Elaine rolled over in bed away from Jeremy. She groaned and buried her head under the pillows to try to fall asleep.
The damn glow from his tablet. He prefers it to me.
She resented Jeremy’s addiction to political news. Over breakfast that morning, she had tried to talk with him.
“I know you want to find out what’s going on. But, do you need to read the news every minute?”
“I do, for our investments.” Jeremy gulped some coffee as he swiped the screen. “What if the government makes new policies that might devastate our finances?”
“Is your research really for us? Or, is it because your father punished you for marrying me, the daughter of poor immigrants?” Elaine’s eyes stung with tears. She remembered Jeremy’s anguish when his dad cut Jeremy out of the family’s business and his father’s will.
Jeremy hid his eyes behind his coffee cup. “I care about providing for us.”
That night, Elaine’s thoughts tormented her as she snuggled into the pillows.
Is it really about our future? Do we have to have a lot of money?
She buried her face deeper into the pillow under her head to block the tablet’s glow. Jeremy straightened himself up on his pile of pillows, then he cried out.
“No, no, no. How can they be so stupid?”
Elaine tensed up. After a minute, he let loose a string of profanities, got up, and stormed out to the kitchen.
She rubbed her bulging abdomen to calm down. She felt a kick, and then, another. Elaine laughed and hurried into the kitchen.
“Jeremy, put your tablet down.”
“Not, now, Elaine, you don’t understand that I….”
Elaine pushed the tablet onto the kitchen counter, grabbed Jeremy’s hand, and pressed it firmly against her belly. “Honey, stop. Feel this. Feel your baby kicking.”
Jeremy stared at Elaine. He wrinkled his forehead, mouth agape.
Elaine giggled. “Did you feel it?”
“Oh my God.” Jeremy’s eyes filled with tears as the baby continued kicking.
“Isn’t that incredible? Our baby’s finally big enough that we can feel movement.”
Jeremy pressed his cheek, moist with tears, against Elaine’s. “We’ve just lost two-thirds of our investments. How can I take care of you two now?”
Elaine caressed his head. “Honey, please stop. Focus on our baby. Please, take in this moment. It’s precious.” She moved his hand around her abdomen. “We did this. Our love gave us this tiny little being. We’ll be okay.”
“But I…. Wow,” he whispered. His face glowed with a warmth no tablet could provide. “I only want to give you the best.”
She kissed his cheek. “You already have.” She grasped Jeremy’s hand and rubbed the spot he had just caressed. “As long as I have you and our baby, I have all I want. Anything else is extra.”
Jeremy pulled her close and kissed her. “I love you.” He leaned back, gazed into her eyes, and then turned and picked up his tablet.
Jenise Cook lives in northern Arizona, where it snows, with her husband and their herding dog Mattie. Jenise writes both fiction and nonfiction. Her works are on Mojave H[eart] Review, CommuterLit, Lost Pen Magazine, and several Medium.com publications.