We were supposed to be having spaghetti and garlic bread, which should be simple to cook. Or at least, I always thought so. But we didn’t have spaghetti. We had pizza. Why, you ask? Because Leah can burn water. Not kidding. The cooking genes definitely skipped her.

Tonight had been my turn to cook; I had Brandon grill some steaks and then I topped them with Maytag bleu cheese crumbles (best bleu cheese in the world…so yummy!) and crumbled bacon. I paired them with my favorite Italian-ranch pasta salad for a simple but very filling and tasty meal. I even made my own appetizer of fried pickles with spicy ranch to dip them in. For obvious reasons, Allie and Emma both (but especially Emma) were over the moon about that.

I’d have to say dinner was  a resounding success…but anything probably would have been after Leah scorched a pot full of water, then managed to turn a pan of spaghetti noodles to glue. I won’t even mentioned what happened to the sauce.

We were all lounging around the living room, laughing and joking with Leah, who was flying solo tonight because Ian had a meeting or something, about her cooking skills (or lack thereof, actually), and then about Allie and Emma’s due dates. Allie was technically due in three days, and the little baby boy nestled inside seemed like he wasn’t budging. He’d turned head down and had dropped majorly, but that’s it. She went to the doctor three days ago and they said they’d give her until next week; if she didn’t go naturally by then, they were going to induce her.

Emma, on the other hand, is due next week but they don’t think she’s going to make it. She’s already dilated to 2 and is effacing rather rapidly, as well. It’s kind of a toss up at the moment to see which one is going to pop first. The guys have been taking bets, but that was curbed when my brother got caught with his hand in the proverbial cookie jar. He was doing everything he could think of that he’d read about to try to bring on labor. Allie caught on when she got on her laptop and saw the Google search for ‘ways to get a woman to give birth’ and finally figured out that’s why he’d been trying to get her to take long walks with him every night. Just for that, Allie made him double his bet, then bet against him, and gave Luke every idea she could find to make Emma go first.

There was a break in the conversation as we all debated going out for ice cream and we all froze as Allie moaned. She was sitting on the couch, Jackson beside her. When she noticed we were all looking at her, her face flushed and she ducked her head.

We all wondered why…until Jackson jumped up and shot away from her like a rocket, yelling, “Fucking hell, woman! That’s worse than both Grady AND Doug!”

My mom scolded him for talking like that, but then, suddenly, her nose twitched and her face fell. One by one, the expressions around the room started changing, mostly looking horrified, disgusted, or a combination of both.

Brandon, realizing what had happened, darted away to stand by Jackson in the doorway to the kitchen. He got halfway there and his eyes widened, then his nose screwed up comically as he shouted, “Oh my God, Allie! You seriously just farted like that? What is wrong with you?”

Allie looked so ashamed, but at the same time, she couldn’t help but laugh. Emma was sitting in the armchair not too far away from her, just shaking her head. “She’s always been like that. It’s just worse now that she’s pregnant. Trust me…I know.”

Luke shot her a droll look, muttering, “Yeah, you think you know. She doesn’t sleep with YOU every night.”

It was Emma’s turn to blush and we all laughed.

Then Allie moaned again, but this time, she followed it with a loud, gasping, “Oh!” Her eyes blinked rapidly in surprise and she sought Jackson’s gaze, her jaw dropping open before she looked at me. “Chloe, I’m so sorry, but either my water just broke or I just peed on your couch.”

We all sat there, stunned, for a moment before all hell broke loose. Jackson beelined for the couch and swooped Allie up into his arms, hollering at Luke to move his car and Brandon to grab his keys out of his pocket. That in itself was pretty comical to watch as Jackson didn’t slow in his determined stride to the door. Brandon ran along beside him, his hand scrabbling on Jackson’s hip until he could jam it down in his pocket. He gave a war whoop as he jerked his hand free, the keys clasped in his fingers like the ultimate prize.

Before he got out the door he paused, looking back at me. My mom, who was hot on his heels, didn’t realize he’d stopped and ran smack dab into his back, falling back with an ‘oompf.’

“Sorry, Mom,” he said, before addressing me again. “You and Brandon head to the house, let Grady out for us, and grab her bag, okay?”

“Yeah, we got it,’ I said. I moved to the bedroom to grab my shoes and my purse, grateful we’d already cleaned everything up from dinner. Brandon was still outside but his wallet was sitting on the dresser, so I grabbed that as well.

I heard Leah pipe up as she headed out the door behind Jacks, Allie, and my mom, calling out to Allie and Jacks that she’d make the necessary phone calls to Allie’s parents, her grandparents, and everyone in Emma’s family.

When I got back out into the living room, the house had been evacuated by everyone but Emma, who was trying to lever herself out of the chair. She gave me a pitiful look and I smiled at her in sympathy as I helped her up.

Forty-five minutes later, the waiting room was packed with bodies and filled with laughter and happiness. We’d been updated briefly by my mom, letting us know that Allie was really in labor and we were about to have a baby! Everyone had been speculating on names, because Allie and Jackson already had one picked out but they wouldn’t tell anyone what it was.

Luke broke into the conversation on a sigh. “Well, there’s no stopping it. Jackson’s going to be ridiculous about this…” He glanced up at us all. “You do realize that he won the bet, right?”

Laughter bubbled up from everyone and groans resounded as we tallied up his winnings. We laughed even harder when Nanny walked right up to Luke, snatched the money out of his hands, and stuffed it into her bra, claiming that she was just going to hold it for him.

Once Allie was pretty settled, we all got to take turns going back to see her. When it was my turn, she grabbed my hand and pulled me close.

“Chloe, I feel really bad.”

“Why?” I asked her, smoothing her wildly spiking hair back from her forehead.

“Because I leaked all over your couch…” she cried, her eyes filling up with tears.

“Oh, Allie…don’t you even worry about it!” I told her, chuckling affectionately. Truth be told, I completely forgot about it, but that was definitely something I should probably get cleaned pretty soon. Like really soon.

I wiped her tears away and glanced at my brother, who was beaming with complete and total joy. But then his expression dropped as Allie cried out. He was by her side in an instant, checking her over, asking her, “Are you in pain, is something wrong, do you need something, what can I do to help?”

Allie looked at him in horror and then at her mom and my mom, who were both sitting across the room on the little sofa there. “We have to get married!”

Jackson sat gingerly on the bed beside her and took her hand. “Allie, sweetheart, it’s a little late for that. You’re in labor.” His words were cautious and soft, and he looked like he was approaching a rabid bear as he spoke.

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