Kareem woke up to Lena curled up in his arms. He tried to get up without waking her but her eyes opened as soon as he moved.
“Hey, you can go back to sleep.”
“Just to go back to mommy’s to shower and change.”
“Oh. Okay.” Lena yawned and fell right back to sleep.
Kareem kissed her on the forehead and then got off the bed. He put his shoes on and headed out. During the ride back to his grandmother’s house, he tried to wrap his head around the fact that Lena was pregnant with his child. He was going to be a father. It wasn’t even something he had thought about seriously. Getting Lena to take him seriously had been his primary focus.
Tantie was sitting on the porch with a cup of coffee when he pulled up at her house. She looked at him when he got out of the car. “Well, how did it go?”
“Mommy, I took her back to her room and we fell asleep.”
“Yes, but how did it go?”
Kareem smiled. “She asked me to stay. She thinks I am going to get sick of her.”
Tantie smiled. “Good. That woman cares about you. She’s scared.”
“Scared of what?”
“You gotta ask her to find that out.”
Kareem sat down next to Tantie. “This woman…”
“You probably fell in love with her the moment you saw her.” Tantie laughed as a huge grin formed on Kareem’s face. She stood up. “I know my baby.”
“Don’t overthink. Decide what you want and tell her.”
“Mommy, she’s a strong woman.”
“Yes. And that means she needs a strong man. Fight for what you want or she isn’t going to think you want it.” Tantie finished her coffee. “Take me down to the restaurant before you get cleaned up. I have to start the bread.”
Lena woke up and sat up. She looked around and saw that Kareem was gone. Her heart began to race and tears came out of her eyes before she could stop them. Lena covered her mouth but the sobs escaped and were loud. Lena had been frequently bursting into tears. Her boss, whose wife had six kids, said it was hormones after he witnessed one crying attack. That was the main reason he agreed to let her work remotely until she had to go on maternity leave.
Kareem walked into the room. “What’s wrong? What happened?”
“I’m an emotional pregnant woman.” Lena continued to sob but tried to wipe her eyes.
“Okay.” Kareem chuckled and grabbed a tissue. He sat down on the bed and handed the tissue to Lena.
“You can’t see me cry.”
“Why? Are you going to have to kill me now?”
Kareem laughed. “You want me to cry with you?”
Lena pushed him. “No.”
“What do you want me to do?”
“I don’t know.” Lena buried her head in his chest.
Kareem wrapped his arms around her. “Do you want to know what I want to do?”
Lena nodded her head.
“I want you to come to LA.”
Lena sat up and looked at him.
“I know marriage isn’t what you are thinking right now but I really want you to come out to LA. You can stay at my house until you find a place.” Kareem paused. “Not that I want you to find a place. I want you to move in with me. I just want you to be comfortable.”
“I have a big house. You can have your own room. My mom is in the in-law suite on the other side of the house. She would love to help with the baby.”
“I was going to hire a nanny.”
“That she would not love.”
Lena buried her face in Kareem’s chest. She moved as close to him as she could.
Kareem put his arms around her. “We can make this work Lena.”
“So is that a yes?”
Lena nodded again.
“So, what about marriage?”
Lena looked up at him. “Kareem, we haven’t even been on a date. Are you nuts?”
“Naw. I just had to ask to make sure you were in your right mind.” Kareem laughed.
Lena pushed him back on the bed. “Keep playing and I will sit on you and crush you as fat as I am.”
“Don’t threaten me with a good time.”
Lena hit Kareem with a pillow.
The bridal shower was still going when Lena tried to sneak out. Macie caught her as she walked down towards the villas.
“You okay hon?”
Lena smiled. “I’m too pregnant to party.”
Macie laughed. “I appreciate you still doing all this for me. I don’t know that I wouldn’t have totally handed all this off to Gloria.”
“You’re my best friend.” Lena looked down. “You know I really wanted to tell you. I just didn’t want to take away from all your wedding excitement.”
“I get it. You’re a weirdo, but I love that about you.” Macie gave her a hug.
“I love you too hon.”
“Wait just a moment. I got someone to walk you back.”
“You are indeed fine. That’s why you need an escort.” Kareem walked over from the other side of the building.
Lena frowned. “Don’t leave y’all party just to walk me back.”
Kareem smiled. “Nathan has already crashed the bridal shower looking for his bride.”
Macie laughed. “Good night guys.”
Kareem waved and then held out his hand to Lena. She took it and they began to walk back to her villa. “Your feet still hurt?”
“Yes.” Lena held her hand up. “But you are not carrying me back to the villa.”
“Okay.” Kareem nodded.
During rehearsal, the bridal party was goofing off so much that they had to repeatedly walk down the aisle. Lena got frustrated and fussed at everyone. She told them she was a whale and her feet couldn’t take any more of their antics. Kareem shocked her by picking her up in his arms and carrying her the last two times they rehearsed.
They got back to the room and Kareem immediately ran Lena a bath. Lena kicked off her shoes and noticed an extra suit bag hanging on her closet door.
She walked into the bathroom. “You’re staying tonight.”
“Yes. Is that okay?”
Lena smiled. “I don’t know.”
Kareem raised an eyebrow. “I can go.”
“No.” Lena said quickly. She held his hand but looked down. “I feel like a fat cow.”
“You are not a fat cow.”
“I am a fat cow. I just hope you don’t mind holding a fat cow.”
Kareem laughed. “I would love to hold you.”
“Good. Now go in the other room. I gotta pee.”
Kareem shook his head and left the bathroom. He took a moment to text his mother and remind her that he was staying at the resort. He was startled when she called him back. “Ma, why aren’t you asleep?”
“Lena’s parents just headed back to their hotel.”
“They’re here?” Kareem looked at the closed bathroom door. “I don’t remember them on the guest list.”
“Eric is here too. Your grandmother had Lena’s sister call them yesterday so she could talk to them. I don’t know what she said but they are here.”
Kareem held his head. “Lena is going to flip out.”
“It will be fine. I just wanted to let you know so you were prepared.” His mother was quiet for a moment. “How is it going?”
“I just don’t want this to end up like it did the last two times.”
“Ma, I got this.”
“Okay. Okay. I’m going to bed.”
“Goodnight. I will see you in the morning.” Kareem hung up and sat his phone on the nightstand. He looked up and noticed that the bathroom door was open. He got up and stuck his head in the room. Lena was sitting in the tub. She looked up at him and smiled. Kareem smiled back. “You good?”
“Come keep me company.”
Kareem was hesitant at first but Lena reached her arm out to him. He walked over and sat on the edge of the tub. Lena looked up at him and caused him to chuckle. “Why are you looking at me like that?”
“Come keep me company.”
After leaning down and kissing her on the forehead, Kareem got undressed and slipped into the tub behind her. He let her slide back in between his legs. Lena took his hands and wrapped his arms around her. Kareem whispered in her ear. “Is that better?”
“Yes.” Lena leaned back against Kareem. She held his hands and played with his fingers. Lena felt so comfortable at that moment, more than she had ever remembered feeling. “This is nice. It would be better if my big behind wasn’t displacing so much water.”
Kareem laughed. “Your behind is beautiful and this water should be honored by your presence.”
Lena laughed. “You don’t have to butter me up.”
“I am just being honest.”
Kareem kissed Lena on the cheek. “What’s this new wall that you have?”
“This isn’t the super professional, independent Lena.”
Lena took a deep breath. “I don’t feel like myself. This baby has me all over the place. I don’t even know how I function.”
He chuckled. “You’re superwoman. Of course you are going to function.”
“I called my boss today.”
“Aren’t you on vacation?”
Lena shrugged. “I have been working remotely since I made partner.”
“I talked to my boss to see if he would consider letting me take over an office he was planning on closing.”
“Where is this office?”
Lena looked back at him. “It’s in LA.”
“What did he say?” Kareem tried not to hold his breath.
“He said he is going to think about it. They were debating moving the office to San Diego but he doesn’t want me to quit.”
“I don’t want you to quit either.” Kareem leaned his head back against the tub. “I hope this works out cause I know you love your job.”
“I do.” Lena moved his hands onto her belly. “The baby is relaxed tonight.”
“I know mommy grilled you about what the doctor says.”
Lena laughed. “She did. I told her that everything is good and that I decided not to know the sex of the baby.”
“You want another surprise?”
“Sure, why not.”
Kareem laughed. “Okay.”
Lena moved his hands lower. “Is this messing up your plans?”
“My plan was to convince you to marry me. Now if that didn’t work I was hoping to at least get you to go out on a date with me.”
“You and this marriage talk.”
“I said or a date.”
Lena laughed. “Where would we go?”
“You seem like the type that would enjoy the symphony.”
“I was willing to meet you wherever.”
“I like the symphony.”
“What else do you like?”
Lena leaned back and began to tell Kareem about what she liked and didn’t like when it came to dating. She sighed after mentioning a few things. “I never really have time to date. I’ve been working twelve hour days, sometimes more.”
“Ah, I know that life well.”
“They were short staffed so I filled in. I finished the hours required for residency already.”
“Still gotta finish out the year because I would like to stay there.”
“I’m glad.” Lena tilted her head and looked up at him. “You understand why I kept pushing you away.”
“Yeah. Don’t mean I like it.”
Kareem leaned his head down and kissed Lena’s lips. He didn’t expect to be greeted with such passion. Lena slipped her arm over in his hair and pulled him even closer. He tried to fight it but his dick got hard just from her running her fingers through his hair. He smiled when she pulled away.
Lena looked in his eyes. “Do you want to try and…”
He chuckled when she didn’t finish her sentence. “Only if you want to.”
“Okay. Let’s get out of this tub.”
Kareem helped Lena up and out of the tub. Lena giggled while Kareem dried her off. He led her over to the bed. Lena sat down on the bed and pulled him in between her legs. “How are we going to do this?”
“Magic.” Kareem bent down and kissed her. His hands began to massage her thighs. Then he pulled her a little closer to the edge of the bed. Lena slowly leaned back and wrapped her legs around his waist. Kareem slowly eased his dick inside her. Lena moaned. He smiled at her. “Tell me when you want me to stop.”
Lena nodded and braced herself. Kareem was as gentle as possible as he stroked inside of her. Lena was extremely turned on and it wasn’t long before she had an orgasm. She moaned and called out his name, encouraging him to continue. Kareem watched her reactions. The sight of her, pregnant with his child and being pleased by him, was everything to him. He had to catch himself as he climaxed and ended up pulling out to avoid pounding too deeply into her.
Lena sat up, propping herself up on her elbows after Kareem wiped her legs down with a warm cloth. She didn’t remember him going to get the cloth. She could barely hold her eyes open while he held it between her legs. A smile grew on her face. “That was not as much fun as I remember but wonderful at the same time.”
Kareem chuckled. “You look like a little kid fighting sleep.”
“Get in bed with me.”
“I am in a minute.” Kareem pulled the covers down and helped Lena get comfortable. Then he went in the bathroom to clean up. When he came back in the room she was sound asleep. He got into bed and kissed her softly before curling up next to her. It wasn’t too long before he was asleep as well.
The wedding was beautiful. Lena did her best not to start crying. She was so busy with getting Macie down the aisle without either one of them crying that she didn’t see her parents until after the ceremony. Kareem had told her they were going to be there when he woke her up that morning. Then she didn’t get to say anything to them until after the wedding party took pictures.
Her mother gave her a kiss on the cheek. “You look beautiful honey.”
“Thank you.” Lena smiled and then hugged her dad. “I thought you guys weren’t coming.”
“A nice woman named Tantie called us and told us that our grandbaby would be delivered on this island so we decided to make the trip.”
“I’m due in four weeks.”
“She is apparently a midwife and doula. We’re going to trust her judgment.” Her father smiled at her. “I take it things are okay with Kareem.”
Lena nodded. “I think he has talked me into moving to LA.”
“So you’re going to give that young man a chance?” Her mother raised her eyebrows.
“Yes, I am.”
“We shall see.”
Before Lena could say a word her mother walked over to Macie’s mother to congratulate her. Lena looked at her father. “Why is she like this?”
“Where else would you have gotten it from?” He winked at her and then followed his wife.
“So are you going to talk to me?”
Lena turned and looked at Eric. “Maybe.”
“I told you I was sorry.”
“You told my voicemail and email that you were sorry.”
“I also sent you a text.” Eric smiled. “Listen, I’m not even close to thrilled about you and Kareem.”
“Good thing we don’t care.”
Eric nodded. “I want you both to be happy and I hope it works out. I’m in a really fucked up situation if it doesn’t.”
It was Lena’s turn to nod. “I get it.”
“I’m super excited to be an uncle.” Eric smiled again. “You making him move to Miami?”
“I can not make a grown man do anything.”
Eric chuckled. “Yes, you could. If you said you wanted to stay in Miami he would be there as fast as possible.”
Lena looked over at Kareem. He was talking with Nathan and Macie. “Yeah, I’m certain you are right.”
Lena sighed. “I’m going to LA. My job has an office there. Hopefully I get a position there. Otherwise, I will just get a new job.”
“Wow.” Eric rubbed his chin.
“What is the wow for?”
“Talking like that got me thinking you are serious about him.” Eric nodded and rubbed his chin again.
“What are you plotting?”
“I’m not plotting anything.”
“Bullshit.” Lena raised an eyebrow.
“I was just wondering what you were going to do with your condo. I could relocate…”
“Jesus Christ, get the fuck away from me.” Lena balled her fists up and tried not to scream.
“Come on Eric. She’s going to kill you and blame the hormones.” Kim walked past them, dragging Eric away with her.
Lena turned and walked out of the room. She barely made it to the edge of the patio before Kareem caught up to her. “Do I need to choke your brother?”
“No. He’s just a pain in the ass.”
“Tell me something I don’t know.”
Lena smiled. “He wants to move into my condo.”
“Doesn’t he work in DC?”
“He got fired.”
Kareem shook his head. “I don’t even know what to say.”
“Exactly.” Lena stopped walking and put her hand on her back.
“What’s up? Your back hurting again?”
“Yeah. I probably should be sitting down instead of walking.”
“Want a quick back rub before the reception?”
“Can you rub and walk? I think it is starting in a few minutes.”
“I can do whatever you like, my dear.”
“You know I’m just moving to LA so I can get massages whenever I want?”
Kareem laughed. “Yeah. I know that and I’m totally fine with it.”
Lena winked at him. They turned and headed back to the reception area. Kareem rubbed her back the entire way and up until they had to walk in the reception. She was able to make it through the toasts and opening dances. However, after an hour Lena was sitting sideways in a chair and leaning against Kareem. He rubbed her back while talking with different people who came over to sit with them. She had almost dozed off when Macie prepared to throw the bouquet. Lena had no intention of getting up. She sat and giggled at how Nathan took the garter off Macie with his teeth. Then she looked around when no one got on the dance floor to catch the garter or the bouquet. Instead, Nathan and Macie got up and walked over to where Lena and Kareem were sitting. Macie handed Lena the bouquet and Nathan put the garter on Kareem’s wrist.
Nathan smiled. “Just a friendly hint.”
Kareem chuckled. “Whenever she is ready.”
“So in a year?” Tantie smiled from the next table over.
Lena turned to her. “Three years.”
“One year. I’m not getting any younger.” Tantie raised her eyebrows.
“Lena.” Tantie mimicked.
Lena sighed. “Two years and I promise we’ll come to get married here.”
“Deal.” Tantie smiled. She looked at Kareem. “See Kareem. That’s how you do it.”
Kareem shook his head. “I don’t know what just happened but I’m totally okay with it.”
Lena smiled. She shifted a little and Kareem rubbed her lower back. “I think your baby is crushing my spine.”
“Bend forward on the chair.” Kareem used both hands to give Lena a much deeper massage. “How is that?”
“I hope we don’t screw this up cause I could really get used to this.”
Kareem looked up at Nathan. “She is only keeping me because of my massage skills.”
“Macie only married me because I wash dishes.”
“These are facts.” Macie smiled and pulled Nathan back onto the dance floor.
Lena woke up the next morning and pulled out her laptop. She worked until Kareem woke up two hours after her. He showered first, giving her a few more minutes before he got her off the computer and in the shower. Lena realized she didn’t feel well when she was in the bathroom putting on her maxi dress.
“Do I have to go do whatever it is we are doing? The wedding is over. I think my maid of honor duties are done.”
Kareem smiled at her. He was amazed at how beautiful she was with a scowl on her face, barefoot, and her locs hanging down. “It is just brunch at mommy’s restaurant.”
“I’m not hungry.”
“Her house is like right there so if you want to just stay for a few minutes and then go to the house and take a nap we can do that.”
“I don’t like being pregnant anymore. I’m over it.” Lena pouted.
“It’s almost over.”
“Not soon enough. I haven’t felt this shitty since…” Lena leaned on the doorway. “I never felt this shitty. I…”
Kareem got up when Lena rushed into the bathroom and threw up. He pulled her hair out of the way and rubbed her back. When she finished he got her some mouthwash. “Did that help or make it worse?”
Lena shrugged. “I guess it helped a little.”
“If you don’t want to go…”
“No. Let’s go. Tantie will probably not like it if we don’t come.”
“Nope. She would send someone to come and get us.” Kareem helped Lena up.
“Can you grab me the other dress in the closet?”
Kareem left the room and brought back her other dress. “You have a ton of stuff in there. Were you moving to the island?”
Lena smiled. “No. I was heading to DC or Miami after this. My assignment was done in Amsterdam so I just packed everything I didn’t ship.” Lena paused after she put the dress on. “When are you flying back to LA?”
“In two days.”
“I guess I need to see if there is room on your flight.”
“My mom was going to give you her ticket. She wants to stay an extra week.”
Lena laughed. “She wants to make sure I go with you. Staying here with her family is a bonus.”
Kareem laughed. “You’re probably right.”
“Okay, let’s do this before I change my mind.”
“As long as you don’t change your mind about LA.”
“I can’t now. My boss emailed me a long list of ideas. He is excited about saving the LA office.”
Kareem shook his head. “I’m glad I love what I do.”
“Why do you say that?”
“It helps me to understand you.” Kareem kissed her. “Let me go put shoes on so we can get out of here.”
“Kareem.” Lena waited for him to stop in the doorway. “I’m really serious about giving this a try.”
“But I will need my own room.”
Kareem hung his head back. “Woman, what am I going to do with you?”
“Take me to brunch and then take a nap with me.”
“Sounds like a plan.”