The day of Evelyn’s baby shower came, and she was massive. It was the end of January and the following week would be the art show with Greta Bridges, the photographer Anderson went to visit seven months ago.
“Are you sure you don’t want me at the baby shower?” Anderson asked for the fifth time. Evelyn looked up from where she was applying her makeup and shook her head.
“No, baby showers are for the mama. You will come pick me up and help load presents. I know your dad said he would bring our gift over today,” she responded with a smile. Anderson had been doing everything he could to make her life easier since their engagement. When she called Roxie to tell her about it, she had to hold the phone away from her ear when she screamed. Ellie and Marcus hosted their annual New Year’s Eve party, and there she told them all about Anderson’s proposal. Roxie was out of this world ecstatic for her and kept hugging her any chance she got.
“How long is the baby shower?” he asked, coming over to kiss her on the top of her head. She looked up from her seat at the vanity and gave a soft smile.
“Three or four hours depends on how crazy Roxie got with the party.”
“Knowing my sister, closer to four hours. Text me when the party is winding down and I’ll come and get you. You look beautiful,” he remarked, and she blushed. Evelyn had chosen a long-sleeved dress of sky blue with a navy blue ribbon tucked under her bust line. Standing, she huffed. She felt massive and still had six weeks until her due date.
“Are you going to make it to your due date?” Anderson wanted to know, and she laughed.
“I just thought about that! The doctor at our last appointment said it was a possibility with how big I am. They might also put me on bed rest to keep myself from going into labor,” she answered. Anderson caressed her tummy, and the baby kicked. His eyes opened wide, and she chuckled.
“He likes it when you touch me,” she shared, leaning into his touch.
“I love touching you, last night was amazing,” he whispered, and a shiver went down her spine.
“I love you.” She looked at her phone and saw it was almost one.
“We need to leave,” she commented, and he held up his keys.
“You are very prepared. Take me to my baby shower,” she commanded with a laugh. Anderson shook his head, and they left to go to the baby shower.
At the baby shower, Evelyn felt overwhelmed by the love she felt from her friends. Her mother made it to the party, but none of her other family could make it. Roxie, Josie, Caroline, Elizabeth, Ellie, Koraline and her assistant Lauren were all in attendance. She also had coworkers and some friends from college she hadn’t seen in a while. One friend was Terese, they went to college together and were in many of the same clubs and classes.
“Terese! I cannot believe you came!” Evelyn gushed, moving as fast as she could to hug her friend.
“I’ve missed you Evelyn, and I’m thinking of moving into the area. I need to get away from an awful ex-boyfriend,” Terese explained, and Evelyn smirked.
“Do you need a job?” Evelyn asked, remembering Ellie saying Marcus needed a secretary now that his business was getting too busy for him to handle on his own.
“I’m looking into a few jobs, I’ve applied to several jobs already. I won’t move until I know I have a job here,” Terese explained.
“Smart of you. What happened to your boyfriend from college, Jax?” Evelyn asked, remembering the two of them being madly in love with each other at graduation.
“He and I broke up when he moved to Germany for a job. I didn’t want to leave my mom. She had dementia at the time. She passed away three years ago,” Terese shared, and Evelyn teared up. Terese only ever knew her mother, her father was a man who abandoned her when she was a baby.
“I am so sorry to hear she is gone. I know how close you two were.” Evelyn gave her a big squeeze and pulled her over to where Ellie was sitting with her daughter Ava.
“Ellie, this is my friend Terese from college. She wants to move to White Valley and needs a job. I know Marcus is looking for a secretary,” Evelyn told Ellie, pushing Terese into the seat next to her. She wanted Terese to move here and be able to get rid of her ex-boyfriend.
“Thanks, Evvy,” Terese whispered as Evelyn walked away to talk with Roxie.
“Thank you for this party, Roxie. You are the best friend I could ever ask for.” Evelyn hugged her tight, willing the tears to stay away. The further along in her pregnancy she went, the more emotional she became.
“You threw me the most amazing baby shower when I was pregnant with Sophia and Bentley, I am happy to return the favor. We are going to open presents soon, go take your seat of honor,” Roxie ordered, handing her a plate of chocolate covered strawberries and pointing to an armchair with streamers decorating it. Behind the chair was a bouquet of balloons all saying “it’s a boy!” Evelyn shook her head but took her place. She bit into the strawberry and felt Jonah kick.
“Do you like that?” she asked, her stomach rubbing where he’d kicked.
“Baby moving a lot?” Caroline inquired, sitting in a wooden chair next to her. Evelyn noticed she held a pad and pen ready to write who the gifts were from.
“He is super active,” she replied and took Caroline’s hand to rest where he had just been kicking. It took a minute, but he kicked again, and Caroline laughed. Then she felt a tightening of her stomach and paused. Caroline looked at her and asked,
“My stomach just tightened up and then relaxed. It has happened three times now,” she replied, feeling her body tighten and then relax.
“Sounds like Braxton Hicks contractions. It is your body’s way of preparing for the baby.”
“So nothing to worry about?”
“No. I remember Liam kicking all the time. The Braxton Hicks contractions were such a pain, I never could tell if I was going into labor or not. It was such a wonder carrying him,” she commented, and Evelyn could see the sadness in her eyes.
“Did Jonas ever get to meet Liam?”
“He was home for the birth but deployed six months later, he died in action before he made it back home. I feel terrible Liam never knew his father.” Caroline sighed, and Evelyn squeezed her hand.
“I’ve seen you around Preston Reese, you two are so cute together,” Evelyn remarked and Caroline blushed bright red.
“He is a very nice man. He’s been helping me add an addition to the inn,” Caroline answered, and Evelyn knew there was more to that statement.
“Why aren’t you dating yet?” she asked, probing for answers.
“I’m not ready. I only moved here a little over a year ago, my sister Georgia just moved into town and I want to make sure she settled. She is the only one of my five siblings not married or with children.”
“She is the author, right?”
“Yep, she moved into town in November, and has been fixing up the foreclosed house about a half a mile from here.” Caroline pointed towards the woods outside the window.
“You can’t keep putting others ahead of yourself or you’ll never find happiness. I figured that out when Anderson first refused to be more than friends with benefits. Now I am engaged to him and expecting our first baby. Try it sometime Caroline, you’ll be surprised,” she urged and looked up to see Roxie coming over with the first wave of presents.
They spent the next hour opening presents and fawning over each item. Before she knew it, the surrounding space was full of gifts, ranging from clothing to diapers and bottles. Anderson had texted her twenty minutes ago, and she told him to make his way to the house to help take everything home.
“Thank you, everyone, Anderson and I are blessed to call you our friends,” she said, blinking back her tears. Again her stomach tightened, but this time it hurt. Frowning, she rubbed at the spot.
“Braxton Hicks?” Roxie asked, and she nodded.
“They trick you into thinking you are in labor, but they aren’t consistent and don’t get stronger,” Ellie remarked.
“They’ve gone away for the moment. Anderson is on his way to help me take all of this to our new house,” she answered, pushing herself out of the chair. Soon Anderson knocked on the door.
“You stay and chat with your friends. I’ll load everything,” he assured her, kissing her lips and picking up a large baby bathtub.
“He is so sweet,” Terese gushed and Evelyn could see the envy in her eyes.
“Ask Josie about her Mate Me events when you move here. She has had a very successful rate of matches,” Evelyn replied, motioning to Josie standing with Koraline and Roxie.
“If I move here, I’ll check them out. Shifters are so much better than regular men.”
“You won’t be disappointed.”
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