The air was thick with the smell of freshly risen cupcakes when Alex pushed open the door to the kitchen and scuttled inside with a rustling bag of groceries.
"Hi, honey," he chirped.
A puffy-faced, frizzy-haired Jamie had her shoulders hunched over a bowl of fluffy yellow butter icing when she looked up.
"Hey," she said with a tired smile.
After pecking her on the cheek, Alex landed the shopping bag onto the kitchen counter next to the icing bowl, and rummaged inside.
"We're celebrating tonight," he said excitedly, "with a carton of orange juice, and -!" He grinned as he pulled out the carton, still cool from the industrial fridge at Tesco. "It's not just any of that own-brand stuff. This is legitimate Tropicana."
"Awh, Al, you... You shouldn't have." Jamie's voice sounded strained, weary. Alex licked his lips in worry, a million frazzled thoughts racing through his head.
"You must be tired, J, have you been on your feet all day? Come on, you can finish that after your drink."
He took the bowl from her hand and pulled her into a cuddle, feeling her 4-month baby bump against him as he did so.
"I'd better just get the cupcakes out of the oven," she whispered as he closed his mouth close to hers. Holding her stomach for a quick, thoughtful moment, she slipped out of Alex's arms and across the kitchen.
Three months she's been like this. Alex picked up the orange juice carton and tried to fight off the imposing sense of discomfort that was gnawing at his insides.