It’s as if I haven’t eaten for a week, even though it’s been all of two hours since dinner.
“We’re gonna do great,” he reminds me. “You’re gonna do great.”
I feel him slip out of bed and soon hear him at work in the kitchen.
He’s heating up the lasagna he made earlier. I hear the telltale rustle of a plus-sized bag of potato chips and the sound of the freezer door closing that completes his show of telepathy.
He reads my body and mind better than even I can, fixing just what the doctor ordered and putting it all on a tray, not even minding if I eat in our bed.
“Oh, Foxx,” I scold him playfully. “I’ll never eat all of that. You’re having some too, right?” I ask him.
I’m always glad when he agrees to share whatever I’m having. And to prove he really is an accessory to the midnight feast, he helps himself to a big handful of the potato chips.
But damn, if he doesn’t look more muscular, more perfect than when we first met.
I think a break from medicine is just what he needed. A thought he echoes back to me as he watches me eat.
“It gives us more time together. I can help out once our little baby here makes its way into the world,” he coos, running a hand over my belly.
“It gives me more time to work on the plans for the house, too,” he adds.
“We’re keeping this place, though?” I ask him again, wanting to keep our special place.
The place where we first realized this was a forever kinda deal.
This special place where he still makes me call his name every night and most daytimes too.
“Of course, we will, honey,” he assures me with another little peck.
“We can visit and stay whenever and for as long as you like. But I think once you see the new place…,” he says, teasing me with the idea.
But I know I’m happiest wherever he is as long as we’re together. That’s all that matters.
Foxx rests on his side. His elbow propping his head up as he watches me eat. We both share at the tub of rocky road ice cream after everything else is gone.
“Will you still love me if I’m two hundred pounds and covered in stretch marks?” I ask, not meaning to sound whiny again, but I feel the opposite of hungry now.
Just overfull and sleepy.
“I’m over two hundred pounds, and I’ll tell you right now, Mandy. I’ve got a couple of stretch marks of my own. And gray hairs,” Foxx says, making me laugh.
“I love you, Foxx,” I tell him.
“And I love you, Mandy. Wife…Mother…Best friend,” he murmurs and kisses me until it hits me.
“What stretch marks, where?” I demand to know, trying not to laugh at the idea, making Foxx growl once I fall for his bait.
“You’ll have to come over here and look for ‘em,” he instructs me in a mock know-it-all tone.
This is something he doesn’t have to convince me for too long to do.
And feeling my tiredness vanish, I melt into his arms. Our bodies become that perfect, tangled knot of two people who are just insane about each.
Like our first time, my first time.
Every day is like he promised. It just keeps getting better and better.
ONE YEAR LATER
“I just don’t like leaving you alone,” I say, trying hard to keep a lid on my emotions.
The thought of leaving Mandy alone with our baby boy, Max, isn’t something I do at all if I can help it.
“It’s the next hill over,” Mandy reasons. “I’m a phone call away. I’ll probably be able to see you if I stand on the porch,” she tells me. Opening her eyes wider and moving them to the door. “Go, Foxx. Someone needs your help. I’ll be fine here with Max, honest,” she assures me.
It’s been a long time since I did anything medical, and an elderly neighbor calling up with sudden chest pain isn’t my usual Saturday afternoon anymore. But seeing as we’re so far from a hospital and I am still a licensed doctor, it’s the least I can do when we get the call.
News travels fast in a small country town, and once word got out that I was a doctor….
Well. Let’s just say I’ve seen more lumps and heard more stories about the townsfolk’s ‘bits’ than I’d like.
Being a retired doctor too, which I often try to remind them of.
But Mandy’s always hinting I should set up my own practice.
“Do whatever you need to and set yourself up as a general practitioner. Even just in urgent cases,” she’s pointed out so simply.
I gotta admit, though, I do miss the rush of a patient in need.
Not for my own sake. I don’t get off on people hurting. But it’s worth every long night or sleepless back-to-back shift when someone grabs hold of you and thanks you for being there usually for saving their life or someone they love as much as I know I love Mandy.