After River left for work, Stefan for school, and breakfast, Melody went to her parent’s house to share the big news.
“In the office.”
She went to the office and found him preoccupied with something on the computer. He didn’t even look up when she came in and sat down.
“Hello, my sweet,” he said.
“Hey,” she said and let out a loud sigh when she sat down.
“You all right?”
“Yeah. I’m just…tired.”
“Tired of what? It’s not even noon yet,” he said and finally looked up.
“Wait a minute…you look different. What’s different about you today?”
He couldn’t see her stomach over the desk’s hutch and monitor.
“Oh! Well isn’t that nice! Sorry…I couldn’t see over this fancy schmancy desk your mother bought. Congratulations! Maybe I’ll get to spoil a granddaughter after all.”
“You and everyone else,” she said flatly.
“What’s this? You don’t want a daughter?”
“I don’t know. Maybe…one day.”
“What is it with you and boys? Even as a child you liked boys.”
“I just don’t want to deal with a girl right now! Girls are expensive and moody and you have to be like extra protective and watch their every move…and then they turn out to be daddy’s girls!”
“That’s a very interesting concept coming from a woman. You’ll have a daughter one day, and you’ll love her to death. Then you’ll want 10 daughters!”
“I highly doubt that.”
“But seriously…girls are special. I had two, so, I should know. You should have one.”
“I’m flattered, but you’re a guy. You feel about girls the way I feel about boys. You remember how me and mom use to go at it. I don’t want to go through that with my own child.”
“I understand. I do. I think you’re being a little selfish, but I get it.”
“I’m not saying I never want to have a daughter. I’m just saying that if this baby happens to be another boy, I would be glad.”
“To each her own….Are you ok? You look a bit green around the gills.”
“What does that even mean, dad,” she asked while rubbing her belly.
“It means you look sick.”
“I feel like I’m going to be sick. I’ve never been so nauseous in all my life! Was mom sick at lot with us?”
“No. Not until the end. She was just very tired and had to pee all the time.”
“I’ll take that over nausea any day of the week. I’m gonna go back home, dad. Tell mom to come by when she can.”
“Will do. I love you, sweetheart.”
“Love you too, dad.”
Melody went home and rested for the remainder of the day until it was time for her boys to be home when she got up and started a batch of brownies for a nice after school/work treat. River got home first. She didn’t look up, but she heard his big steps coming through the door.
“Hey! How was your day,” she asked.
“It was…tiring,” he said softly.
“What’s the matter? You sound like you lost your best friend. Wait…that’s me. Nevermind. What’s wrong?”
“Nothing. Don’t worry about it. I’ll be fine.”
“Are you sure? I don’t like to see like this. Maybe these brownies will cheer you up!”
Stefan arrived home.
“Hi, Stefan! I’m making brownies!”
“Yum! Can I have French toast now?”
Stefan got some French toast out of the fridge and got a better view of his mother. She looked very different than she did before he went to sleep the previous night.
“Mom? Why is your belly so big?”
“Because there’s a baby in there.”
“YOU ATE A BABY?”
“NO,” she laughed. “I’m having a baby. Remember when you asked what pregnant was? I’m pregnant.”
“So…you didn’t eat a baby…”
“No, goofball! You’re gonna be a big brother soon.”
River decided he needed to relieve some stress before he really made his wife panic about him. He went outside and boxed for a little while. Stefan invited Olivia over to play. The sounds of them fussing and fighting about nothing made her excited about the baby. Stefan never said anything, but she felt that he was lonely sometimes. At least now he would always have a child to play with.
When the brownies were ready, she let them cool for five minutes and then called the children to the table.
“Who’s ready for a brownie?”
“ME,” they both said and raced to the table.
She placed the plate in front of them and watched them indulge in her first baking experience.
“How are they?”
“Goo,” they said with their mouths full.
“Stefan, don’t talk with your mouth full.”
They finished their brownies, did homework together, and then Eric–Olivia’s father–called to send her home. River finished his workout and came back inside in a better mood and took a shower. It was about 8:30, and Stefan was very tired. Melody put him to bed and washed the dishes before she sat down to enjoy her own creation. River joined her. He just sat there admiring her beauty as he sometimes did. Although they had been together since high school, sometimes he still couldn’t believe he was married to her.
“What,” she asked nervously.
“Nothing,” he said pleasantly.
“You’re staring at me.”
“I’m looking at you.”
“While I stuff my face with brownies?”
“You’re so beautiful…even with chocolate stuck between your teeth.”
“Even though I look like a whale in my first trimester?”
“Especially when you look like a whale in your first trimester.”
“Ah, you are the sweetest man. I’m so lucky to be married to you and having your ch–ohhhh! I think this baby hates me,” she moaned.
“You’re still sick?”
“I never stopped being sick!”
“You weren’t this sick last time, right?”
“No. Ugh! I’m going back to bed.”
“You go ahead. I’ll clean all this up. Then I need to go to the library.”
“Ok. Ugggh…I’ll see you in the morning.”
“Goodnight…I love you!”
When Melody disappeared in the back, he washed the dishes, put the brownies away, and went to the library. The first thing he did was check his email. He had been expecting it and was anxious to see what it said.
Congratulations on your promotion!
You are now an Intelligence Researcher. We have increased your salary by §2 and have given you a bonus of §349. We know it’s not much, but hope it will be helpful to you. In addition, we will be sending you a desk chair for your home office. We still expect you to report at 7:00 a.m. Monday – Friday, and you are still to do intelligence research at night if you plan to advance to the next level. You also need enhance your logic skills as you will begin interpreting the research you find and reporting on it now.
As your recruiter previously stated, you may now begin research on the aforementioned suspects. Do not approach or interrogate the suspects. Please maintain your current level of relationship you have with them until further notice. Report your findings to your agent handler. If you have any questions, please contact your handler.
As always, it’s a great day for fishing.
River knew he should be glad about the promotion, especially with their waning finances, but he wasn’t sure he was up to the task. What if he found out something about his friends? The unknown made him uneasy, but as Guy told him, he had to keep thinking about why he was in this position in the first place.
“They will not take my wife and kids! Let’s go!”