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I'm Sorry But No

By Genevieve Darcy Granger

Humor / Romance

No Carnival for Pietro

Another glorious day at Charles Xavier’s Institute for Gifted Youngsters in July was enjoyed by all who resided at the X-Mansion. The sun was shining bright, and it was pleasantly warm outside but not too warm thanks to Storm keeping a cool breeze flowing across the school grounds for the students to enjoy being outside. There had been no suspicious activity from the Brotherhood or any of villains all summer long, and what activity there was was the Avengers’ problem entirely. Today was a day no different from any of the other days in July, except there was an inconspicuous absence of some of the X-Men. Kurt, Wanda, Bobby, Rogue, Kitty, and Peter had left earlier that day and still were not back yet. No one was really worried, but Pietro was curious.

“I wonder why they all went out together today, Janie baby.” Pietro started narrating his thoughts aloud to his newly wedded wife. They had just gotten back from their honeymoon in Europe where they spent most of their time together in Paris, the City of Love and the City of Lights, making love in each others’ arms in between bouts of spontaneous tourism that would grip their already love-lightened hearts. “I mean we just got back from our vacation and they act like they don’t want to spend time with us anymore. Is it because we’re married?”

Jane was lying on the living room floor with their husky dog, Balto. She was combing out his thick fur, a chore to keep it clean and to keep him well groomed and beautiful. “I don’t know, Pietro,” she was concentrating hard on the task at hand as Balto wiggled at the touch of the brush and she wanted to be sure she didn’t yank his hair. “Maybe it’s because since we are newly married, all we want to do is make love to each other and make goo goo eyes as we call each other by our new titles.”

Pietro sat on the couch, watching Jane. They were going to start a movie together, but Jane wanted to give Balto some attention first since they had been gone so long without him. They had chosen to watch a movie in the living room because most of their friends were gone, and it would be a good way to keep them from making love with each other again. You’d be surprised by how much they missed out on from having sex all the time like rabbits. “I don’t know what you mean,” Pietro deliberately played dumb, “you’ll have to give me an example of all that.”

From where she sat tackling a rather nasty knot in Balto’s fur coat, Jane rolled her eyes good-naturedly. Tossing her best bedroom eyes over her shoulder at her newly wedded husband, Jane simpered at him, “Husband, would you be so kind as to give your wife a kiss?” She batted her long sooty black eyelashes at him before she dissolved into giggles, breaking character.

Naturally, her husband broke character, too, as his face broke out into a wide grin. Ducking his head, he chuckled, “I didn’t think we were nearly that formal, but you have a point. I guess that can be obnoxious to be around.” He smiled at her, his dark eyes loving as he observed how tender she was being with Balto. The dog was practically asleep on his back as she alternated between rubbing his belly and combing out his healthy, thick coat. Pietro would be jealous of the dog if it weren’t for the fact that he was the sole center of her attention while they were on their honeymoon. And they were married now. He was her husband. She was his wife. He’d never get tired of that and he didn’t think he’d ever get use to it, but he loved it all the same. He loved it almost as much as he loved her.

“It’s not just obnoxious,” a new voice broke into the conversation, “it’s sickening.” Darcy’s comment was not said unkindly as she entered the living room, Logan shadowing closely after her. “Glad to see you two are taking a break from your fucking while you’re in such a public place like the living room.” Pietro knew that Darcy must have heard his romantic thoughts, but he couldn’t tell if she was amused and happy or disgusted and annoyed as she said as much.

On the floor, Jane blushed and snapped at Darcy, “Please, I think everyone in this mansion has walked in on you and Logan having sex in the kitchen at least once by now. You know we eat in there, right? That’s so unsanitary.” Jane shot a nervous look between Darcy and Pietro before bending her head over the dog and starting over combing his coat out.

“Of course I know you eat in the kitchen. More often than not I’m the one cooking for you all in there.” Darcy’s amber-orange eyes slid between Jane and Pietro slowly before she sat on the loveseat. “Of course, I’m more often than not being eaten out of there, too.”

Logan soon joined her quickly enough on the couch and even faster than that jumped in the conversation with a nervous cough to distract them from what Darcy insinuated. “Yeah, don’t blame me. I’m not the one who can’t wait to walk the ten or twelve steps to the bedroom from the kitchen.” He was just as shameless as Darcy about being caught, but that was no surprise.

“It’s seventeen steps, Carcajou. I know because I’ve counted. And I guess you’re right. I’m impatient to love you because I love you so damn much.” Darcy softly admitted as she leaned her head against Logan’s shoulder. “So,” she shifted the topic of conversation (something but Jane and Pietro were very grateful about), “what are you two doing in here besides lavishing your poor, neglected dog with attention?”

“We were about to start a movie until I noticed that Balto was so neglected,” Jane fired off an answer at Darcy. “Did none of you even think to brush him down while me and Pietro were gone?”

“No, Mrs. Maximoff,” Darcy drawled, “Because he’s a dog not a horse. But actually I take that back, I did try to comb him but I just succeeded in making a mess and he stole the brush from me and wouldn’t give it back. It was a very frustrating experience for me.”

Making a small noise of contempt in the back of her throat and mumbling “I’m sure frustration doesn’t happen a lot for you,” was all the acknowledgement Jane gave Darcy.

Sensing the tension, Pietro interrupted, “While Jane was doing that, I started to think about where my sister and everyone went today. You’d think they’d want to hang out with us since we’re back now. Like I thought you guys would miss us.” Pietro crossed his leg, ankle over knee, cocking an eyebrow in Darcy’s direction.

“We did miss you both, Mr. and Mrs. Maximoff,” Darcy teased, “but you two have been so wrapped up in each other that we just wanted to give you guys your space.” While she spoke she took Logan’s hand that was closest to her and cradled it in both her hands.

At the action, Logan wasn’t bothered; he just pressed his cheek against the top of Darcy’s head. “Well there’s that and the fact that the carnival is in town.”

From the floor Jane’s head popped out and she stared daggers at her cousin Logan. “The what.” Pietro’s voice was a monotone that should have tipped Logan off if the crushing grip Darcy had on his hand didn’t.

“The carnival.” Logan repeated to Pietro and withdrew his hand from Darcy’s clutches. “What? What did I do, Cumcake?”

Thankfully Pietro didn’t hear when Logan started to address Darcy, he was already ignoring him as he immediately moved at his super speed to sit by Jane. “Did you hear that, wife? The carnival is in town.” He wiggled his eyebrows at her.

“Pietro,” Jane started but soon they were interrupted again as in the background they heard the kitchen door slam open and the trample of feet and laughter sounded, not juvenile sounds, but the sounds of their teammates. They have returned.

In the living room the four friends waited, expecting the party’s arrival at any minute. In the mean time they eyed each other warily, and Balto flipped over on his stomach and lifted his head up. The dog gave a small ‘boof’ in warning, his tail slowly swishing back in forth, then as the teammates entered the living room Balto barked happily at full volume and leaped to his feet, dancing around the newcomers.

When the group tramped in, they were quite a sight that obviously boasted that they went to the carnival. For one thing, they were all clutching carnival prizes. Little Kitty, the shortest and smallest of the group, had the largest toy, a grey teddy bear with a heart on the chest. The teddy bear was about the size she was and was precariously perched on her shoulders, doubling her height. Peter had a bouquet of colorful, inflatable balloon hammer toys slung over one of his broad shoulders. Bobby carefully cradled a bag carrying a goldfish, concentrating very hard on not accidentally freezing him while Rogue fed him bit of her funnel cake, the powdered sugar liberally peppered across both of their faces. Wanda had a dragon snake toy draped elegantly across her shoulders as if it were a feather boa, and she happily clutched her red princess plushie to her chest. Kurt seemed to be the happiest one of them all. He fed himself cotton candy from his tail while under each arm he had a stuffed animal, a giraffe under his left armpit and an elephant under his right armpit. As they entered the room, smelling of diesel fuel and greasy food and sweat, they chattered amongst themselves.

“I can’t believe you actually went to the fortune teller’s booth,” Wanda laughed, “you know she was a fake.” She tossed the tail of the dragon around her neck again to keep it on her more securely.

“Well I can’t believe you didn’t try the deep-fried Oreos,” Rogue argued, sucking at her gloved fingertips in hopes of getting the grease stains off the white gloves. It was a fruitless endeavor, but she enjoyed the taste of the powdered sugar anyway.

“Or the deep fried Twinkies,” Bobby added. He was tenderly cupping the goldfish bag in the palms of both of his hands, trying not to shake the fish up too much. He was very proud of his prize.

At their words and the slight wafting smell of grease, oil, and sugar; Jane turned her head away in disgust. Darcy glanced at her in concern, but both Logan and Pietro didn’t take any notice, too busy daydreaming about mouthwatering foods deep-fried and fatty, a carnival delicacy that sat heavy on the stomach but lovingly on the lips and tongue.

Without pause, the other continued talking. “Are we all forgetting that Peter broke a ride? I mean I can’t believe that that of all things happened,” Kitty interjected with a playful smirk at her boyfriend as she jostled the teddy bear’s shoulder against his. “We’ll be lucky if we can ever go back there again,” she half-joked.

“I cannot believe I got to go to ze carnival,” Kurt enunciated through his German accent excitedly. “It isn’t like ze circus. No mutants. No animals. But it is fun, all ze same.”

Suddenly Wanda saw her brother, “Pietro! How’s married life?”

“It’s awesome of course. I love my wife. Love it.” Pietro chattered animatedly. What better way to distract him from anything but by indirectly mentioning Jane? However, the distraction didn’t work for too long as he soon turned the table back on his twin and flippantly question, “How’s the carnival, Wanda?”

As if a light bulb came on above her head, Wanda instantly recognized the problem. “Pietro, are you not gonna go to the carnival? You always cheat the systems!” While the twins conversed, the others got comfortable. Peter sat in the armchair, and Kitty immediately sat in his lap, and then her bear sat in her lap. The couch filled up with Kurt, Bobby, and Kitty. There was a story somewhere in here, judging by the twins’ conversation.

“What do you mean he cheats the systems? They’re already rigged.” Darcy asked, tone not bitter per se just matter-of-fact.

“Super speed,” Jane numbly supplied an answer and Darcy nodded.

“I dunno, Wanda, I want to go to the carnival but none of my friends invited me.” Pietro didn’t sound accusing, just more or less hurt.

“We wanted to invite you, but…” Wanda trailed off and looked at Jane before her eyes twitched back to her twin brother.

“But what? You didn’t want me to beat you at the balloon darts thing again?” Pietro guessed haphazardly.

Here Kitty peaked around her teddy bear, “Actually I was the one who beat Wanda at that. And I didn’t even have to use my powers.”

“How do you even cheat at balloon darts with a power like selective permeability?” Darcy asked, unusually chatty tonight when she normally didn’t bother asking questions when she usually shamelessly read minds instead to find the answers she wanted.

“I don’t use my powers for that game,” Kitty answered genially enough, her voice somewhat muffled from behind her bear. “but I wouldn’t know how anyway. You’re right. I only mentioned it because Wanda did use her powers to shoot her darts straight.”

“No, I didn’t!” Wanda immediately protested and defended herself.

“Okay, give them extra force or whatever. You can’t fool me, Wanda. I saw that tell-tale red coloring.” Kitty shook her finger at her friend. Their rivalry was intensely competitive, but there were especially close as two Jewish, mutant, young women close in age.

Before the playful bickering could go any further, Pietro impatiently interrupted. They were going too slow for him, of course. “Hey, hey, hey. None of that matters when you didn’t even let me play the balloon darts anyway. I would have won no matter what and you know it.”

Awkwardly, Kitty cleared her throat and made a big show about getting up and swapping positions with her teddy bear. Using the teddy bear as a cushion to soften her boyfriend’s muscular thighs of steel, Kitty nimbly hopped on her perch like a queen sitting on her throne. When it was made clear that she wasn’t going to give Pietro an answer, Wanda sighed, “Well, um, Pietro.” Her tongue fumbled for words and she wouldn’t meet his eyes, “I think you just answered your own question.”

“What do you mean?” Pietro didn’t have time for mind games when he knew the carnival would only be in town for a limited time. He has wasted too much time as it is anyway.

Wanda’s lips pressed together in a thin line but she didn’t roll her eyes at him, uncharacteristically secretive. “I mean it would be a pretty dumb move on our part to invite the guy who will beat us at every carnival game to the carnival.”

For a moment, Pietro was quiet, and Wanda continued to look nervous. After he nodded in agreement, though, Wanda sighed with relief and finally took her seat on the floor by Kurt’s feet. Pietro somewhat dejectedly mumbled, “Yeah, I suppose you’re right. It’s okay that I don’t get to go. It’s not like everyone at the X-Mansion or in Westchester has gone.”

“That’s exactly right, Pietro!” Darcy jumped in to assure him. She was so eager to assuage Pietro’s disappointment that she neglected to shoot Logan a warning look before he could stick his foot in his mouth again.

“Actually Storm, Scott, Jean, Forge, Hank, and Chuck took all the students to the carnival on a field trip just yesterday. Ol’ Chuck bought out the whole place for the day just so the kids could have fun and not have to wait in line the whole time.” Logan didn’t notice Darcy’s warning glare as he continued, “Even Darcy and I went as chaperones. I had fun. Even if baby Hope Summers cried the whole time because she wasn’t big enough to ride anything big. Only the kiddy train.”

“Even Logan went?!” Pietro was understandably outraged. “Logan actually had fun! If Logan had fun, then I would have had at least 200% more fun than him! Why didn’t you guys tell us about the field trip before? We were home yesterday!” Pietro turned to Jane and incredulously asked, “Janie baby, how did we not notice that the X-Mansion was basically empty?”

Diverting her attention away from Logan again and back to Pietro, Darcy’s tone was a little sardonic as she drawled to him, “Well, Pietro, you were understandably more interested in her private Tunnel of Love than anything else at the moment so no one had the heart… or the stomach, to interrupt you two balls deep in matrimonial bliss.”

The others, who had been sitting in silence watching and enjoying the show, softly snickered at Darcy’s crass insinuations, but didn’t tack on anything else to the conversation. Jane furiously blushed and fiercely glared at Darcy, but still held her tongue and her temper all the same. Pietro turned back to Darcy, unsurprised and unamused by her crude sense of humor for the few years that he has known her. “Are you serious? The carnival had a Tunnel of Love? Janie baby, that would have been a perfect way to end our honeymoon.” He was dangerously close to whining now.

Darcy made a noise of disparagement before she once again mitigated Pietro’s fears and concerns. “No, Pietro, the carnival didn’t have the Tunnel of Love. That’s a little too costly for them.”

“Okay,” Pietro sounded only slightly relieved, “but did they have a roller coaster?”

Here Bobby piped up, understanding Pietro’s plight because he was slightly disappointed with the carnival’s size as well. “It was a small one shaped like a dragon for kids. That was the only ride Hope could go on safely by herself. She still cried, but it didn’t even go that fast.”

“Did they have a Ferris Wheel?” Pietro asked Bobby, disappointed over the lack of a proper rollercoaster, too.

Bobby blushed instead of answering Pietro, so his girlfriend Rogue spoke for him, “Yes.” She looked a little smug, a little exasperated, a little gloomy. They probably decided to kiss at the top and since Rogue still cannot control her powers, one can only imagine how successful that kiss went as far as romance goes.

But Pietro didn’t care if they kissed or didn’t notice their hinting at their kiss. “Was it a big Ferris Wheel?” Pietro asked Rogue now.

“I’m sure Peter can answer that.” Rogue’s smile was small, and now all eyes, including Pietro’s undivided attention were on Peter as he cradled both the gray teddy bear and his girlfriend on his lap.

Kitty had shifted to straddle one of Peter’s legs, leaning against the armrest where Peter had his arm draped around her waist. Comically enough, the grey teddy bear mimicked her pose on Peter’s other leg, though, his arm was less tightly wrapped around its thicker middle. Kitty was unembarrassed by their seating arrangement and instead stared at her boyfriend along with the others. However, Peter, always shy and soft-spoken and quiet, was a red that rivaled Jean’s hair as he became the center of attention. “Um, yes, the Ferris Wheel was big.”

“Emphasis on ‘was’,” Kitty tossed a smile at Pietro as she saved her boyfriend the trouble at explaining his predicament any further. “Did we mention earlier about how Peter broke a ride? Well, the ride he broke was the Ferris Wheel.”

Pietro’s eyes became as big as saucers as he eager inquired, “How did he break it?”

Peter shrugged and Kitty answered, “We don’t exactly know. He dented the metal and the motor made a funny noise and it stopped moving.” Devilishly, Kitty looked at her boyfriend with an evil sort of grin, “I think he had too much junk in the trunk for it to handle.”

Again the room laughed, though, some laughs were conspicuously missing like Jane’s and Peter’s. Pietro noticed immediately that Jane was keeping to herself, and he was about to ask her what was wrong when Darcy once again inserted herself into the conversation, “So you see, Pietro, it’s not worth going to the carnival if they don’t have a Tunnel of Love, or a real rollercoaster, or a functioning Ferris Wheel.” Darcy’s amber-orange eyes briefly flickered to Jane before resolutely fixing on Pietro. Pietro noticed that her hand was pressed on Logan’s thigh very firmly, claws digging through the material of his jeans at the knee and making Logan’s jaw tightened to contain his noise of pain. Something wasn’t right about all of this.

“Uh huh,” Pietro slowly spoke, full of suspicion, “yeah. Okay.” He turned his back on Darcy to signal he was done talking to her and softened his tone with Jane as he tenderly asked her, “Janie baby, is something wrong?”

“Wrong?” Jane finally spoke, voice cracking. She made jumpy movements as she forced herself to laugh, the laugh too nervous to be genuine, and Pietro knew she was uncomfortable with something. “No, no, nothing is wrong, Pietro. Far from it. I’m your wife.”

“You’re right,” Pietro agreed amiably enough, “you are my wife. I am your husband.” Dimly he was aware of a slight groan in the background coming from one of the room’s other occupants – probably his twin sister – but he ignored it, not wanting to be distracted from this important issue. Besides, he had a point to make with these obvious statements. He made an effort to lower his voice because of their present company in order to give them a little privacy without coming off as rude or ashamed; though, the quieter volume made his next words no less intensely spoken to her, “So you don’t have to hide anything from me. I will always support you because I love you.”

From where Jane sat with Balto on the floor, she stiffened at his words, frozen in slight fear. Underneath her now stilled hands, Balto wiggled to encourage her to continue brushing and stroking his fur, his cold nose nudging against the palm of her hand closest to his head. Softly he whined, but Jane did not seem to hear him as she was trapped in her thoughts. The silence seemed to stretch, but the moment lasted for less than a minute (an eternity for Pietro who likes to live life in the fast lane) as Jane mulled over her dilemma and came to decision as she resolutely set her face. She looked once at Darcy and Wanda for encouragement before locking her softly glowing green eyes with Pietro’s much darker ones. With her hands, she shooed Balto away and shifted until she was sitting directly across from her husband, facing him full on from where she kneeled on the floor and he sat cross-legged. “Okay, Pietro, I have something very important to tell you.” Her voice was calm, something she didn’t feel.

Hesitating to interrupt, but doing it anyway, Darcy cleared her throat, “Do you want us to leave, Jane?” She cut her eyes at the others in the room and expounded meaningfully, “We have no problem doing that for you.” Darcy’s hand contracted around Logan’s knee, she seemingly just as nervous as Jane was hiding herself to be.

Gratefully, Jane looked up at Darcy before allowing her eyes to slowly sweep over the others in the room like a green searchlight. “Yes, this is something to be shared just between husband and wife.” For once, at the mention of their union in marriage again, no one groaned or made a moue of distaste. Instead they all made their excuses as they left, one by one trickling out of the room. Wanda mussed up Pietro’s hair as she walked by, and Darcy was the last one out. Only Balto stayed with Pietro and Jane, and he just sat on his haunches watching them with his tongue lolling out of his mouth and salivia dripping on his paws every few long moments.

Watching the others leave and then being sure that they were out of the room before he spoke, Pietro was surprised that he didn’t feel nervous. He had been through so much as a mutant and as an X-Men that he didn’t get so afraid anymore. In his relationship with Jane, he was sure that they could talk about and work through anything. So as soon as the last of their friends stepped over the threshold, Pietro stuck his hand out to push Balto’s face away, his doggy breath too rank to bear. The motion was gentle as were his words to Jane, “Okay, Janie wifey, what is it that you have to tell me?” Pietro blinked his large eyes at her once and waited with patience that was reserved strictly for Jane to hear what she had to say. Although he couldn’t help but ask, “After this can we go to the carnival, Jane?” Besides wanting to go to the carnival, Pietro used that as a way to reassure her that no matter what they were to discuss, he would still always want to be with her.

A tremulous smile passed over Jane’s full red lips at the question. She knew exactly what double-meaning Pietro meant by that. “I’m sorry but no,” she simply answered him with feeling. Before he could get the wrong impression she continued, “You’ll understand after I tell you why we cannot go.”

Understandingly, Pietro nodded once. “Okay,” he amiably responded, waving his hand at her to continue. Absentmindedly he reached out and ruffled up Balto’s coat around the ruffle of extra skin and fur about his neck, somewhat messing up the job Jane did by combing the dog over so carefully.

Just as thoughtlessly as Pietro did his action did Jane follow suit with her own hand smoothing over his handiwork. Every so often their fingers would touch and they felt that same spark of love, of connection with the intimate touches. Either way, Balto basked in the attention all the same, enjoying the pets from both his adoptive mother and adoptive father. “Pietro,” Jane began haltingly to explain herself and her recent unusual behavior, “we haven’t exactly been careful so to speak.”

“What do you mean, Jane?” Pietro asked, confusion marring his face by the wrinkle on his brow and the pout on his mouth. With easiness that comes from muscle-memory, he took her hand on the next passing touch over stroking the neck of Balto.

Comforted by the action, Jane took it to heart as she gathered her courage. “Pietro, I’m – we’re – pregnant.” She held her breath as she waited for his response.

At first, Pietro couldn’t process her words. He was in a state of disbelief. But the longer her sat there and thought about it, the more and more it started to make sense. In all of their times together, they had never used something so easy or commonplace as a condom. Jane’s body didn’t even respond to medication, so a monthly pill or morning-after-pill wouldn’t work on her either. Though, they have had sex many times before they were married, they had never had it quite so often as they were married and on their honeymoon. In the span of a month they had done it more probably than ever before in the relationship. Everything was adding up, “Oh, how far along are you? Did you just find out?”

Since Pietro did not release her hand, Jane took it all as a good thing, “Since we got back from our trip, I had suspect that the food in Europe got me sick or maybe it was being on an airplane, but I don’t get sick. I told Darcy as we landed and she bought me the test. I took at least five of them before I could believe it either. But I don’t know how long I’ve been this way. Probably not even a full month.” Her explanation was mechanical as she explained, trying not to get too emotional over this. She hadn’t talked about it much or even wanted to think about it much either. It was all so unreal to her.

Suddenly, Pietro’s grip on her hand inexplicably tightened, “Darcy knew? Who else?” He didn’t sound mad, didn’t feel mad either, he was just trying to come to terms with everything. Pregnant. A baby. Theirs.

Here, Jane grimaced. “Your sister overheard my hysterics. I think you were out playing with Balto at the time. Wanda really helped to calm me down.” Matching the strength of Pietro’s hold on her hand to be the same as the hold she had on his hand, Jane was careful to measure her power lest she crush his bones with her adamantium ones.

Neither his hand nor Jane’s hurt. “I’m glad she was there for you when I wasn’t but I promise you that I will always be there with you for you no matter what comes.” Pietro finally smiled, and it was so wide and so bright that Jane wasn’t blinded but her heart hurt all the same with love. “We are now not only husband and wife, but we’re going to be Dad and Mom!” With that last statement, he used their joined hand to pull her over to him in a hug, being very careful to not crush their midsections together out of the irrational fear to not hurt the baby. However, Pietro did take the time to crush his mouth against hers.

After this, two things happened. For one, their friends who had been eavesdropping on the conversation from just outside the door swarmed inside cheering for Jane and Pietro’s surprise bundle of joy. Many a congratulations were said as Bobby clapped Pietro on the back and Wanda threw her arms around both him and Jane in a hug. Kurt even bamfed to hang upside down by the ceiling’s light fixture, singing a song in German that no doubt celebrated the couple’s upcoming first born. Even Logan called out, “I’ll break out the beer!” Darcy didn’t have the heart to tell him it was only half past noon; and instead just plopped down on the couch and watched him leave, hoping he would grab her a bottle of wine, too. A little day-drinking couldn’t hurt a couple of immortals anyway, and Jane didn’t touch alcohol to begin with.

The second thing to happen was that Balto immediately got jealous of not being the center of attention and tried to break in between Jane and Pietro’s passionate kiss. They hadn’t shared a kiss so full of love and happiness since they were married a little over a month ago. Pushed apart by their dog, they broke into laughter instead and Kitty helped them by gently pulling Balto away. Looking around at the others in the room while still holding his slightly pregnant wife’s hands in his own, Pietro gleefully announced, “We’re having a baby!” This brought on another round of applause and whistles in their honor until Pietro managed to shout to Jane over the clamor of the room, “Why does this mean we can’t go to the carnival? We could celebrate there!”

Still laughing with joy, so very assured that this baby was now a blessing, Jane explained, “Oh Pietro, the smell of grease there isn’t going to help my morning sickness at all!”

Pietro nodded in understanding and then gathered her up in another kiss, not caring that all of their friends were there to witness it. Perhaps the next time the carnival was in Westchester they could all go – Pietro, Jane, and their little boy or little girl.

Very few months later, the first in the third generation of Maximoff’s in America was born. Alice Maximoff was the spitting image of her mother from her inky black hair to her sparkling green eyes, but was the darling apple of her father’s eye all the same. As soon as she was old enough to ride the rides and enjoy the experience, Pietro wanted to take her to the carnival, willing to go on a road-trip to find one. However, another surprise stopped them from doing so. But that is a story for another time.

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