“Yeah, that’s what I’m saying. Let’s do it.” A thought occurs to me and I add, “I mean, if you’re sure you want to. This is going to affect you a lot more than it will me. You should consider that.”

Chelsea finished her graduate degree in art history just before our wedding. She really likes her job at a small offshoot of the Smithsonian, but even with a sitter helping out a few days a week, because of the inflexibility of my hours, she’s never been able to do more than part-time. A new baby would mean she wouldn’t even be able to do that—at least not for a while.

Chelsea wraps her long arms around my neck, reaches up on her tiptoes, and kisses me. It’s sweet, and hot at the same time. Needy, but tender, too. When she pulls back, there are still tears in her eyes—but happier ones.

Whoever said trying for a baby is hard work is out of their mind. Our sex life was hot before, but once the effectiveness of Chelsea’s birth control wore off, it went into overdrive. My wife is creative—she’s a sketch artist as well as a curator—but the creative ways she found for us to fuck were nothing short of extraordinary.

On top of our normal, pre-dawn screwing, there was shower sex, lunch-break-on-my-desk at the office sex, on-top-of-the-washing-machine laundry-room sex, putting-away-the-groceries pantry sex. We even defiled the hall closet, which was a tight fit, and yet fantastic at the same time.

Then there was the night we had dinner with Stanton and Sofia, my best friends and partners at the firm, as well as parents to two-year-old Samuel. The four of us knocked back three bottles of wine and when we got home the kids were already fast asleep. So I nailed Chelsea, rough and dirty, over the back of the armchair in the den.

Needless to say, during the course of those weeks, I was a happy son of a bitch.

While Chelsea and I were busy trying to make a baby, the rest of the crew was remaining in denial about the arrival of the Best. Month. Ever. For most of my adult life, my calendar revolved around my career as a criminal defense attorney—bail hearings, arraignments, motions, trials. I was indifferent to what month it was, because every month was basically the same.

That all changed when I fell for Chelsea and the McQuaids.

Now, after a long, hot summer with a house full of needy kids, I look forward to September—the same way little ones all over the world look forward to Christmas. Back-to-school displays are up as far as the eye can see, and childhood despair is in the air. September is a good time.

“It’s the wrong one,” Rosaleen tells me, scrunching her nose up at the folder in my hand.

“It’s green. How can it be the wrong one?”

She points at the inventory as long as my arm. “It says lime green. That’s kelly green.”

Is this school fucking serious?

Annoyed, I jam the folder back into the disaster that is the store shelf and push the cart down the aisle.

“This box has ten crayons, Mommy. The List says I need the eight box,” Regan explains to Chelsea, who looks as frustrated as I feel.

The midget shrugs. “Then we have to go to a different store.”

There’s no way the person who made these lists actually has kids. They should be shot. And at this moment, I would defend the person who shoots them, pro bono. Just saying.

Rory hands me a dictionary. “This only has nineteen thousand words—I need the twenty-one-thousand-word edition.” Then he smirks. “Don’t want to start the year off on the wrong foot. I need all the right feet I can get.”

“Jake!” Raymond runs up to me from the end of the aisle. “Can I get this science calculator? It’s awesome!”

I glance at the calculator in his hand—it has more buttons than I’ve ever seen in my life. Only Raymond would get excited about a calculator.

I push my cart up beside my wife’s. “How we doing?”

She sighs. “Twenty items down—only about a hundred left. And that’s not counting the epic saga of backpack selection.”

I don’t remember needing so much shit when I was in school. It was a good day if I had a pencil in my pocket.

Chelsea lifts her purse and gestures to the box under it. A pregnancy test. “I picked this up for us. It says it can show results five days before my period’s due, so even though I haven’t missed it yet, we can take the test tomorrow morning. Fingers crossed.”

Her eyes dance with hope. With excitement. When Sofia was pregnant with Samuel she experienced morning sickness. A lot. So I squeeze Chelsea’s shoulder. “Don’t worry. The way we’ve been going at it, you’ll be puking your guts out in no time.”

Then her lovely face straightens as she remembers something. “Speaking of which, you should talk to Riley today. You didn’t forget, did you?”

With sex and pregnancy at the forefront of our thoughts lately, Chelsea thinks it’s important that we talk to Riley about safe sex.

And by “we” she means fucking me.

She read somewhere about the positive effect a male relationship has on young girls and she thinks, coming from a guy, the information will have more of an impact.