Chapter 1: The Birth

March 21, 1972

Barnabas paced anxiously in the waiting room. Sweat was dripping from his brow to due worry about his wife and unborn child and from the lack of air conditioning in the room with other anxious fathers-to-be. He thought to himself that he hasn’t been this anxious since Julia told him she was pregnant. Being a woman of her age, pregnancy was risky, but it was a risk both expecting parents were willing to make. And even though worried thoughts dominated his mind, Barnabas still smiled at the memories of the past nine months and how excited he and his wife were to have a child. They were so excited that the soon-to-be parents cancelled the remainder of their worldwide trip and headed back to the United States. Both Barnabas and Julia didn’t want to bring their child up in Collinsport and Collinwood due to the family’s negative view from the townspeople and the strange happenings at Collinwood, even though Collinwood was calm and quiet when they left for the Orient to be married.

Upon returning back to the States, the couple decided to settle in the outskirts of Boston, MA, where Barnabas expanded the Collins brand throughout Boston and New England. The expansions brought new wealth and prosperity to all the Collins family. On the other hand, Julia decided to stay at home until she had the baby and fully recovered before returning to work. She had been offered an administrative position at Massachusetts General Hospital, and she accepted on the condition that she could begin once her body was recovered. Barnabas was deep in concentration when he was interrupted by a familiar voice.

“Coffee, Barnabas?”

It was Quentin who traveled from Collinsport to Boston to help the family business while Barnabas was away on “paternal leave.” Quentin, as always, was dressed to the nines in a navy blue sports coat, khaki pants with perfectly pressed pleats, purple buttoned up shirt that had two buttons undone at the top showing a bit of chest hair, and polished Italian leather shoes. His black hair was perfectly brushed, and his teeth were as white as pearls. His raspy, deep voice made all the women around him swoon and want to be with him. Barnabas always had a slight twinge of jealousy towards Quentin for his good looks and ways with women; however, Barnabas knew Quentin was jealous of him since he was free from his vampire curse and was about to become a father.

“Thank you, Quentin. I’m not sure this well help. I’m just so worried about Julia and the baby. No one has come out to let me know what’s going on in the delivery room! I’m certain something is terribly wrong,” Barnabas confided in Quentin. Quentin gave Barnabas a reassuring smile while putting his arm around his loyal cousin.

“It’s okay, Barnabas. She’s fine. This is Julia we’re talking about! She’s a strong woman. She can do anything! Besides, I’ve heard the first baby takes a long time, and since this is Julia’s first baby and a high risk pregnancy, the doctor is most likely taking some extra precautions.” Barnabas nodded in agreement while he sat down.

“Oh, you’re right, Quentin. I’ve waited for so long for this moment. I want them both to be healthy.”

Just then the doctor entered the waiting room and made his way to Barnabas and Quentin.

“Mr. Collins. Congratulations! You’re the proud father of a 7 pound 8 ounce baby girl!”

********

Barnabas sat quietly next to Julia in her hospital room holding their new bundle of joy ever so gently in his arms. Julia turned toward her husband and ran her fingers on the side of his cheek.

“She’s beautiful, isn’t she?” Julia asked. Barnabas turned towards his strong wife and kissed her hand.

“Yes she is, darling. She looks just like you,” Barnabas responded quietly as to not wake their daughter. Baby Collins had beautiful round hazel eyes, a button nose, and a hint of red hair on the top of her head. Her tiny fingers wrapped around one of Barnabas’s fingers as to say she knew that this was her father. She would smile every once in a while with a smile that was like her mother’s, big and could light up a room. Barnabas didn’t want this moment to end, and he prayed it would continue forever. “But what shall we name her?” Barnabas asked of his wife.

“Well, I’ve been thinking about that, and what do you think about Melody Joy? Melody is an old name in my family and Joy comes from her being our little bundle of joy,” Julia stated.

Barnabas looked at his daughter who was smiling sweetly at him. “Yes, Melody Joy is perfect. Welcome to the world, Melody Joy Collins.”

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