Daniel Walker is a mammoth-sized guy. he and Arnold Schwarzenegger could totally be brothers. But don’t let that fool you. he’s like one of those Werther’s candies—hard on the outside, soft and gooey on the inside.
he’s affectionate. Giving. Compassionate.
During our junior year, a mouse decided to move into our ramshackle house. All of us voted to kill it—except Daniel. he constructed a trap with string, cardboard, and a stick that would have made the Little Rascals proud.
And he actually caught the little bugger. We kept him. In a cage, kind of like a mascot. We named him Bud after our favorite beer.
Daniel pulls me into a bear hug, picks me up, and spins me around. Then he sets me on my feet and kisses my cheek. “It’s so good to see you, Kate. You look great!”
I’m smiling so hard, my face hurts. “Thanks, Daniel. You too.
You haven’t changed a bit. how’s everything going?”
“Can’t complain. Things are good—busy. I’m still interviewing at hospitals.”
Daniel’s an anesthesiologist. Whenever they can, he and Bob work together. Like me and Drew.
he goes on. “But Bobbie’s practice is booming, so I’m the gofer boy for now.” he holds up a bag of Chinese takeout.
When the smell hits my stomach, it twists, letting me know it is not pleased. I swallow hard.
he throws a heavy arm over my shoulders and we chat for a several minutes. About their move , about Delores and Billy. I tell him about Drew and how I want the four of us to get together for dinner.
And then there’s a loud screech of rubber tires.
We both turn and watch the taillights of a speeding car disappear out of the parking lot.
Daniel shakes his head. “And I thought Philadelphia drivers were bad.”
I chuckle. “Oh, no—New Yorkers have the monopoly on bad driving. And crazy baseball fans. Don’t wear your Philly’s jersey here; it could end in bloodshed.”
Daniel laughs and we head into the building.
Well, it’s official.
Life as I know it is over.
I’m pregnant. Knocked up. The bun is in the oven and that bad boy is baking. I wasn’t really surprised. Just hoping I was wrong.
According to Bobbie, my antibiotics were the culprit. They lower the effectiveness of birth control pills.
So you see what I was saying about those pamphlets? Read ’em. Learn ’em. Live ’em.
It’s too soon to do an ultrasound, so I have to come back in two weeks. And every day I also have to take prenatal vitamins that are big enough to choke a large elephant.
I park my car in the garage, but I don’t go up to the apartment.
One of the best parts of living in the city is that there’s always someplace that’s open, somewhere to walk to with people around.
I head out onto the sidewalk and walk a few blocks, trying to clear my head. Trying to figure out what the hell I’m supposed to do now.
If you’re wondering why I don’t sound happy, it’s because I’m not. You have to understand—I was never that girl. I didn’t play with baby dolls; I played with my parents’ cash register. When the other kids wanted to go to Toys“R”Us? I wanted to go to Staples.
Even before my craving for financial independence began, my dreams revolved around office buildings and desks—not cradles and baby carriages. It’s not that I don’t want children. I just don’t want one now. Now was not part of the plan.
And then there’s Drew. he loves me, I know. But pregnancy changes things. It means stretch marks and saggy boobs and sleepless nights. No more spontaneous vacations. No more sex marathons.
he’s going to freak out. Definitely.
I sit down on a bench and watch the cars drive by.
Then a voice to my right grabs my attention.
“Who’s a good boy? Andrew is! My sweet boy.”
It’s a woman with soft blond curls and dark eyes, about my age.
And she’s holding a doe-headed bundle of drool.
Do you believe in signs? I don’t.
But my grandmother did. She was an incredible woman—a respected archeologist who did extensive study on the southern Native American tribes. I worshipped my grandma. She once told me that signs were all around us. Guides to point us in the right direction, toward our fate. Our destiny. That all we had to do was open our eyes and our hearts, and we would find our way.
So I watch the young mother and her child. And then a man comes up to them.
“hey. Sorry I’m late. Damn meeting ran over.”
I assume he’s her husband. he kisses her. Then he takes the bundle from her and holds it up over his head.
“There’s my guy. hey, buddy.”
And his smile is so warm, so beautiful, it literally takes my breath away. The golden couple lean against each other tenderly, the baby between them, pulling them together like a magnet.
I feel like a voyeur, but the moment is so precious I can’t look away.
And that’s when it hits me. I’m not just pregnant. I’m having a baby. Drew and I made a baby. A whole new person.
And an image appears in my head. So clear. So perfect.
A dark-haired little boy, with Drew’s smart-ass smile and my sparkling personality. A part of each of us.
The best parts.
I think about the way Steven looked at Alexandra last night when they announced the big news. I picture the way Drew watches me when he thinks I’m not looking. And the way he cuddled with Mackenzie when she fell asleep beside him on the couch. I remember how wonderful it feels to teach her to play the guitar.