"What's this?" Erik asked Brad.
"I don't know, Sara asked me to put it on your plate," Brad said with a shrug.
Erik lifted the small box and shook it. It didn't make any noise.
"Where is she anyway?"
"Uh, I think Susan said they were going to the bathroom."
"Together? Really? Tonight she leaves me on my own so they can go to the bathroom together?"
Brad chuckled softly. "She needs help with her dress. The train and stuff. I don't know, Erik, I just know Amanda did the same thing."
"Oh," he said not having thought of that at all. He supposed going to the bathroom in a full-blown wedding gown wasn't as easy for her as it was for him in his tuxedo trousers.
"Well, I could have helped her."
Brad shook his head a little. "This is the kind of help I think women just prefer not to ask us for. Ever."
He untied the ribbon, chuckling to himself that she'd wrapped it with the same ribbon that she, her mother, and her numerous friends had used on their favors. There was way more that went into a wedding than he'd ever dreamed of. Fortunately, all he had to do was show up at the church on time. He would have helped, but she, her mother, and sister-in-law didn't seem to need his help.
He opened the box, squinting as he regarded the picture.
"What is it?" Brad asked.
"I'm not sure," he said.
Brad glanced over Erik's shoulder to look. "Oh," he said.
Erik scanned the room, still no sign of Sara.
"You know what this is?" Erik asked.
"Uh yeah," Brad said cautiously. "You don't?"
"No. Tell me?"
"I think you should probably ask Sara."
"Okay," he said, noticing now Sara's name was at the top of the paper. "How much longer does this cocktail hour go on?"
"About twenty minutes, but they're obviously not going to start without you guys."
"I'll be right back then."
"Don't forget this, she obviously wanted you to have it," Brad said, handing him the paper.
Okay, it was some sort of medical thing. An X-ray or something. He got that, and had to assume it was nothing bad. She wouldn't leave something like that on his dinner plate.
"Sara," he said, entering the bathroom. Her country club offered them a large bathroom exclusively for them; really it was for her because he didn't need any extra space.
"Just a minute," her friend and maid of honor Susan said.
She came out a few minutes later with Susan behind her, holding her train in her hands. She started working on refastening it.
"Hi," he said.
"Hi," she said.
He walked toward them. "Susan, can we have a few minutes. I can finish refastening the train. It's just snaps, right?" He could certainly handle snaps.
"I, okay, I'm almost done actually," she said, appearing confused. "You guys know dinner starts in like fifteen minutes, right?"
Erik chuckled. "As much as I can't wait to get her out of her dress, Susan, I assure you I have no plans on doing anything at the moment except talk to my wife."
"Okay then," she said.
"Thanks, Susan," Sara said.
"Sure. Remind me when I get married to go with a shorter train."
"I will," Sara said.
"So," he said once Susan left.
"Brad seems to know what this is," he said, showing her the picture.
"I would imagine he would."
"Well, he's probably seen a couple before."
"Everything's all right?"
"Yes," she said with a frown, clearly perplexed by the question.
"I'm confused I guess. What is it?"
"It's your wedding present."
"Well, I guessed that. I was figuring a lighter or something. I'm not quite sure what to do with this."
"Well," she said, walking to him. She took the picture from him. "Tape it like this into the cover of a baby book and underneath it write FIRST PICTURE."
"There's no baby here, Sara."
"Well, of course there is," she said with a laugh. She pointed to the two little arrows on the picture with maybe a quarter of an inch of space between them. "I certainly didn't see it at first either, so you're not alone, but there it is."
"That's like a, I don't even know what that is. You're sure?"
"I'm sure. There's the, um, amniotic sac."
"When did you find out?"
"And you waited until now to tell me?"
"Well, I haven't really seen you all week."
"Hey, that was your idea to stay with your parents this week, not mine."
She laughed. "I know. It made my mom feel better that I wasn't sleeping with you the night before we got married."
He rolled his eyes.
"So," he said. "What does this mean?"
"Well, it means we're going to have a baby in about thirty-four weeks."
"But we weren't even trying. I mean, I guess I didn't use a rubber every time, but most of the time."
"I don't know. My doctor told me when I saw her that may be when it happens because stress can cause things not to work so well."
"I tried telling you that."
"I know. You were right. You were both right."
"Are you feeling all right?"
"Yes, a little nauseous."
"Oh, is that why you were in here?"
"Have you told anyone else?"
"No, I figured I'd wait a couple of months."
"He won't say anything until I have. He'll know I want to tell my parents."
"They're going to be happy," he said. "Happy for you that you're able to, I mean. Probably not so happy that I'm the father."
"I know, and they will be happy you're the father, Erik. My dad is funny that way, but he doesn't hate you. Trust me; he wouldn't have paid for this whole thing if he did."
"Speaking of your parents, that reminds me we have a few hundred people out there who are probably getting very hungry about now."
"Yeah. I'm sorry, I thought you'd figure it out."
"If I'd had a reason to ever see one before now maybe. Why'd they do the ultrasound? They don't usually this soon, do they?"
"Well, the reason my doctor put on the forms was to verify how far along I was. I knew, though, pretty much. She knew I had to see for myself that I really was."
"That was nice of her."
"Yeah, she's pretty nice."
"Thanks for telling me."
"Not a lame wedding gift?"
"Oh, I don't consider this my wedding gift."
"You don't? Hmm, why not?"
"Because I still have to unwrap you later."
"There's a lot to unwrap."
"I'm beginning to realize that," he said, helping her with the little bit of her train once they stepped outside of the bathroom. It fastened up in a bustle-like thing (like he knew what the hell a bustle was until hearing her talk about it with her mother on what to do with the train after the ceremony) but there was still quite a bit of it that trailed on the floor.
He offered her his arm, which she took. "So, just saying right now, if it's a boy."
"I'm just making it clear and letting you know that there is absolutely nothing you could do to convince me that doing this wouldn’t result in him getting beat up every day of school."
"We are not naming him Thor."
Story ©Susan Falk/APCKRFAN/PhantomRoses.com