I don’t have the next chapter ready yet! Sorry.

Please don’t go. Wasn’t there a song that said that line over and over?

Oh yeah, that would be this song:

You’re welcome.

Anyway, I haven’t got the next chapter done yet, so I’m not going to post it. However, I did do some flash fiction today. Why?

Because I wanted to enter it in a contest at Helium.com. But the contest closed at 6PM my time, and I didn’t have it ready yet. But I did have the outline done and was interested in seeing how it went.

It was rough! The contest stipulated that the flash fiction had to be 400 words or less. My first draft was 999 words. Yeah, a little off.

I cut a lot. So now it is exactly 400 words.

The other thing is that the title was dictated by Helium.com. The title was: A Happy Family.

Here, for your reading pleasure is my first ever attempt at flash fiction.

I feel tension in Laura’s shoulders.

Tara, the doula, smiles. “Laura, it’s time to push.” Tara trades places with Dr. Hansen.

Time to push. Am I ready for this? A wave of nervousness makes me suddenly cold.

“Mitchell,” Tara says. “You have work to do.”

“You’re doing great,” I say, taking one of Laura’s hands. She squeezes. I feel like shouting with joy.

I smile down at Laura, laughing inside at my French heritage and ability to find joy in stress.

I stroke Laura’s hand, looking her in the eyes. “Finally,” I whisper, throat tight.

She takes a shaky breath.

Five years. Fertility clinics. We tried so hard and long. After all of that, it just happened. Out of the blue, Laura sat up in bed and said, “I’m late!”

Then the best nine months. We found hilarious onesies for the baby. The one with Darth Vader and the caption “Who’s Your Daddy?” is my favorite.

Laura’s face tight with pain. I don’t ask her how she’s doing. Tara told me no questions; I had to be encouraging.

“Almost there,” I say. I want to kiss her. Her lips wrinkle as she lets out a breath. I love her uneven lips. Her quirky smile is the cutest thing on the planet.

There’s a sweetness there, even when she’s sad or angry.

Even when I lost my job in the second trimester, when she worried we’d lose our condo. Even when she worried about me going back to school. Her mouth always made me want to kiss her. We were fine: we sold my car and got scholarships and stipends.

Her face is more flushed, her smock damp with sweat.

“Good job Laura,” Dr. Hansen says. She’s got her mask and gloves now.

Dr. Hansen seems totally relaxed. “We’re perfect, Mitchell. Laura’s a trooper.” She bends closer to Laura.

I look at my wife. “Home stretch. You’ve got this.”

Laura’s breathing changes. A high-pitched sound escapes sweet lips. Her hand tightens on mine.

Something in her eyes changes. A moment of relief and reverent quiet stretches for a sudden eternity. Her tension dissipates.

“One more push,” Dr. Hansen says. I’m paralyzed.

The doctor straightens. My heart stops. “Congratulations, Mr. and Mrs. Heureaux. It’s a girl.”

I’d love to know what you think. I think it was very difficult and that it’s a medium I have not yet perfected. And you?