I was stretched out on my couch reading a book when there was a knock on the front door. Ripley jumped up to go inspect our visitor and before I could get up to answer the door, it started to open. Fifi came in wearing a damn turtleneck and puppy Uggs.
“I’m calling Animal Cruelty,” I said as Mel walked in.
“She picked out the shoes.” he shrugged as he closed the door behind himself.
“You need help.” I hadn’t heard from him in like three weeks. I knew I’d made some mistakes in the way I handled the Eric and Stan stuff. Mel probably had every right to throw an ‘I told you so’ my way, but I didn’t like the way he had gone about sharing his opinion. It was possible to disagree without being so harsh about it.
“As long as she’s happy, that’s all that matters,” he told me. “I brought you an apology cake.” He reached into the bag he was carrying and took out a small pink cake box.
“Thanks.” I took the box to the kitchen.
Ripley was completely unimpressed with Fifi and she went to lie down on her bed in the living room.
“You want a piece?” I got plates down from the cabinet.
“Sure. Just a small one, I’m watching my waistline lately.”
“You have the waistline of a thirteen-year-old girl,” I replied. I opened the cake box and laughed.
I’m sorry I’m a grumpy bitch.
“I know and I want to keep it that way. How have you been…”
“I’m good. I have a boyfriend.” I carefully lifted the cake from the box and got a knife from the drawer.
“Excuse me? You have a what?”
“Boyfriend. Significant other. Regular, amazing dick,” I said with a smile. “And he’s funny and interesting and he remodels houses for a living so he has abs you could wash your clothes on.”
“Let’s get back to the amazing dick part,” Mel said. “Is this the James Deen guy?”
“Yep,” I grinned.
“How did that happen?” he asked as he took a seat at the table.
“How did that happen?” Mel sat down at the table.
“He asked me to have dinner with him and I said I would. It just went from there.”
“Ugh, I so wished he was in the closet,” he groaned.
“Honey, you’ve got to stop hanging the moon on straight boys,” I said as kindly as I could.
“They’re so much cuter,” he pouted.
“But they’re not going to change.” I cut him some cake.
“That’s what you think. I’ve gotten one or two to switch in my day.”
“For a night or two and then you’re their dirty little secret. That’s not a long-term relationship, sweetie.”
“I’ll find a guy one day, and don’t even say Claude. I went on a date with him and he has lizard tongue.”
“Oh. Ick. Sorry,” I frowned.
“I didn’t have a good feeling about him, but I sucked it up. Anyway, so is Big Dick the one?”
“He might be.”
“What colors are the wedding going to be?”
“We’re not that far yet,” I smiled and gave Mel his cake.
“That doesn’t mean you haven’t thought about colors,” he shrugged as he started to nibble on his cake.
“Light coral and sand,” I replied quietly.
“Oooh, a spring wedding?” he grinned.
“He hasn’t asked.”
“This is the second time you’re dating him, he will. If he likes you enough to go for a round two, it’s love,” Mel said.
“I’m not counting my chickens before they hatch. Plus I’m not rushing it.” I got a pitcher of iced tea from the fridge.
“I think it should be a small wedding.”
“I think we should find you a man so you’ll have a date that doesn’t require a leash or a doggie door,” I replied. “Tara’s got a cousin–”
“Nope, you’re not setting me up with anyone. I can figure it out on my own,” he said, cutting me off. The previous three dates I had set him up on were disasters.
“But he’s a sassy bitch like you.”
“I don’t need someone like me, Sookie. I’m too much for me.”
“Fine. But I’ve seen a picture and he’s cute. Your loss,” I shrugged.
“Maybe I’ll meet him at the wedding and stay out of your hair,” he smirked.
“Why would Tara’s cousin come to my wedding if he’s not your date?” I pointed out.
“Maybe he’ll be Tara’s date,” Mel shrugged.
“I doubt it. Tara’s into playing the field. Plus I think she’s got a thing for Jason. They may have bumped uglies at some point but I’m not interested in the details,” I said.
“Oh, gross. The only thing I want to know is how big his coc–”
“Stop!” I didn’t want to even think about it. “You need to have that talk with Tara, not me. Maybe you can live vicariously through her vagina.”
“I certainly don’t want to live through yours. With monster cock you’re going to be a loosey goosey soon enough,” he snorted.
“It all snaps back into place,” I said, making him cringe. “Stays nice and tight–”
“I don’t want to know about your who-ha any more than you want to know about Jason’s cock.”
“You brought it up,” I shrugged. I saw Fifi sniffing around and all of a sudden the little bitch squatted to pee. “Fifi, if you piss in my house you’re gator bait!”
Mel actually jumped up to take her outside. I rolled my eyes as he hauled ass for the front door.
“Rip, you’re the best girl in the world,” I said as I got out one of her treats. She came trotting over to me and happily accepted the bone I offered her. I scratched between her ears and then took a bite of the cake Mel brought. The dog sucked but the cake was tasty. It was the most delicious apology I’d ever gotten.
8 Months Later…
I hadn’t been feeling quite right for the last week or so. I was more tired than usual, but working with kids meant there were always colds and things going around. I just assumed it was a spring cold coming in with the change of seasons. For the last few days I had been coming home from work and going straight to bed. I wasn’t running a fever, however, nor did I really have any symptoms other than feeling generally rundown.
It was nothing like the pneumonia and bronchitis I’d gotten in January. I’d had been on medication for weeks. I even had to spend a night in the hospital because I was dehydrated and had trouble breathing. Nebulizer treatments and IV fluids had helped considerably. It occurred to me, as I lay in bed, that antibiotics could fuck with birth control effectiveness.
Lethargy and exhaustion could be symptoms of pregnancy.
“Son of a bitch,” I muttered. The possibility of being pregnant wasn’t the problem; it was that I hadn’t even thought about it.
I got out of bed and forced myself to get in the car to run over to Walmart to get a pregnancy test. My gut told me everything would be okay if the test came back positive. Things were different than they were the first time Eric and I were together. He loved me and told me so all the time. Even better, his actions matched his words. He was kinder to me and he didn’t take me for granted.
We had been talking about living together but I had been reluctant to take that leap. Not that I didn’t like being with him, but I liked my house. I liked having my own space. If I was pregnant I was going to have to reconsider everything.
Walmart was a zoo, like always, but I got the tests and then went straight back home to take them. I was in the bathroom, peeing on a stick when my phone rang. The self-chosen Chris Young ringtone told me it was Eric. Since I was midstream I was going to have to call him back. I washed my hands after capping the test and setting it on the vanity to marinate.
No voicemail was left but that wasn’t unusual. I hit the callback button and lay down on my bed.
“Hey, how you feeling?” he answered.
“Still tired. My boobs hurt too,” I told him. “How are you?”
“Good. Tired and ready to curl up with you. Is it okay if I come over?”
“Of course. Whatever this is I don’t think it’s contagious,” I said. “Will you stop at Whataburger and get me a milkshake?”
“Yep. I’ll be there soon. I love you.”
“I love you too.” I didn’t usually let the dog on the furniture but she didn’t take no for an answer if I needed comfort. Ripley rested her head on my belly and I rubbed her neck while I waited for the test to be ready.
I closed my eyes and tried to imagine Eric holding a tiny baby. Of course it made my ovaries quake. I sat up and went to the bathroom to look at the test. Clear as day there were two lines in the window, indicating a positive result.
I was pregnant.
I took a deep breath and my eyes welled up. Not out of disappointment or fear, but excitement. I didn’t think he’d run from the responsibility, but if he did at least I was in a position to deal with it. I could raise the baby alone if I had to, but my gut told me I didn’t need to worry about it.
By the time Eric arrived my hands were mostly not shaking anymore and I was smiling in a way I wasn’t sure I ever had before.
“Babe, why is your face broken?” Eric asked as he handed me milkshake.
“Because I’m happy.” I set the milkshake down on the counter. “I have to tell you something.”
“That you and Rip decided to come fill up that giant house with me?”
“It probably won’t be just Ripley and me,” I said.
“No, I refuse to live with Mel,” he said seriously.
“That makes two of us,” I laughed. I got closer to him and pushed up to my toes to kiss him hello.
“Mmm, hi,” he whispered with his eyes closed.
“Hi. I’m pregnant.”