Macie blew out her candles on her cake with a bright smile while I grinned and snapped pictures from behind her. Even at forty, she still looked beautiful. I wish I had looked as good when I turned forty.
“There. Now I’m just as big of a geezer as you are,” she teased when she turned around.
“Impossible. I see not a single wrinkle on your face.”
“Oh please!” she laughed as I pulled her into a loving embrace.
“Happy birthday, honey.”
“Thank you. Soon, we’ll be celebrating another birthday,” she smiled, rubbing her still-flat belly. After I’d become CEO of the corporation I worked for, we decided that it was finally time to start a family. Things were good for both of us; we had more than enough money to support both a child and the fertility treatments Macie needed in order to get pregnant at her age, and we were happy together. We always had been and now here we were, about to become parents. It was both exciting and terrifying at the same time. I knew Macie would be a wonderful mother, but would I be a good father? I had no idea, but I was going to find out soon enough.
“I still can’t believe we’re going to be parents,” I murmured, looking down at her belly. You couldn’t tell she was pregnant yet.
“I know, it’s so… uh oh…. oohhh…” Macie groaned, suddenly clutching her stomach with one hand and covering her mouth with the other. Uh oh. I knew what that meant.
“Morning sickness? Again?”
She nodded and bolted for the toilet and the house was filled with the sounds of her expelling everything she’d eaten that day… again. She’d been throwing up all day. And the day before that. And the day before that… It was starting to really worry me. Was it normal to be throwing up nearly twenty-four seven?
“Aww, it’s okay, Vixen. I’m just fine, don’t you worry about me, sweetie,” Macie assured the dog when she returned. Vixen ran to the bathroom door when Macie started throwing up, whining and pawing nervously at the door. She did that every time Macie threw up and every time, Macie would assure the dog she was fine and comfort her with a hug or a kiss or a belly rub. I wasn’t so sure she really was as fine as she insisted she was and resolved to bring it up at her next doctor’s appointment, but for right now, it was her birthday and we were going to celebrate it. “Where are you going?” she asked me as I ducked into our room to get the bouquet of flowers I had hidden in there.
“You’ll see,” I told her.
“And what’s that you’re hiding behind your back?” she asked with an amused smile when I reappeared, one hand on her hip.
“Your birthday present,” I said, pulling out the flowers. “You said you didn’t want anything, but I couldn’t not at least get you flowers.”
“Oh, it’s just like our first date!” she gushed, taking a long sniff of the purple blooms. “You’re so sweet, you know that?”
“Well, I try,” I smiled.
We were at a point in our lives where everything was going perfectly and we couldn’t have been happier with our marriage, our careers and our baby. I never could have imagined that it would ever come to an end.
I should have known better