“So how are you feelin’, sis?”
The antiseptic smell of hospital had seemed to settle into her clothing in the few days the lilac cat had spent bed bound in Durri Hospital, her hair was a mess, and the bags lining her sockets darkened her bloodshot eyes. However, a crinkle across her cheek framed a satisfied and somewhat relieved face.
“Best as I could be, Tip,” She grinned, and winced as she inched herself up the sofa, plumping up the cushions behind her back. The painkiller’s effects were wearing steadily off, and 13 days after delivering, she was starting to feel as though a truck had driven through her abdomen and crashed into her lower spine, not to mention her scar, which drew neatly just above her bikini line and seemed to enjoy scraping alongside her jeans.
“The pain getting better?” The orange tabby cat sitting beside her queried. Her dark brown eyes glowed with worry at her older sister, darting from her face and her belly.
“Better since I found out I can take paracetamol, Tip. Trying to wean myself off the stronger stuff since I’ve turned into a cow,”
“And here I always thought a caesarean birth would be easier,” She remarked, and gently jigged the grizzling seven pounder in the crook of her arm. Tipper was quite surprised at how her niece acted and behaved. “How naïve of me to think babies were simple,” She thought to herself as Cerise hiccupped and spread her hands like two small starfish. Her eyes were small and scrunched but were wide awake now, her eyes still blue from the birth. “Complicated and disgusting… but fascinating,” she thought out loud. Snickers laughed, a bubbly giggle that echoed throughout the lounge, a reflection of her younger, more awake self.
“Disgusting? Ha! You haven’t heard anything yet! Little lady here does nothing but fart,” Tipper’s hair wilted at the thought.
“F-fart? Babies don’t fart, do they?” Her eyes focused on the figure in her arms, who, almost in protest, began to squirm and writhe uncomfortably, and with a few practise gasps, opened her mouth from a small grizzle to an almighty wail. Laughing quietly under a closed mouth, Snickers looked quite lost at the predicament. Biting her lip, a blush spread over her cheeks under her lavender fur.
“Uhm… Tip? Can I… uhm…”
Tipper beamed, and handed her the baby, who was now in full swing. “Go for it Snick! Nothing I haven’t seen before,”
Snickers cradled the child but continued with her look at Tipper. Her eyes hid under her long purple bangs and turned her face away in shame.
“It’s… it’s not that, Tip… Twix is at work and Mama Dorpe is at home for a rest… I thought I could do it…” A small choke of embarrassment made her shrink away into the settee, Cerise close to her covered breast in a small, if awkward embrace. Tipper began to piece the situation together, learning forward in an attempt to see her sister’s face clearer, and saw a small tear drip down to her chin, leaving a trail of wet fur behind it.
“Snick… don’t you know how to feed her?” Tipper tentatively probed, and placed a hand gently on her sister’s shoulders, which began to shake uncontrollably. A small sob crept out of her lips, a soft gulp beneath her daughter’s roar for food.
“I’m a terrible mother… I can’t even feed my own baby!” Snickers whimpered. “Twix usually helps me… or Mama Dorpe. But I can’t do it alone Tip! She just won’t latch on properly with just me! I don’t want her to starve but I’m trying Tip! I’m really trying!”
Tipper took her hand from her sister’s shoulder and wrapped her arms around the older woman’s neck, planting a kiss on her hot, wet cheek.
Without a word, Tipper took the baby from Snicker’s arms while her sister lifted her top above her right breast, unzipped the cup on her maternity bra and removed a small circular breast pad between two fingers. Supporting her niece’s head and neck with her right hand and her left hand cradling her lower back, Tipper hauled herself up, and positioned the baby onto Snicker’s breast, which was met with a pain-filled shriek from the mother.
“Be careful! This isn’t a god-damned bean bag you’re dealing with!” Snickers sniffed, clutching her breast.
“Sheesh, language Snick,”
With a little more positioning and wincing, and much more screaming from the whelp, Cerise finally latched on, Tipper supporting the tiny body and Snickers finally taking her from her sister’s strong hands. Tipper then dropped to her knees, her elbows resting on her sibling’s thighs, and watched intently in fascination and thought.
“Is this my future?” She mused as Cerise made tiny “Mmph” noises and Snicker’s eyes closed in exhaustion, leaning back onto the cushions behind her. “Will I be like this one day with a Cerise of my own? Will I find it hard too?”
“It certainly isn’t what I thought it would be. They’re not little cute bundles of fluff, but they’re not little poop-bags either… I wonder if Charles wants one one day, if ever,” Tipper’s thoughts turned to Charles, as they always did. “What kind of baby would we make? Would I have to have a caesarean like Snick because it’s too dangerous, like her? Would I get Placental prev… pree… whatever, too?” A sadness crept over her.
“I’d make a terrible mother,” She concluded silently and sighed, resting her chin on her wrists. At that moment, Snicker’s eyes flickered.
“You know Tip, you’re a natural at this baby stuff. You’re gonna be so good one day,” Snicker’s yawned, stroking her baby’s head, the fine white down fluffing slightly.
“Good… good mother…” Tipper pondered, her eyes focused on the now intent infant, her tiny fingers splayed across her sister’s breast.
“If I’m not, I’ll be sure to ask you for help Snick,” Tipper beamed, the prospect suddenly not so frightening.