The sunshine broke through the curtains. Its rays reflected onto the dreamcatcher creating a fractal of pastel colours around the room.
Millie turned onto her back, stretched languidly. ‘Morning,’ she said, her voice thick with sleep.
‘Morning Mummy.’ Little arms wrapped around Millie’s neck.
Millie was not expecting her three year old daughter to respond. At some stage during the night, Brad and Sarah-Jane must’ve swapped beds.
‘Where’s Daddy, hon?’
‘Stay here, I’ll be back soon.’
Millie left her room and padded down the hallway to Sarah-Jane’s room. There, she found Brad asleep on his back, mouth gaping open. Above his head, the musical mobile hung from window frame. She remembered the day they bought it.
Millie had been in full nesting mode. They’d painted the room a pale yellow and bought the flat-packed baby furniture. Days before, she had finished wall-papering the frieze around the walls, and was now keen to buy the linen, prints and other accoutrements she’d been sourcing online.
‘Brad,’ she’d said, finding him in the study. He’d decided to work the last few weeks of her pregnancy from home, so he’d be ready whenever the baby was. ‘I’m going to the shops. Wanna come?’
‘Sure.’ He’d shut the lid of his laptop and together they went out. They’d had lunch and wandered the shops. Millie had found the mobile by accident; she’d been looking in the shop for a print to hang from the wall that read, Feed, Play, Sleep, a nod to the best-seller Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. Brad had put his foot down; he said she could have only one, not both. She’d chosen the mobile; a no-brainer, it played Lara’s Theme. That song contained so many of her own childhood memories. She wanted her baby to feel safe and loved, too. Just like she’d been.
Now, she sat on her daughter’s bed, and tousled Brad’s hair to wake him.
‘Morning,’ she said. ‘Sarah-Jane’s waiting in our bed for the tickle monster. You ready?’
He pulled her towards him. ‘You first,’ he murmured, his voice throaty. He kissed her.
‘Brad,’ Millie whispered, pulling away. ‘Not now. She’s awake and waiting for you.’
‘She’ll be fine,’ he said. ‘Me, on the other hand…’ he cleared his throat. Grinned impishly. ‘I will not be fine, unless you help me address an issue.’ He winked; she laughed as Brad brought her lips to his. Millie floated in the moment, enjoying Brad’s attention and desire. She kissed him with all the enthusiasm a tired, young mum can muster.
‘Mummy,’ their daughter’s small voice interrupted them. ‘Whaddya doing? Ydinnya come back?’
Brad and Millie stopped kissing, looked up to see Sarah-Jane standing beside the bed, her teddy bear tucked under arm. Her little face sad, her eyes glistened with unshed tears. Millie leaped from the bed and grabbed her girl in a huge hug.
‘We’re coming to you, hon,’ she said. ‘Let’s go back to Mummy’s bed. Daddy’ll be with us soon.’
She walked from the room, turned back to look at Brad, watching her. As if rehearsed, they both smiled and gave a small shrug.
‘Tonight,’ she whispered over her shoulder.