A few hours after they rushed to the hospital, Dan and Stacy returned home, once again without a baby. Exhausted, they dressed for bed in disappointed, yet relieved, silence. Stacy curled onto her side and faced away from Dan, covering her face with her hand. With gentle pressure, he massaged the small of her back, trying to ease her discomfort.
She ignored him.
“It’ll be okay.” He stretched out alongside her, sliding his hand around her still-swollen belly.
“No, it won’t.”
“Yes, it will.” He kissed along her neck, but she refused to look at him.
“I’m never showing my face there again.”
“I’m sure it’s happened lots of times before.”
“You’re just saying that to make me feel better.”
“No, I’m not.” He worked his hand under her snug t-shirt and lightly held his hand over her stomach, the baby’s foot fluttering beneath his palm. “I think he’s trying to tell you he’s sorry.”
“She is not sorry. That’s her laughing in there.” Stacy rolled onto her back, slipped her shirt up and ran her hands over her bare stomach. “Dr. Marshall hates me.”
“No, she doesn’t.”
“Yes, she does.”
He propped onto his elbow and kissed a trail along her stomach. “She doesn’t hate you.”
“She had to rush out in the middle of the night, for the fourth time, because I peed myself and thought my water broke! She hates me.”
Dan tried to hide a smile, but failed. “Technically, you didn’t pee yourself. The little guy kicked your bladder and made you pee. There’s a big difference.”
Stacy tried to push her weight into a sitting position. “Are you laughing at me?”
“No.” Dan placed a gentle, but firm hand on her shoulder. “I promise I’m not laughing at you. Please, don’t run off. Just relax and stay here with me.”
Begrudgingly, she rested against the pillows. “Maybe you should run out and buy me some Depends.”
Dan smiled again and placed a light kiss on her lips. “You don’t need Depends. You’re just going to have to try to keep your bladder empty from now on.”
She narrowed her eyes in accusation. “You are laughing at me.”
“Maybe a little,” Dan admitted, softening his confession with a wink.
“This is your fault, you know.”
“How is this my fault?”
“Because if you weren’t so freakin’ tall this baby wouldn’t be so huge!” She ran her hands around her stomach and groaned in exaggerated misery. “I feel like I’m growing an elephant in here.”
“Maybe you’re too short. You ever think of that?” he asked, not bothering to hide a laugh.
“Oh, no. I’m perfect in every way, remember?” she teased.
“Oh, I remember, Baby Bear,” Dan whispered on a growl of arousal as he pulled her in for a kiss. She was indeed absolute perfection. He would do anything in the world to see her smile, even sacrifice his own wedding in order to help the hopeless. He wrapped her secure in his arms, promising her the little bit of faith he should have shown her all along. “How are you feeling?”
“Better,” she assured him. She pulled back from his embrace, the twinkle returning to her eye. “I am a bit hungry, though.”
“Of course, you are.” He let out a sigh and rose from the bed to dress and make the long drive to Gimp’s. “One chili dog or two?”
“Two, please,” she said, her smile gorgeous. “And don’t forget the pickles.”
“I wouldn’t dare.”