I was washing the dishes after supper while Ella was in the bathroom again puking her guts out. I wanted to cry. It had been over a week since she had gotten this flu. I hated hearing her so sick. She even stopped having Mike and Jimmy over, even though I was kinda happy about it. It felt wrong though, I wanted her to be back to my old Ella, happy and charming.
“David.” She whined as she came out of the bathroom. At this moment I didn’t care if she called me David, Dave, or Rain, I was too worried to care. “Can I talk to you?”
“Of course you can dear.”
“I don’t think I have a stomach flu.” She told me. I wasn’t surprised by this news. I figured as much. I was thinking she had some sort of parasite and I hoped it wasn’t from my garden. I’d hate to be the reason behind her illness. I tried to think back if I had thoroughly washed all my produce since before she got sick, I could have sworn I did. I always do. “Rain, sweetheart, I think I’m pregnant.”
UH uh uh uh. . . . WHAT! My heart started to race and my eyes felt like they popped out. My mouth dropped and then I was out like a light. My body smacked the tile floor. SHE’S PREGNANT! I never even thought that. We had only briefly talked about starting a family, but we never really discussed it. Now. . . now, I was going to be a father! I started to feel sick to my stomach as well.
“You okay?” I heard a laugh and woke up. Ella helped me up from the tile floor. “I know, shocking right. I wasn’t expecting this either.”
“Ella, I just can’t believe it. You mean to tell me all this time you’ve been sick was because you and I are gonna be. . .” She nodded with a small smile. “I love you Ella.”
“So this is a good thing, right?”
I nodded with the biggest grin on my face. “A very good thing.”
You’d think pregnancy would slow a woman down, not my Ella. The Shivering Rain was doing very well in the community. Shonda had them playing on a weekly basis. I didn’t like how busy Shonda was keeping Ella, but then again Ella hadn’t broken the news to anyone yet. She wanted to wait till she started to show. Her new clothes she picked out, she just told everyone that she wanted to look more hip for the band.
I went most nights to hear them play, and even though it pains me to say it, I am their biggest fan. Their music is so fresh and upbeat. The three know how to play on words when it came to their lyrics. I am very proud of Ella.
During rehearsal one night, just before Shonda was getting ready to open I took a seat at my favorite stool. Boy had I missed the bar. Shonda looked me square in the eye, “BOY! What on Earth do you think you are doing?”
I just smiled. “Ah come on Shonda, just one drink?” I begged.
Shonda looked over to Ella, “HEY EL! He wants a drink!” She hollered. Great, now my bartender was asking permission from my wife to serve me alcohol. And yes, I know, they are best friends, yada yada yada, but I should be able to have just one drink. Then I felt like someone was drilling a hole in my head. I turned ever so slightly only to see Ella glaring at me from behind the drums. She was not happy.
“Please?” I asked over to Ella. “Just one. I promise I’ll only have the one.”
She rolled her eyes at me. “Fine, but David you drink more than that, you will be on the couch until I state otherwise, got it?.”
I turned back to Shonda with a smile, “Hanger 24 Orange Wheat.” I ordered. Shonda also rolled her eyes but didn’t say nothing. She poured me my favorite beer and handed me the glass.
To say the beer was a refreshing taste wouldn’t have come close as to how I felt. It went down smooth and the orange sweet taste with the bitterness of the hops just took my breath away. Shonda just looked at me and shook her head disapprovingly. “What?” I asked.
“I didn’t say a thing.” She said.
“Yea, but you have that look. You have that same look Ella gives me when I have done something wrong.” I told her. She just shook her head and went back to cleaning down the bar.
The band was making a name for itself. So big, that the paparazzi was coming to most gigs at Shonda’s and taking pictures. Hell, they were even interviewed by the Sims Daily Newspaper. My favorite interview was just in the paper, Ella was asked why she named the band “The Shivering Rain?” Ella’s reply was, “It just felt bluesy. That, and it reminds me of something that happened a while ago while I was on vacation.” And that was all she said. When I read the article I laughed. At least she kept my name out of the paper. She was asked what the event was, but she never commented on it.
Of course I couldn’t stay out of the lime light now that I was married to a rising star. After her set one evening, Ella came off the stage and kissed me. It was a private kiss, but that didn’t stop the reporter from snapping a photo. Ella, though, turned her head and snapped at the lady. “Excuse me. Do you mind, I am trying to have a moment with my husband.”
“Your two are married? What’s your name? How long have you two been married? What do you think of your wife and the rumors about her and Mike Rodgers?” The reporter started to hound me with questions. I started to freak out, What does she mean rumors!?!
“EXCUSE ME! WHAT RUMORS!?!” Ella screamed. Okay, good, at least I wasn’t the only one kept in the dark.
“About how he knocked you up? Everyone in the city thinks you and Mike are expecting.” I could see Ella’s blood boil to her forehead, and I felt as if I needed more to drink. We were very lucky that Shonda was bartending and not listening and Mike and Jimmy were playing shuffleboard. We didn’t want them to find out about our little one until we were ready to tell them.
“First off, I am NOT pregnant! Second of all, there is and never will be anything between Mike and me! We have been best friends since we were five and we are more like brother and sister than anything else. So get the facts straight lady. And leave my husband alone!” Then she took me by the arm and we were out of the bar.
“The nerve of that lady!” Ella screamed out again at dinner. “Who the hell does she think she is, trying to spin off a story!”
“El, relax, she’s just a stupid little reporter who’s trying to get a good enough rumor going for TSZ. That’s all.” Ella tried to calm down. I don’t know what she was thinking I did know that I was wanting to go back to Shonda’s and drink till I forget, and I wanted to punch out that stupid reporter.
Thanks to the stupid reporter, both Ella and I agreed that we needed to come clean about the baby. We decided to have a small party with some of our close friends. I tried to get dad and Lonni to come but my little brother was teething and Lonni didn’t want to leave Jacob with a sitter. So, I ended up keeping it a secret from them. I figured I’d wait till after the birth. Ella came clean first to Mike. He was thrilled. The two hugged, and then I watched as she exclaimed to him about the rumors. He looked mortified at the thought. Ella was right, those two were more like brother and sister than anything else.
I made the mistake of standing right next to Shonda when Ella told her the news. She screamed so loud I thought she blew my ear drum. “Do you mind, holy crap Shonda!” I yelled back. I could barely hear.
She looked at me and then back at Ella, “Are you sure it’s his? I mean he’s the reason why your called The Shivering Rain. Are you sure he still has swimmers left in him?” Shonda and Ella busted up laughing. Gee thanks Ella. I can’t believe she told Shonda. Actually I can, those two can’t keep any secret.
“Hey I heard that!” I barked at her and both Ella and Shonda laughed even harder. “IT WAS COLD!” That didn’t help my case.
Both boys congratulated my. Jimmy just said, “Way to go daddio!” and then he took off to play. The band was getting ready to perform some songs for the party.
As for Mike, he came and shook my hand. “Well I guess it’s up to you. You ready for the ride of your life, raising my kid?” He joked and we both started to laugh. I knew he was joking, it was the way he said “my” and the little twitch of a smile.
“Well someone’s has to do it, seeing as you still live in your parents loft.” I joked back. “Man, I am so glad you see some humor in this. I tell you, she wants to rip that reporter’s head off.” I finally said after we had out moment of fun. I felt at ease when I talked to Mike, it was as if he was like an old Corps buddy, and for some odd reason I was considering him a friend. Jimmy still rubbed me the wrong way, but maybe that’s because Ella and him use to be high school sweethearts.
The reporters did come out and pay our home a visit during the party which pissed me off. First there was one guy who questioned Mike about if he was truly the father and if so if he was going to fight custody. Mike came up to me soon after and told me, I took care of that reporter. We were also welcomed by the nosy reporter who started the whole mess. She walked up and snapped a photo of both Ella and Mike. I pushed her off my property. “OFF! This is a private matter!” I screamed, which now that I think about it, didn’t help with the rumor.
She jotted down one little note on her pad and she was off. Crap!
Sure enough the next morning when the paper came there was a scandal in Riverview about two rising stars and a baby. The paper had photos of the concert, of me and Ella at the bar and at home, of Ella and Mike on stage. I didn’t hide the paper well. Truth be told, I was in the bathroom and had left the paper on the kitchen table. Ella was asleep when I went in the bathroom, but sure enough when I got out, the paper was gone. The next thing I knew I heard a scream from the back.
She came in crying in tears and ran right up to me. “I’m so sorry Rain. I am so sorry.” She didn’t have to be sorry for any of it. I knew in my heart the baby was mine. I may not have trusted Mike and Jimmy for the longest time but I had always trusted Ella, I still trust her.
“It’s alright El. It’s not your fault.” I reassured her. “I know it’s all lies. Mike knows its all lies, and you know. Isn’t that what’s important?”
“Yea. But still. You never deserve this. I’m the one that wanted this popularity, not you. Music and farming have both been my whole life, and now that I get to live my dream of both running a small farm and playing music, everything is ruin.”
“Nothing is ruined El. It will all blow over.” I reassured her and reassured myself.
After the scandal Ella stayed home more often. Mike hardly came over. We were all trying to get through these next seven months without the paparazzi hounding us. I canceled the paper for a while and told Ella she wasn’t allowed to watch TSZ. I was the doting husband and loving father to our unborn during this time. Ella loved how I talked to the baby. I looked like a goof, but I couldn’t help how happy I was. I cooked for Ella whenever she asked. It could be three in the morning or five in the afternoon it didn’t matter. If she was hungry, I was cooking. I also started to do more around the house for Ella, like clean and fix up the place. Most of my cheep appliances and plumbing were breaking. This was the new me, the excited father. I just couldn’t get enough of my Ella Rose.
Ella was starting to get stir crazy being cooped up in the house. She had read every book in our bookcase and had clean the house till it was spotless. She had watched everything she found interesting on our Demand system through the cable company. One morning I even found her out in the yard pulling weeds. I about died. I didn’t want her to be working so hard this far in the pregnancy. She was due any day. “NO! UH UH ELLA!” I screamed at her. She just looked up and smiled. “GET AWAY FROM THE PLANTS!”
“But I’m bored!” She cried out as she stood. “I need something to do and there isn’t anything to do!”
I laughed. “I know your bored babe. But you can’t get overworked with this little one in there. Promise me, no more weeding or gardening?”
“Fine! But give me something to do.” So, I did, and now I wish I had bit my tongue.
I gave her my credit card and told her to go and make us a nursery in her old music room. By the time she was done I had two dollars to my name. I’ll never do that again. She did do a fantastic job with the color scheme. She chose greens and yellows since we weren’t exactly sure what the sex of the baby was. We wanted it to be a surprise.
When I walked in the room, it made me want to cry. It was perfect, even if it did drain our entire bank account. I came in and gave her a kiss. “It’s perfect my love.”
“I think so too.” Then she started to laugh. The baby was kicking her belly.“I think the baby is telling us something?”
“What’s that?” I bent down to listen to the baby and asked him or her. “You think mommy did an awesome job on the room?” I continued to listen and nod, acting as I could hear the baby speak to me.
“Well?” Ella asked. She was laughing the entire time. She always loved when I played with her belly.
“Shhh.” I told her and went back to listening. “The baby says we need more green.” I finally replied.
“Are you sure, or is that daddy who wants an entire green jungle of a house?” She joked. She hated the green in the house, but we didn’t have the money or the means of a remodel.
At night on most evenings we discussed baby names. “I like the name Apple.” She said on this one occasion. “For a girl, I mean. I like Charles for a boy.”
“I like Travis and Taylor for boys.” I told her as I leaned in to kiss her. I was for some reason getting turned on with all the baby talk. That, or she just looked really sexy in her night gown. I’m still not too sure.
“And for a girl?” She asked, trying to back away from my kiss. I went in anyway and I ended up directly over her, cornering her from escape. “I dunno.” I told her and kissed her. “Lucy, maybe.” Then I kissed her again. “You decide.” After than, I wasn’t really bothered with names. I only wanted one thing, and she finally gave in.
Then one night we were making out on the couch. We had been watching a real romantic comedy. I was snuggling up close to Ella, and she had her hand on my thigh. We began to make out and kiss. She started to fondle me, and I was starting to fondle her. I dropped my hands down her stretchy sweatpants. . .
Then out of nowhere a gush of water came out and all over my hand. “What the hell?” I asked taking out my hand. It was disgusting.
“Uh, err,” She smiled with clench teeth. “I think my water just broke.”
“Come again?” I asked with a shock.
Then she screamed the most terrifying scream. Ella was in labor. I panicked of course. She looked at me like I was nuts. I was screaming louder than her and I was sweating and breathing heavily. This was purely terrifying, “I’d love and stay dear,” She said walking out the door while I just stood there panic stricken, “but I’m heading out.”
I just looked at her like she was completely mental. “Where the bloody hell are you going!?! You’re in labor El!”
“The hospital.” She said very slowly. “You know, where there’s medicine and doctors that can make me feel all happy inside while I heave this thing out of me.” Then she was out the door and I was running to catch up. I was an idiot, I know.
I dropped Ella off at the front and then drove my car to the parking structure. When I came walking back, Ella was standing there talking to Mike. “So what brings you two to this neck of the woods?” He asked as I walked up.
“I’m having my baby.” Ella answered with a smile. I was still panicking and sweating. “What about you?” She asked him. Wait, she’s having a baby and instead of going inside, she’s chatting? WTF? I couldn’t believe my wife, she was in labor for goodness sakes and she rather make small talk with Mike!
“Ella, I think there’s more urgent matters than wondering why Mike is out here alone playing his bass!” I said through clenched teeth.
“Right.” She said and continued on her way to the front of the hospital as if she had done this a million times. I was a wreck and here was my wife, calm as could be! Uhg! Women are so complicated at times! Mike patted me on the back and I took off running towards Ella into the hospital. “Keep me posted!” Mike screamed as I walked in the hospital doors.
I stuck my head out, “will do.” and then I was off running towards the delivery room.
Six painstaking grueling hours later, (for me, not for Ella who was a real trooper) I was handed a baby boy by the doctor. I knew as soon as I saw little Travis that he was mine and Ella’s and no one would dare say differently. I looked down at Ella who was sweating and panting. “It’s a boy.” I whispered and handed her our son.
“Hi Travis.” She said as she kissed his forehead.
By the next evening Ella and Travis were finally released from the hospital. I carefully placed Ella in the back of our car with little Travis in her arms and I got into the front of our car and drove them home.