I hear soft voices and dishes and glasses clinking. I’m not sure how long I’ve been asleep, but I don’t want to open my eyes. I roll over and pull the blanket back up over my head.
“Sorry Ashely, she’s been really hormonal and tired lately,” Michelangelo says.
I hear Ashely laugh. “I can understand that. How’s she holding up?”
“As well as she ever does. But I think all the extra hormones are making her act a little crazier.”
“So is the know-it-all fiancée who thinks he can do whatever he wants,” I snap from beneath my fortress of blankets.
“Now that I know all about,” Ashely says. I hear the floor creak softly as she walks over to where I’m lying.
“Don’t sit on her coffee table,” Michelangelo says with mock sternness. “It’s over two hundred years old and could break easily.”
I lob a pillow over the edge of the couch toward the kitchen. I must have missed, because I hear a dull slap as it hits the refrigerator.
Ashely rolls her eyes and sits in the chair next to my couch. “I wanted to say thanks for doing this,” she says softly, folding her hands together on her lap. “I know that this whole thing is completely insane, and totally illegal, and I want you to know that I appreciate the risk that you’re taking for Abel and me.”
I force a small smile. “It’s a risk for all of us. And you’re like family to me. We’ve known each other forever.”
She smiles and looks down at her hands. “Yes, but there’s a huge difference between asking you to house sit for me while I’m on vacation, and to carry my child.”
“So what was Abel’s reaction?” I ask, trying a partial subject change.
“I’ve never seen him so happy before,” she replies with a slight shake of her head. He’s so excited to be a dad. He wants a boy, so he can name him…”
“Leonidas,” I finish for her. I’ve heard Abel’s master plan for a very long time. “And he’d like it even better if they were twins, so they could be Leonidas and Kroll.”
Ashely laughs. “I swear, he and Michelangelo are so much alike.” She sighs and looks at the ring on my hand. “Is that the ring my brother gave you?”
I nod and hold it out for examination. “He officially proposed this morning,” I say with mock excitement.
She raises an eyebrow as she examines it.
“What?” I ask, suddenly uncomfortable under her scrutiny.
“Nothing,” she says as she shakes her head. “I’ve got to get back to work and put in my request for maternity leave.”
“How are you going to fake a pregnancy?” I ask as she stands up.
She smiles secretively. “It helps to have family in the medical business. And your requested food is in the kitchen, as long as Michelangelo hasn’t eaten it all yet. Just give me a call if you need anything, alright?”
I nod and look back down at the blanket on my lap, then her comment about food registers, and I vault over the back of the couch. “Michelangelo, if you touch my cheesecake, I’ll kill you!”