Chapter 40: Eve

I was almost completely ready to go to Taylor’s parents’ house when I heard his car pull into the driveway.

I moved quickly through the house, and was halfway down the stairs when Taylor banged in the front door. I hadn’t been pleased that he had to work on Christmas Eve, but there was really nothing either of us could do about it. There was no point in getting upset with him over it, even if I wanted to.

“Tay!” I smiled hugely, carefully descending the stairs. He was already jerking off his coat.

“Hey!” He beamed. He moved his arms around me and gently hugged me. “How was your day, sweetie?” He asked.

“Good. I got a lot done. A lot of wrapping and everything… I think we’re all set for the holidays.” I smiled.

“Great. To be honest I’ve been kind of worried about you. I know you’ve had a lot to do, and it can’t be easy when you’re expecting…” He lightly moved his hand over my stomach.

I gasped softly. He withdrew his hand immediately, looking worried.

“Your hands are cold.” I smiled.

“I’m sorry.” He cupped his hands and blew hot air into them before placing them back on my stomach. “Better?”
“Much.” I smiled.

“So, I see you’ve got your hair done, your make up on…” He grinned.

“Stockings on.” I stuck out one leg.

He chuckled. “So I take it I have to catch up, right? I need to shower, and get changed. Can you give me half an hour before we leave to go to my parent’s house?”

“Yeah, of course. Take your time.” I answered.

“Okay.” He took my hand and led me up the stairs. He left me standing in the bedroom and went to the adjoined bathroom. I heard the shower running a few minutes later.

I decided that I had a few extra minutes, knowing Taylor would probably be in the shower for a while. I picked up the laundry basket and began putting away the neatly folded clothes.

I wandered into the bathroom, finding that Taylor had dropped his clothes all over the floor. I picked everything up, and brought them into the bedroom. I placed everything into the hamper of dirty clothes. I yanked his belt free from the belt loops since he had neglected to do that. I sat down in one of the chairs in the corner and read a few pages of my book. I got completely distracted.

I heard the shower turn off and realized how much time I had just wasted. I hoisted myself out of my chair and removed my robe. I pulled on the new dress I had purchased with the help of Taylor’s mother and my grandmother. It fit loosely over my growing belly, but I loved it. It was a v-neck dress, made of a shimmering silky black fabric, sleeveless with a black bow that circled just below the bust and tied around the back. The bottom hem of the dress hung to my knees.

I shrugged into the dress with some difficulty.

Taylor came out of the bathroom with a towel wrapped around his waist.

“Wow, you look fantastic.” He grinned, moving into the walk in closet.

I laughed softly. “Are you just sucking up to your ridiculously pregnant wife so the hormones won’t get you?” I asked.

“Umm… maybe a little.” He laughed, pulling on a pair of boxers beneath his towel. He dropped the towel to the floor.

“I thought so.” I picked up the towel and bought it back to the bathroom. I hung it on one of the towel racks to dry.

I rummaged through my jewelry box and found the heart shaped diamond necklace that Taylor had bought me the weekend we had gone to his cousin’s wedding in Arkansas. I tried to fasten it around my neck, but couldn’t get it clasped and hold my hair out of the way at the same time.

I walked back into the bedroom “Tay! Can you help?” I whimpered.

Taylor immediately stopped trying to stuff his shirt into his dress pants. “What’s wrong?” He frowned.

“I can’t get this.” I held out the silver chain. “I can’t reach, can you help me?”

“Of course.” He answered. He took the chain from my fingers and I turned. He lifted my hair out of the way and drew the cool chain around my neck.

I held the heart in my fingers and he struggled with the tiny clasp in his thick fingers.

He managed to fasten the necklace and placed his hands on my shoulders. “Beautiful.” He smiled.

I returned his smile. “Thank you, very much.”

“Any time, sweetie. And maybe you could help me with something.”

I beamed, “Anything.”

“Okay.” He moved into the closet and returned a few seconds later, holding two ties. “Red or blue?”

“Um….” I mused. “Well, I like the blue, it brings out your eyes… but I think the red is more festive. I would go with the red one.”

“Red it is.” He smiled.

I sat down on the foot of the bed, slipping my feet into the black ballet flats I had found. I wanted to wear heels, but my feet might swell or start to ache, so I was playing it safe.

“Honey, do you need a hand?” He asked, leaving his tie hanging loose around his neck.

I smiled and stood, I moved toward him and gently adjusted his tie. “I’m okay, really. I can dress myself.”

He smiled, laying his hands on my hips.

“Are you almost ready to go?” I asked.

“Almost,” He replied. “He pulled a suit jacket on. “I’m ready.”

“Me too.” I smiled. I picked up the white cardigan I had neatly folded on the bed next to my clutch.

Taylor gently laid his hand on my back and led me down the stairs.

“Just let me grab my cookies.” I answered.

“I’ll warm up the car.” He offered.

He opened the front door and a gust of cold air came in. In the kitchen I pulled my cardigan on.

I found the cookie container and carried it into the hallway.

Taylor came back through the door. “Here, honey.” He took the container from my hands and set it on the stairs. He held open my coat for me.

I giggled. “I can dress myself.”

He shrugged, gently winding my scarf around my neck. “Well, you’re carrying my babies. The least I can do is anything that makes it easier on you.” He gently pulled my hair out from beneath my scarf.

I smiled. “Thank you.”

He picked up the tin of cookies and moved his arm around me. He escorted me out of the house and opened the passenger side door. He helped me inside and I pulled the seatbelt around myself, and Taylor shut the door.

The car was wonderfully warm and I sighed contentedly.

Taylor climbed into the driver’s seat.

He backed carefully out of the driveway and turned down the street toward his parent’s house.

“Will there be a lot of people there?”

“Well, my immediate family will be there, that’s a lot.” He chuckled.

“Just your family and my grandmother, then?”

“Well, I think my brother’s girlfriend will be there too. And I’ve got some cousins and a couple of aunts and uncles coming…”

Emma nodded. “Oh. Okay.”

“Is that bad? We don’t have to stay long…”

“No, no. It’s fine.” I said quickly. “I just wanted to be prepared for the amount of people who will be rubbing my stomach all night long.” I sighed.

He chuckled. “I’ll fend them off with a stick.”

“Promise?” I asked.

“Of course…. Do you not like people touching your stomach?”

“It doesn’t bother me… it’s just that if they’re a stranger it feels kind of weird.” I admitted. “I mean, I know they’re your family… I shouldn’t have said anything.” I sighed. “They’re not strangers. They’re your family.”

“No, honey. Whatever you’re comfortable with.” He insisted.

“Thanks.” I smiled.

He pulled into the driveway at his parent’s house. Luckily someone had left us a space in the driveway.

I climbed out of the car easily, and Taylor was immediately at my side. “Careful, sweetie. It’s icy.”

I nodded, letting him lead me.

As soon as we were in the door, we were surrounded. His youngest siblings met me with hugs.

Isaac made a joke about me swallowing a watermelon, and Taylor scolded him; socking him in the arm.

“Sorry.” Isaac apologized. “I didn’t mean it. It was a joke. You look great.”

I smiled. “Thank you. I don’t really mind so much. You know what your brother is like. He’s too protective of me.”

Taylor rolled his eyes. He moved his arm around me. “Come on honey. Let me introduce you to some important people.” He said, just to rub it in.

Isaac rolled his eyes. “Oh, right.”

“I think my mom and your gran are in the kitchen.” Taylor mused.

“We should say hello.” I agreed.

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