blake shelton and miranda lambert

I’m just too selfish I guess. I know you’re tired and restless. It’s no surprise we’ve come undone, but I can’t unlove you just because you say it’s better in the long run.
—  Miranda Lambert “Better in the Long Run” 
Happy Birthday Baby

CHAPTER 17 (FINAL CHAPTER)

Miranda leaned in against her Husband and let out a loud groan. Blake supported her body weight and slowly swayed her hips for her to try and ease the tension. As the contraction eased, Miranda let out a big breath and lifted her face out of Blake’s shoulder.

Blake kissed her sweaty forehead and helped her back over to the bed, he could tell that she was having trouble standing, so he helped her back on to the bed, where she sat with crossed legs, leaning forward in to Blake so that he could support her. 

Blake knew she didn’t want to talk, so he ran his hands up and down the sides of her stomach and as the next contraction crept up, Miranda tensed up and squeezed Blake to try and ease the pain a little. As the climax hit, she grunted loudly and Blake frowned as she began to cry gently against his shoulder. He waited for the contraction to end, before he lifted her red face in to his hands so that she was looking at him, her eyes puffy from tears.

“Don’t cry Baby, you’re doing great.” He reassured her and she sighed and winced as the baby shifted inside her, she could feel her moving further down in to her pelvis with every contraction.

“I just want her out!” Miranda complained and Blake nodded understandingly, holding her tighter and using one hand to wipe away her tears.

“I know you’re tired sweetie, but you’re so close now.” He tried to reason but he knew she was fed up and wanted it over with. After 18 hours of contractions, he didn’t know how much more she could endure before she gave up. He wasn’t going to let that happen.

As the contractions began to inch closer together, Miranda cried harder through each one and Blake did his best to coach her through it, but it was obvious how much more intense they were becoming. Miranda was laying on her side and during a particularly strong contraction, he noticed that she spread her legs apart and cried out a little, before automatically starting to push.

When the contraction was over, Blake rubbed her thigh and helped her put her leg back down.

“I want to push.” Miranda muttered as she tried to catch her breath and Blake nodded, pressing the button for the midwife to come in. They had been told that once she had the urge to push, the baby was definitely on its way.

The midwife entered the room a few minutes later mid-contraction and she could tell that Miranda was getting close by the way her husband was holding one leg up and she was pushing lightly through the contraction. When it was over, the midwife gave her a sympathetic smile.

“Are you feeling the urge to push?” She asked and Miranda nodded, spreading her legs out and rolling on to her back, knowing that she would be having an examination. They hurt and it was uncomfortable to have their hands in there, but if it bought her closer to getting the baby out, she would endure it.

Blake rubbed her hand as she squeezed his and he encouraged her as the midwife examined her and Miranda winced at the discomfort. When the midwife’s hand was out, she took off the glove and gave Miranda a reassuring smile. 

“You’re 9 and a half centimetres. If you feel like pushing, then go for it. Your baby is very low down, it won’t be long.”

Miranda breathed a sigh of relief and Blake thanked her as she went to prepare everything she would need for the delivery and page a nurse to assist her. 

When the next contraction hit, it was different to the others and Miranda groaned loudly as the pain moved further down, contracting and squeezing in her lower stomach so the baby would move down. As Miranda started to push, Blake held her leg with one hand and her hand with the other, holding his breath with every push she gave. When it was over, Miranda pulled her hospital gown up and felt just below her belly, where the babies’ head was painfully entering the birth canal.

She barely had 30 seconds, before the next contraction hit and she pushed again, keeping her hand on the spot where she could feel the shape of the babies head and loosing motivation when she couldn’t feel it moving. As she gasped for air, the midwife put her gloves back on and examined her while she pushed, to try and estimate the location of the head.

When it was over, Miranda took deep breaths as her husband wiped the sweat off her forehead and the midwife took her fingers out and looked down at Miranda.

“How about you change positions to try and get her head moving?” She suggested “Let gravity do some of the work.”

Miranda moaned at the thought of having to move, but accepted Blake’s help to get her on her hands and knees, her head up near the head of the bed. As she moved in to the new position, she cried as her whole body ached. Miranda felt the weight of the low-hanging baby shift away from her back and felt a little release as some of the pressure on her spine was released. The relief ended a few seconds later when the next contraction hit and Blake quickly held on to her to support her as she cried out and the midwife lifted the gown to see what was going on.

“That’s it, she’s moving.” The midwife encouraged and Blake snuck a peak behind his wife, not seeing the head, but seeing that she was stretching out as she pushed. She was red and swollen with a little blood and he felt horrible that she had to go through this, but it was almost over and he would have his little girl in his arms soon.

When it was over, Blake was just about to give her a kiss when the next wave of contraction crashed over her and she gripped on to the head of the bed and pushed, her butt moving further up and the midwife smiled, she was making progress. 

For close to an hour, Blake was forced to stand helplessly as his wife sweated and grunted, crying as she pushed. He knew that first babies took a while to descend, but he prayed to God his girl would crown soon, he knew Miranda couldn’t endure much more without collapsing in exhaustion. With every push Miranda gave, the midwife used her gloved fingers to try and stretch her out a little more. She knew this woman was having big baby and she was quiet small in size, so extra stretching would be needed.

“Get your hands out!” Miranda whined as she felt the midwife pulling her apart and the professional sighed.

“I’m sorry, but I need to do this to avoid tearing.” She apologised and Blake kissed her back when she groaned. It was all getting too much and feeling how low down her baby was was scaring her.  

She barely lasted 2 more contractions, before she felt a big shift and she cried out as the baby pushed further down, past her pelvis and in to her pubic area. Blake had a look and couldn’t see the head, but she was opening up as she pushed and there was fluid coming out.

“I need to go to the bathroom!” Miranda suddenly whined and Blake looked at the midwife, unsure how this worked and the midwife just rubbed Miranda’s lower back.

“That’s not poop you’re feeling, that’s your baby.” She assured and Miranda groaned. The midwife knew it was very common for woman to poop while they pushed as they were using the same muscles, but that was something she didn’t need to tell this Mother. 

“I want to get down.” Miranda breathed heavily as she stopped pushing and the midwife nodded, helping Blake to very slowly roll her back on to her back, Miranda crying as she was moved. As soon as she was on her back, Blake pulled the bed up a little so that she was half-sitting and Miranda spread her legs as far as she could manage, finding a little relief in doing so. 

While the midwife checked the baby’s heart rate, one of the nurses put sterile white sheets all under Miranda’s bottom and gave Blake a pat on the back. He looked a little faint, but he was holding it together for his wife’s sake. 

During the next few contractions Miranda pushed he chin to her chest and pushed as hard as she could mange while Blake and the midwife watched her open and close, straining with every push. When she pooped out a little during the stronger pushes, the midwife simply wiped it away and Blake ignore it, he didn’t care if she pooped as long as it helped get their baby out. 

After almost 2 hours of pushing, Miranda used her hand to pull back her thighs and as she pushed, she cried out loudly as something round and hard poked through her entrance. Blake hated how much this was hurting her, but he couldn’t help but smile as he grabbed her hand and squeezed it, never keeping his eyes off the tip of his daughters head. 

“You’re doing it Sweetie, she’s right there!” Blake encouraged and as the contraction ended, Miranda collapsed in to the back of the bed and closed her eyes while one of her husbands hands held hers and his other wiped back the loose strand of hair on her forehead. She shifted her butt and groaned as she was stretched some more, before the next contraction washed over her and Blake supported her as she bared down.

As she pushed as hard as she could, the head began to shift very slowly and as she gave up, Miranda called out as the head began to crown, stretching her out more than she wanted to stretch.

“It’s burning!” She cried and Blake kissed her sweaty forehead as the midwife used her fingers to spread out Miranda’a stretching opening. 

“I know, it’s supposed to burn.” The midwife assured gently but that sans;t comforting anyone.

As Miranda cried and tried to stop herself from screaming, Blake looked down at the crowning head, stuck in the same position so she could stretch and make room for the rest of it. He didn’t understand how she was stretching this much without ripping apart and he knew there was still more baby to get out yet. He felt sick as he watched amniotic fluids and blood drain around her skin, but this was one of those situations where he needed to get his shit together for her sake.

“Do you want to feel the head?” The midwife asked Miranda and she shook her head. She was focusing too much on not screaming and didn’t think she could manage it. 

“Do you?” The midwife asked Blake and he looked at the mess a little dumbfounded, but knew he wanted to be the first hand to touch his baby. He gave Miranda’s hands another squeeze, before he reached his hand down and ran is fingers around the crown. 

He almost cried as he felt the little bits of hair on top of his daughter’s head, but at the same time, he could feel with his fingers just how tight Miranda was stretched and he hated that he knew she was going to tear. Only the first few centimetres of the head was out, so he knew the rest of the baby was going to be even bigger. 

When Miranda groaned at the touch, Blake pulled his hand away and wiped off the gunk on one of the sheets, before he took a deep breath and went back to Miranda’s side. He grabbed her tense hand in his and kissed it gently.

“Feel her, Baby.” He encouraged, knowing she would regret it if she didn’t and when Miranda didn’t respond, Blake took her hand and guided it down between her legs and she gasped as she felt the top of the head, tears falling down her face.

“That’s her?” She breathed, trying to ignore the pain for a second and feel the hair on the bubba’s head and Blake leaned in to kiss her. 

“That’s our baby.” He clarified in a whisper as their foreheads met and Blake kissed her. He didn’t care that she was sweaty and exhausted, or that she had vomited up the food she had been given. He kissed her anyway, because at that moment he was amazed by her strength and she had their daughter coming out of her. To Blake, kissing his wife while she was such a mess was the most romantic feeling in the world. 

The sweetness was short lived, however, when another contraction crept up and Miranda kept one hand on her baby’s head and the other squeezing her Husbands hand, she moaned loudly as she pushed down. She did it twice, before she got sick of the excruciating burning and pushed harder than she had before. As she cried and pushed, the midwife tried to gently guide the baby and as the rest of the head emerged, Blake bit his lip as trails of blood tricked down below her vagina. It was obvious that she was tearing, not just from the visible blood, but from the louder cries escaping his wife’s throat. 

As the head stretched through Miranda’s tight entrance, Miranda collapsed against the bed and tried to catch her breath, while the midwife checked that the chord wasn’t wrapped around the baby’s neck and Blake watched on in amazement. As he looked at the baby’s squishy red face, he was already falling in love and his eyes were getting cloudy with tears. Miranda closed her eyes and tried to breathe as Blake leaned down to kiss her forehead as their hands squeezed together. Miranda could feel the baby’s face with her spare hand and the only thing keeping her together, was the feeling she got as she traced the outlines of her little girls nose and lips. 

Blake rubbed his thumbs over Miranda’s hand and blinked away his tears as he watched the midwife slowly turn the baby’s head and support the neck with her hand as they waited on another contraction. As Miranda tried to breath easier, Blake frowned at how big the baby’s head looked against Miranda’s exposed pelvis floor. He could see just how far she had stretched out, but he was concerned that the shoulders would be even more of a stretch. 

When Miranda managed to get herself together a little, the next contraction crept up and Blake helped her sit up a little more as she put her chin to her chest and pushed down, grunting as the midwife tried to encourage one of the baby’s shoulders to come out before the other. As soon as Miranda gasped for air, she took another gulp of oxygen and bared down again, but as she pushed, she wasn’t making any progress. 

When the baby’s head had been out for close to 5 minutes and the shoulders weren’t budging, Blake frowned as he looked down at her skin, it just wasn’t stretching any further and she had amniotic fluid laced with blood oozing out around the baby’s head. 

“Miranda, I need you to really push now. We need to get this baby out.” The midwife said firmly and Miranda started crying harder as Blake kept one hand squeezing hers, while the other was lining her back, supporting the back of her neck to keep her more upright. Miranda took a deep breath and pushed and cried, her frustration boiling over as she reached down and felt that her baby wasn’t moving.

The midwife frowned when the baby still didn’t shift and as Miranda gave up her pushing and cried, her Husband did his best to stroke her and comfort her as she cried in panic.

“I’m just going to make a little cut to make more room.” The midwife said gently, trying to keep the situation calm and Miranda’s eyes shot open and she cried out as she watched the midwife reach over for the silver sterile scissors.

“No!” She whined loudly and Blake looked between his wife’s face and the part of his baby that was stuck inside her, knowing this was necessary.

“It’s okay Sweetheart, she needs to come out.” He tried to assure her but he was feeling like he would hurl as he watched those scissors curl through the midwife’s fingers. Blake tried to look away and moved a little closer towards Miranda’s head. He gave her face a kiss and squeezed her as she cried in protest. 

The midwife wiped something yellow over the skin stretched around the baby’s head and Blake leaned in closer to Miranda to hold her close, but Miranda had other ideas. She absolutely refused to have a woman cut her vagina with a pair of scissors, no matter how much pain she was in, so she basically pushed her Husband’s arms out of the way and grunted as she was helped sit up further. As she looked down between her legs, she closed her eyes and was horrified at the mess. As her hands grabbed around her thighs, she pulled her legs back as far as she could and Blake helped support her as she pushed down and cried out, putting energy she didn’t know she possessed in to it. 

As Miranda bared down, the midwife frowned as she watched the baby’s shoulder force it’s way out, a trail of blood escaping with it, but she put the scissors down and encouraged Miranda as she tried to guide the baby out as gently as she could. Blake watched his wife in complete amazement as she took control of the situation and tortured herself to get the baby moving again. He kept one hand firmly on hers, while he shuffled down and cried silently as his baby’s shoulders were freed and her pink slimy body forced it’s way out. 

Miranda hollered out as the baby’s torso was gently pulled by the midwife and just like that, a brand new life entered the world, followed quickly by a gush of amniotic fluid. Miranda collapsed against the bed and tried to get her breathing steady as Blake stood dumbfounded for a second as his emotions boiled over and he couldn’t help but cry as his baby was placed on the soiled white sheets and the midwife patted her back.

“Is she okay?” He managed to choke out and once the midwife had suctioned out the gunk from her nose and mouth, the pink blob of a person’s lungs filled with air and the midwife didn’t even have to answer his question. 

As their child’s first cry filled the room, Blake helped prop his wife up and the midwife lifted the crying babe. Blake quickly unclipped Miranda’s gown and pulled it off, knowing baby’s needed immediate skin to skin contact. As the baby was placed stomach down on Miranda’s chest, Miranda immediately burst in to tears. After just over 19 hours, this was the moment she had worked for. She was exhausted, her groin was throbbing and burning, but at the moment her whole world was confined to the tiny person crying on her bare chest. Blake’s lips found Miranda’s and they locked on and simply cried together, their ears rejoicing in the shrieks of the person they couldn’t quite believe was lying between them. 

“I love you so much.” Blake whispered against his wife’s cracked lips and she sobbed with him, their tears falling together as she managed to croak a reply.

“I love you too.” 

Miranda pulled her head back and reached it down to kiss the top of her little girls skull. She was covered in gunk, but that was the last thing Miranda cared about. Both her and Blake’s hands rubbed over her brand new chubby body and their faces breathed against hers as she calmed down and found a little comfort in the hands of the people who loved her unconditionally.

“She’s perfect.” Blake breathed as his face rested against Miranda’s breast and his finger gently stroked the droopy skin of his daughter’s cheek. Miranda closed her eyes and used one hand to hold her brand new baby against her, while the other rubbed the back of her Husband’s head. Her heart was so full that she could barely stand it, and she couldn’t help the constant sobs escaping her. 

The midwife did her best to try and clean Miranda up, but she knew the new family needed these moments to bond together, so she let them be and the nurse took Blake’s camera and took photo’s so they could remember. Blake stared in to his daughter’s eyes when they finally opened and their gazed met for a few moments as Blake and Miranda both cried.

“She looks just like you.” Miranda breathed as her heart expanded when she saw the giant baby blues that were squinting on her daughter’s face, it was like staring in to her husbands eyes. Blake smiled against her and he reached his face up to kiss Miranda’s sweaty head again.

“I’m so proud of you.” He mumbled against her, unable to fully comprehend how she had managed to get his tiny little love in to the world and Miranda just kissed his stubbly face in response, before they both went back to admiring their little one, who was squirming against her Mother’s warm, naked chest. 

“I love you Sweetheart.” Miranda whispered against her baby’s squished up face and Blake choked back more tears, his whole being overflowing with love for his girls. 

As he kept his hands around them, Blake’s cheek nestled back in to Miranda’s exposed chest and he stared at his baby as her hands grasped on to her Momma’s sweaty skin. He just could not comprehend that this perfect little girl in front of him was theirs. She was unwashed and her umbilical chord was still intact, but Blake just didn’t care. She was perfect and she was his. He didn’t understand what he had done right in life to deserve two girls who were so breathtakingly beautiful.

“I love you baby girl.” Blake spoke quietly and his daughter looked up in to his eyes as her mouth blew little spit bubbles, making Blake cry in pride. 

He reached over and his mouth ever so gently connected with the wet skin on her pouted little lips. As his mouth met hers for the first time, he was amazed at how tiny and vulnerable she felt against him. He knew she was going to be his whole world, there was nothing in the world he would rather devote his life to. He very softly kissed her parted lips and his forehead rested against her tiny little one, as he closed his eyes and breathed in his future.

 “Happy Birthday Baby.” 

End Note - It’s over! Hope you enjoyed it! Feedback feedback feedback! Thanks for loving this series! :)

 

Klance Headcanons

As promised to Anon :)

  • I LIVE for Keith trying to make a move and Lance just Not Getting It 
    • “Lance, what would you do if you had a serious crush on someone?” “Well, I think I’d just be straight up about it. Just say, ‘hey, I have a crush on you. Do you think we could make this work?’” “Hey, I have a crush on you. Do you think we can make this work?” *slapping Keith on the back* “Yeah, exactly like that! So who do you have a crush on, dude?” “I can’t with you right now”
  • Trying to be Lowkey about them dating and failing miserably
    • “Lance, do you know why Keith upset?” “Why would you ask me? It’s not like he’s my boyfriend or anything! We’re not even friends! He’s my rival! He’s-” “I asked you because we’re going around the table and asking everyone if they know why Keith is upset.” “Oh.”
    • *Keith and Lance emerge from Lance’s room, hair and clothes mussed* “What were you two-” “WE WERE BAKING BROWNIES” “…..in Lance’s bedroom” “…….yes”
  • One day they’re doing their whole “we hate each other no really we do” routine and Pidge is Done and just goes “we saw you two kissing. You’re really gay. We get it. We don’t give a shit, but you should know, just for the record, that you aren’t slick and frankly I had bet that you two would make out about a week earlier than you did, so now I owe Hunk twenty bucks and I’m upset about it”
  • Horrible flirting during battle
    • “Keith, use out your sword!” “Oh I’d let Keith use his sword on me any day” *collective groaning and gagging*
  • Teaching each other little bits and phrases in their native language, and them repeating it back to each other over and over again until Lance can say “I love you” perfectly in Korean and Keith can say it perfectly in Spanish
  • WEARING EACH OTHERS CLOTHING HAPPENS OFTEN AND I THANK THE LORD EVERY DAY
  • “Pidge, let me tell you a thing or two about relationships” “Lance you have been dating Keith for about two weeks and he has threatened to dump you twelve times so literally shut the fuck up”
  • The entire team acts like they hate how lovey dovey they are, but really Hunk and Coran help Keith make cakes for Lance on anniversaries and Allura and Pidge always offer to help Lance make Keith little gifts and Shiro is a full time couples counselor and would do anything to keep the lovebirds relationship thriving
  • Fighting over stupid ass things
    • “You asked me if I was team Instinct, Keith. Instinct.” “So?” “So? So??? CLEARLY I am team VALOR jesus christ I can’t even look at you right now”
  • Lance endlessly comparing them to couples in pop culture
    • “He’s the Jay Z to my Beyonce, the Juliet O’Hara to my Shawn Spencer, the Aang to my Katara, the Miranda Lambert to my Blake Shelton-” “Wait, didn’t they get a divorce?” “Pidge I swear to fucking god”
  • Lance loves making Keith blush. Loves. It. Will do it as much as possible. It is his main source of joy in life.
  • “My type is a man who could kick my ass” -Lance probably

Alright this is getting long so I’m gonna end it here! I hope this is what you were looking for, Anon!

8

Country roads, take me home to the place I belong.
West Virginia, mountain mamma, take me home, country roads. 
And I will always love you. (x)

Tough Love

Blake frowned when his daughter didn’t run out to him like she always did. Usually he only stood there for thirty seconds before she came charging into his arms. This time, he moved out of the way to let a little boy in a wheelchair through and watched as the other kids found their parents. When she still didn’t come out, Blake stepped into the coat room, seeng Daisy’s pink backpack hanging on the designated hook.

When he stepped into her classroom, Blake saw the teacher packing away the last of the days work.

“Dada!”

Blake turned to see his 5 year old sitting on a little chair in the corner. He knew what that meant. She was in time out. He ignored his daughters enthusiasm and looked at Mrs Parker, who sighed and put the paper on her desk so she could escort Blake over to the misbehaving child.

“Daisy here thought it would be funny to bite another child.”

Blake raised his eyebrows and crouched down in front of his daughter, her face turning from a smile to a frown when she realised her daddy was mad.

“Did you bite somebody?”

Daisy looked between her father and Mrs Parker with a confused expression. She shook her head no and Blake sighed.

“Don’t you lie to me.” He surprised himself with how firm he was being, but knew every once in a while, as her dad, it was his job to be the bad cop. “Did you bite another child?”

Daisy mashed her teeth together and nodded. She put her arm in her mouth to show him what she meant.

“‘ite” she mimicked and Blake nodded.

“Are they okay?” He asked and Mrs Parker nodded.

“She drew a little blood but the other little girl is okay.”

Blake looked back at his daughter and pointed at her, doing his best imitation of angry Miranda.

“You never, ever bite someone!”

Daisy shrugged, which pissed Blake off. He knew she knew she couldn’t bite. Sometimes she pretended she didn’t know the rules to get out of being in trouble, but she knew better than to bite.

“Wipe the smile off your face.”

Daisy studied his words and found the one she liked.

‘Mile!“ She exclaimed, grinning to show him she understood and Blake sighed. He knew she was playing him.

“I’ll take her home and talk to her.”

Mrs Parker nodded and Blake pointed to the floor.

“Stand up.”

Daisy shimmied out of the seat and balanced on her feet. She looked at Blake for instruction and pushed her glasses further up her nose.

“What do you need to say to Mrs Parker?”

Daisy hesitated, before sticking her fat bottom lip out and rubbing her first over her chest.

“Say it, don’t sign it.”

Blake was all for sign language, but Daisy was perfectly capable of apologising in this instance, and he wasn’t about to let her get away with a half-assed effort.

“'Orry,” she said with a lisp and Mrs Parker nodded.

“Thank you. But you will need to apologise to Madeleine in the morning.”

Daisy looked up at both adults, trying to work out what was expected of her.

“'Morrow?”

Blake nodded.

“Yes. Tomorrow. Tonight, you’re coming home and sitting on the naughty step.”

Daisy stomped her foot and Blake gave her a very firm glance that clearly told her to cut it out. She saw the threat in his eyes and put her best grumpy face on as Blake took her hand and helped her out of the classroom. He didn’t mean to show her affection after that, but she had new orthotics and was still struggling with balance.

“Get your bag.”

Daisy did as she was told and Blake helped her put it on her back, before thanking Mrs Parker and looking down at Daisy.

“What do you say?”

“Bye.”

Blake let her wave, but didn’t miss when she blew a raspberry as soon as they were out of sight.

“Watch it.” He warned and Daisy stopped with the spit. She held his hand and focused on her feet as he walked her across the courtyard of her special school and over to the truck. When she was buckled in the booster seat, Daisy leaned back against the headrest and made sure she looked as mad as she could. On Fridays when Blake picked her up she got a special treat. Today he seems to have forgotten.

“Dada?” She spoke slowly when Blake had turned the engine on and Blake looked at her in the rear view mirror. “'Scream?”

Blake shook his head, still angry at her little outburst.

“Only good girls get ice cream. Today you were bad.”

Daisy’s face fell.

“'Scream?” She asked again, her voice much sweeter this time and Blake looked at her watery eyes in the mirror as he pulled onto the road.

“No.”

Daisy let out a long whine and kicked the back of his seat, something Blake chose to ignore. He was actually impressed with the force of her kick. Usually her left leg lacked muscle density. Apparently not when ice cream was concerned.

Blake drove as she had a little fit in the back. When the kicking stopped, she sobbed and pulled on her hair, a habit they were trying to stop.

“Hands out of hair,” he ordered as he drove and Daisy stopped for a moment, before doing the exact opposite of what he said and yanking as her blonde locks. Blake sighed deeply when she pulled out a little clump and pulled over. As soon as the car stopped, Daisy pulled harder to try and get his attention and Blake opened the back door quickly. He grabbed her chubby hands and untangled her fingers, letting the hair fall free. He looked into her weepy almond eyes and gave her his best stern look.

“You do not pull your hair out. You understand?”

Daisy raised a thin blonde eyebrow and Blake realised she was confused. She didn’t understand all the words.

“Nice hands,” she reminded her and Daisy lowered them to her lap, remembering the words of her occupational therapist.

“Now,” Blake started when she sniffled and wiped her nose on the sleeve of her white shirt. “You sit nicely until we get home.”

Daisy scrunched up her face and tried to push him away with one hand.

“Momma!” She said firmly and Blake tried not to roll him eyes.

“Mommy will say the same thing I said.”

Daisy grunted loudly and Blake closed the door, knowing arguing with her was pointless. He climbed back up front and drove the rest of the way home.

As soon as she was lowered to her feet, Daisy pushed Blake’s leg out of the way and made a beeline for the front door, but lost her balance and fell flat on her face instead. When she whimpered, Blake lifted her back to her feet and brushed the grass from her cheek, but her hand pushed him away again. Blake ignored her protest and held her hand to keep her upright as she very slowly climbed the porch steps and pushed the front door open.

“Momma!” She hollered as Blake put the backpack on the counter and Miranda’s head poked around from the home office. Daisy’s face fell to a crumpled frown and she reached her arms out, trying to run to her. “Momma!”

Blake held her arm and pulled her past Miranda’s confused face and over to the stairs.

“Sit down.”

Daisy protested, so Blake did the work for her, sitting her plump body on the bottom step, which they dubbed “the naughty step” for these occasions.

“Sit there until you can be a good girl.”

Blake turned to walk away and ignored her when she blew a raspberry in his direction. When he walked back to the kitchen, Miranda was there, very confused with Amelia’s school enrolment forms in her hands. Clearly she had been filling them in.

“What’s wrong with her?”

Blake sighed, rubbing his hand over his face when Daisy yelled out for his attention.

“She was in time out when I picked her up because she bit Madeleine at school and drew blood.”

Miranda didn’t look all that surprised. She had been acting up a lot lately.

“So she threw a fit on the way home because I said she wasn’t getting ice cream.”

Miranda sighed, raising her eyebrows when a high pitched scream came from the hallway. She knew Blake was at his wits end, so she put the forms down on the counter and went to deal with it.

“HEY!” She nearly yelled when Daisy came into view and the little girl stopped screeching to look up in shock. “Quit yelling!”

Daisy’s face fell when Miranda crouched down and didn’t return the hug she tried to give her.

“Close your mouth, quit being a brat and sit there until you can be a good girl.”

Daisy looked up with fake sad eyes.

“Momma?”

Miranda shook her head.

“No momma until you can be good.”

Daisy frowned and looked down angrily.

“'Scream.”

“Ice cream is for good girls, not girls who bite.”

Miranda didn’t realising she was saying the same things as Blake, but when she stood up to leave her daughter to her thoughts, she didn’t scream after her. Blake said a quick thank you when she walked back into the kitchen and Miranda watched as Amelia poked her head from behind the wall in the bathroom.

“I’m all done,” she said quietly and Miranda went in to help her out.

When she walked back out with clean hands and re-applied overalls, Amelia jumped at the sound of her sister yelling out again.

“Ignore her,” Blake commented when he saw the confusion on Amelia’s face and the little girl nodded, confused.

“Go play, baby and I’ll make you a snack.” Miranda tried to distract her.

“Is Daisy getting one?”

“If she stops hollering.”

Amelia accepted a quick kiss hello from Blake and headed into the living room where she already had her babies set up.

In the kitchen, Miranda got Blake to sign all the right pages on the enrolment forms and quickly sliced an apple and a banana. She got two bowls out and listened as the yelling down the hall calmed down, her daughter clearly giving up in her efforts. When she had two bowls with the fruit and a teaspoon of peanut butter, Miranda called Amelia in and she said a quiet thank you, careful not to anger the beast on the naughty step.

“Sit up with dad and I’ll go talk to her.”

Blake lifted Amelia into the bar stool next to him and made her laugh when he pretended to steal a slice of her banana. In the meantime, Miranda waited for her other daughter to be quiet, before walking back in front of the stairs, where Daisy was on her back now, her feet on the wall, clearly tired of screeching.

“Are you done?”

Daisy nodded when her momma appeared, pushing herself to her bottom. Miranda crouched down and Daisy looked confused, her nose still snotty and her hair a mess.

“I never want you to act like that again.”

Daisy followed her mother’s lips and watched as she signed along to try and reinforce what she was saying.

“You do not hit. You do not kick. You do not scream and you do NOT bite.”

Daisy gulped when she heard the authority in her mother’s voice. She knew she meant business. She nodded her head and wiped her nose on the back of her hand.

“Are you a bad girl?”

Daisy shook her head right away. She moved her hand from her chin and traced her jawline with her thumb, letting Miranda know she was in fact a “good girl.”

“Good girls don’t act like that.”

Daisy signed the two words again and Miranda watched her daughter’s eyes as she tried to work it out in her head.

“Are you going to behave like a good girl?”

Daisy nodded.

“Are you going to yell?”

She shook her head.

“Are you going to bite?”

Daisy shook her head again and Miranda watched the tension in her soft body disappear. The little girl hesitated, before running her fist over her chest and poking her bottom lip out.

“'Orry.”

Miranda nodded, finally letting Daisy lean forward for the hug she was craving. She relaxed when Miranda’s lips kissed her droopy neck.

“Who do you need to say sorry to?”

Daisy pulled away so she could think it though, her tongue hanging out as her brain went into overdrive.

“'Adewine.”

Miranda nodded.

“Good girl. Who else?”

This time she took a little longer. When she didn’t answer and looked at her in confusion, Miranda pointed towards the kitchen and Daisy caught on.

“Dada.”

“That’s right. Now go and say sorry and you can have your snack.”

Daisy’s ears perked at the mention of food and she gladly took Miranda’s hand as they walked back to the kitchen. As soon as Blake turned around and saw the perpetrator, he climbed down and crouched to her level, letting his daughter balance herself with one chubby hand on his thigh.

Miranda nudged Daisy with her knee and the little girl looked down at the ground as she repeated the sign and the broken word.

“'Orry Dada.”

Blake nodded and relaxed as his baby wrapped her pudgy arms around his neck and leaned in to give him a cuddle. She knew cuddles fixed everything, no matter how bad she was.

“Are you going to do it again?”

Daisy thought for a moment and went in for another hug, making both Blake and Miranda laugh. Clearly she didn’t understand the question.

“Are you hungry?”

Daisy nodded and rubbed the last of the tears from her eyes as Blake lifted her to her spot. Daisy looked at the snack in front of her and sighed, but didn’t argue. She paid no attention to the sister sitting next to her as she started to shovel the apples and peanut butter down.

While the girls ate in silence, Miranda took the enrolment forms back into the office so she could photocopy them and Blake pushed himself up so he was siting on the counter. He didn’t speak, but he watched the way Daisy’s chin dripped apple juice and sighed. He couldn’t be mad at that face. He knew there was a 90% chance she would be getting that ice cream before bed time.

How Does That Make You Feel?

Synopsis: Sadie’s first therapy session.

Blake looked in the rear-view mirror and saw the way Sadie was fiddling with her hands. It was a nervous habit she picked up from Miranda, and Blake knew she wasn’t too sure about today.

“You okay, baby?” He asked and Sadie looked up, as if forgetting he was driving the car. She nodded and sighed, putting her head back against the headrest of her booster seat. She was seven, so most of her friends got to sit on normal seats, but she still didn’t weigh enough to make the transition.

“We’ll just talk to the lady and then we can go and get a treat.”

That caught Sadie’s attention. She had assumed she would be going back to school after this.

“What kind of treat?”

Blake smiled at her elevated mood.

“Whatever you want.”

Sadie thought through her options for the rest of the car ride. Just as she was about to settle on ice cream at the park, Blake pulled into a parking lot and opened up the back door, letting Sadie unbuckle her own belt and climb out.

When she reached up for his hand, Blake smiled and gladly took it, happy she was finally starting to warm up to everybody again. He walked her inside and told the receptionist her name, before taking a seat and watching his daughter hesitate. There were a few other kids playing on the floor, but Sadie wasn’t interested. She climbed up into Blake’s lap for the first time in a while and Blake couldn’t help but smile, wrapping his arms around her. He gave her soft hairline a kiss and held her tight. He knew she was afraid. When he had told her they were going to a counsellor she hadn’t understood, thinking she was in trouble. It had taken the promise of getting out of school during math and science, as well as promising he would be right there next to him to get her agreeing. While Sadie didn’t completely understand what a counsellor was, she knew she was supposed to talk about her feelings, something she wasn’t very good at.

“Sadie Shelton?” The receptionist asked and Blake gave her a quick squeeze and kiss, before planting her back on her feet and holding her hand tight as they stood in front of a short middle aged woman with thick black hair. Sadie thought she looked a bit like Amelia.

“You must be Sadie,” she smiled and Sadie held Blake’s hand tighter. She nodded and the woman shook her spare hand. “My name is Jenny. It’s very nice to meet you.”

Blake shook Jenny’s hand again and followed her into the consult room. Blake had met her three days prior by himself, explaining his concerns so she was prepared. When they walked into the small office, Blake sat on the pale pink couch on one end as Jenny sat in the arm chair on the other side of a small coffee table. Sadie hesitated for a moment, before sliding up on the couch so her thigh was touching Blake’s.

“So, Sadie,” Jenny started with a smile and Sadie watched carefully, not knowing where this was going. “Your dad tells me you have a lot going on right now.”

Sadie looked at Blake and nodded, before Jenny went on, trying to start off easy.

“You’ve started a new gymnastics season?”

Sadie nodded again, her body language a little calmer.

“What level are you now?”

“4. I was the only one who moved up.”

Jenny smiled and made sure she looked excited, before getting the ball rolling.

“And dad says you’re starting competitions in swimming.”

Sadie nodded again, proud of herself. She had been doing lessons since she was a baby, but her instructor had put her name forward for the competitive team. She had only just started training with the team, but was catching up pretty fast.

“All those things must be pretty exciting, huh?”

Sadie shrugged and nodded. She wasn’t sure how she was supposed to reply. She liked swim and gym, but she didn’t like that they took up a lot of her play time. Her brother didn’t have to do all the activities. He had only attended 3 karate lessons before crying the first time he had to kick someone. After that, he only did swim lessons, while Sadie was constantly busy.

Blake listened quietly as Jenny asked questions about her school, what kind of games she likes to play and what her favourite foods were, before she caught Sadie out with the speed of the questions.

“How do you feel about school?”

“It’s okay.”

“How does gymnastics make you feel?”

“Excited.”

“How does your mom make you feel?”

“Angry.”

Sadie’s eyes widened when she realised what she had said. She shifted uncomfortably and looked up at Blake, her eyes trying to try and get his sympathy.

“Daddy, I wanna go home.”

Blake sighed and gave her knee a squeeze, letting Jenny back track a little.

“Do you remember when it was just you and Max?”

Sadie narrowed her eyes, tying to work out how she knew her brother’s name. She nodded.

“Did you like it when it was just you two?”

Sadie nodded again and Jenny could see the tension.

“I have some glitter crayons here. Do you want to try them out?”

Sadie peeked over the table at the box Jenny was opening. She had been asking Blake to buy her glitter crayons for a few weeks, insisting normal crayons were for boys. Her curiosity got the better of her and Sadie nodded, sitting on the floor on one side of the coffee table while Jenny sat on the floor on the other side. She handed Sadie some pale pink paper and tipped the crayons on the wood.

“Let’s play a game. I’ll give you 1 minute to draw what I say. Okay?”

Sadie nodded. She wasn’t stupid, but she was competitive. When Jenny pulled out a stopwatch, she counted down to one and got started.

“3…2…1…Draw you and Max.”

Sadie stuck her tongue out as she drew as quick as she could. She drew herself with yellow skin and a glittery purple dress. Next to her, holding onto her legs, was a yellow-haired boy in shorts and no shirt. Jenny laughed.

“Why is he holding your leg.”

Sadie sighed, exasperated.

“He never leaves me alone.”

Jenny laughed to try and lighten the atmosphere.

“Okay and in 3…2…1…Add mom and dad in.”

Sadie grabbed the yellow crayon again and scribbled the messy outline of both parents. When she was done, Jenny clicked the stopwatch and had a look. Next to the kids, she had drawn a tall brown-haired man and a short yellow-haired woman. They were holding hands.

“Why are they holding hands?” Jenny was curious and Sadie shrugged like it was obvious.

“‘Cause they loved each other.”

Blake frowned when he noticed the past tense in her answer, but didn’t push it. He watched with curiosity as Jenny started the stopwatch again.

“And in 3…2…1…Draw Daisy.”

Sadie started as quick as she could, not thinking as she raced against the clock. When she was done and the clock stopped, Blake’s heart dropped. There was now a yellow baby in his arms, but next to his, Miranda’s drawing was scribbled out. Jenny lowered her voice now, knowing she was getting somewhere.

“Why did you cross momma out?”

Saddle looked down at her lap, sensing she may have done something wrong. When she answered, her voice was small and sad.

“Cause momma left.”

Jenny pointed to Blake and Blake got the hint, pulling Sadie up from the floor so she could sit on his lap. Jenny gave them a moment so Sadie could lean back against her father’s chest. Blake wrapped his arms around her middle and settled his hands in her lap under hers.

“When did momma leave?”

Sadie didn’t want to look at anyone, so her blue eyes stayed down, staring at all four hands in her lap. She started to play with her fingers.

“When Daisy was borned.”

Jenny nodded understandingly and kept her voice soft.

“Do you remember the day she left?”

Sadie flinched in Blake’s lap and nodded her head, leaning further back into his chest for a little support.

“Can you tell me what happened?”

Sadie looked back at Blake with her big sad eyes and he nodded solemnly, letting her know it was okay to tell her.

“Momma and daddy took Daisy home after she was borned, and momma got really angry and left.”

Jenny nodded, wanting to keep her talking before she could think about it too much.

“Why was she mad?”

This time Sadie looked away, not wanting to answer. Blake gave her another squeeze and Sadie sighed, knowing they wouldn’t stop until she spilled.

“Daddy said she went on a vacation, but I knew he was lying.”

Blake frowned, taking in the new information.

“How did you know?”

Sadie shook her head and Blake rubbed her back.

“I can’t tell you.”

Blake kissed the top of her head and spoke before Jenny did.

“Be honest, baby. Nothing you say will make anybody mad. I promise.”

Sadie looked into his familiar eyes for a moment, trying to read his face. Blake could see how close she was to crying, but had to let her be. She would never get better if she didn’t let herself feel it.

“Cause I was really bad and momma got mad.”

Blake held his breath and cuddled her close, kissing her face. Jenny watched them quietly.

“What happened?” Jenny’s voice was soft.

“I was arguin’ with Max and mommy had the baby in her belly and was crying and saying mean things.”

Blake frowned, holding her so tight there was a possibility he would cut her circulation off.

“What did mommy say?” Neither Jenny nor Blake missed her sudden regression is language.

“She said we were too hard and ….she didn’t want to be a mommy no more.”

Sadie’s eyes finally gave in and tears started to fall. Jenny stopped with the questions so Blake could comfort his daughter and squeeze her tight, rubbing her back as she let her walls down. For close to ten minutes, Blake worked on calming her down, until her crying was only a sniffle and she was leaning into his chest with a big frown and a snotty nose.

“Sadie,” Jenny started slowly, keeping her voice soft but reassuring. “Nothing you did made your mommy leave.”

Sadie shook her head, her eyebrows bunched in confusion.

“I was fighting with my little brother!”

Jenny shook her head as Blake patted her thigh to keep her calm.

“Brothers and sisters fight, but you did not make your mommy leave.”

Sadie didn’t look reassured.

“Sometimes mommies get sick inside their brain and they leave. But you did not have anything to do with that.”

Sadie sighed. She didn’t quiet understand this “sick in the brain” excuse she was constantly fed. She was bad and the next week her mom was gone. It was simple. Jenny sensed the anger and moved on, making a few notes for next time.

“Do you like having mommy back?”

Sadie shrugged, looking away. Jenny sensed this was a confusing topic, so she started slowly.

“What’s your new sister’s name?”

“Amelia.”

“How old is she?”

“A baby.”

Jenny looked at Blake and he shrugged. Normally she was pretty happy to talk about Amelia.

“What’s your favourite thing about Amelia?”

Sadie thought for a moment, finding something positive.

“She sleeps a lot.”

Jenny laughed. She had heard Daisy was a bit of a handful, so she imagined having a quiet baby was nice.

“What’s your least favourite thing?”

Sadie answered without missing a beat.

“She doesn’t look like me.”

Blake frowned, but didn’t judge, giving her leg a tap as Jenny kept going, acting confused. She knew the story, but was more interested in Sadie’s interpretation.

“No?”

Sadie shook her head, trying to work out how to explain it.

“She’s got dark skin. I’ve got light skin.”

Jenny nodded.

“Does skin colour matter?”

Sadie shook her head, that much she knew. She sighed, knowing the adults were getting the wrong idea.

“Do you mean she doesn’t look like me and mommy?” Blake offered, seeing she was getting stressed. Sadie nodded, relieved someone got it.

Jenny nodded, making a note. She didn’t push the issue. She figured that was something to leave for a day when Blake could bring Amelia in.

“Daddy tells me you’ve been getting upset at school.”

Sadie shrugged, not liking the change in topic. Blake gave her a quick squeeze and Jenny pressed on.

“What happened last week?”

Sadie hesitated, looking back at Blake with worried eyes to make sure she could talk freely. He nodded, bouncing his knee twice to make sure Sadie knew she wasn’t in trouble.

“I got upset.”

Jenny nodded understandingly.

“What happened?”

“Momma was supposed to pick me up.”

“And she picks you up every day?”

Sadie sighed.

“On Mondays, Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s. On Thursday dad gets me and Friday Nana picks us up.”

“And this was on Tuesday?”

Sadie nodded, looking down.

“What happens on Tuesday’s?”

“Momma picks me and Max up. Then she gives me my snack in the car and she takes me to gymnastics. Then she takes Max to his swim lesson and picks us both up.”

Blake was impressed. He didn’t know Sadie was so invested in the routine.

“Then you go home?”

Another nod.

“Then homework, dinner, shower, jammies, play, story and bed.”

“But momma didn’t pick you up last week?”

Sadie shook her head, playing with her fingers just like her momma always did when she was anxious.

“Nana tried to pick us up instead.”

She was getting shaky again, so Blake gently messaged the tension from her slender arms as Jenny spoke.

“And you panicked?”

Sadie nodded, her eyes on her black buckle-up school shoes. Jenny took a moment and figured it was better to lay out all the information.

“Your teacher said you wouldn’t get in the car.”

Sadie looked down. She had already gotten in trouble for this. She didn’t want it bought up again.

“Mrs Layton said she had to take you back to the office because you were hitting and kicking your Nana.”

Sadie didn’t say anything. This lady clearly didn’t understand.

“That must have been scary when momma didn’t show up.”

Sadie looked up in surprise. She was expecting to get in trouble again. But clearly Jenny wasn’t mad.

The little girl nodded and Blake watched carefully. He had been the one who had to pick her up from school after her outburst. His mom had not been impressed. She had a bite mark on her arm and a few bruises from her granddaughter. Blake knew his mother thought Sadie was simply behaving like a brat, but he suspected there was more to it than that. After speaking to Mrs Layton that day he knew there was a lot going on in his daughter’s mind. That’s why they were here.

“I said sorry to Nana. Daddy took me to her house and said I needed to apologise.”

Blake knew she was worried there would be further punishments, but Jenny gave her a little reassuring smile.

“You’re not in trouble, honey. We just need to work out why you got so scared of going home with Nana.”

Sadie narrowed her eyebrows, frustrated that these people didn’t understand.

“Cause momma picks me up on Tuesday’s!”

Blake rubbed her back a little, knowing her temper was starting to flare. He had obviously tried to talk to her about what happened, as had Miranda, but Sadie was a closed book.

“Did you find out why momma didn’t pick you up?”

Sadie sighed and nodded.

“She had she took Daisy to the doctor.”

“Is Daisy okay?”

Jenny was trying to calm her down and Sadie nodded.

“She couldn’t stop pooping.”

Blake tried not to smile and Jenny nodded, knowing Sadie had more to say.

“What else did momma say?”

Sadie sighed again.

“She said she forgot to tell me that she wasn’t picking me up,” she saturated slowly, remembering the conversation she had with her mother after she got home. “And she said I was bad for hitting Nana.”

Blake frowned. He couldn’t blame Miranda for being ticked off. Her relationship with his mother was bad enough. Having Sadie beat her up in public wasn’t going to help it any. However, he was a little frustrated that Miranda hadn’t told her she scolded Sadie.

“Do you think it would help if we could all talk like this again, but with momma too?”

Sadie frowned, looking back at her dad and then at Jenny. She didn’t like talking about this. She didn’t know it was something she would need to do more than once.

“I don’t want to.”

Blake sighed quietly and Jenny ignored him. This was type of resistance was normal.

“Maybe if we talked to momma about some of this stuff it would help her understand why you get mad.”

Sadie twisted her pinky fingers on Blake’s arm nervously, taking it all in. After a few moments, she looked up at Blake and he squeezed her a little tighter, knowing she was close to agreeing. She just needed a little reassurance.

“I think it’s a good idea, honey.”

Sadie frowned and rubbed her eyes, her head hurting with all this thinking. After a few more minutes, Sadie traced the short nail of Blake’s thumb.

“Will you come too?”

Blake nodded and kissed the top of her head.

“Of course I will.”

Jenny gave Sadie a smile and raised an eyebrow.

“So what do you say. Should we bring mom in next week?”

Sadie sighed heavily and nodded gently, making Jenny smile.

“I think that’s a very grown up decision,” she praised and Sadie shrugged, uncomfortable.

“That’s probably enough for today,” she said gently, seeing that Sadie was done. Blake nodded, ready to leave, but Jenny had one more thing.

“Do you think you could do some homework for me?”

Sadie looked down. Like she didn’t already have enough on her plate.

“Sure,” Blake answered for her, trying to make it sound more exciting than the math and reading homework she did for school.

“I want you to write down three things you like about everyone in your family. Then write three things you don’t like. It can be anything you like. You won’t get in trouble for it.”

Sadie raised an eyebrow, but agreed to do it, before Blake stood up and she automatically took his hand.

“What do we say?” Blake prodded and Sadie looked up at Jenny.

“Thank you.”

Her voice was small, not liking that a stranger knew some of her secrets, but Jenny smiled warmly and shook Blake’s hand again.

“Thanks for sharing with me, honey. See you next week.”

Blake thanked her and verified next weeks appointment, before walking Sadie back to the truck. As he held the back door open, Sadie climbed in and buckled her seatbelt. She straightened out her school dress nervously and looked at her hands.

“I’m very proud of you, baby,” Blake pressed softly and the little girl looked up at him with big eyes. “You were very brave in there.”

Sadie shrugged and Blake reached in to kiss her cheek softly, making her frozen exterior melt a little.

“I promise it will make you feel better, sweetie. It will just take a little time.”

Sadie accepted another kiss and Blake closed the door, climbing into the front seat. He looked back into the rear-view mirror as the engine started and gave his anxious daughter a smile.

“How about we get that treat I promised?”

Same finally gave him a smile and Blake pulled out of the car park, turning towards Sadie’s favourite ice cream parlour. School could wait.