Author: Jaci Burton
They had curled up in front of the television to watch a holiday movie. Liz was lying on the couch, her head in his lap. After the movie finished, she flipped over to look up at him.
"Have I mentioned today that you're my hero?"
"Uh, no, you haven't. What brought this on?"
"You got me a pizza. If I never see the kitchen again, it'll be too soon."
He rubbed his hand along her hip. "I told you I'd help you cook everything. You know I don't mind being in the kitchen, and I like to cook."
"I know you do, but this is my thing, and I volunteered to do it, so I'm going to suck it up and do it by myself."
"But you're not by yourself anymore. You have a partner to help. So you should let me be there for you. I can toss a turkey in the oven and peel and mash potatoes and do anything else you need me to do."
She finally nodded. "You're right. I guess I've bitten off more than I can chew, and I need some help."
"I'll be happy to be your bitch tomorrow."
She laughed. "I'm going to remember you said that."
They started another movie, and Gavin continued to move his hand along Liz's hip. She kneaded his leg, which made his dick hard. Hell, anytime she touched him, he got hard.
"Your erection is poking my head," she said, not turning away from the TV.
"Is it bothering you?"
"I guess you could do something about that."
"I could, couldn't I?" She shifted, using her hand to lazily rub his shaft through his jeans.
Gavin spread his legs, in no hurry to get to the action. He enjoyed watching Liz touch him, even if it was through denim. He couldn't concentrate on the movie, though, because her head in his lap gave him definite ideas.
"If you unzipped me, you could put your mouth on me."
She didn't answer. In fact, she'd stopped touching him, too.
"Okay, how about if I do you first."
Her breaths had become deep and even, and when he leaned forward he realized she'd fallen asleep.
He smiled and shook his head. His poor, exhausted wife had finally given in and passed out.
He threaded his fingers through her hair. He'd always loved her hair. That beautiful natural red hair of hers had always been a turn on for him, even when he'd been her client and she'd been his agent. She'd been a brilliant smart-ass with great legs and he'd admired the hell out her, both for her talent and intelligence as well as her beauty.
They'd had one hell of a wild ride getting together. She'd pissed him off and challenged the hell out of him, doing everything in her power to drive him away. But he'd wanted her, and he'd been damned determined to have her.
Now he couldn't imagine a day of his life without her by his side. She was his rock of fortitude when things got rough for him, could always be counted on to calm the raging waters of his life.
He loved her like he never thought he could love a woman.
She sighed and curled her body up tighter, like she was cold. He dragged the blanket off the back of the sofa and covered her.
And while she might project a tough exterior, there was a vulnerability to her that never failed to bring out his protective instincts. He'd do anything to give her everything she wanted, including the baby she was convinced he wanted, when he knew damn well she was the one who wanted one with every part of her body.
He looked down at her and brushed a curl behind her ear. She looked pale, and he wondered if she was still secretly fighting that flu bug. Or maybe she was just tired.
She'd been working way too hard lately. And even though it wasn't even ten o'clock yet, there was no way in hell he was going to wake her. He settled in against the sofa and decided he'd finish watching the movie, and then he'd carry his wife up to bed.
She needed the rest, because tomorrow was going to be a long day.
Something hard poked against Liz's butt. She blinked her eyes open, smiling as she recognized immediately what it was.
She vaguely remembered Gavin waking her up last night as he carried her to bed. She had practically sleep-walked through brushing her teeth and taking off her clothes before falling into bed and right back to sleep.
She did, however, remember that before she'd utterly passed out, she'd been rubbing his cock, making promises that her worn-out body had obviously been unable to keep.
This morning, however, was another matter entirely.
She wriggled against him. "Is this my early morning Christmas present?"
"Yes. How do you like it?"
"Mmm, I love it." Her breasts tingled and her pussy quivered as she anticipated him sliding his cock inside her.
And when he did, she was wet and ready for him, her body quaking as he entered her.
They made love slowly, Gavin easing in and partially withdrawing. It was a perfect way to wake up. And when he reached around to strum her clit with his fingers, she arched into his hand, letting him coax a delicious response from her. Tension coiled all too easily and she climaxed with an unabandoned cry, Gavin coming at the same time.
He held her, kissing her shoulder and stroking her hip as they settled.
"Merry Christmas, beautiful," he said.
"Merry Christmas." She got up and turned to brush a kiss on his lips. "I'm going to go take a shower."
"Okay." He grabbed the remote and turned on the TV. "I'll get in after you're done."
She went into the bathroom and closed the door, then turned on the shower. She was waiting for the water to heat up when a sudden, overwhelming burst of nausea hit her out of nowhere. She was shocked when she threw up, then held on to the counter when she stood, feeling weak, shaky, and utterly bewildered
She brushed her teeth, rinsed her mouth, and climbed into the shower, ready to dash out just in case it happened again. But she managed to make it through her shower without incident.
When she got out, she wondered what the hell had just happened.
Surely . . .
No. It couldn't be, could it? She counted back weeks. She'd had a period . . . sort of. Maybe a day, and it was light, which wasn't like her, but she'd figured it was stress. In a hurry, her fingers shaking, she dove into the cabinet for the store of pregnancy tests she kept on hand. She ripped open the package, wondering whether or not to even attempt it. If it wasn't what she thought, she'd end up with the worst Christmas ever.
But she'd drive herself crazy wondering, so she might as well get it over with. She peed on the stick and set the timer on her phone she'd left on the bathroom counter last night, hoping Gavin wouldn't walk in on her. To be on the safe side, she locked the door. This way, only she'd be disappointed, and he'd never know.
It was the longest few minutes of her life. She combed out her hair and tried to still her shaking limbs, no doubt an aftereffect of her recent illness.
She probably had the goddamn flu, and she was going to kick herself for even thinking otherwise.
The timer ran out. She looked over at the stick, not wanting to turn it over, a year's worth of disappointment a reminder of what was likely to happen.
Just do it, Liz. You're not a coward, and you'll deal with it, just like you've been dealing with it before.
She took a deep breath, and turned the stick over.
"Liz? You okay in there?"
She looked at herself in the mirror, and grinned. The nausea and dizziness she'd felt the night of the wedding, her dress feeling too tight, and this morning's barf-o-rama. It all made sense now. She was pregnant. Thank you God, she was pregnant.
She grabbed the stick and threw open the bathroom door and ran into the bedroom, then leaped on the bed.
"Gavin, we're pregnant!"
He shot up in bed. "What?"
"Look!" She handed him the stick.
He looked at it, then at her, his eyes wide. "Holy shit."
"That's what I said."
And then he grinned. "We're pregnant, babe."
And she grinned back. "I know."
He pulled her across his lap and kissed her-a long, glorious, we're-pregnant kiss that curled her toes and caused tears to prick her eyes. When he pulled back, he looked at her. "Our baby is going to look just like you."
"Or just like you."
"I love you, Elizabeth Riley."
"I love you too, Gavin Riley."
"We have to get through Christmas now."
"Oh, shit. That's right. I don't even care anymore. This is the best day ever."
He laughed. "Yes, it is."
She leaped off the bed. "I have to get dressed. And you have to take a shower."
He got out of bed. "Okay." And then he stopped and turned to her. "How did you know to take a test this morning?"
"I threw up."
He grinned. "Awesome."
True to his word, Gavin helped her with the food prep. Which was good, because oh, she was sick. After her initial euphoria faded, the nausea returned. And being surrounded by food didn't help.
Despite her protests, Gavin called in his mother and his aunt for help. He told them Liz was under the weather and the last thing she needed was to be surrounded by food. They both showed up within an hour and Gavin, his mom, and his aunt basically took over her kitchen. Under normal circumstances, she'd have vehemently objected, but after throwing up all morning, she was more than happy to surrender her kitchen to all of them while she headed upstairs to lie down.
After a two-hour nap she felt a lot better, and when she got up, the nausea was gone. She came downstairs and inhaled some wonderful scents emanating from her kitchen.
"It smells so good in here," she said.
Her mother-in-law smiled at her. "Oh, you're awake. And there's some color in your cheeks now. How are you feeling?"
"Much better, thank you. Where's Gavin?"
"He's over at my house picking up Dad. No sense in us having two cars."
"Thank you both for helping out. I'm so sorry I wasn't able to handle this."
"It's tough when you're in your first trimester. The smell of food is an awful trigger," Gavin's aunt said.
Liz didn't know what to say. "Did Gavin tell you?"
Kathleen laughed. "He didn't have to. You've been pale and nauseated for weeks."
"Plus, you just have a pregnant look about you," Cara said.
Kathleen nodded. "You definitely do. And congratulations, honey."
Liz took a seat at the bar. "Thank you. We just found out this morning. Apparently I wasn't as adept at recognizing the signals."
"Well, you've had a lot on your mind lately, so I'm not surprised. We women are the worst at reading our own bodies sometimes."
She nodded at her mother-in-law.
"So how far along are you?" Gavin's aunt asked.
"I'm not sure. I had a period last month, but it was only a little spotting at best. I thought I might be pregnant then, but the test was negative."
"Best you go see your doctor. He'll do an exam and tell you for sure."
"My dress at the wedding was tight. And when I looked at myself this morning, it's like there's this little belly that wasn't there before." She put her hand on her stomach. "I thought I was just putting on weight. How could I not have noticed that?"
"Like I said, we're not good at recognizing our own body's signals," Kathleen said.