AJ arrived before Dusty and Kryss returned with Jesse allowing him some time with Howie and Sarah. Howie greeted him at the door and took the dinner he had and AJ headed in to join Sarah in the living room.
“Hey, beautiful,” greeted AJ as he gave Sarah a kiss.
“Hey! What are you doing here?” asked Sarah grumpily even though she was glad to see him.
“Can’t I visit my favorite pregnant ‘Tigger’?” questioned AJ pretending to be hurt.
“Sure, but NOT if it’s because my husband has put you up to it. I don’t need a freakin’ babysitter,” she grumbled. Her mood was quite obviously still sour.
“Don’t mind her. She’s still irked that I’m gonna be gone tomorrow,” explained Howie as he returned from the kitchen and took his seat with Sarah again. Looking at his wife, he said, “And yes, you DO need a babysitter.”
Sarah stuck her tongue out at him making both men laugh.
“Where’s the baby tigger?”
“Dusty and Kryss have her so I could suck up to Mama for missing the doctor’s appointment tomorrow,” answered Howie as he caressed her stomach.
“An afternoon without the child and Sarah’s still in a pissy mood,” mused AJ. “’D’, you’re losing your touch.”
Howie and AJ both laughed but it only served to irritate Sarah even more. “That’s NOT funny!” she snapped as tears threatened to fall.
“Come on, ‘Tigger’,” cajoled AJ. “It’s just that you’re always in a better mood after you two do ‘the nasty’.”
That did it. The tears spilled over and Howie hugged her to him as he explained, “We can’t have sex until after the twins are born.”
“Oh shit! I’m sorry. I had no idea.”
“You had no way of knowing,” reassured Howie. “’Angel’, go wash your face while AJ and I get dinner ready.”
Sniffling, she said, “Okay.”
Pushing her up, Howie watched her go to their room and turned back to AJ. “If you’d rather not do this, I’ll understand.”
“We’ll be okay. Who else are you gonna get to do this? Sarah will STILL be upset that you’re gone.”
“I could get her brother to do it or call Becca. She’s been through this.”
“Nah, I’ll be fine. So what’s up with the ‘no sex’?”
“Same as the bed rest. Dr. Johnson wants to get her through January and sex could cause her to go into labor.”
“What’s the harm in her having them early? It sure as hell would make YOUR life easier?”
Howie chuckled, “It isn’t THAT bad. The babies are gonna be preemies if they’re born now. The longer they go, the more they’ll weigh. Come on, let’s get dinner ready.”
As the guys were getting dinner ready, Sarah rejoined them and took a seat on a stool to watch. She stayed quiet, listening to them talk. Despite the reassurances from Howie and looking forward to spending time with AJ, she couldn’t snap out of the mood she was in and forget trying to explain it because she couldn’t. She understood that Howie hadn’t intentionally set this meeting for the same day as her doctor’s appointment and she knew he had tried to get it rescheduled. She also knew that he felt bad about it all but her heart ached just the same.
Just as AJ was finishing with the drinks, the front door burst open and two tornadoes came tearing through the house screaming.
“DADDY! DADDY! HELP US!”
Catching one of the tornadoes in his arms, AJ laughed, “Whoa there, Baby Tigger! What’s the rush?”
“Uncle Dusty is chasing us!” explained Jesse as she gave AJ a kiss.
Howie managed to catch the other tornado, Kryss’ son Kaleb, as Dusty came to an abrupt stop in the door seeing his sister glaring at him.
“Uh…sorry,” shrugged Dusty.
Howie caught Sarah’s look as he set Kaleb down. “Did you two have fun?” he asked hoping to stop Sarah before she could say anything.
“Yes sir! Come on Kaleb!! Let’s go watch TV in my room,” said Jesse grabbing the boy’s hand.
As the two skipped off, Kryss joined everyone in the kitchen. “I tried to stop them,” she offered as she set a pizza on the counter.
“It’s okay. Is that dinner for the kids?” asked Howie.
“Actually, we got it for you and Sarah,” said Dusty. “We’ve already eaten.”
Howie stepped closer to Sarah putting his arms around her as he said, “Thanks, but AJ brought cheese steak hoagies and fries for us.”
“Feeling any better, Sarah?” asked Kryss as Dusty put his arm around her.
“NO!” she answered curtly and pulled out of Howie’s arms taking her plate.
As she stormed off to the living room, Howie let out a sigh. “Sorry, guys. She’s not in any better spirits.”
“What’s up with her?” asked Dusty.
“Howie’s going out of town tomorrow and going to miss her doctor’s appointment,” offered Kryss. “Howie, I can stay with her tomorrow if you want me to.”
“Thanks, but AJ is going to take her to his place after he drops Jesse off at school…give her a change of scenery to see if that’ll help her any. She’s just miserable because she can’t do anything.”
“Why don’t you have the doctor go ahead and take the babies?” asked Dusty.
“It’s too soon. She’s only in week 34 and from the ultra-sounds, the babies aren’t big enough. Dr. Johnson is trying to get her as far along as possible so the babies will be bigger and hopefully be in a position so she won’t have to have a c-section. Where are you two gonna be tomorrow, just in case?”
“I’m headed back to DC later tonight but I have my cell phone with me if she needs me.”
“I’ll be at the youth center.”
“Cool. If I need either one of you, I’ll call,” said AJ.
“Howie, give her a kiss for me,” said Dusty.
“What? You aren’t gonna say goodbye to her?” teased Howie.
“Hell no!! I value my life. Kryss, go get Kaleb and let’s get out of here before my sister decides to explode.”
AJ and Howie snickered as Kryss simply rolled her eyes and headed to get her son.
Howie saw the three to the door, thanked them for taking care of Jesse, and watched them pull away. Turning to go back in, he said a silent prayer that Sarah would be okay. He saw her sitting with AJ talking, Jesse in AJ’s lap and she seemed to have calmed a little.
Chapter 25 Index