Casey sat on the edge of the bed, her body weary and her mind a whirlwind of emotions. Cradled in her arms was her newborn daughter, a tiny bundle of innocence amidst the chaos of the world. She couldn’t help but marvel at the sight of the sleeping baby, her heart overflowing with love and concern for the future that lay ahead.

“Please stay healthy and strong,” Casey whispered softly, her voice barely more than a breath as she gazed down at her daughter’s peaceful face. She couldn’t bear the thought of anything happening to the precious life she held in her arms.

A small smile tugged at the corners of Casey’s lips as she noticed the resemblance between the baby and her father. It brought a flicker of warmth to her heart, a reminder of the love that still existed amidst the turmoil of her life. Yet, beneath the surface, a hint of uncertainty lingered. Would her father be disappointed that the baby was a girl? The thought gnawed at Casey’s mind, threatening to overshadow the joy of her daughter’s arrival.

Leaving behind the chaos of Central had been a daunting decision for Casey, but she knew it was the right one. In Bear Country, she had found a sanctuary, a place where she could start anew and leave her troubled past behind. But the fear of being rejected if her connection to Central was exposed weighed heavily on her mind. She couldn’t risk losing everything she had worked so hard to build.

Exhaustion tugged at Casey’s bones, her body weary from the ordeal of childbirth. Hunger gnawed at her stomach, a reminder of her own needs that had been pushed aside in the rush of the moment. But despite the pain and exhaustion, sleep beckoned with irresistible allure. Casey knew she needed to rest, if only for a few precious moments.

With a gentle sigh, Casey eased herself back onto the bed, careful not to disturb the sleeping baby in her arms. She pulled the covers snugly around them both, seeking comfort in the warmth of the blankets. As sleep claimed her weary body, Casey held her daughter close, her heart filled with hope for a better tomorrow.

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