He'd accepted the position in Bridgeport and was working on a rotation now - 3 weeks in Bridgeport and 1 week, home with her.
He was due back tonight or tomorrow night, depending on whether he got out of the office on time this evening. He was still learning how to manage all the paperwork that being a lieutenant entailed.
Johnny would only have this back and forth schedule until the end of Jason's senior year. She didn't want to uproot him before he graduated from high school. He'd taken it so hard when Rio moved out and she wanted to keep things as normal as possible for him.
The doctor called it a geriatric pregnancy. She scowled. Apparently any pregnancy over 35 earned that insulting name. She was nearing 38. They'd had all the testing done and were expecting a healthy, happy baby. But still, Haley worried.
In fact, the Chun-Monroe Family Endowment for the Visual Arts recognized her for exceptional achievement in the field of painting. She proudly hung the reward certificate up in the living room.
"I'm glad you enjoy them. I threw in some extra strawberries for you. I know how much you love them!"
"Oh, you're such a dear!" Evelyn said, pressing a small tip into Haley's palm. "I'll see you at the community garden, dear!"
Haley's eyebrows shot up, chuckling as she handed him Rodrigo Gaither his basket. "I've never tried that combination!" she admitted.
"Well, you should! Great protein kick! My dad, the pro-ball player, Gino, used to swear by it!" Rodrigo told her.
Haley nodded. "I'm just going to take your word for it!" she told him with a shy smile.
"You don't know what you're missing!" he called after her as she headed down the steps.
Haley smiled, rocking Caitlin in her arms and snuggling the precious baby. "I was lucky, I always had Rachel and Maritza to help when the babies were younger," she said with a fond smile.
She heard Rio scoff and knew what he was thinking, that Rachel couldn't have been much of a help. She turned towards him. "We were barely 19 when your mom had you, and only 20 when I had Jason. We learned a lot about babies on our own. Although, thank goodness we had Grandma Sonja!"
Rio shrugged. "It doesn't matter," he told her. It didn't matter what Rachel did or didn't do - he was going to do it better. He was going to be there for his family.
"Will you come in and stay awhile?" Nadine asked, hoping to smooth over the conversation and lead it away from Rio's mom. He was still very sensitive about her.
They were going to be just fine.
"So? How's Jason? Is he still mad at me?" Rio asked, concern etched across his face.
Haley hesitated. "I don't think he's mad at you. It was just a big adjustment for him. But, he's doing better. He's stayed really busy with the team this year."
He was a little bit late after a make-out session with Vita under the bleachers. They were still going hot and heavy. They'd passed up 2nd-base and 3rd-base and were fast approaching a home run. She dropped hints that Prom was going to be the big day.
Jason smirked, working out a little bit harder than before. He had to prove he was the best.
August flinched away from him. "Damn. My muscles are burning!" he complained. "Coach worked me hard. Why doesn't he ever get onto you like that?"
August blew out his breath and chuckled. God, it was so hard to stay mad at Jason. And he really wanted to hate him sometimes.
Jason shrugged. "Pretty good," he said. "Coach said I was doing real good this year."
Jason slid into the barstool and shrugged again. "Yeah, sure. I'll let him know," he said dismissively. "Hey, do you think I can have some money to buy Vita a birthday present?" he asked.
Haley sputtered a moment, too surprised to respond. "I don't know if that would be an appropriate gift at your age," she said cautiously. "What on earth are you planning on buying her?!"
Jason grinned, shoving a few large bites of salad into his mouth. "She said she wanted this awesome diamond necklace from the jewelry store. It's a little expensive, but I don't want her to think I'm a cheapskate!"
Haley laid her fork down. "I don't think not buying an expensive present makes you a cheapskate," she told him. "Perhaps there's something else she'd like that's more reasonable."
"Aw, come on, Mom. She loves diamonds and I wanna make her happy!" Jason protested. Man, it was so hard having to go to his mom for money! If he had a job, he could just buy Vita whatever he wanted!
Haley was already shaking her head. "I'm sorry, Jason. I just don't think that's an appropriate gift to get her at this point."
Jason jumped up. "Fine! Just ruin my relationship, why don't you!"
Haley smiled. "We're wonderful now that you're home," she told him. "We missed you!"