I didn’t. I couldn’t. I stared stubbornly at the sliding glass door and cursed it for sticking. If it had only opened, I’d be outside right now. I’d be running. Wayland would have lunged for the door, Easton would have gone for Wayland, and I could have escaped in the confusion of the moment.
“Elle,” he said quietly. “Look at me.”
I risked everything and flipped my eyes to his for one tiny moment.
He had such beautiful eyes. Pale blue. Baby blue. The same color I would have painted the upstairs nursery. I even had a paint color, one picked from the rainbow of samples, with Easton’s eyes in mind. Now, they studied me with the same cautious intensity they’d carried on our wedding day, when he asked if I was sure I wanted to marry him.
“You aren’t supposed to ask that,” I replied, pulling at the sleeve of my bathrobe, the material itchy despite the spa’s assurances that it was polyester free. “You aren’t even supposed to be here. It’s bad luck.”
“I just want to make sure. This is for life. Are you sure that I’m the man you want to spend forever with?” He caged me in, his hands on each shoulder, and peered at me as if trying to see the image in a Magic Eye puzzle.
“Of course I’m sure,” I laughed. “I love you.”
I’d been so confident. So unconcerned. I’d kissed my future husband and shooed him away from the dressing area. I hadn’t stopped to ask why he was asking the question, or taken a moment to really analyze my answer.
Maybe he should have asked himself that question. Maybe if he had, he’d be celebrating Mother’s Day with a bundle of coo-worthy toddlers, and not a giant dog and overly-emotional wife.
“I’m sorry that I didn’t get you a card,” he said, smoothing my hair away from my face. “I’m going to go, right now, and fix that. And I’ll never forget again, I promise.”
He shouldn’t have forgotten this year. Last year I said something about it. Something small, a flippant comment that had sailed past ESPN and gotten lost in our living room curtains. I’d waited until Sports Center was over and then went upstairs to draw a bath. Sitting in the tepid water, I cursed our faulty hot water heater and sobbed my emotions out. This year, I hadn’t had the self-control and couldn’t face the idea of another failed Mother’s Day. Another holiday of waiting expectantly for something that may never come.
“Is this about…” he hesitated.
Yes. Of course it was. The Unnameable. The EPT test box, flattened and turned inside out, stuffed at the bottom of the trash can so he wouldn’t see. The subtle seductions between the fourteenth and sixteenth day of my cycle. The prenatal vitamins that I dumped into the women’s multivitamin, just so I didn’t have to see the happy pregnant woman on the bottle.
“No.” I was trying for a breezy tone, but the word croaked out of me. “It’s not. It’s just that I didn’t want that damn dog to begin with—” I lowered my voice to spare Wayland’s feelings— “and I’m the one who cleans up his torn pillows and garbage attacks and mammoth shits. It’s exhausting, and it’s not like he’s appreciative of it.” I glared in the direction of the skinny Great Dane, who was attempting to catch the gold name charm on his collar in his teeth. An impossible feat, given his thick cord of neck muscles. Stupid dog. I flushed, embarrassed at the cruel thought. Maybe it was a good thing I wasn’t a mother.
His hand tightened on the small of my back, drawing me closer to him, and he kissed me. I softened into the affection, fisting his stiff dress shirt with one hand as my other crept toward the foam carton he’d set down on the smooth wood dresser surface. He let out a soft groan, and our kiss deepened, our mouths colliding with increasing urgency. I bit gently on his lip, then flicked my tongue inside his as I stealthily worked open the styrofoam lid. He slid his hand down the back of my dress pants and gripped my ass as my fingers closed on an egg, a crack already raised under my explorative touch.
I lifted away from his mouth and slapped his face, the egg in my palm, the yolk splattering across his cheek and nose.
“Fuck!” He jerked away from me, and touched his cheek, picking a piece of shell off and examining it for a long moment before his gaze dropped to the open container. I grabbed a second egg before he had a chance to react.
“You like that outfit?” He grabbed for my waist as I fled, lifting me off the floor as if I was a child. “Because I’m about to rip it off of you.”