Lillie sat in the bathroom of the studio she worked at, her eyes wide as she stared at the pregnancy test in her hands. Her heart was beating quickly in her chest, equal parts excitement and fear. Was she even cut out to be a parent? Would Cory be happy? It wasn’t like they had really discussed children in depth or anything. She wondered how her mother and brother would react. Would they be excited too? There was a tap on the bathroom door and she nearly dropped the test. “Lillie, are you okay in there?” Her best friend and co-worker’s voice brought a measure of calm to her.
“Yeah, just a second.” She said back as she capped the test and wiped it off. She then washed her hands and unlocked the door, slowly pulling it open. “Can you come in here please?”
“Are you alright, you look a little pale.” Destiny asked, concerned.
“Yeah, I think so.” She gave her a weak smile as she let her in. “It’s…it’s this.” She handed her the test and she started to yell in excitement, but managed to stop herself, quickly closing the door.
“Oh my god.” She whispered. “Is this real?”
“Oh my god, congratulations.” She hugged Lillie. “No wonder you’re always so exhausted.”
Lillie blushed. “Come on Des.”
“Cory’s going to flip, good flip I mean.”
“Totally, this is amazing. Don’t show anyone else until you show him. You should surprise him, make it special.”
“Don’t worry, I’ll help you out. This is so exciting. Do you need anything?”
“I think I’m okay.”
“Are you sure? I’ll run out and literally get you anything as long as it’s something possible.”
“How about those milkshakes you and I love so much?”
“Coming right up!” Destiny seemed so cheerful about this it made her a little more confident about talking to Cory. She knew lack of confidence often had her thinking things she shouldn’t so if her friend thought Cory would be happy, she’d trust his heart would be filled with nothing but love when she told him. Destiny had apparently spent the entire time she was away thinking up ways Lillie could tell Cory the amazing news. She started rambling off different things including special ordering chocolates that would read “You are going to be a daddy” or special ordering an infant onesie reading “hello dad” with a little note reading along the lines of “The only thing better than having you as a husband is knowing our baby will have you as a dad.”
“Wow, your mind was really going.”
“Yeah, the internet while I was waiting on our order helped too.”
Destiny gave her more ideas as they worked until Lillie had decided to just take multiple ideas and put them together. “I think I want to get Oscar involved, maybe get him a little sweater that says baby’s guard cat or something.”
“That would be so cute. What about something football related, he played in high school.”
“I bet he’d like that and I could buy some books for him to read to the baby.” She rested a hand on her stomach. “I can’t believe I’m actually pregnant, I mean I can, but I can’t. Does that make sense?”
“Yes.” Destiny said with a giggle, then lowered her voice. “But to be fair, you two do go at it like…”
“Destiny, be good.” She laughed as her face turned bright red.
“Hey that’s a good thing, it keeps things alive and shows how beautiful he thinks you are.” Lillie’s blush became brighter, causing Destiny to giggle. “So you going to keep working?”
“Yeah, I love my job. I mean, I’ll probably take at least two weeks off when they are born, but I plan to keep working.”
“Cool, I’d miss seeing you so much otherwise. I’m planning your baby shower by the way.”
“Oh, I don’t need a baby shower.”
“Sure you do, every new mom does. I hear it’s fun to make the registry too.”
“Getting rid of my anxiety.”
“You know it’s not a problem. I can’t wait to hear how Cory reacts.”
Cory hummed along to the music in his ears as he fixed the issue with the bomb disposal robot. He put it back together, happy when he booted it up and moved it around and it worked. He switched it off, turning off his iPod and then checking his phone. Lillie was supposed to be getting off work soon and he wanted to make dinner for her. She had seemed so exhausted lately and he wondered if she was overworking herself. He switched off the robot then went to let the technician know he had found the issue.
“You’re a lifesaver man, literally. I feel stupid not being able to figure it out.”
“You would have had to take it completely apart to find it. There were some wiring issues, but it’s working perfect now.”
“Well thank you.”
“No problem, I’m always around to help” Cory walked out to his car and drove to the store, picking up everything he would need for one of her favorites, herb-garlic crusted flank steak with pan-roasted grapes. He also planned to make something he particularly liked which was roasted butternut squash and shallot soup. He quickly found the ingredients then happily drove home to begin preparing their amazing meal. Lillie had felt a little nauseous from the drive home, but when she walked inside and the smells of dinner hit her nose that all fell away and her stomach rumbled with desire for what he was preparing. “Cory, you started dinner.”
He walked away from the stove to hug her. “You always seem so tired. I wanted to treat you.”
“Thank you, let me help, please?”
“But its a treat.”
“At the risk of sounding corny it’s a treat to do anything with you so dinner will still be something sweet from you.”
“Alright baby, but I really don’t mind.”
“I know, I love you.”
“I love you too.”
Lillie kept thinking about the baby as she helped him cook, wanting to tell him, but managing to keep herself from saying anything. She was going to order everything tonight once he was asleep and have it sent to Destiny, that way they could wrap everything without him accidentally picking them up. “You seem far away.” Cory said when they were finally able to set down.
“Sorry, just thinking about a project I’m working on.”
“Just a lot of work. How about you?”
“I got to work on another bomb disposal unit. I’ve been thinking of trying to develop one, see if I can make any improvements.”
“You should.” She yawned. “Sorry.”
“Are you sure you’re alright? You’ve been so tired lately.”
“I’m fine, I promise.”
“I can take you to a doctor”
“No, really, I just need a good nights sleep okay?”
It was sweet how concerned he was, but she definitely didn’t want to end up at a doctors office. She had plans and he only had to wait a little while longer. Once dinner was ready they sat down and enjoyed it. Everything was delicious. “Thank you for going to the store for all this.”
“Maybe a good meal will help too my love.”
“I love you so much Lillie.”
“I love you too, I’m truly fine.”
After dinner they cuddled on the couch and watched a movie until Lillie started yawning and Cory insisted they go to bed. They showered, him insisting he wash her and she let out a little moan as he massaged her back and thighs. “Be good, baby, you need rest.” He said as he ran his hands over her to rinse the soap off.
“I’m really alright.” She took her turn washing him. “I’m just a little exhausted, it happens.”
“Still, I don’t want to wear you out.”
A blush tinted her cheeks and he chuckled. “You’re so mean.”
“Sorry, it’s just you still act so shy, it’s cute.” He brushed a kiss over her lips. “It’s not my fault is it, you being so tired?”
Kind of. She thought, but she said, “No, not really.”
“Don’t be afraid to tell me to back off, you know I will. I love you.”
“I love you too, now stop worry so much silly, you’ll stress yourself sick. If anything changes, I’ll tell you.”
Once they were finally in bed and wrapped around one another she realized what a struggle it would be to stay up until he went to bed. In Cory’s arms like this she felt so safe, so loved, like nothing bad could ever touch their lives. It was a blissful feeling that made her eyelids heavy. The comfort did it’s best to make her fall asleep, but she managed, carefully moving him away from her before getting out of bed to use the computer. The house felt frigid suddenly without him around her so she glanced back at him and smiled, feeling like an incredibly lucky woman to be so loved merely sneaking away for maybe an hour seemed like such a mission to her.
Lillie dared to kiss his cheek then hurried over to the computer where she turned on the screen, smiling again at the picture of the two of them. She couldn’t wait to set it to a picture of her little one and in time, a picture of the three of them. She typed in their password then opened up their browser, quickly making her purchases so she could hurry back to bed. She had selected next day shipping to minimalize the risk of Cory seeing their bank account and asking questions before she could surprise him the way she intended.
Lillie carefully coaxed Cory into laying with her how they were before she left and sleep instantly took her. When she woke to him gone it only startled her when she realized he wasn’t in their home at all. She went for her phone, relaxing a bit when she saw texts from him. She opened them. “I am bringing you something special. Don’t worry, I figured it was safer to text my message than leave a note the cat might drag off.”
“Hear that Oscar, he doesn’t trust you at all.” The cat blinked his eyes open and lifted his head, letting out a little meow from where he was curled up on the bookshelf. She smiled as she got up, pulling on a pair of sweats and a tank top then twisting her hair into a bun. She headed to the kitchen, Oscar trailing behind her and put on a pot of coffee then went and grabbed one of her sketch books off the shelf Cory had bought just for her to store them on. She sat down on the couch, her pencil moving over the first blank page she could find. She sketched two cute little teddy bears and used her color pencils to make one blue and one pink. She wondered which they would have and what they would name him or her. She was thinking so hard, she didn’t even hear Cory come in until Oscar jumped up into the middle of her sketch book and she quickly closed it.
“Hey baby.” She said.
“Hey, close your eyes real quick.”
“Okay.” She closed them and he walked past her and into the kitchen.
“Okay, but stay there.”
She heard him set his bags down and grew excited, what could he have gone out for so early in the morning? He came back into the room. “Can I open them yet?”
“Just a few more moments my love.” When he allowed her to open her eyes he had set his surprises on the couch. “So the food may be confusing, but I was up a lot last night and decided to research things that are good for people who are having low energy problems. So I bought your favorite kinds of nuts, some yogurt and you love salmon anyway. Not only is salmon good for your heart, but it’s also high in protein, vitamin B6, niacin and riboflavin.”
She laughed. “You were reading internet articles?”
He chuckled. “But I didn’t want to just bring home food so I bought some of your favorite pods for our Keurig and a few of the shirts I’ve seen you look at. I thought me doing something just to make you happy might help with your energy too.”
“Cory, I really love you, you know that?” She hugged him and he pulled her tightly against him.
“I love you too.” He pulled back, his hands coming up to frame her face. She smiled and his heart gave a little stutter. “I love you more than anything. Start feeling better okay?”
He pressed a kiss to her lips then took the food and coffee to the kitchen. “How about I make you something to eat.” He said.
“If you want to, I can help.”
“You just stay there and relax.”
She smiled at how sweet he was and pressed a hand to her belly. She couldn’t wait to tell him, she was so nervous, but she couldn’t wait to see how happy knowing she was pregnant would make him. She grabbed her phone and shot a text to Destiny about the packages, asking her to let her know when they arrived so they could wrap them together. Destiny texted back immediately and Lillie let out a little laugh at all the exclamation points.
In this moment, Lillie couldn’t think of any way her life could be better. Oscar jumped up, nuzzling against her belly. He undoubtedly knew since animals seemed to just sense pregnancy. Lillie felt their little ball of fur was going to make the best guard cat. She got lost in her head as she stroked Oscars fur and scratched him all the places he liked best. When Cory was done cooking he brought her food to the couch then said, “Get down Oscar, let Lillie enjoy her breakfast.”
“What is it?”
“A recipe I found last night. It’s called crème fraîche scrambled egg and smoked salmon sandwiches.”
“It looks amazing, please tell me you have a plate too.”
“Yep, I’ll be right back with it.” He soon came back with his own plate and glasses of orange juice for each of them.
“This is amazing, baby.” She said, happy that she hadn’t yet developed any sort of nausea. She knew if she started throwing up, he would insist she go to the doctor, even if she tried playing it off as the flu.
“How about I cook for you every day until you feel better.”
She laughed. “I’m fine, really, you don’t have to. Everyone gets tired sometimes.”
“I know, but I can still take care of you.”
“You have to at least let me help you, I don’t want you to do all of the cooking. You work just as hard as I do, probably harder since you’re always repairing things.”
“It’s not that hard, mechanical engineering is a lot easier than you’d think.”
“I think that’s just because you’re such a genius. Really Cory, I can still help.”
“Alright, alright, but if you get too tired tell me, don’t push yourself.”
“I will, I promise.”
When Destiny texted to let her know the packages were there she had been smart enough to pretend she was having family problems and needed emotional support, just in case Cory was near her when her phone went off. Destiny knew that even for a surprise Lillie wouldn’t want to lie to Cory if he asked what she was reading, this way she could be honest and get over there by herself. Lillie, for a good show, pulled ice cream out of the freezer and a new bottle of wine of a shelf. She could give them to Destiny as a thank you anyway so it worked in many ways. Cory kissed her goodbye and waved her off from the porch until the home he shared with her was out of view.
It wasn’t a long drive so soon she was at her friends door, hugging her tightly. “Nice touch with that message.”
“I didnt want to risk ruining the surprise. What’s in the bag?”
“Ice cream and wine, thought bringing it would be a good touch.” Destiny giggled, being her ever bubbly self.
Lillie ate ice cream while they wrapped, leaving the wine to Destiny and chatting happily about the baby and how she would surprise him. “You should set everything up while he’s sleeping so he has the is it Christmas already, reaction.” Destiny said with a laugh. “I bet he’ll look so surprised.”
“That’s a good idea.”
“You have to get a picture of his face.”
Lillie giggled. “I definitely will.”
“I’m so jealous. Why can’t he have a really hot older brother?”
“But he’s already really hot.” Lillie said with a blush.
“You know what I mean and of course he is, that’s how our sweet little jelly bean happened.” She teased.
Lillie covered her face. “You’re so mean.”
“I can’t wait to see what the little one looks like, I wonder if he or she will have his eyes. Oh and your hair.”
Lillie stayed about an hour after everything was wrapped then put Cory’s surprises in her trunk. She knew it would be out of sight there since there really couldn’t be any reason for him to just walk out and check the inside of it. The girls hugged, Destiny expressing her excitement yet again before Lillie drove home to Cory who was at their computer. “Hey honey.” He said as he walked over to kiss her.
“Your friend needed you, it’s alright.”
“Is there anything you’d like to do?”
“Well with no energy I think a good day of rest will be just what you need so let’s play a board game or cuddle and binge something.”
“Alright, maybe we can agree on something on Hulu and maybe when dinner rolls around we could order Chinese?” He smiled, his eyes shimmering with such adoration she almost couldn’t breath. He picked her up, carrying her into their room to get Hulu started.
She felt so comfortable and secure laying there in his arms, her head pillowed on his chest as they watched Treasure Planet. It was one of their favorite movies and Lillie couldn’t wait to watch it with their little one. Cory let his fingers brush gently through her hair and massage her scalp, causing her to relax completely and let a little moan push past her lips. He chuckled as he tipped her head back and kissed her, smiling against her lips. “Feeling any better?”
“Now that I’m actually relaxing, yeah.”
“Good, I’m glad.” He gave her another kiss. “Once you’re finished with this project, you should ask for some time off. I’m sure your boss would let you, he doesn’t seem like an unreasonable person.”
She planned on it once she was further along. “I’ll think about it.”
“You know I’ll beat him up if he’s working you too hard.” He teased.
She giggled. “Cory, be good.”
“I’m kidding. I love you.”
“I love you too.”
They spent the rest of their day relaxing and when morning came her deep desire to be up before Cory had her up and running out to her car, quickly taking everything out and bringing it into their room. She then decided to attempt a nice breakfast for the two of them. He had been going out of his way to make incredible meals for her lately, she wanted to return the favor before he was aware she was carrying a baby. Pregnant women cooked and even worked all the time, but Cory was so sweet, she knew he’d fuss. She turned to her phone, googling recipes involving ingredients she saw in her kitchen. She finally settled on throwing together scrambled eggs, fresh corn, goat cheese and tomatoes since they both adored that, but seldom actually made it. She felt he deserved a side too and pulled everything out for ham biscuits with red-eye gravy. He had made it for them before, but this would be her first stab at it.
Things seemed to be coming together perfectly and she couldn’t have been more proud of herself as she put it all on a plate then a large tray to take up to him. Last she made him a large cup of coffee, preparing it just how he liked it and setting that in the tray as well. Quietly she reentered their room, setting it on the dresser before waking him with a kiss. “Mm.” He sounded happy and she smiled.
“I brought up breakfast.”
“Is that code for you?” He said as he pulled her down, his arms going around her and holding her close. His lips found hers, his hand sliding up to the back of her head.
She giggled and he pulled back with a questioning look. “Not me, actual food and something else.”
“You have to let me go if you want it though.”
“If I must.” He replied with a smile. She gave him another kiss and moved off the bed as he sat up. “What’s all this?” He asked when he saw the presents.
“It’s a surprise, but you have to eat first.” She sat the tray on his lap then sat down next to him.
“This looks amazing. How are you feeling?”
“Better so don’t worry.”
He kissed her cheek. “Thank you for this.”
“You’ve cooked so much for me lately. I was excited to get a turn treating you.”
He was eager to see what was inside all this wrapping paper, but he still took the time to savor his breakfast, immensely enjoying it. He finished before she did, but Cory still waited. “I can open them now?”
“Yeah.” She felt a little breathless, a small tinge of worry about his reaction building back up inside of her. He ended up opening the guard cat gift first and he got it before touching anything else.
“Are you…this is real?”
“Yeah, I’m pregnant, a good ways along too.” He looked like he might cry as he hugged her.
“Lillie. Oh my gosh. How long have you known?”
“We’ll talk once you open everything else. I’m excited for you to see.”
Cory adored the little football onesie with the words “Daddy’s little quarterback” written on the front. The books were adorable and he couldn’t help but take a moment to leaf through them, wishing their little one was already here so he or she could enjoy them. There was also a box of chocolates that he almost didn’t want to eat. He sat everything aside and took her face in his hands and kissed her. “You’re happy.” She said, feeling relieved.
“Of course I am, why wouldn’t I be?” He replied softly, gently stroking her cheek. “I’m going to be a dad, I’m really going to be a dad.”
“I was so nervous.” She teared up a little and he gave her another kiss.
“Don’t be, I’m ecstatic. Thank you, baby.” He smiled. “Not that I’m surprised.”
She blushed. “You and Destiny, I swear.”
He chuckled and hugged her tightly. “I’m glad you being tired wasn’t because you were sick. We need to make an appointment, I want to make sure our little one’s healthy, that you’re healthy.”
“We can find somebody now and set a date to go in.”
“Alright, let me bring the laptop in here.” Cory happily got up, searching in their closet for the bag that contained their laptop. He pulled it out and settled on the bed with her, reading reviews of places their insurance covered until a place seemed perfect for them. They called, surprised when they had time for her that day. Lillie glanced at the time, astounded she’d be hearing her little ones heartbeat in only two hours.
“How are we supposed to wait two hours?” She said and he chuckled. “Let’s put that outfit on Oscar and take some pictures. I know we shouldn’t upload them yet, but that’ll be a fun way to spend some time.”
Oscar was a good sport about being put in a shirt and made little meowing and chirping sounds when they started taking pictures on him. “Sit still silly.” Cory said, scratching the cat’s head.
Once they got a few more pictures they let him go about his business and they looked them over, smiling at how cute he looked. “What a sweet boy.” Lillie said. “Do you think he’ll like the baby?”
“Of course, he’s a good cat, I doubt he’ll be jealous. Curious, but not jealous.” He pressed a kiss against her lips. “I wonder what your mom’s going to think.”
“She’ll probably be stressed. She’s not as bad as she used to be, but I’m sure she’ll worry.”
He smiled as he took her in his arms and kissed her then pressed their foreheads together. “You’re going to be an awesome mom.”
“Yeah and any time you’re scared or unsure, I’ll remind you how amazing you are.”
He laid her back on the couch, causing her heart to flutter when he lifted her shirt. He smiled as he leaned down and pressed a kiss to her abdomen. “You be good for your mother.” He said softly. “I can’t wait to meet you.”
They both left their home eager for the appointment when it was time. The OB/GYN office felt comfortable and even had a little kids playing area for children whose mothers weren’t doing this for their first time. Another relief was how friendly the staff was, they even went ahead and let her head back before Cory was completely done with the paper work. It wasn’t too much later she was hearing her baby’s heartbeat for the first time. Tears welled in both their eyes, especially when they were told they were having a little girl. Hearing all this made it truly sink in she was going to be a mother. Their next stop was to see her mom and then they let her brother know. Everyone was incredibly happy for them. Lillie knew this baby was going to grow up incredibly loved and that gave her a burst of assurance. They would be raising a child and she felt they would grow up to be something incredible with all this love and good people in their life.
~ The End