I frowned, “Hi to you too.”
He waved at a group of young girls. They looked confused, then instantly recognized him. They waved back and walked away. I was stunned, “They never tried to take any of your clothes or pictures.”
Gerry nudged my arm, “They’re so nice. You know you always hear it, but oh my God. I have been left alone completely.”
I gave Loch a look, “Can we live here?” We would have a new reason to hide away from the screaming fans.
He nodded, “Fuck yes.”
Danny was already taking Lise’s bags and kissing her hands. We three couples, yeah, I know—barf, walked to the van. The driver took our bags. I nestled into Lochlan’s arm and took a deep breath of him in.
He made a peaceful sound and did the same to my head. “You smell good.” I felt my stomach twist into knots. He smiled, “It’s going to be fun.”
I frowned, “I know.”
“You look worried.”
I shrugged, “Jet lag.”
We got to the inn next to the vineyard. It was huge, right on a massive, bright-blue lake. The hills were desert-like and rolling. It was cool. He carried my bags to the room. I flopped onto the bed.
“Turn on the AC.”
He chuckled, “You hot already? I like it here. Come swim in the pool with me.”
I shook my head, “Sleep.” I closed my eyes and I was gone.
I woke later to the sound of tapping.
I opened my eyes. Gerry was tapping something on the desk.
“What are you doing?”
He raised an eyebrow, “What are you doing?”
I frowned, “Huh?”
He held up the pee stick, “Really?”
I sighed, “I peed on that.”
“I know the science behind it, ass. It’s one of the reasons I am so grateful to be gay.”
I sighed, “Fuck me, Ger. What am I going to do? Everyone is going to think I trapped him with this.”
“They already think that, remember that picture from the day he bet you that you couldn’t eat a whole pizza?
I groaned, “Oh my God. They have that picture too? What am I going to do?”
“Uh, I don’t know. Tell him… since it’s his.” He gave me a look, “It’s his right?”
I flipped him the bird.
“Well, you never know. As far as the media goes, you’re kind of a mean-ass ho.” I lifted my other hand to give him a second finger, and buried my face in a pillow. He came and laid beside me, “I came for you to tell me, I’m doing the right thing.”
I shot him a look, “And to snoop in my purse.”
He stuck his tongue out, “I was looking for lip gloss. My lips are chapped. It’s fucking hot here.”
I nudged him, “You’re making the right choice. I’ve spent the last five months trying to convince Dean to run away with me, and he never even wavered.”
He grinned, “You think so?”
I smiled, “He loves you so much.”
His face turned red, like the glasses he was wearing, “I know right?” He pointed down to my belly, “What’s the plan for that?”
I shook my head, “I have no clue. I never wanted one of those. I wanted a condo, a BMW, and my own money. I had a goal and it wasn’t this.” My eyes shone, “This is your weekend though and I wasn’t going to tell you or him.”
“You brought the pee stick.”
I laughed, “I had to keep checking it. I just didn’t believe it. Although I will say, I’m glad it’s just that. I thought for a minute, it was cancer. Google doctor said cancer or pregnancy but I was on the pill. So I assumed cancer. I hoped for flu.”
He laughed, “Well, that’s a pink line my friend.”
“Let’s just do your wedding and worry about my uterus later.”
He smiled, “Okay. Eeeeek, me!”
That was easier said than done though. I didn’t stop thinking about it. It plagued every second of my night. When Lochlan came to bed, he frowned at me, “You okay? And don’t say jet lag.”
I looked at him and nodded, “How do you see this all panning out, me and you? What’s your vision for it?”
He yawned, “It’s like three in the morning back home.”
I shook his shoulder, “I need to know.”
He sighed, “You and damned plans. How about we just take it one day at a time, like you wanted to.”
“So one day at a time forever.”
He gave me a look, “I’m not getting away without a let’s talk about our relationship moment, am I?”
I pinched him. He laughed and yawned again, “Baby, I see you as a successful lawyer and me as a musician, and we live wherever makes you happiest. I’ll bring you weird things from the places I see and you can come on the road, anytime you want. How’s that sound? We’ll be free as birds.”
I instantly started bawling. I didn’t even know why. He wrapped around me, “Erin, you’re scaring me. What’s wrong?”
I climbed off the bed and tossed the pee covered pregnancy test at him. He held it for a second and then dropped it with a wrinkled nose, “Is that a joke?”
I laughed and then cried again. I stalked into the bathroom and slammed the door.
“Babe, let’s talk about this. You can’t throw a pregnancy test at a man. That’s just wrong. You peed on that. And you gave me no warning.”
I sat in the empty tub, rocking back and forth. Weird sounds ripped from my lips. They were high-pitch sobs.
He knocked again, “Baby, you’re scaring me. You set me up with the whole what’s our future talk, and then the pee stick. Erin, don’t make me break down the door.”
I managed a couple words, still very high-pitched, “Just give me a minute.” I was having a panic attack and I knew he would break the door down.
I crawled out of the tub and dropped onto the floor by the door.
I heard him slide down the door too.
“You don’t seem happy,” he said after a minute.
I shook my head, “Yeah, not so much. I’m scared and wondering how I my birth control didn’t work, and how we’re going to have a baby? We have had the weirdest year ever. How do we add a kid to that?”
“We love each other, have a great income, and don’t have drug problems, or drinking problems, or weird addictions. Well, except mine for you.”
“What if I get fat and all the girls are hitting on you, and you have to come home to a sweaty, fat wife who pees when she sneezes and shit?”
He laughed, “Oh baby, you have to open the door, so I can be excited about this.”
I swallowed, “What if we fuck this up?”
“We won’t. We already fucked it up, we did that part. Now we have to enjoy the rewards of ruining everything, and putting it back together. It’s lucky actually that we’re in the rebuilding stage; we have loads of flexibility for a baby. I know I love you. I know I want to be with you. I know I’ll spend the rest of my life trying to make you happy, in my special, frustrating way.”
I turned the lock on the door. He pushed it open and scooped me up. He carried me to the bed. He kissed my belly, “Just think. All the love that we have for each other, we put it in this safe place here.” He kissed my belly again.
I still couldn’t breathe properly.
He looked up at me, his eyes were the clearest blue I’d ever seen them, “I want to give you something.”
I laughed, “You already gave me something.”
He laughed, “Funny.”
He pulled out my ring from his pocket. He dragged me down the bed and knelt between my legs, “It’s not even close to how I wanted to do it. I’ve been carrying it for weeks, just trying to find the right way or right moment. I wanted it to be so romantic and whatever. And right now, I can’t think of anything that trumps what you’re giving me. There won’t be a better moment in my life than this one. Marry me.”
I gave him a hard look. I gave him my right hand, “Until they’re married, I don’t want to steal the show with babies and engagements.”
Lochlan cocked his head, “You never said yes.”
“Yes.” I challenged him with my stare.
He cocked an eyebrow, “Yes?”
I laughed, “Yes. I will marry you, before I get fat.”
He laughed, “Good. Mom and I were talking and she’d really like to see the wedding in the next couple months. She’s been really weak lately and she doesn’t want to do it, when it gets too hot.”
I shoved him, “You have not been talking about this with your mom.”
He pulled me into his arms, “I have, I swear. We’ve been planning it. She gave me this.” He pulled out a wedding band, “It was my Dad’s. She told me to give it to you when I was ready, and we could maybe have it made into a ring I would like.”
I breathed out fast, “I think you just trumped what I’m giving you.”
He grinned, stealing my heart all over again, “No way.”
The next day we all stood and watched our best friends get married. They declared their love for each other in the sweetest of ways. Dean had gotten a ring made with his favorite line from one of their songs, “Save my soul from the seconds we’re apart”; Gerry got the band to perform a song he wrote for him. I cried way too much and waited for the bottom to fall out of our perfection, it always did.
Bunnies and brownies
The moment it all changed, happened in front of everyone. The doctor rubbed the wand over my bare belly, pushing into it. The jelly he had rubbed on there was cold and sticky.
The rapid beat filled the room and everyone burst into tears and gasps. We did it in Nashville at the home where Judith was. She cried and punched letters like crazy.
Alex read it, “I am so proud of both of you for finding your way back to each other.”