I’m toying with writing some fiction and hey, I’ve known you all of five months now, so I’m feeling more comfortable trying this out and I’d appreciate any and all comments — I love it when you’re all so supportive, but helpful criticism is appreciated, too!
The upstairs of the rentable suburban two-flat was small. There was just one big bedroom, a kitchen, living room and what you might call a front parlor. The one bathroom was tiny and had incredibly crazy jungle print wallpaper. She stared at it, then turned to him with wide eyes. He pulled her close, rocking her gently in his arms. “Baby, it’s not so bad, is it?” he asked quietly. She moved a little in his arms but didn’t answer and his heart dropped. It was the best place they’d seen, and they really couldn’t afford much else. He hated that she was upset.
And then he realized she was laughing, snorting gently into his shoulder. “Oh, so you think it’s funny?” he teased, holding her a little tighter, his fingers finding her ribs, making her gasp with laughter. “Well, it is kind of funny, in an awful, funky way — stop, stop,” she squealed. “Don’t make me laugh so hard or I’ll have to pee for sure!”
His hands dropped immediately to gently caress her rounded belly. “Sorry, babe. The wallpaper is God awful,” he admitted, “but we’ll ask if we can replace it. I think maybe we should tell the guy yes.” She nodded solemnly. “It’s okay, honey, it’s kind of growing on me already. It’s plenty big enough for us and we can have a cat. And there’s room for the crib in the bedroom. It’ll be easier to nurse that way and the baby will be close by.” He smiled with relief that she was okay with it and led her carefully down the stairs to talk to the landlord.
Moving in turned out to be a chore, even with friends and family helping, bringing their furniture up the steep narrow back stairs. The hardest were the big screen television that had been his and the plain white refrigerator they had bought together. It cost more than anything else she’d ever bought, even more than the secondhand cars they drove. A refrigerator. She felt a moment of panic over the cost, then smiled to herself and thought about telling him that night how she’d never felt so grown up as she did now, hoping he wouldn’t think her too young and foolish.
They fed everyone pizza and beer and pop, eaten on paper plates around their small kitchen table after taking back the rental truck. After everyone left, the little apartment looked even smaller with their furniture and unpacked boxes lining the walls. They unpacked a little more, but decided the rest could wait for the next day.
That evening they washed away the dirt and grime from the move together in the small shower, taking turns sudsing each other’s hair and bodies, finding creative ways of rinsing the bubbles off with the handheld sprayer, then slowly rubbing each other dry with fluffy towels. Neither of them even noticed the jungle animals on the wall.
A little later, snuggled in bed as close as her belly allowed, she told him her earlier thoughts about buying the refrigerator and how the purchase made her feel somehow exhilarated and frightened at the same time, glad that the growing darkness hid the hormonal tears that glistened in her eyes and threatened to spill onto her cheeks.
He kissed her and slowly rubbed her back and his hands slid down to cup her bottom and draw her closer, assuring her that they would be fine. His hands continued to rub comforting circles over her back and bottom and thighs. “You’re sure the doctor said this was still okay?” he whispered, nuzzling first her ear and then the sensitive spot behind it that made her arms go around his neck of their own accord. “Mmm,” she sighed, “he did.” “And you’re sure you’re not too tired?” She was, just a little, but she smiled into his worried blue eyes and shook her head. So he loved her gently and sweetly until they both fell into an exhausted slumber.