So we said goodbye to Jude on the tenth. She’s off to her dig in Brazil again for another month and promised the boys that she’d bring back more surprises the next time she dropped by. I miss her already. I know Ben is missing her just as much.
We said goodbye to Murphy three days later, she’s off on some cruise in the Caribbean right now. Which is fortunate for her because not even an hour after we got home, a blizzard blew up and we were house bound for two days while everyone dug out. This of course, pleased the boys to no end because they love having everyone around them.
It did not please Mark, who’s leaving was delayed by two different storms. He finally left to go home to his family on the fifteenth. It took him longer than expected because he had to clean out his and Max’s offices, which was a trial for him. There were lots of nights when he came home crying because of the memories that were there. I was sorry to see him go; but if this is what he thinks he needs to heal, then I’ll support him.
Ben and I had our first OB/GYN appointment for the baby. The boys were plenty upset that they had to stay home with Uncle Miles. They’re both plenty excited about the new baby though. Especially since we made it clear that they are ours and we’re not getting rid of them once the baby arrives.
That took the both of us by surprise when it happened.
We were sitting in the Great Hall watching TV with them when Ben suddenly got up and hugged Alphonse hard. Logan came over and crawled in to my lap and tugged on my hair to get my attention. I smiled and kissed his nose. He snuggled in to my arms.
“Mom,” he whispered to me.
“My baby, what is it?” I asked as I snuggled him close.
He was still having trouble with his words so it took him a while to ask;
“Do you love me?”
I looked down at him and his face was so earnest about the question. I hugged him tight.
“I love you and your brother more than the stars,” I whispered in to his ear.
He giggled up at me and snuggled back in to my arms, content with my answer. I had to wait to ask Ben what that was all about after we’d put them to bed later that night. When I posited the question to him he was confused at first, then remembered.
“Oh. That. They’re worried that we’re going to send them off to the hospital again once the baby arrives,” he said as he climbed in to bed with me.
“Oh dear. No wonder it was important enough to Logan to actually use his words.”
“Yeah. They’re worried about being replaced.”
“What can we do about that?” I asked him as I snuggled down under the covers.
“I was thinking that next weekend they could help me paint the nursery.”
“That’s a good idea.”
“Really? I would think that you’d hate it. You’re fussy about the way things look sometimes.”
“Only because I like things neat,” I said with a yawn. “but if letting them paint the nursery means they feel involved and accepted, I’ll move mountains and enough paint for five or six coats.”
Ben laughed and cuddled me close. “You’re not to set foot in the nursery while we’re painting. The fumes are bad for you and the baby.”
“I know. I said I’d haul paint, not do any of the painting. I’ll stay downstairs with the dogs and Miles. He’s making noises about shopping again.”
“Maternity clothes. I’m not nearly there yet. Another three or four months.”
Ben ran his hands over my stomach before he spoke again. “We should move up the wedding.”
“Habibi, I know this is important to you, but I think you should consider moving up the date.”
I sighed. “Ben, you’re worried about bringing the baby into the world without her parents being married?”
“The baby was made with love and will be born into love. Even if her parents weren’t married until later.”
“but,” he started and I turned around and kissed him.
“We have two sons already and we’re not married. Another child isn’t going to make things any different.”
Ben sighed. “You have your point, but I’m still asking you to think about it, please?”
It was my turn to sigh again. “Okay. I’ll think about it.”
Ben kissed me and nuzzled my hair.
“Sleep. Doctor tomorrow.”
“You’re still planning on going with me?”
“I wouldn’t miss it for the world on a plate.”
“Flatterer,” I said with a yawn.
I could hear him laugh as I dropped off into sleep.
I woke up the next morning with a kid on either side, the dogs at the foot of the bed and something digging in to my bladder. I cuddled the both of them close and fell back asleep. Ben woke all of us up at eleven by hauling a laughing Alphonse over his shoulder and Logan trailing after them as they walked out of the room. The dogs abandoned me then too, because they knew they were going to get fallen leftovers.
I yawned and took my time as I showered and dressed. I was pulling on a loose pair of jeans as Ben came in from breakfast with a tray. I smiled over at him as he set it down on the chaise.
“You were supposed to sleep yourself out. You promised me,” he said with a frown.
I smiled up at him. “I’m fine. Well rested. I even tied my own hair back and everything.”
“I like to think I’m hilarious.”
Ben smiled at me and kissed my nose. “You sure do try.”
“Hey!” I said as I poked him in the stomach. “I’m pregnant, not made of glass!”
“I know, but I worry. It’s Blueville.”
“I’m sure the doctor will have something to say about it today anyway.”
“Speaking of which, if we’re going to make it on time, you need to let me go shower.”
“Oh, so I’m keeping you?” I grinned at him. “Glad to know I have that kind of superpower.”
I kissed him and stepped back into the closet to find a shirt to wear. I could hear him start the shower up. I shook my head at him and went to find the boys after I’d dressed and put on shoes. I found them in the Great Hall with Miles who took the day off to stay with the boys. I decided not to bother them so they wouldn’t get too clingy while Ben and I tried to get out of the door later. Instead I ended up in the kitchen making breakfast for myself.
I ended up with peanut butter toast and a pear. Not the best breakfast, but I wasn’t that hungry this morning. I waited for Ben to come downstairs. I was finishing up and washing the dishes when he came in with my coat, his coat, and my purse.
“Come on, before they realize we’re leaving.” Ben said as he helped me into my coat and dragged me out the back door.
I started laughing when we got outside.
“Man, I thought I was bad when it came to their sad faces.”
“I can’t stand it. How can other parents handle the sad face?”
“I think it’s the guilt that gets them before the sad face does,” I said as Ben opened the passenger door to the Jeep and helped me climb inside.
I didn’t catch what he said next, but I waited till he got in on the driver’s side before asking him.
“I said their teenage years are going to kill me.”
I laughed. “Nah, you’ll be a pro by that time.”
“I highly doubt it.”
“I don’t,” I said as I made myself comfortable for the trip out to the medical complex next to the hospital.
Ben didn’t respond to me, rather smiled over at me and took my hand in his. I smiled back and squeezed his hand. We rode together in companionable silence until Ben parked in the lot outside the doctor’s office. I had my seat belt off and the door open as Ben came around to open it for me. He frowned at me as I got out carefully to avoid the ice that coated the lot.
“You should have waited.”
“I’m pregnant, not made of glass.”
“So you keep saying.”
I couldn’t think of a response so I stuck my tongue out at him.
“Thanks. I try.”
He started laughing and I grinned over at him. We walked in to the office together, holding hands. The nurse behind the counter smiled up at us. She checked us in and we only had to wait ten minutes before being taken in to the back to get ready for the doctor. First there was blood drawn and a urine test for pregnancy, various other procedures and checks that had to be done before the doctor even got into the room.
I took it fine. Ben was a mess by the time I came back into the room. He was pacing and I couldn’t help but laugh.
“It’s not funny.”
“Habib, it’s a little funny. You’re a mess and all they did was do prep for tests.”
Ben frowned at me. “I’m not used to all this.”
“It’s my first pregnancy, but not my first round with that many tests. They do all those checks every year when I come for my check up.”
“and more than that. There’s a few they can’t do because I’m pregnant.”
“I’m so glad I’m male.”
I started laughing. I was in tears when the doctor came in the room.
“Well, it’s nice to hear you laugh, Marlowe,” He said.
“Hey, Doc Oc. How are you?”
“I’m good, thanks for asking. I hear a rumor that says you’re starting a family,” the doctor said as he moved to start his checks of my health.
“All true. We’ve got two at home now and one on the way.”
“As I’ve ever been.”
“Well the tests will confirm then. How’s your man feel about this whole thing?”
“He’s thrilled, though you wouldn’t know it from the way he glowers at me when I even attempt the stairs on my own.”
The doctor started laughing and Ben frowned at me from his chair where he’d sat since the doctor came in to the room.
“You must be her Ben,” the doctor said as he turned to Ben and held out his hand.
“I am, Doctor?” Ben asked as he shook hands with him.
“Forgive me. I’m Doctor Gregory October. My Patients call me Doc Oc.”
Ben started laughing. “Appropriate. I just hope you’re not going to grow metal arms and try to turn one of my kids in to Spider-Man.”
Doctor October laughed and winked at him. “I haven’t quite perfected that form of genetic manipulation. I just look after the natural one.”
I smiled over at Ben. “See? He’s an okay guy.”
“I see that now.”
The visit lasted another twenty minutes, with the Doctor going over everything that we’d need to know for the next visit in a month.
“I probably won’t do an ultrasound for another two months, just to be sure.”
I nodded. “If that’s what’s best. I want to make sure the baby is healthy.”
“I’m sure he or she will be just fine.” Doctor October said as he pulled off his gloves and stood up to go. “I’ll see you next month. Take it easy until then. I know you have two at home, but this is your first natural pregnancy and you’re both considered Other in this town.”
“I promise, Doc. No back flips or hauling heavy engines.”
“Good. See you next month,” he said as he walked out the door.
I looked over at Ben, who looked much more relaxed since we got here.
“Better?” I asked.
“Better,” He replied.
I got dressed and we headed back to the house. There was a quick detour to the store to pick up a pint of Chunky Monkey, but all in all it was a quick trip home. As we walked in to the back door, we were ambushed by the boys who wanted attention. I scooped up Logan and nuzzled his next until he giggled.
“Everything is fine, bubby.”
“Okay, Mommy,” he said and wiggled down. He ran off to the Great Hall shouting Miles’s name.
Alphonse tugged at my sleeve from where he was in Ben’s arms. He held out his arms to me and I cuddled him close too, kissing his nose. He smiled up at me.
“I love you, Alphie. I promise everything is fine with me and your new sibling.”
He nodded and held out his arms to Ben, who took him back and walked in to the Hall with Miles and Logan. I was feeling a little tired so I went upstairs and changed into my PJs for a nap. Ben came in a few minutes later as I was turning down the bed sheets.
“I’m glad you’re going to rest. Do you want one of the dogs?” he asked as he started helping me make the bed more comfortable.
“No and it’s not likely that they’ll come up here. I know the boys have food. I heard Miles say something about hotdogs.”
“That’s right. They’re having a late lunch in the kitchen.”
I crawled in to bed and settled in. Ben laid down next to me after I made myself comfortable.
“I’m okay, Ben. Just a little tired from the trip, that’s all.”
“I still worry. You’re my best side.”
I smiled up at him and kissed him.
“and you’re mine.”
I settled in to sleep and heard Ben singing something soft in Arabic. I was out before he got to the chorus.