Through All the Dust
Chapter Seventy-Three: The Messenger
I'd flown out to meet Brian in Boston. They'd played a show leading into a day off, so he'd lingered behind while the others forged onto New York. I'd taken the trip to, both, visit my husband and to start landscaping rental houses in Lenox. It was only a two hour drive from Boston to my hometown, which was more than enough time to start getting to work on baby names.
Although my doctor had assured me that I was able to fly at practically any point in my pregnancy, my plan to move back home temporarily had no wavered. Though, I still hadn't filled Marge or Tom or Carolyn in on the baby news.
As Brian drove, I held my knees with both hands. Travelling by car had proven to make me more nauseous than I could handle most times. It made touring a fucking delight. But there was only a week left and I was absolutely relieved to see the finish line.
I'd pitched the idea of a move to Lauren, sure that it would take some convincing on my part to get her on board. She'd agreed excitedly before I'd really gotten through the entire plan. But that was Lauren. She was just thrilled to be along for the baby ride. I was thrilled to have Owen by my side for the next several months. We'd decided that after the new year had begun, we'd make the move.
"James," I said like it was obvious.
Brian made a face.
"What?" I gasped. "Do you seriously not want to name him James?"
"It isn't that I don't want to, necessarily..."
I raised my eyebrows as some sort of push for him to explain himself. He glanced over at me, a sigh escaping from his throat.
"I like the name James," I frowned.
He laughed, "So do I...But..."
"Well," he offered, "why don't we name him Tyler?"
I raised my hands up, shaking my head, "No, no."
"And why not?" he asked knowingly.
"Because...he's not Tyler," I said sheepishly.
I'd been considering the name since I found out I was carrying the parasite. It was an obvious choice, along with James, but I couldn't seem to wrap my head around it. I was sure that I wouldn't be able to call anyone by that name but Tyler Brody. It was tainted for me now.
My son deserved a name I was happy to call him by. Tyler was not that.
"Right," Brian nodded. "That's how I feel about James. On the odd chance that he inherits the Jimmy nickname, I don't want to start morphing that name into someone else..."
"Is that stupid?" he asked me with a laugh.
"Don't ask me," I shrugged.
"I was thinking a middle name though," Brian added shyly.
I glanced over at him, "Baby James Haner?"
Brian hesitated, "Baby Saint James Haner."
"Saint James," I repeated with my eyebrows pushed as far up as they'd go.
He looked nervous.
"I love that," I breathed. "Saint James."
"We'll bury James so far in the name that no one will ever even think of calling him Jimmy," Brian grinned.
With a laugh, I nodded my head once more, "Whatever you want, Bri."
"You're okay with it?" he asked, stealing a quick look at me. "Naming him after Jim?"
"Of course," I said confusedly. "Why wouldn't I be?"
Sooner than I'd anticipated, we found ourselves in Lenox. The familiar streets were dampened by the December snow. I was really missing California.
As Brian navigated around the main roads, headed for the Brody house, we fell into a comfortable silence. I was running through names in my mind. I considered Matthew, but decided that the other boys would probably be offended that they hadn't been considered. I liked the name Dean and I liked the name Asher--both of which Brian had vetoed. Brian had pitched some Italian name; I'd denied it immediately.
"We'll figure it out," he laughed, not frustrated at all like I was.
The car lulled itself to sleep as my eyes wandered up to the beautiful home that was the Brody's. It was such a big change from the house I'd grown up visiting them in.
"Fuck this is nice," Brian gushed, admiring the home through my window with his head ducked low.
"Good find," he smirked.
"Wait until you see inside," I told him seriously.
We climbed out of the car and into the shovelled driveway. Winter was the one thing I didn't miss at all about Masachusetts; even in the "winter" in California, it was still warm enough to head down to the beach. Most days, anyway.
Tom was shocked to see us on his porch. Surprise visits were my favourite thing to spring on my favourite people.
"Marge!" he hollered as we kicked off our wet shoes and stepped into their warm home.
She rounded the corner and gasped, falling into a sprint toward Brian. I tried not to be offended that she'd chosen to love him first. Tom shrugged at me.
"Why do you never call first?" Marge scolded me playfully, finally pulling me into her arms.
"It's more fun this way,"I grinned.
She dragged us into the kitchen and practically forced me into a wooden chair. As she filled the kettle and set it to boil, she sat across from me. The men filled the empty seats.
"So?" she smiled. "To what do we owe the pleasure?"
I shrugged lazily, "We were in the neighbourhood..."
"You only come back here when something's happened," Marge said suspiciously.
I looked to Brian, who gave me a subtle head nod.
"Well..." I started, suddenly losing my nerve.
I felt almost sixteen. Like I was still a teenager, about to admit that I'd had sex with my boyfriend and accidentally gotten myself knocked up. It took a few minutes of internal convincing to realize that I was a grown ass, married, woman...Somehow I still felt like I'd be in trouble.
"You're pregnant!" Marge gushed with a smirk.
I looked from her to Brian and back again, "What?"
"What?" she mimicked, holding her arm out.
"How did you know?"
"Know what?" she asked me slowly. "I was just joking--wait, what?"
"What?" I choked.
Tom groaned, "What?"
"Are you..." Marge asked me, her arm now latching onto my arm.
I nodded, "Yeah..."
"Oh my lanta!" she shrieked, sending her chair flying into the wall as she threw herself at me.
I let her hold me, listening to her whisper happy blessings into my hair. Tom looked genuinely confused, Brian pleased.
"What's happening?" Tom asked finally.
Marge sniffled, chuckling happily, "Our Blair's going to be a mom!"
"What?" Tom demanded. "That's what that conversation meant?"
"Yes!" Marge replied sternly. "Now hug your daughter!"
Tom laughed, pulling me into his chest as Marge bounded over to Brian and congratulated him with all of the love she had in her chest.
"You're going to be a daddy!" she said to him like he didn't know. "You must be so excited!"
"That's a fucking understatement," Brian smirked.
I smiled over at my husband, revelling at the family moment.
It had been a similar event with Brian's family, though admittedly less sentimental on my behalf. There was something about sharing the news with the Brodys that made it that much more real.
"She's burying the lead," Brian told Marge as she took a seat.
"Which lead?" I asked Brian subtly.
He laughed, "Either one."
Tom whined, "Why is everyone so cryptic today?"
"Shh," Marge instructed him. "Blair, baby, tell us everything! How far along are you? Due date?"
"May twelfth," I told her, digging around in my pocket for the picture I'd folded for her.
Admittedly, I probably shouldn't have folded it...but it was a long journey from Nevada to Massachusetts. She didn't seem to care. She fawned over it, running her fingers over the edges of my baby's supposed face.
Tom was in all his glory. He was grinning at me like a mad man.
"Crazy huh?" I asked Tom knowingly.
"You're going to be grandparents," I smirked. "You guys aren't old enough to be grandparents."
Marge reached out and squeezed my hand quickly, "Thank you for that."
I laughed, "I'm pretty sure I'm still ten years old."
Tom nodded again, "Me too. I've blinked and now you're almost a mother...Life is too short, I tell you."
My thoughts drifted to Tyler as the words passed Tom's lips. I wished desperately that he could be at the table with us, sharing the picture and gossiping about the impending new addition. Life was too short; and Tyler's had been cut off far too early.
"So what else do we know?" Marge asked, expertly cutting the conversation.
I smiled widely, glancing to Brian for support, "Well...It's a boy."
"A boy?" Tom and Marge repeated loudly.
"A little boy Haner," Marge sighed fondly. "Oh my...This is the best day."
Brian and I were feeling quite good about ourselves. Soon, after the initial excitement had all but worn off, Tom moved into questions about the logistics of the pregnancy. He'd brought up Brian's touring and my lack of family, or friends, in California. They were real concerns, that we'd addressed, but leave it to Tom to jump right into them.
"Well," I sighed, finally having had enough of Tom's worries. "That would be the other lead Brian had eluded to."
Marge and Tom both urged me to continued.
"I'll be moving back," I said simply.
Both of their faces lit up.
"Temporarily," I added cautiously.
"When?" Marge demanded happily.
"I don't know yet," I shrugged. "January, probably...Maybe February. We'll see."
"And for how long?" Tom asked.
"Until the baby's born," I offered lamely.
Brian added, "My band will be on the east coast for the two weeks leading into her due date, so we figure it'll be far easier for me to fly here without much notice than it would be to get to California."
Tom nodded, seemingly accepting our solution to the distance problem. Marge was thrilled with the revelation.
"Are you staying with us?" Marge asked with intrigue. "We have tons of room now!"
I let her down gently, promising I'd get a house nearby. It brought my life full circle to bring them so much joy. I was thoroughly relieved by their overwhelming support, and I was beyond grateful that they wanted to be involved in the pregnancy. Their excitement was contagious and I found myself counting down the days until I could show up at their doorstep every hour on the hour if I'd so choose.
Eventually, though, we had to move on. We had to hit a few rental showings and then make it to my aunt's for dinner. She'd gotten the preemptive call, but then she was a busier specimen than the Brodys. We lingered in the doorway, Marge unwilling to let go of me. Her hands clung to my growing belly, muttering words of encouragement and a bit of guilt. If she'd had her way, I would have moved in right then and there.
But she eventually let us go. We climbed into the car and shared a satisfied sigh. Brian pulled the car into gear and set off down the road.
"How opposed are you to a B name?" Brian asked me cheekily.
I rolled my eyes, "I'm not into the B-cubed bullshit, Bri. Two is ridiculous enough."
"But we're the Bs," he informed me with a cocky son of a bitch grin. "Remember?"
"Mhm," I hummed.
He looked over at me for longer than was probably safe whilst driving a motor vehicle, "I had a thought."
"If it's a B name, I don't want to hear it," I tried not to laugh.
His hesitation was giving me anxiety. I tried to wait him out but the withholding had formed a wave of apprehensive tension around us. It was nearly enough to drown in.
"Fine," I growled. "What was your thought?"
Brian smiled, looking over at me once more, "Brody."
The name hit me like a brick wall. It seemed to obvious; and yet, it hadn't crossed my mind at all.
"It's Tyler," Brian offered when I fell into a thoughtful silence. "But it's Marge and Tom, too. And it's you...And it's a B...which makes it me, too."
"No cutesy B shit," I grumbled.
He laughed, "It was just a thought."
"Brody Saint James Haner," I muttered quietly.
"It's a mouthful," Brian noted cheekily.
I nodded, mulling it over a few more times, "Brody Saint James Haner..."
"Is this you considering it?" Brian asked cautiously. "Or is this you being condescending? It isn't always easy to tell."
I laughed, "Considering."
"No shit," Brian grinned. "Look at me, I'm practically the name master."
"It shouldn't be this easy," I stated oddly. "Don't people usually struggle to pick a name? I feel like we haven't fought enough. Should we fight more about it?"
Brian waved lazily, "Nah."
"It's too easy," I whined.
"We're just morbidly lucky," Brian offered sheepishly. "We have people to honour."
I cocked an eyebrow, "Where's the luck in that?"
He shrugged, "We loved them enough to want to name our child after them...I think that's pretty lucky. How many people get to really love someone like we loved Jimmy? Like you loved Tyler?"
Unwilling to get into that whole depth, I conceded.
We pulled into the first rental house's driveway, and it could have been a fucking tin can for all I would have cared. Thank god for Brian, because I was basically a walking zombie. I couldn't think about anything but the baby.
The way that Marge and Tom would react when I let them in on the name we'd chosen. Technically that Brian had chosen...but they didn't need to be made privy to that little slice of information.
I couldn't have imagined a more perfect name than Brody Saint James. I found myself continuously rolling it off my tongue. Each time, it sounded better and better.
All I had left to do was force myself past the whole B thing. Even if I had to change my damn name, my son would be named Brody.