Chapter 25: Peaceful

We ate dinner, and things immediately changed between us. Taylor slowly began to loosen up, and insisted on doing the dishes.

I wasn’t hungry, but I munched contentedly at the strawberries I had bought earlier in the week.

I opened the fridge and got a cup of yogurt out, dipping my strawberries in it.

Taylor finished loading the dishes into the dishwasher.

He chuckled, removing the dishtowel he had thrown over his shoulder.

“Still eating?” He grinned.

“I know. I don’t know what’s wrong with me.” I sighed. I chewed the strawberry slowly. “You know… you have work to do… I don’t mind. I’ll find something to do… I know you’re busy and everything, I completely understand if you want to-“

“No, Em. I’ll catch up on my work later, okay? You’re supposed to tell me all about this new baby stuff that’s happening…”

“Well… I pretty much already told you everything…” I chewed my lip. “Maybe I can help you with your work… I could proof-read or organize it…”

Taylor smiled. “I’ll get my dad to help me in the morning, okay?”

I nodded slowly. I wasn’t going to argue with him. “Okay, Tay.” I agreed.

He dropped the dish towel onto the counter. “Hey, when do I get to feel those extra two inches of baby?” He teased, extending his hands toward me.

I grinned, my whole face lighting up. I set aside the strawberries and yogurt I was eating and took his hands, placing them on my stomach.

I placed a hand on either side of the bulge, and he gently brought his hands together over my belly button. “Do you feel it?” I asked eagerly.

“Yeah, a little.” He smiled. He brought his hand to the top of my stomach, and slowly moved it down the larger slope. “Wow.” He breathed, smiling.

I chewed my lip while he bent to examine my bulging belly. “Do you want to see it?”

“Can I? Yeah?” He grinned.

I nodded and bunched my shirt over the top of my stomach. “See? Cool, huh?”

“Very, very cool.” He grinned, bending and lightly kissing my stomach.

I laughed. It tickled.

He smirked. “Hey, you know you’re doing really well with all this stuff… my dad said that when my mom was pregnant for the first time, every little change freaked her out. She didn’t know what to expect.”

I nodded. “I know, and some of it is a little scary… but I… I never thought we would ever have a baby, you know? I never thought we’d get this chance, and now that we have it… I’m so excited.” I beamed.

He sighed. “I’m very excited too. I can’t wait.” His hands moved over my stomach again. “Wow, it’s almost unbelievable.

I sighed softly.

“Actually, I’m kind of looking forward to see you getting a huge round baby-belly.” He smirked.

I pushed his hand away and took a step back. “Stop it. You’re scaring me.”

“Sorry,” He chuckled. “I didn’t mean it.” He pulled me into his arms and placed a kiss on my forehead. “Hey, you know… why don’t we watch some TV?” He offered. “You could put your pajamas on and we’ll curl up on the sofa.”

I nodded. “It’s too much work to go upstairs and put my pajamas on… I’ve been up and down those stairs a million times today.” I sighed. “I just want to plop down with my book right now.”

Taylor smiled. “Okay, whatever you want to do.” He replied. “Lets see if we can find a movie or something.” He took my hand and led me carefully into the living room.

I plopped down onto the sofa,

He sat next to me, and pulled my legs over his lap so he could sit closer to me.

I pulled an afghan around the both of us, snuggling close to him.

He grinned, “Better?”

“Much.’ I smiled, dropping back against the pillows with a sigh. I picked up the book on preparing for a baby as he flipped channels on the television.

After about half an hour I sighed.

“What’s wrong, sweetie?” He asked; his attention suddenly on me.

I smiled faintly. “I think I’m going to make some popcorn.”

“I’ll get it.” He offered quickly.

“You don’t have to…” I began.

He moved my feet aside and stood. “I want to… will you share with me?”

“Of course.” I answered, pulling myself up on my elbows.

Taylor rummaged through the cupboards until he found a package of microwave popcorn and popped it in the microwave.

“Do you want anything else while I’m up?” He offered. “Water, maybe or some juice?”

“No thank you.” I smiled. “I’m okay. You really don’t have to wait on me hand and foot, you know?”

“I know.” He smiled. “I want to and I don’t mind.” He answered, reaching down a bowl.

I nodded, watching him putter around the kitchen. He opened the fridge and got himself a can of coke. He opened a Tupperware container and removed two slices of bologna. He squirted a huge glob of mustard on one of the pieces and slapped the two pieces together. He rolled them up and stuck the whole mess in his mouth.

I wrinkled my nose. “Yuck, Taylor!”

“What?” he asked, his words were muffled by his full mouth. “Did you want some?”

“Oh god no. I don’t think I’ll ever eat again.” I dropped back against the throw pillows.

Taylor laughed. “It’s not that bad. It’s a sandwich, I just cut out the useless part.”

“The bread? I’m pretty sure that the bread is not useless. It’s a vital part of the sandwich process. I don’t think technically it’s a sandwich without the bread. Otherwise it’s just meat and mustard. Yuck.” I shuddered.

Taylor walked around the sofa and sat carefully next to me, pulling my legs across his lap. He placed the bowl of popcorn between us.

I moved my hand lightly across my stomach, up and down slowly.

“Everything okay in there?” He asked. His laid his hand lightly on my stomach.

I smiled. “I think so.” I picked at the popcorn. “It’s just weird, I’m not even that big, and it’s already changing everything… the way I walk, the way I sleep, the way I sit…” I sighed.

“You’re uncomfortable?”

“No… just… awkward… and so exhausted.” I sighed.

“Finish your popcorn and we’ll go to bed early. I’m tired too. And you’ll get to sleep in as late as you want.”

“No.” I shook my head, “I’m supposed to go out with your mother and my grandma.”

“Yeah?” He asked.

“I told you bout it before…” I began slowly.

“Yeah, that’s right. You did… I’m sorry…”

‘”It’s okay,” I said quickly. “I think we’re just going out for lunch and doing a bit of shopping. Nothing big.” I munched contentedly on the popcorn he had made for me.

“Okay.” He answered, gently massaging my knee gently.

I chewed my lip, desperately trying not to laugh.

“What’s wrong?”

“My knees! You know I’m ticklish.”

“Right, sorry.” He laughed softly. “I forgot.”

I pulled my legs back, tucking them beneath me, so he didn’t tickle me again.

He chuckled softly.

I yawned. “You know, I think I might go to bed early. I am tired.” I sighed.

“I’ll come with you.” He offered.

“It’s okay. If you want to stay up…”

“No, no. I’ll be right behind you. Just let me clean up, okay?”

I nodded. “Okay.”

I tiredly ventured up the stairs and changed into a nightgown.

I washed my face, brushed my hair and teeth before climbing under the blankets.

A few minutes later, Taylor came into the room. “I’ll join you in a moment.” He smiled, lightly kissing my forehead.

He puttered around, changing into a pair of flannel pajama pants before climbing into bed next to me. He clicked off the light, and wrapped his arms around me.

“Goodnight, sweetie.” He murmured, lightly kissing my shoulder.

“Goodnight.” I smiled to myself.

“Sleep well,” He sighed.

I nodded, slowly beginning to slip into sleep.

I was barely awake when I felt Taylor release me slowly, and slip out of bed. He padded quietly down the stairs. I knew exactly where he was going. He was going to the office to do some work, he simply didn’t want me to worry about it.

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