• Story Time

    #XD30-Chapter 23-Lessons from Uncle Jeff

    The sun greets me with a warm kiss on the cheek. Once again, I’ve fallen asleep on the sofa. The pleasing aroma of bacon and maple syrup fill the air. Praise Sweet Baby Jesus, Ashley’s cooking! Giddy, I get up, shuffling my way to the kitchen.

    “Well hello Chef,” I say seductively.

    Ashley’s dressed in a hot pink lace slip.  I debate on whether I want to attack her or that plate of bacon. The woes of a pregnant woman. Ashley sways her ample hips back and forth.

    “I know what you want. Come and get it.”

    She didn’t have to tell me twice. Walking up behind Ashley, I wrap my arm around her waist, tickling her stomach. She moans. My fingers trail past her stomach, grabbing two slices of peppered bacon. Ashley turns, spanking me on the ass with her hand.

    “Move greedy ass,” she demands, giggling. “Breakfast will be ready in a few.”

    Frowning, I stomp over to a bar stool at the counter. Watching Ashley pour the last of the batter into the waffle maker, I realize it’s now or never.

    “Did you pay Nick off?”

    Silence…until the waffle maker beeped. Ashley seizes the opportunity to avoid answering my question. Placing the hot waffle and a pile of bacon on a plate, she cautiously places the food in front of me. I lightly grab her arm.

    “The truth Ashley. I want the truth.”

    Defeated, she slumps against the fridge.

    “As soon as you told me about that Halloween party, I made a financial arrangement with Nick to keep our secrets.”

    She’s fidgeting, which means she’s withholding something. With my fork, I gesture for her to continue. She wipes her forehead with a paper towel.

    “Jesus Susan, what else do you need to know?!”

    Did she just fucking say that to me?!

    “Two can play this game Ashley. Why would Nick tell you to pay Yelena?”

    Ashley’s face pales with guilt.

    “I…I…,” she stutters, her body shaking, tears rolling down her face.

    “STOP BULLSHITTING ME!!!” I scream, throwing the fork in her direction. She ducks, waving her hand.

    “Dammit!! Okay! Okay! Yelena and I dated for 18 months before you and I got together. When we got together, I broke up with Yelena.”

    I say nothing and continue eating. A couple of minutes of silence should scare her. As I chew the last of my food, I stand up and walk towards the den. Minutes later, Ashley follows me.

    “Say something!” she yells, her voice shaky.

    Standing in front of the bookshelf, I reach for a vintage-looking dictionary. I open it, taking out my beloved Smith & Wesson M&P .357. Ashley gasps.

    “Where…how long…a gun…”

    “I inherited it from Uncle Jeff. He always told his nieces to never rely on anyone to protect you. Taught me the art of the take down with one bullet.”

    I walk over to her, gun by my side, and brush her hair out of her face with my free hand.

    “He also taught me that money doesn’t keep crazy away.”

  • Story Time

    #XD30-Chapter 22-She Knows

    Video conference is finally over. I quietly do a happy dance, while stretching my aching body. Between Susan’s proposal and the launch of this new video game, I can’t wait for the next couple of months to end. Hopefully, we’ll be able to slow down and prepare for the baby’s arrival. There are classes, shopping trips, and books to read. Just thinking about it all is making me ravenous.

    I head into the kitchen to make my specialty: brown sugar ham and white cheddar sandwich on honey wheat bread. Yummy!  Happy that I’m feeding the beast, I take generous bites while blindly reaching for my phone on the counter. The phone isn’t there. I guess I left it in the living room. Tiptoeing through the room in search of my phone, I see one phone is on the coffee table. The other is rising and falling on Susan’s stomach.

    I grab the phone and walk back to the kitchen. Activating the phone’s home screen, I realize that I have Susan’s phone. I have no idea what we were thinking when we brought identical phones after the coming out fiasco. Way too confusing. I get up and swap Susan’s phone with the one that’s on her stomach. Why it’s there, I have no idea. She probably thought it was her phone.

    Walking back into the kitchen, I activate the phone’s home screen. I check my text messages looking for feedback from the meeting. Nothing received from my coworkers, but I notice a recent text from Nick.

    Just pay her the money Ashley.

    I don’t remember reading this message before. The message came in while I was in my meeting. I didn’t have my phone in the den with me. If I didn’t read it, then it was Susan who read it. Shit, shit, shit!!!!

    She knows.

  • Story Time

    #XD30-Chapter 16-$50,000 Sigh of Relief

    It’s crazy how fast the past three months have flown by. Susan is currently 20 weeks along and last week we found out we are having a girl. She finally decided to slow down with work and relax. I’m fighting the urge to fill this condo with all baby everything.

    “I would soooooo love a foot massage right now,” Susan asks, wiggling her toes on the sofa.

    “Coming!” I respond, grabbing the bowl of fruit salad.

    As I rub her feet, I see that my notification light on the phone is blinking. I glance at Susan. Head turned to the side, she’s dozing off. Definitely doesn’t take much these days. I stop massaging and check my phone. It’s an email from Nick.

    Paperwork has been signed.

    I breathe a sigh of relief. Guess it was loud because Susan starts to stir. I put the phone down.

    “Just because I’m sleeping doesn’t mean you stop rubbing,” she mumbles.

    I laugh. She never skips a beat.

    “Are you hungry? I made a fruit salad with mint and balsamic vinegar.”

    Susan’s eyes light up.

    “We’re always hungry, however, I need to pee first,” she announces, sitting up.

    I watch her walk down the hall out of sight before I sneak a few bites of salad. Not too bad for someone who can’t boil water.  I hear the door open and quickly put the bowl back on the coffee table. Susan shuffles back into the living room. She’s rubbing her temples.

    “These sonofabitch headaches suck! I hate them more than dizziness, leg cramps, and heartburn combined.”

    “I’ll grab a lavender eye pillow from the bathroom.”

    “Ahhhh love, thank you! I wouldn’t want to be having a baby with anyone else,” she exclaims, kissing me on the cheek. The faint smell of coconut tickles my nose.

    I grab my phone and continue reading.

    Being $50,000 richer feels mighty good. Thanks.

  • Story Time

    #XD30-Chapter 15-Notifications

    The red notification light on my phone is blinking. I knew it was an email from Nick. As much as I want to answer it, I don’t want to potentially ruin this moment that Ashley and I having. This shit is stressful. I mute the TV so I can check  my phone.


    I appreciate you informing me of your pregnancy. Nobody has been informed on my end in regards to your email

    and I have no intention of telling anyone else. I know that you and Ashley will do one hell of a job raising the baby.

    Have your lawyer contact me so that I can sign the necessary paperwork to relinquish my parental rights.

    All the best, 


    I exhale and turn to Ashley.

    “He’s going to sign over his rights.”

    Speechless, Ashley begins to cry. I wipe the tears off her face.

    “Baby, I promise these are tears of joy. I was mentally prepared for a fight. This is a HUGE weight lifted off of our shoulders.”

    We continue to enjoy the moment until we fall asleep on the sofa. Dreams turned into nightmares, waking me up. As Ashley sleeps across my lap, I lightly comb her hair with my fingers. Never in a thousand years would I have imagined that we would be here. I’ve put Ashley through a lot and I just want this pregnancy to proceed as smoothly as possible.

    Ashley stirs.

    “How long have you been awake?” she asks groggily.

    I trace the outline of her eyes with my finger.

    “For about an hour. My mind wouldn’t let me rest.”

    Sitting up, Ashley rubs my belly. I may be crazy, but I swear I felt a rumble in my belly and it wasn’t hunger related.

    “Holy shit balls, the baby kicked!!”

  • Story Time

    #XD30- Chapter 12-Confessional

    That damn Yelena! Ugh! Now Ashley’s looking at me, ready to attack.

    “Feel free to answer her anytime today Susan. ”

    She is livid. I glance at Yelena. She’s twisting gum around her finger. I’m fighting the urge to connect my fist with her moon face.

    “He doesn’t know…Yelena,” I mutter through clenched teeth.

    The drive back to the condo was silently tense. I get Yelena settled in her room while Ashley proceeds to pace in the living room.

    “Susan, I’m sorry,” Yelena says, making her best attempt to be sorry.

    I say nothing and walk out of the room. Fighting an onset of nausea, I grab a ginger ale and prepare to walk into battle.

    “Two months ago, Derek and I threw that Halloween party that you couldn’t attend. As former costumes, Derek and Nick decided to go as each other.”

    Ashley taps her feet. Her lack of patience is showing.

    “Quite a few games of beer pong and shots of tequila later, I pass out in the bedroom. I don’t know what time Derek passed out next to me, but I do know at some point, we had sex.”

    Ashley sighs.

    “I rolled over the next morning to face Derek and saw an armful of tattoos that weren’t there the night before.”

    I dry heave. I hate being pregnant. Yelena runs out of her room and comes over with a paper grocery bag.


    “Continue,” Ashley demands.

    “At that moment, I realized not only had I slept with Derek’s twin brother, but we didn’t use condoms. For the record, we’ve been tested and are fine.”

    Yelena coughs. Annoyed, Ashley turns in her direction.

    “Did she cover everything?”

  • Story Time

    #XD30-Chapter 11-Nick?

    “There’s definitely a baby in there,” the doctor announces, pointing to this bean-shaped dot on the screen.

    I don’t quite know what to say. Susan’s smiling, but I’m sure she’s stressing on the inside. I mean, she’s having a baby with her ex-boyfriend. The same one she left to be with her best friend. That’s kind of a lot going on.

    Susan wipes away a tear. “How far along am I?”

    The doctor pauses.

    “I would say you are around eight weeks.”

    I cough. Wow, eight weeks. I’m trying to contain my excitement, but I really just want to text Mom and Yelena with the news. I manage to send them a text message while Susan was getting dressed. Not 10 seconds after I send it, she turns around.

    “We have a little bit of time before we have to pick up Yelena,” Susan whispers, tracing the outline of my bottom lip with her finger.

    I smirk.

    “Watch it. That’s probably how you got knocked up.”

    “That and a lot of alcohol!” she yells.

    I laugh. I love Susan’s lack of filter. It’s definitely one of the things that attracted me to her. As we walked out of the office, I wrapped my arm around her waist. Susan lets out a deep sigh and let her shoulders fall.

    “I have to tell Derek. He’s not going to make this easy,” she mumbles as we approach the car.

    “Granted, I know he loathes us. But do you think he’s so upset that he’ll drag this out just because?”

    Susan puts on her sunglasses and turns to me.

    “Hell yes.”

    We grab some food en route to the airport, which makes us about 15 minutes late. Of course, Yelena’s flight would arrive on time. We park and head inside the airport. We approach the door to walk in when we hear a familiar voice.

    “Yo, Ashley!! Come here girl!!”

    Without hesitation, I turn around and start running. Yelena, multiple bags in tow, starts picking up the pace. We meet on the sidewalk and exchange hugs and kisses.

    “Yele, I miss you bunches!!!!”

    Brushing her curly hair out of her face, Yelena walks over to Susan and starts rubbing her belly.

    “Does Nick know yet?” she asks, looking directly at Susan.

    Susan’s face turns a shade of red that I thought wasn’t humanly possible. I’m totally lost. Why would Yelena ask Susan if Derek’s brother Nick knows?