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Thanks to radlas1984 for editing support – I am in your debt!
Any character featuring in a sexual situation in this story is over the age of 18.
I’m quietly eating my breakfast when a sudden shouting from upstairs is followed by stamping feet coming my way. I hear Dad’s voice booming, and Mum’s becoming shrill. I steel myself for a scene, Teddy’s going to be out all day, working on a big project at a property development which is keeping him occupied all of this week and some of next. He’s reluctant to go each morning, and exhausted when he comes home each night, and I’ve been trying to take care of him with food and rest and love, but I can see that it’s taking a toll on him. I’m so grateful but it worries me to see how tired he is getting.
So, it means I’m alone when mum bursts into the dining room in tears, Dad’s voice follows her in but he’s not far behind. Neither of them notices me at first.
“Mary, I said I was sorry. I’m doing everything you asked, I’m really trying here.”
“Stop *following* me Daniel. I left the room because I *don’t want to talk to you*.” She turns away from him and sees me, trying not to look shocked, with my spoon forgotten halfway between the bowl and my face. “Oh.” She stops abruptly, and Dad almost barrels into her.
He peers around his fuming wife, and when his eyes recognize me, they narrow and he simply mutters, “Oh here we go.” I’m not sure what to make of any of this, but that short utterance from him is exceedingly pointed and feels, entirely unfairly, to be directed at me personally. Before I have a chance to respond, he brusquely turns away and storms out. “Fine Mary, you can sulk. Very mature. Twist the story and turn the kids while you’re at it. I’ll be in the garage.”
And he’s gone.
Mum’s standing by the table, hands gripping the back of a chair, white from the pressure. Her face is deathly pale and her eyes are closed as she tries to gather herself. I put my spoon back down in the bowl and push my breakfast things away as I get up to slip round the table and stand at her side.
“I’m sorry you had to see that honey,” she breathes with some difficulty.
“Well I’d have heard it anyway, wherever I happened to be. It’s ok Mum. What’s happening?”
“Oh… your father, he’s just… he’s being… such an ass.” I try not to let my own feelings about Dad color my response, choosing just to stay quiet while reaching around her from behind to give her a hug. I wince at the sensation of pressure against my aching chest, but hold the embrace all the same. She sighs and leans back into me. “We’ve been trying couples’ therapy. Socially distanced, of course. Having him at home every day for so long has made me… realize some things.”
“What kind of things?”
“That I’m bored, and sad, and lonely. That having him around all the time hasn’t changed that. That he’s not tried to be kind or make me feel special in… I don’t know. Since Edward was born maybe. Our relationship hasn’t been… um… physical for quite some time.” She laughs at herself. “I need to get over my prudishness about talking to you. You’re a woman now and probably think I’m so naive.”
“No Mum, there’s no judgment.” I feel a moment of guilt at the obvious fact of deceiving her about something so close to home. About two things, I suppose. I release the hug and take one of her hands, pulling out the chairs and encouraging her to sit. “You know I don’t get on very easily with Dad, but I understand the ease of following the pattern you’ve established. The comfort, despite discomfort. It’s how life often goes.”
She smiles sadly, holding my hand, looking down at it. “It’s taken me seeing *you*, vital and strong, to remember what I once was like. I’d forgotten until you came home. Your sister was my only example for so long and… well. I don’t know what I did wrong there.”
“You’re not responsible for Joanie,” I lean back to reach across for my granola, knocking the empty plate next to it with a clattering sound, and wince again as my boobs brush against the hard edge of the table. “Sorry do you mind if I-“
“Of course not,” she almost huffs. We sit in silence for a minute while I chew a mouthful.
“So, what’s Dad like, in the therapy?”
“God, he’s being such a child. Like simply turning up and sitting there without saying anything is enough. He says he’s ‘doing everything I ask’ but just doesn’t get it. It’s not going to work. We’ve already failed.”
“What do you want to do?”
“I don’t want to-“, She checks herself, and looks me in the eye, squaring her shoulders before starting to speak again, resolved to treat me as an adult and a friend. “Claire would you think me awful if I said I wanted to have an affair.”
I feel my eyes go wide, simply at the surprise of hearing my prim mother say it. I shake my head. “God! No! You *go* girl!” She’s blushing furiously, looking away from me. “Is there… um, is there someone you have in mind?”
“There’s… no. It’s so stupid.”
“I promise you I won’t think it’s stupid.”
She pauses again for a long time. “There’s a new teacher at the school. taksim üniversiteli escort He started in January. Maths, but he’s not… Well, he’s not what you’d expect. He’s sweet and funny; he’s…”
“He’s really hot?” I venture to complete her sentence. She squeaks and nods, smiling through the embarrassment.
“At first, I thought I was just being a silly old lady, swooning at this new guy in my life. He’s nearly ten years younger than me!” She pauses again, working up the courage to proceed. “I’ve been, um, fantasizing about him quite a lot, the past months. And then I had to go into school to prepare some test papers to send out to the kids at home. He was there. We worked on it together most of the day and… I had more fun than I remember having in years.”
“Sounds pretty good Mum! Do you think he…?”
“Oh I *know* he does,” she says with a twinkle in her eye. “He asked if he could kiss me as we were finishing up.”
“And did you?” She smiles shyly. “Wow Mum, you rock!”
“He’s divorced and has two kids. I know I’m getting ahead of myself, but it means we could… commit. Without him needing to sacrifice wanting a family.”
The talk of children makes me feel sick with shame at my duplicity, but this is about her and she needs my support more than my honesty. “You’re only 43 Mum, it wouldn’t be impossible…”
“Oh hush Claire. I’m not going to plan to have a fourth child with my imaginary new boyfriend. Anyway, my point is that children won’t be a… I think you’d say a dealbreaker.”
“So how old is he?”
“He’s just turned 35,” she flushed with excitement again. “I felt there might be something back in the winter when he first started, but I never really believed myself. I thought it was a sad old lady seeing what she wanted to see.”
“Mum you’ve got to stop saying that,” my voice is firm. “You look *great* for your age. No wonder he’s interested in you.”
More giddy smiles. “Oh, Claire why didn’t I talk to you sooner!” I reach over and hug her again. I rather gingerly try to limit the contact of my bust with hers, but it’s hopeless.
When we disengage, I stand and start to clear up the thankfully unnoticed evidence of my large breakfast. I scrape the toast crumbs, egg shells and banana skin into the compost, rinse the residue of yogurt and granola into the sink, and put all the crockery in the dishwasher.
Mum’s completing the story while I tidy up, the dreaminess gone because she’s talking about Dad again.
“I felt that I… well, that I needed to give Daniel a chance before I did anything irreversible. Three weeks of sessions though and it’s obvious he just doesn’t want to be there. So, he’s had his chance and he’s blown it.”
I’m thinking of the night when he was conspicuously absent from dinner, when Mum was so fraught. “Do you, uh, suspect him of any-”
“Yes, as a matter of fact I do. For a while he kept mentioning a new junior colleague called Erica but now, he never does. And I see text messages on his phone from ‘E’. I can’t see what they are saying but there are a lot of them.”
“What a prick,” I mutter to myself.
“Oh, don’t be like that. Don’t waste your energy. If he wants to demean himself like this, then let him. It’s such a cliché.” She pauses for a few moments. “Although I suppose my situation is a bit of a cliché as well…” This sounds judgmental, but I know her well enough to detect a thrill in her voice at the novelty of identifying herself with a stereotype.
Mum’s energy is changing, and as the conversation begins to wrap up, she’s much more smiley and is holding eye contact with me in a way that she hasn’t for ages. We start to settle into silence as I finish tidying up the kitchen, clearing up Teddy’s things from his very rushed breakfast and wiping the table and worktops.
I feel her eyes on me, and then a hesitant “Claire…?”
Another pause. Eventually: “No, it’s nothing… I feel very lucky to have you.”
Later in the week, it’s Friday night, and Teddy has finished for the weekend. We’re in bed and I’m trying to rub the tension out of his legs. He can barely keep his eyes open, but he seems to desperately want some time together, so is forcing himself to stay awake. I’ve told him Mum’s news, and his flare of anger at Dad couldn’t last for long due to his exhaustion, but he mumbled a promise that he’ll be properly angry in the morning. I smile but repeat Mum’s words that it’s not worth anger – at least as much to myself as to him. Now we’re quietly discussing our plans to move. Ted’s found a reasonably promising house that we could rent north of Lincoln, near to the coast, and is going to enquire with the landlord when this job finishes. I offer to do some of the work by making calls, but he refuses, wanting to spare me any stress.
The massage oil I’m using has some exotic essential oils in, which are making me feel rather giddy and flushed with arousal. Or is it just the hormones? I can’t tell and it doesn’t matter. The main thing is that I know he’s too tired for anything strenuous. tophane escort Despite his efforts, he is falling asleep as I work to banish the tension of his week. I can’t selfishly keep him awake just to satisfy my needs. I snuggle into him as he drifts off, warm and comforting; my man, my mate. I feel his chest rise and fall gently beneath my cheek, and the intensity of my feelings in this moment overwhelms me. A few small tears well up and I scrunch my eyes to clear them.
I’m so in love, it’s painful. The joy of us belonging together, of sharing each other and cherishing every moment. The joy of feeling my body begin to change to bring the life we’ve created into the world. It’s shocking and powerful and arousing all at once. I allow one hand to wander between my thighs, gently stroking the dampness there, fingers caress my clit and creating that fizzing feeling. It doesn’t take long; I’m so worked up already. I clutch myself to him as my slow fingers draw a soft, warm orgasm from deep within. My leg that is resting over his shudders, my pulsing wetness against his thigh, and finally sated I slip into oblivion beside him.
Teddy reluctantly goes back to work on the Monday, after a quiet weekend in which we struggled to get the space to be alone together. We make love in the morning before he goes, stealing our first chance to do so in days, and he’s almost in tears as he leaves me. I remind him that it’s only three more days and the job will be finished and kiss him fiercely. It has to last all day after all.
Once he’s gone, I sleep a couple more hours, and then rise just after 9 to have breakfast. I have the follow up call from the carrier screening this afternoon and have a slight nervousness about what might be revealed. I managed to see my doctor before Teddy began his busy week, and he confirmed a lot of things that I was already fairly confident of. My due date is rather vague, due to the strangeness of my period before conception and the lingering presence of birth control hormones in my system, so he somewhat grudgingly accepted my conviction that the day of conception was either May 23rd or 24th, leading to an estimated due date in mid-February. That put me in my ninth week, which felt further ahead than I expected, and his attempts to explain still left me confused. But whatever. Among the many tests he conducted, the pelvic exam was the strangest. Over the years I’ve had to become used to having doctors prodding around my lady bits, but they never shoved their fingers *all* the way up in there before. He ordered my bloods and some standard genetics tests, but I elected not to mention the more comprehensive screening that I have ordered, for fear of prompting him to ask why. Eventually he confirmed that everything seemed healthy, and even said that I could keep running as long as I feel comfortable and that I don’t push myself to exceed my current level.
It’s now the start of my eleventh week, which is excitingly on the cusp of my second trimester, and so far I’ve been completely blessed by not having any morning sickness, no pain except the soreness in my boobs, and only a bit of tiredness to accompany the mood swings, which have receded a bit in the last ten days or so. I’ve had to splash some cash that I really can’t spare on a few new bras, as I’ve gone up nearly two cup sizes already. I’ve been trying to wear looser clothes to conceal this, but this more than anything makes me paranoid about people realising what’s going on before I’m ready to reveal the cover story. I have an ultrasound appointment booked for next week, about which I’m head over heels excited, although both Teddy and I are really sad that he can’t attend. While a family member being there wouldn’t be unusual, a brother certainly would be, and we both think that he’ll be unable to contain his real feelings, so the risk of exposing our secret is too great. Instead he’s going to have to wait for me outside the clinic, which will be so tantalisingly close.
In parallel with the excitement over my developing motherhood, the newly revealed intrigue over my parents’ love lives has been very present my thoughts. I’ve learned that Mum’s crush is called Chris, and that they have met up once for a quiet walk along the coast and that she’s seeing him again in a couple of days. Now that I’ve been alerted to Dad’s likely affair, I notice secretive quirks in his behaviour that seem incredibly obvious. And he certainly disappears from time to time to ‘visit a client premises’, only to return considerably after the end of the working day. Mum seems to be pretty at ease with all this, distracted by her budding romance, and brushes it off with a rueful smile while muttering something about him making a fool of himself. Teddy and I both feel sporadic flares of rage at him, but find ourselves mollified by Mum’s indifference. It’s a good thing I didn’t learn about this a few weeks ago when my mood swings were at their most intense, or I’d have been unable to resist tearing my idiot father to shreds at the slightest provocation.
As the allotted time for my screening call approaches, a quiet topkapı escort sense of nervousness that I’ve been unable to shake off for a few days begins to build into full-fledged anxiety. Everything about my pregnancy so far has felt so perfect that I fear there has to be a problem, that Ted and I will be forced to reckon with an impossibly hard decision, and that due to his work I won’t be able to share it with him for a couple of days. By late morning I feel periodically sick with worry and can’t concentrate on anything I try to set my mind to for the three hours before the appointment.
Feeling like I need to be away from people who might overhear, especially if the news is tough, I decide to run out to a peaceful spot that I love to visit. It’s a half hour away and I get there with 15 minutes or so to spare before the call. I brought a picnic blanket and a hearty lunch, so I start to tuck in enjoying the breeze and the view. The sun isn’t as strong as it has been recently, but I’m managing to acquire at least a suggestion of a tan from all the time I’ve been spending outdoors. Unfortunately, my tan lines are far from appealing, as I’ve mostly been out in running gear, and seeking to conceal my growing boobs has meant that even when sunbathing in the garden I’ve only had my bikini bottoms on show. The endorphins from my run and the peace of the setting has helped to bring my nerves under control, but when my phone rings a few minutes early, I feel them all rush back, and my voice is shaking when I answer.
“Hello, Miss Henshaw?”
“Good afternoon. I’m Rita Sobol. I’m calling to talk over the results of your genetic screening assay. I understand from the questionnaire you completed when requesting the test that you’re already pregnant?”
“Yes,” I simply respond.
“I see.” She pauses. I feel like there is a tone of concern in her voice, or is it just professional detachment? “Well Miss Henshaw-“
“Ok. Well Claire. As you will have been told the genetic assay checks for almost 200 inheritable conditions. There is a small number of known conditions for which we cannot screen, however these are exceptionally rare.”
“Yes, I understand.” *Just get on with it!* I want to shout it down the phone at her.
“Good. Well Miss- excuse me, Claire. I am pleased to report that the assay identified no dangerous recessive markers in your genetic sample. This means that there is no need to test your partner, because even if he has any negative recessive traits, they will not be expressed in your child’s genome.”
“My baby is healthy?”
“I can’t confirm that, Miss Henshaw. I can confirm that for the almost 200 inheritable conditions that we test for, there is no indication of you being a carrier for any of them. You will need to speak to your physician to assess the health of your baby.”
“Ok, I understand. Thank you.”
“It’s my pleasure Claire. I wish you the best of luck with your pregnancy.”
I don’t yet feel relief, even though this is the best possible news. I’d managed to work my stress up to a peak that it will take some time to climb down from. I cannot, however, resist calling Teddy to tell him, even though he’s likely busy. To my disappointment it rings through to his voicemail and I hang up. Instead I pull the waistband of my shorts down to flash top of my knickers, take a photo of my still-flat tummy, and send it to him with a little caption.
// Test is clear!! Can’t wait to see it show. I love you x
I finish my lunch, enjoying the peace and quiet, gradually allowing my stress and worry to recede. I even fall asleep on my blanket for half an hour once I’ve eaten, dreaming of Teddy, listening to the birds. When I wake up, I feel bouncy and refreshed, like the unease from before has finally let go. I pack up my things and enjoy a gentle run back to the house, every step feeling lighter than I have for quite a lot of days.
During the following week, I didn’t think I could be any happier but when I see the blurry black and white shape on the screen, it’s like a bolt of emotion striking me in the chest. I’m rather uncomfortable, due to the solid dildo-camera-thing that the sonographer has stuck up my vagina, and my legs raised up in the stirrups, but I don’t care. All I can do is stare at the screen and gaze at the mysterious shape it displays.
*That is* inside *me!*
The thought is breathtaking. I wish so, so badly that Teddy could be here. Fortunately I guess dealing with hormonal women all day every day, the sonographer is immune to discomfort when one of their patients cries, and when my tears of intense joy combined with disappointment that my baby’s father isn’t here spring forth, she just pats my hand and makes comforting sounds. It’s a little strange, not being able to see all of her face due to the surgical mask that she has to wear, but her eyes are kind and I can tell that she is smiling. She spends about three quarters of an hour examining, measuring, twisting and shifting the probe. Eventually she declares that the baby is developing just fine, measures a little shorter than expected for the due date provided by my doctor, and predicts that his estimate is out by a week or so. She prints off a couple of images from the monitor and hands them to me, which I then clutch to my chest like the most precious things in the world.
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