What Matters Most ~ Chapter One

Michelle moved the medical wand to the left on Marah’s stomach before pointing to the image on the screen, “And right there is your baby.”

Tony leaned closer, their child looked like…a spot.  “Are you sure?”

Marah just rolled her eyes before placing a hand over her husband’s mouth, “Shush.  You’re ruining what is supposed to be a beautiful moment.”

He took her hand from his mouth and kissed her knuckles briefly, “I wasn’t questioning Michelle’s abilities as a doctor.  It’s just our child looks like a blurry spot in a field of blurry spots.  Based on that image alone I’d say it looks like you’re having quints!”  If Tony didn’t look panicked before he certainly did at that thought, “Michelle please tell me you don’t see quints!”

Michelle laughed at the couple’s by-play but focused on reassuring Marah first, “You’re only a few weeks into your pregnancy but everything is developing nicely.”  She took some measurements before making notes on her chart, “And rest assured Tony that is your baby.  It’s too early to tell if you are having multiple births but since this is your first baby it is highly unlikely.”

Tony didn’t say anything but inside he was glad, it was scary enough thinking about Marah carrying one baby much less multiple births.  One at a time and he might just make it through this without letting the anxiety get the better of him.   Yes he was excited.  He had always dreamed of having a family with Marah and it was finally within their reach, but it’s not like he had the best role models growing up.  That thought alone made him break out in a cold sweat at least once a week.  But he put on his brave face, the last thing Marah needed was to know how scared he actually was.  He didn’t want her to doubt him or his desire for a family with her.  Oh he wanted that alright, he wanted badly.

“As for the due date by my calculations I would say February or March.  I will be able to pinpoint a more accurate date during your next ultrasound.  Do either of you have any questions?”

Tony only had one and he doubted Michelle could really answer it.  How he was going to keep from messing this up.


Now that they were in the car Tony’s silence was more evident.  Marah didn’t know what was going through Tony’s mind at the moment and it actually made her nervous.  He seemed so excited before and now he was answering all her questions in monosyllables and the occasional grunt.  Which with Tony was not a good sign, “Tony is everything okay?”

Tony took his eyes off the road briefly to give her what he hoped was a reassuring smile, “Everything’s great baby.  You want to get some lunch since I have the rest of the day off?”

Marah wasn’t fooled by his forced about-face or his attempt to change the subject.  She’d known him too long to be fooled that easily. “Are you thinking about Catalina?”  She reached over and grasped his hand and squeezed it in understanding, “It’s alright you know.  Being told you’re going to be a father again was bound to bring all that flooding back.”

Tony glanced over in shock.  That wasn’t even close to what was on his mind and he was quick to reassure her, “Sorry baby but this time you couldn’t be further from the truth.  I guess it should come flooding back and I am sure it might hit me some time.  Though the situation with Catalina was different, I was doing the right thing but we both knew my heart wasn’t in it.  Then to find out all the lies and manipulations? This situation is completely different.”

“If it isn’t Catalina then what has you so…pensive?”

Tony knew this conversation required his complete concentration and while he would ideally like to discuss this at home he also didn’t want to cause Marah any undue stress.  “How about we stop and get some lunch at Company?”

Marah huffed, “Don’t you even think of dodging the subject Tony Santos.”

“You’re not hungry?”  He knew she was, her stomach had been growling all through their visit with Michelle.  But he also knew that Marah wasn’t one to be deterred, especially not about something this big.

“Now, I didn’t say that.  I just said you don’t be dodging the subject.  And we will finish this conversation.”

Oh goodie.


Marah took a drink of her water before continuing what the conversation they’d started in the car, “So what has you so upset?” She got a horrified look on her face, “You’re not regretting the baby are you?  Because you were so excited, and now all that happiness is gone.” Marah hated the way her voice cracked at the end but she couldn’t help it.  Her entire future hung in the balance, not to mention their relationship.

Well damn!  He knew his fears were unfounded and stupid, but he never thought it would lead to this.  He HATED the look of fear and doubt in her eyes and the fact that his stupidity put it there.  He quickly reached across the table and grabbed her hand, “Don’t ever think that.  Baby I could never regret our child, even for an instant.  Trust me, I love you and I love this baby.”

“Well then what is it?”

Tony looked sheepishly down at the table before raising his gaze to meet hers, “This is going to sound incredibly stupid.  It’s just that everything has been going right for us.  As history has shown time and time again when things are going right something will inevitably come along and screw it up.”

Marah looked at him like he had grown a second head, “So you’re telling me that all of your…pensiveness, is because in the past something always goes wrong?”

“Yes.  No.  Okay yeah I guess that’s the best way to put it.”

“Marah shook her head while laughing, “You’re an idiot.”

“Hey!” He knew it sounded stupid but having Marah confirm it was something else, “You got to admit our history isn’t always the best.”

“In the past yeah we had our problems.  But look at Danny and Michelle, they have had a lot of ups and downs and they are happier now than ever.  Look at my mom and dad!  They have broken up and gotten back together more times than probably anybody I know.”

Tony knew that logically Marah had a point but he still couldn’t squash the persistent feeling that invaded his psyche, “Yeah well look what Danny and Michelle had to go through to get there.”

Marah smiled patiently at her husband, “And look what we had to go through.  A year ago you were locked away like an animal in a cage and I thought you were dead.  That’s not even counting all the ups and downs we went through before that.  But it’s all in the past,” she rested her hand on her flat stomach where their child had just started growing, “This is our future as long as we don’t let fear get in the way.  Especially some unknown specter that may or may not even exist.”

The message in those words was not lost on Tony.  If he let the fear of the unknown intrude on their happiness he would end up suffocating what they had forged for themselves until it ceased to exist. He leaned across the table and kissed her sweetly, “How did I get lucky enough to have such a smart wife?”

“Just lucky I guess.”

“Okay baby how about we make a deal?  I will try not to worry about some hypothetical situation that could implode our lives, and in return you get to give me a verbal kick in the ass if I need a reminder.”

Marah tilted her head to the side as she considered his proposed plan, “Deal.  Now I’m going to get a Buzz burger with the works.  I am starving!”

Tony grinned at how quickly she agreed, and how she wasn’t going to dwell on his stupidity or hold it against him.   She really was the light to his darkness, he would be lost without her.


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