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Image by Casey Horner

Book of Emily

See below for an excerpt from my upcoming novel. Please let me know ( if you're interested in reading more!

Chapter 1 - A Baby is Made

278 Days Before Zeke (BZ)


A surge of pleasure arose within Emily. Covered in a cool sweat, a powerful current flowed up the spine and through her skull. Thoughts danced, but none was sticky enough to grab ahold of her. Opening her eyes, she beheld little Zeke, perfect in every way.


Emily gently shook her head, amazed at the magic of the moment. Normally lost in worry during evening feeds, this time was different, and she couldn't fathom the source of her enchantment.


As quick as it came, the joy was swept away by a swelling of sadness in her throat. Isn’t it always supposed to feel like this?!  


An imperceptible gap had long lingered between mother and son. However, this evening, Emily felt an undeniable certainty that they had both traversed the realms of heaven and hell to meet in this seemingly ordinary space.


 Emily smiled brightly. Zeke smiled back. The current returned and the world faded away once again as they rocked together, exchanging silly faces. Each was fully sated on the other’s pleasure.


A curious musing arose. Despite a lifetime of viewing motherhood as an unjust sacrifice, Emily suddenly recognized it as a sacred gift. While the source of this insight was beyond her grasp, she was left with an overwhelming surge of gratitude.


Abruptly, anxiety tightened her mouth. Just the night before, she’d agonized over how this adorable child had destroyed everything she cherished. Despite her life in laying in disarray, he sat with outstretched arms, clamoring for her love. Emily faced a choice: embrace her son tightly or leave him be and begin the daunting task of reconstructing the fragments of her shattered life.


Her jaw clenched firmly at the memory of how she’d spent the first 18 months of Zeke’s life clinging to the idea she could do both. This was an illusion. Life would continue to pummel her until she made a choice. In the end, she chose Zeke — a decision etched into the fabric of her existence. 


Emily let tears stream down her cheeks un-wiped. This subtle act of rebellion fueled her strength as she shifted her focus to the beautiful pulse of energy radiating from the base of her skull. Her body buzzed with the production of these cleansing tears. 


In reverent silence, Emily observed a tear gather at the tip of her nose; poised for its inevitable descent. A smile adorned her face, coaxing the first tear to fall. Yet, before it could reach Zeke’s nose, Emily was abruptly torn away from her son. 


Stricken with panic, Emily's eyes shot open, desperately scanning the darkness for a familiar anchor. Her chest tightened as she sat up, wiping her tear-soaked face.


Walter's deep voice called out, breaking the silence. “Em, is everything okay?”


As her eyes adjusted, Emily spotted her husband, Walter, sitting up against the headboard. She scooted closer, nuzzling her head into his broad chest. The firm embrace invited her to surrender to his comforting strength.


Walter repeated himself. “Seriously Em, is everything ok?” He waited for an answer that didn’t arrive before he continued. “You were crying in your sleep.”


“I’m quite alright Walter.” Emily replied with unexpected assurance. 


“Are you sure darling? It seemed like you were having a bad dream.”


Emily shook her head against his chest. “No, no. It was nothing like that. I know I must’ve been dreaming, but what I experienced felt just as real as this moment.”


“Hmmmm.” Walter paused briefly before asking. “Was it sad wherever you were?”


“No. In fact, it was quite the opposite. I was happy in a way I never knew was possible. It’s hard to describe, but it like life was perfect exactly as it was.”


“If it was so great, why were you crying?”


Emily smiled to herself. “You’re going to laugh.”


“Good! You know how I love to laugh!” Walter cheerfully exclaimed.


“Ok, so I was rocking a baby to sleep.”


Walter shifted to the edge of the bed to illuminate the room with the nightstand lamp. His gaze met hers in cautious excitement. “Hold on, Did I hear that right? Were you really rocking a baby?”


Giddy with joy, Emily nodded. “I know, right!? It’s kind of hard to believe, isn’t it?” 


“Do you have any idea who’s baby it was?” She sensed anticipation in his voice.


Emily closed her eyes, taking in a deep breath. “See that’s the crazy part. I remember every detail of the moment and everything leading up it as if it had all happened in real life. Isn’t that strange?”


Walter nodded. “And?”


“Well, the baby was mine. I mean, he was our’s. His name was Ezekiel, but we called him Zeke for short. I was rocking him to sleep in our guest room, which we’d converted into a lovely little nursery. I was just staring at his beautiful little face and it filled me with this indescribable happiness.”


“Just how far into the future were you?” 


“Not far at all.” She winked wickedly. “I even know exactly how we made him.”


Emily felt his desire descend upon her as his eyes widened hungrily. “Really? And how’s that?”


She lowered the sheets, revealing her sheer nightgown, leaving little to the imagination. Crawling onto his lap, she straddled his passion and pressed her finger firmly to his lips before speaking. “Shhh, no more words.”



Emily lay in a euphoric daze, her body tingling from head to toe. Leaning against her forearm, she gazed in awe at this dark mountain of a man who was the very embodiment of her deepest desire.


He stroked her hair and smiled. “I like this baby-making business.”


His words punctured the delicate bubble of her rapture, allowing reality to seep through the hole. Intuitively, she knew they’d conceived on this very first attempt and responded distantly. “I’m sure you do.”


His eyes narrowed surprise. “Did I miss something?”


With a pit in her stomach, she shook her head. “Do you think I’m going to be a good mother?”


“Oh Em.” Walter replied with a sigh before begrudgingly sitting up and crossing his arms. “Is that really what matters to you right now?”


She took in a slow breath to calm her irritation. “Yes.”


He looked off into the distance for a moment. His eyes returned burdened with disappointed resignation. “I have no idea what it takes to be a great parent. Like anything else, I assume it’s something you learn on the job. But, I do remember my mother saying that parenting is best done with the body and not the mind. Do you think you could do that?”


Emily’s face puckered to contain her sadness. “I’d like to say yes? But, the truth is, I don’t even know what that means!”


He tilted his head and frowned. “Sure you do.”


With a shrug of the shoulders she said. “If you say so.”


Walter smiled warmly. “This baby is going to be such a gift.”


“How’s that?” She replied in irritation.


“You’re going to see just how good it feels to let go of this need for perfection.”


She bit firmly on her bottom lip. “How’s that supposed to be a gift?” 


With genuine curiosity he asked. “Tell me honestly Em, has your obsession with building the picture-perfect life made you any happier?”


Emily’s stomach sank as she considered the question. She bit her lip and shook her head.


Walter smiled widely. “Then why don’t you stop trying so damn hard?”


Triggered, she barked back. “That’s not possible.” 


“And why not?”


“I need to be this way.” Emily replied as she crossed her arms.


Seemingly amused by her aggression, Walter squeezed her thigh. “To what end darling? What would happen if you just let things unfold the way they were intended?” 


“It would all fall apart.”


“What would?”


“My life.” The words hung in the air, echoing in deafening silence.


She watched Walter’s eyes well with sadness as they considered the hurt he’d just unearthed. He spoke gently. “And is that such a bad thing?” 


Emily turned away and buried her head in her hands. Between sniffles, she spoke. “Do you not like this life we’ve built together?”


Walter shuffled next to his wife and wrapped his arms around her. His hugs had always been magic. With a tone matching the masculine softness of his clutch, he spoke. “Em, darling, I’m living the life of my dreams so long as you’re in it. All of this other stuff we have is nice, but it’s meaningless without you.”


She wiped her tears and looked up to find certainty in his eyes. “How do you do that?”


“Do what?”


“Act so self-assured. Like there’s nothing in this world that scares you.”


He kissed her forehead and smiled playfully. “Its my super power.”


Emily buried her face in his bare chest, finding intense comfort in the rhythm of his heartbeat. 


After what could have been five seconds or five minutes, Emily looked up. “Are you really not worried at all about what kind of dad you’ll be?”


Walter laughed softly. “No, not really. Should I be?”


With childlike honesty she revealed only to Walter, Emily made no attempt to censor her thoughts. “I know this sounds terrible, but its your parents’ blood that runs through you, not the blood of those saints who raised you. Doesn’t that frighten you?” 


Pain flashed across his face before he smiled serenely. “Em, blood or not, my birth parents don’t have an ounce of influence over me other than what I allow them have. Besides, what I feel most for them is sympathy. I can’t even imagine how hard it must’ve been for them to give up their baby boy.“


Emily shook her head in disbelief. “I don’t get how you could possibly sympathize with them. I mean, what kind of monsters abandon their baby anyway?!” Emily felt a heaviness in her chest. “Even still, my parents were worse…” She paused, deciding it best to avoid that rabbit hole.


Walter seized the opportunity. “Em, for your sake, leave your parents out of this. They did the best they could.” He gently grabbed her shoulders and looked directly into her eyes. “They are not the boogeypeople you make them out to be. You are your own woman. I mean, look at this life you’ve built for yourself. Look at this amazing marriage we have. You’ve accomplished everything you’ve ever set your mind to. I have no doubt you’ll be an extraordinary mother.”


“You really think so?”


He smiled broadly. “I know so.”


Emily kissed his cheek. “Thank you Walter. I don’t know what I’d do without you.”


He gave her a quick squeeze and scooted back to his side of the bed. “Shall we get some shut eye? We need to stay well-rested if we’re gonna take this baby-making business seriously, don’t you think?” He winked back at her before turning off his bedside light.


Emily crawled under the covers and smiled. “Ha ha, you’re quite a joker Walter.”


“Thanks Em. Good night darling, I love you.”


“I love you too. Good night.”

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