Being pregnant was not quite as glamorous as I had imagined. My ankles had all but disappeared and become one with my calves. I had to pee all the time. And I mean all the time. Between that and the morning sickness, I had never been so close with the bathroom toilet. That wasn’t even the worst of it, though. I was ravenous. I knew that eating for two was just a saying, but it sure felt like I was doing it.
Like right now. I rolled over in bed, blinking blearily at the clock on the wall. Three-thirty in the morning. Why on earth was I awake at such an hour? Then my stomach let out a noisy howl; hunger had woken me up. Smushing my face into the pillow, I willed myself to go back to sleep, but my stomach wouldn’t be ignored. I got up and shuffled downstairs, pulling the first thing out of the fridge that looked edible. When I sat down, I noticed someone had left their leftovers from dinner sitting on the table. Dinner really wasn’t that long ago…
I ate that too.
I was standing in the nursery when Houston found me. “What are you doing, sweetie?”
“I was thinking that we should re-do this room. This was my nursery and then Shir’s and our parents never re-decorated.”
Houston slid his arms around my waist and rubbed my belly. “We should wait until we know what we’re having. Then maybe we can change things up if you want.”
I smiled and leaned my head back on his shoulder. “That sounds great.”
I was falling more and more in love with Houston every day. He was always attentive, asking me if I needed anything, rubbing my back or my feet. Sometimes his fretting could get on my nerves, but, most often, I enjoyed it. There were only two blemishes on our happiness. The first was soon to be fixed; Houston and I still were not married, as his divorce wasn’t finalized yet. I still felt incredibly guilty about stealing a woman’s husband, but I just hoped the proceedings would be over soon. I wanted to be married before I gave birth.
The second thing was something I wasn’t sure how to fix. Ever since Houston moved in, I had noticed tension between him and Shirley. On multiple occasions, I had spoken with them separately about it, but neither of them confessed to knowing why the tension was there. I supposed I just had to hope that they would work it out.
I came out of my room and stopped when I saw Houston, reading in Hadley’s art nook. I debated quietly just slipping down the stairs or back into my room, but I stopped myself. Enough was enough. It had been four months since Houston moved in and he had barely spoken to me. It wasn’t that I hadn’t tried to get to know him because I had. He always just seemed to tense and standoffish around me that I gave up whenever I tried to talk to him.
I walked over to him and sat down beside him, startling him. “Oh, hey, Shirley.” He moved like he was going to get up, but I grabbed his arm.
“Would you please just talk to me? Do you have a problem with me? Is it because I’m a lesbian?”
“What? No! No, it’s nothing like that. I don’t have a problem with you at all.” He fidgeted uncomfortably in his seat. “I thought you might have a problem with me though. I mean, Hadley told me what happened with you, and then I…well.”
I sighed softly. “I hate that you cheated on your wife. I know she didn’t deserve it and it was a terrible thing for you to do. But I don’t hate you. I don’t even hate Camille. You made a mistake, but I do believe you love my sister. Maybe you two were meant to be together and that’s why you did such an awful thing to your wife. I want to get to know you. You’re part of the family now, after all.”
He smiled a little hesitantly. “I do love Hadley. And I love our baby.”
“I believe you. Can we please stop tip-toeing around each other now?”
He let out a breath of relief and laughed. “Yeah, that’d be great.”