Nick overheard Juniper having a heated discussion with someone on her phone.
“I never said that! Don’t just go putting word in my mouth. I’m saying no because I can. I don’t care! I don’t care! No, I’m not going. Because I said so. You can’t make me.” She stayed quiet for a while before asking in a timid voice. “What?” Another long silence passed and she sighed heavily. “You’ve managed to get one that quick, huh? Okay, I’ll be there.”
Nick hovered outside of her room for a while, hesitating to enter before he knocked on her door. “June? Is everything okay?”
“No.” She replied, evidently close to crying.
“What’s going on? Who was on the phone?” He asked, frowning as he did so.
Juniper shook her head, not really wanting to answer. She took quite a long time before mumbling the answer quietly. “Daniel.”
Unintentionally narrowing his eyes, Nick felt himself start to get angry. What did that asshole want? “What did he call you about?”
“He was on about how when he died there’d be no one there so he wanted someone to take over, meaning he was telling me that he wanted to get full custody.” She started, none of that making any sense to her. He didn’t like kids, so it felt like he was just doing that to hurt her. “I said that I didn’t want to fight because well I just don’t want to and I didn’t want to mention the adoption on the phone because I felt like that would have angered him, and then he asked why and started accusing me of cheating on him and saying that he might not actually be the dad when he is, and then he was insistent that I cheated with you, and then he got angry and started yelling and I got scared. He mentioned about having booked a paternity test soon and I just…” She shook her head, trying to stop crying.
Huffing, Nick could hardly believe the nerve of that guy. First he dumps her and then he does this? “How about I call back and teach him a lesson on how to treat people?” He suggested rhetorically, not actually going to do it, even though he’d want to; he knew that’d just upset her.
“I just don’t get why. Why now? Why at the eleventh fucking hour? He could have done this sometime in the last few months or whatever and I wouldn’t have been this bad because whatever, but I could have the baby any moment now and I just I don’t get it. And I don’t get why he’d just assume I cheated I mean I just…” She groaned audibly. “Get your camera, take a picture me and of how shit of a situation I’m in now, so next time when I like a guy, you can show me the picture and I’ll learn to join the church and become a nun instead.”
“If I take a picture, then they’ll probably find it and not let you become a nun.” He gave her a sad smile and then moved to sit next to her. “Whatever he does, we’ll get around it. No matter what lawyer he gets or what trick he pulls, we’ll just say how he treated you and no judge in their right mind will let him have custody. That and get Anthony on our side and you know he’ll just fuck things up for Daniel.”
Looking down at the floor, Juniper mumbled. “Do you think I should tell them about this?” She meant Anthony and Lukas when she said them. She didn’t want to get their hopes up, knowing they’re probably anticipating her calling when she goes into labour, and she doesn’t want to get their hopes up only to crush them. She wanted her baby to go to them so badly, she knew she had made the right choice in choosing them.
Nick hesitated, unsure. “I don’t know. I know we will have to tell them, but I… I don’t think we should now.” He watched as she nodded in agreement and then got up. “You doing alright by the way? I know you mentioned having a few little contractions earlier this morning.”
“I’m fine. I’m still having some but they’re getting quite close now.” She mumbled, giving a rather bittersweet smile. “I don’t know if I’ll be as happy when it’s over this time. I mean, I’ll be happy to not be the size of a whale anymore.” Laughing a little at herself, she then glanced over at her phone as it began to ring again, frowning as she recognised the number.
“Him again?” Nick asked, frowning as he did so.
Juniper nodded, sighing heavily. She got her phone and handed it to him. “Can you keep this for the mean time? I know I’ll only end up answering it and stressing myself out more if I keep it in here.”
Nodding, Nick took her phone from her. “Sure thing.” He knew that if he did call again, he’d probably either give him a piece of his mind or just let it ring endlessly. Whichever he thinks would be worse at that point in time. Frowning slightly, he couldn’t help but read the text he sent her as it lit up on the screen, and it didn’t make sense. “Hey, how does he know about Lukas and Anthony? I thought you said you didn’t want to mention it over the phone…”
Juniper looked away, avoiding eye contact as she stayed quiet.
“What did you do?” Nick asked suspiciously, watching her seem uncomfortable under his gaze.
“Nothing, nothing.” She knew he’d be angry at her if she told the truth, so she tried to avoid it for as long as she could.
“Juniper…” His tone had a warning edge to it as he asked. “You haven’t been talking to him, right?”
Wincing slightly, she gave an awkward smile as she answered. “Maybe?”
“Maybe?” He repeated, giving her a look.
“Yes.” She confessed in a smaller voice, still avoiding his gaze.
He let out a single bitter laugh of disbelief before asking. “Are you kidding me? You’re texting him again? Do you not remember what he did? He dumped you because you’re pregnant with his kid.”
“Yeah, I kinda realised. I don’t exactly need a reminder.” She snapped back at him.
“Oh so you do remember what happened, I thought you had forgot seeing as though you were doing something so stupid.”
“How is me wanting to talk to the father of my child being stupid?” She pretty much growled, glaring at him as she did so.
“The father of a child you’re not keeping, and a child who might not even go to the parents you want. I was going to say that he’ll just end up hurting you again but it looks like he’s already done that.”
Juniper stayed quiet, stubbornly looking to the side.
“I just can’t believe, in what world would that ever be a good-” He stopped himself when he noticed she seemed to be in pain. “You alright?”
Shaking her head, she muttered. “I know we’re supposed to be arguing and stuff but can we press pause?” She asked, holding out her hand. As soon as he took it, she held his hand tightly to try and counteract the pain.
“Is it time to go to the hospital?” He asked, perching next to her on the bed, and she nodded in response. “I think the bag’s still in the car, we just need to ask Sarah to watch the girls.” He recalled.
“Okay, so if you just try and hold her still, Miss Matthews, we’re going to swab the inside of her mouth.” The nurse instructed, coming awfully close to her newborn daughter with a cotton swab.
“Be careful, she’s small.” She didn’t realise paternity tests could happen this soon after babies were born. Her daughter was only a few hours old, and was already being swabbed. It broke her heart having to tell Anthony and Lukas about what Daniel was trying to do, she got really upset over it too. She probably would be more upset, but she was still partly out of it from the pain meds. It was a nice out of it though, relaxing.
“I’ll be careful, don’t worry.” The nurse reassured her, smiling at her as she took the swab.
“So small.” Juniper repeated, looking down at the baby in her arms. She didn’t feel quite the same for her as she did for Roisin. She still loved this baby girl, who didn’t yet have a name, but it was different. She had come to accept that this baby girl wasn’t coming home with her, and was hopefully going home with her adopted dads.
“Okay, all done.” The nurse smiled, removing the cotton swab from the baby’s mouth. “I’ll just take this down to the lab, grab the other two and then we should know pretty soon.” She explained, smiling slightly as she did so.
The atmosphere in the other room was awkward. It was just Nick and Daniel alone in there, the nurse was getting a swab from the baby, and neither of them spoke to the other. Neither had anything to say. There was a mutual hatred that kept the two of them from speaking. Daniel was on his phone, doing something related to work, while Nick was watching him out of the corner of his eyes. It angered him to think that Juniper’s baby could end up with him. He had done nothing for her, and had actively made her life hell from when she first found out about the baby. He wanted nothing more than for him to stay miles away from both her and the baby, but knew it was probably unlikely. Bastards like him got everything, and it wasn’t right.
Daniel’s phone started to ring. He glared at Nick and grumbled. “Don’t steal anything while I’m gone.” And walked out of the room.
In that moment, Nick was completely alone with the two samples on the side. An idea sprung to mind, one he knew would keep Daniel far, far away from Juniper and the baby, and he knew, even if it was dishonest and she might hate him for a while, that is was for the greater good, and it would make her happier in the long run. Besides, she’d understand his motives at the end of the day.
When the lab had the results back, the two guys gathered back into the room that Juniper was in. At this moment in time, it took all her willpower to not start crying. She didn’t want to give the baby to Daniel. She wanted to give her to Anthony and Lukas instead. She knew they would care a lot for her; Daniel probably wouldn’t. It was a doctor reading the results instead of the nurse.
“Okay, so we got a DNA sample from the child in question and her two possible fathers. The lab analysed it and came back with the results. There is a slight margin of error in these tests where sometimes it may not work, but this doesn’t appear to be the case. From the results it’s apparent that the child’s biological father is Nick Draven.”
“How?” Juniper asked rather soon after the doctor said that. She managed to avoid eye contact with both Nick and Daniel, not understanding what was going on. “We never fucked though.” She mumbled, confused. She then felt guilty because she had accidentally swore, but it was okay because babies can’t remember anything. At least, she can’t remember being a baby. Must have been fun.
“The results don’t lie Jennifer.” Daniel spoke rather sharply. He had knew all along that there was something going on between those two. He had been played by her, and she would have almost gotten away with it too. He could tell she was physically uncomfortable as she held the child closer to her, the child she tried to pass off as his. “I knew you were low and had next to no morals but-”
“Hey, don’t talk to her like that.” Nick was quick to defend her, strategically placing himself between him and Juniper. “You’ve done jack all but treat her like crap, you can’t talk down to her like that.” Folding his arms, he glared at Daniel. “I think it’s time for you to leave.”
Scoffing, he rolled his eyes. “Like I care. She’s your train wreck now, not mine.” And with that, he left.
Juniper relaxed a little, but still held the baby close to her, mostly just in case he came back. She was still really confused about the results.
“Well, myself or one of the nurses will be back to check on you in a short while.” The doctor excused herself, leaving the room also.
It was just Juniper and Nick in the room, with their supposed child despite the fact that the closest they had gotten to each other was that one time her hand accidentally grazed his bum. She didn’t pay a lot of attention in science, and she knew her family could breed like rabbits, but that just wasn’t possible. “What did you do?” She asked, giving him a look.
“I may or may not have switched the samples.” Shrugging it off as if it was nothing, he gave her a small smile.
“How?” She asked, baffled by how he did that.
“They were stickers on a beaker June, I just peeled them off and swapped them over.” He explained, and then gave her a look. “It wasn’t exactly rocket science.”
“Why?” She then asked, tilting her head at him. “You could have gotten caught and into a lot of trouble.”
“I did it because I didn’t want her going to him. That wasn’t how all this was supposed to turn out.” He explained his actions, sitting next to her. “She’s supposed to go to two loving parents, not to him.”
“But still, what if you had gotten caught? Then what?” She asked, and then sighed heavily. “I appreciate you doing something like that for me, but please don’t do anything that stupid again. If you had gotten caught…” She trailed off, not wanting to think about it.
“You’re right, it was really stupid and I’m sorry. I just… When I was in there with him he was on his phone as if this whole thing didn’t matter to him, and then I thought about everything that had happened to you and what you had gone through and everything that’s going to happen, it just really rubbed me the wrong way. I know Anthony’s a great lawyer but he could have probably found a team of people like Anthony, and I didn’t want her to grow up with someone like him. I don’t want her to know someone like him as dad.” Without meaning to, his voice got slightly louder as he spoke as he got more riled up about what could have happened. “I guess we both make stupid mistakes, huh?” Taking a moment to calm himself down, he then tried to change the subject. “I think she’s probably the blondest kid I’ve ever seen.” He pointed out, glancing over at the baby.
“Do you want to hold her?” She offered, and then smiled sheepishly. “My arms are getting kinda tired and I don’t think they’d appreciate it if we dropped their baby.”
Nick carefully took the baby from her. He wasn’t entirely sure how to feel right now. It was kind of weird because it felt like the baby should be coming home with them, but she’s not. Part of him did wish that the baby was coming home with them, but he and Juniper weren’t in the position to be looking after another baby, no matter how cute and charming she seemed to be already. “Are you sure Daniel was even there when she was made? She looks pretty much like your double.” He pointed out, smiling as he did so.
“I’m kind of surprised Daniel believed she could be yours. She’s way too blonde to be yours.” She laughed a little, also looking over at the baby. “I wonder what they’re going to call her.”
“I think they might still be in the waiting room, if your arms have recovered I’ll go get them.” He smiled at her, handing her back the baby.
“I hope they’re not angry that the whole custody thing turned out to be, well, y’know.” She mumbled, holding the baby close. It was weird holding her, because she felt like hers and not hers at the same time.
“They won’t be.” He assured her, leaving her alone in the room with the baby.
“You do look a lot like me.” Juniper mumbled to the baby, smiling slightly. It made her smile to see the baby seemingly respond to her voice, as if she recognised it. “Blonde hair, purple eyes… maybe when you’re older, people might mistake us for twins.” She laughed lightly, albeit slightly bittersweetly. Sighing heavily, she mumbled. “There’s going to be a day when you figure out the truth, but please don’t hate me. I did this for you. I didn’t do it because I don’t love you, that’s the opposite reason. I love you so much, I want you to have two parents who love you and who can devote their full time to you. You might find it unfair because you have an older sister, and you’ll likely have younger siblings too, but I just hope one day you’ll understand.” She whispered, cuddling the baby close. “I’m doing this because I love you, and I don’t want you to have to grow up sharing a room with two older sisters with only one bathroom between you, where I’ve not got a proper job and where you can’t be proud of me. I promise I’ll still see you though, on your birthdays and maybe on mine. I’ll get you Christmas presents too, don’t worry.” She laughed a little, and then said solemnly. “Please, don’t hate me for this. I hope you’ll understand, even if you think it makes no sense that you have a sister, maybe more siblings one day… You’ll understand hopefully one day.”
She was quiet for a while before Anthony and Lukas came in. Juniper smiled at them and asked. “Do you want to meet your little girl?”
“Hey baby girl.” Lukas came over to Juniper and carefully took the baby from her arms. “She’s so beautiful.” He was unable to believe this was finally happening.
“She really is.” Anthony agreed, coming up behind his husband to look at the baby. “She looks a lot like you Jen.”
“She does, Nick said that as well.” Juniper agreed, watching them with her baby. Well, was she her baby anymore? She was more like their baby.
“So, what actually happened regarding the paternity test? I thought you said that you weren’t the dad.” Anthony pointed out, looking between Nick and Jen. He had a feeling something was going on between the two of them; they were exceedingly close for just friends.
“It’s kind of a long story,” Nick started, unsure of where to go with this. Could he really tell them what he did?
“It’s not that long. Daniel went on a lot of business trips, sometimes leaving me alone. I was feeling lonely and you came in to comfort me. We never really anticipated anything to happen, and didn’t expect anything to happen. I didn’t really think much of it as it was only once, but I guess once is all it takes.” She came up with the excuse, glancing up at him. If he could mess up the test like that for her and the baby, risking to face whatever consequences came from that, then she could at least lie and cover him.
Lukas looked at the baby and then back at them, feeling a newfound sense of dread. “You’re still okay with our arrangement, right?” Asking quietly, he was scared of the answer.
“Mine or not, the reasons for not keeping her still stand.” Nick clarified, giving a small smile.
It was Juniper who then asked them “Have you thought about a name for her?”
“A few, but none of them seem quite right now she’s here, none seem to fit her. We liked floral names like Lily or Daisy. There was Rose but, well, you know. It’d be a bit weird having Roisin and Rose.” Anthony explained, giving a rather sheepish smile.
“We then also wanted something similar to your name if it was a girl, a way of saying thank you for her.” Grinning, Lukas added this.
“You don’t have to do that.” Juniper smiled in return. It wouldn’t really mean much if her daughter shared her fake name, after all, it wasn’t her actual name.
“What about the name Juniper?” Nick suggested, ignoring the look adult Juniper was giving him. “It’s a floral name, its similar to Jen’s name, and I think she kinda looks like a Juniper.”
“Juniper…” Anthony mumbled, considering it. Lukas stayed quiet for a while, clearly thinking before voicing his opinion.
“I like that name. I think it suits her.”
“I like it too. Little baby Juniper.”
It was a while later and visiting hours were over. Nick had been allowed to stay with Juniper though, because he was put down as the baby’s biological father, despite not being the baby’s dad.
It was unusually quiet for the two of them, Nick being the one to break the silence. “Are you sure you don’t want a picture with her?” She had made him pack a camera specifically so that she had a picture at least of herself and the baby, but now she didn’t seem all too fussed.
“Maybe later.” She mumbled, not wanting to do it because it would make it feel harder to give her up. Sighing slightly, she muttered. “Hopefully that Juniper is luckier in love than I am. I hope she doesn’t end up in a situation like this; having to give away a baby because she can’t keep it and look after it properly.”
“I wouldn’t say you’re unlucky, I’d just say you’ve not found the ending yet, you know?” He suggested, smiling slightly.
She smiled, and then started to laugh. “I never thought I’d hear you say something like that. What happened to the Nick that didn’t believe in love and thought it was dead?”
“That was recently divorced, bitter Nick. I’m not recently divorced and I’m not as bitter anymore.” He pointed out, folding his arms. “What happened to the Juniper who believed in love and finding the one and all that junk?”
“What can I say? After I’ve dated and had a child with another blonde douche, and still for the most part single, I guess I’m losing hope.” She pointed out, sighing heavily and looking over at baby Juniper. It was weird having a child with the same name as her.
“Maybe you should stop dating blonde guys then?” He suggested. “Go wild, try a brunette.” He joked, grinning as he did so.
“Do you believe in the one?” She asked out of interest, glancing over at him.
Shrugging, he then clarified. “I dunno. It kinda fluctuates. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. When I was with Elle I did, and believed she was the one, and after she left me, I stopped and thought it was all a hoax.”
“And now?” Juniper pressed.
Smiling slightly at her, he answered. “I think I might be starting to again.”
Glancing over at the baby, Juniper asked. “Can you get her for me? I think I want the picture with her.”
Nick got up and handed baby Juniper to adult Juniper. “I figured you’d end up changing your mind sooner or later.” Getting his camera out of the bag, he took a moment to make sure it was set up properly. “You ready?” He asked, and at her nod, he took the picture. “It’s sweet.” He commented, and then showed her the picture.
“Yeah, it is.” She agreed, smiling as she did so. At least she had something to remember all this by, even if it was just a picture. She knew that she could keep some contact with baby Juniper, but not a lot. It was important to make the last few moments count, before saying goodbye.
There was a moment as they sat next to each other on the hospital bed, close proximity. She mumbled quietly. “You know, I think you’ll fine someone soon. Someone nice.”
“Oh?” He asked, intrigued by this. “Which intuition you playing on? Psychic one or mom one?”
Shrugging, Juniper grinned. “Bit of both.” She then explained. “I just feel like we’re coming to the end of something, you know? You’ve definitely got full custody of Lainey and Elle’s out of your life, and I think I’ve been through all the blonde arsehole drama I can deal with for this lifetime… I dunno. I just feel like things are gonna change soon.”
“Change for the better or are you planning being dramatic with a ginger next?” He teased, and then added. “Not so sure how you can top what you’ve already done though. Maybe try having twins.”
“No more being insanely dramatic. I think things are going to change for the better.” Ignoring his teasing, she smiled at him, an action which he reciprocated. There was a pause, seemingly a hiatus of them both just smiling. Neither of them knew exactly what they were doing as they began to move slightly closer to each other. His hand moved, about to caress her cheek when they were interrupted by the baby making a fuss.
Nick moved away from her, snapping out of whatever daze they were both in first. What was he thinking? She had just had another man’s child, she almost certainly wasn’t interested in something like that right now. “Sorry, I uhm…” He trailed off, feeling awkward.
“No, no, don’t I just- never mind.” She smiled slightly at him before trying to work out what the baby wanted.
“I’ll just give you two some privacy.” He decided, leaving the room.
“C’mon baby don’t cry. Please don’t cry?” Juniper tried to stop the baby from crying, but it seemed to not much avail. “Please stop. Please? You’re going to make me start crying soon.” She held the baby close, trying that technique, and was happy that the baby started to calm down. “Was that all you wanted? To be close to me before we say goodbye?” Pulling the baby away, she wanted to look at her daughter and ignore the fact that her voice was wavering. “I don’t think you’re my carbon copy, you look a little like my mom too.” She confessed, smiling slightly.
Sighing heavily, she mumbled. “This is only going to get harder before it gets easier.” The baby was resting mostly on her thighs, and she drew little lines on the baby’s tummy, remembering that Roisin used to like that when she was this small. “It’s going to sound weird, but I never thought of you as a person. I always thought of you as something to give away, or a great way of getting to sit down on buses and tubes, and also an annoyance when random people kept touching me and asking when I was due, like they had some kind of right to just randomly touch me just because I was pregnant.” Rolling her eyes at the memory, she then continued. “Even when I felt you move and kick, you never felt like a baby to me, and now you’re here… You have no idea how badly I want to keep you.” At this point she started to cry. “It worked not thinking of you as a person because that way this would be easier.”
Wiping away her tears, she whispered. “I told myself I wouldn’t cry, because I was aware of the ending the whole time. Right from when I found out about you, I knew I wouldn’t be keeping you. I tried not to fall in love with you because I know it’d be harder, but here we are. You’re a perfect little charmer who’s made me fall harder and faster than I thought possible. I didn’t want to love you because you’re not mine to love, but I guess you just have that effect on me, don’t you June-bug?”
“But you’re going to love your dads. I know you are. Hell, I’ve only known them a few months and I love them. Me and Lukas went and got our nails done and he said that if I saw anything I liked for you while we were out that he’d get it for you. I’ve picked out quite a few cute little things for you, hopefully they’ll tell you what, but I don’t know. Your other dad, Anthony, is such a great guy. He cares about so much, I know he might seem a little cold or scary sometimes, but he cares so much and I know he cares so much about you. Both of them do.”
“I think that’s the problem. Too many people are in love with you.” Laughing a little, she then sighed. “I wish I didn’t start cuddling you. I wish they had just given you straight to your dads because this has made it so much harder than what I could have ever anticipated. I know they’ll be here soon, ready to take you home. It just hurts that home isn’t with me.” Sighing heavily, she kissed the top of the baby’s head. “Just… please understand one day. I’m doing this because I love you.” Holding her daughter for what could be the final time, Juniper did everything possible to make this moment last. “I love you, so much.”
AN: This chapter is exactly 5000 words long, (excluding this AN) without a doubt the longest chapter I’ve done to date (I think at least?)
I know it’s not a proper baby (like game one) but a resized one but do you know how difficult baby poses are? Their rigs are like evil, like they were made in Satan’s arsehole or something. They’re confusing and I was like “why go to so much trouble for a burrito when we can have a resized toddler?” If Juniper has more kids in the future though, they’ll be burritos, don’t worry. It’s just because we’d only see baby Juniper about once and this was a very baby pose heavy chapter, and I didn’t want to mess around posing burritos. I know the baby looked kinda big to say it’s a newborn (I think? I dunno I’ve never seen a baby that’s like an hour old, the youngest baby I’ve seen was my cousin when she was like a month old but she was premature so she was small-ish).
And sorry if the poses look weird, I have no fucking clue how you hold babies (Carys knows, I was trying to convince her to adopt one for a period of time so she can work it out and tell me but she said no ¬-¬) all I know is you need to support the head (I only know that because I wasn’t doing that when I was 10 and holding my cousin and I had to like have a cushion under my arms while holding her lmao) which is happening in all of the poses so… 😀
Also, because I know that not everyone follows me on tumblr, over there I was tagged to do a moodboard and I did one for Junie and I’m secretly rather proud so I’m gonna share it here just because
I low-key hate how I called her Juniper (as in the baby) because I hate it when parents do that: naming their kids after themselves like why? Did you creativity fly out the window? No offence intended if anyone’s done that, but I just don’t get it, I mean there are SO MANY names, why pick your own?
I guess this has sentimental value because they’ll always be even more connected by their names, buuuuuuut this is the only time this will ever happen. I think it was tired/tipsy me who thought “IT WoULd BeE CUtE if BABy and JUnipER haD tHe SAAAAmE NAAAAMeeee”
that me is an idiot and idk why I trust her with anything. But, I kinda agree with her that I like how they have the same name. Plus I doubt we’ll see her much anyway (not before chapter 50 (BIG THINGS HAPPEN THEN TRUST ME AH I AM HYPED FOR IT) at least and I dunno when after that and I’m planning on things moving slightly faster because damn this is taking AGES this time last generation all babies were born and I think this was the one where Alyssa bought a wedding dress before being engaged, like Alyssa was almost a grandmother this time last generation jesus christ I need to pull up my socks, then again last generation I wasn’t murdering teenagers on tumblr nor blonde husbands on wordpress/blogger so…)