★ Zyron and Tessa Duet ★
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Something was wrong.
Zy hesitated—something totally unlike him. Stay and let her keep her privacy or go in and help?
He still hadn’t decided until he heard another sound between Hallie’s bellows. Tessa was sobbing.
And that decided everything for him.
Shoving off his blanket, he jackknifed to his feet and headed for her bedroom door. Grip on the knob, he paused, but there it was again, the sound of Tessa’s tears as she quietly fell apart.
He didn’t wait and he didn’t knock. He just shouldered his way into the room—then stopped short when he saw her.
Sitting in the glider in the corner, Tessa gasped and blinked up as he barged in. Tears fell from her tired eyes as she held a railing Hallie against her chest. Tessa crying was like a kick in the chest.
“What can I do to help?”
“N-nothing. I’m fine.”
The catch in her voice said she was lying. “Bullshit. What’s happening?”
“Hallie is just fussy and overtired. She roots around for me like she’s hungry, but she just ate. I can’t seem to calm her down, and I don’t know what else to do. I feel like I’m screwing everything up.” Tessa wiped away her tears. “But I’ll figure it out. Sorry to wake you. Go back to sleep.”
Was she kidding?
“Did you change her?”
“Just a few minutes ago.”
“And she’s not sick?”
If the baby was full, dry, and healthy, then Tessa had done what she could. Zy couldn’t stand to see her suffer anymore, and she damn straight didn’t need to carry the burden alone.
He crossed the room to her. Even in the moonlight, he saw her stare—clinging, confused, and worried.
“What are you doing?”
“Give her to me, Tess, and go to sleep. I got this.”
“You? What do you know about babies?” She clutched Hallie tighter, which prompted a higher-pitched wail from the baby.
“Admittedly not a lot, but maybe she can sense your exhaustion and upset. Maybe I can calm her. It’s worth a try.” When Tessa bit her lip in indecision, he set out to soothe her protective mother instinct. “I’ll stay in this room, in that chair right next to you. You get back in the bed and rest.”
“No buts. You and Hallie are both wrung out. I’m awake, and I can’t do any worse.”
This time when he reached for Hallie, Tessa released her squirming little form into his arms. The baby gave a startled fuss, then fell silent when she caught sight of him, big eyes going wide. Another whimper came, followed by a wail. But he ignored that and pressed her against his bare chest, his hand enveloping her back, her face near the warmth of his neck.
Seconds later, she fell silent.
Tessa scrambled from the chair, gaping. “Oh, my gosh…”
“Go to sleep,” he commanded softly as the baby sighed and slipped right into slumber.
“How did you do that?” Tessa asked.
“We’ll figure it out later. Get in the bed.”
She shook her head. “I’ll take her back. You need sleep, too, and—”
“I can sleep with her on my chest.” Zy eased onto the glider Tessa had just vacated, sinking into its cushy warmth as he drew Hallie’s baby blanket over her tiny form and across his torso. “We’ll be fine.”
“But she’s my responsibility, and you don’t—”
“Lie. Down. And go. To sleep. If I can’t handle something, I’ll wake you.
But you won’t be any good for Hallie tomorrow if you’re falling down.”
Tessa paused, her superwoman facade slipping as she sighed. Suddenly, he saw fatigue in every line of her body. Tears filled her soft eyes, saying far more than her next words. “Thank you.”