Juliana – Chapter 97 Rock-a-Bye Baby

Time in Willow Creek: 1 year, 6 months, 2 days

Duerme ya, dulce bien
Mi capullo de nardo.
Despacito duermete
como la abeja en la flor…

♫ Duerme ya, dulce bien
Duerme ya, dulce amor
Dulces sueños tendrás
al oir mi canción.

“Oh…hey,” Axel said. “I didn’t know you were in here.”

Juliana felt a bit warm on her face and hoped he didn’t hear her singing. She figured he wanted to visit with his niece and placed Abigail back into the crib. “She doesn’t want to nap today.”

“Cuz she knew Uncle Axe was coming. Ain’t that right, baby girl?”

Juliana’s ringing phone interrupted her laughter.

“Your boyfriend?”

She rolled her eyes. “No.”

“Oh! You got another boyfriend? Kevin messed up already?”

She swatted at him as she answered the phone and went to her room. “Hello?”

“Hey, kid!”

“Paul! How are you?”

“Doing pretty good. How about you? We sure miss you.”

That was a tough question for her to answer. The random phone call made Paul’s concern for her clear, and she didn’t want to upset him further. As the days rolled on, it became harder to maintain her cheerful appearance, smiling and laughing on the outside while being miserable on the inside. She felt like she couldn’t tell anyone because either she might come across as ungrateful for what Harriett did, or people would pity and attempt to fix her. She didn’t want to be fixed; she wanted to figure things out on her own, but she had no clue where to begin.

“I am ok…I’m just so busy.”

“Yeah! Kevin told us about the promotion you got. Congrats, kid! How’s that going?”

So that’s how he explained it to them. Great. Now she had to live up to her friends’ expectations too.

“It’s…hard sometimes, but–”

“That’s always the case with new positions. I’m sure you’ll get the hang of it soon.”

She appreciated the vote of confidence. If only he knew the pain she went through every day.

“Well, I don’t want to take up too much of your time. Just wanted to make sure you’re ok and let you know I was thinking ’bout ya.”

“Thank you, Paul. I miss you and everyone too. I hope to go back soon.”

“We’ll be here. Take your time and get your life straight. That’s more important than painting with us. Ok, you take care now!”

“I will. Bye bye.”

She sighed heavily as she hung up. If only “getting her life straight” was as simple as it sounded. He didn’t have to work with someone who hated him and made his life difficult for no reason.

When she went back to Hillary’s room, she found Axel cradling a very drowsy Abigail. “How did you do it?”

“She was hungry. Y’all ain’t feedin this child?”

Juliana chuckled. “She ate before.”

He sucked his teeth. “Y’all doin this the new school way? Please. Forget this schedule shi–uhh–crap. Hungry babies need food not stupid a–I mean silly rules.”

She laughed at his failed attempts to clean his speech in front of the baby.

“Is this what your daddy does,” he whispered. “Your punk ass daddy is one of those book parents? Ooops. You didn’t hear me say that.”

He kissed her forehead. Abigail’s eyes had closed, so he placed her back into the crib.

“You gon get you one of these?” he asked.

Her forehead wrinkled. “A baby?”

“Yeah. You gon have a lil Juliana Jr. running ’round here?”

She thought the question was so odd. “No, not now.”

“But you wanna have kids sometime, right?”

“Yes, but, I want to be married.”

“Good. Don’t be so easy to give it up,” he said in a serious tone.

She had no idea what he meant and grinned awkwardly. “Give what up?”

“You know…. The cookie…that good good…”

Still confused, she chuckled nervously.

“Don’t be spreadin your legs for no knuckleheads.”

“Oh!”

She thought for sure her face was a red as her jacket. His personality was so brazen and bold. She never met anyone like him. He could be funny and serious in the same sentence, and most of the time she didn’t know what to think of him. But, somewhere between his silliness and strange way of speaking, she found a sincerity behind his words. She felt as though he genuinely cared about her. It was almost as if he saw her as just another younger sister. This care he extended toward her was another new experience she sometimes enjoyed. Back home, although she technically was the middle child, she was the oldest and always in a position of leadership and authority. But, there in Willow Creek, she was almost always the youngest person in all her circles. Being in charge was exhausting, and experiencing what it was like on the other side of the spectrum was weird yet cool. She liked the idea of having people look out for her. It was like having a bunch of older siblings.

“We better get outta here before she wakes back up.”

She was grateful for the change and end of that awkward conversation.

“What did you do to my room?” he asked as they passed her bedroom.

She had almost forgotten that used to be his room.

“Do you mind?”

She showed him in and he looked around.

“You like these loud colors, huh?” He walked around and looked at her work. “You did all this?”

“Yes.”

He grinned mischievously. “You certainly have a lotta foxy ladies in here. Whatchu be thinkin bout?”

She shrugged sheepishly. “Just…feelings I have sometimes…”

He cocked his head. “Kevin know about these feelings?”

She rolled her eyes.

“You know I’m just messin.”

He walked toward the balcony door still looking at her work. “Oh…whatchu got goin on out here?”

“This is where I paint.”

The evening was her favorite time of day. She felt like the sun wanted to give one last stellar performance before it gave way to the moon and covered the earth with its golden light. That light blinded them as they stepped onto the balcony, but it was so beautiful.

“Ohhh, this is nice. Good thinkin. I never did anything with this space.”

He eyed her equipment. “This stuff is expensive. Mama got you this?”

She blushed. “Kevin.”

He laughed. “Of course.”

She was glad she didn’t have to experience being terrorized by older siblings at home. She knew they meant no harm, but it was a bit annoying at times.

“You’re really good, J. You outta be in a gallery somewhere.”

She smiled. “I will soon.”

“Let me guess…Kevin?”

His name came up far too much that day. She had been trying to live with her decision to delay more for a bit longer, but it wasn’t easy. She did want to be with Kevin but not at the expense of living the kind of life she always dreamed of. After she experienced life on her own, she would be more than glad to settle down and be with him forever.

“I’m just gon ask…what’s goin on with you two? Y’all keep circling ’round each other like two dogs in heat. You know that boy wants you, right?”

She nodded.

“And I know you want him, so what’s up?”

She shrugged. “I’m not ready.”

“Oh. I get it…I think…. Well, if you not ready yet, don’t let him pressure you. You do what’s right for you.”

Those were the same words Kevin said to her three days ago, but they still confused her. He usually didn’t say things he didn’t mean, and while he uttered those words genuinely, his actions didn’t add up. It seemed every time she did try to do what felt right, he didn’t appreciate it. Developing a friendship with Axel was the right thing to do, but Kevin’s lack of understanding made it feel wrong. Perhaps his advice only applied when it benefited him.

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22 thoughts on “Juliana – Chapter 97 Rock-a-Bye Baby”

  • This is so frustrating! I get where she’s coming from but this feels like it’s going to go the way of Hillary and Jase.. Julianna will keep putting him off even though she wants to be with him until he gives up. Then when they finally get together it will be like dang Mark and Jocelyn – she will have hooked up with Axel and had kids with him and knew she didn’t really love him when she sees Kevin again years later. You wouldn’t dare! What IS their age difference? I keep waiting for her to finally give in to her feelings. She’s just so conflicted by the completely different cultures.

    • Very interesting prediction. That’s all I’ll say to that for now…although it makes me laugh. But is it evil laughter? That is to be determined, he he.
      They’re age difference is only 11 years. It’s not really that much, but with him being 30 and her still a teenager, it felt weird to him but he’s over it now, of course.

  • I have to add one more thing to my rant! Lol…. I hate that she keeps thinking that Kevin doesn’t care about her feelings. I know that goes back to how men do status treated women in their culture. But it is so sad she keeps trying to find fault with everything he does.

    • I don’t think she’s trying to find fault with him at all. That’s not something Juliana would do. When did she say she didn’t think he cared about her feelings? I recall her stating the opposite many times. This thing with Axel, however, feels different to her. Kevin tells her to basically follow her heart or whatever, and she’s being led to a friendship with Axel. But every time she tells Kevin about it, he responds negatively. All she was saying was that his actions (about this one statement) haven’t always lined up.

  • As you know, I love seeing these two interact, so this was a great one for me! I love Axel’s way of speaking (especially trying to censor himself in front of the baby) hahaha and I love seeing his softer side in the kind way he interacts with Juliana. Getting a little frustrated with her though (never as frustrated as I am with Kevin though ). She keeps saying “I’m not ready”… but she never elaborates or explains what she MEANS. All it does is lead to misunderstanding and hurt feelings. You’d think, given some of the past misunderstandings that have gone on, she’d have learned 😛

    • Perhaps. Maybe she doesn’t feel the need to explain right now. Or, maybe she doesn’t know how to. Whatever the reason, she seems keen on sticking to her story so…whatever happens, she’ll deal with it.

  • Ha! I literally laughed out loud a few times during this chapter. I just love these two! Axel is hilarious (in a way that’s only *really* funny when you’re on the outside watching him)! He needs to get himself a wife- the kind that will roll her eyes and ignore most of what he says lol!
    On the one hand, I guess I could get frustrated with this waiting game Juliana is playing… but then… I think about myself and want to yell “Juliana, you don’t owe anyone an explanation!” And in the next breath, I’d be nudging her and saying, “buuut, if you’d like to elaborate for the sake of my peace, that’d be great, too.”

    • lol, I agree. She doesn’t have to explain herself to anyone though it would help. She’ll explain, in time, when she feels it’s appropriate.
      I would looooooove to see Axel with a wife like that lol. I think he would be so happy. If they ever had kids, he’d definitely be that “ear muffs” dad LOL.

  • I feel you girl, take your time! If he really loves you, he’ll be there. Let’s just hope his biological clock doesn’t start ticking and drowning out all his good sense, lol.

    I like where things are going with her and Axel. I can see them as having more of a sibling vibe as more time passes. A sibling twice removed or something though because I can still see him checking out her butt if she walks up the stairs before him.

    • LOL, Axel Will always be Axel. I’m sure he will never stop checking her out, but yes, they definitely have that sibling vibe. Fingers crossed for Kevin’s good sense lol.

  • Axel’s comments make my eyes pop sometimes. 😀
    Jumping into Kevin’s arms right away and becoming dependent on yet another person before she could have discovered herself and strike out on her own would be against the idea of this whole story, which is called Discovering Juliana after all.

    • Axel makes me soooo nervous lol. I feel Juliana’s nervousness when I write scenes for these two.
      I agree with you! We still have more to discover about Juliana!

  • Oh my gosh. I absolutely love the layers to this relationship. There is the obvious layer that these two enjoy each other’s company. As well as the idea that there are still slightly awkward moments where lack of cultural understanding is at work as well.

    Axel’s easy going style but you can almost see a desire for that family and home in his future. Non parents “always” know how a child should be raised!! Hahhaa (I speak from experience )

    Julianas indecision about Kevin makes perfect sense and Audrey above hit the nail on the head that Juliana needs time to figure out who she is before jumping into a long term committed relationship.

    Yes Kevin and Juliana both care a great deal, but she needs time to blossom and grow.

    Her pressures of her new position are also taking a toll as well. Very obvious she feels a tremendous amount of pressure there and stress caused by hateful coworkers who are jealous and think she was just “handed” the library.

    Well done you!!

    • Thank you! 😀
      Glad you could see that very very subtle desire in Axel. I don’t think even he sees it lol, but it’s there! I too am one of those know-it-all non-parents LOL. My non-existent children will be PERFECT! 😛

      Juliana definitely needs to figure things out. I’ll be curious to see what you guys (who are in her corner) think of her change in position in the next two chapters, he he he 😉

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