To tell you the truth, I had to avoid a lot of people. I’m not a very good liar, and it’s easy for people to see through me, especially my mother. I knew that if she asked me what was wrong and I tried to lie she’d know hands down. The last thing I wanted was my mother to find out that I was cheating on my wife. So, I spent a lot of time on the phone instead of at the house with my Mom. Natalie… well, she was still upset with me. It was understandable. She was pregnant and moody, and I was ignoring her. I had left my house at six a.m. to go to the studio for more recording. I was the first one there, and then Ike showed up. Of course, to no one’s surprise Zac was last to show. It was a Saturday, so he’d slept in. We made it a point to do what we had to do and get out of there. I wanted to spend time with DeLorean.
“So…” Isaac said cautiously. “How are things with Nat?” I knew he got the point when I gave him a dirty look.
“Fine,” I replied. That was about all I was willing to say. I didn’t want to get into it.
“So you smoothed things over?”
“Why don’t you and her come over to Mom’s house tomorrow for dinner?” I looked at him, hoping I’d be able to just say no and leave it at that.
“You haven’t been to see Mom and Dad, or the kids for a while. Zoë is going crazy looking for you.” Now, I really felt guilty. I had to see her, if anybody.
“Really?” I questioned. He nodded eagerly.
“Come on…” he urged.
“Fine,” I said. “I guess it won’t hurt anything.”
“She’ll be ecstatic.” He replied.
When I left I went to DeLorean’s house. I knew she was home from her classes, and she didn’t have to work until later in the week. The front door was open, so I figured I’d surprise her. When I went inside, it was about two in the afternoon, she was asleep on the couch. I had to smile. She looked so content and so peaceful when she slept. She looked like an angel. I didn’t want to wake her; I’d have felt way too guilty. I just stood there for a little bit, watching her sleep. I knew if I went over and even kissed her forehead she’d wake-up, so I decided quietly creeping to get a pen and paper was best. I wrote her a note and left it on the end table beside the arm of the couch; in short I told her to call me on my cell phone when she got up.
When I got home Natalie was sitting on the couch, watching a soap opera, eating ice cream. She was now just seven months pregnant, and it was the middle of September. She noticed me come in, looked at me, and back to the TV.
“Hi,” she said lightly. “You’re home early.”
“Yeah; we finished early.” I replied. “Hey, uh, my brother said we’re invited to my parents’ house tonight for dinner. You wanna go?”
“Sure,” she replied without hesitating.
“How do you feel today?” I asked her. She hadn’t been feeling that great lately, and the doctor had told her she had slightly elevated blood pressure, which could turn out to be a bad thing if it got too high. She basically had to take it real easy, and stay in a low stress environment.
“Good,” she replied, looking at me. She smiled a little. “I’m getting kicked again,” she said. I had to smile too, and I went over to her, placing my hands on her stomach.
“I don’t feel anything,” I said, a little disappointed.
“Here,” she said, moving my hands. I felt the baby kicking and smiled widely. I realized that with the month of September behind us, in another month this child would be touchable. “Hey there Little One, are you dancing in there?” She laughed at me. I knew I was being corny, but hey, I was talking to my kid.
“What time do we have to be at your parents’ house?” She asked me, still giggling a little.
“Don’t know,” I said, shaking my head. “I’ll call Mom in a little bit and find out.” She leaned over and kissed my lips, and then smiled.
“I love you,” she said. I got a little uncomfortable, and I coughed.
“Me too,” I said, avoiding looking her in the eyes, and staring down at her stomach. It was perfectly round now; it kind of looked like she swallowed a basketball. My mother was convinced she was having a boy; she told us that that was how she’d carried for all four of us boys. I was a little excited at that aspect. Believe me, I’d be perfectly happy if we were blessed with a daughter, but I was kind of wishing for our first born to be a boy. If it wasn’t it really was no big deal, but it’d be nice; maybe it’s just a guy thing.
We left our house around four-thirty to go to my parents’ place. I knew this was going to be a huge thing; Natalie and I hadn’t been there in about a month, and her stomach was showing well now. I knew everyone was going to want to touch her belly and feel the baby move. When we came through the door we were showered with kids shouting, and it was really overwhelming, but I more than welcomed it. Maybe it was going to be easier pretending like things were great than I thought…
“Taylor, put your jackets in the spare room,” my Mother said. I took Natalie’s jacket, and my own, and headed down to the spare bed room. I got about halfway there and Zoë wrapped herself around my left leg.
“Zo…” I looked down at her and she grinned. God she was so stubborn sometimes. We all had inherited that trait. “Okay, okay; I’ll pick you up in a minute.” I had to grin, too; I had missed her. Once I’d tossed our jackets on the bed, I bent down and picked the four-year-old up. She took a chunk of my hair in her small hand and tugged. “Ow! What was that for?”
“You’re a bad boy,” she said to me.
“Why? What did I do?” Amazing how I felt I had to defend myself to a four-year-old. And I didn’t realize I had an audience either.
“You didn’t visit me in a long time,” she said, putting on her best angry face. “And you didn’t take me to da park,” she said, poking my chest on “you”.
“Ow; easy there killer.” I said. “I’m sorry, sweetie, I’ve been real busy. But you know what? I’ll take a day off this week; I’ll take you to the mall, and the park. How’s that sound, kiddo?”
She smiled wide. “Great!” She squealed, wrapping her arms around my neck. I tickled her belly and she giggled more, screeching. “I love you, Tayder.” She said, giggling still. I laughed a little myself.
“Love you, too, Squirt.” She kissed my cheek with a loud smack, then squirmed to get down. “Hey, hey,” I said in my best playful scolding voice. “I don’t want a kiss on the cheek, you silly, I want lips.” She laughed at me, and kissed me on the lips. I smiled at her, and let her down and she took off running.
“Daddy! Tay’s taking me to da park!” She shouted as she ran. I just laughed to myself.
“You’re too good at that.” I looked up to see my Mom; she had this small smile on her face, and a warmth in her eyes. “I think you just may have been born for it.”
“No, really, Taylor,” she said softly, but seriously. “You’re going to make an amazing father.” I hugged her then.
“Thanks, Mom,” I said softly, still holding her close.
“You’re welcome. Now you better get out there before they maul your wife,” she said, and tapped my butt. I laughed a little a headed out to the living room. Of course, they were all crowded around Nat, each of them taking a turn in putting a hand on her stomach to feel the baby move – my Dad was even guilty of it. He just shrugged, and I shook my head grinning. I had a feeling this was going to be the usual whenever we came to visit.