A companion story to Ghosts
As he sat with Juraj, Luka realized how infrequent times such as these had become between them. His son was growing up, and deep down inside of him he felt the fear he knew all parents must feel with that realization. It had been hard to allow these two children the freedom that so many of their friends knew. Hard not to feel the fear at what might happen each time they were away from their sight.
He could already feel Juraj becoming more restless under his hand and though the boy had not yet spoke he stilled his hand on his back. "Do you want to move back to your own seat?" He allowed him the option only to find himself surprised as his son shook his head.
"Not yet." At his words he did turn again though, settling himself so his back once more rested against his father's chest. "Tata?" He started the question hesitantly, then paused as if uncertain about whether he should continue.
"Yes?" Luka lowered his head so that his chin came to rest on the top of the boy's head.
"Did you and Mama always know you would have more kids?" The quietness of his inquiry left no doubt to the seriousness of the subject. "I mean...you waited a longtime and my friend Alek...his Mom is always telling him he was an accident..." He let the rest of whatever he was thinking trail off at his father's soft intake of air, then waited nervously for him to speak.
Luka found himself initially at a loss for words, this certainly was not what he had expected from his son and of all the things he might have anticipated the last he could have imagined. As he framed his response he folded his arms around his oldest child more securely then smiled as Juraj placed his hands on top.
"It wasn't an easy decision for Mama and I, but you weren't an accident. Jasna and Marko were very young when I lost them...Neven was your age when Mama lost him." He paused to draw a breath before continuing. "We both knew we could never forget them...and we waited to make sure we wouldn't be having children thinking we could replace them. That wouldn't have been fair to you or Maja." He found a smile breaking at the memory of how Alenka had told him about her pregnancy...
He had worked a double shift on top of four, twelve hour night shifts and when he had finally fallen into bed Alenka was close to waking to begin her day. "Rough shift?" She asked the question drowsily as he settled beside her, draping an arm over her as he finally stilled.
"I'm getting too old for these long shifts." He offered the complaint without bothering to open his eyes.
"You are not that old." She lay a kiss on his forehead before laying back and letting her fingers brush through his hair. "Luka?" She found herself stopping before she had really even begun.
"Hmm?" He released a soft sigh as his body slipped closer towards the sleep it was demanding, lulled by her touch. Whether it was her silence or something deeper he found his need for sleep suddenly falling away and he raised his head as he opened his eyes. "Alenka...what is it? Has something happened?" His immediate thought was that something was wrong..but that couldn't be...she would have called...he tried to read the expression on his wife's face only to fail. "Alenka?"
"No...nothing has happened...well nothing bad.." She wiped an approaching tear from her face then laughed nervously before she spoke again. "Oh, Luka...I'm not sure how to do this." She laughed again even as more tears began to wet her cheeks.
The mixture of tears and the nervous laughter left him more confused and Luka forced himself to sit..his eyes taking in her appearance carefully as he tried to make sense of what might be happening. "Alenka...do what? What are you trying to say?"
"I guess I should have realized sooner...but I was so young then." She sniffed back still more tears as she took his hand in hers, lacing her fingers between his as she raised her eyes and allowed a smile to fully find her. "I'm pregnant Luka...we're going to have a baby..."
His shock was quickly swallowed by a joy he had thought never to know again and in once move he pulled his wife to him...kissing her deeply before releasing her. "Alenka, how? When? "I mean..." He lost his questions in a confusion of thought and finally settled for simply kissing her again as she laughed in response.
"I can't believe you asked me that." She let her own laughter mingle with his, sure now that this child would be as welcome to him as it was to her.
to be continued...