Trystum peered through the small glass panel in the closed door. “There are three of them now.”
“Why are we being kept prisoner?” Joshua was getting himself worked up. It had been two days since the birth of his daughter and he wanted to go home.
“They’re not keeping us prisoner Josh,” Justin answered for Trystum. “They are guarding us. Word has got out about little Miss Thing and naturally people are curious.”
“Don’t call her that, I don’t like it,” Joshua said pouting and cradled the little girl against his chest.
“Well if you would give her a name I wouldn’t have to,” Justin sniped back. “Have you thought of one yet?”
Trystum choked on his tea and Justin gapped open mouthed at his husband. “You can’t call her Jeremy.”
“Why not?” Joshua demanded to know. “It’s a nice name. I’ve been planning to call him …her that since I found out I was pregnant.”
“Honey Jeremy is a boys name, it’s really not suitable for a sweet little girl,” Trystum explained tactfully.
“Well I don’t know any girls names.”
Justin chuckled at his husband’s sulky response, quickly covering it over when Joshua glared at him angrily. “Darling maybe there is a book in the library that could help us. They must have a book of names somewhere. Why don’t I go down and take a look?”
“I still like Jeremy; I don’t see why I can’t call her that.”
Justin rolled his eyes and edged towards the door, Trystum no more than a step behind him.
“You have to tell him he can’t call her that,” Trystum hissed in a whisper that only Justin would hear.
“Oh no, he’s your son. You explain it to him, I’ll find a name book if it kills me. Just don’t let him register her until I get back.”
“What are you two whispering about?” Joshua asked stroppily and Justin took the opportunity to slip out of the door when Trystum turned to answer.
The three Union guards glared at him as he closed the door behind him. “She is my baby you know. I do have the right to go in there!” Justin snapped at them.
“We heard raised voices. The doctors said the breeder wasn’t to be upset,” the tallest of the three men said.
“Joshua wasn’t upset we were discussing our daughter’s name. Joshua wants to call her Jeremy.”
“He can’t call her that,” a shorter blond soldier grunted. “She’ll be teased something awful when she goes to school. Bob is nice.”
“No one calls their kids Bob anymore. It’s so old fashioned. Peter is a nice name,” the tallest soldier said thinking to get into the naming game too.”
“Oh yeah,” the shorter blond grunted back. “Peter just happens to be your name too, doesn’t it?”
Justin groaned. “Guys,” he said holding his hands up in defeat. “I’ll decide what we call her and it won’t be Bob, Peter, Jeremy, Donald, Frank or any other blasted boy’s name. She is a girl and I want a girl’s name.
The three guards looked at each other blankly. “I don’t know any girls names,” the third soldier said pouting. “I’d go down to the library if I was you, they might have an old name book lying about.”
“Gee I never thought of that,” Justin said sarcastically as he stomped off down the corridor.
The library was empty when Justin entered. He hovered around the door way for about five minutes waiting for the attendant. When no one showed he wandered though the dust laden shelves looking for a book of baby names. He was about to give up when he spotted what he was looking for.
He blew the thin layer of dust away and flicked through the pages, grinning. Joshua had to be able to find a name he liked in here.
He tucked the book into his pocket and went back to his husband.
Joshua sat on the bed with Miss Thing tucked into the nook of his arm and the baby book balanced in his right hand. He closed the book and gave a grunted sigh.
“I don’t know what to call her. This is really hard.”
Trystum picked up the book from where it had fallen. “There must be something in here that you like?”
“Jeremy,” Joshua said stubbornly.
“Darling I have explained why you can’t call her Jeremy. What about Aveline it means longed for child and she is the first of her kind to be born in a century.”
Joshua shook his head. “I don’t like it,” he grunted.
“Verity,” Trystum suggested. “It means true.”
Joshua shook his head again. “And I truly don’t like that either.”
“Pandora,” Trystum said, showing Joshua the name in the book. “It means first woman, in Greek mythology.”
“Isn’t she the one that opened the box when she was told not to and released pain and suffering on the world?” Joshua asked.
“I see your point,” Trystum conceded. “What about Cameron?”
“It means crooked nose, I have already looked at that one. My daughter does not have a crooked nose. She has a cute little nose, don’t you sweetie?” Joshua sighed. “Its hopeless daddy lets just call her Jeremy, Justin will get used to it.”
A wide grin spread across Trystum's face.” I found it,” he beamed. “Jemima, it means dove and it’s very close to Jeremy.”
Jemima,” Joshua repeated trying the name out on his tongue. “Do you like that sweetie? “Jemima” he repeated again and the little girl cooed contentedly as she blinked her massive blue eyes at him.
Joshua looked up his eyes sparkling with pure happiness. “I’ve decided,” he said. Her name is Jemima Justina Chasez-Timberlake.”
“Justina?” Trystum questioned unconvinced.
“Yes, well I know you won’t let me call her Justin because ‘it’s a boys name’ so I added an ‘A’ like they do in the books with other boys names.”
“That’s very clever Josh; Justin will love it I’m sure.”
Joshua shrugged. “Well bad luck if he doesn’t because I have made up my mind.”
Justin had pulled a face at Joshua's choice of name for his daughter but accepted it when Chris pointed out to him that he could call her JJ for short.
Guards watched Joshua's every move and he began to feel as if he was living in a goldfish bowl. Eventually not able to take anymore he begged Justin to take him to Birchwood, like he had promised. The slender teen felt that living in his own house would make he feel more secure.
It had taken a lot of persuasion on Justin's part but eventually he and Joshua were allowed to leave. The couple were escorted back to Wisconsin and soon settled into some kind of routine.
Joshua sat in his living room rocking Jemima in his arms. He was bored and lonely. Trystum had gone back to Madison with the Fatone-Bass’s and Ben was in PA with Chris, so that left Joshua with no one while Justin was at work. He understood that Justin had to work long hours now that the factory was changing production lines from munitions to farm equipment but it didn’t make Joshua feel any less lonely.
The sun shone brightly through the window and making a sudden decision Joshua got up out of his chair and laid Jemima in her crib while he dragged out the big Silver Cross pram he had found in one of his exploration trips into the enormous attic. It was a big carriage type with gleaming chrome springs. It was obviously well looked after as it didn’t have a spot of rust on it and not one patch of mildew. He gave it a quick rub over making sure it was clean and then made up the mattress with the pale pink sheets and blankets that he used in Jemima’s carrycot. He laid his little girl in the pram and gave the gurgling baby a big smile.
“Let’s go to the park and feed the ducks, its boring around the house all day isn’t it?” he cooed.
Jemima answered him with a tiny squeal and a giggle, still too young to know the meaning of his words she reacted to the loving tone alone.
Joshua carefully pushed the pram out into the sunshine and sighed happily. He had been careful to dress conservatively, fighting the temptation to don his robes, walking barefaced still unnerved him.
He strolled down the street unaware of the stir that he was beginning to cause, it was only when he had gone nearly the three blocks to the park that he noticed the crowd he had attracted. Suddenly frightened he reached into the pram and lifted Jemima out. Cradling her to his chest he began to walk as quickly as he could, all the time looking for somewhere he could seek sanctuary in and maybe find help.
The crowd followed him and he turned down a side street in an attempt to escape only to be faced with a brick wall. He whimpered and turned only to find himself trapped.
Calls of breeder filled his ears as hands reached out to touch him adoringly. He hugged Jemima to him, tears running down his face as men made offers of sex to him, begging him to have a child for them. Joshua curled in on himself, pressing himself as far into the wall as he dared. His voice was small and pathetic as he begged the gathered crowd to leave him alone.
The mass of people was suffocating him and he whimpered too frightened now to even try and escape. The pressure around him suddenly lessened and somewhere in his head he could hear a gruff voice ordering people to move away and to give the breeder room to breathe. Joshua cried out as big dark hands lifted him to his feet and he looked up meeting a pair of soft chocolate eyes.
“Don’t be afraid little one. Lonnie will take care of you.” The big dark skinned man held the terrified teen to him and began pushing his way through the crowd, spitting unveiled threats of bodily harm if anyone touched Joshua again. “I sent my friend to Get your baby carriage,” he said kindly. “He will take it back to your house.”
Joshua trembled uncontrollably as the man who had called himself Lonnie guided him gently but firmly into the back of his waiting car.
“Where are you taking me?”
Lonnie smiled. “I’m taking you home little one, I’m sure your husband is worried about you. Although I have a few words to say to him about letting you walk around unprotected.”
“It’s not Justin's fault. He didn’t know I went out, he is at the factory,” Joshua admitted. He started to relax and strangely he didn’t feel so frightened anymore. In fact he felt safe even though the big man of African decent looked formidable Joshua felt confidant that he meant him no harm, so much so that when they reached the Timberlake residence Joshua invited Lonnie in.