Baby Names

This was originally writen for a short story contest that Grace A. Johnson held on her blog last year! I’m only posting the first part of it though so if you want to check out the rest, hip over to Grace’s!

I’ve also made a few tiny alterations to it, including a Very Important Middle Name Change™ but other than that, it’s pretty much the same. I originally wanted to do something about Jack’s grandparents since his maternal grandfather is an Irish immigrant but unfortunately, that did not happen. Perhaps next week? Two weeks? I have an idea, I just need to write it down.

Anyway, enjoy!

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,

March 1962

Five days had now passed since she was told the results. Five days and she still couldn’t move past the numbness, much less work up the courage to tell her husband.

Vivian Matthews sat on the rug in the library, gray eyes staring into the blazing fire nestled in the brick fireplace. She wanted to feel happy. She wanted to run into Johnny’s arms and kiss him and tell him their prayers had been answered.

But her feet didn’t move. They kept her rooted to the spot, in the room she had always been the most comfortable in since her marriage into one of Philly’s well-to-do families.

Will there truly be a child in that crib this September? She gnawed on a perfectly-manicured fingernail. Will there be first steps, first words? Mischief glinting in blue or gray eyes? Will there be wedding bells someday? Grandchildren to fill the empty space left behind?


She looked up at the doorway. Johnny came over and sat down beside her, giving her a look that was a mix of concern and curiosity.

“Are you feeling all right?” he asked, his blue eyes searching hers.

“I…” Vivian clamped her mouth shut, her thoughts tripping all over the place as she tried to figure out how to string the words together to tell him.

“Do you need anything?”

She shook her head. “No.”

“You sure?”


“Then what’s wrong?”

“Nothing’s wrong.”

He raised an eyebrow. “You haven’t been yourself for the past few days. What’s going on?”

She swallowed and looked away, back at the fire, her chin quivering. Johnny slid his arms around her shoulders and pulled her closer.

“I…” Vivian worked her jaw around and swallowed again. She wet her suddenly-dry lips and whispered, “I’m pregnant.”


“I’m pregnant,” she repeated, louder. She looked up, watching as his face changed and settled on a mix of all the emotions they had felt the past four years.

“You…you are?”

She nodded. “Johnny, I know this is a wonderful thing, and I know we should be happy, but I’m…I’m scared. I-I don’t know if…”

Her voice broke and she wiped at her tearful eyes, struggling to keep back the sobs. I don’t want to cry. I don’t want to feel hopeless. I want to hope. Hope that we’ll finally get to hold our own child in our arms. But what if-

“Viv?” Johnny’s voice broke through her thoughts. “Hey.”

She sniffed. “What?”

He gently tilted her chin up and smiled softly. “May I have this dance?”

Vivian furrowed her brow. “What?”

“May I have this dance?” he repeated, getting to his feet and pulling her up with him.

“Johnny…” She sighed, giving in and allowing him to take her hand and waist. Within seconds into the dance, she rested her head against his chest, listening to the soft thump of his heartbeat. There were times it skipped a step, yet today it didn’t seem to be doing that.

Johnny started humming a love song, then sang it, softly.

After a few minutes, she mumbled, “You’re awfully calm for a man who’s just found out his wife is pregnant after…after everything we’ve been through.”

A moment, then, “I don’t think it’s completely sunk in yet.”

Vivian lifted her head off his chest and met his gaze. They had stopped in the middle of the room, the crackling of the fire and the ticking of the grandfather clock merging together in rhythm.

“What if…” She pressed her lips together.

“Hey, none of that.” Johnny tilted her chin up. “I know it’s normal to be worried that we’ll lose-” He cut himself off and took a deep breath. Clearly, he was thinking of the past four years.

Vivian placed her hands against his chest, waiting.

“Viv…whatever happens, we will continue to trust in God and His timing,” Johnny said. “In the meantime, let’s start arguing over baby names.”

She laughed. “Hopefully, we won’t have to argue that much,” she said. “I’ve already got the perfect name in mind.”

“Which is?”

“John Elijah Matthews.”

Johnny blinked. “Another John?”

Vivian nodded. “John Elijah Matthews III, I should say.”

He sighed. “Oh boy. What’re we gonna call him to tell him apart from me and my father?”

“Well, if your father goes by plain John, and you go by Johnny, then there’s only Jack left.”

“Jack Matthews sounds good. But we’re not calling him Jackie.” After a moment, he added, “Hold on, so you think it’s a boy?”

She smirked. “Oh, I know it’s a boy.”

“Hm. I say girl.”



“Maybe we’re both right and it’s twins.”

Johnny chuckled and kissed her.

© 2022/2023 H.S. Kylian (Hannah Killian). All rights reserved.

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