That Tuesday, I’m in the office going over my messages when Brent—and his very round, very pregnant wife—walk in. Kennedy’s wearing pink velour sweatpants, one of Brent’s Batman T-shirts, and a pair of fuzzy beige boots that probably cost an obscene amount of money. She looks like a homeless person who raided a dumpster in the fashion district.
She rubs her protruding belly. “Like a tick ready to pop. Today’s my first day of maternity leave.”
Her due date is next week.
“Congratulations. What are you doing here?”
She sighs, pushing back a strand of light-blond hair. “I had planned to put my swollen feet up, cuddle with the cats, and reread a Stephenie Meyer novel, but . . .”
Her eyes slide to her husband.
Brent raises his hand guiltily. “I had a dream last night that Kennedy went into labor and I missed the whole thing.”
“So he dragged me along with him today.”
“You can put your feet up on my office couch. We’ll hang out, it’ll be great.” Brent snaps his fingers and pats his leg, vibrating with more energy than usual.
Kennedy notices, too. “Why don’t you go for a run?”
Brent is shocked by the suggestion. “I can’t do that. What if your water breaks while I’m gone? I don’t want to miss anything.”
Kennedy’s brown eyes roll to the ceiling. “It’s impossible for you to miss anything, Brent! If I stop short you’re going to go straight up my ass.”
Brent smirks. “Wouldn’t be so bad—it’s my second favorite place to be.”
Kennedy pulls at her hair and she looks to me. “Help.”
“Seemed like a good idea at the time.”
“Knock it off, you two. You’re going to hurt my feelings. I’m sensitive.”
He says this while walking past me to Stanton’s closed office door. He opens it, stands inside for two seconds, and mutters, “O-kay.”
Then he turns around and walks back out to the common area. When I try to pass him with a file Stanton was looking for yesterday, he holds up a hand.
“You don’t want to go in there, trust me.”
I was Stanton’s roommate for four years. I know him well—I’ve seen things.
“What? Are they screwing in there?”
“Yep. In the desk chair.” Then he grins. “Did you know Sofia got a tattoo?”
An hour later, Stanton and Sofia emerge from the love cave—only slightly red-faced. Which Brent attempts to rectify.
“You dirty dogs . . . what if poor Mrs. Higgens walked in on you?”
Sofia takes a bottle of water out of the minifridge. “Sorry about that.”
Stanton slips his tie around his neck and ties it. “Samuel’s been coming into our bed at night. Every night. It’s made things . . . hard.”
Stanton gestures to Brent, Kennedy, and me. “See what y’all have to look forward to?”
“Wait a minute,” Brent interjects. “Is that like a rule? Are we not supposed to have sex in our offices unless there’s a reason?”
I get home late that night—after midnight. The house is dim and quiet; only Cousin It is up to greet me. He hangs out with me on the couch while I eat the plate of food Chelsea left on the stove.
When I walk into our room, I find her stretched out on the bed—awake but tired. She’s got one hand on her stomach, peeking out from the snug-fitting tank top, and the other hand holding a thick book.
“Hey.” She smiles at me.
“Hey.” I loosen my tie and start to unbutton my shirt. “How’d it go tonight?”
I crawl up the bed and kiss her stomach before laying my cheek against the warm, taut skin. “What are you reading?”
She puts the book down and runs her fingers through my hair, rubbing my scalp. “A book on baby names.”
Her fingers keep moving and my eyes roll closed under her ministrations.
“I was thinking . . . if we have a little boy . . . we should name him Atticus, after the Judge.”
I lift my head and press my lips against her stomach again—right next to the belly button that’s popped like a well-cooked turkey. “But what do you think about, if it’s a boy . . . Robert?”
After her brother. I know it would mean a lot to her—and if it wasn’t for him, Chelsea and I wouldn’t have met.
Her eyes seem shinier—wet and adoring. “That’s a good name, too.”
I nod. “And this little one’s already going to have a different last name than the rest of the brood—don’t want him to feel like an outcast around so many Rs.”
“So it’s settled then? If it’s a boy, he’ll be Robert Atticus Becker.”
I will never get used to the beauty that is Chelsea’s smile.
One more kiss later, I drag myself out of the bed and head into the shower.
When I walk back into the bedroom, I’m greeted by the sight of my naked wife standing in front of the full-length mirror in the corner, turning left to right—checking herself out.