How Cara Learned to Stop Worrying Ch. 06byphlight©
"Sounds fattening," Keiji said.
"The best things in life usually are."
"You can say that again," he said, reaching across the console to tap my belly.
"You guys are killing me," Evan groaned. He slouched down in his seat and fired up his iPod.
My childhood home was about a quarter mile from the road, set back in a clearing surrounded by trees. One could still hear large trucks rumbling the highway just a few acres away, but the woods gave the appearance of protection and seclusion. I always felt calmer coming home. Dad had decorated the house with red velvet bows, lights, and the chintzy 1950s snowman that Mom insisted on hanging onto because it had belonged to my great-grandmother. The house looked cheerful in the deepening twilight.
As soon as we pulled up I heard the yellow lab, Einstein, start barking his fool head off. Dad called him the "welcoming committee" -- he sounded fierce but was about as ferocious as a ladybug. Mom and Dad appeared seconds later. They looked the same as always but my heart gave an extra jump of excitement. I hoped they would be happy for us. Keiji shot me a glance and swallowed hard as he grasped the door handle.
Mom ran to the back door of the car, yanking it open and attacking a dozing Evan before he realized we had arrived.
"Whaaa?! Grandma!" he yelped.
"Baby baby baby! My pulcinella! You're so big!" Mom exclaimed. She said the same thing every time.
"I know, Grandma, I know," Evan mumbled into her bosom. My mom was pretty in the face and plump in the body; she dyed her hair the same chestnut brown it had been in her youth although I'd been trying to convince her to embrace her natural beauty as she aged. I guessed I'd figure out how it was in a decade or so. She was wearing a Christmas-themed cat sweater that I was pretty sure was unironic. Dad was stocky but fit, an inch shorter than Keiji. He sported a greying Burt Reynolds moustache that matched the shock of grey hair on his head.
I walked over to my father and gave him a tight hug, heedless of my belly. He didn't seem to notice as he focused on returning my embrace.
"So good to see you, sweetheart," he said, giving me a bristly kiss. Then he turned to Keiji who was lingering by the side of the car, his arms crossed over his chest. He stuck out one rough, thick-fingered hand and smiled. "Good to meet you, m'man."
Keiji returned the shake with an admirable grip.
"Nice to meet you too, sir," he said, returning the smile. Mom had let up on Evan a bit and it was her turn. She walked up to Keiji, openly inspecting him.
"Hmm, I hope you're ready for a big, big plate of lasagna tomorrow," she said, reaching up to pinch his cheek. Keiji's eyes got wide, but he recovered enough to joke back.
"I have a fast metabolism."
"Ahh, I'll forgive you, hot stuff," Mom said, and turned toward me for a hug.
"Cara, are you all ready to eat?" she said, putting her arms around me. Unlike Dad, she felt my bump press into her and pulled back. As she looked down her mouth opened in a shocked "O" and I shhed her fiercely. Dad didn't notice -- he was asking Keiji if he wanted a beer.
"Yes, we are ready to eat. Especially Evan. Let's go inside. Wait a minute, okay?" I asked, taking her hands in mine and begging her with my eyes. She nodded, her eyes as big as saucers.
Dad lead everyone inside through the side French doors of the ranch-style house. We walked through the living room which showcased a large Christmas tree decked to the nines and into the warm, cinnamon-scented kitchen. There was a breakfast nook with a small round table; Mom had set it with a red and green plaid tablecloth and her second-best china.
"I--I thought I'd save the dining room for tomorrow and Christmas. I hope everyone likes beef stew? I made it with Guinness," Mom said, recovering enough of her natural buoyancy to keep Dad in the dark.
"Sounds great," Keiji said with enthusiasm, not realizing that the jig was up. Mom eyed him like he had sprouted antlers and a glowing red nose. Dad took two Killians from the fridge and tossed one to Keiji.
"Sorry I don't have uh, what is it, Ashi?"
"That's okay. I'm not really a fan of any one brand," Keiji said, not bothering to correct him.
Evan practically dove into a chair, causing Dad to chuckle. He took a seat next to his grandson and ruffled his hair. (He and Reed's father were the only people Evan allowed to do this.) I sat next to Dad and Keiji next to me.
"Mom, where are you going to sit?" I asked, noticing that we were out of chairs and plates.
"Oh, that's all right, dear. I'm stuffed from sampling my own baking all day. You guys go ahead and eat." She put a hand to her mouth for a moment and looked upset. "Cara, can you have Guinness?"
I rested my head in my hands.
"Mom, the alcohol cooks off," I muttered, wondering why Keiji and I even bothered to think up nice methods to break the news when it always seemed to come out in the weirdest way possible. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Keiji's posture stiffen.
"Why can't she have Guinness? She's always been a champion drinker of Guinness!" Dad hooted. Evan laughed and I shot him a glare. He rolled his eyes good-naturedly.
"Dad, I have to go light on the beer for a little while," I said with a sigh.
"Oh, I should too, did you see my gut?" he said, patting his stomach. Evan laughed harder, his sides shaking with the effort to hold it in.
"Did you see mine?" I replied.
My father may not be familiar with Asahi beer, but he's no fool. Realization hit him like a ton of bricks.
"What!" he yelled. Keiji went absolutely still, like a snowshoe hare that has spotted a lynx.
"I wanted to wait until we were through eating, you know, maybe bring it up a little later when everyone was relaxed--"
"What!" Dad yelled again. He pushed back from the table to get a better look at me. "Oh my god, you're not joking!" Evan was dying, red in the face from oxygen deprivation. Mom came over to stand next to Dad, not afraid to gawk at my midsection now that the cat was dumped out of the bag.
"This is your baby?" she asked, directing the question at Keiji.
"Mom," I protested.
"Well, how am I supposed to know? I just found out about him a couple of weeks ago! For all I know it could be the milkman's!" she said, waving her hands around. Italian guilt lecture #281. Evan died some more, gasping, "Milk--man!" I gripped Keiji's hand under the table, lest he transition to the bolting portion of his rabbit impression. Dad slumped in his chair.
"I'm glad I was sitting down already," he said. "Although I might be having a heart attack. I don't know. Is it the right arm or left arm, Clare?"
"Left," she mumbled, not looking at her husband. Her eyes went back and forth from my belly to Keiji's face. "You're an artist, that's what you told me? You paint?"
"Yes," he said, his voice just above a whisper.
"That's a random question, Grandma," Evan said, finally overcoming his paroxysms of hilarity.
"I just want to know that he's going to provide for my daughter!" Mom cried. The arms were waving again.
"Whoa, whoa, did you forget that I have a job?" I said.
"If you're having a baby you should stay home!"
"Oh, Mom," I groaned, putting my face back in my hands.
"Keiji just got a job with an advertising agency," Evan put in. I was very surprised to have a cheering section populated by him.
"Did you? Is that steady work? What's the pay like?" Mom threw each question at Keiji like a shot, her eyes flashing.
"It's a full time position. The amount of business the agency gets is dependent on the economy, but I have commissions on my own work often enough to carry me through leaner times," he said.
"Mom, what's up with the interrogation? You already know this stuff, you've talked to him before."
"But that was when he was just your boyfriend," she said. "Now he's--are you sure about this? How did this happen? Are you getting married?"
"Are you sure you want to do this now? Start all over with the baby stuff?" Dad chimed in, directing his questions at me.
If I was surprised by Evan's support, I was floored by their reaction. I recalled sitting at this same table with Reed, enduring a long lecture about personal responsibility and how I should think very, very hard about "the right thing to do," ending with my mother begging me to keep the baby and offering to help. (Which she did, but still.) To please them, I did. Obviously I wasn't pleasing them now, maybe because they had lost all control of the situation. I opened and closed my mouth, doing a great fish impression while I searched for a response that wouldn't be filled with expletives.
"As far as I can tell," Evan said, "Mom has never been happier. Keiji is good to her. I mean, at least he's not constantly talking about spreadsheets like those other guys you met. He's been to every doctor's appointment for the baby. We're all excited. Even Dad is happier now. Did you know he's dating someone? Well, he is." He quieted down and shrank in his chair as all of the adults gaped at him.
There was silence for half a minute or so. Dad was the first one to recover.
"Wow," he said, leaning forward and putting his elbows on the table. He nodded his head. "Wow. That is some news. I thought the next grandbaby would be courtesy of Casey and Anne. When is the big day?"
"July first," Keiji answered. He went on in a firm, quiet voice. "Mr. and Mrs. Brennan, we weren't expecting this baby either, but as Evan said, we are looking forward to welcoming this new person into our lives. I supported Cara's decision to continue the pregnancy and I will continue to support her in the future in any way I can. It's my responsibility and my honor. I love her very much and I want to do my best for her, Evan, and our child."
The words were much stiffer than I was used to hearing from him, but his voice was sincere. My eyes began to sting; between my love for him and my frustration with my parents' reaction I was feeling overwhelmed. Mom suddenly burst into tears, throwing her arms around me.
"Oh Cara, Cara," she sobbed. I couldn't tell if she was happy or distraught. I gave up and just decided to be confused by everything for the time being.
"Well, all right, son, all right," Dad said, reaching his hand across the table. Keiji shook it again, a little less firm this time. (Still in possible flight mode.)
"I'm really hungry, Grandma. I am," Evan said in a small voice. Mom untangled herself from me, sniffling.
"I'm sorry, pulcinella. Grandma is losing her marbles." Mom uncovered a loaf of fresh bread in the middle of the table, then went to the kitchen to start ladling out bowls of stew. "You all better still be hungry!"
In truth I would've been happiest crawling to into bed and Keiji looked the same, but we all made a good show of putting away the stew which really was good (and not a threat to my unborn child). Dad made small talk with Evan about school and Julius Caesar.
After dinner we drifted into the living room to sit on the sectional sofa. The room was illuminated by the twinkling lights of the tree and looked almost magical, like I remembered from my childhood. Dad put up his feet, Mom wrestled Evan into a hug, and I sat close in to Keiji, trying not to collapse on him in emotional exhaustion. We talked a bit about Keiji's family, Dad told the same embarrassing and/or amusing anecdotes that he always tells newbies about our families (That One Time Cara Got Lost at Disneyworld; Casey Sets the Shed on Fire), and Mom asked us about baby names which had us speechless once more.
Eventually Dad began to snore and Mom shooed him off to bed after giving us our room assignments. Evan headed to my old room; Keiji and I were in one of the basement guest rooms.
"It has the two sleigh beds," Mom said, her expression almost apologetic. "But I know Rosie and Jim would appreciate the queen, and Casey and Anne the full upstairs here."
"It's okay, Mom. I know I'm chopped liver," I joked.
"Oh, Cara!" she sighed, flapping her arms.
"Mom, Mom, it's okay," I said, standing up to give her a hug. When we bumped tummies she looked down and let out a half-laugh, half-sob.
"I'm so--in shock. I just can't believe it. I don't know what to think. My little girl is having another baby," she said, lightly touching the bump.
"I know, Mom."
"Well, good night. Good night, Keiji," she said, looking over my shoulder at him. He waved and nodded.
When Mom and Dad's bedroom door closed I sank back down on the couch next to him with a big sigh. He looked over at me, a funny expression on his face.
"What would you rate that? Let's say with my parents it was a three of out ten, if one is abort immediately and ten is everyone wants to crown your fetus Ruler of Everything That is Awesome."
"Umm. A five? A four? I have no idea. I feel crazy," I muttered, resting my head on his shoulder. We stared at the tree lights for a few minutes.
"What you said to them about supporting me. That made me feel..." I lifted my head and looked into his eyes, watching the lights reflect. I didn't have words for the feeling. Love? Devotion? Gratitude? Everything at once? So I kissed him instead, brushing my lips across his. He leaned into me, encouraging me to go on, so I flicked the tip of my tongue up the center of his lips to entice him to open his mouth. When he did I sucked his lower lip gently, running my tongue back and forth across it before releasing it to give him a firmer kiss with slightly parted lips. When I was done I sat back and smiled, recognizing the by-now-familiar look of want in his eyes. After a quick look down the hallway to make sure the coast was clear, he pulled me onto his lap. I nestled myself against his erection, a tingling excitement beginning to thrum in my lower belly. I bent my head down for another kiss, allowing him to lead this time. Our lips met and he tilted his head to get more access, slipping his tongue inside my mouth. He teased me at first, exploring the edges of my teeth, but soon became more aggressive and swirled his tongue around mine. The tingling in my stomach became a pleasant ache between my legs. Some amount of time later I felt his hands slide up my shirt. He had my bra unhooked before I remembered where we were.
"We should go downstairs," I panted. He ran his hands around to my front, brushing his hands over my breasts and catching my hard nipples between his fingers on each pass. "Oh my god, you have to stop for just a second."
I slid off his lap and hooked one hand under his belt, half-pulling him off the couch. He pushed off, took my hand and allowed me to lead him to the basement door. Just as we reached it, the timer on the tree lights clicked off. The only light to see by was the sliver of the quarter moon peeking through the trees. He pushed me against the wall next to the door, his mouth against my neck, his hips pressed into mine. I fumbled for the knob in the dark, found it, and opened the door. The basement was pitch black and almost windowless but I knew my way around. We went down fourteen steps, turned left at the bottom, and walked through an office area to a spare bedroom with two twin beds. Once inside I shut the door behind us.
He reached for me again, silent but screaming his desire. We undressed each other, our clothes puddling unseen around our feet. He relied on me to lead him to one of the beds; as soon as my back hit its surface he was on top of me, inside of me in one smooth stroke, fucking me without sight and only the sounds of our bodies meeting. He went back and forth between kissing me and sucking on my nipples, unable to do without one or the other. It was strange not to see his face, but the dark made me feel somehow more connected to him. It was pure touch, pure sensation, pure emotion. He slipped two fingers inside of my mouth to wet them, then reached between us to rub my clit, urging me closer and closer. I said his name, softly, loathe to break the spell of the darkness. It was all I needed to say; he let go of my breasts, buried his face into my neck and focused on increasing his speed, fucking me the way I loved the best. I twisted my fingers into his hair as I gasped with pleasure. It didn't take me long; my orgasm began to rush through my body, starting at my pussy and traveling up and out of my mouth in a long, almost sobbing moan. He grunted and held still as he reached his own climax, letting my contractions milk him until he was done. He lay on top of me, stroking my face with his hands as he caught his breath.
I shivered as I became aware of the cool basement air drying the sweat on our skin. He slipped out of me and we pulled the sheets and quilt over us, spooning on the narrow bed.
Footsteps and voices from the floor above us woke me; I had been dreaming about a baby floating in darkness, surrounded by murmuring voices, and now I was having trouble distinguishing dream from reality. It was disorienting to be in such a lightless room when I knew it must be morning. Keiji was almost motionless, his side rising and falling only slightly with his deep, slow breaths. I stretched and groaned, stiff from cramming into such a small space with him. My hand hit his shoulder as I tried to lower it back down by my side. I stroked him from shoulder to hip and then ran my hand over his smooth, compact butt, luxuriating in the feel of his skin. It was rare that I got to touch him without an immediate response. My heart and body thrilled with delight that he was in bed with me -- and I admit, a touch of covetousness. He was mine.
I kissed his shoulder blade and slipped my hand around to the front of him. He hadn't been kidding at his parents' about a massive boner in the morning. I laughed and fondled him without shame, running my hands lightly over his pubes and cock until he took in a deep breath and rolled over to face me (not that we could see each other).
"How long have you been doing that?" he asked, a smile in his sleepy voice.
"Not long enough," I said, trying to lick his lips and getting the tip of his nose instead.
"Hey!" he yelped. His aim was better than mine -- if he meant to bite my chin. We got into an abrupt tickle/pinch/slap fight, aiming for sensitive areas, until his hand went between my legs. Suddenly I had one, then two fingers inside of me. I gripped his upper arms and went still, concentrating on the welcome invasion.
"That's not playing fair," I said.
"Is feeling me up while I'm asleep fair?" he countered. My pregnant pussy, ever sensitive and willing, began to moisten around his fingers. I clenched them with my muscles.
"I never used to like morning sex before."
"I don't discriminate based on time of day. What time is it anyway?"
"I'm pretty sure it's the morning. I wish I could see you," I said, opening my legs a bit wider to allow for more range of movement. He fucked me with more vigor.
"Isn't there a lamp? Or go open the door a bit," he suggested, withdrawing from me. I sighed, my pussy tingling and very awake by now. I heard him put his fingers in his mouth as I got up and went to the door. When I opened it the room went from black as a cave to a moonless night. I laughed.
"How about you join me in the shower instead? I don't want to spend any longer on that bed even if you're in it."
"Ugh, my back," he griped, standing and bending over.
"We're supposed to be chaste and sleep one person to a bed, Mr. Nakamura," I said, walking over and taking him by the cock.
"Penises are not leashes," he said.
"Thanks for the PSA. Now come on," I said, tugging gently. I took him by the hand instead as we left the bedroom. The only tricky part of getting to the bathroom was crossing in front of the stairwell, but the door to the basement was still closed. We crossed the large main room and then the feeble light from the small bathroom window was visible under the closed door. I opened it and stepped on cold tiles, hissing. I flicked on the overhead light, hurried into the shower stall, pressed against the wall, and spun the taps.