“So how was New York Sara,” Gwen asked as she cut her filet
mignon. Paul was pouring red wine in everyone’s glasses. Henry and
Ann, of course, had also been invited.
“Just fine. Thank you for asking,” Sara replied shortly. She
didn’t want to talk about it. Jack hadn’t said much to her since they
left the airport and discussing the fact that’d she’d been in New York
“Paul and I were thinking of going to New York next month.”
Gwen continued, “We’ll be in the city mostly, but we thought we’d
take a trip upstate and stay at one of your Inn’s.” Gwen and Paul had
been to all of the Inn’s and loved going. It always seemed, though,
that when Sara went up to check on them, it wasn’t a good time for
“That’d be great. Let me know when you’re going and I will
make all the arrangements,” Sara said, feigning a smile.
“Actually,” Paul interjected, ” We know you go up there once a
month anyway. We thought maybe it’d be fun if we all went when you
were going. Make a weekend out of it.”
“That sounds great,” Ann said, “Henry and I could use all the
vacations we can get.”
“I’m so busy right now honey,” Henry said, “We’ll have to see.”
“All right,” Ann said dejectedly.
“I will make an effort Ann, I promise.” Henry leaned over and
kissed her. He really was trying to be the adoring husband she made
him out to be.
“Thanks darling,” Ann said smiling.
“Actually, I’m not sure if I am going up next month,” Sara
interjected, “Everything was so great this time. I don’t think they need
another spot check so soon. Besides,” Sara glanced at Jack, “It’d be
nice to have a whole month with Jack. No interruptions.”
“The month after then,” Gwen insisted.
“Oh, no,” Sara said quickly, “Please go next month like you
planned. And Henry and Ann. It’ll be spring, and it’s so green and
beautiful up there. I’ll still set everything up for you.”
“All right,” Paul said, “thanks.” Gwen had been right. Sara never
made time for them when she was at the Inn’s or there was an
excuse as to why she couldn’t go.
“I’d like to make a toast.” Jack suddenly stood up.
“We’ve done a lot of that lately,” Ann said.
“When it’s a happy occasion, you just can’t help it,” Jack
replied, “I want to toast Sara.”
“Me? Why?” Sara asked. She was afraid he was going to say
“Because I’d like to toast the mother of my child.”
“What?” Ann asked. Sara was pregnant? Sara hadn’t even told
her they were planning on having a child yet.
“I’m pregnant,” Sara said quietly.
“Oh, I am so happy for you.” Ann got up and hugged Sara from
behind her chair. She was happy for her best friend, but it was so
“Thank you,” Sara patted Ann’s shoulder.
“How many weeks are you?” Ann asked as she sat back down
and sipped her wine.
“I’m not completely sure. I just took one of those tests at home.
I need to go to the doctor.” Of course Sara knew exactly how many
days, weeks and possibly minutes pregnant she was. It was just none
of their business. This was personal, and Jack had turned it into a
“I’ll have to get the cigars out,” Paul said.
“You don’t have any cigars Paul,” Gwen laughed conceitedly.
“Yes I do. I’ve always had cigars. I just needed an occasion to
break them out. We’ll have them after dinner.”
“That sounds great,” Jack said, smiling as widely as he could.
“If you’ll all excuse me, I have to go the bathroom.” Sara got up
suddenly, knocking her chair backwards and hurriedly left the dining
“I should go see if she’s ok,” Jack said, getting up and heading
towards the powder room.
“I’m sure she’s fine,” Gwen said, “She’s pregnant. She’ll be
doing that a lot.” Gwen got up and put Sara’s chair upright.
“Sara,” Jack said as he caught her before she went into the
powder room, “are you ok?”
“I’m fine. Why?”
“You just kind of got up abruptly. I thought maybe you were
upset. I know I wasn’t exactly friendly at the airport.”
“I have to pee Jack,” Sara said sternly.
“All right, all right. I’m sorry about today. I want a child too
Sara. You know that.”
“You’ve hardly talked to me since I told you, and you suddenly
make a toast to my being pregnant in front of all our friends.”
“I know. I told you. I needed time to adjust. I like planning. You
know that. But I’m happy Sara. We’re having a child. Who wouldn’t be
thrilled about that?” Jack put his arms out. He was still disturbed by
the news. As much as he loved Sara with all of his life, this news was
a shock he wasn’t quite ready for.
“Thank you sweetie.” Sara hugged him. How dare she let him
feel badly about it. It wasn’t his fault.
“I really never knew he had cigars,” Gwen said, handing a
brandy to Ann and a glass of milk to Sara. They’d moved into the
living room where a fake, orange fire heated the room.
“Milk?” Sara asked, staring at the glass.
“You’re pregnant. You’re not supposed to drink alcohol,” Gwen
said as she sat down.
“I’m having a hard time with that one,” Sara said, winking at
Ann, “I haven’t had a full glass of milk since I was a kid.”
“They keep changing the rules about drinking wine or alcohol
during pregnancy,” Ann said, “I suppose a little doesn’t hurt.”
“Yea, and I’d love a brandy,” Sara said, holding her glass of
milk out to Gwen.
“Sorry, not in this house. It’s milk or water or juice or nothing. I
never drank when I was pregnant. In fact, I stopped drinking months
before,” Gwen, riding that high horse, beamed proudly.
“Well,” Sara sighed, “I’ll have some water if you don’t mind?”
“Sure honey,” Gwen said, patting Sara’s shoulder as she got
up. She grabbed Sara’s glass of milk and headed into the kitchen.
“What’s wrong?” Ann asked Sara when Gwen had left the
“What do you mean?”
“You don’t seem yourself. I mean, you seem preoccupied or
“Please,” Ann said, “that’s a classic ‘I don’t want to talk about it’
“Jack was really shocked when I told him,” Sara said flatly.
“You haven’t been trying?”
“No. We were going to plan it. Jack hasn’t ever done anything
that wasn’t planned. Even the trip to Aspen. It was a surprise, but
he’d planned it for a year. I saw the receipts,” she paused, “He was
really in shock.”
“But he seems thrilled,” Ann lied. She and Henry had known
Jack since college. Jack was in a state of alarm. His little toast at
dinner had seemed almost bitter.
” Maybe as an act in front of people, but not when I told him.”
“Well, it was bound to happen.”
“Not really. We almost wear body bags when we have sex to
avoid pregnancy. Don’t get me wrong, I love him. He’s very romantic,
but it was a complete fluke.” Sara had to stop herself. It was de ja
vous from her conversation with Stephen.
“Mistakes happen. But it’s a good one.” Ann smiled and sipped
“I know.” Sara put her head on Ann’s shoulder. She hated the
lie this had become because of Stephen.
“It’ll be fine. Just let him get used to it.” Ann leaned her head
“They are just having a jovial time out there,” Gwen sang,
reappearing with a glass of water.
“I’ll have to take Henry’s clothes to the cleaners in the morning.
I don’t want them to smell like that cigar for weeks,” Ann said.
“Jack’s out there telling them how he’s going to take his
daughter to the ballet, and her dates, when she’s fifty of course, will
have to be interviewed,” Gwen said as she handed the water to Sara
and sat down.
“You’d think he’d be talking about a son who’ll be a quarterback
or something,” Ann suggested.
“No, that’d be my dream,” Sara said.
“Really? I don’t want Ryan to play football. He’s taking piano
lessons right now,” Gwen said.
“I see nothing wrong with a boy who plays football and the
piano, gets straight A’s and makes lots of jokes in class,” Sara said.
“You’re aiming high Sara,” Ann smiled. But that didn’t surprise
her. Both Jack and Sara were highly intelligent, well-rounded
individuals. Their child would be perfect. Ann felt almost envious.
“Why not!” Sara held her glass of water out.
“That’s right,” Ann said, lifting her glass, “Why not!” The three
women clinked glasses.
“You seemed nervous about the Inn,” Jack said he as got into
bed that night.
“What do you mean?” Sara dabbed wrinkle cream under her
“When Paul and Gwen suggested going, you immediately said
“No I didn’t Jack. I want them to go.”
“Honey, you said you weren’t going up there next month. I
thought you were.” Jack folded his arms as he sat up against the
“Well, I don’t need to. Really. The places looked great.” She
wished Jack would stop asking questions. Stop probing. Even though
she knew he had every right to be suspicious, she just wanted the
inquiry to stop.
“What’s going on with you? They were inviting us for a weekend
“I just don’t feel like it. I love them,” Sara said as she got into
the bed next to him, “But we just spent a week with them, and we do
see them all the time.”
“All right. But you just seemed, I don’t know, uncomfortable.”
“Let’s chalk it up to pregnancy. Ok? They say women get
emotional when they’re pregnant. Maybe it’s starting.” Sara kissed
“We’re just getting on the ride aren’t we?” Jack pulled her next
“I think so.” Sara sighed. She’d finally gotten Jack off the
“I can handle any ride as long as we do it together. Too
“Yea, but I liked it.” Sara kissed his cheek again. Jack turned
her face towards him, wanting more, and devoured her lips with his.
He gently, yet forcibly pushed her head down onto the pillow, still
“I need you tonight Sara,” he said, again kissing her. He peeled
her night shirt off with ease. The sight of her small, pink panties
aroused him, and he began kissing her neck with wet, almost sloppy
“I want you too Jack,” Sara said pulling him into her as close
as she could. Jack kept moving down her body, moistening her body
with his wanting kisses. He moved to her belly button, slowly, sliding
and slipping down, “I want you too,” Sara sighed.
“This is Mrs. Ran-, Mrs. Larson, I need to get a message to
Stephen Larson. He’s an inmate there who gets conjugal visits.” Sara
was pacing her office, pulling the phone cord with her. Outside it was
sunny, but not quite warm enough to sit on one of the wicker chairs
on the porch off the house.
“Ma’am,” the officer said on the other end of the line, “we don’t
take messages for inmates.”
“I know that you usually don’t, but I’ve been able to before. For
almost 13 years. Is Officer O’Malley there? He knows who I am.”
“Hold on ma’am,” the officer said. Sara heard him place the
phone down on a table or desk. It was a week before Stephen would
expect her to be there. She knew she shouldn’t have waited so long
to call. Stephen would be so disappointed. She’d missed a month
here and there over the years, but not recently. She knew he’d worry
about why she wasn’t coming, no matter when she called.
“Hello?” a voice finally said into the phone.
“Yes, this is Mrs. Larson. Is this Officer O’Malley?”
“Baby it’s me,” Stephen said excitedly.
“I can’t believe the officer got you. How are you?”
“I’m fine baby. Officer O’Malley came and got me. He has
some kind of soft spot for you,” Stephen smiled into the phone.
“Well tell him thank you.” Sara sat down at her desk.
“So what’s wrong Sara? Is there an emergency? How’s the
“Everything’s fine honey. I can’t come up this month. I’m sorry.”
Sara bit her lip. She knew the disappointed expression Stephen had
on his face by heart.
“I’m sorry, Sara. Why not? Is something wrong?”
“It’s a long story. I’ll tell you when we have more time.” That
was what they said to each other when they knew they weren’t alone
or someone may be listening on the line. There was absolutely no
privacy for inmates, because, of course, after all, they didn’t really
“I wish you would reconsider,” Stephen said sadly, “It’s so hard
to wait until the next month.”
“I know honey. I’m sorry too. But the Inn’s are doing well, and I
just can’t make it.”
“I understand. I’ll write to the box baby. You can explain then.”
“I miss you Stephen. I will be there soon,” Sara said, trying not
“You’ll never understand how much I miss you,” Stephen said,
wiping a tear from his eye, nervously looking around the small office
at the officer who, thankfully, was looking the other way.
“I have to go Stephen. I’ll wait for your letter honey. I love you.”
“I love you too Sara.” Stephen clung onto the phone. He waited
until he heard her hang up, and then hung the phone up himself. He
was let down, of course, but he couldn’t complain. He’d been pretty
lucky all these years.
Sara hated hanging up so quickly, but, she had to do it first.
Otherwise she would’ve completely broken down, and she didn’t want
him to hear that. She never thought it would be so hard. To be fair to
herself, she knew it wouldn’t be easy, but she just never thought
about any of the consequences. She just never thought.
She got up from her desk and stretched. Her office was
separated by about a ½ acre of land from the house she and Jack
lived in. She went over to the trash bin and tore up the calling card
she’d bought at a convenient store and threw it into the bin. “I
should’ve bought stock in these,” she mused to herself. She’d bought
more than she could ever count over the years.
The phone ringing on her desk startled her. She went over to
the desk to answer it.
“Hi darling,” Jack said into the phone.
“Hi.” Sara had to take a minute to realize it was Jack and not
Stephen. Why was it all of a sudden getting so complicated?
“How’s my favorite mommy?” Jack said shyly.
“Too Romance novel,” Sara laughed, “but I’m fine.”
“I just wanted you to know that I’ll be on time for the doctor
“Oh,” she’d almost forgotten the appointment, “Right. Well, I
didn’t expect you to go. It’s just a simple check up. You don’t have to
miss any work.”
“I want to go darling,” Jack said, “I want to be part of the whole
process. She’s my child too.”
“It could be a boy Jack.”
“I know. I was kind of hoping for a girl, but a boy would be just
as great. I’ll see you at 3.” Jack was determined to go. This whole
thing, the surprise of it all, made him curious more than anything. He
still didn’t know how it was possible for her to be pregnant, and today,
the doctor could give him some answers.
“All right sweetie,” Sara said as she hung up the phone. She
hadn’t planned on Jack going. His attentiveness seemed so strange.
He was a considerate husband, but he also worked hard. She
thought he’d get more involved further along in the pregnancy. What
scared her the most was that he was still a little agitated that it
happened without any plans.
* * *
Sara sat in the doctor’s office flipping through a “Parent’s”
magazine. There were a couple of other obviously pregnant women
there, including one couple. She was a little early. She was actually
hoping she could get in before Jack came. But what was she thinking
anyway. It was a doctor’s office. When were they ever early?
Jack, handsomely dressed in a suit and tie, walked in about ten
minutes later, right on time. He saw Sara, waved and sat down next
“Hi darling,” he kissed her cheek.
“Are we next?”
“We’re supposed to be,” Sara replied, “but you know how that
“Well,” Jack looked through a pile of magazines, “I’m looking
forward to it.”
“Really? Why?” Jack seemed a little too chipper. A little too
upbeat. All of a sudden he was thrilled about all of this.
“I don’t know. It’s exciting,” he replied.
“You’re really happy about it Jack?”
“Honey,” he said, “I’ve always been happy about it. It just
seemed strange that it happened. We’re always so,” he looked
around the room and whispered, “protected. Like the vault at the
bank. Nothing can get in there.”
“Jack!” she laughed.
“You know what I mean.”
“Mrs. Randall?” a nurse said from the reception desk.
“That’s me,” Sara answered.
“You and your husband can come around, I’ll meet you.”
Sara and Jack stood up, placing their magazines back on the
table. The other people in the room, some of whom were there before
they were, looked at them longingly and disappointed.
The doctor entered their room after 20 minutes. He was in his
50’s, wearing half glasses below his almost white, bushy eyebrows.
He wasn’t tall or short, thin or fat. His face was getting wrinkled, but in
all the right smile lines. He seemed like the doctor one would expect
on a farm that made house calls and agreed upon a chicken as
payment. Sara loved that.
“Mrs. Randall,” the doctor said, taking her hand in his, “nice to
see you again.”
“This is my husband, Jack,” Sara said, glancing at Jack.
“Nice to meet you,” Jack said, shaking the doctors hand firmly.
“Dr. Leisure,” he nodded, “Have a seat you two.”
“So how far along is she?” Jack asked immediately.
“Let me just look at the file here,” Dr. Leisure leaned against the
“Jack, just let him talk to us,” Sara said nervously. She knew
now why Jack wanted to come. He was probing.
“What’s wrong with knowing how far along you are? That way
we’ll have an idea when we’ll actually have the baby.”
“He’s right Mrs. Randall,” Dr. Leisure smiled, “it looks like you
are a little over 3 months along.”
“Three months?” Jack asked, thinking back.
“Something wrong Mr. Randall?” the doctor asked.
“No, well, I mean, it’s just that,” he glanced at Sara, “We’ve
always protected ourselves completely. I mean, completely. We
wanted to plan the baby. This was unexpected. And 3 months ago I
was away on business a lot. I mean, for weeks at a time.”
“Jack?” Sara asked.
“Darling, I’m just curious.” He had been gone on business a lot.
But he didn’t know the dates. He felt badly for being so suspicious,
but he needed answers.
“Mr. Randall,” Dr. Leisure chuckled, “I am only estimating right
now. Let’s just say it’s give or take 3 months. And there is no such
thing as full protection unfortunately. There’s nothing on the market
that is really completely full proof.”
“I guess not,” Jack said, taking Sara’s hand, “I was in shock
when Sara told me. And I guess my reaction hurt her.”
“It’s ok Jack,” Sara blushed.
“Would you like me to give you a minute?” Dr. Leisure
suggested. He was used to this. Couples who suddenly got pregnant
without planning it. But he could tell by looking at the Randall’s that
they were good people.
“No,” Jack said, “I just wanted to apologize to my wife for
reacting the way I did. I’m sorry darling.” Jack kissed Sara’s cheek.
“Thank you sweetie,” Sara said. She relaxed a little bit, if it was
possible in the midst of all her guilt.
“Let’s just make today an office visit,” Dr. Leisure said,
“everything so far looks fine. Mrs. Randall was checked two weeks
ago, and I don’t see any problems. Why don’t we schedule an
appointment in the next 3 weeks? Both of you should come.”
“You don’t want to check me?”
“You’re fine Mrs. Randall, ” Dr. Leisure smiled, “we’ll check you
out thoroughly next time. If you have any problems or any questions,
and I mean anything, you call me or have me paged. Ok folks?”
“Thank you Dr. Leisure,” Jack stood up and shook his hand,
“I’m sorry if I made you uncomfortable.”
“On the contrary Mr. Randall. It’s nice to see a couple so
involved with each other after ten years. People use divorce like their
checkbooks these days…Mrs. Randall,” Dr. Leisure held his hand out
to her, “I’ll see you soon.”
“Thanks doctor,” Sara stood up as she shook his hand.
“All right then,” Dr. Leisure said, opening the door, “you folks
“I’m sorry Sara,” Jack said as soon as Dr. Leisure walked out
and shut the door behind him.
“Don’t be Jack,” Sara said. She didn’t want him to feel badly
any more. It wasn’t fair.
“Darling,” he continued, “I was so horrible about the whole
thing. I mean, I know I am ‘plan it out Jack,’ but I’ve made mistakes.
Mistakes happen.” He’d tortured his wife. He loved he so, and the fact
that he’d doubted her was unfair.
“Sweetie, you were in shock. I understood. I am not upset with
you.” She hugged him.
“Let me take you to dinner. We’ll go to Le Versailles. Take a
cab and I’ll meet you there at 7.”
“Jack, you don’t have to do that. And that place costs a fortune.
It’s not a special occasion.” Sara grabbed her purse from the chair.
“Yes it is. It always is with you.”
“What? Oh, too Romance novel.”
“Are we going to rate the rest of our lives by deciding whether
something is too Romance novel or not?” Sara asked.
“I hope so Sara.”
“I love you Jack.” Sara walked over to him and hugged him
tightly, as hard as she could. She didn’t want to let go. She wished
that moment would last as long as it could.