her grandsons like she always did. The boys bounced up and down around her asking what was in the shopping bag she carried. She laughed at their antics as she pulled out two new coloring books: a Star Wars one for Luke and a Thomas the Tank Engine one for Lincoln. She also had a huge mega pack of markers to go with it. Chloe stifled a groan. Markers? Really? Why did grandparents always forget how easily kids made messes?
“Elizabeth,” she said, “you really didn’t have to –“
“Nonsense,” Elizabeth scoffed with a wave of her hand, “I found them at a discount store. Paid hardly anything.” She sat down next to the coffee table when Lincoln tugged on her hand. “I just thought of my grandsons and couldn’t help myself.”
Tom laughed. “She bought some for Josiah and Kate’s kids too.”
“So,” Elizabeth asked as she followed Lincoln’s instructions and started coloring a train with a green marker, “where are we eating tonight?”
Micah glanced at Chloe with a mischievous grin as he rubbed at the back of his neck. “Well, that’s up to Chloe, I think.”
Chloe’s eyes widened at Micah, and she poked him in the ribs.
“Why’s that?” Elizabeth asked.
“Well, you never know what pregnant woman will be in the mood for.”
Elizabeth dropped the marker in her hand and her head jerked up. “What? You mean . . . Chloe’s pregnant?”
All either of them could do was nod happily as Micah stepped closer and put his arm around Chloe. Elizabeth jumped from the couch with a happy cry, both of her hands flying to her face. Then she yanked Chloe into a hug.
“Oh, I am so excited! This is wonderful news!” She stepped back from Chloe, happy tears filling her eyes. “We’ve got to have a huge baby shower!” Her face fell. “You’ve never had one before, have you?”
Chloe shrugged, her face turning a bit red. “Kate and Hannah offered. Both times, actually. But . . . you know . . . “
“Well,” Elizabeth told her firmly, “we’re going to fix that.”
Tom, meanwhile, had been strangely quiet. Micah turned to where his father was standing in the corner of the room. “Dad?”
“Son,” he said, his voice shaking, “I’m just . . . my cup overflows.”
Micah gazed at Chloe as if she were the most valuable treasure in the world. “I know what you mean, Dad.”
Chloe pressed her lips together as tears slipped unbidden from the corners of her eyes. Stupid pregnancy hormones.
Chloe hummed as she brushed her teeth. She spit toothpaste into the sink, rinsed, and smiled at her reflection. She was glad she could finally brush her teeth without nausea rolling over her. She looked down at her baby bump and ran her hand over it affectionately. Not only was she past the rough first trimester, she had also gone for the ultrasound today.
Micah came into the bathroom and grinned at the sight of his wife with her hand on her womb. He turned Chloe towards him and then knelt before her. He grasped her by the waist and leaned forward and kissed her stomach.
“Hello there, princess,” he said to their unborn child, “I wanted you to be a girl.”
Chloe grinned down at him. “Although Luke’s disappointed.”
Micah shrugged. “He’ll get over it.”
Love for this man swelled within her breast as she looked down into his sparkling blue eyes. Then another feeling surged through her veins as she ran her fingers through his dark hair.
“Wanna show me just how happy you are, Mr. Barrett?”
Micah smirked as he stood. He pulled her close, kissing her with such passion her head spun. Pregnancy hormones weren’t always so bad . . . .
When Chloe walked into the barn owned by Barrett Brothers Events, she gasped at the sight in front of her. Behind the buffet table was a banner made of dozens of adorable onesies. Below the banner, was a beautiful piece of distressed wood art of the baby’s name: Clara. Chloe knew it was Hannah’s handiwork.
“You shouldn’t have,” she told her cousins, Elizabeth, and Maggie, “how many onesies are there?”
Hannah shrugged. “We sort of lost count. There were so many cute ones.”
“In all sizes,” Kate added.
“And we wanted to,” Maggie added.
“Besides,” Elizabeth said, wrapping an arm around Chloe, “you know how good I am at discount shopping.”
Chloe stepped closer to the banner, gingerly touching the onesies. “She’ll be the best dressed little girl in Lightport.”
“Oh, those are just the beginning,” Elizabeth scoffed, steering Chloe to the seat of honor.
If the women of Community Fellowship were trying to make up for all the baby showers Chloe never had, they succeeded. Every woman in the church came, each one bearing generous gifts. Chloe got more adorable clothes than Clara could possibly wear, blankets, diapers, wipes, and dozens of baby care items. Several women got her bigger gifts, too. A pack n play bassinet from Rose Beverly, a swing from Kate, a stroller from Hannah, and a crib from Elizabeth. Even the women who worked at Barrett Brothers Events came and brought amazing gifts. Amanda the pastry chef got her a really nice baby tub, and Tina the business manager got her the nursing pillow that was the top of the line. Chloe really couldn’t think of anything else they would have to buy.
The food was a potluck so that Micah didn’t have to work for his own wife’s shower, and the food was fantastic. Amanda made an adorable cake with baby ducks in fondant that was almost as good as what Micah baked. Almost.
They played shower games: price is right with baby items, and a disgusting one involving diapers and melted candy bars. They also each got a pink diaper pin, and anyone caught saying the word “baby” had to give their pin up to whoever caught them. No one expected Hannah to be so competitive, and the redhead ended up with a shirt full of pink pins.
It was the end of the shower, though, that had Chloe crying. The four hostesses: Elizabeth, Maggie, Kate, and Hannah gathered around Chloe to share prayers for the baby. Maggie started, leaning down in front of Chloe and taking her hands in hers.
“Chloe, when I was praying for you and the baby, I was struck again how you picked a name that means light. You and Micah have been through so much darkness and pain, but now? Now is the time to just bask in this joy, this light. I can’t think of anyone who deserves it more.”
Maggie then wrapped Chloe in a tender hug. Chloe hugged her back, crying against her shoulder. “You’ve been like a mother to me,” she told her.
“Hey!” Maggie protested as she released her. “I am way too young for that!”
Everyone chuckled, and Chloe rolled her eyes. “Okay, more like a big sister.”
Maggie gave a nod of approval. “Better.”
Elizabeth went next, and the woman once again apologized for the shower being so long overdue. “Because,” the woman added, voice trembling, “not one of these children has been a mistake. Luke and Lincoln are so dear to me, I hope you know that. A gift from God, truly. Just like their little sister.”
Chloe nodded and squeezed her mother-in-law’s hand as tears slipped down both their cheeks.
Across the circle of chairs, Kate and Hannah cleared their throats. Hannah was tuning her guitar.
“Chloe,” Kate said, “Hannah and I, instead of a prayer, we wanted to give you this song. I know it's one of you and Micah’s favorites right now, and we just pray that Clara knows the truth of its words all of her days. Just like her mother and father do.”
Even before Hannah began to strum, Chloe knew what song they were talking about. She listened to it almost every morning while she prayed and read her Bible. And Micah was constantly singing it while he played his guitar. So once Kate began to sing the lyrics, Chloe was already crying as the words about God’s amazing love washed over her.
Stupid pregnancy hormones.
“How was the shower?”
It was a simple question. It really didn’t warrant Chloe bursting into tears. Stupid pregnancy hormones. Micah jumped off the couch in alarm, and Chloe tried, through hiccupped words, to explain that she was fine.
“So, these are good tears?”
Chloe nodded. “Yes, yes. It was wonderful.”
Then she fell against Micah’s shoulder and sobbed some more.
“If it was so wonderful, Mom, then why are you crying?” Luke grumbled from the living room floor where he sat clutching a video game controller.
Micah glared at the eight year old as he maneuvered Chloe to the couch. “Turn that game off and help me bring the gifts in from the van.”
Luke shrugged, turned off the game, and followed his dad outside. Chloe meanwhile hoisted her swollen feet up onto the couch. Later, the gifts all put away, the three of them sat watching The Princess Bride, a half-eaten pizza on the coffee table. Lincoln was in New York visiting Neal. She was always more emotional anyway when he was gone.
And, of course, there were the pregnancy hormones.
Micah got up from his place on the floor and sat on the couch, putting Chloe’s feet in his lap. Without her even asking, he started to massage them. Chloe sighed into the couch pillows.
“Thank you,” she told him.
“My pleasure,” he replied with a loving smile.
Luke shifted over to lean back against the couch, grabbing his mother’s hand and wrapping her arm around his shoulders. On the tv screen, the little boy asked his grandfather if he could come read to him again tomorrow. The grandfather winked and told him, “as you wish.”
Chloe gazed into her husband’s face, then bent and kissed Luke on the top of his dark head. She thought about her and Micah’s favorite song right now, the one Kate and Hannah had sung at the shower. God’s love was amazing and hard to fathom. Overwhelming. Maybe she was starting to believe that God really did want to give her the desires of her heart. Because this? This was the desire of her heart. Right here. The thought made her eyes fill up with tears again.
Stupid pregnancy hormones.
7/25/2020 07:56:53 am
Thank you, Cee!
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I am a former English teacher turned homeschool mom of three who writes Christian romance novels on the side. You know, in my huge amount of spare time.