Dear Diary, this is the life. I never knew being married could be so great. I mean, I’ve been told we’re in the honeymoon stage where everything seems perfect, and, so, we’ll face troubles in the future. I can’t get over it, though. Ellie and I are living together and it feels so homey and nice. She’s everything I ever wanted. I guess I’ve mentioned that a time or two before.
We’re holding off on our honeymoon so I can dance with the company until Christmas break and we can save a little more money. I really want her to enjoy the Christmas trip I’m taking her on. I put a down payment on a cozy cabin to rent it for a week. There are no neighbors and there’s bound to be lots and lots of snow. Ellie can’t wait for the snow since she’s lived in a warm climate all her life. I can’t wait either.
When I wasn’t exercising or dancing and she wasn’t in class or writing, we curled up in bed together. She was a cuddler which suited me just fine. Before the wedding, I’d moved my personal things into Chris and Jule’s old room because I didn’t think it would be very nice to make my bride stay in the attic like some animal. She moved her belongings into our new room, too, but she didn’t actually begin living in the house until our wedding night.
I was anxious like any guy would be since Ellie was adamant nothing was going to happen before we were legally husband and wife. I wondered what was up with that? Did I scare her? Was she afraid I’d back out of the wedding so she decided to make me wait in hopes I wouldn’t? Neither of those things sounded like my Ellie at all. She was too secure in herself and confident. Then, I began to wonder if she’d ever been with anyone before and maybe I was going to be her first. While this kind of worried me, in a way it didn’t seem too weird that my innocent little Ellie would be shy.
As usual, I was wrong about everything. It turns out, she wanted our first time to be special, something we’d always remember. I love her so much and now, I’ve loved every inch of her, too. I promised her I wouldn’t be specific if I wrote about our love life. She says that’s something between the two of us and no one else. I even good-naturedly crossed my heart and hoped to die although my mind won’t stop replaying every detail of every alluring moment we’ve had. Can I just put here that… she is not shy and I’ll leave it at that?
This morning, if you can call it that because it wasn’t even light out yet, I woke up with my arms around her. She was already bright-eyed with a little smile across her face. My eyes didn’t want to stay open but her smug little smile had me curious.
“You look like the cat that swallowed the canary,” I said, peeking at her through my lashes.
A delightful giggle escaped her lips as if she could barely contain herself. “You could say that, Daddy.”
My eyes popped open and I stared at her, mouth gaping. “What did you call me?”
She giggled again and nodded. “We’re expecting!”
At first, her announcement numbed my mind and I couldn’t think. Then, all of a sudden, I had a million questions. “Are you sure? Are you okay? When?”
Her mouth found mine, effectively silencing me. For a moment.
“Seriously, are you all right?”
She nodded more vigorously this time, barely reigning in her excitement. “I’m fine. I only just took a home pregnancy test. I’ll call the doctor later this morning when they’re open.”
“Oh, good, okay.”
“Don’t look so worried, I am fine. Really.” Her china-blue eyes twinkled up at me. “Are you happy?”
“Oh… baby, yes. I’m so, so happy,” I breathed into her hair as I held her close. Stroking her silky, fair hair, I couldn’t stop the tears from dampening my eyes as I thought about Ellie and me starting our own family.
We must have drifted off to sleep again in each other’s arms because when my eyes popped open with a start, it was still dark but about an hour later. I sat up, blinking my eyes as Ellie stirred, then also sat up.
“Did you hear that?” she asked.
Straining to hear a repeat of what had woken me, I put a finger to my lips, making a soft “shh” sound. She pulled the sheets closer, huddling against the headboard.
All at once, there was a short banging noise and Murphy started barking somewhere downstairs. Quickly, I shoved the covers back and jumped out of bed.
“Holden – ”
” – Stay here!” I ordered before bounding out of the bedroom and into the dark hallway.
Tiptoeing down the stairs, I peeked into the dining room. Nothing seemed to be out of place and I didn’t see anyone in there.
“Murph,” I called, not much above a hissed whisper.
I went through the dining room to the kitchen and peered outside into the night. The outdoor lights were motion sensored and just blinking off when I got there. Someone or something had been in our backyard. Racing to the front of the house, I scrutinized the front yard through one of the living room windows. Our lights were off but the streetlights gave enough illumination to see there was nothing unusual there.
“Murphy,” I called again, a little louder that time. He wasn’t much of a guard dog and was probably huddled under a bed or something shaking.
Just as I thought, the little dog, crawled out from under the couch and ran to me like the devil was licking his heels. I scooped him up and pet him as I glanced around the room one more time.
“It’s okay, little buddy, it’s okay,” I soothed.
I turned to see my wife standing at the bottom of the stairs, tapping her foot.
“It’s all clear as far as I can tell.”
“You should have put a robe on! You ran out of the room before I could remind you.”
Oh, yeah, clothes, I thought, glancing down at myself. “Good thing Rosetta isn’t here,” I joked.
Ellie smiled a little, her expression softening. “I may as well make some breakfast. I’m too excited about our news to go back to sleep.”
“Me, too,” I smiled back at her.
“What’s going on?” Rosetta asked as she came downstairs.
Now, I was embarrassed. There was no way for me to slip past her up the stairs. She was going to see what she was going to see.
“OMG, Holden, really? This is so disgusting, I can’t even tell you. You’ve rendered me blind now so, thanks a lot.”
“This is not exactly great for me either,” I said. “I thought you were out of town?”
“So, what, this is how you walk around the house while I’m gone? Are you insane?”
“I’m going to get my robe.”
“Well, good. I’m glad you thought of that.” Under her breath, she said, “I bet it’s covered in butterflies and kissy lips.”
She was half right.
“Don’t forget to talk to Holden about what I mentioned to you,” Rosetta told Ellie through the front gate. She would be leaving for work soon.
Ellie and I were going to walk the dog before I had to be at the studio at ten. It was the first day of winter and there was a light dusting of powdery snow, much to my bride’s delight.
Her cheeks were already rosy from the chill in the air and her smile was wide. “This is fabulous!”
“Don’t get too used to it yet. It will warm up and be gone by nine,” Rosetta said. “After Christmas, you will be so glad when the snow is finally gone.”
Turning to me, she said, “So what was the noise you heard? Did you figure it out?”
“Probably a raccoon or something. Our garbage cans were knocked over, so that’s probably what woke us.”
She nodded then addressed Ellie. “Don’t forget, dear.”
“I won’t,” she promised.
Something irked me inside about the way she called Ellie “dear.” It was the condescending way she said it as if she was better than Ellie. Before I could address it, however, Ellie was chatting again and walking away.
Gripping the leash, I shoved my hands in my pockets and caught up to her.
“I just can’t believe how beautiful the trees are. Isn’t it gorgeous?”
“Yeah, I guess it is.”
Everywhere I looked, it seemed like a perfect landscape had been painted. I think Ellie was making me see what I thought were dull, gray winters in a new way. The roads were already lined with muddy slush but that isn’t what Ellie saw. She focused only on the beauty of glistening trees and snow-capped roofs.
By the time we passed the park, the snow was almost gone just as Rosetta had predicted.
“What does Murphy want?” I asked. Then I leaned forward and said, “What’s my little buddy want?”
Murphy barked and then danced around on his little feet, dissolving my heart as surely as the snow had been melted by the glistening sun.
“Aww… he’s tired of walking.”
“Rosetta wanted me to talk to you.”
“Look, if it’s about this morning, I totally thought she was out of town with mom and dad and I ran out of the bedroom without thinking.”
“No, no. It isn’t about this morning,” she said with a laugh. “She asked me to be her assistant at work. She doesn’t care much for the one she has and she thinks I can do it. The election for Leader of the Free World is in one year and she wants me by her side when she runs – you know, someone she can trust and count on.”
This was a lot to think about, for a lot of reasons. “Is that something you have interest in?”
She shrugged slightly. “It would give me a lot to write about. Just think of everything I would learn, too, about running an office and politics. This is no small job.”
Concern bubbled up inside of me like a volcano ready to erupt. “She works all the time – would you even want to commit to the hours she keeps? It’s all she does and we’re about to have a family.”
“First of all, she doesn’t know that yet. I imagine she would give me maternity leave. Secondly, I think it would be good for me to do something important and worthwhile. I’m graduating from my writing classes at the end of this semester and I was hoping to land a job that would compliment the things I’ve learned.”
My eyes narrowed a bit. “We’re talking about my sister here.”
“You don’t know her the way I do. Did you hear the way she called you dear back there? It really pissed me off!”
She squared her shoulders, not backing away from what she saw as a big opportunity. “If I have a problem with something she does or something she calls me, I will speak up and tell her to stop. I’m a big girl.”
There was that raw determination and confidence I loved. But as far as I was concerned, she was thinking of working for the devil.
“The devil?” she asked, raising an eyebrow when I told her this.
“Um, yeah, if Satan has a sister on earth, it’s her.”
Her eyes grew big and she stood her ground. “Look here, that’s a terrible thing to say about your own sister. I think you should appreciate her more. She works very hard, you know. Furthermore, if this is something I want to do, I will do it.”
Yikes. “I’m sorry, I went too far. It’s just that you don’t really know her – ”
Ellie suddenly went white as a sheet and covered her mouth with her hand, moaning a little.
“Are you okay? Is it the baby? What should I do?”
I stepped toward her but she waved me back as she recovered.
“I’m pretty sure it’s normal. I’ve been nauseated off and on for about a week now. It’s so gross.”
How had I missed this? Guilt clouded my eyes as I touched her arm.
“Oh, baby, I’m sorry. I didn’t know.”
She gave me a wan smile, then took my hand. “I didn’t want you to know until I took the test. I wanted to be sure before I told you. And, honey, I have two small requests.”
“Anything,” I promised.
“Okay, one, don’t freak out every time I make a noise. And, two, let’s keep this between us for now. I just want it to be our secret for a while.”
I kissed her tenderly, then brushed my nose against hers. “Whatever you want, you will have.”
“You’re not seriously going to carry him, are you?” she asked after I scooped Murphy up into my arms.
“He doesn’t want to walk anymore. He’s tired.”
“He is not,” she giggled. “He just wants you to do the work.”
“But I already picked him up.”
She belly laughed, the color coming back to her cheeks, her eyes bright. “Is this the kind of father you’re going to be?”
“Well, I don’t know, to be honest. Do you think I’ll be a good father?”
She must have seen the doubt I suddenly felt because she reached up, cupping my face with her hand and gazed lovingly into my eyes. “If I didn’t think you’d be a good parent, I wouldn’t have married you.” A smile curled her lips and she gently brushed her thumb across my cheek. “Don’t you worry one minute, Holden Sprague. You’re going to be a fantastic father, I’m certain of it and believe me, I’ll tell you if you aren’t.”
Oh, I did believe her, that was for sure.
Author’s Note: Well, hello there! Yes, Rosetta wears her expensive jewelry to bed upon occasion because she is just that glamorous. LOL 😀
I just wanted to thank you for all of the support you’ve shown me and my stories. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it. <3
As always, thank you for reading, liking, commenting, and lurking,