Colton and Lydia, Bonus Scene!
Sometimes I like to check in with my characters and see what they’re up to. (Because I miss them!)
If you want a little more of Colton and Lydia from Tough Luck Hero, here’s a scene I wrote for my newsletter last year:
Lydia Carpenter was about to cut the red ribbon when she felt a twinge low in her stomach, accompanied by a tightening in her belly that made it hard for her to breathe.
“Are you okay?”
Her husband, Colton, was looking at her with concern. But then, he’d been looking at her with concern for the last nine months. If there was one thing both she and Colton were combined, it was concerned. And prepared. And well-read on all the books that told them all the potential catastrophes.
“Yeah,” she said, putting her hand over her stomach and breathing through it. “I’m fine. It’s…Braxton-Hicks probably.”
Colton didn’t look relaxed, but Lydia turned her focus back to the crowd of people awaiting the opening of the new shopping center — a quaint little affair that had taken the old diner building at the edge of town and turned it into a small run of shops — and then back to the red ribbon.
That was when the other pain hit. Only this one started to gather intensity down low, and then it just kept on going until she felt like a knife was stabbing her all the way through.
She grabbed hold of her stomach and bent over, but she couldn’t give Colton any reassurance because she didn’t have the ability to talk.
“Out of the way!”
Lydia looked up and saw her friend Sadie Garrett making her way through the crowd, clutching her baby in one arm, and tugging on her husband’s uniform sleeve with her free hand.
“Are you in labor?” Sadie asked, stepping up to the little ribbon cutting platform. “Do you need a police escort? Eli,” Sadie turned her laser focus to her husband, “you need to escort her. Go get your sirens on.”
“Sadie,” Eli said, long suffering, “I doubt she needs a police escort.”
“You don’t know that!”
“Sadie,” Lydia said, standing upright and panting. “I’m really…fine. It’s…not going to be that quick and anyway there is no traffic in Copper Ridge.”
“What if there is?”
“I think as expectant father it’s my job to panic,” Colton said, looking indignant.
“No,” Sadie said, shaking her head, her blonde hair swinging with the motion, “it is your job to stay stoic and let her break your hand or maybe bite you when she feels pain.”
“She may also shout you did this to me a few times,” Eli said, looking bland faced and innocent even as his wife shot him an evil glare.
“Is that all?” Colton asked.
“She also might threaten to cut off…body parts,” Eli said, shifting uncomfortably.
“Your penis, Eli,” Sadie said, enunciating. “I threatened to remove your penis.”
Eli cleared his throat. “Thanks, Sadie.”
Lydia couldn’t help but feel they were beginning to look like the beginning of a corny joke. A sheriff, a cowboy, a woman with a baby and a pregnant mayor all met up at a ribbon cutting…
“I’m not going to threaten Colton,” Lydia said. “I have a birth plan. Colton, we need to get the birth plan.” She turned her focus to her husband. “Is my Go Bag in the car?”
“Yes,” he said.
Sadie and Eli exchanged a glance, and then Sadie started laughing. “Oh, they have a Go Bag. And a birth plan. Never mind, I’m sure everything will go right along the lines of said plan. What are you doing? Playing whale noises?”
Lydia felt appalled. Down to her soul. “Obviously not. We’ll be playing classical guitar.”
“Oh good,” Sadie said cheerfully. “Well, make sure you turn it up to drown out the swearing.”
“I will not sw—ah fuuuu…” Lydia bent over again, clutching her stomach as she waited for the next pang to pass.
Then she straightened up and snipped the ribbon quickly. “Welcome to the new shopping center!” she said. “I’m going to the hospital now.”
A few hours, and yeah, a few dozen swearword later, MacKenzie Michael West was born.
Lydia drifted in and out of consciousness all through the day, and when she finally woke up it as dark outside. And Colton was sitting in the window seat, holding their baby.
He was talking to him, or maybe singing. It was hard to tell with Colton, since he was tone deaf. But MacKenzie didn’t seem to mind.
And neither did Lydia.
She pressed her hand to her chest, emotion expanding there. She had spent so long feeling lonely. Partly because of her parents. Because of the loss of her sister. And then, as the years wore on because of herself.
Because she was afraid to hope for love.
Here in this room she had more love than she’d ever though possible.
“Are you awake?” Colton turned to look at her, then immediately looked back at the baby.
“Yes,” she said, smiling slightly. “I’m awake.”
Colton stood, then walked over to the hospital bed, offering her the little bundle in his arms. “Do you want to hold your son, Lydia?”
Her heart clenched tight, and her breath caught. “Yes. Yes I do.”
She reached up and took MacKenzie from Colton, and cradled him against her breast.
“You know,” Colton said, “when we got marred in Vegas, and had to stay married, I thought I was having a run of tough luck. But I was wrong.”
“Oh, were you?” she asked, leaning down and brushing her lips over the baby’s forehead. “You’re welcome to expand on that.”
“I was wrong,” he reiterated. “Marrying you was the luckiest thing that’s ever happened to me.”
She looked up at her husband, love expanding inside of her, so big she thought she would burst with it. “Same goes, Colton West. Same goes.”