Ten minutes later, Jacob arrived and he apologized for his lateness. We understood and we all piled into my Audi, driving toward Once Upon a Baby, the boutique. Inside the store, we split up. Alice and Rose went off in one direction while Jacob and I went the opposite direction. “It’s been too long, Jake,” I said as I looped my arm through his. “How are you doing?”
“Better than earlier this year,” he said, running his hand through his short hair. “Thanks to your husband, I finally kicked that never-ending infection. I’ve gained back most of the weight I lost and yeah; things are good, Bells.”
“You look much better. At Christmas, you were a walking skeleton, Jake,” I frowned. “Is Ren still imparting that insane diet on you?”
“He’s let up a bit. I still try to eat organically if I can but I treat myself to a good cheeseburger every once and awhile,” he winked. “How about you? How are you doing? We miss you at Cherry Blossom. The new principal is a douche and the dean is a wimp.”
“Anyone has to be better than Merritt, right?” I asked.
“Not really. They hired someone who had been ‘rejected’ from previous principal interviews and you can so tell. He’s keeping the teams the same but imparting some stringent rules on everyone. The morale of the building is at an all-time low, Bells. It’s bad!”
“Damn,” I frowned as I looked around the boutique. “Have you mentioned this to the district office?”
“There have been many emails to Dr. Sancken and Dr. Eddy,” Jacob replied, running his fingers over a cute pink, blue and purple princess quilt. “I like this.” He swiped a sham and picture to show Rose. “I don’t know if anything is going to happen. I only wish you were the principal. You’d be awesome, Bella.”
“I needed this time to work with Marie,” I said, giving him a sad smile.
“How is the little munchkin?” he asked.
“She’s doing so well,” I breathed as I wandered around the aisles. “Jacob, she’s grown so much. It’s unreal. My baby girl who wasn’t able to speak in November is a regular chatterbox, now. She still has moments were she has her tantrums and she still doesn’t like to be touched by strangers, but she’s adapting well. We’re now working with a speech pathologist, occupational therapist and psychiatrist to improve her coping skills. If didn’t know, you couldn’t tell that she had autism.”
“That’s great, Bella,” Jacob replied as he looked at some of the other bedding sets on display. “Dear God. This is just ugly. Red, mustard yellow and puke green in a princess theme? Ugh! Obviously the designer is color blind.”
“That is pretty bad,” I replied, wrinkling my nose. “Soft, sweet colors. Sage green, baby pink, white…like this. Butterflies and it will go well with the furniture Rose and Emmett already have.”
“Are they using Evan’s furniture?” Jacob asked.
“Yeah, it’s pretty unisex and I love the finish,” I said. “That deep mahogany is so great and timeless. David’s bedroom is like that and it’ll grow with him until he gets to college.”
“You got one of those convertible bed, didn’t you?” Jacob questioned. I nodded. All of my kids had convertible cribs to beds. It was more expensive in the long run but it saved us a ton of money when we switched the cribs to their big girl and big boy beds. “Claire is about ready to switch to her big girl bed. However, she’s in the sleeping with her daddy’s stage. I wake up with a foot in my face more often than not. I love my girl, but she’s a bed hog.”
“She loves you,” I cooed, picking up a sham of the butterfly bedding I found.
“I love her, too. But not her foot,” Jacob laughed. “Especially, not in my nose. Stinky toes!”
Rose's Choice for her baby's room