I went into my apartment and brushed my teeth, then had a long, hot shower. Once I blew dry my hair, I flopped down backwards on my bed in my favourite thinking position still wrapped in a towel and covered my face with my pillow. Unfortunately, this position is very similar to my favourite napping position and my brain got confused. Somewhere when I was trying to puzzle out my relationship with Ranger I fell asleep. Two hours later I woke when my pillow was lifted off my head. Ranger was looking down at me, worry in his eyes.
“We’re running late for your doctor’s appointment, Babe.”
“Damn. I’m sorry. I must have fallen asleep.”
“How was Morelli?”
“I didn’t meet up with him.” Instantly, the worry was erased from Ranger’s eyes. “I went to the bonds office to pick up the cheques and while I was there I threw up. So after I picked up the cheques I came back here for a shower and to brush my teeth and I lay down for a second and I guess I fell asleep. I’m sorry. I’ll be ready in a minute”, I said, rushing around the room getting dressed. “How did you find me?”
“I checked your tracking watch when you didn’t come back to the office on time. So, when I knew where you were, I texted you. And when I didn’t receive a response, I phoned the doctor’s office and told them we were going to be a little late and headed over here to meet up with you. You scared me when I couldn’t find you.”
“I’m okay”, I said around my toothbrush as I brushed my teeth. I spat out, rinsed, then used mouthwash for good measure. I brushed my hair, then threw it up into a ponytail. Then I put on mascara and lip gloss, put on some sandals, and rushed to the door. “Ready.”
Ranger captured me into a hug and kissed me lightly on the lips. “Are you feeling better after your nap?”
“I felt better almost immediately after I threw up. I had eaten too many doughnuts and my stomach rebelled. Apparently I should have stopped at six.”
“Six? No wonder your stomach rebelled. I think mine would have rebelled at two.”
“That’s because you haven’t subjected yours to the conditioning that mine has been subjected to over the years. Mine is experienced and is a more flexible eating machine than yours.” I got in Ranger’s Cayenne and waited until Ranger had also gotten in the car. “Doughnuts are one of God’s given pleasures.”
“Except when you throw them up.”
“Yes. Except when you throw them up. But, as unpleasant as that is, throwing them up is nature’s way of making sure you don’t gain weight.”
“That’s a good theory.” He paused. “Does this mean that you didn’t get a chance to phone Nyetta’s doctor?”
“No. I was sleeping.”
“Do you want to go visit his doctor after you get your stitches out?”
“Do you have time?”
“I do. I had planned on going to see his doctor this afternoon based on our initial conversation.”
After I got my stitches out, Ranger asked me whether my stomach was up to eating some lunch. I said it was and, since we were close to the office, we headed back there for lunch. Ranger picked up a sandwich, some cut vegetables and an apple for his lunch. I got a bowl of chicken noodle soup and lots of soda crackers. Judging by how my stomach lurched when it smelled the food, I decided that I should play it safe and go for the stable food. “Your stomach still isn’t steady, is it?” asked Ranger.
“Not exactly. But since I just finished my period, I know that it’s just the doughnuts.”
“I hadn’t even gone there in my head.”
“That’s because you know I just finished it. Connie and Lula, however, did not and they got all excited when I threw up. They were envisioning little Manosos running around. Just be glad I didn’t throw up in front of my parents. My dad would be looking for my grandmother’s gun, my mother would be planning a wedding, and my grandmother would be asking for conception details.”
“You wouldn’t really give details, would you?”
“No, but that wouldn’t stop her from asking. With Val, she asked Albert when Val refused to give details.”
“What did Albert do?”
“He reacted like a deer in headlights.” I started to gag, and ran for the bathroom in the hall. Luckily, I made it in time. I cleaned up after myself, cleaning the bathroom at the same time, then walked back to Ranger’s office. “Sorry about that.”
“Babe, you aren’t really feeling better, are you?”
“I am feeling better now that I threw up again. I was doing well until I ate.”
“It’s not the doughnuts. You already threw those up and it doesn’t sound like you kept them down long enough to have a lasting effect. I think you have a bug, brought on by overwork. You’ve been working an incredible number of hours and have not been resting as much as you should. It makes sense that you’re sick. Why don’t you go upstairs and go back to sleep for the afternoon? We can look for Nyetta tomorrow.”
“Okay”, I said. Ranger looked surprised that I had given in so easily. I normally would have argued intensely over not working. However, no matter what I had told Ranger, my stomach was still upset and I was pretty tired. Having another nap sounded highly attractive.
Ranger put away my dirty dishes at the same time as he put away his, and I fished out his cheque from Connie. I put it on his desk blotter as he came back into the room. He took me by the hand and led me over to the elevator, walked me on to it and pushed the number seven, and took me up to his apartment. He waited until I had brushed my teeth, washed my face and taken out my ponytail, then tucked me in bed. “I am just going to be downstairs in my office if you need me.”
My phone pinged with a text message. It was from Lula. “Are you feeling any better?”
I responded “Marginally. Skipped Morelli. Went back to apartment and had nap. Met up with Ranger for lunch and threw up again. Currently going to have second nap of the day.”
Lula responded with “Feel better.”
When I finished my texting, Ranger pulled the duvet up to my shoulders, got a waste bin and put it beside the bed, kissed me on my forehead, and wished me a good sleep. Despite my nap in the morning, I was still asleep by the time the apartment door closed after Ranger.
I slept straight through until Ranger came into the apartment before dinner. “I was just coming to check on you. How are you feeling?” he asked.
“Better”, I said.
“Did you throw up again?”
“No. I slept straight through.”
“Are you up for eating dinner? Or would you prefer that I eat in the break room?”
“No, I would like to try some dinner. It might be good to get some good, stable food into me.”
“Ella made roast beef, Yorkshire pudding, peas and carrots, so it is a fairly stable dinner. Should I tell her to bring it up?”
Over dinner, I asked Ranger “you are set against having children, right?”
“Yes, I don’t think, with my lifestyle, that it makes sense. If it happens, then it happens and we will deal with it then.”
“Why haven’t you gotten the snip?”
“Before you, I haven’t had a relationship in a long time. It didn’t make sense to me to have the operation done if I didn’t have a reason for it. Up until I met you I was dead set against kids. I still don’t think I want them, but seeing you yesterday with that baby in your arms made me wonder. It made me wonder what our children would look like, and that threw me. I have never, even when I was going out with Rachel, even when Rachel was pregnant, wondered what my children would look like. What about you? You’re dead set against having kids, right? Why haven’t you had your tubes tied?”
“It just seems like such a huge step. I’m pretty sure I don’t want kids, yet when I held the babies over the last couple of days, I have to admit that they tugged on my heartstrings. I also started wondering what our children would look like and the thought didn’t have me running for cover the way that it did when I would consider the same thing with Morelli. Or with Dickie. What happens if I change my mind later down the line? I know my mother is always telling me that my clock is ticking, and that my time to have children is running out. If it runs out while I am still getting comfortable with the idea, then so be it. Kids aren’t the be-all and end-all for me. The responsibilities associated with having kids are enormous. I would have to change my lifestyle, and I don’t think I would get enough back from the kids emotionally to make up for my decrease in happiness associated with changing my lifestyle. But like you, I think I am letting a certain amount be ruled by fate. We will continue to use condoms, and I will continue to take birth control pills. But if we still get pregnant? Then it must be fate for us to be parents.”
“That’s how I see it. Why the sudden interest in having children?”
“That comment from Lula, where she was getting excited about the possibility of little Rangebabies running around, set me off. It was the thought of ‘what if’. I know we are careful most of the time, but there has been the odd time when we have slipped up, like when we are in the bathtub or the shower. And the pill is not one hundred percent foolproof. It is close, but not one hundred percent. What would happen if we got pregnant?”
“We would deal with it when it happens. Just because I don’t want kids does not mean that I would not want or love a child if we had a surprise pregnancy.”
“I feel exactly the same way.”
Ranger lifted my hand and kissed my fingers. “Is this your way of telling me something?” he asked with a half-smile.
“NO. You know that I’m not pregnant. I just wanted to make sure we are on the same page.”
Ranger gave a full smile. “Just teasing you. I know you aren’t pregnant. And we are definitely singing in the same choir.”