The mall is crowded. Sara is with me as we weave our way through the hundreds and hundreds of people. She still can’t believe I’ve done absolutely no Christmas shopping. She’s been done for a week.
“Alright, so you have a list, right?” She asks, her arm locked with mine, like we’re teenagers again. It’s fun, but I know she’s doing it because of the people. She’s afraid I’m going to get mobbed on accident or more likely trip and fall down the escalator. We’re only using the elevators. I’m not taking any chances.
“Yes, I have a list. But I don’t know what to get Alex. What do you get your husband who actually seems to be the perfect male and is the father of your baby? Who, by the way, you aren’t even in love with.” Sara gives me a look.
“You know what.” She says, steeping closer to me as some adult rushes past us and bumps into her arm.
“No, I don’t. What’s with the look?”
“Can you honestly look at me and say you aren’t in love with Alex?” She asks me and I frown.
“Of course. Why would I lie to you about that?”
“Not me, Nat. You. You’re lying to yourself if you think you don’t love him. Everyone can see that you adore him, love him, why can’t you?” I move us to the side a little to get out of the way of a group of teenage girls laughing and wearing skirts four inches too short, especially for this weather.
“Let’s go in here,” I say, leading her into Charming Charlie’s before continuing the conversation.
“It’s too soon to be in love. It’s only been three months. I know he says he loves me, no, I know he loves me, but I- it’s just to soon,” I finish lamely. Sara shakes her head as we go through one display. Cass has an obsession with accessories. One I make worse by adding to every year for all the holidays. I pick up a crystalized choker and examine it more closely. Hmm, maybe.
“You can’t put a timeframe on how and when you fall in love, Natalia. It just happens.”
“Not this time, Sara. I can’t afford for it to happen like that this time.” I move over to a red display, my eyes examining a purse.
“Not that one. She went on a rant yesterday about how red is no longer apart of her lifestyle or something because she wore those white skinny jeans and started her period in the middle of class.”
“Oh, that’s embarrassing.” I say and put the purse back and stepping away from red display and going over to the pinks. She’s not a huge fan of pink, but I don’t mind it and if we’re here, I might as well look.
“You married the guy, Nat. There isn’t really anything you can do to risk losing him. He’s in this with you Natalia. So, what are you so afraid of?” She asks and I sigh, dropping the bracelet I was holding to look at Sara.
“I’m afraid I’m going to do something or say something and it’s going to screw everything up. I know your parents are together and as in love today as they were in high school, but my parent’s went through a nasty divorce, one my mom still isn’t over. She still cries about him and she misses him. She left him because of me, and I love her for that, I love that she was protecting me and defending me, but it’s crushed her, Sara. I’m afraid of falling in love with Alex, because I know divorce exists. I know that leaving me would be real fucking easy,” I wince and soothe my stomach. “Sorry baby, I didn’t mean to say that.”
“Nat, he’s not going to leave you,” Sara says with conviction and holds up a purple scarf that would be perfect for Cass.
“How much?” I ask and she glances at the tag.
“Thirty two, but the sale is buy one get one half off. So you could get this and the choker for under forty bucks.”
“Let’s go pay. Forever Twenty One next?” She nods.
Later, while we’re in Victoria’s Secret for Sara to buy a new bra I stop to admire one of the lingerie sets on a mannequin. It’s a dark purple-y colored push up bra with a little bow between the boobs and there is sheer fabric is a few shades lighter and coming down like a shirt, except the front is cut out in a triangle shape to show of the wearer’s stomach. The panties are just a delicate pair of boy shorts in the same dark color and fabric as the bra. It’s gorgeous, but I couldn’t wear it. I’ve got my baby bump and I’m going into my second trimester. It won’t even fit in a couple of months.
“You should get it,” A woman says and I laugh, looking over at her.
“I’m pregnant. No one looks at pregnant woman and thinks ‘sexy’. Thanks though. Maybe after the baby is born and I lose the excess body weight.”
“Honey, your partner isn’t going to care about your baby bump. My husband looked at me like I was an angel when I wore something like that. He still does. The baby bump, it just makes it more special, more intimate. Besides, you’re barely showing! Buy it. You don’t have to wear it, but it’s a limited edition, so buy it and wear it later. I have to go now, but you have a good holiday sweetie. And good luck,” She glances at my tummy meaningfully and walks away. I look back to the set.
“She’s right. You should get it.” Sara says, standing a few steps away. “At least try it on, if you hate we can put it back and keep walking and go to Macy’s.” She grins at me. “You guys have sex like five times a week, I bet. It’s just an outfit to add to the mood.” I choke on my laugh.
“We have sex like twenty times a week, and that’s a lesser number,” I admit and she gapes.
“Seriously? How are can you possibly be so active? I don’t think that’s even human.”
“I’m blaming the pregnancy, because I was never like this with Jackson. Ever. We had sex like maybe, twice a week. Maybe. I always want to be with Alex. No matter what we’re doing or where we are. It’s a never ending waterfall,” I say and laugh.
“I’m going to get it,” I decide, opening the drawers under the display that hold my size. She nods.
“Good. Not that you need it or anything. Jeez.” I laugh again and we go pay.
“How was shopping? And Sara?” Alex asks later as I’m cooking dinner for us. I’m making Chicken Alfredo with garlic bread. Something Alex wasn’t a big fan of until he tried mine. I’m bad at cooking most things, but I’m great with pastas.
“Shopping was shopping. I spent a little more than I wanted to, but I did buy myself something, so it’s expected I went a little over. Sara’s doing well. She got the internship she wanted, which is really impressive.”
“What’d you buy?” He asks and I grin.
“That’s a surprise.” I say, smirking at him. He tilts his head.
“What kind of surprise?”
“The kind of surprise that will surprise you,” I say laughing a little. I gather a piece of chicken and a noodle on a fork and bring it over to him. “Try this.” He opens his mouth and lets me feed him. When he’s done chewing he nods.
“It’s good. Can I have some?”
“Nope. I’m starving you.” I say, as I make a plate for him and he just shakes his head.
“You’re crazy, my love.” My smile weakens, though he can’t see it, and my heart starts racing a tiny bit faster.
“Crazy for you,” I say in a sing song voice, placing a piece of garlic toast on his plate and then handing it to him.
“I could have made my plate. You didn’t have to,” he says, accepting the food. I smile and kiss his cheek.
“Sure I did. I wanted to.”
“Thank you,” he says and I smile some more and make my own plate.
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