Bianca was pouring a cup of coffee when Giancarlo floated into the kitchen. He was still on cloud nine from meeting his granddaughter.
“Good morning, babe,” she said. “My…you’re even more dashing with your ‘new grandpa’ glow.”
“And you, my dearest, are the hottest new grandma there ever will be. Ever.”
“Gosh! Isn’t she just so precious? I am so glad they finally had a girl,” she gushed.
“Oh, me too,” he agreed. “And, to name her Harmony? It just makes me want to sing! I’m gonna write a new song.”
“I know, right? Our three girls: Cadence, Melody, and Harmony. So beautiful!”
“She’s going to be a spoiled mess after we get done with her,” he said and poured himself a cup.
She smiled. “Don’t forget about the boys, babe. She does have two older brothers whom we love just the same.”
He feigned shock and said, “Ohhhh! That’s who those boys were? Here I was thinking she had early suitors.” He winked at her.
She rolled her eyes and shook her head. “Still a goofball, huh?”
“Nothing about me will ever change, BJ. I don’t care how gray my hair is getting.”
They turned around and sat at the island and took a few silent sips. “Speaking of change…” he continued, “have you noticed anything different with Mel?”
“How do you mean?” She took an extra long sip of her coffee to mask any reaction that came across her face.
“I don’t know. She just seemed…distracted…a bit aloof even. You didn’t sense anything? You can always read her like a book.”
Bianca was undecided about how to answer him. She couldn’t lie and say she didn’t notice anything especially when he knew that she always picked up on those things. But, how did one tell her husband that their daughter wasn’t happy with her husband? Giancarlo was an easy-going guy. She could count on one hand in their 37 years of marriage how many times she saw him upset. He was never angry–not even when she was mean to him. Giancarlo also wasn’t very serious. He was only ever serious for three reasons: Bianca, Cadence, and Melody. That’s what concerned her about telling him. She knew he liked River but wasn’t quite sure what his reaction would be.
“Well,” she began, “she had just delivered a baby, and she has two very active boys to look after too. She was probably tired.”
Giancarlo tried to buy it, but something else didn’t add up. “And that’s another thing. Where has River been? I know he has to work a lot, but it seems to be in excess lately. I love babysitting the boys, but it seems like she calls me a few times a week now! I mean, why didn’t he take any family leave to be with Melody and his new child? It just seems odd.”
“It does,” she agreed carefully. She kept taking sips of coffee and avoided eye contact with him. She may have been the one who could read Melody like a book, but he was the one who could read her. Hiding this from him was going to be difficult. He already noticed what she was trying to do, but he gave her another chance to confess.
“So, she hasn’t said anything to you about it?”
She tried to side-step his question. “She said a lot of things, but you know how women in labor are. I remember being quite mean to you.”
“But what did she say?” He wasn’t letting this go.
She was trapped. She took a deep breath and told him as little as possible without lying. “She…well, let’s just say that all of us share the same concerns about River. Can we keep it as that?”
He knew what that meant, and it disappointed him a great deal. “I see. Well…if that’s how you want it.”
“That’s what she would want.” She knew he wasn’t going to be happy about not getting all the information.
“Keep dear old dad out the loop. Sounds just like her.” His heart was slightly broken. He and Melody had a close relationship. There was a time when she would tell him everything, but the older she got, the less she shared with him. She began to rely on her mother more. He understood that a young woman would need her mom, but he felt like he had been exiled from her inner circle.
Bianca felt terrible. “Babe… Don’t be like that, please? You know she doesn’t like to trouble you.”
“Anymore. She doesn’t like to trouble me anymore.”
She didn’t quite know how to respond to that. This was yet another reason she didn’t want to tell him anything. However, she had begun to see that was part of the problem. “She’s just afraid, babe,” she finally said.
“I don’t know! Maybe…maybe she feels like we’ll look at her differently…or him. You know how she always feels like we’re judging her.”
“I’ve never understood that.”
“Me neither,” she said. “But, the point is…” She was trying to think of something that would both rid them of that conversation and put him slightly more at ease. “The point is…it’s clearly not easy for her to talk about whatever it is. She didn’t tell me anything either, babe. She was just so upset at the hospital and hormonal and in pain… She started talking crazy and I still don’t really know what it is. But, when she’s ready, we will be here for her. I don’t know what else to say.”
He understood and knew this would be as far as he would get that day and changed the subject. “How do you think she’ll be with a daughter?”
She looked away and thought about it. “I honestly don’t know. I know one thing, though. I think she’ll definitely develop an appreciation for the things I did that she hated as she begins to understand why I did them.” She took another sip of coffee.
“For sure. Man, I don’t want to rush the baby stage, but I can’t wait to begin to see her little personality. I bet she’s gonna be a little diva!” His face was as bright as a Christmas tree.
“Babe! Now why would you put that on her?”
“Because she deserves it,” he said. They both laughed and agreed as they remembered all that Melody had put them through as a teenager.
There was a knock at the door, and Giancarlo said that he would get it.
“No, I’ll get it, babe.” She motioned for him to sit back down.
“It’s your day off. You should relax,” he said.
“And you should finish your coffee before it gets cold.” She smiled and took a few steps toward the door.
“I see how our daughters are so stubborn,” he yelled after her.
She turned around and said, “And you love me.”
“I most certainly do!”
Bianca opened the door and found Zoe Patel on the other side. “Hi, Zoe! Come on in.”
“Hello, my friend! I hear there is a brand new nooboo in town!”
“Baby! That’s what the nurses at the hospital call them,” Zoe said.
“Oh. That’s really cute. Oh, Zoe, she is the most adorable thing! I took, like, a thousand pictures. Let me grab my phone!” Bianca ran to the kitchen to pick up her phone. “It’s Zoe,” she said to Giancarlo when she ran in. When she was back in the living room, she scrolled through all the pictures she had of Harmony.
“Sweet plum juice,” Zoe yelled. “She is the most adorable thing!”