Fridays at the Levin household was always pizza night. They ordered from the pizzeria down the block and ate at 7:00 sharp. For the couple who often had to work over time and travel, Fridays became the unofficial date night. Kevin and Gwen were sitting on the living room couch, watching TV.
"You seem awfully smiley today," Kevin remarked.
"Yep," Gwen leaned into him. She put her hand on top of his'. She wasn't paying attention to the screen which was playing a commercial. He wasn't either.
"Any particular reason why?" She felt his lips brush against her hair. He kissed the top of her head.
"Yep," she said again.
"Are you going to turn this into a guessing game?" He asked with a smile.
"Maybe so. Maybe not. What do you want?"
"Let's see if I can figure it out."
Gwen took his hand and placed it on her belly.
"You're still hungry?" He asked. "You ate like five slices of pizza. That was half the pie."
"No but you're on the right track," She took his hand and moved it a bit lower.
"I like where this is going," Kevin smirked.
"Ke-vin," Gwen said in an annoyed sing-song tone. "Think about where my hand is."
"It's on your stomach."
"It's not my stomach."
"It's your lower stomach."
"Well what's in my lower stomach?"
"Give me a clue."
"You never really paid attention in health class did you," she said with a sigh.
"Let's try something different," he suggested.
"Ok," Gwen thought for a second. "I took a test today."
"What type of test?"
"It came out positive."
There was a pause. Kevin's expression changed. His lips parted from a smile to an "o." His brown eyes widened.
"You're pregnant?" He asked quietly.
"I am," she answered.
He pulled away from her and sat in a daze.
"Kevin?" She asked, a bit worried. "You ok?"
"Oh my god, you're pregnant," he looked down at his hands as if they held a baby. "You're actually pregnant."
He gazed at her and he let out the biggest grin she ever saw.
"Truth, I'm kinda both scared and really really happy right now," He admitted. "I didn't except it to be so soon, but I'm gonna be a dad! I'm gonna be a dad! We're gonna have a baby!"
Kevin reached over and hugged Gwen. He held her tightly, rocking her back and forth. She let her head rest on his shoulder, feeling a warmth build up in her body. She had felt this connection--a relaxing, intense, and loving sensation many times before in the fourteen years she had been with Kevin, but now it was the strongest she had ever felt. For a second, she thought she felt three heartbeats: hers', his', and the baby's beat at the same time.
On Sunday, Kevin and Gwen had a family lunch. They invited their parents, Grandpa Max, Ben, Ken and his family, Aunt Sandra and Uncle Carl, and Rook. Everybody pitched in. Ben was in charge of the drinks; he came with five different types of soda and juice. For the appetizers, Rook brought pigs in a blanket, which was one of the many earth foods he had grown to love. Natalie and Frank brought mozzarella sticks. Grandpa Max brought buffalo wings, which were actually edible. Sandra had made her infamous tofu squares while Carl brought chips and dip, knowing that no one would eat the squares. Kevin and Gwen made the main meal: hamburgers and fries, while Kevin's parents brought in mac n cheese as a side. For dessert Ken's family brought cookies, brownies, and ice cream.
They sat around the living room and talked about current things and past stories as they munched on appetizers. A football game was on the TV but no one really payed attention. Kevin, Gwen, and Ben also played with their niece and nephew: a one year old and a three year old. They were joined by Rook who was just as close to the kids as they were. No one seemed to notice that Kevin and Gwen were paying close attention to the kids. It if their parental instincts had already started to kick in. After an hour, it was time for lunch.
There were sixteen plates set up at the table.
"So someone else is coming?" Ben asked as they dug in.
"Yes," Gwen said.
Thirty minutes passed. Everyone was enjoying their meal.
"Your other guest isn't here yet," Natalie said in between bites of hamburger and mac n cheese. "They're going be missing out on all this food."
"Oh don't worry. He or she will get here," Kevin told her. No one seemed to pick up on that Kevin said "he or she" when referring to the person.
It was the end of lunch. People were either sitting around the table or helping to clear up. Grandpa Max eyed the empty plate, which had not been picked up.
"Your guest is not coming."
Gwen was sitting at the table. Kevin was taking out the ice cream from the fridge.
"Not today," Kevin said as he closed the refrigerator door.
"Not today?" Rook piped up, confused.
"And it's not a guest," Gwen added.
Kevin put the containers of ice cream on the table. He walked over to Gwen.
"What do you mean by not a guest?" Frank asked.
"Someone's going to be living with us," Gwen said.
"Who?" Sandra asked as she carried a platter of cookies to the table.
"We don't know," Kevin said. "Yet."
"How do you guys not know yet?" Ben turned around from the football game on TV.
"It'll take time. Not for at least another eight months."
The room fell silent.
"You're pregnant?" Caroline asked Gwen.
"I'm six weeks along."
Suddenly the couple was overwhelmed all at once. Kevin's parents, the first time grandparents were nearly crying from joy as they pulled Kevin and Gwen into a tight embrace. Gwen's parents clung to their daughter and loosely put their arms around Kevin. Ken, the first time uncle, wrapped his arms around his sister, and put a hand on Kevin's shoulder to pull him into the hug. Ben wrapped his arms around them in a near squeeze, as he let out "oh my gods." Rook warmly hugged Gwen and Kevin as he offered his congratulations. Sandra and Carl also warmly embraced Kevin and Gwen, Sandra offering advice like the good aunt she was. And Grandpa Max gathered everyone into a group hug.
"I'd never thought I'd live long enough to see great grandkids," Max started. "But here I am with two," he lifted up Ken's kids who were sitting by him. "And I've got another on the way." He beamed at Kevin and Gwen.
"Congratulations to you both!" He exclaimed. "Let me tell you from my experience as a father and a grandfather, there's nothing so rewarding and special as raising a kid. And knowing you two, you will make great parents. May your days be filled with love and joy and enjoy every moment of it!"
The others started to cheer. Kevin had put his hand around Gwen and pulled her in close.
It was late at night., around ten. The last guest had left about only three hours earlier. Kevin and Gwen lay in bed, tired.
"I've already started to think of baby names," Gwen said.
"Like what?" He asked.
"Megan for a girl," she said. "Not sure for a boy, but Maxwell would be a good middle name."
"I like the name Megan," he said. "It rhymes. Megan Levin. I like it. How about my mom's name for the middle?"
"Megan Caroline Levin," Gwen thought it over. "It's nice. Has a charm to it."
"How about Devlin for a boy?"
Devlin. It sounded a lot like Devin. Devin had been the name given to Kevin's father. He had believed it was true for many years until The Rooters revealed that Devin had never existed and that they planted the false memories in Kevin, his mother Caroline, and Max to further their plans. Kevin had not since brought up the subject of his father since.
"I want to honor him."
"I know he doesn't exist," Kevin said. "He never has, but the idea of him did. Someone who would love me, care for me, someone to look up to. I've never had a father figure during my childhood. I don't even know who my real dad was. They messed up with my mom's memories so bad that it got to a point where there's this big gap between the day I was born and the day she got married to Harvey. Maybe the photo is real, and it was some British guy who died. Maybe it was Harvey. I'll never know. But I can't spend the rest of my time thinking of what could have been. I'm not going to mope around all day you know?"
He reached out and took her hand.
"When I found out we were going to have a baby, I was scared. I've wondered if I was able to take care of a kid. And then I realized, this is my chance. I don't have a dad, but I can be the dad that I've always dreamed of. I can be like him. I can be like Devin. I'll give our kid the love and support that I never got. To make sure that they are happy and safe. To help and guide them. And I'll be there from the very first cry to the first day of school, and beyond. Til the end of the world."
Kevin's voice was choked up. Gwen leaned over and put a hand on his shoulder.
"And I love our kid," Kevin let go of her hand and placed it on her slightly rounder stomach. "I love our baby boy or girl already. Max's right you know. About being a parent. I can feel it. I can feel this love and its so strong."
"I know," she moved closer to him. "I feel it too. You're gonna be a great dad."
"And you'll be an amazing mom," he rubbed her belly.
The feeling washed over Gwen again. It stirred in her heart and spread throughout. She felt it move around her in womb, seep into Kevin's hand, relaxing her muscles and letting her sink back into the bed. Her heart pounded. She heard his' beat in time with hers'. And the baby's though not as strong yet, she could feel inside of her.
The couple snuggled close together until they started to feel sleepy. Kevin turned off the light on the night table.
"Night G," he whispered.
He kissed her goodnight and gave her stomach one last rub. Gwen fell asleep quickly, comforted by her love for her husband and child and by their love for her.