For the past fifteen years I’ve been actively trying not to get pregnant and now as I stand in the aisle with the pregnancy tests it all feels very weird. This nervous excitement is running through me, my heart racing and my hands shake as I reach out and grab a test emblazoned with “Results Five Days Earlier!” across the front.
My period is already late, but it took me a bit to realize that. With the opening of Apple Jacks and the addition and renovations to the cottage getting started, I’ve lost all track of everything, including my period. So, I’m not certain I need the test with the early results, but I grab it anyway, along with a couple more just in case.
In case of what? I have no idea. In case I pee all over my hand instead of the stick. In case I drop it in the toilet by accident. In case I have no clue what I’m doing. All of these events are completely plausible in my life. How can I forget running down an end cap with a potato chip display in this exact store not that long ago?
I put the tests into my basket and grab a few other random things in the hopes I don’t look like I’m here desperately buying pregnancy tests in bulk. I’m not even sure why I care, but Ellen, Jack and I have been featured all over Napa since announcing the opening of Apple Jacks and more than likely people will recognize me. I don’t need this getting back to Jack before I know for sure that I’m pregnant.
How could I not be? My period is like clockwork and after I puked the other morning, it kind of hit me that something was off. And after going back and looking at my calendar, I had realized I was several days late, actually over a week late, but I still didn’t want to get Jack’s hopes up.
It’s not like we were actively trying to get pregnant. We discussed it and decided to dump the birth control pills and let it play out on its own. I had read it could take a while after going off birth control and Ellen needed a little help when she got pregnant with the twins, so I wasn’t really sure how it would go for Jack and me. But I guess it went pretty well, because this is only month three that I’ve been off birth control and I’m currently walking the store with enough pregnancy tests for at least four women.
The house is quiet when I walk in, and I call out, “Jack, you home?” as I make my way back toward the bedroom and the attached bath. Luckily our house is small, and I quickly scour the rest of it to make sure he isn’t somewhere in it and about to catch me in this secret pee stick mission I’m on.
When the coast is clear, I slip into the bathroom and rip the first box open, the one with the early results. I scan the directions and find it comes down to a few simple steps. Open the package, pee on the stick and wait. But it’s then that I realize, I’m certainly not going to be able to pee on all these, but I can pee on two at the same time.
Just to make sure.
I open the next box, this one is minus the early results, but the directions are the same and I follow them, peeing on both sticks and setting them down on some tissues on the counter.
I look at my watch, noting the time, and wait.
Two minutes is a long fucking time.
I’ve checked my watch at least fifty times and it’s literally not moving, so I give up and look at the tests. But I’m confused because one shows a blue circle with a plus in the middle and the other shows a pink line. I stare at them, analyzing their opposing marks and wondering why the pregnancy test companies can’t come together and make a universal symbol. Like a happy face based on if you don’t want to get pregnant, like you’d have to tell the test, “I don’t want to get pregnant so show me a happy face telling me I’m not”. Or a sad face telling you aren’t pregnant when you want to be. Okay this is getting stupidly complicated, and of course I threw out the directions, stuffing them into the bottom of the garbage can, which I’m now digging through.
I find one set of directions and flip immediately to the results section, and all I need to see is the plus sign meaning I am officially pregnant.
I stare at the results, not sure what to even do now, but I find myself laughing, tears falling down my cheeks in this rush of anxious excitement to tell Jack. But I know I can’t just run through the vineyard calling his name and shouting my results from the rooftop.
We have a grand opening party to get ready for and we have an architecture plan to finalize and a house to renovate and a business to get up and running and an already running one to keep going.
Oh my god. I have no idea what I’m doing. Maybe this was a bad idea?
I flop down onto the toilet, wondering if the timing is just so wrong, but then I snap out of it. It’s not about the timing or even finding the right time. If we waited for the right time, it would never come. We will always have the winery, the vineyard, and the orchard, and there will always be work to be done. But Ellen did it with the twins and our parents did it with us, and Jack and I will do this together, too.
Instead of waiting around for Jack to come home or for me to go running through the vineyard looking for him, I send him a text asking him to come home for just a minute. And then I wrap up the pregnancy test in a little box, like a congratulations present since Apple Jacks will be opening soon. He won’t have a clue that this has nothing to do with Apple Jacks and it’s perfect.
About twenty minutes later, Jack comes flying through the door, somewhat worked up over the vagueness of my text, but that makes it all the better.
“You okay? Who sends a text that says, “come home” and then doesn’t fucking answer?” he shouts at me as I sit calmly at the kitchen island.
I laugh and he isn’t seeing the humor in any of this because so far, he isn’t in on the joke.
“I’m sorry,” I say, standing up and pulling him toward me for a kiss.
“No kisses. I’m mad at you,” he pouts, his heart beating hard against my chest and for a second, I feel bad for making him panic.
“But I have a present for you, and I didn’t want to bring it to you in front of everyone.”
“A present, huh?” Jack now says, pulling back a little to look at me. “I guess when you put it that way, you might be forgiven.”
I reach behind me and grab the small box, the test moving around inside as I hand it to him.
“Here, open it,” I tell him, and he doesn’t waste any time. I knew he’d be excited. He’s like a kid and still loves presents. He still gets excited every time his parents send us stuff in the mail.
I watch as Jack unties the ribbon and lifts the lid off the box. Wrapped in tissue paper is one of the two tests: the one with the circle and the blue plus.
“What is this?” he asks, giving me a confused look, and I laugh again. It’s getting really hard to hold back and not just shout the news at him.
“It’s a pregnancy test,” I say, my eyebrows going up in the hopes that he gets what I’m saying, but it clearly goes right over his head.
“Whose?” he now asks, and I’m laughing even harder. He’s as clueless as the day is long.
“You pissed on this and put it in a box and called it a pres…” he trails off as soon as he realizes what it all means.
I’m smiling so wide my cheeks begin to ache as Jack looks down at the test again, and the little note that’s sitting under the test.
It says: “We’re having a baby!”
“Oh my fucking god, Lu!” Jack screams, grabbing for me and pulling me into his arms. “I’m going to be a dad!”
Lu laughs as I pull her against me, both of us completely overwhelmed by happiness and excitement and just everything right now.
“Yes, you are,” she says, her arms wrapping around my waist.
“A fucking dad!” I repeat, a huge smile on my face.
Lu puts her hand on my cheek, still laughing as she says, “You keep talking like that and this baby’s first word is going to be fuck.”
Smirking, I drop to my knees in front of her, pushing up her top as I press my lips against her stomach. “Sorry, baby, I’m just so fucking excited.”
“Oh my god,” Lu says, her hands in my hair. “It’s seriously going to swear like a…a…”
“Drunk Aussie?” I suggest, looking up at her.
She smiles, her fingers combing through my hair as I crouch in front of her. “Yeah, a sober one too.”
I stand now, crushing my mouth against hers in a hard kiss. “Thank you,” I whisper. “This is…it’s seriously the greatest news ever. I can’t believe how amazing this is.”
She laughs again. “Yes, but we need to keep it to ourselves, okay?”
“Wait, why?” I ask, pulling back.
“Because it’s early,” she replies. “And we have so much other stuff going on, so we need to keep it on the downlow for a while. Just in case.”
“Shit, are you okay?” I ask, as a million different thoughts suddenly fly through my head. “Do you feel sick? Tired? Do we need you to stop working? Maybe you should sit down and—”
“Jack,” she says, laughing again. “I’m fine, seriously. But it’s only early, okay? So for now, we just keep it quiet.”
“Ugh, well that sucks,” I say, pouting. “I wanna tell people.”
“I know you do, so do I. But first, I should go see my doctor and make sure everything’s good. It’s just a couple of weeks, okay? Promise me you’ll keep your mouth shut.”
She’s looking up at me with that serious look I know so well on her face now. The one where her brow narrows in that way I know says she means business. It’s the look she gives me when she’s trying to convince me to do something I don’t want to do, and it’s the look I seriously love fucking with her about too.
“Oh, I don’t know,” I say, grinning a little. “What are you gonna give me in return?”
Lu’s brow narrows even more, her mouth dropping open into a tiny O as she stares up at me. “Oh, you mean, like your first child isn’t enough of a gift?”
Chuckling, I slip my hand onto her stomach. “Of course it is,” I tell her. “It’s like the greatest gift ever. Well, besides you, of course,” I say, giving her a quick kiss. “But to be fair, baby is like half mine and half yours, so really, it’s not strictly something you’re giving to me now, is it?”
I’m totally teasing her, and she knows it, but it doesn’t stop her from slapping me on the arse as she purses her lips. “I see,” she says, pulling her bottom lip between her teeth as she pretends to think about my reasoning. “Well, how about if you don’t keep your mouth shut for the next couple of weeks, you don’t get any sex.”
“WHAT?” I shout, my voice loud in the quietness of our house. “No, no, no. Absolutely not, Lulu. Seriously, I cannot believe you would be that cruel and heartless.”
Lu laughs, her hand squeezing my arse as she says, “Well, sex is what got you into this, Jack, so sex is what you’ll lose.”
“Ugh, god woman, you’re lucky I love you because you seriously do not play fair.”
She pushes up on her toes to brush her mouth against mine. “Yeah, but you do love me, so it’s all good.”
“Mmmm,” I murmur, sliding my hands down to her arse now as I haul her up and into my arms. “Speaking of sex, I think we probably need to go celebrate, don’t you?”
“Jack!” she cries, laughing as I turn and walk us back toward our bedroom. “We don’t have time! The opening!”
“Fuck the opening, baby, I wanna celebrate this!”
Inside our bedroom, I lower her gently to the bed, my hands on either side of her as I hover over her. Lu lies beneath me, a relaxed smile on her face as she stares up at me, her beautiful blue eyes shining with happiness and filled with so much love.
And not for the first time do I think what a lucky fucking bastard I am to have found her, to have convinced her to give us a chance because I loved her and there was no way I was ever letting her go.
“I love you, Lulu,” I whisper, lowering my mouth to hers.
“I love you too,” she says, her lips brushing across mine as she grabs the front of my t-shirt and pulls me on top of her. “Now come here and show me how much.”
A couple of hours later, we are showered and dressed and heading over to Apple Jacks for the grand opening. I can’t believe how much better this day is now and I’m really struggling to wipe the smile off my face and keep my hand off Lu’s belly.
I’m also seriously worried I’m going to break my promise and tell everyone I’m going to be a dad too, because I am that fucking excited, I am literally bursting with wanting to shout it out loud.
“You’re serving the alcohol-free cider tonight too, right?” Lu whispers as we make our way inside. We’ve got about thirty minutes till this whole thing starts and right now it’s only staff mingling around, getting last minute things sorted.
“Shit, yeah, dman it’s lucky I am. Make sure you only drink that, okay?” I say, turning to her, my hand instinctively going to her stomach.
“Jack,” she warns, her hand covering mine. “Remember, not a word.”
Smirking, I slide my hand higher till it’s cupping her boob. “Right, yep, I’ll just keep my hand here then, shall I?”
Lu rolls her eyes, even though she’s smiling. “Honestly, you are hopeless.”
“Hopelessly charming,” I say with a grin. “And you fucking love me for it.”
She laughs. “Yeah, I do, even if our baby’s first word is literally going to be fuck.”
Now it’s me laughing as I lean down to kiss her. “If it is, it will be the coolest fucking kid, ever,” I whisper, my mouth against her ear. “You ready for this?”
“What, the opening?”
I pull back a little, my eyes meeting hers. “The opening, the baby, us, everything?”
Lu’s hand moves to my cheek, her gaze never leaving mine. “I’ve never been more ready for anything in my life,” she says, her words quiet. “I can’t wait to start all of this with you, Jack. I can’t wait.”
“Me either, baby,” I whisper. “Me either.”
I kiss her then, long and deep and in a way that says I don’t give one single shit that we are in a room full of people and about to launch a giant party to celebrate the opening of our newest business venture. Because regardless of all this, regardless of how amazing our life and businesses are, none of it means anything without this woman by my side. The woman I waited fourteen years for and traveled the world to find again.
The woman who gave me everything I could have ever dreamed of and more.
“God, I love you,” I say, when I finally pull back.
Lu smirks, pinching my arse again as she pushes up on her toes and puts her mouth against my ear. “Who knew becoming a dad would make you so adorably cheesy,” she teases, before she gently bites my ear.
Growling, I haul her against me, both of my hands moving to her arse. “I’m not fucking cheesy,” I say, biting the side of her neck. “And when we get home, Lulu Wilson, I’m gonna show you just how uncheesy I can be.”
Lu laughs, throwing her head back as she says, “I can’t wait.”