The following is a sneak peek of the upcoming That Baby.
That Baby is copyrighted by Jillian Dodd Inc. and may not be copied or reproduced.
I am Mrs. Phillip Mackenzie.
Jadyn James Mackenzie.
Gosh, I love the way that sounds.
We’re back from our amazing honeymoon and are ready to move into our dream house.
Phillip unlocked the door and carried me over the threshold then we started unpacking.
We’ve been unpacking all day and are tired, but I’m down in the basement excitedly pulling the plastic off our gorgeous new sectional sofa. I’m practically in tears over how amazing it looks in the fabric I chose.
You know men.
They prefer function over form, and women typically will give up comfort for fashion. I mean, look at the way we contort our feet into fabulous shoes. Neither one of us had to compromise on this couch. It’s the perfect combination of style and comfort. I ordered it in the softest ultra suede, and it’s like lying on melted butter.
“I’m tired,” Phillip says, sliding down onto the new couch. “Moving is a lot of work.”
So what is the very first thing Phillip decides to do on our couch?
Does he go over, lie down, look at me all sexy, and say, baby, come see your MacDaddy, so we can properly break it in?
Does he run his hand across the gorgeous fabric and say, wow, this is amazing?
Does he comment on how cool it looks and what a statement it makes in the room?
He flops on it with his shoes on, turns on the TV, and proceeds to fart on the new couch.
Yes, you heard me right.
He farted on my new gorgeous suede sofa!
Seriously, who does that?
Who spends good money on something and then farts on it?
Who does that?
“PHILLIP!? What the hell? Why did you just do that?”
“It must have slipped out,” he tells me with a little giggle.
“Phillip Mackenzie, that is our brand new couch!”
He dismisses my horror. “Chill, it’s not going to hurt it.”
“It’s a brand new couch!” I say again.
“And it was one stupid fart.”
“Well, it’s the couch’s first day here. If it has feelings, it will be terribly offended.”
“You’re being ridiculous.”
I change course because I can see I need to speak in terms he can understand. “Phillip, are you telling me if a skunk sprayed your car it wouldn’t hurt it?”
“Well, it wouldn’t hurt it, no, it would just smell horrible.”
“Exactly my point! The fabrics in your car are permeable. They hold in scents. Just like our new couch. One of the reasons you liked it is it reminded you of a sports car, remember?”
“So do you want people to come sit on our gorgeous new couch in our brand new house and have it smell like skunks live here?”
“Jadyn, it didn’t even smell, it was just air.”
“No farting on the furniture, Phillip.”
He stares at me.
So I say, “I’m serious. I’m adding it to our vows.”
He rolls his eyes at me, but says, “Fine. I won’t fart on the couch.”
As I turn around to start putting wine glasses in the bar, I hear him mumble, “In front of you.”
Okay, so I get farts.
I understand that our bodies were designed to do this as a way to let air escape when it needs to.
And I lived with two boys. I get that boys fart. I get that boys think farts are always hilariously funny.
But I thought maybe this was something they just did in a group. Like when you fart alone, it’s not as funny. I seriously cannot think of a time that Phillip has ever farted in front of me when we’ve been alone.
And he chooses this as the way to start off in our new home?
Is this what happens after you get married? The magic is gone?
It’s stressful enough trying to get everything unpacked.
And to make matters worse, my pregnant best friend, Lori, decided—today of all days— that the baby in her belly can hear us, and she was encouraging—snarling/bitching at—us to watch our language all day.
I survived living with two boys without developing a farting habit, but when you hang out with people a lot, you tend to talk in a similar fashion. I think it’s kind of like picking up an accent when you move down South.
You can’t really help it.
So I happen to have a pretty colorful repertoire of curse words in my vocabulary. The F-word being the tip of the iceberg really. I have to be very mindful of what I say at work, but around the boys I let loose and talk like them. Lori was my best friend in college. She knows that I cuss. And even though she swears like a sailor, she’s officially joined the F-bomb Patrol.
She told me I couldn’t say the F-word in front of the baby.
And I was about ready to buy her a fucking badge.
Oh, shit. See. It just comes out.
And to make it worse, I said shit.
Oh my. See my point?
So I realize that if my swearing comes out naturally, maybe Phillip’s fart did, in fact, slip out accidentally. But I can’t let him get away with it.
I dive bomb on top of him and say, “MacDaddy is a bad boy.”
He gets a grin on his face, that naughty gleam in his eye, and says, “But, Princess, on the brand new couch?”
I reconsider that. “Uh, maybe not.”
He rolls us off the couch, causing me to let out a scream and then laugh. Phillip smothers my laughter with his lips and then, well, I let him be a little naughtier.
Thank goodness, the F-bomb Patrol is gone, because I’m pretty sure we would have gotten arrested for this.
Tiny little F-bomb.
Lori and Danny, our best friends and neighbors, are over this morning to help us finish unpacking.
I’m pretty sure Lori must have completed some covert training last night, because she seems to be off basic patrol and is now on the F-Bomb Special Forces.
I accidentally move the coffee table on my toe while trying to roll a rug out under it and, well, it really hurts. So, maybe I let a tiny little F-bomb fly.
Lori glares at me. “Jade, really?”
“Fine. I hurt my freaking toe.”
She smiles at me.
But later, when I hammer my finger—rather than a nail—into the wall, I may say the F-word again.
Because, ouch, it hurts.
Apparently, I am not skilled at home improvement.
Lori scowls at me and covers her stomach with her hand. “Seriously? Did we not just talk about this?”
“Lori, I just hammered my, uh, fricking finger into the wall, and it fricking hurts. Shouldn’t you be offering me some fricking sympathy?”
“Um,” she says, “I really don’t think fricking is appropriate either. Can you picture sending a child to preschool who’s saying fricking?”
No. I can’t really picture that, so I come up with a better idea. “Okay, then. How about I hammered my effing finger into the wall?”
She scowls at me. “Do you really thing that’s better? Effing? Are you kidding me? You can’t say that either.”
So I do what any sane person with a hammered finger and a sore toe would do at this point, I become extremely frustrated and throw my hands in the air. “What the fuck am I supposed to say then?”
She glares at me.
“What? I can’t change the way I talk overnight. I also find it very hard to believe you’ve stopped Danny from swearing. He’s the freaking king of the F-bomb!”
“Well, I’m working on that,” she says with a slightly maniacal grin. “See the rubber band?”
I glance over and notice a skinny blue rubber band around Danny’s wrist. “Uh, yeah?”
“Every time he cusses, I snap him, and it hurts.”
“Isn’t that like husband abuse?”
She laughs at me.
“Where’s your rubber band?”
“I don’t need it. I can control myself.” She digs a rubber band out of her pocket and dangles it in front of me.
And I’m like, “No.”
And she’s like, “Yes.”
“This is bullshit, Lori. Sorry, but it is.” I’m gearing up for a big fight, but Danny stands behind her, begging me with his eyes to let her put the rubber band on.
And I’ll be damned if I do it. I must be a really good friend.
Later he’s like, “Jay, come help me figure out where you want this . . . blah, blah.”
I don’t even hear what he says. He may have said blah blah, but when we are both upstairs he goes, “Thank you for not arguing with her. After the whole bleeding thing, seriously, Jay, no stress for her, okay? I think she gets some wicked little pleasure out of snapping me with the band. Like I’m in the pregnancy boat with her or something. She has had a time with it. Constantly sick and then the spotting that scared us to death. So just try.”
“Fine,” I say, hanging my head in defeat.
He gets his Devil Danny grin. “Call her every dirty name in the book if you have to, just do it all in your head.”
“Is that how you’re surviving this?”
“Well, that, and I’m being trained.”
“Danny, I’m sorry. I love her, but this is bullshit.”
He leans over and snaps the rubber band on my wrist, hard.
“Oww! That hurts!”
He grins at me. “Yeah, I know.”
“Then why did you do it?”
“Cuz you said bullshit.”
“Oh really? So did you.” I snap him back.
Pretty soon, Danny and I have our rubber bands off and are shooting them at each other, having a rubber band war. I manage to nail his arm just as he’s trying to duck behind the kitchen island.
But then the Fun Nazi comes upstairs. “What the hell are you two doing?”
Danny and I share a smirk.
“Um, Lori, do you need a rubber band too?” I giggle.
“No,” she says. “What I need is for you two to grow up.”
Then we all just laugh. This is sort of ridiculous.
After she goes back downstairs, Danny gets the sneaky look again and pulls a little flask from his hoodie pocket.
“Oh, you’re bad,” I say.
“How do you think I’m surviving this?”
We do a shot together.
Lori is downstairs fluffing—whatever that means—my bookshelves.
Phillip ran to get us some pizza, since we have zero food in the house.
So instead of Danny helping me maneuver the mattress pad and sheets onto our big new bed, we are back to our rubber band war.
Every time he hits me, he makes me do a shot. I’ve gotten hit a couple times, and he’s a good friend and has been drinking with me.
But no food and a few shots is not a good idea.
When Phillip gets home with the pizza, I quickly scarf some down.
It tasted great, but now I’m feeling a bit nauseous.
Next thing I know, I’m throwing it all up, and don’t feel well.
At first, I thought it was from the alcohol, but I’m feeling achy and feverish. I must have the flu.
And you’re puking?
Next morning, I eat some cereal and toast, and it’s the same deal. I’m in the bathroom throwing up. While I’m brushing my teeth, I see my birth control pills lying on the counter. I took one before breakfast.
Crap, I probably just threw it up.
Then I look closer at the pills, and two things come to mind.
One: I should have gotten my period a few days ago.
And Two: WTF?!
Where the hell is my period?
But I try not to freak.
I know Lori would chew my ass if she heard me thinking this because, yes, I know there are a lot of people who want to get pregnant but can’t. I know they try everything and here I am thinking, what the hell, because I am not thrilled with this combination of lateness and puking.
And, of course, this is the exact moment that Phillip chooses to walk into the bathroom to check on me.
“Are you okay? I thought I heard you throwing up again.”
“Yeah, I’m not feeling so great.”
He studies the pill package in my hand and stands frozen for a good thirty seconds.
I’m telling you, I can see the wheels turning in his brain.
And I don’t think I will like the question that he’s going to ask next.
“Oh my god, are you late? And you’re puking?”
“Just a couple days late, and that’s not unusual.”
Actually, it is unusual. But, come on! I’m stressed. I’ve just gone through some major life changes. Planned a wedding. Designed a building. Packed. Got married. Traveled. It’s happy stress, but it’s still stress. So, it’s natural that my body would freak out like my mind did. I mean, they do work in tandem most of the time.
Phillip gets a big grin on his face and pulls me into his arms. “It would be so awesome if you’re pregnant. Do you think you could be?”
“Phillip, no! It would not be. We’re not ready. We just got back from our honeymoon. What would your parents think?”
He laughs. “My parents got married in August, and Ashley was born in February. Do the math.”
So, I do.
I count it out on my fingers. “September, October, November, December, January, February—Phillip, that’s only six months!”
“Your mom was pregnant when they got married!?”
“Did she trap your dad into marrying her?”
“I don’t think so. They dated for over two years before they got married.”
I get hit with another wave of nausea.
And I can’t decide what’s making me feel sicker, the thought of being pregnant, the flu, or an actual pregnancy.
It’s got to be the flu.
Please, please, let it be the flu.
And, um, excuse me, while I go puke again.
Phillip is a sweetie, of course, and tells me I should lie back down and try to sleep.
But, HA! You really think I’m going to be able to sleep? Now? At a time like this?
My body may be shaking and tired, but my mind is on freaking overdrive.
So, let’s be rational and think this through.
I’m on the pill.
I take it every day.
I never miss a day.
I take it at the same exact time every single day just to be extra cautious.
But then I remember that I was on antibiotics for a sinus infection, and I very specifically told that boy we should use a condom.
What did he do?
He laughed at me and proceeded anyway.
And I stupidly didn’t stop him.
I have that thing my parents used to say young people have. That stupid thing in the back of their mind that says, it could never happen to me. It’s just this one time.
But, uh, well, it wasn’t exactly just once, was it?
We were not careful all month like we should’ve been.
Why did I listen to him?
Where was my will power?
I’m really, really not ready for a baby.
Sure, I want to have kids.
I really do, but they are still a someday in my mind.
Not the far off someday that they used to be, but in the foreseeable future someday.
I can’t wait to have kids with Phillip, but I want it to be the right time. We need to be married for a little while. I have so much on my plate. Phillip’s temporary office space is complete, but construction on the new building will start soon. And we need to get settled in our new house and our new city.
Truth be told, if I couldn’t drink, I might not be able to get through it all.
No need to give me the whole alcoholic speech. It’s not like that.
But, I admit, there have been days recently where the only thing that has gotten me through is the thought of being able to come home and soak in a hot bubble bath with a glass of wine and some chocolate.
I seriously cannot be pregnant right now.
Please, God, please, don’t let me be pregnant. And please don’t hold it against me, like in a few years from now, when I want it to happen.
Apparently, I exhaust my brain with all this thinking, so it shuts up and goes to sleep.
I wake up feeling chilled and feverish.
I shuffle into the kitchen and find Phillip unloading a grocery store’s worth of bags. Lori is neatly organizing his purchases in my pantry. She waves at me over the bags piled on the island.
“Jade, how are you feeling?” she asks with a sing-song, happy-bird-in-the-park quality to her voice as she scurries around, getting me crackers and 7-Up and placing them in front of me with a flourish.
I sit at the bar with my blankie still wrapped around me and bite into a cracker. I’m delighted to discover that it tastes wonderfully salty and good.
“So how is it?” she asks, pointing to my snack.
“It tastes good, thanks.”
“Normal people don’t really like saltines, only pregnant women do.”
Shit. She thinks I just passed some litmus test for pregnant women.
“I lived on them during my first few months.” Now she’s acting like we’re in some secret saltines club together.
And it hits me. Her ultra cheerful voice. Her being so nice. “Phillip! You told her?”
He grins and holds up his hands. “I’m sorry. She wanted to know what was wrong with you, and I’m just so excited about what it could be I let it slip that you’re a few days late.”
“I am not pregnant!”
And I am willing both them and the fertility gods to believe me.
Or, wait, would it be the non-fertility gods?
Is there such a thing?
“Please stop this ridiculousness. You’re upsetting me.”
“See, Phillip. I told you. Mood swings, ” Lori says, acting like she is some kind of pregnancy expert.
“This is not a mood swing,” I counter. “This is an I-have-the-flu, feel-like-crap, and-you-keep-going-on-with-all-this-you’re-pregnant-bullshit mood.”
“Rubber band,” she tells me.
I take the rubber band off my wrist and fling it at her. “Fuck that.”
Yes, I know.
She’s my friend, and she’s being very helpful and organizing my pantry, but I don’t feel good!
I can’t handle this harassment.
She gives me a glare. I look at her pathetically. She huffs and goes back to organizing my pantry.
This is why we’re friends. We both know when to back down.
Phillip takes pity on me. He picks me up, carries me over to the couch, and snuggles up with me.
“Sorry,” he says quietly. “I just had to tell someone. I feel like I could burst.”
“Please tell me you haven’t told anyone else.”
“Um, I uh . . .”
“So, my mom called this morning and asked how the move was going, and I told her you were sick yesterday and then again this morning. You know she has baby on the brain, and she asked if you could be pregnant. I told her no. That I thought it was just the flu. But she sorta acted like she didn’t believe me.”
“Phillip, I have a fever. I don’t think that’s a pregnancy sign.”
Lori, who apparently has been listening, butts in, “I had a slight fever and thought I was coming down with the flu when I found out.”
I shake my head at her. I’m pretty sure I could tell her that my toenails hurt and the trees outside swayed in the breeze, and she would tell me it’s a pregnancy symptom.
“Phillip, please pray that we’re not. We aren’t ready for this. We need to be a couple first. Have some fun together. Babies are hard on marriages.”
“I don’t think I can do that. I can’t lie. I would be pretty damn excited if you are. I can’t wait to have an adorable, spunky daughter with a cute, curly ponytail and little freckles across her adorable nose, just like her mommy.” His finger grazes my freckles. “I’ll give her piggyback rides, teach her how to ride a bike, climb a tree, and punch any boy who tries to kiss her. I can’t wait to start a family with you.”
Okay, so, I don’t want a baby right now, but the way he talks about his future daughter is really adorable. And it must be contagious, because it makes me think that maybe it wouldn’t be that bad.
But I am still on Team Not Pregnant.
Please, not yet.
“Just in case you want to find out for sure, he bought you a home pregnancy test,” Lori butts in again.
“I’m not taking that. I’ll get my period. I just have the flu.”
As the day goes on, my nausea subsides, but it may be because all I’ve eaten is crackers and 7-Up.
I get nothing moving-related done, because Phillip makes me lie on the couch and relax while he organizes our home.
Which means, I’ll never be able to find anything.
I hate you right now.
I get up, feel a little better, and am hungry—well starved—so I splurge on a muffin and a glass of chocolate milk.
Thirty minutes later, I’m puking it back up and Phillip is looking like he found the end of a rainbow.
“Phillip, you aren’t supposed to smile about someone being sick. It’s annoying.”
“Princess, why don’t you just take the pregnancy test? Then, if it says no, you will know it’s just the flu; and if it says yes, well, you can freak, and I can celebrate.”
“I hate you right now.” I hide my head under the blanket.
Of course, he can’t leave me alone, so he snuggles up to me and starts talking through the blanket.
“Tell me why you wouldn’t be excited about this? It would be kind of like a surprise gift.”
“No, it would not. Having a child is a big responsibility. It’s time consuming and takes lots of energy. I don’t have the time or the energy right now. Plus, I want to spend time with you. I want us to be a couple, before we become a family. Why can’t you get that?”
“Princess, sometimes things happen for a reason. If you’re pregnant, it’s because God thinks we’re ready for this.”
“Oh, no you don’t!” I whip the covers off my head and point at him. “Don’t you go blaming God for this. If there’s a reason this happened, it would be because I was stupid to believe you when you said, don’t worry about the antibiotics. This would be God laughing at me for my stupidity.”
I throw the covers back over my head.
“Jadyn . . .”
Oh. He’s mad at me.
“Don’t use that tone of voice with me. I’m sick.”
He uncovers me. Kisses my face, my neck, and my forehead. Sweet adorable kisses that make me love him even more.
“All I’m saying is that if you are, I would be thrilled. I love you. I want to have a family with you, and I don’t care when it happens. If you want to wait—I mean, if you aren’t already— then we’ll wait. But you have to admit, it would be fun to be pregnant the same time as Lori. To have our kids close in age like you and I were. Just think, we can take naked pictures of them together as babies to torture them with when they are older.”
I can’t help it. I laugh at that.
“See, whatever it is, you and I love each other. You will be an amazing mom, and I plan on being the best dad ever, but the reason I want a baby is just because I am so in love with you.”
He kisses me on the lips.
And I am thinking this boy must really love me, because I just puked and did not brush my teeth, and he didn’t even cringe.
I still hope I’m not pregnant but, I guess if I was, it wouldn’t be the end of the world.
I look like shit.
I wake up stilling feeling crappy, but I don’t puke! I’m thinking, thank you, God, but where is Mother Nature when you need her?
Still no period, and I’m starting to think I might be pregnant.
As I watch Phillip unpack, the thought actually crosses my mind that it might be cool if I were pregnant. I know the timing is not right, but Phillip is so amazing, so sweet, and so good to me. It seems kind of selfish of me to want to hog all that love and keep it for myself. He’s going to be a great dad and a wonderful husband, of that I have no doubt.
And at lunchtime, when he drives twenty-two miles to get me what Danny dubs as the best chicken noodle soup in Kansas City, I almost want to cry because I feel so lucky and loved.
We sit at the kitchen island eating soft dinner rolls and the amazing chicken soup together.
I know I look like shit. I haven’t showered or brushed my hair in two days, but Phillip doesn’t seem to care. He still looks at me like I’m the most beautiful girl in the world.
I’m seriously so lucky.
I also seriously have to pee.
It is at this point in my life that I realize Mother Nature has a very warped sense of humor.
My period has arrived.
And I should be relieved. I should be jumping-with-joy happy.
I should go out screaming, Phillip, it’s okay!! My period is here!! Let’s celebrate!
But that’s not how I’m feeling.
I feel, well, I’m still trying to wrap my head around how I’m feeling. Because the way I’m feeling is a shock even to myself. I’m feeling, um, well, I’m feeling quite sad actually.
I’m feeling let down.
And I have no idea why.
I walk back out to the living room and tell Phillip quietly, “I just got my period.”
He looks kind of crushed, and I just start bawling.
I can’t believe it, but I think I’m sad that I’m not pregnant.
And I can see disappointment written all over Phillip’s face. He looks like he could cry.
I start blubbering, “I’m sorry, Phillip, I know you wanted me to be, and I wasn’t sure, and now I’m like so sad that I’m not, and I love you, and blabber, blabber, blabber.” I don’t even know what I’m saying.
Phillip holds me tight and just listens. When I’m done blathering on, he says, “It’s okay, but I will admit I got a little excited about the possibility. Maybe we learned something?”
“Like what?” I sob.
“That maybe we don’t need to wait? Like maybe we’re ready?”
“Yeah, maybe we are.”
“So no more pill?”
I kiss that sweet boy and say, “Deal. We’re not trying, but if it happens, we’ll be excited.”
“Deal.” Phillip holds my chin in his hand and looks at me adoringly.
Lori and Danny choose this exact moment to walk in our front door.
Phillip backs away from me slightly in surprise.
And, really, you’ve got to love our friends. They don’t hold anything back.
Danny’s first words are, “You look like shit. Do you feel any better?”
“I’m feeling a little better and, Danny, you were right, the chicken soup was amazing. Phillip even thought it was worth the drive.”
Lori blurts out, “So did you take the pregnancy test yet, or what?”
“No.” I get the stupid tears in my eyes again and bite my lower lip. I’m unable to look her in the eye when I tell her, “I didn’t need to. I got my period.”
She looks at me and gets tears in her own eyes, as realization hits her. “Jade. Are you sad you got it?”
“Yeah, kinda.” I nod my head, as little tears start falling out of my eyes. She runs over, hugs me, and doesn’t need to say anything. Her tight hug says it all.
I’m really going to start watching my language for her.
Later when Phillip and Danny work out, Lori and I go to her house so she can show me the nursery that was painted while we were on our honeymoon.
“So are you going to start trying to get pregnant?” she asks.
“I guess. I mean, I’m still kinda getting over the shock that I was sad I wasn’t. What do I need to know? How do you go about getting pregnant? All I’ve ever thought about was how not to.”
“Well, first thing is going off the pill. And they say you shouldn’t have sex very often.”
“I would think if you were trying to get pregnant, you’d want to do it all the time. Which should make it easy, because we already do.”
“Have a lot of sex.”
“But you shouldn’t do that.”
“You need to chart your ovulation cycle,” she explains. “Then when you are most likely to be fertile, you’ll want to do it. If you haven’t done it as much, he’ll have stored up sperm and be more potent.”
“That sounds sort of gross. Wouldn’t I be better off just getting him drunk? Have some wild, carefree sex? I thought if you try too hard it puts pressure on you, which then has the opposite effect?”
She rolls her eyes at me. “Jadyn, you want your baby to be conceived in the best possible environment. That means you shouldn’t be drinking. You should be taking vitamins and eating healthy. You should have sex regularly, but not too often.”
“What’s too often?”
“During ovulation, you’ll want to have sex once a day.”
“Just once? And I thought trying would be fun.”
“It is fun. You get to have sex every day.”
“We just got back from our honeymoon, Lori. Once a day would be a bit of a letdown.”
She laughs. “Danny and I had a lot of sex on our honeymoon too.” She rubs her belly.
“How far along are you now?”
“Are you happy you’re pregnant?”
“Of course, I am!”
“No, I just mean, are you happy you got pregnant when you did. So soon after you got married?”
She frowns. “Like if I could do it again, would I so soon?”
“I think so. Maybe. I don’t know. Being pregnant can be, um, challenging. Your body is changing. Your hormones are changing. You have the strangest thoughts.”
“When I was throwing up all the time, I sort of blamed Danny.”
“Because he got you pregnant?”
“Yes, they say it’s normal though. To sort of hate your husband.”
“You hate him?”
“No! Gosh, it’s hard to explain. And don’t you dare breathe a word of this to him.”
“It’s just that sometimes you don’t feel good. And it doesn’t seem fair that you are having his baby and he doesn’t have to go through any of it. He can do anything he wants and you have all these restrictions. It’s a weird combination of precious time and living hell.”
“Your morning sickness is subsiding though, right?”
“Yes, that helps. During the second trimester most women feel pretty good.”
She sighs. “I feel better. I wouldn’t say great.” She pats her belly again. “The baby is kicking a lot. Which is both amazing and slightly terrifying. I’d say that’s how pregnancy has been for me. Conflicting opposites. It’s like you’re overwhelmed with joy that a baby is growing inside you. You feel an incredible sense of wonder. But then you also feel out of control. You look down and wonder how the hell you have a baby growing inside you. You’re shocked at how much your stomach can stretch. It’s the most natural thing and also weird as can be.”
“In a few more months, you’ll be holding your baby in your arms.”
“And it will all be worth it,” she says. “So back to getting pregnant. They say if you want a girl you should be on top, and if you want a boy, the man should be. But that contradicts other things they tell you. Some say after sex you should put a pillow under your butt. This tilts your pelvis in a way that gravity helps the sperm swim toward the egg.”
“I don’t think I’m ready for all that yet. We’ll just continue to have fun and if it happens, it happens.”
“Speaking of happens. You never did tell me what happened before the wedding. When you and Phillip broke up.”
“When my parents died, I locked up my feelings and put them away. Granted my personality tends to be of the act-first, think-later side, but I told myself that being reckless and having the you-only-live-once mindset would make my parents proud. But it was an excuse to do whatever I wanted. I’m lucky I lived with Phillip and Danny in college. Otherwise, I think I would have been wilder. I kissed a lot of guys, but I didn’t sleep with very many because I didn’t want to bring them home.”
“The boys aren’t around. Who all did you sleep with anyway? You’ve never told me.”
“Well, Matt Fuller was my first. Freshman year in college. Then after he broke up with me, I revenge dated his best friend. Then Bradley.”
“The smoking-hot bartender,” Lori adds.
“Who I was supposed to have my first one-night stand with. But I guess I’m lucky I met Bradley too. Instead of a bunch of random one-night stands, he became all my one-night stands. I went home with him a lot, but that’s all it ever was. Just hot sex.”
“And a shot named in your honor,” she smirks.
“I’m not very proud of that night.”
“We thought you should postpone the wedding,” she admits.
“You did. Why?”
“Because of what happened at the bar. We only heard about it from Nick, but it was obvious things were unraveling.”
“What made you give Phillip the ring back? I was afraid to ask before.”
“I thought we failed couple’s counseling. I almost drove down here that day. Thought you and I could drink margaritas and bash boys.”
“Except I can’t drink.”
“Ha. I forgot about that!”
“Was that the tick tick boom?” she asks gently.
“Danny tells you everything, huh?”
She nods. “So where did you go? Phillip was really worried because he couldn’t find you.”
“I went to our old elementary school. Sat in the car for a long time just staring at the swings.”
“That’s where it all started,” Danny says, interrupting us.
“Where’s Phillip?” I ask.
“He went home to shower.”
“Where what started?” Lori wants to know.
“Don’t you remember when we got engaged and I told the story of how Phillip kissed me on the swings in fourth grade and told me that he wanted to marry me someday? I think I was just getting through life, waiting for that day. Waiting until the time was right. After Richie Rich—guy number four, if you’re still keeping track—I thought maybe. Phillip and I had gone to two formals together, but we never kissed. Then there was the disaster known as your wedding.”
“Hey,” Lori slaps me on the arm. “Our wedding was perfect.”
“For you. Not for me.”
“So then, the drummer,” they both say.
“Guitar player. Number five. And then Phillip. My number six and hopefully last.”
“So the swings?” Lori says.
“I hooked my charm bracelet to the swing and left it there. It felt like the right place to bury our relationship.” I look at Danny. “Then I went to visit my parents’ grave.”
Danny’s eyes get big. “You said you’d never go there.”
“I know, but I went anyway. Laid in the snow and cried. I felt really ashamed. Here all I wanted to do was make them proud by being strong but . . .” Tears threaten, so I shake my head.
“It’s okay,” Danny says. “They’re proud of you now.”
“I know. It just took me a while to get here. And then I was remembering how Phillip was with me when they died. I went to touch the cross charm on my bracelet and I freaked when it was gone. When I went back to get it, Phillip was there. So, I told him everything—how I’ve always loved him being the most important thing. He told me his original plan was to propose at the swings. Then he said that he was going to do it right, dropped to one knee, and proposed. I said yes. Then I was fine.”
“So the honeymoon was fun?” Danny asks with a smirk.
“It was amazing.”
“Did you like our XXX honeymoon gift?”
I laugh. “Your gift. Yes. Although we didn’t know what to do with half of it.”
“Phillip said the same thing,” Danny says. “I’m gonna go shower.” He kisses Lori and heads toward their bedroom.
“And I think I’ll go home and see if I can catch a peek of my husband in the shower,” I tell Lori.
I’m half asleep when I roll out of bed to pee.
I stop mid-pee, stand up, and look into the toilet.
That can’t be right.
I shut the door, lock it, flip on the light, and peer into the bowl. The tampon that has been in all night is pure white.
How could that be?
Now that I think about it, yesterday was way lighter than my normal period.
I finish peeing, flush, and go back to bed.
Phillip pulls me into his arms and kisses my neck.
“Morning, Princess. You feeling good enough to go for a jog?”
“It’s so cold. I think we should go back to sleep. Or back to the Caribbean until spring.”
“You know once I wake up I can’t go back to sleep. That’s why you always wake up to fresh coffee.”
“Maybe you should jog by a donut shop,” I suggest.
He laughs into my neck. “You must be feeling better if you’re hungry.”
“A chocolate frosted cake donut sounds really good. And some hot chocolate. I think I am feeling better.”
“Danny said if you were up to it, you should go over to their house this morning. The designer is going to be there shortly to go over the final choices for their kitchen remodel.”
“Oh, fun! Why didn’t Lori tell me?”
“She didn’t want to ask when she knew you weren’t feeling well and with our disappointment yesterday—”
“Are you disappointed, Phillip, really? Or do you think it’s for the best?”
“I’d have to say I’m a bit disappointed. But you’re going off the pill now, so it will happen soon. I’m sure of it.”
I jump up out of bed.
“I think I will go over there.”
I quickly get ready and head over just as the interior designer is pulling in the driveway.
I greet her and help her carry samples into the house.
“Jade! You made it!” Lori squeals with excitement, giving me a hug and leading us into the kitchen.
The designer is sorting through samples.
I push my shoulder into Danny’s when I see him yawn. Lori is super excited about her kitchen remodel. He needs to at least pretend to be interested.
He leans down and rests his chin on his palm and tries to focus his blurry eyes as the designer shows them cabinet, counter, floor, tile, and fabric samples.
“What do you think, Jade?” Lori asks.
“I thought you wanted a six burner stove? The drawing only shows it sized for four.”
“Oh, good catch,” she says as the designer corrects the plans. “What do you think, Danny?”
Danny wraps an arm around her. “Whatever makes you happy, makes me happy.”
She sighs. And not in a good way. “I want you to love it too.”
“I love the white cabinets. The flooring. The stainless appliances. I’m not sure about grey tiles for the backsplash though. They remind me of a bathroom.”
“Subway tiles are very popular right now,” the designer states.
“I thought we agreed on something classic, not trendy?” Danny asks.
“Maybe you should go with tumbled marble. Something softer?” I offer.
The designer digs in her bag. “These are the other options I brought for counters. Why don’t you decide what countertop you want first?”
Lori and Danny both point to the white marble. I point to the thick white quartz.
“Isn’t the marble more classic?” Lori asks.
“It is, but it also stains. You’re getting ready to have kids. Kids spill. Juices, tomato sauce, and especially wine will stain this. Some people like a patina, but I think it would bother you.”
“You can seal it but it’s something you have to do regularly,” the designer informs.
“I’d hate the maintenance,” Lori decides. “Let’s go with the quartz.”
“Then I would suggest these for the backsplash,” the designer says, pulling out a gorgeous pale blue glass subway tile. “We can do this tile in different shapes, but I like this the best.”
“I like it too!” Lori says. I can tell she’s getting really excited.
“And it goes perfectly with these fabrics.”
After the designer leaves, Danny offers to make breakfast, citing it will be the last time in their old kitchen.
“Phillip went for a run,” I tell them. “But he’s bringing back donuts.”
“I’m hungry for an omelet,” Lori says. “With grilled onions and peppers. I even have some leftover fajita chicken we could put in it.”
“Sounds awesome,” Danny says. “You cut. I’ll cook.”
“Is there anything I can do?” I ask.
“Sure, I’ll do the peppers, you do the onions.” Lori hands me a knife as Danny starts grilling bacon.
And it smells so . . . gross.
All of a sudden, I’m hit with a wave of nausea.
“Uh, excuse me,” I say, running to the bathroom and throwing up the little bit of water I’ve had this morning.
“I’m sorry,” I say, coming back out. “I’m still not feeling well.”
“If I didn’t know you’d gotten your period, I’d think you were pregnant,” she says. “Why don’t you sit down while we cook?”
I plop down on the couch, grabbing a magazine off the end table. Under it is what Danny calls the pregnancy bible.
Could I be pregnant?
Was the little bit of spotting I had yesterday technically a period?
I think back to all the periods I’ve ever had in my life. The shortest since I went on the pill lasted two days. Yesterday when I got it, it was really light. But I was so surprised by how sad I felt that I didn’t notice.
I pick up the pregnancy book and thumb through it, looking for any shred of information on this subject.
The first chapter is about what to do before you conceive.
“What are you looking at?” Lori says, startling me.
“Oh, I was just curious about some things.”
“You know, like, after you go off the pill when can you start trying,” I lie. What I’m really doing is frantically trying to see if you can sort of get your period and be pregnant. “I see there’s a whole bunch of stuff you’re supposed to do before you conceive. Um, Lori, could you give me your doctor’s name? I think I should go see him. Get started on the right foot.” I quickly put the book down and pick up the magazine.
“Sure, let me get my phone. I’ll text you his contact info.”
Phillip strolls in with a box of donuts.
“Jay got sick again,” is the first thing out of Danny’s mouth.
“Yeah, I think I’m going to go home and lie down,” I say.
Phillip kisses me and gives me a smirk. “Care if I stay for breakfast?”
“No, go ahead.”
I’m throwing my shoes on when Lori hands me the book. “Why don’t you take this home and look over it. There’s more than a chapter on what to do before you get pregnant.”
“So there are a bunch of chapters about sex?” Phillip asks with a grin on his face. “Maybe we should read that together.”
Danny punches him in the shoulder. “You never should have said that, dude.”
I grab the book and the donuts then run home and read the list of pregnancy symptoms.
Tender boobs? No
Peeing a lot? No
Really tired? Yes, but could be the flu.
Nausea? Yes, but could be the flu.
Bloating? Doesn’t everyone get bloated before their period?
Spotting? That’s probably more what my so-called period was.
Missed period? Hmmm.
I run in the bathroom to check things out.
I’m eating another donut and rummaging through the kitchen looking for the pregnancy test when Phillip sneaks up behind me.
“What are you doing?”
“Um, I was looking for that pregnancy test thingy. You had it in the kitchen and, uh, you know, with your parents coming for the Super Bowl party, I didn’t want them to see it and get any ideas.”
“Oh, good point.” He reaches into the pantry, moves a box of protein shake mixes, and hands me the test. “Why don’t you put this in our bathroom. Hopefully it won’t be long until we need it.”
I pretend to be asleep while Phillip gets ready for work but the second I hear the garage door shut, I jump out of bed, peek out the bathroom window to watch him drive down the street, then run to the closet, get the test out, and read the instructions.
Remove the stick. Take off the cap. Then either pee on the stick for five seconds or pee into the cup.
Which do I want to do?
I sit on the toilet.
And then start crying.
I don’t know what I want.
I run through the living room, grab the pregnancy book, bring it in the bathroom, and reread the part about how you shouldn’t drink when trying to conceive.
I mentally calculate the number of alcoholic drinks I had on our honeymoon. The martinis, champagne, and beer consumed at the wedding.
I don’t know what I want.
But, now, I really have to pee, so I go in the cup.
Then I put the stick in and start counting.
I take the stick out, put the cap back on, and lay it down on the counter.
Now I have to wait for three long minutes.
Wash my hands and set the timer on my phone.
Reread the instructions two more times.
One pink line = Not pregnant.
Two pink lines = Pregnant.
One dark pink line + One light pink line = Pregnant.
I’m not even going to think about looking at it until the three minutes are up.
I stare at the seconds counting down on my phone’s timer.
Two minutes left.
There are two faint pink lines.
I look at the instructions again, wondering if they turn pink first but then the second one disappears.
But the two lines just seem to be getting darker.
I think I might be pregnant.
I smile then start crying again.
The doctor’s office opens at nine, so I start calling at 8:45. I call every minute until finally someone answers at 8:57. I tell them I just moved to town, am best friends with Lori and Danny Diamond—yes, I used his name on purpose—might be pregnant but might not be depending on if these 99% accurate tests are really that accurate, and that I need to be seen today.
Preferably, right now.
This very second.
She squeezes me in at two o’clock.
I hop in the shower to get ready for work, place my hand across my stomach, peek out of the shower to make sure the two pink lines are still there, and wonder if it could be true.
Could I really be pregnant?
I lie to Phillip and tell him I have to go to some showroom to look at bathroom fixtures for the new building. Truth is, I’ve had them picked out since before the wedding.
In the OB-GYN’s waiting room, I’m surrounded by women with big pregnant bellies and by the time I fill out all the paperwork, pee in another cup, give some blood, and get in to see the doctor, I’ve convinced myself the home pregnancy test must have been faulty. I can’t be pregnant.
“So I understand the lines turned pink,” the doctor says after introducing himself.
“And what was the date of the first day of your last period?”
“Um, Christmas day. December twenty-fifth.”
He picks up a little chart and spins it around. “That means you’re due October the first.”
“Due? As in I’m pregnant?”
He squints his eyes at me. “Yes, home pregnancy tests are quite accurate. You’re definitely pregnant. Five weeks along today.”
“But, I’m on the pill.”
“Did you take it regularly?”
“Yes, but I took antibiotics last month.”
“Well, there you have it. They can sometimes lessen the pill’s effectiveness.”
“I’m a few days late, but I had some spotting the other night and I thought it was my period. But then it stopped.”
“It’s not uncommon to have spotting.”
“But I didn’t plan on getting pregnant. Shit,” I mutter.
“You’re not happy about your pregnancy?” he asks.
“Not only was I on the pill, but I just got married two weeks ago. I drank every single day of our honeymoon. What if I’ve already ruined our baby?” I get tears in my eyes. I don’t want our baby ruined.
The doctor pats my back. “Being on the pill when you get pregnant does not increase the risk of birth defects. And it’s also not uncommon for women to have alcohol before they realize they are pregnant. Back when my mom was pregnant with me, women would smoke and drink alcohol. I turned out fine.”
“But now we know better right?” I say. “That can lead to low birth weight babies.”
“You’ve been doing some reading,” he says with a smile.
“So, while it’s hard to tell for sure, you probably conceived around the eighth of January.”
“Oh my god. That was the night . . .”
“Did something bad happen?”
“Yes. No.” I start to cry again. “It started out bad, but then it ended up good. Like it was a really special night. I fell asleep and dreamed of fireworks. Could I have known?”
“Some women say they know when they conceive.”
“Except I don’t have many symptoms. Only two.”
“I’m tired and nauseous.”
“Just like no two people are alike, no two pregnancies are alike.”
“So, I’m really, truly, honestly, actually pregnant? Like for real?”
“Yes, Jadyn. You are,” he says, making a note in my file. Probably something about my mental stability.
“Holy shit,” I say.
I leave the doctor’s office, planning to go straight home. I can’t go back to work because I’m dying to tell someone and I’m afraid I’ll blurt it out to the first person I see.
I have to tell someone.
Or I’m going to burst!
But I don’t want to blurt it out to anyone but Phillip.
But how should I tell him? I remember Lori calling me after the lines turned pink. How she told us before she told Danny. I don’t want to do that. I want Phillip to be the first person to know.
And I want to do something special.
I go home and search the Internet for ways to tell your husband you’re pregnant. What I find is thousands of videos.
I watch a bunch of them. The reactions of the husbands are varied, ranging from tears, to disbelief, to jumping with joy, to a whole lot of, are you serious?
I try to imagine Phillip’s reaction. He’s going to be shocked. Hell, I’m still in total shock and I’ve had a few hours to let it sink in.
I consider the different ways to tell him. Lots of the videos involved things like signs, cakes, dinners, the positive pregnancy test, baby bottles, booties, and rattles. One told the soon-to-be father on his birthday. We are having a Super Bowl party this weekend. Could I tell him before everyone arrived?
No, that’s six days away.
Six very long days.
No way I can wait.
When a text from Phillip flashes on my phone, I jump, feeling like I’ve been caught. That he could somehow know.
I read his text.
MacDaddyLovesYou: Did you get ahold of Lori’s doctor?
Me: Yes. They had an opening today, so I went.
MacDaddyLovesYou: Awesome. Did we get the green light?
Me: You could say that.
I notice he changed his name in my phone from Phillipbaby to MacDaddyLovesYou.
Ohmigawd. That’s it.
I call Danny.
“Hey, is there a place where I can get a couple custom football jerseys made?”
“Yeah, I drive by a shop on the way to training. Let me look it up and I’ll text you the address.”
“What are you doing?”
“Oh, just getting shirts made for the Super Bowl,” I lie.
“I heard the parents invited themselves.”
“I heard that too. And Chelsea and Joey are coming down.”
“Did you know they hooked up at your wedding?” he asks me.
“I kinda assumed. What do you know?”
“They danced in Vegas at the bachelor/bachelorette party.”
“I remember that. But she had a boyfriend.”
“Who she brought to the New Year’s Eve couple’s shower,” Danny says. “But whom she did not kiss at midnight.”
“Ohmigawd, Danny. Did she kiss Joey?”
“Well, Joey kissed her. I guess he grabbed her right before the countdown, pulled her into the bathroom, and told her that at midnight she should kiss the guy who she was going to be with all year.”
“That’s so romantic. I can’t believe she didn’t tell me!”
“She showed up at the rehearsal dinner single. He tried to sleep with her that night but she shut him down.”
“But not the night of the wedding?”
“Definitely not the night of the wedding. Their first time was in a hotel bathroom. Now, they’re dating.”
“What do you think of them together?”
“You know I think Chelsea is a cutie. I told him he better not just be telling her all that shit if he didn’t mean it.”
“And what did he say?” I ask.
“He says she’s the one.”
“They caught the garter and the bouquet. I never thought that really worked. Do you think they will be the next ones to get married?”
“I wouldn’t marry them off just yet. They’ve been dating for all of two weeks now. That’d be crazy.”
Danny chuckles. “You and Phillip were different.”
“I’m just giving you shit. You know, Joey and Chelsea made out a couple years ago at a party and then he never called her.”
“Sounds like he’s calling her now. He’s hot for her.”
“Okay, I gotta go,” I say, knowing I need to get off the phone before I accidentally blurt out that I’m freaking pregnant. “Talk to you soon. Thanks for the address.”
“You know we’re coming over for dinner tonight.”
“You are?” Shit.
“Yeah, you told us we could use your kitchen, remember? Demolition started this morning, and we’ll be over pretty much every day until it’s done. Pray it’s finished before the baby gets here.”
I think about how I was going to surprise Phillip with the shirts tonight.
“Um, I’m still not feeling well. I’m not sure Lori should be around me when I’m sick.”
“She was already around you when you were sick.”
“Fine. I have a little surprise planned for Phillip tonight. A naked kind of surprise.”
“You have your period. Couldn’t be that good of a surprise.” He laughs. “I’m stopping to pick up ribs.”
“But, Danny, we’re newlyweds. We’re supposed to eat naked.”
“Hey, I’m cool with naked. Whatever.”
“Tell you what. We’ll leave right after dinner, so you can have your newlywed fun. I’ll even get you some extra barbecue sauce to take to bed.”
“Don’t mention that in front of Lori,” I tease. “You know how she’s been craving barbecue.”
“She has? Scratch that. I’m keeping the sauce for myself.”
At dinner, I can’t stop smiling. I’m so afraid one of them is going to notice and ask me why. And I don’t think I’d be able to lie about it.
Thankfully, Danny is true to his word and herds Lori out the door after dinner.
I run into the closet, strip down to my underwear, and pull on the football jersey I bought.
Then I grab the present I wrapped for Phillip and set it on the bed.
“Hey, Phillip,” I yell over the TV, “will you come in here?”
I position myself on the bed. The jersey is riding up and exposing my long legs. The V-neck is pulled down as far as it can go.
“What are you wearing?” he asks, as he comes through the door.
“A football jersey. The Super Bowl is this weekend, you know.” I thrust the present at him. “Here, open this.”
He picks the box up and shakes it. But then he tosses it aside and slides his hand under my jersey. “I think I’d like to open this first.”
I wrap my arms around his neck and kiss him on the cheek. “I’d like that too, but not until you open your present.”
His hand sneaks further up. “You don’t have a bra on. You gonna wear it like this to the party?”
“I’m going to cancel the party if you don’t open your present.”
Oh my god.
Open. The. Present.
I’m going to burst!
He kisses me instead.
The boy has a one-track mind.
I push him away. “Phillip, please! Stop! I need you to open the present! It’s important!”
He’s a little taken aback. “Uh, okay. Sorry. You’re just so damn sexy, I can’t keep my hands off you.”
I feel bad for yelling at him, but I can’t take it any longer.
I grab his hand. “Phillip, before you open it, I just want to tell you that I love you. And that . . .” Tears pool in my eyes and fall onto my cheeks when I blink. “Um, just that I love you.”
He tilts his head trying to understand why I’m crying. “I love you too, Princess. What’s wrong?”
“I’m just excited for you to see what I got you. It’s something pretty special.”
I laugh to myself thinking how everyone kept using the word special on the night Phillip surprised me by proposing.
He leans back, grabs the present, sets it on my lap, and removes the bright blue and fuchsia polka dot bow.
“Really colorful,” he says as he rips into the yellow wrap and opens the box. “Sweet! You got us matching jerseys. You know, Danny’s gonna give us shit though. He sent me some hilarious video showing married couples dressed the same—”
“Our shirts aren’t exactly the same,” I interrupt.
“Well, as you can see, mine has black glitter letters. Yours has black embroidery with white trim. And look at the back.”
He holds up his shirt.
“Mac Daddy. Nice.” He sets it down and kisses my neck. “Your MacDaddy wants to take your jersey off.”
“Don’t you want to see the back of mine?”
“Can I see it when it’s lying on the floor?” He grabs the hem of my shirt, ready to strip it off me.
“Fine,” he says, picking me up, flipping me over, and pinning me on the bed. “Mac Mommy? Oh, I get it, like I’m the daddy and you’re the mommy.”
Then after a few beats, he goes, “Uh, wait. Actually, no, I don’t get it.”
I smile at him over my shoulder, hoping it will sink in, while taking the opportunity to sit back up. I cross my legs in front of me and stare at him, a wide smile on my face.
He squints his eyes. “Wait. You went to the doctor today about us having kids.”
I pull another item out of the box and hand it to him. “I did. Because this happened.”
He looks down at the pregnancy test, the two pink lines still clearly visible.
“What is this?!”
“It’s the pregnancy test I took this morning. I’m pregnant, Phillip.”
“But you got your period!”
“I thought I did. I saw blood and assumed that’s what it was. But the next morning, it was gone.”
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
“Because I didn’t want to get your hopes up again. That’s why I borrowed Lori’s pregnancy book.”
He puts both hands on his head. “I can’t even believe this. You’re sure?”
“Yes. Did you notice the numbers on our shirts?”
“I’m ten. You’re one.”
“That’s our due date. October the first. Can you even believe it?”
He shakes his head. “No, I really can’t.”
I panic. “Did you change your mind? Do you not want me to be pregnant now?”
“No! I’m thrilled!” He grabs me and kisses me hard. “I think I’m in shock.”
“I cried at the doctor’s office. I was pretty shocked too.”
“Good shock, though. Really, good shock.” He wraps me in his arms and hugs me tight. “Holy shit. We’re going to have a baby.”
I start crying again.
“I’m so happy you’re happy,” I blubber.
“Princess, I thought our wedding day was the happiest day of my life.”
“You told me that afternoon we spent in bed on our honeymoon topped it.”
“You just topped them all. God, I love you.” He kisses my face again. “We’re really going to have a baby?”
“I love you too, Phillip. And apparently so.”
“I’m going to spoil you rotten. The baby too.” He gently lifts up my jersey and places his palm across my belly. “Wow. So how far along are you?”
“Yeah. And get this. Based on some magic chart the doctor had, he said we probably conceived on January eighth.”
“That was the day you called off the wedding,” he slowly states.
“And the day you asked me to marry you again.”
“And then we went home.”
“Yeah . . . And then we went home.”
“To an incredible night filled with love,” he says.
“It was the first time we really made love.”
“It’s perfect. You’re perfect. Have you told anyone else? Is that why Danny and Lori left so early?”
“I told Danny I had something naked planned to get them to leave early.”
“No wonder he punched my shoulder and told me to have a good night.”
“Phillip, nothing ever seems real until I tell you. I had to tell you first.”
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