Perfect Pairings

By: J A Armstrong

CHAPTER ONE




JUNE 6rth



It wasn’t supposed to be hot in June. At least, it wasn’t supposed to be this hot. Carrie Maynard wiped her brow and groaned. She’d thought that she would avoid the dead heat of summer during her final trimester of pregnancy—no such luck. A wild winter had given way to a wicked summer. “Welcome to New England,” she muttered. She looked down at her swollen middle and laughed. “And, you; how can you have so much energy in this heat?” She asked her unborn child.

“Mom!”

Carrie chuckled. “Good thing it never gets old, because it certainly never ends.”

CJ ran into the kitchen and looked at Carrie expectantly.

“Uh-oh,” Carrie said. “Did I forget something again?”

“When do we go see Devon?”

Carrie glanced at the clock on the microwave. “In about an hour.”

CJ huffed.

“What’s the matter? Bored?” Carrie asked.

CJ’s eyes roamed over the kitchen table where Carrie had placed some bowls and pans. She looked up at the open cabinets, put her hands on her hips, and frowned.

Carrie forced herself not to laugh. She was about to get scolded.

“Mom,” CJ began seriously.

Carrie lifted an eyebrow at the youngster.

“Devon said you’s s’posed to rest.”

Devon says a lot of things. “I’m all right, sweetie.”

A skeptical five-year-old took a step closer and grabbed Carrie’s hand.

“CJ,” Carrie began softly. “I’m okay.”

CJ shook her head. “Devon says I’s s’posed to watch you.”

That was it; Carrie erupted in laughter. She could imagine the conversation her wife had conducted with CJ.

“I’m five,” CJ explained. “Five’s big.”

Carrie smiled. She took a seat in one of the kitchen chairs and kissed CJ’s forehead. “How about if you help me until it’s time to go?”

CJ considered the offer for a moment, tapping a finger to her cheek. She sighed and nodded. “You sit first,” CJ said firmly. She’d heard Devon instruct Carrie to get off her feet many times in recent weeks, and what Devon said was law.

Carrie rolled her eyes.

“Mom,” CJ warned just as Carrie sometimes cautioned her.

Carrie chuckled. God help me get through these last few weeks.



***



“Hey, Princess.”

Devon offered her best friend a wave.

“Busy?” Bruce asked.

“Not really.”

“Are you okay?”

“Yeah, I’m fine. Just wondering if I should head home and check on Carrie.”

Bruce grinned. “She’s not dying, you know?”

“Did she call you?”

“No, why? I thought she was bringing CJ here to have dinner with you.”

“She is.”

“Okay, I am missing something.”

“You’re missing a lot of things, Solo.”

“Very funny, Princess. What gives? Carrie seemed fine this weekend.”

Devon threw a pot in the sink. Why did everyone seem hell-bent on convincing her that Carrie was fine? Okay, maybe Carrie was fine. No, Carrie wasn’t fine, she was tired, her feet were swollen, she wasn’t sleeping, and she refused to slow down. Devon was worried.

“Devon,” Bruce softened his tone. “If you’re really that worried about her, go home. We can handle things here without you.”

Devon shook her head. “She’ll kill me.”

Bruce smiled. “Devon,” he called for her attention. “You know, if Carrie thought there was anything to worry about, she’d tell you.”

“If she thought something was wrong, she’d tell me. I don’t think she’d tell me that she’s struggling to handle everything.” Devon sighed. “She hasn’t slept in three nights. I don’t know how to help her.”

“Go home.”

“That might make it worse.”

“Just go,” Bruce said. “If she kicks you out; you can stay with me.”

Devon’s face drained of color.

Bruce laughed. Devon’s nervousness had been growing over the last few days. He wondered how Devon would survive the next four weeks, and how Carrie would manage to endure Devon’s pacing. It surprised him to see Devon feeling worried. By all accounts, Carrie was feeling healthy. Devon had watched her sister and her sisters-in-law wade through pregnancy and birth plenty of times. “Devon, you’ve been through this before.”

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