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I dip my chin. “Good.”
Riley stands up and we walk to the door. Halfway there, she pauses. “This was really open-minded of you, Jake. And I appreciate you and Aunt Chelsea, you know, swapping gender roles in this situation.”
Is that what we did?
“But . . . let’s never speak of this conversation again. Sound good?”
All the air rushes out of my lungs. “Jesus Christ, yes. Sounds great.”
She gives me a thumbs-up and a smile. It’s small and still really embarrassed, but it’s a smile.
The next morning, Chelsea and I are right back where we were a few weeks ago, sequestered in our bedroom, counting down the three-minute wait time to read the pee test. Chelsea’s more subdued this time, keeping a tight rein on her anticipation.
I sit on the bed, tapping out “Iron Man” on my legs. Anxiety is an uncommon feeling for me—but I’m feeling it now. Because, I want this. For her. Because it’ll make her so happy.
And I want it for me, too.
Chelsea pushes a reddish-brown lock behind her ear and stands before me. “It’s time. You want me to look?”
I grasp her hips and pull her between my legs, planting a kiss against her sternum.
“I’ll do it.”
This time around, when I step out of the bathroom, I do it smiling. Big and proud. Actually fucking giddy.
Chelsea doesn’t wait for me to say the words. She takes one look at my smile and throws herself straight into my arms.
Because we are well and truly knocked up.
It’s a good thing the sex was so abundant before Chelsea got pregnant. It made the weeks that followed—when the pussy party came to a sad, screeching halt—a lot easier to bear. It was the exhaustion that got to her first. It hit Chelsea like a freight train—not even my mouth between her legs could wake her up.
I didn’t take it personally.
Then the puking started. Morning sickness would strike in the afternoon, which—big-picture-wise—was for the best. Because most afternoons she was at the museum, which made keeping the news from the kids a lot easier. Not telling them, until after we were sure everything was up and running, was a decision Chelsea and I made together. One in five pregnancies ends in miscarriage during the first trimester—and if that tragedy happened to us, and the kids knew, we’d be opening a whole can of ugly worms that we didn’t want to go anywhere near.
So, for the first few months, we didn’t tell anyone. I went with her to the first doctor’s appointment. Chelsea cried when she heard the heartbeat, and cried harder during the first ultrasound.
I didn’t. Seeing a gray blob on a screen and hearing a whoosh-whoosh sound didn’t do anything to me. Didn’t make any of it real.
I kept that to myself though. Because I’m not a fucking idiot.
“So . . . I have big news.”
It’s a mild, sunny Thursday afternoon and me, Brent, Stanton, and Sofia are having lunch at a bar and grill a couple blocks from our building. Brent leans forward on his elbows as he makes this proclamation, his mischievous baby blues landing on each of us to make sure we’re paying attention.
If Peter Pan ever decided to grow up, I imagine he’d look a lot like Brent. He’s always had this carefree, spontaneous attitude—and getting married a year and a half ago only brought that out in him more. Because now he’s got a partner in crime.
Brent and Kennedy travel a lot on the weekends: white-water rafting, skydiving, Antiques Roadshow hunting—they’ve done it all.
With a smile that won’t be stopped, he announces, “Kennedy’s pregnant.”
Sofia squeals, her long dark hair swaying as she pops up and pulls Brent into a bear hug. Stanton raises his glass, and I reach across the table and slap Brent on the back.
“That’s awesome, man.”
I lean back in my chair with a smirk. “How’d your mother take the news? Did she spontaneously combust?”
Mrs. Mason has been looking forward to a grandchild since Brent hit puberty.
“We haven’t told the parents yet. I’m trying to hold off the Fatal Attraction stalking for as long as I can. But we’re going to have to tell them soon. You know how small Kennedy is—she’s already starting to show. If her mother makes a comment about her weight, there’s an excellent chance I’ll finally tell her to go fuck herself.” He takes a sip of his lemonade. “Could make Thanksgiving dinner awkward.”
I’m not generally a fan of the word bitch, but if there was ever a woman who deserved the label—it’s Kennedy’s mother, Mitzy Randolph.
“How far along is she?” Sofia asks.
“Three and a half months.” And there’s a light in Brent’s eyes that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
So warm and fuzzy that even though Chelsea is still a few days shy of the end of her first trimester, I hear myself say, “Well, since we’re sharing, I guess I should tell you guys . . . Chelsea’s pregnant, too.”
There’s more squeals from Sofia, and deep, congratulatory chuckles from Stanton.
What I get from Brent is, “Dude, you are so screwed.”
“Hey,” I tell him, “think fast.”
Then flip him off with both hands.
He laughs, because if you can’t give your friends the finger . . .