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Chapter Nineteen

Six Weeks Later

"Isn't he just the cutest thing!"

"Well, most people say he seems to take after his dad."

The nurse gave me 'the eyes.' Y'know the ones I'm talking about. Bedroom eyes.

"I can see that."

"Dada!" Ben said happily. He tossed the block he was holding right into the nurse's cleavage.

Nothing but net.

"Oh, I'm so sorry," I said quickly, but secretly I was glad it gave me an excuse to look. The nurse plucked the red plastic cube out, clicked her pen, scribbled something, and handed the block back to me.

"I'm not," she said. I'm pretty sure Ben and I both watched her wiggle out of the room. I glanced down at the block. I had another phone number.

"You," I said, bouncing my boy on my knee as he began to giggle. "are a babe magnet. Bri, look what the nurse just gave me."

Bri didn't answer. He and Leighanne were wearing tracks in the carpet. Leighanne was uncharacterist ically biting her nails. Her eyes flickered to the clock.

"It's been forever. Something's wrong."

"Nothing's wrong," Bri said quickly.

"We haven't heard anything."

"We're sitting in the medical ward of a State Prison," I said. "It's not like this is Birthing Suites, U.S.A," I pointed out. She turned to me.

"Thanks for being here," she said.

I shrugged. "Tour's over. I didn't have anything else to do. Anyways, me and Ben were getting tired of chillin' on a boat. And," I kissed the top of Ben's head. His hair was coming in thicker now. He was beginning to look Beiber-ish. "I thought he should see his mom at least one more time."


"You don't think she'll change her mind do you?" Leigh asked, her voice filling with worry.

"About Ben? She already signed over full ri--"

"No. The baby."

It was all she had talked about since I had come back with the belly picture. The last few days of the tour I had seen her bring nothing but pink stuff into the bus. Bri had been bombarded with hundreds of names from those baby books.

"You know," I had said to the room-at-large the last night of tour. "To keep tradition alive you should call her Lexis. Bentley and Lexis. Ha!"

I was pretty sure no one heard me.

"I don't think she'll change her mind," I said in answer to Leigh's question. "She's still got to finish out her jail time. Besides, she said she really liked you guys when she met you a couple weeks ago."

Again, Leighanne stuck a nail in her mouth. Bri passed by her on his lap and wrapped an arm around her waist. He stopped and they just stood like that, kinda like the farmer and his wife in that creepy pitchfork painting that was, for some reason, so famous.

"Mr. and Mrs. Littrell?"

They both whirled around. Ben grabbed the red block and smashed me in the nose. "HA!"

I grabbed the block from him. At that moment I heard a cry. The prison doc was holding the baby.

"Meet your daughter."


She was heavy. She had a little face and lips like a rosebud. Her eyes were the softest shade of green I'd ever seen, with these big long lashes, and her head was covered with tight, tight, tight little black curly hair that clung to her head as though it'd been painted on. My fingers ran along the curve of her wrist, where her skin dimpled. She cooed, a sound barely above a whisper.

"I wanna see," Baylee tugged at the knee of my jeans. He'd gotten on board after he'd seen the picture of the ultrasound, after he'd met Britney and felt the baby kick into his palm. Leighanne's face turned to worry as I bent, taking the baby with me, for Baylee to look at.

Nick came over, Bentley on his hip, and looked over Baylee's shoulder. "Damn," he muttered, "She's gonna be fiiiiine when she grows up!" I glowered up at him. His cheeks turned pink. "I mean... she's... she... I..." he glanced at Ben. "Help me out little guy."

"GABADAABOOOO!" Bentley cried.

"Gabadaboo," Nick repeated, "You heard the man." He grinned. I turned back to look at Baylee's awestruck face as he gently touched her hand.

"Reagan," I said. Leighanne put her hand on my shoulder, beaming. "We're naming her Reagan."

"What? No hybrid yours-and-hers name?" Nick teased.

Leighanne looked up, "Actually Reagan is part my name - Renee - and part Brian..."

I cheesed up at Nick, who looked thunderstruck. "How the hell," he muttered, "Do you keep comin' up with friggin' names that're a hybrid? Seriously..."

"Reagan Jacqueline Wylee Littrell," I said, turning back to the baby.

"REEEEEEEGAA!" cried Ben.

Nick's eyes widened.

Leighanne's did, too.

"Ben? Did you just say Reagan?" Baylee asked, turning around, "That's my sister!"

Nick's mouth split into a huge grin. "Dude... DUDE," he gasped, "They are so gonna end up married!" He paused. "Unless... Wait..." he scratched his head. "Arent' they technically brother and sister?"

"Technically, yes," I answered.

Nick frowned. Then he grinned again. "It's a good thing ya'll are from Kentucky where that shit's legal! Cos they are so gettin' hitched in twenty years!!"