Elena leans over and presses a kiss to my shoulder, which I think is incredibly sweet. But then, she starts pushing me away with both hands, trying to force me across the mattress.

“Okay, get out of my bed. You gave me good orgasms, got a great one yourself from what I could tell, had ass play, which I don’t just grant to anyone, and you have an early morning surgery tomorrow. So go… get out of here.”

While I wasn’t ready to leave yet, she’s right. If I don’t go now, I’ll stay all night. We’ll talk for a little bit more, then we’ll fuck again. Probably doze off. Wake up. Fuck again.

If I don’t go now, it’s not going to happen.

I roll off the bed, chuckling, then make to grab my clothes from the floor. Kicking an empty can of whipped cream out of the way, I look back over my shoulder. She’s laying there so unabashedly perfect, sexy, and fresh looking. Her smile is sweet even though she’s a hellion in the bed.

I don’t want to leave. I want to crawl back in bed, eat strawberries, and talk.

Fuck all night.

But I make myself go.

Because the fact I don’t want to leave spells all kinds of trouble for me.



“Okay… I have something to tell you.”

“What?” Jorie demands.

“I met someone, and I want to get your advice on it, but I want to hear all about your doctor’s appointment first.”

Jorie rolls her eyes. “No. Tell me your thing first.”

I shake my head adamantly. “No, it’s not important. I only mentioned it to start off this lunch so I don’t chicken out later and decide not to tell you. So I’m outing myself, which will ensure you hold my feet to the fire later.”

Jorie just smirks. “You are so weird.”

Grinning, I nod enthusiastically. “Right? But it works for us.”

Her resounding laugh is from the belly. “Totally.”

The waiter arrives, then sets down two glasses of ice water along with two paper-wrapped straws. We’re regulars here at this establishment, so he knows we’ll be ready to order. I always get the chicken salad, and Jorie fluctuates between a ham and cheese panini or a Cobb salad.

She surprises me and the waiter when she says, “I’ll take the cheeseburger loaded, with extra fries on the side.”

When our server is out of sight, I lean across the table and whisper, “You know you can’t use your pregnancy to eat whatever you want, right?”

I get an exaggerated eye roll. “Yes, I know that, Mother. But I was a little too nauseated this morning to eat, and I’m starving now.”

“Morning sickness?” I ask with concern.

She shrugs. “Who knows? Just because it’s called morning sickness doesn’t mean it necessarily happens in the morning. But it can start occurring at around six weeks, which is exactly where I am, so I’m assuming that’s what it was. Which sucks. You know I’m such a sissy when I’m nauseated.”

“Poor baby,” I sympathize in a cooing voice. “Any other symptoms?”

Jorie being pregnant is fascinating since I’ve never had another friend go through this. Growing up and coming from a big family, I had always thought I would have a big family myself. Three, four, maybe five children. But since I’ve soured so much on what it takes to maintain a relationship, which isn’t necessary but can be important in having children, that dream has sort of waned.

“My boobs are a little sore,” Jorie says as she swirls her straw around in her ice water. “Have to keep reminding Walsh to be gentle with them.”

“Just smack him hard on the head. After a few times, he’ll remember.”

We share a laugh, then Jorie proceeds to fill me in on everything she learned at her doctor’s appointment earlier in the week. I’m fascinated when she explains her baby is the size of a pea, but at the end of the trimester, will be as big as a peach. The visual is helpful.

“So have you discussed names for the baby?” I ask.

I’ve got my own personal thoughts on it, but I expect they don’t want to hear they should name their child, whether it be a girl or boy, after its godmother Elena.

“We’ve been discussing names since I threw away my birth control pills in Paris,” Jorie says with a grin. “We both agree on the boy’s name. Josiah Aaron.”

My eyebrows slip upward. “It’s kind of biblical.”

“Weird, right? But we just started tossing names out of the blue. Weirdly, it sounded right to us both.”

I shrug. “Whatever floats your boat. Although I think you should give careful consideration to Elena.”

“For a boy’s name?” Jorie asks with one raised eyebrow.

I don’t answer her question, but rather blow her skepticism off with a wave of my hand.

“What about for a girl?” I stare pointedly, almost daring her to throw out the name Elena.

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