Bethany threw her bag on the table at the center of the living room and slumped onto a couch. A fish smell permeated the air, and her stomach rumbled. But the young woman behaved like a dog mourning a beloved fellow canine – no appetite.
She powered on the flat-screen television before lying back on the chair to watch a second television, her new favorite screen.
In her mind's eyes, she stood on a porch, with hands in dress pockets, watching her husband's blue Chevrolet come into the driveway. Before he parked, she strode down the steps to the garage and opened the car door, the loveliest smile on her face.
"Welcome home, honey." Bethany took his briefcase.
"Thanks, sweetheart." The young man with a goatee, clad in a blue suit with a black shawl lapel, and black bowtie on a white shirt, came out and kissed her. "How was your day?"
"Missed you terribly."
"Missed you, too."
Bethany led the way into the magnificent living room, where Cece Winan's Mercy Found Me played from the radio.
Vegetable salad, noodles and stew awaited George on the dining table. But first, the wife took off his jacket, shoes, and socks, and gave him feet and head massages. Part of the delightful welcome-home package.
"Sweetheart," George said when they sat at the dining table, "what's up? You've had that smile since I came in."
Bethany giggled and delayed until his stare widened. "Someone will soon be a father."
George dropped his spoon. "Tell me you're not joking?" He pushed back his chair and went to her. Holding the sides of her tummy with both hands, he placed his head on the belly. Bethany supported the head with both hands.
"I can hear him." George couldn’t mean it. Can one feel a three weeks old fetus with the ear only?
Bethany cracked up in laughter, turning her head towards the ceiling.
"O, baby, thank you." George got up and placed his affection-laden eyes against the expectant gaze of her dark eyeballs. "Thank you for making me a husband and a soon-to-be father."
"Thank God, honey." Bethany's voice reached the edge of breaking with joy. "He brought us together."
"Yea, I know. I'm going to smother you with affection. Tell me whatever you want, and I'll get it for you."
Bethany laughed again, using a sleeve of her dress to dab away the tears that had come at the behest of joy. George's promise reminded her of the day he’d proposed on the seashore in Beachmond, with the breeze from across the Atlantic Ocean bearing witness to that eternal bond.
On one knee, with a gold ring in hand, he had promised her a haven of matrimonial paradise. Now in their umpteenth year in marriage, he'd lived up to every word and beyond of that promise.
Bethany came back to her husband George in the imaginary living room. "Anything, honey. I'll appreciate anything you buy for me."
Some months later, still in the mental movie, George returned home to a heavy wife on the couch. He held her hand, kissed her forehead, and sat beside the chair on the red carpet.
"Baby," he said, the fondness in his voice so thick a saw would not tear through it in a minute, "I regret the fact that I can't share in this pain with you. I wish I could somehow transfer the baby to my own tummy even just for a month. But you know I love you, don't you?"
Bethany nodded in slow motion.
"See what I got for you and our baby." George pulled a paper bag closer. Apples, oranges, blueberries, mandarins, and a large bar of chocolate.
His wife's glowing cheeks quantified her appreciation for the chocolate, whose yummy, silky texture she could already feel on her tongue.
George went into the kitchen and returned with a knife. While Bethany enjoyed a fleshy, red apple, his tender hands massaged her swollen feet.
"George," Bethany said, waking up from her fancies. "I love you so much. I can't wait for us to get married."
She rechecked her phone. “Honey, please, call me.”
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