#51 Good place to be
Thomas with a baby in his arms is enough to make my vagina, my fallopian tubes and my ovaries do the conga together. I feel a strange kind of warmth deep in my belly, and my body is screaming for me to let him put a baby in me. Which is insane, of course, since we’ve only been together for five months.
Annabel and Aston are sitting beside me on the couch, and Annabel smiles at me, pushing her long dark hair over her shoulder. I’ve only met her a few times before, one of those times being at her own wedding. “That’s your man, right?” she asks, nodding at Thomas. “He looks good with that baby in his arms. You look like you’ve got baby fever.”
Aston laughs and puts an arm around his wife. “Honey, not all women are like that.”
“I think I am,” I mumble, unable to keep my eyes off Thomas. I don’t want a kid right now, but seeing him with Francesca’s baby boy in his arms… that does things to a woman for sure.
“I remember seeing you with Chloe’s kids,” Annabel says, looking at Aston with utter love in her eyes. “No woman can resist a man who’s good with kids. And you were always a natural.”
Right on cue, their daughter Steffi starts screaming on the top of the lungs in the corner of the room. Aston grunts and gets up to save her from the curtains she was wrestling. Annabel scoots closer to me, her hand wrapped lovingly around her baby bump. She’s positively glowing.
“When are you due?” I ask, eyeing the size and trying to do the math, since she announced her pregnancy at the wedding. The wedding where Thomas told me he still wanted me, and when I was stupid enough to think that he was getting it on with Debby. It was a confusing day for me, but Aston and Annabel only have good memories of their own wedding, as they should. Aston has shown me pictures, and their photographer managed to truly capture the love they share. And Aston’s cheeky nature, since he’s got his hand on her ass in half of the pictures that were taken. Typical.
“December,” Annabel replies, sighing. “It’s a boy. Aston doesn’t want to admit it, but he is so excited that it’s a boy. I am too.”
“One of each,” I agree, nodding at Steffi hugging her father while she cries like she is going to die. “She’s a little drama queen, isn’t she?”
Annabel laughs. “You have no idea. She’s a tomboy as well, though. I think she’s the best of both of us. You and Thomas would make pretty babies, by the way.”
My eyes go to my boyfriend again. He’s in the kitchen, feeding baby Zachary his bottle while Francesca watches him like a hawk. She looks exhausted, but happy, and she seems fidgety whenever she’s not holding her baby. The moment Thomas is done feeding him, she snatches him back to burp him, her tense shoulders relaxing right away.
Thom walks over and sits down in the spot Aston was in earlier, putting his arm around me. “Franny is an overprotective mother if there ever was one,” he says, rolling his eyes.
“Hey, don’t you dare say a bad word about my wife,” Joshua comments from his chair on the other side of the coffee table. “You’re right though, she’s the worst.” The way he looks at her shows that he’s only joking. He looks at her like she’s a goddess.
“All moms are overprotective like that,” Annabel says, rubbing her belly while she sips her tea. “She gave birth to Zach only two weeks ago. It’s a miracle she’s letting anyone hold him at all. I was way worse than she is.”
“I don’t think Tracy will be like that,” Thomas says, putting his feet up on the coffee table. “She will threaten to cut off the balls of any guy that comes near her daughter when she starts dating, and I think she’ll always have a gun in a safe in case she needs to murder someone for her kids, but I bet she will toss her infants in a bale of hey when they’re little and leave them there to fend for themselves.”
My heart feels so full when I hear him say that. Good to know I’m not the only one thinking about kids. I know it’s still a far-away-in-the-future type of thing, and not something we want right now, but still… It feels so good to know he’s as serious about our relationship as I am. This is it for me. I don’t want to be with anyone else, never ever.
“A bale of hey?” Aston asks, sinking down onto the carpet with Steffi in his lap. “Why would she toss your kids into a pile of hey?”
“We want to buy a small barn, or a farmhouse or something,” Thomas explains, squeezing my arm. “So our kids will grow up around animals and hey and all that shit.”
“Oh wow, I didn’t know you were looking for a house already,” Joshua says, smiling kindly at us.
“We’re not,” I explain quickly. “We haven’t been together that long, and he only officially moved in with me about two months ago, if it’s even been that long.”
“Hey, when you know, you know,” Joshua says, getting up to give Francesca his seat while he pulls up another chair for himself. “Fran, didn’t we see this cute house near the woods for sale yesterday when we took Zach for a walk?”
“Yeah,” she says, cradling Zach in her arms and pressing a kiss to his forehead. “Near Thom’s new place, actually. Tracy’s place I mean.” She looks up and grins. “Your place. Sorry, pregnancy brain is a real thing. And post-pregnancy brain, I guess. Or maybe it’s just that I’m so tired. My brain is fried.”
“A house near the woods?” I ask, racking my brain. “There aren’t any houses…” I trail off, and I gasp, grabbing Thomas’ leg and sinking in my nails without meaning to.
“Hey!” he exclaims, fending me off. “No need to scratch me, you crazy woman!”
I don’t even respond. “Was it a wooden house with a huge front porch, and a shitload of land around it with horses grazing?” I ask, unable to keep the excitement from my voice. “And it looks like a really small cozy hut, while being deceptively big at the same time?”
“Erm… yeah?” Joshua says, looking at his wife for conformation. “I think so?”
“Oh. My. God.” I grab my phone to google it, and I find it right away. They’re right – it’s for sale.
“Wow, that looks great,” Thomas says, looking at my screen. “You know it?”
“It’s like… my dream house,” I say wistfully. “It’s on the other side of the woods, even further away from the city center than the building we live in now, really secluded. There are stables for horses – or pigs, which I would prefer, actually – and it has a lot of land that belongs to it. The house is beautiful. I walk by it with Pumpkin when we take the long route. It’s a pretty long walk up a steep hill, though, so I only walk by there once a month or so. I didn’t know it was for sale!”
Thomas grabs my phone and scrolls through the pictures. He reads all the info next, and then he gets up and tells me he will be right back, taking my phone with him.
“Oh God, did I just freak him out?” I ask, looking at the others with wide eyes. “I didn’t mean that we should-”
“Please,” Joshua scoffs. “I don’t think you could ever freak him out. I think that he is-”
I never get to find out what he thinks Thomas is doing, because the doorbell rings and to more of Francesca’s friends come in to meet the baby. The room is full of laughter with Yord, Marcia, Shaughna and Dhsawn all fawning over the baby. Shaughna is a force of nature, so all conversation shifts to her for a moment, and I sink into the couch, staring out the window. I can see Thomas in the yard, pacing up and down with my phone pressed to his ear.
“Hey!” Shaughna moves on from cooing at Zachary to looking at me with a huge grin on her face. “Congrats on moving in with Thomas. Sorry I wasn’t there to help you move, but Dshawn and I are crazy busy with the club and construction on the building next to it. I think Dshawn sent over a plant and a card or something, right? As a housewarming gift? He’s the woman in our relationship, keeping track of stuff like that.”
“Oh baby, I love it when you call me a woman,” her boyfriend says, ruffling her hair. “Gets me so hot.”
I laugh, but then my nerves come back, because Thomas walks into the house with a secretive smile playing around his lips. He hands me back my phone and flops down next to me.
“Who were you calling?” I ask, happy to have his arm back around me.
“The realtor,” he says, pushing my hair out of my face. “I got us an appointment to see the house tomorrow morning. I also called the bank to see if we can swing a mortgage like that, and turns out with my savings and the steady source of income we both have, we can.”
“You… you what?” I can’t believe this is really happening. “But you only just moved in with me! We just repainted the bedroom!”
Thomas laughs. “Yeah? So? This is your dreamhouse. Let’s just go see if it’s in good shape and if I like it too. If I do and the place doesn’t need too much construction, I say we buy it. Or do you think we’re not ready for that?”
“I – I don’t know…” I trail off, and I realize that I know the answer to this question. And it doesn’t start with I don’t know. “Yeah, we are. We so are.”
“Oh my God, you’re buying a house,” Aston says from the floor, causing us to look at him. “It all goes downhill from there, man. I bought the pregnant princess over there a house once, and look where I am now…” He holds up his 1-year-old daughter like she’s a bomb he can’t figure out how to dismantle and nods at his wife’s baby bump.
“Looks like a pretty good place to be,” Thomas says, looking at me with that look he only has in his eyes when he looks at me.
“Yeah,” I agree, kissing him softly. “It really does.”