Shannon knew she was going to have a time getting her arms strong enough to hold Roxie when she got this big, but if working out meant holding her baby all the time, she didn’t mind at all. She looked over to Darren, and she could see worry and hurt on his face. Taking a deep breath, she said, “Hey, you’ve got the rest of your life to love her and be there for her. Don’t sweat it, Dare. She’s going to love you no matter what.” She gave him a smile as she watched him with her daughter. He was a great uncle, a great dad. She knew he was feeling down, but she knew he’d be okay eventually. She turned to Cory and made some faces at her, unable to keep from laughing when the little girl squealed with delight.
Darren’s eyes shot up to look at Shannon when she spoke. “I feel like I missed so much already in just those weeks where I didn’t see her. I felt like she forgot about me and she only knew Jake and I’m her daddy.. I just.. I want to have her around me 24/7.. I want to be able to see her whenever I want to and just see her grow and learn and” he trailed off and looked over at Cory who was squealing happily at the faces Shannon was pulling. He didn’t like that his daughter would grow up with her parents being separated and just without her daddy around her all the time. He just.. Cory was his baby girl, his little princess. He wanted her to be a daddy’s girl with him being the daddy role because after all he was her daddy and not Jake.
"I still think we’re the weirdest couple I’ve ever encountered, but I love it. I love him, I love her, I love everything." When Darren asked to hold Roxie, she blinked her eyes like she couldn’t believe she hadn’t thought to offer and hadn’t even asked about Cory. "Of course, of course." She held her arms out to take Cory, surprised how much heavier a baby only a few months older felt, and how different they acted. While she trusted Darren, she couldn’t help her maternal instincts watching him like a hawk as he picked up her baby to hold her. "Hey Cory," she cooed at the older baby. "Do you like hanging out with daddy? I bet he’s a lot more fun than your crazy mommy."
Darren handed over Cory and carefully picked up Roxie, carefully cradling her in his arms. She was just as tiny as Cory used to be. And close to Iva’s size. And now his daughter was so big already and he missed it. And it hurt. He probably missed her first smile and her rolling over for the first time and he had no idea how to make up for it. How to prove to Cory that he’ll be there from now on. For everything. And that he wanted to be there for everything that he had missed but Taylor wasn’t letting him. How could he explain that to a two month old. He stared down at Roxie as a few small tears built up in his eyes. “Hi there Roxie” he mumbled and stroked over the baby’s cheek. “I’m uncle Darren..” he whispered as he smiled down at the baby.
She nodded along. “Exactly. She’s always got family.” At that moment, Roxie started to shift and make whining noises, so Shannon picked her up, cuddle her for a moment to check all her vitals. She’d just eaten before they’d come over so she didn’t think she was hungry. Her diaper was clean, she didn’t have a temperature, so Shannon rearranged her to lie on the couch and gave her a toy. The baby halted her fussing before cooing happily at the stuffed cat. “I know that feeling,” Shannon finally said. “Everything with Chris was just kind of… whirlwind, especially with him having to leave to London shortly after we got together, but every second with him makes sense. He didn’t bat an eye when I got pregnant. Everything about us just… works.”
"I’m glad you and Chris are doing great Shan. You two are just perfect together" he told her with a big smile as he watched her with Roxie. "Can I hold her? You can hold Cory for a second.." he suggested as he watched the tiny little baby. Cory wasn’t that much bigger but just something in him wanted her to be this little again so he wouldn’t have missed her get bigger.
She gave him a genuine smile and nodded. “Maybe, maybe. But if not, then I’m still happy. Besides, between Cory and Iva and whatever Mila pops out, and Allie and Lissy and Ethan… Roxie’s already got a lot of family, and all of us are happy.” She listened to Darren talk about Shawn and while she still had her misgivings, she really did want her friend to be happy. “I’m glad, Dare. I’m really glad you’ve found someone that makes you happy and I’m really glad you get to spend time with Cory, and I’m just… I’m really ecstatic that life is going well for you. I can’t wait to meet her. I bet she’s awesome.” The way his entire demeanor changed when he started talking about Shawn just made it clear to Shan that he really was really happy, and she couldn’t help but smile.
Darren smiled widely. “Yes exactly. Roxie won’t ever be lonely.” he chuckled and looked down at Cory in his arms. “Cory and Shawn love each other. I’m so happy Shan. I know this happened so fast but.. it feels so right. I don’t know why but it does.” he explained, he gently tickled Cory and chuckled at his baby’s laugh.
She shrugged again, hugging her daughter a little closer. “Well, they did take it out, but everything is just so… damaged. There’s not really any spot left in there that an egg could safely land and if it did, I would miscarry almost instantly. I know there’s… hope or something, barren people conceive all the time, but I’m not holding out for it. We have Roxie. That’s good for us.” She meant it. Of course she wanted more kids, but she had a beautiful healthy daughter, a loving boyfriend, great friends, and she was happy. “Anyway, how are you? You need to tell me about Shawn.”
"We’ll see what happens in the future Shan. Maybe you get lucky again" he smiled at her and then looked down at Roxie. "And hey Roxie is perfect and she had a great godsister I guess haha and she won’t grow up as an only child. She’ll always have Cory and Iva too and any more kids that might come around in the future. We’ll just lend you ours" he chuckled softly, hoping he could cheer her up a little. "I’m great.. Shawn well Shawn is amazing. I have no idea how I got so lucky, seriously. We’ve been friends for a while and on friday last week late at night she just kissed me." he explained, a huge smile plastered on his lips. His brain had pretty much blocked out his big break down. Because after that everything just got better and that didn’t matter anymore. Shawn and him were dating and he was loving it.