After two years of marriage, Joy continued to discover things about Adam that surprised her.
One, he had a knack for cooking without using any recipe; two, he had to have the shower curtain pushed to the left instead of the right when the shower was not in use because the light was better; and three, he had a tendency to be rather nosy when he sensed someone was keeping a secret.
When Joy felt queasy for an entire week, she took a pregnancy test after Adam had left for River's Bend for the day, not wanting him to freak out prematurely. Joy still worked as a freelance journalist, so her hours were entirely her own. She was rather glad she'd ordered a box of pregnancy tests from Amazon months ago and hidden them in her drawer, mostly because Heron's Landing was such a tiny town that if she were to go to Mike's and buy a test, everybody and their aunt would know by five o’clock PM.
After peeing on the stick, Joy sat and stared at it. She felt the seconds tick by; she looked at her phone. It had been all of a minute.
"I need to go do something," she muttered. She had many skills, but patience had never been one of them.
She and Adam had wanted to start a family for a little while now, but his work schedule had made them hold off. Joy decided (after informing Adam, of course) that she'd go off birth control to "see what happened."
"Sounds like a good way to end up pregnant," Adam had remarked wryly before kissing her forehead.
She'd grinned. "Not unless we decide to be abstinent, too."
At that remark, he'd growled and hauled her over his shoulder to the bedroom to show her how abstinent he could be.
Joy decided to clean up their bedroom while she waited. Although really, it was cleaning up her clutter; Adam didn't have clutter. He had things he used, and then he had things he'd throw or give away. His nightstand held all of three things: a lamp, an eReader, and lip balm. While Joy's nightstand was cluttered with piles of books, notepads, pens, hair ties, tubes of lip balm, cords, a comb, ear plugs, and all number of items. Sorting through them, she chucked some and put most of it into her nightstand drawer.
Task finished, she glanced at her phone. It had been three minutes. Her palms suddenly clammy, she made her way to the bathroom.
When she saw the two pink lines for pregnant, her jaw dropped. She touched her still-flat abdomen.
"Oh my God," was all she could say. She sat down on the toilet and stared at the test.
A baby. They were going to have a baby.
She set the test on the counter again, but then wondered if she shouldn't keep it to show Adam. But would he want to see a test she'd peed on? She had a feeling he wouldn't exactly appreciate it, and that thought made her laugh. She decided to bury the test at the bottom of the kitchen trash: she wanted to surprise Adam with the news instead.
She couldn't get any work done the rest of the afternoon. She was all nervous energy and excitement, and she barely restrained herself from calling every person she knew to tell them. She looked up OBGYNs in the surrounding areas, information about fetus growth, popular names, and baby clothes before deciding she needed to first figure out how to tell Adam the news.
Joy could just tell him, but that was boring. She wanted to make it a surprise. Besides, it was Adam’s birthday this Saturday, so that was the perfect time to tell him.
Rubbing her hands with glee, she started searching online for ideas, scribbling some down and making mental notes. Finally, after much consideration, she made a decision and got to work.
Adam was about to lose his ever-loving mind. Joy had suddenly decided five days ago that he couldn't look at her phone (he didn't normally, but when he'd picked it up to hand to her after she'd gotten a text, she'd snatched it away and bounded off to the bedroom) and that whenever he asked her what was going on, she'd just shrug coyly and say nothing.
Adam hated secrets.
It wasn't that he didn't trust Joy. That was the thing: he trusted her completely. So why couldn't she do the same? He wavered between amusement and frustration, and more than once when she'd stayed mum, he'd tried to seduce her into talking.
Even that hadn't worked.
Joy had informed him that they were going to dinner at River's Bend for his birthday, but that Jaime would be creating something entirely new for them.
"What if I don't want to go out on Saturday?" Adam had said, wrapping his arms around Joy.
She'd looked up at him with a Cheshire-cat smile. "Tough titties, my man."
Now he sat at a table at River's Bend with Joy. Instead of being inside the vineyard's restaurant, she'd had a table set outside overlooking the river. It was a gorgeous sunset, Adam had to admit, but nothing—and no one—was as gorgeous as his wife.
He still sometimes couldn't believe how lucky he was to have found Joy after losing Carolyn. He'd never thought he'd find such happiness and love and—yes—joy again.
Joy smiled at him as David, one of the new waiters, served them the latest red wine.
"What are we having?" Adam asked her.
Joy fluttered her eyelashes. "You'll see."
Jaime himself served them dinner: roasted scallops with a wine reduction sauce and sautéed mixed greens. Jaime and Grace had married a year ago, just a few months before their son Alejandro had been born.
"Thank you, Jaime," Joy said. She looked like she was practically vibrating with excitement.
Jaime raised a dark eyebrow at her and then slapped Adam on the back. "Good luck," was all he said in reply.
Adam wondered if he'd missed something. Was there some clue in the scallops? But as he ate, he couldn't find anything that would lead him to understand what Joy was hiding.
"You know what's interesting?" he remarked before taking a bite of scallops.
"That when you're trying to be secretive, you're so obvious about it that everyone knows you have a secret."
She just threw a bread roll at him in reply.
By the time dessert was served, Adam had a feeling Joy wasn't going to say a damn thing tonight. He sighed internally. What kind of surprise was she going to spring on him? He half-wondered if she planned to push him off a cliff into the river below by the end of the night.
The dessert was a five-layer chocolate cake. As Adam was about to take a bite, Joy stopped him.
"I have to sing happy birthday first!"
He waited patiently for her rendition of “Happy Birthday,” making a point not to comment on her poor singing. Finally, he dug into the cake with gusto.
When his fork hit something decidedly non-cake-like, he frowned. He pulled out what looked like a cardboard box from the middle of the cake. He frowned further.
"Open it," Joy said.
Although it was covered in cake and frosting, Adam opened the box that was no more than two inches across and one inch tall. Inside lay a tiny piece of paper which read: look under your chair.
He gave Joy a wry look. "What are you doing?"
"Just look under your chair."
He fished under his chair and pulled out a gift bag. Assuming it was a birthday gift, he pulled the tissue paper off to find two bottles of wine. Wine? Joy was giving him, the owner of a vineyard, wine?
She laughed at his expression. "Read the labels before you ask questions."
He grumbled, and then he read on the first label:
Wine for dad - who's gonna need this and more for the next few years
And on the second:
Cider for mom - who can't drink anything for the next seven months
He blinked. Mom, Dad.
Jesus Christ. They were going to be parents.
A flush of excitement crawled up his face, and when he got up from his chair to haul Joy into his arms, she laughed.
"You're going to be a father," she whispered into his ear. Although he already knew, hearing the words made it seem realer.
He hugged her so hard she protested, but he wouldn't let her go.
A child. They were going to have a child.
Impulsively, he kneeled down in front of her and kissed her belly.
She stroked his hair. "Happy?"
He pressed his forehead against her. "More than I can describe."
"Me too." When he rose, she said with a joyful smile, "Happy birthday, Adam."