What Matters Most~ Chapter Twelve

Marah had just pulled the tray of muffins out of the oven when she felt Tony’s arms close loosely around her waist.  He leaned his head down beside hers and hummed in appreciation, “Mm-hmm.  Something sure smells good in here.”

“My Grandma Sarah’s Apple Cinnamon muffins.  I woke up craving some and had to make them.” She reached out to grab one before hesitating, “I probably shouldn’t.  I can already feel my butt expanding and I haven’t even tasted it yet.”

Tony leaned back to examine said body part in question and smiled in adoration, “Looks mighty fine to me Mrs. Santos.  Mighty fine indeed.”

Marah turned and slapped his arm playfully, “You have to say that husband of mine.  Though I do love when you watch me with those pervy eyes of yours Mr. Santos.  Gets me all hot and bothered.” She giggled as she grabbed a muffin anyway, her early talk about expanding derrieres forgotten, “So what are your plans for the day?”

Tony looked out the window, his brown eyes taking in the early morning sun and how it made everything seem so more promising than the night before.  He grabbed a muffin of his own before answering, “Danny, Rafael, and I are meeting at Infierno to go over quarterly sales figures and discuss possible new wine distributors.  The one we have been using has been late three times in the past two months.  But we’ll get it resolved.”

“I’m sure you will.  Michelle and I are going shopping on Main Street.  Trying to locate some decent maternity clothes that don’t make me look like a circus tent.”

Tony laughed loudly.  “Kind of early don’t you think?  You are not even showing.”

“You are such a guy.” Marah rolled her eyes, “Maternity clothes have a tendency to run towards the hideous.  So Michelle and I are getting an early start.  That way when I do start to show I don’t have to look like the circus tent I just mentioned.”

Tony nodded though Marah could tell he wasn’t the least bit interested.  “Understood.”  He got up and after washing his plate he kissed her on the top of her head. “But you know you are gorgeous in anything you wear.  Even circus apparel.”

Now it was Marah’s turn to laugh. “You sweet talker you!”

“I do have my good points Mrs. Santos.  You remember that.”

***

“How does this look?”

Marah barely glanced at the scarf Michelle held up for her to inspect, “Looks good.  Very chic.  But you should have seen him last night Michelle I just felt so bad for him.”

“I knew I didn’t have your full attention!” Michelle threw the offensive scarf down in disgust and eyed her friend with mock anger, “That scarf I showed you had to have been a holdover from the seventies at least!  I think my mom had a scarf like that, and it was probably ugly back then too.”

Snapped to full attention at the displeasure, and humor, in Michelle’s voice Marah finally looked down at the discarded garment…and winced.  It was indeed ugly, not that she would ever admit defeat though. “Well in the fashion world we call that vintage.  And it never really goes out of style.”

Michelle scoffed and moved over to the closest rack of maternity clothes, “Here in the real world we call that ugly and it is always out of style.” She began rifling through the garments before continuing, “So tell me about Tony.  What had him so upset?”

“Last night we were having dinner over at Towers with my family to tell them about the baby.  It was going great when the new bartender asked if it was our first baby.”

Now it was Michelle’s turn to wince, “Well I am certain that but a kibosh on the whole celebration atmosphere,”

“You can say that again!  Tony actually had to excuse himself and go outside.  Then when we got home he was still pretty upset about it.  Said it brought back a lot of the old pain from that summer.  We talked it out and he seemed fine when we finally went to bed, but what if it’s always there Michelle?  That anger and resentment? Just waiting to burst to the surface.”

Michelle looked thoughtful for a moment as if she herself was reliving that year as well.  The summer where her brother almost died and that fall when she and Danny separated and Danny was thought to be dead.  Marah’s suspicions were confirmed when Michelle shuddered, “I think I can speak for all of us that 2002 was not a great year.  Losing the love of your life because someone manipulated you into getting them pregnant is enough for anyone.  Losing the baby then going to jail for murder of said manipulative wench?  Yeah I must say Tony had a pretty rough go of it that year.” Michelle held out her palm and placed it on Marah’s belly, “But this baby is a whole other story.  This baby is your baby and if I know Tony he has a secret list of baby names a mile long.  Don’t worry, Tony will get his head on straight.”

Marah had to admit that Michelle had made some good points.  And no one else knew what it was like loving the complicated Santos males than she did.  “You have a point.  But I’m tired of thinking.” She rubbed her belly gently, “And the baby is thinking it’s time for some lunch.”

Michelle’s lifted an eyebrow. “Buzz burger? Followed by a trip to Len’s since Rick and Mindy has the kids until Danny is done with work?”

Marah grabbed her purse and the two women moved towards the exit, “You read my mind. Junior mint isn’t too picky as long as he or she is fed regularly.”  Marah paused then laughed, “Hey this baby is part Lewis after all.”

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