“This is all way too generous,” Krys protested. She gestured to the piles of gifts I’d brought for her baby shower. When I’d first brought them in, she’d said pretty much the same thing.
“Really, it’s not.” I smiled at the pregnant woman. “None of it’s new.” As soon as Tommy and I had found out Krys and Josh’s second baby would be a boy, we’d seen it as an excellent way to get rid of all of Logan and Jasper’s old baby things – and to set up the couple with “boy stuff,” of course. “And you wont’ offend me if you get rid of some of it. We just had so much we didn’t need anymore.”
“As long as you’re sure.” Krys smiled and started opening boxes.
“Loralee just had to show the rest of us up,” Nora laughed.
“Hey,” I protested. “If you’d had a boy, this would all be yours.” As it was, we’d given her a good deal of the boy’s old toys anyway.
“I still feel kind of weird having a shower for my second kid,” Krys admitted with a soft frown.
Aunt Hadley shook her head. “You didn’t have one for Sofia, and you’re having a boy this time. It’s right that you should have one.” Since Sofia had been a surprise, and they’d been so busy wedding-planning, they’d opted against a shower the first go around.
“Yeah,” Krys’s friend Erica said. “Every mom deserves a real baby shower. Now open up mine – you’re going to love it!”
After the presents were opened, cake was eaten, and games were all played, the party started to wind down. Pockets of conversation broke out as we all just relaxed. Nora and I found our way onto the deck where early-spring sunshine was taking the chill out of the air.
“So, are you going crazy being away from Ella this long?” I asked.
My cousin let out a little laugh. “I’ve gotten almost used to it since I went back to work.” She bit her lower lip. “But they’re sending me to Roaring Heights for a story next week. It’ll be at least three days. I don’t know how I’m going to manage.”
“Ouch.” I sympathized. “That’s like a year in mommy-time. You’ll get through it, though. Video calling exists for a reason.” Though I was sure Nora had pretty much comfortable with leaving Caleb for a few days, leaving your infant was a lot harder.
She grimaced. “Still, I’m not looking forward to it.”
“Poor thing. A very successful career and a beautiful family. How hard you’ve got it,” I teased. “Three days away will do you good, I’m sure.”
She sighed. “Probably.” The redhead rose to her feet. “And, on that note, I need to get home.”
I snorted but also got up. “Me too. If I’m lucky, I’ll get home in time to throw something together for dinner before Tommy breaks out the fast-food menus.”
Inside, Nora and I each said our goodbye’s, then headed outside to our separate cars. While Nora took the short drive back to her house, I started on the long drive to Oasis Springs.
When I got out of my car, late afternoon was bleeding into evening. I walked up the path and opened the front door; immediately, I was pleasantly surprised to find the smell of fried fish. I headed towards the kitchen, catching a glimpse of Logan and Jasper watching cartoons in the living room as I passed. I found Tommy plating up fish and French fries in the kitchen.
“What is this?” I asked with a smile.
“I took the boys fishing today.” He walked around the counter and kissed me hello. “Logan and I had a good catch. Jasper, naturally, played in the clay.”
“I’m very impressed with my men.” I leaned up and kissed him again. “Here I was, afraid you’d order pizza tonight.”
Tommy scoffed. “I can cook.”
“Yes, you can.” I reached over and snagged a small piece of fish. “Mmm,” I muttered after a bite. “I love your fried fish.” I loved less the mess he’d made on my stove, but I could ignore that for the time being. I grinned at him. “I might just have to let Calvin go and hire you as my sous chef.”
He laughed in a loud crack. “Pass.”