"He never thought it would be something that would happen to him."
Feelings of love surged through Michael as he looked at the man who was now his husband. He ran a finger softly down Ben's cheek while he thought back on the last few days. Was he really a husband and a father? Were they really married? He had been so surprised about the proposal on the bus that he couldn't answer. Ben had been patient, but Michael knew him well enough by now to know that he was slightly hurt that the reply hadn't been 'yes' right away. Ben never said a word to him, but it was like the elephant in the room.
It wasn't that he hadn't wanted to get married. He loved Ben more than anyone in the world. It was like he had said to Brian in the bar. He had never thought it would be something that would happen to him. It hurt to know that he would never be able to get married, so he had let all thoughts of it leave his mind and his heart. Why think about something that was never going to be possible?
Ben shifted in his sleep and automatically moved closer. Michael took him in his arms and let the feeling of love for his new husband fill him. We are married. I don't care what anyone says. It's legal in Canada and it will be legal here some day. He vowed to marry Ben again when that happened. He gently kissed the top of his husband's head and let his thoughts drift back to his new daughter.
He remembered how he felt when Melanie put the baby in his arms. He looked down at the sleeping bundle and thought she was the most perfect baby in all the world. He wanted to hug her tightly but she was so small. Her fingers were so little and he was amazed that she actually had fingernails. He never thought he could love anyone so much. But, here she was ... his beautiful baby girl. His Jenny. And he loved her more in that first second than life itself. He couldn't wait to go back to the hospital tomorrow so he could hold her and kiss her perfect little cheek. He laughed at how silly those thoughts would seem to someone else. Melanie said he could give Jenny her first bottle but that it would a few days before she could pump her breast milk or something like that? He didn't really understand what she was saying. He was too busy looking at the most perfect baby. The warmth of her small body and the way she seemed to fit perfectly in his arms brought tears to his eyes.
I wonder if I'll be a good father? I wonder if we'll be close? What am I going to do when Jenny has a girlfriend? Or a boyfriend? Whichever ... it won't matter to me. But what will I do if someone hurts her? Feelings of overprotectiveness surged through him and he took a deep breath to calm himself. I'll have to just play it by ear. This is all so new to me. He looked down at Ben and felt sad that he would never know the joy of being a father. In that moment, he hated the disease coursing through his husband's body even more. It was robbing him of becoming a father. Ben would never know what it was like to hold a piece of himself in his arms. He would never know the joy or revel in the knowledge that he helped to create a life. How sad, Michael thought as his eyes filled up. He suddenly remembered what Ben had said to Hunter. 'They're working on it.' Michael hoped that whoever 'they' were would find a way for Ben and Hunter to become parents someday. The thought of either of them not feeling what he felt the first time he held Jenny was just too sad to think about.
So, Michael thought about Hunter and the first time he saw the baby. He had been so cute with her. Calling her his little sister. Telling her he would protect her. Kissing her and just enjoying the fact that he had a sister at all. It warmed both his and Ben's hearts to see them together. Michael hadn't been sure if Hunter would be a little jealous of the baby. Never having had a real family until now, it would be understandable if he was. But that fear was quickly dissipated the minute Hunter laid eyes on his sister. He was so eager to hold Jenny that he hovered over Michael until he couldn't stand it anymore and reluctantly handed her over to her big brother. I have a feeling that Jenny's feet won't be touching the ground for a very long time! He chuckled softly to himself.
Michael looked down at Ben and noticed that he was awake.
"Penny for your thoughts?" Ben asked.
"I was just thinking of everything that's happened the past few days and I guess I couldn't sleep."
"Well, that's understandable. A lot has happened. You're a father now..."
"And a husband," Michael added before Ben could finish.
"I can't believe we're married." Ben turned and took Michael into his arms. "You're my husband."
Michael smiled against Ben. "And you're mine." He turned and placed a soft kiss on Ben's chest and squeezed him tightly.
"Are we really married? I mean really?"
Ben pulled Michael's chin up so that he could look into his eyes.
"Yes, baby, we're really married. You're my husband. And we will have that legal piece of paper that says so soon." He leaned down and kissed Michael softly on the lips. "And on that day, I will marry you all over again, if you'll have me."
Michael's eyes filled with tears of joy. "I'll marry you in every state if you want me too."
"You know I do," Ben said as he kissed Michael deeply. "OK, now that we have that settled, let's talk about our Jenny."
Michael laughed and held onto Ben. They ended up talking through the night. They made plans to get a bigger place so that Jenny could have her own room for the times that she stayed with them. They also talked about Hunter and their hopes for him. And they talked about all the good things they would experience together as Mr. and Mr. Novotny-Bruckner.