6.1: Interlude – Sweet Dreams

Zayne’s deep, booming laugh echoed in the silence of the empty bedroom. Beside him, his wife shushed him, trying her best to stifle her own laughter.

“Shhhh! If you wake up Harper, I swear to God…” Hope shook her head.

“Hey, this is your fault for springing it on me like this!” Zayne smirked playfully at her as he spoke. “Serves me right for working late, I guess…”

“Right? I’ve been waiting to show you all day.”

Zayne looked down at the magazine cover once more, half embarrassed, half amused. He’d nearly forgotten agreeing to a photoshoot and interview with one of Windenburg’s business magazines a few months ago. Dom had convinced him it would be good for business. And Hope, well, she’d been working so hard running the modeling agency for the past several years… But Zayne had a feeling she was eager for the chance to be in front of the camera again.

“God, did they have to use this picture?” He said at last. “I look ridiculous.”

“What are you talking about? You look hot!”

Zayne let out another loud burst of laughter.

This time, Hope didn’t even bother trying to shush him. “I just love that we somehow became ‘Windenburg’s hottest power couple’… And wait until you read the article.”

With a strange mixture of dread and anticipation, Zayne flipped through the pages to find his and Hope’s interview.

As he’d predicted, the article focused more on their personal lives than he would have liked… Especially his. Namedropping a bunch of famous Rosebrooks, detailing the tragedy of losing his parents, and, of course, all about Harper and the struggles they faced as parents.

A soft sigh passed his lips as his eyes scanned the article. “This is supposed to be a business magazine, right?” He asked Hope, half-amused.

“I know. It’s a little ridiculous, isn’t it? But… I guess sob stories are what sells these days.” She rolled her eyes. “They kept in some great quotes from you about opening that second location in Falkenburg though.” Hope pointed down at one of the pages for a moment.

“True!” Zayne agreed. “And look here… ‘From posing in front of the camera to sitting behind the desk at one of the top modeling agencies in Europe, Hope Forrester has single handedly changed the face of the modeling world as we know it’… Damn. That’s good.” His smile widened. “I guess this article isn’t all bad.”

“Definitely not.” Hope agreed. “It’s good publicity too, right?”

Her husband nodded as he closed the magazine and set it aside. “I just wish they’d taken a few pictures of the Peanut to put in there too… We spent half the interview gushing about her, didn’t we?” He laughed.

“Mmm… Our little girl.” Hope smiled warmly. “A picture would have been pretty adorable… But honestly, I’m really liking the eye candy.” She smiled playfully at him and wrapped an arm around his broad shoulders as she spoke. “Maybe you’re the one who should have been in a model instead of me.”

“Oh yeah? My face plastered all over magazines and billboards, huh?” Zayne shook his head. “You’re supposed to make people wanna buy the products, right?”

His wife giggled. “True. All those poor ladies will be too busy wiping the drool off their chins to even think of buying anything…”

“Unless I do an ad for baby bibs?”

“Ha! Genius…”

A high pitched wailing suddenly pierced through the still night air. “WAAAAAAHHHHHH!”

Zayne felt a terrible sinking feeling in his chest at the sound. Oh no.

“WAAAAAAHHHHHH!” The screeching continued as Harper stumbled through their bedroom door, tears running down her chubby little cheeks.

Zayne was the first one to reach her. He crouched down so he could look Harper in the eyes as he spoke. “Come here, baby girl.” He whispered. “Tell Papa what’s wrong.”

Harper simply continued to cry, though her ear-piercing wails had dropped down to small sobs and sniffles instead. Zayne was grateful for that. Her sobs had already begun giving way to a bit of coughing and labored breaths. He hoped she would be able to calm down enough before they had to resort to her inhaler.

“Does she feel warm?” Hope asked nervously.

Zayne placed a large hand on his daughter’s forehead. “Hmm… A little warmer than usual. But I don’t think it’s a fever…”

His wife leaned closer to Harper for a moment. “Does it hurt, sweetie?”

The toddler continued crying, seemingly ignoring her mother’s question.

“Show us where it hurts, okay?” Hope tried again, carefully enunciating each word.

This time, Harper reached up one of her tiny hands and began tugging on her right ear. Her mother and father exchanged a worried glance.

Great. Zayne’s heart sank as he reached down to scoop the little girl into his arms. Another ear ache… “Guess we can’t take any chances.” He told his wife softly. “We’ll call the doctor in the morning?”

Hope nodded. “I’ll go grab the ear drops.” She quickly headed out the bedroom door toward the bathroom.

Zayne sighed, hugging his sniffling daughter to his chest. He could hardly count the number of times they’d taken Harper to the doctor since she’d been born. Back when she was a newborn, it had almost felt like they lived at the hospital — and they more or less did, for the first several weeks of her life, at least. But ever since, it felt like there was always something bringing them back.

Her weakened immune system and poorly developed lungs were a dangerous combination — one that still caused problems even now. Zayne just prayed it was another simple ear infection this time… The last time Harper had ear pain, it had been a symptom of walking pneumonia.

Her party was on Saturday, and the last thing his little girl needed was to be sick on her birthday.

“There.” Hope forced a smile as she squeezed a few drops into Harper’s ear. “All done, Peanut.” She spoke a bit louder than usual as she addressed her daughter. Whenever this happened, it was normal for Harper’s ears to become so blocked that she could barely hear. “It’ll be all better soon.”

“Tank oo, mama.” The little girl replied softly.

“You’re welcome, honey.” Hope reached out and took Harper into her arms, carrying her back toward the bed with her.

She scooped up the little girl in one of her hands, tickling her ribs with the other until a soft giggle escaped Harper’s lips. “Ah, there’s the smile.” Her mother beamed.

Zayne looked down at the pair of them, marveling at the beautiful sight of his two favorite people in the entire universe. He would never understand what he did to deserve either of them… But whatever he did, he was so grateful for it. He just wished he didn’t have to see his little girl in so much pain.

“Feeling better, baby girl?” He asked his daughter as he climbed into bed beside them. Zayne realized too late that he was speaking into her blocked ear. He looked toward his wife for a moment.

“Harper, Papa asked if you’re feeling better.” Hope repeated gently into the little girl’s left ear.

Harper nodded, the pout finally gone from her face. “A wittle.” Her soft little voice replied.

“Tomorrow, Papa will take you to the doctor, okay? And the doctor will make it all better.” Zayne assured her, speaking loudly and clearly. He supposed most three-year-olds would be dreading a trip to the doctor… But Harper didn’t even flinch. She was so used to it already. “And then maybe afterwards we can get some ice cream.”

Harper’s entire face lit up. “Isa cweam!” She pulled away from Hope, racing eagerly into her father’s arms.

“Aha, I knew that’d make everything better.” Zayne teased.

“Let’s try to get some sleep now, okay Peanut?” Hope asked kindly. “Do you wanna sleep in here with mama and Papa?”

The little girl nodded. “Pwease?”

As always, neither of her parents could say no to her sweet little face. Hope slipped out of bed to turn off the light while Harper pressed her lips against her father’s for a moment.

“Mama and Papa love you so much, baby girl.” Zayne smiled warmly at her. “Goodnight.”

“Nuh-night, Papa.” Harper turned toward Hope as she crawled back into bed with them. “Nuh-night, mama.”

“Sweet dreams, Peanut.”

Within minutes, all three of them were fast asleep.

——————————————–

Shoutout to Maladi777 for helping me edit the magazine cover in this chapter!

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59 thoughts on “6.1: Interlude – Sweet Dreams

      1. Well, she is Zayne & Hope’s kid, how could she not be? I hope it’s nothing serious, poor baba. *hugs* What exactly does she have? I’m guessing asthma of some sort? because of the inhalers.

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        1. The only actual diagnosed problem she has is asthma, due to her lungs not being fully developed at birth. She also has a weakened immune system, so she gets sick easier than most toddlers. And many of those sicknesses usually end up being painful ear infections, poor thing 😦

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            1. Harper has a bit simpler then for me. But I had an ear infection when I was quite young but because I have a high pain level I wasn’t aware of my ear hurtting so I didn’t do the normal thing of pulling

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    1. Yup. They’re both 40 now (Zayne is a few months away from turning 41, actually). Harper was born when they were both 37 (Zayne was almost 38) 🙂

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        1. Hope is one year younger than him 🙂 (Well, a little less than that. They have a few months every year where they are the same age, then Zayne’s birthday rolls around haha)

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    1. Thanks, I love that pose in the last pic too! 🙂 I feel bad for the poor kiddo with her health problems too though 😦

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  1. Nooboos WitcHazard:😭😭😭😭😭😭😭 my precious nooboo is in pain! I wish I could take your pain for you but alas I haven’t learned that spell yet so keeping on fighting Harper!

    Anti Shipper: Oh I can already see that this gens ships are gonna be brutal!

    Shipper WitcHazard: Why?

    Anti Shipper: Oh come on she’s going to be a beautiful woman who probably gets sick all the time how can you not want to take care of her! Then you know she’ll probably be indecisive and lead both of them on then who ever she doesn’t choose is going to be friend zoned but he’ll always be in love with her never marry and becomes the couple’s child’s godfather!

    Dark WitcHazard: Yes I can see it once she’s made her decision her illness takes a turn for the worse but he marries Harper anyway then she doesn’t know how much time she has so she decides to have a child but dies giving birth then her husband and the child’s godfather raise the precious child she’s left in this world!

    Lover WitcHazard: You two are terrible Citizen would never do such a thing no matter how Oscar worthy it sounds!

    Anti Shipper: We can dream!

    Dark WitcHazard: Yeah let us dream!

    Liked by 7 people

    1. @anti shipper Hazard you do know that might not be the case? I was a late child but had health problems but I’m able to not get sick through doing activies like swimming or soccer or going to the gym

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  2. UGH! Ear aches!!! I cannot deal. You want to render me useless and make act like a toddler? Give me ANY kind of ear discomfort. I can bear many things, but ear discomfort I cannot! I’d rather be puking my brains out. Maybe even dying would feel better LOL. So sorry little miss lady has to go through that. Guess she wasn’t as fortunate as me to be a completely healthy preemie.

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    1. Oh yes, ear pain is the WORST! Poor Harper 😦

      And unfortunately, not as lucky as you, yes 😦 It’s cruel, but also more interesting for the story if she has some health problems as a result of it 😛

      Liked by 1 person

  3. First off: I am so glad everything went well with Harpers birth. I am so sorry for her health problems and asthma, but she is out of hospital, can lead an almost normal life. It could have ended much worse. Little Harper is so cute, and want to hug her right now. Ear ache is a terrible thing, and I hope she will feel better soon. But despite her illness she seems to be an easy kid, not screaming more than necessary, being easily cheered up.

    I really like that magazine. “Hottest couple” really is a nice title for them, and they both look great. So Hope managed to build a successful career as model manager/whatever? That is great, that’s propably not too easy, when you think about how many young models have to age-quit every year and are eager for new jobs in the same career. And Zaynes restaurant lives on – it deserves to, this shiny light(light)-palace of his dreams.

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    1. Thank you, Luna! Harper is actually a pretty easy-going kid, you’re right. Lucky for her parents! The poor thing still has to go through so much though. 😦

      Glad you enjoyed the magazine! Hottest couple indeed 😉 Hehe and yes, Hope actually runs the modeling agency she used to work for in Windenburg 🙂 She and Zayne are like two business icons in Windenburg now 😛 It’s a fun life for them 🙂

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  4. I loved it. I’m just really sad that Harper is so sick. One of my brothers have 3 kids (2 girls, 1 boy) and the oldest of the girls + the boy both started out with a hard life with sickness and in and out of hospitals. They’re fine now though, and I’m sure Harper will be too some day ❤ Stuff like this really breaks my heart.

    They are an adorable little family. I really wish i didn't have to wait until wednesday to see more of them ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sorry you have to wait too! Haha Harper is so dang sweet. I’m sorry that your niece and nephew had a hard time when they were little, but I’m so glad they’re okay now! 🙂

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  5. So Harper has health problems, I see? I’m excited to see how this affects her later in life. I mean, I feel bad for her, but this should lead to an interesting storyline. I’m guessing she was a preemie? Poor Zayne and Hope.
    PS: I’m loving Zayne in that man bun 💗

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Onyx! I am partial to the man-bun too 😉 Hehe

      And yes, Harper does have some health problems right now 😦 Thankfully it’s nothing too severe, but you never know what could be in store for her in the future… We’ll see!

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  6. Ear aches yuuck, I’m one of the few unfortunate adults who still get them and I had plenty as a child. Poor tyke.

    Loved the magazine. That was so well done. And I’m glad to know Parenthood hasn’t completely dimmed their spark.

    Harper is adorable.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Rae! Sorry you still get ear aches though. That pain is horrific!

      And yes, the HoZay spark still burns bright! They just get occasionally cockblocked by their little one now LMAO

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  7. Awww she’s so sweet! Poor little baby with the health issues :0-( And look at Zayne, being the best daddy ever! I just know little Harper is going to be spoiled rotten! So excited for the new heir and her life story, but also a little sad about Zayne passing the literary torch. Zayne was my favourite “chapter” in the Rosebrook book of life so far, I just love all the ups and downs filled with stories that make you feel so hard. It’s like watching a really good movie that you wish would never end lol Harper is just absolutely adorable, and I can’t wait to read all about her growing up and making her own mark ❤ See you wednesday!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! I’m really happy that Zayne’s story has been your favorite so far 🙂 We will still be hearing from him during Harper’s gen, but the focus is definitely on her now!

      I love writing him and Hope as parents. They adore their little girl so much ❤ Thank you for reading and supporting my story! ^_^

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  8. As someone who spent the majority of her infant and toddler years in the hospital, I feel so bad for Harper. You do get used to doctors and hospital visits. My mother likes to tease me that as a toddler/child I wouldn’t even flinch at the sight of a needle, but now an adult I freak the fuck out anytime I hear the words “you need an IV/blood drawn/a shot.”

    Now I am curious how her health is going affect the plot line/story arc I know about. But do not spoil it for me!!! I know too much already. :joy: :joy: :joy:

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I won’t tell you more haha you’re right! You do know too much 😛

      I am sorry you’re able to relate to Harper in that way 😦

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  9. Poor baby girl 😦 Ear aches are horrible. Ice cream is not a good idea, I think, especially since she already has a weak immune system. Low level immunity +Possible ear infection + whatever consequence that may have = Not good.

    Tip for Zayne: Garlic and olive oil remedy. My mom made it and put it on me every time; it worked like magic.

    Kids can be so delicate sometimes, sickly kids even more so. It’s not just about treating their health issues, it’s about how you react/handle the situation they’re in. Because that’s what Harper will treasure most as she grows. The comfort, the hugs, and the love. Keep it up, HoZay, you’re doing good.

    Also, flirty parents are flirty. They can be so sweet and mushy sometimes, I get cavities, I swear. Go Hope for showing those snobby, loser model exfriends that she has determination and potential for way more than just modeling.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha I will pass your home remedy tip onto Zayne! 😛 I feel really bad for her too 😦

      Glad you like HoZay’s parenting so far (and mushiness 😛 ) I’m really proud of how far Hope has come. She’s definitely proved herself as more than a pretty face!

      Thanks for reading, Sara!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. She IS precious, isn’t she? The game did so well with this little munchin! As for turmoil… Time will tell! Glad you enjoyed ❤ Thanks, Jenn!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Oh, Harper is a cutie! It’s sad that she has to deal with health issues already 😦 I’m excited for her generation, though!

    I really do love seeing Zayne and Hope as parents. I’ll admit, I was a bit hesitant towards their relationship for a while, but I really think things turned out great 🙂

    Also, I noticed that they’re the first generation not to be living in the Rosebrook mansion, right? Kinda sad, actually, I miss that house :p But it’s also fun to see them have their own space!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw yay, you’ve been converted! 😉 Haha no but seriously, I am glad that they’ve grown on you 🙂 And I’m glad you like Harper as well!

      And yes, Hope and Zayne are not in the legacy house 😮 We’ll see if they stay away forever or not. Thank you for reading!

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    1. Hahahaha poor Hope and Zayne probably get interrupted more times than they actually have sex these days 😂 But they don’t mind… worth it for their little one! They just have to be creative about their timing and stuff now hehehe

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  11. Awww Harper! I can relate to this little sweetie – had asthma since I was born, pneumonia when I was 4. I was actually wondering when you would include some more physical obstacles in the character’s lives – I noticed nobody’s had a disability or anything 😛 Not that I’m GLAD Harper has health issues, but it’s a new plot device 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, things are a little challenging for her! I don’t focus on her problems very much when she’s older, but they’re definitely always there making things more difficult for her!

      Liked by 1 person

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