Packed Like Sardines

“Hey, Riv…this is Presley, the one I was telling you ab…Stefan…don’t stand so close to television! Come sit down and watch.”

“There’s no room!”

“You’re not that big, now. Come sit here. You’re blocking Ms. Presley’s view.”

04-25-15_1-54 PM-2


“I’m bored, mom!”

“Grr! FINE! Let’s all have dinner and then you can go play with your friends.”

“You ok, bae?”

“Why do I have to–”

“She’s pregnant, River. Veeeeery pregnant,” Presley interrupted and saved his skin.

“Thank you, Presley! Someone who understands! Let’s eat!”

River had eaten earlier to prepare his workout and kindly got out of Melody’s way. She, Stefan, and Presley went to the table to eat, but Presley declined dinner. No sooner than they sat down, there was a knock at the door.

“RIV,” Melody yelled.

“WHAT,” he yelled from the bedroom.



04-25-15_1-59 PM


River came and let Bianca in and went back to his room.

“Hello, children,” Bianca said. “Oh! You have a guest! Is this a bad time?”

“It’s fine, mom. Presley, this is my mother, Bianca Pruett-Sheridan. Mom, this is my friend, Presley Laughlin.”

“It’s nice to meet you, Mrs. Sheridan! She’s so beautiful, Melody…and young!”

04-25-15_2-01 PM

“Hi, grandma,” Stefan said unenthused.

“Hello, Stefan. What’s wrong with him?”

“He’s bored,” Melody said.

“Oh. Well…I suppose he would be, heh.”

“Mom…,” Melody warned.

“Baby, I’m so sorry I’m just now making it here! I’ve been stalled on this project for so long, and we’ve been pulling long hours every day to finish on time. How’ve you been? Are you all right?”

04-25-15_2-02 PM

“I’ve been terrible, mom, but…thanks.”

“Awww! You’ve been sick?”

“I’ve been nauseous all day and night every plumming day!”

“Melody! Watch your language,” Bianca scolded. “River, do you let your wife use that kind of language around this child?”

“These days, I let my wife do whatever she wants, mom.”

“He’s a smart man,” Presley whispered.

04-25-15_2-03 PM

Melody had been noticing that Stefan wasn’t eating and yelled, “Stefan, are you going to play with your food or eat it??”

“Ummm…Stefan…why don’t you go play in your room for a minute while I talk to your parents, ok,” Bianca requested.

He left the table with a huge sigh.

“Ok…Melody, I know you’re miserable,” Bianca said sweetly, “and there’s nothing any of us can do for you. And, I know it’s early, but I think you should go to bed. This baby will be on its way soon, and you need to get some rest. River and Stefan can get this place cleaned up, ok?”

“Fine,” Melody said out of exhaustion.

“All right. Me and Ms. Laughlin are going to get out of your hair,” she said glancing at Presley, “and then your husband is going to give you a massage later…right?”

“Yes ma’am,” River said.

“Good. But, before I go…let me feel the baby.

04-25-15_2-09 PM


“Hi, my precious grandchild! This is your grandmother! I’m going to come meet you tomorrow, ok? I love you!”

“Thank you, mom,” Melody said quietly.

“I love you too, baby,” Bianca said embracing Melody. “Now, go on to bed. I’ll see you after work.”

“Bye, mom.”

“Goodbye, everyone. Come along, Ms. Laughlin.”

Everyone did as Bianca ordered leaving Melody a headache free evening. She drifted off to sleep as peacefully as she could, and then, around 4:30 in the morning, the labor began.

04-25-15_2-12 PM

Now that River had a paying job with insurance, they decided to have the baby at the new hospital instead of at home or at the free clinic. Just like last time, River was no good to her in his prenatal parent attack. She got Stefan up, made him breakfast, and assured him that they would be back before he left for school. Once everything and everyone was in order, they left for the hospital.

04-25-15_2-20 PM

04-25-15_2-22 PM

While Melody was going in the delivery room, River thought he would chat up the receptionist to see if he could go with her.

“Zoe? I didn’t know you worked at the hospital.”

“Yeah, I just started.”

04-25-15_2-24 PM


“Good for you. Hey…am I going to be able to go with her? I really need to be with her right now.”

“Sorry. No fathers allowed.”

“Come on, Zoe! You know us! I won’t be in the way. Please?”

“We barely know each other, and no. Please have a seat, Mr. Pitts.”

“Oh, so I’m Mr. Pitts now? I see how it is. See if you come to my house again, ‘Miss Patel,'” he said under his breath as he took a seat.

While he was trying to schmooze his way into the delivery room, Melody was having their second son:  Maurice Xavier Pitts.

04-25-15_2-28 PM

The doctor let her out of the birthing machine and left her to change her clothes and meet her baby.

“Another boy! Oh my goodness! You are precious.”

04-25-15_2-29 PM

They arrived home an hour before Stefan had to catch the bus just like she said.

“Can I see the baby,” Stefan asked.

“Of course, darling,” Melody said. “This is your brother, Maurice!”

04-25-15_2-34 PM


Melody put Maurice down in the bassinet for Stefan to meet. She stood there. She looked at Maurice, and she looked at River. She looked at Stefan, and she looked back at River. She was happy, but she was concerned. In a few days, they were going to be packed in that little house like sardines with very little money and a slow upward climb. She had total faith in her husband, but she was still nervous about the future.

She asked, “Everything is going to be all right, right?”

04-25-15_2-35 PM

“Everything is going to be just fine,” River said.

04-25-15_2-36 PM




Hide Your Kids, Hide Your Wife
2.2 About Being a Man

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