Ch38: Stolen Jan 31st part 2
By lisa h
First light warms the sky and just before eight-thirty the sun comes up to mark a new day.
I’ve been busy for the last two hours. Ewan has had his first small feed and the placenta has appeared without incident. Exhausted from the delivery I’m now in bed. I cut the cord half an hour ago, terrified as I snipped through it that I’d do it wrong and Ewan would suddenly bleed out. I’ve left a long section, about a foot. I have no idea what to do with it now.
Ewan is perfect. He has a decent head of hair, but it’s a white blonde so pale I almost can’t see it. I’ve dressed him in one of the baby grows Ian left with the last supply drop. He seems a chubby baby, and I wish I had some scales to see what he weighs. He’s also filled his first nappy, it was that black stuff that luckily I read about, otherwise I’d think he had internal injuries.
I count his fingers and toes. I trace my fingertips over his skin. I put my hand gently over his chest and feel his tiny lungs expand. He’s sleepy and doesn’t want me fussing with him, he just want to nuzzle up close.
“My baby, you are something else.” I kiss his forehead, breathing in his scent. How could something so good, so wonderful be produced in such a way? None of that matters anymore. I’ve got Ewan, he’s here with me, and he’s mine.
Ewan’s not the only one who’s tired. I find my eyelids drooping and then I’m asleep, beside my new born baby.
“The baby’s finally here.”
A voice wakes me. For a minute I can’t place it, then I realise Ian’s behind me. I sit up fast and grab Ewan.
“I saw your fire.” Ian leans up against the chest of drawers. “It’s out now, but smart way of getting me here.”
I stare, but don’t say anything. There’s nowhere to go, nowhere to hide. I shuffle back on the mattress to try and get as far from him as possible.
He’s gazing at Ewan and I’m sure I see tears glistening in his eyes. “Sorry I couldn’t get here in time. Hope the labour wasn’t too hard on your own.”
He speaks so casually, like I was in a maternity ward, and had midwives and doctors looking after me. Ian reaches out and touches Ewan’s cheek. I want to pull the baby away, but I’m frozen to the spot.
“Boy or girl?” he asks, his voice soft.
“Boy,” I say after a moment of hesitation. “We should get checked by a doctor, make sure everything is okay.”
Ian makes a gesture with one hand, as if to tell me not to worry myself.
“A son, how marvellous.” I see a tear fall. This cold hearted man is actually crying.
“I’ve named him Ewan. Seems to fit him.”
Ian gazes down and I let him stroke the soft downy hair on the baby’s head.
“Can I hold him?” He sits beside me on the bed.
I freeze again, going rigid at the thought. Somehow I manage to shake my head.
“That’s okay.” The smile doesn’t falter on his face. “I understand, you’ve just given birth. You’ve got that new mother need to hold onto the baby.” He looks around the room. “Did you give birth in here?”
I shake my head again. “No. I nod towards the other end of the cottage. “In the bathroom.”
“Well you stay here and enjoy your cuddles. I’ll go and clean up.”
I gawp at him. This man has slipped into to some alternative fantasyland world where I don’t mind being kept prisoner and he’s welcome in my life.
Ian leans close and places a kiss on Ewan’s forehead. “Well done, he’s beautiful.”
“Thank you,” I say, unable to stop myself as Ian gets up.
I hear him at the other end of the building, humming to himself as he cleans up. I decide I can’t stay in bed, I need to keep a closer eye on that man. My body aches as I swing my legs off the bed and stand. But at the same time I feel good, and I should. I’ve done an amazing thing, all by myself, no help, no encouragement, and somehow both Ewan and I have survived.
The room is quite warm, but I wrap up in my dressing gown, more as a shield against Ian than for any other reason. I pick Ewan up and hold him close to me. He’s still asleep. The movement disturbs him and his hands grasp at the air momentarily.
There’s a roaring fire going in the living room. Ian must have set it going while I slept. He’s also come with supplies – lots of baby things are piled on the counter. From packages of nursing bras in a few different sizes, breast pads, nappies, wipes, creams, even a pack of new bottles and a container of formula milk.
“Just about finished in here,” Ian pokes his head out of the bathroom for a second then goes back inside. “I’ve got some homemade soup for you. You’ll need good nutrition to feed Ewan.” He nods at the can of formula milk. “That’s just in case you struggle with breast feeding.”
I perch on the edge of the sofa, the fire warming me. Outside a new storm is getting going and the wind rattles the building. My bottom hurts and I want to take some ibuprofen, but don’t want to squeeze into the bathroom with him. Ewan stirs and even if I don’t know that he wants to be fed, my boobs do. There’s this odd sensation of building pressure in them. I uncover myself a little and try and aim Ewan’s mouth at a nipple. He latches on with strength that shocks me. It’s like my nipple’s been shoved in a vice. He makes swallowing sounds so milk must be coming out, but Jesus, wasn’t expecting pain like this!
“Hungry boy.” Ian’s finished with the bathroom and stands at the back of the sofa, watching the baby feed. I want to hide away, but I have nothing to cover myself with, nowhere to disappear to. “You’ll need one of these. They’re muslin cloths, the lady at the shop said they are essential for burping babies.”
He takes a packet out of a bag on the floor and rips it open, handing me one of the cloths. I don’t make a move to take it from him and after a moment’s hesitation he places it on the arm rest beside me.
“I’ll get the soup going.”
I don’t want to encourage him in the slightest, but I’m hungry, starving actually. Like I’ve not eaten for days. He’s got bread, something he doesn’t always include in my supplies, and great big slabs of butter. My mouth waters at the thought of a thick slice of white with lashings of butter.
“Ian, don’t you think Ewan and I should see a doctor, make sure we’re fine? We could go back on the boat tonight.”
Ian goes to the window and stands there, watching the rain hit the glass. “Oh, not today. I wouldn’t risk the two of you travelling in this weather. Besides, look at you both, you’re the picture of health. What do you need a doctor for? To tell you what a fabulous job you did producing a son for me? I can see that, I can tell you with assurity.” He turns from the window and gazes down at Ewan. “He’s truly beautiful.”
“Babies are supposed to get various tests on them when they’re born to check for congenital defects. Found early, they are much easier to deal with.”
Ian shakes his head, smiling. “He’s perfect. Just look at him. There’s no need to worry your pretty head about that.”
“Don’t you want to be sure?”
Ian crosses the room and actually strokes my hair. I want clock him, I wish I had my trusty driftwood bat nearby and I would, I really would knock this insane freak of a man to the ground. Instead I try to control my revulsion at his touch for the sake of the feeding baby at my breast.
“You have produced a perfect little boy. There’s no need to uproot him from here and disturb him with a boat journey. You’ll unsettle him.”
I give up. The man’s not going to let me off the island, at least not yet. I need to come up with a different angle.
“This soup will make you feel better.” He ladles from the supply he brought with him into a pan and sets it on the stove. “Lots of good nutrition to grow a healthy boy.”
Ian starts humming again, a huge grin plastered on his face as he moves around, putting supplies away. He takes the baby things through to the bedroom, there’s nowhere to put them in here.
“Make a list of things you need me to get. I’ll come back in a few days, depending on the weather. Going to be touch and go today, I tell you. The storm is really taking hold out there.”
The thought of him staying the night makes my blood run cold. Then I realise I might get a second chance to kill him.
“Of course, do what you need to. I wouldn’t risk travelling in a gale. The boat might go under. Then Ewan and I would be stuffed. We need you.”
Ian likes what I say, and comes over to stroke my hair again. “Want me to watch him while you wash?”
He’s trying to get hold of the baby again. I shake my head, forcing a smile onto my lips. “No, I’m fine for now.” Ewan’s finished feeding and I cover my breast back up and after putting the muslin over my shoulder, gently rub his back until a tiny burp comes out. He’s already asleep as I wrap him up in the blanket and cuddle him close. I’ll need to go to the bathroom eventually, I’m quite sure the towelling I stuffed in my underwear must be fairly saturated in blood by now.
I make myself comfortable and doze on the sofa, I feel oddly safer in the main room, where I can hear Ian and keep a check on him. Outside the wind has calmed down, and I’m disappointed. I want it as wild as possible out there. I want him stuck on this island. I will be his nightmare like he has been mine for far too long.
My murderous thoughts come to nothing. During the afternoon the wind calms down, and the sea with it. The waves are still fairly wild, but no worse than the ones Ian braved to come here this morning.
“I’ll be back in a few days with more good food for you. No skimping on nutrition for you, my love.”
For one horrified moment, I think he’s going to try and kiss me. Instead, he strokes Ewan’s head and that’s it, he’s out the front door and gone. I’m both relieved and desperately angry. I could have killed him. Waited for him to be asleep, and then slit his throat. No messing things up like last time. I’d do it properly. All my time gutting fish and prepping crabs have made me quite deft with a blade. Should the opportunity present itself, Ian will not stand a chance.