“So, I got you this b-”
I interrupted Tyler, “Wait, you’re not taking it back already, are you? I literally just got it.”
He and I were in his apartment laying on our backs, on his bed. I held my hand in the air, palm facing the ceiling, and we both admired the blue topaz ring in my finger. The band itself was a rose gold color, the jewel was beautiful and small, but I loved it nonetheless. I even insisted to keep this one, though Tyler promised to get me a big diamond once we were out of college.
He chuckled, “No, I’m not taking it, in fact, I promise never to take it away. But, you have to promise me something too.”
“Anything you want.”
“You have to promise that you will never take it off if you don’t have to.”
“Never, I love it and I’m never taking it off. Even if I accidentally get pregnant and my fingers swell up to the size of my face, this ring stays on my finger.” He stayed quiet, looking over at me, “What?”
“Nothing. I’m just happy you feel that way...”
I met his gaze and gave him a gentle kiss, “And I’m glad you proposed... finally.”
“Finally? We’re twenty-one, we’ve only been dating two years.”
I shrugged, “Age ain’t nothing but a number and time ticks on.”
Tyler rolled over so that he hovered above me, but rested on his elbows so that all of his body weight wasn’t on me. It caused me to let out a squeal of surprise, he gave me a face that made me laugh.
“I’m sorry, that was just unexpected.”
“Good. Don’t apologize though, you never have anything to apologize to me about...” In a more lighthearted tone, he said, “And I am getting you a diamond, no matter what you say.”
“Well then, I guess I’m wearing both, because- like I said- this ring’s not coming off.”
I twirled the beautiful blue and rose gold ring on my ring, it was actually quite enticing. I loved it. I felt that emotional attachment, yet I didn’t know why; I had no memory of getting it or the love I felt for the man that gave it to me. I didn’t love him, I didn’t remember ever loving him, and that made wearing the beautiful object feel wrong.
So, for that reason, I took it off.
After setting the ring on the shelf above the television in the bedroom, I went into the kitchen- unable to stand looking at it anymore. I felt a little guilty.
I was shuffling through the fridge when Tyler walked over. It didn’t take him long to notice the change.
“What are you doing, Anastasia? If you’re hungry then I should make you something.”
“Really, can I get an omelet?”
“Um, no.” I saw him glance at my hand, “I’ll - uh, I’ll make you some pancakes if you want.” I shrugged and mumbled, ‘Sure.’ before retiring to the island. Tyler grabbed his materials at set them on the island before starting. “So, what happened, did you, uh, did you lose the ring?”
I looked down at my ring finger and reluctantly replied, “No... I just- um, I just took it off, it’s in the room.”
He must’ve heard in my tone that I didn’t want to talk about it, because he didn’t say anything else. I saw the hurt in his eyes though, the silent war inside himself. Like a can of worms ready to be open; the only silent argument I’d ever remembered experiencing.
In fact, we never really talked about it. Tyler just glanced at my hand every day, like he hoped that one day our promise to each other would be back there. Exactly where it belonged.
“Ugh,” I whined, “I’m so sleepy!
Tyler looked over at me and smirked, ” Go to sleep then, you are literally already laying in the bed.”
“And hungry,” I continued, “and I have to pee too, why do your babies hate me?”
“I’m sure they don’t.” He placed a kiss on my forehead and got up from beside me. We’d been watching TV together for a while.
“No, Ty, don’t leave me.”
“Now who’s gonna feed you if I just sit around?”
“I don’t know, I just don’t want you to leave; it’s cold. You know what, never mind, I’m not hungry.”
“You’re right, it’s actually pretty hot and I’m dying of starvation.”
“I’m sure that’s also untrue, but I won’t hold it against you.” He gave me another light kiss, on the lips this time, before standing straight and starting to leave.
“No, wait,” I grabbed the hem of his shirt, “help me up; I wanna come.”
“No, baby, you know that Dr. Lovett put you on bed rest, and you were just complaining about your back hurting.”
“First of all, she put me in general bed rest, which, for pregnant women, is pretty much just house arrest for short periods of time. And second, I think my back was only getting better because you were next to me. Ooh, yeah, see? I feel the pain coming on.”
“Yep, look,” I grabbed his hand, “oh, so much better.”
“... You better be glad you’re so pretty, because you are at terrible actor.”
“I’m better than you... now help me up.”
“I don’t have the energy to whine, okay? Now, just for future reference, when the woman you’re sleeping with asks you for something, you almost always say yes.”
“Thank you for that little piece of knowledge, babe, but... I’m gonna stick with no.” I groaned.
“Tyler, come on, I said I don’t wanna to whine about it, but I will. I feel a beached whale.”
He chuckled, “A beached whale? That’s a new one.”
“Can you please just help me up, so I feel less like shit?” I rolled my eyes and reached out my hand for him to grab.
Wordlessly, he grabbed it and helped me sit up. He was helping me stand when I felt some sort of pain shoot through me.
“Whoa, wait,” I said. Bracing his arm, I used it to lower myself back onto the bed. I used my other hand to rub my stomach, almost as a way to make sure it was still there.
“Angel, what’s wrong? See, this is why you’re on bed rest.” I could tell he was just worried, but it came out sounding like anger.
“General bed rest,” I mumbled.
“Listen, baby,” I closed my eyes and grabbed the sides of his shirt. I took a second to breathe and make sure the babies and I were fine, when I felt okay I looked up at Tyler. His face still had that small inkling of worry on it, so I said, “I’m fine, I promise.”
He knelt down to my level, “Are you sure?”
“Yes. I’ve never been more fine in my life.”
“Well, Anastasia, I have to agree, but right now isn’t the time for those comments. I’m trying to figure out if you’re hurt.”
I smiled at his humor before pulling him in for a kiss, “I’m okay, now go make me food and I’ll stay here.”
“Right here, you swear?”
“Right here on this bed- unless I have to pee,” he chuckled, “but aside from that, you should hurry. I’ll be waiting, but you really shouldn’t keep a lady waiting on you for too long.”
“Yes, I definitely know that- you’re getting pretty good at teasing me into doing what you want.”
“Who says it’s teasing?” He stood as I gave him a wink.
“Yeah, you’re good.”
He left as I glanced around the room, now wondering how I was supposed to adjust myself on the bed. I’d just figured it out when, out of the corner of my eye, the light from the window was hitting something shiny.
The small object sat on a shelf that was just above the TV. Using the bedside table, I stood up (slowly but surely) and wobbled over to the TV.
Oh, I thought, it’s the ring. Well, ‘my’ ring, I suppose. It’s so pretty.
I admired the beauty of the ring for a while before trying to slip it on my finger. Sadly, my fingers and hands had already swollen up so, after brainstorming for a moment, I decided to put it on the simple chain around my neck.
When Tyler came back into the room, I was sitting back down with the laptop on my lap. I sat the computer to the side, to accept the plate of pancakes in his hand.
“Hey, what’re you doing?”
I shrugged nonchalantly, “Just doing some research on Hyperemesis Gravidarum.”
“This again, why? We googled the shit out of that condition right after we found out.”
“Yes, I remember, honey. You probably don’t want to bring that up though, because I also remember you falling asleep way before me... but, that’s none of my business.”
He shushed me playfully, “That’s not the point, there is no need to bring up the past.” I let out an ‘mhm’ that he ignored. “The point is why are you looking it up...” I saw his gaze fall to my neck, “again?”
Just to tease him, I ignored his revelation and scratched the area of skin under the ring. “Well you know new things are added everyday. See, like, it says here that I should eat every half hour.”
“Stop teasing, it’s not nice.” He told me, I let my hand drop. “It’s back,” he said after a moment. “It’s back– you put it back on, granted not on your finger, but– it’s not on the shelf anymore.”
I looked down, “Yeah, I know. I just– that’s not where it belonged. I started to put it on my finger, but thanks to someone they’re the size Twinkies. Ooh, do we have any Twinkies?”
He rolled his eyes, “No, but how is your finger size my fault?”
“Um, I don’t think I impregnated myself with triplets. From what I learned in Sex Ed all those years ago, it takes two to tango.”
“Yeah, I did that one thing. Everything else is the babies’ doing.”
“Very mature, babe, blame it on the unborn children.”
He shrugged, “I never vowed to be mature... but you did vow to love me, no matter what.”
“Hey, no cursing,” he held the sides of my stomach like he was covering someone’s ears. “I think they can hear us.”
“Ooh, speaking of the Three Musketeers—”
“More like the Three Stooges that won’t kick,” he joked, “I mean, come on; just let daddy know you’re alive.” That earned him a slap on the arm.
“Like I was saying, that reminded me of what I signed us up for.” He gave me a confused look before I sang, “Birthing classes!”
I had Tyler by the arm as I dragged him into the building. “You really shouldn’t be out of the house, Anastasia.”
I sighed once again, but stopped and faced him this time. “It’s one class,” he opened his mouth to object again, “I was going crazy, Ty! Just give me this one class and I promise to go back on strict bed rest, per Dr. Tyler Meyers’ orders.”
He was quite for a while, but eventually said, “Okay, doesn’t mean I’m going to like it any more.” I silently clapped, but when I tried to walk away he stopped me. “And I want you to know that it’s not that I want you to stop having fun or whatever. I just– I worry about you, okay?”
I gave him a small smile of understanding, “I know; you feel like that’s your job though, Tyler. You can’t be my husband and my father at the same time.” I let a real smile edge onto my face, “It’s a turn off.”
He kissed me, “Alright, well I’m gonna be husband, at least for today.”
Tyler let me lead him into the classroom and find a seat. We sat in a circle with the other couples; dads sat with the moms in front of them, laying back slightly. When the teacher, Rebecca Young, walked in she had us all introduce ourselves; soon we were doing breathing exercises.
“Alright, moms,” she said after a few exercises. “You all know that I’m a Mommy too, of three little monsters and I had every single one like any other normal mother... with drugs.” We laughed along with her.
“You don’t have to use the drugs if you don’t want to, but don’t be deterred, they wok wonders.” She paused. “Childbirth is beautiful. It’s this beautiful amazing thing that we, as women, were awarded with. It’s great, an honor even, don’t you think?” We all nodded.
“Well, before I go into how incredibly painful it is, let’s look at a video. I saw that everyone is 22 weeks, who’s experienced kicking so far?” I felt a little disappointed when I saw everyone smile and raise their hands.
“It’s fine if you haven’t; some babies are just a bit more laid back than others. It’ll happen.” I looked up at Tyler who just smiled reassuringly, though I’m sure the smile was more for himself than me. I smiled back, just because I knew he needed it.
The teacher played a few videos on the projector about the twenty-second week of pregnancy. The last one focusing mostly on the fact that the babies could now hear, and soon they’d be able to store memories, like the memory of my voice. Once all the videos were over, Rebecca spoke to the group.
“Now, I want dads to go around and – stay with me, I this is gonna sound crazy – I want you yo all to your babies, because it’s not all about Mom.”
I scoffed, “I beg to differ.”
“Oh, really?” Tyler asked. He shifted so that he was in front of me, leaving only my arms to support my upper body. I nodded.
“It’s about the mom and the babies, at least in this family. Sorry you’ve been demoted from your place as most loved in my life.” I joked.
Tyler leaned towards my stomach. “You’re already replacing me? Yeah, I see us four are going to have problems.” He tapped his fist to my stomach in a light, playful manner... and someone responded.
“Ooh, wait!” I yelled.
“What?” Ty asked me; I received a worried expression from everyone in the room.
“No, no,” I told them. “I think this is good– oh, there they go again!” I hurriedly grabbed his hand, “It was right here.” I felt another bump and looked up at Ty, “You feel that?”
“Yeah, are they kicking?”
“Finally!” He leaned down and kissed my stomach before kissing my lips. It wasn’t until then that I remembered where we were. “Oh, I’m sorry,” I said to the teacher. “They’re just really late bloomers.”
“Or really lazy.”
I ignored his comment as the teacher said, “No, it’s fine. Be happy, this your moment. This is your first experience being proud parents.”
“It was probably one of the boys.”
“Protecting their momma already.”
“They taking after their dad already.” I felt someone kick in another part of my stomach, “Ooh, and there goes their sister; fighting with your brothers already?”
“She’s strong willed, just like you. Trying to tell those idiots to chill out.”
“Oh, yeah, we already know who the mature one is gonna be.”
“For sure; daddy’s little girl.”
“Oh, you can’t claim her daddy’s little girl already. So unfair, I will fight for her.”
“And leave me with the two assholes? I think not.”