Author's Note: The following story is based purely on fiction, nothing of reality.
After tucking her little one into bed, Shelby watched as the little one fell into a peaceful rhythm of breaths, knowing that if it hadn't been for her, life would've ended on a different note altogether. She remembered her reaction when the doctor confirmed her suspicions; a wave of mixed emotions flooded her heart. It had been a mere three months after Matt's accident and never mind about the pregnancy; she wasn't even sure if she, a full-time working single mother, could provide a quality life for the baby.
Six long years.
That was how long Matt had left. As worried as she had been about handling the loss of another loved one and raising their child alone, life had somehow turned alright although she regretted that little Samantha would only know her father through pictures and never stood the chances of hearing his voice and that Matt will never be able to bond with his little girl.
She sighed, hoped that in a better world, life won't reveal its mean streak and replaced the empty hole in their lives with eternal happiness. If only she could turn the time back. If only Matt was around to be the best father she'd knew he was capable of being to their daughter.
When it came to naming the little one, she chose the name Samantha as it was Matt's favorite name, a name that he wanted to christen on their first daughter. It was something that they briefly discussed after deciding to seal their relationship in matrimony that was never to become.
"If I have a daughter?" he repeated the question. "Wow, I'll treat her like a princess but will remain parental whenever necessary. I'll make it known to her that she'll never be ashamed of having us as her parents and you." He squeezed Shelby's hands. "You'll be the best mother that Samantha could ask for."
Standing outside the nursery days after the delivery, his words had ringed in Shelby's mind. It was like he had the slightest inkling that he knew he was living on borrowed time but didn't want to worry her. Spying for Samantha, her eyes burned when she saw her; the little one was the molten image of Matt, inherited his blue eyes, his celestial nose, high cheekbones and his facial shape.
The ten months of pregnancy had been tough on her emotionally-weakened soul but credit had to be given to her understanding and thoughtful bosses. If it hadn't been for them, Samantha's arrival would pose additional issues at the workplace, especially when Shelby needed to crash more hours into her working schedule to meet an urgent deadline.
"My sweet girl," she whispered. "Mommy's so sorry that you had a cruel start to life instead of the happy beginnings that everyone your age has."
With the time no longer early, she rose from the chair and climbed into her bed a room away, but ended up staring at the ceiling, unable to sleep, only the sound of her breath around. Samantha hadn't posed any question about Matt's absence but it was a matter of time before it happened, before she had to come clean with the truth.