Her happiness is contagious, and I smile as we break apart. We did it. We really did it. And they bought it.
Lennon sits and gives them information overload about her health and how she’s been feeling. “So I stopped drinking caffeine and am following everything by the book. Before you start with more questions, I didn’t want to say anything until I was out of the first trimester, but I wanted to tell you in person because I love you both so much,” Lennon says.
“I think this calls for a celebration,” Mrs. Corrigan announces. “A big one!”
“No, no, Mom. I don’t mind if people know, but I don’t want a special party or anything,” Lennon speaks up. “I just want to spend time with you, Dad, and Hunter.”
Her mother frowns, then flashes a toothy grin. “Okay, sweetie. But the ladies at church are going to be so excited for you, for us. So how far along are you? Do you have a good doctor in California? Are you showing? Let me see!” Her mother asks fifty questions, and Lennon’s shoulders relax with a laugh.
“Kay, don’t bombard her,” Mr. Corrigan states, placing his hand on the small of her back. They’re so thrilled about the news, and it seriously couldn’t have gone any smoother. A heavy weight lifts from my shoulders, and by Lennon’s actions, I know she feels relieved too.
Lennon yawns and her parents tell us to take her old bedroom upstairs to nap before dinner. Before I carry our luggage up, her parents stop me.
“Welcome to the family, Hunter,” Mrs. Corrigan tells me as Lennon watches us.
“Thank you, I truly appreciate that. I’m excited to be a part of it and am thrilled to be starting a family of my own with Lennon. Can’t wait to give her and our baby the world.”
Her parents are so damn happy and are totally buying our story, though I’m not lying when I talk about how the life I want to give her. As I walk toward Lennon, she locks her fingers with mine, then I dip down and place a kiss on her lips while her parents watch.
“You’re really impressing them,” she whispers just loud enough for me to hear. As we pull apart, her eyes flutter open.
I smile, her lips so close I could kiss them again, but then remind myself we have an audience and pull away. “I meant every word.”
I’m on a complete high from the past two hours. Finally telling my parents the news has lifted a huge weight off my chest. I never should’ve doubted Hunter for a second because he freaking nailed his part. In fact, he was almost too convincing. I had to remind myself several times we were acting.
“My parents adore you,” I tell him once we’re in my old room with our luggage.
“I told you,” he singsongs. “Parents love me.”
I snort and roll my eyes. “My sisters were right. You sure know how to charm people.” I rummage through my suitcase and look for some comfy clothes. I can’t wait to change into them after dinner and sleep for twelve hours. With Hunter lying next to me, I probably could.
“Only when I need to,” he corrects.
“Actually, I don’t think I’m going to nap. Do you want a tour of the house? We can take a walk around the neighborhood, and I’ll show you all the ways we tried and failed to sneak out,” I say with a laugh.
Hunter leans against my old desk with his arms crossed over his chest, looking at me so intently. “Sure, I’d love that.”
Once I’ve organized my clothes and unpacked my toiletries, I lead Hunter around the house and relive childhood memories. My mom busies herself in the kitchen while my dad works in his office. Though he just gave a sermon this morning, he’s already working on the next one. He cares about his members and is devoted to their needs, which often means staying late at church. Considering tomorrow is the Fourth of July, and several of the congregation members volunteer, I know my parents have a jam-packed day for us.
I take Hunter on a walk and point out the elementary school my sisters and I attended, the park we used to hang out at, and the walking trails we’d meander along with our friends on the weekends. It’s nostalgic going down memory lane, and I somewhat wish I could raise my child here too, but I’m happy with my life in Sacramento even after all the heartbreak I’ve endured.
By the time we return, I’m beyond exhausted and ready for food and sleep. Mom makes a fuss, and we sit in the formal dining room as she serves roast and potatoes. While we eat, we talk more about our “relationship” and how excited we are to become parents. I stand to show off my belly, then make a joke about how bloated and big I am for only being a few months along. Mom reassures me it’s normal since she started showing early with each of her pregnancies and was always asked if she was carrying twins.