This chapter starts off with Grace's POV being written in her diary which she addresses Bessie (bold/italics). It addresses Grace's insecurities as a wife and how her growing stomach maybe a turn off to her husband. Toward the end of the chapter her POV will be thought based not via her diary (italics).

Thanks for stopping by and reading another chapter of this shorter fic. The posts will be about every two weeks instead of my normal one week updates. I am a bit behind because I was recently blessed with a new awesome nephew, Theodore, and other family events have gotten in the way as well. Again thanks for your support and understanding. :-)


March 30th, 1934

3:00 p.m.

Oh Bessie,

I don't know what to do! It's been such a wretched month! First, Annie's issues and my 'confinement,' then making amends with Annie and solidifying her place in our hearts/lives, and finally it appeared as if things would be on the up and up when a few days later both of us had the majority of our restrictions lifted. You would have thought all would have … would have … gone back too normal, but baby Warbucks decided too make his/her presence known by making my stomach grow tenfold.

Ugh! I am ecstatic that I'm pregnant, Bessie, don't get me wrong! I wasn't sure at my age, 33 going on 34, that I would be able to get pregnant let alone sustain a pregnancy! I thank my lucky stars everyday, BUT AS A WOMAN WHO JUST 'LANDED HER MAN,' as Annie would state, the changes to my body would surely repulse my husband!

The morning that Annie and I both had our doctors' appointments, I discovered that not only had my belly popped out a bit more but so did it's blue veins! I looked like a 'blue hippopotamus' and I also noticed I was sporting a slight waddle too my gate now. Ugh! I thought the waddle would come a bit later! I didn't remember Abigail being this big at almost five months.

Oh Bessie, one of the restrictions during my 'confinement,' as you well know, was celibacy! I was so looking forward to a night with Oliver where we could unleash our bottled up passion, but after seeing my hideous belly I feared he would reject me or worse! And 'worse' came later that evening! Bessie I know I have written this before, but I think I am loosing my husband's interest! I mean how could he possibly want his 'fat wife' when he could have a very thin and curvy Adrienne Bouvier. I know I have ranted about her every night since her appearance on March 1st but am I not entitled? I ALSO KNOW that he hasn't left the mansion, in order to rekindle their relationship yet, but I'm just waiting for the other shoe to drop!

UGH! My hormones are all over the place! One minute I want to spit nails at Oliver and in another I want him to take me on the office desk! Oh, that moment in the pool with Oliver was delectable! I was so nervous about him seeing me in that bathing suit that Cecile helped tailor, I wanted something that made me look somewhat sexy and show of my legs which Oliver loves too admire. She also helped me with several new business suits as well, but stated that she was a bit tied up with another project to assist with more alluring outfits for off business hours. She stated that she would assist after the other project was complete and I was grateful for what she already made me so I wasn't going to push.

Anyway, once Oliver's smoldering gaze landed on me in my new swimsuit and I returned it with the same heat (that is before Annie's water attack) it gave me the courage I needed too join them in the pool. Oh Bessie, he's such a good father, but I WANTED HIM in that moment! It was selfish I know but I still sulked a bit on the raft when they continued too ignore me. Eventually the water relaxed me and I forgot all about my jealousy.

The next thing I knew I was ambushed by my daughter and my husband! To say I was surprised was an understatement, and I was a bit miffed that Oliver got my hair wet. I was about to give him a piece of my mind until he planted an amazing toe curling kiss on me. Thank goodness Annie seemed too know that we needed time because she started to do laps in the pool. This allowed Oliver and I to get a little frisky and before I knew it I was backed up in a corner enjoying my husband's attention! Unfortunately, Drake interrupted us and I nearly died of embarrassment! Bless Annie because she saved me and eventually both of us gave Oliver permission to see his guest. Just knowing he was perturbed about the interruption set my heart at ease. I couldn't wait for bed!

Those thoughts were short lived when Annie and I went to save Oliver from his guest. Shock doesn't even begin to describe how I felt when I saw Oliver hugging ANOTHER WOMAN and then to learn it was ADRIENNE BOUVIER, his once mistress nearly destroyed me! She was gorgeous and her waistline and figure were to die for even if I wasn't pregnant! All I could do was size her up and pull Annie closer to me to hide my growing bump. I couldn't compete with her! Annie sensing my fear and knowing all about Adrienne (in a way) helped me escape that wretched scenario.

We both dashed up the stairs and she quickly darted toward her room, but before she could fully close her door I told her I would be in to use her shower shortly. For a split second she looked at me funny but then said, "Sure mama I'll leave the door open." I remember thinking I need too hold it together or else she'll start to ask questions, but I feared my hormones would let me down. Thank goodness she didn't say anything to me as I entered her room and crossed over into her bathroom. She appeared to be engrossed in one of her drawings!

After crying for about 15 minutes in the shower, I heard a knock and a soft "mama are you okay?" I knew then I needed to collect my wits together and 'suck it up' like Annie would say, because she rarely called me mama unless she was sick, hurt, clingy, or concerned. I remember telling her I would be out of the shower in five minutes, and she said "okay." Once, I 'sucked it up,' I completed my hygiene regiment in the shower and stepped out into the dressing room then hastily glanced at my 'fat body.' I quickly dressed in my under garments but Annie must of heard me turn off the shower because she poked her head. "Mom? Oh wow!" was not what I wanted to hear but Annie quickly came in to exam my exposed belly. "I've neva seen it this way!" I went into mom mode and corrected her grammar, "never dear," as I quickly tried to cover it up, but my precocious daughter was captivated by it. Then I recalled the last few days and the 'hell' we were all under so I let her explore it a bit more. I could see her silent pleading to touch it and I allowed her, resisting the impulse too hide it under clothes.

I'm glad I did because it was the most endearing exchange between Annie and her sibling. Oh Bessie, it was so adorable that I was able to forget the blue veins and feeling like a hippo for a few moments. Annie placed her palm hesitantly on my stomach and said, "Hello, little one, I finally get to see you a bit more tonight! I can't wait to meetcha, I'm your big sister Annie! I know I've told you this a lot since mom and dad told me aboutcha but I love you!" Just as she said those three words she received a swift in kick in the hand. The look on her face was precious and we both giggled in delight! She then placed a soft kiss on it and left the dressing room. To say the exchange lifted my mood for a split second was an understatement but after trying to fit into one my last alluring dresses with an empire waste line to conceal the baby bump my hopes and spirits were dashed. Oh the dress still fit like a glove but it definitely didn't conceal our little tyke. I WAS DEFINITELY PREGNANT NOW!

It all seems absurd I know, I'm pregnant, but the woman in me wants too be slim to enchant her husband each night! And, after getting my first glimpse of Adrienne how was I suppose to compete with this hideous, blue veined belly. It appears I had more blue blood in me than the Queen of Sheba as well as having swallowed a hippopotamus' gut. Before I could ridicule myself anymore Annie popped her head back in stating she was hungry so I quickly blew my hair dry and got ready for dinner.

Oliver had yet to come upstairs to find us and I presumed he was still dealing with Adrienne which I was right because when we entered the dining room his presence wasn't there. Annie inquired after him and Drake stated that we must of just missed him upstairs because he had retired to our suite to shower and prepare for dinner. If he thought it was odd that I didn't know where Oliver was he kept it to himself.

Annie, bless her soul, kept me entertained until Oliver joined us, but when we heard his footfalls in the hall my disposition changed. I know for a fact Annie's mirrored mine as well. For a split second I felt a surge of pride and love in my heart when a sudden thought floated through my mind, that I may have lost Oliver but I would always have Annie and the baby.

After several awkward moments Oliver slid a packet of letters toward me which Adrienne had brought to his attention. I only had to read a few to get the gist of the horrid threats upon Adrienne and from what Oliver told me of her personality and self appointed seclusion from society it must of took tremendous guts or fear for her to come to the house. Then Annie wanted too know what was in the letters, of course, what I read I wouldn't want her exposed to so I told her not to worry because Oliver would take care of it all.

Even though the rest of dinner was taken up with Annie's chatter I still felt awkward and I just couldn't help feeling inadequate. I know it seemed preposterous but that self doubt still niggled the back of my mind especially after seeing how beautiful Adrienne was with her perfect figure and blonde hair. Even in her fifties she's aged well and I'm sure years of being out of the sun has done wonders for her skin.

Annie finally stopped babbling and started giving Oliver and I weird looks, and I know it's because Oliver and I kept stealing glances at one another like before we were romantically involved. Then bless my little tyke because he/she gave me a good wallop sending his/her sister over to save the day. I know I barely consumed more than 10 bites of dinner but the prospect of leaving the intense atmosphere was so appealing I suggested we head up to start our nightly routine. I know it was cowardly of me to run off but I needed time to regroup and mull over everything that transpired earlier.

I know I have written pages and pages about all that has ensued over the last few weeks but I just can't get them out of my mind, such as: Does Oliver still find me attractive? Was that hug as innocent as Oliver played it out to be? How could I be so heartless toward my unborn offspring that I would love the changes to my body one minute but despise them another minute? How I can relish the movements all day long but then as a woman I think how my body's morphing into this ugly creature? I feel so blessed to be pregnant and feel so absolutely awed by every movement I feel yet at the same time I feel like less of the 'enchantress' my husband has so fondly called me! I'M SUCH A MESS!

Oh Bessie, that night after Adrienne … I put a gulf between Oliver and I as I got into bed. Oh how I thought the night would end so differently especially after our encounter in the pool! I was still nervous about Oliver seeing all the blue veins but my libido has been on overdrive lately. Probably a big reason to my irritability lately!

Anyway, Oliver left, HE LEFT which sent me into my own pity party! After crying for at least an hour, Oliver returned to our room, I was able to clamp down my rolling turmoil and hold onto the hope I felt that he didn't leave the house for Adrienne. I still refused to close the gulf between us by moving closer to the center of the bed, but Oliver did it for me by grabbing and pulling me in front of him to spoon. I had to bite back my sob and relish in his arms because I hadn't lost him yet!

MY WORLD DID SPIN OUT OF CONTROL THE NEXT DAY! Yes, I got up early the next morning, not intending to snoop, but to relieve my compressed bladder; and, since I was up, I might as well have dressed and head straight to work to make up for lost time before breakfast! I know I keep perseverating on the same topics over and over Bessie but I can't help it! I've gained so much in less than a year, Oliver's love and heart, my children, and Oliver wanting me too continue as his colleague/secretary.

OF COURSE, THE OTHER SHOE WOULD DROP! He scheduled interviews for my replacement while I was bedridden, HOW DARE HE! I remember the moment with the Roosevelts were he stated that he wouldn't be able to work without me, EVER … WELL THAT WAS SHORT LIVED! I saw red immediately and yes I've made Oliver pay! However, I made sure to call off the frost bite at night after talking to 'Dr. Love.' Mama Esther stated that the surest way to send a man to another woman's bed would be to shut him out of the one he already occupies. This of course sent terror straight to my heart and I vowed then and there while sending the Lord thousands of 'hail Marys' that if he returned Oliver to me that at night I would keep the iciness out of the bedroom. I also vowed to prove myself as Oliver's business associate, even if I was turning into a 'blue hippopotamus with zebra stripes' channeling all that iciness into my efficiency.

I was so relieved to find Oliver out on the couch early the next morning after using the facilities, I couldn't contain the tears of relief when I leaned over him to invite him back to bed. I have also stayed true to my oath where an unspoken truce remains in the bedroom each night. Bessie, he holds me like I'm his most valuable treasure at night yet there is still a huge elephant in the room or maybe several of them in the morning!

Then we fought again earlier today after my doctor's appointment. The news was to much to bare, I was elated but frightened at the same time! The news could definitely have major consequences with my job let alone my figure (that is, what is left of it)! My whole world has been rocked again so a thought struck me right before I returned to the office. I would have to try harder to convince Oliver that I could be both mother and secretary at the same time and get him to agree to my proposal of setting up a crib and playpen in the office. To say the black powder that had been building up for several weeks finally exploded with thunderous fireworks which were heard all the way to the school room and back is an understatement to say the least!

His reasons were justified and I get them but I don't want to miss out on anymore milestones my children achieve nor do I want some hussy taking over my job! I said so and followed them up with more choice words I've been biting back for several weeks. My words lit Oliver's fuse box causing several staff members and Mama Esther to show up at the office's door which of course deflated both of us immediately. Then my hormones took over and I dashed out of the room as another round of water works took over my body. Mama Esther followed me up to our suite not to long after to check on me. She stated that she had to adamantly insist that Annie stay in the school room because she

What in the world!? Is that Annie in the next room? It sure sounds like Annie's squeal of excitement! Is that Annabelle's voice too? What could those two be doing next door? Grace closed her diary and slid it over to the corner of her vanity as she slowly rose from her stool. She then briskly walked to the door opposite of Annie's bedroom and slyly attempted to open it, but hesitated as she heard the voices on the other side float through it.

"Aunt Annabelle! It's amazing! Mom's gonna love it!" shrieked Annie. However, Annie and Annabelle both had their backs toward the door and didn't notice Grace slowly opening it sporting a look of surprise then wonder as she soaked in the newly decorated guest room.

"Shhhhh, Annie, you know your father wants to show it to her tonight! You'll ruin his surprise …" trailed of Annabelle as she and Annie turned around as they heard Grace's gasp.

"Ought oh! Mom! You weren't suppose to see this yet!" squeaked Annie as she made a beeline for Grace in order to make an attempt to get her out of the room, but Grace wouldn't budge as she covered her mouth as her eyes glazed over with tears of bewilderment and awe.

"Grace, dear, are you okay?" questioned Annabelle as she joined Annie and Grace. Grace slowly met her eye but started to sway on her feet. Annabelle and Annie hastily guided her over to the nearest chair where Grace quickly tried to put her head between her legs taking deep breaths to ease the light headedness that nearly consumed her a second ago.

"Annie, go get your mother a glass of water dear," instructed Annabelle as she returned her focus back on Grace.

"Annabelle …" meekly exhaled Grace.

"Grace, dear, take deep breathes in and out ... that's it. Thank you Annie," stated Annabelle as Annie slid the glass in front of Grace's face. Grace looked up and gave her daughter a wobbly smile as she graciously accepted the glass of water.

Once Grace took a few sips of water she placed a chaste kiss on Annie's temple before asking, "Who … who … I mean how …" her stuttering had Annie snickering a bit and Annabelle smiling like the cheshire cat.

"Oliver, my dear 'brother' is completely smitten with his wife that before you were even married he listened to your wishes. He overheard you talking with Cecile one day about the kind of nursery you would want one day if you were to ever have a child. Oliver filed that information away nearly two years ago and before the car accident he enlisted Cecile, Abigail, and I into making your wish come true. He may not be a designer nor an artist like his daughter but he has taste. Oliver hand picked every piece of furniture, said 'yah or nay' to different sketches, paint, and fabric Cecile and I produced, to detail the room. If we couldn't do the work he enlisted different companies to create items such as the rug and the double rocking chair. We planned to have it done earlier but since my apprentice had her arms in casts she was unable to contribute to the cause until they came off," Annabelle chortled as she tweaked Annie's nose causing a soft smile to form on Grace's lips as she pulled Annie into an affectionate embrace. "Oh and on a side note, he picked blue as an accent color not because he hopes for a boy but he hopes your little tyke has your blue eyes," continued Annabelle.

During Annabelle's monologue Grace had slowly glanced around the room and attempted to soak in every intricate detail and after hugging Annie she hoisted herself up to move toward the double rocker. Annie followed her and shared, "Mom, that note you found in daddy's planner wasn't about replacing you but replacing our rocker in my room with this one! Isn't it smashing?!"

"What!" squawked Grace as speechlessness took over again.

"Yeah, and he left you a note too," continued Annie as she handed Grace the envelope. She accepted it with shaking hands as she slowly sat down on the new rocker. Grace, with abated breath, slowly took out the letter as her hands continued to tremble. Annie attempted to read it over her shoulder but Annabelle pulled her slightly away as she nonverbally communicated that the letter was between her father and mother; and, if her mother wanted to share it with her she would when the time was right.

My Dearest Grace,

I have tried countless times to ask a simple question but have failed majorly. Call me a coward whose afraid of being turned down and/or fears a face to face rejection. The only way I could figure out how to ask was to pair it with a note and a new chair. How do I ask to intrude on your special time in which you and Annie share?

I'm not sure, but I can only express how much I have longed to join you and Annie during your nightly routine. Each evening I listen to the majority of your routine and envy your time together. After the week of hell with Annie, where she misunderstood her future place with us (that is once our little one arrives) … well I was hoping that this chair would not only allow Annie the luxury of joining you while rocking our little tyke to sleep but also prevent you from breaking your nightly routine with her (just adding to it). It would also allow your humble husband the leisure of mingling into the mix too join his three loves.

Grace, darling, you are my heart and soul and I am so extremely happy that you have blessed me not only with our daughter but the child you carry! I am still riding that euphoric cloud nine that my enchantress from my dreams agreed to marry me, bless me with children, and continues too spellbind me speechless each and everyday because she's my own personal siren as well as my other half in more ways than one! I hope your never forget that you are my one and only!

Your Eternally Devoted Husband,

Oliver

PS- I hope you still wanted Peter Rabbit and his Hill Top Friends for the nursery. XOXOXOXO

Initially, when Grace started to read Oliver's letter, his request to join Annie and her at night had her baffled then it was quickly followed by sorrow which sliced through her heart as she realized how left out he must have felt. That even being married and loved by both her and Annie he still felt lonely at times. Then as she continued to digest more of his letter, especially when he still referred to her as his enchantress and siren, even plump with child now, a myriad of emotions joined the others she already felt. She then wailed as she realized all the misunderstandings that occurred in the last few weeks due to her insecurities and poor communication between the two of them.

Annabelle, knowing the bits and pieces of the strife between her 'brother' and 'sister-in-law' shooed Annie out of the room again stating she'd come fetch her once everything was squared away with her mother. Annie quickly gave Grace a hug before scampering out of the nursery.

"Oh Annabelle! I've been … I've been wretched! How in the world has Oliver put up with me all this time?!" wailed Grace as she covered her mouth to stop another sob from escaping her mouth.

"Oh Grace," soothed Annabelle as she joined Grace on the rocking chair, "Oliver loves you immensely and a little bit of ice isn't going to change his feelings toward you." When Annabelle's response didn't get the reaction from Grace that she was looking for she gave her a sisterly nudge in the side resulting with a slight snort of disbelief from Grace. This caused Annabelle to playfully nudge Grace again causing Grace to nudge her back and quickly a nudge war ensued resulting in a fit of schoolgirl giggles. However, soon after Grace hastily hauled her pregnant body out of the rocker with Annabelle's assistance after she realized the giggling caused Grace to require the facilities.

When Grace returned to the room she ventured over to the crib and as she ran her fingers over its details and asked, "You really think so?"

Annabelle was caught of guard initially by Grace's question and what she was referring too, but then she realized that Grace returned to her earlier declaration that Oliver indeed still loved her with all his heart. "Yes, Grace, you slayed the callous, money hungry, all I care about is capitalism tyrant with your heart of gold ..." started to argue Annabelle.

"Annie played a major roll in knocking down the iron gate around his heart too," meekly interjected Grace as she continued to wander around the room and soak in all the creativity and love that was bestowed on each piece of furniture and wall.

"Yes, she did but as his child," agreed Annabelle but continued her argument to restore Grace's faith in herself, "Grace, look at me, please. My 'brother,' Oliver, has loved you for years and you know it now, just as you loved him. If ten years of celibacy isn't enough evidence of his loyalty and devotion toward you for years then I'm sure his steadfast resolve and support to weather out this current turmoil within your marriage will. Even though I am pretty sure as a man he doesn't fully understand your insecurities which have caused the layer of frost to reside over the mansion." Annabelle ended the last comment with a sly knowing grin.

"Oh Annabelle, I have been quite testy and frosty toward him, but I've been so … so …"

Annabelle started to chuckle causing Grace to initially look chastised but by the end of Annabelle's reasoning she was giggling too, "Grace, your frost bite is nothing compared to Oliver's notorious tirades, barks, and bites. I'm sure part of the last few weeks have given him a good dose of his own medicine because I can only imagine all the venom and bellowing you've had to endure over the years as his personal secretary."

"Yes, I didn't realize how much his bellowing actually startled me until Annie came to stay with us and she said I looked like a jumping jelly bean all the time," snorted Grace but her mirth soon faded. "Annabelle, you're a mother and wife," started Grace as she cradled her belly and shyly continued, "Did you ever have a war with yourself?"

Annabelle grinned slightly as she understood more about the issues between Oliver and Grace after Annie shared some of the missing details. After all she knew about Oliver's confusion due to his daily visits with their 'father' J.B. She also knew that Adrienne's visit was the catalyst that stirred up the happy pot. "Oh Grace, every woman goes through that but I, like you, have a wonderful husband whose eyes never wandered to another woman nor did he look at my body as if it had an 'abominable appendage' to it. Quoting my late mother's depiction of her 'blue veined, whale of a gut, stretched and branded beyond belief' baby belly. I'm sure papa has shared his first homecoming after our 'parent's' nuptials with Oliver by now. When he returned to a very pregnant mama."

"If he has Oliver hasn't shared it with me but I haven't really given him the opportunity," stated Grace with a lilt of shame to her voice as she ducked her head.

"Grace, none of that! Like I said you gave Oliver a good dose of his own medicine and besides don't you worry! He never stepped foot in Adrienne's cottage nor will he ever after he's gotten everything his heart desires. If you're worried about where he's disappeared to during all hours of the day. He's slipped to papa's cottage, one to stew and vent or two to look over all our work on the nursery furniture and decorations," stated Annabelle with conviction.

"Really?" shyly posed Grace.

Annabelle tilted Grace's head back up and stated, "Really! Now do you want to hear about papa's beating by a wooden spoon or not?"

"A wooden spoon?!" inquired Grace with a hint of humor to her voice.

"Oh yes a wooden spoon, J.J. and I loved to listen to mama and papa recount the story when we were children. However, once J.J. passed,it was like a spoken agreement by my parents to never share it again. It wasn't until I was pregnant with Evelyn that mama shared the rest of the story with me. You see the awkwardness you are feeling is very common with every woman especially when she's practically a newlywed wanting to have her way with her man like you and mama!" chuckled Annabelle as Grace turned a gruesome red with Annabelle's last comment.

"ANNABELLE!"

"Oh Grace, you know your whiz kid, also known as Annie, is not only full of life but full of questions too. Especially when she's trying to figure out her parents' innuendos and subtle and not so subtle ogling during meals or even work," wickedly commented Annabelle.

"WHAT!?" screeched Grace with mortification written all over her face.

"Grace, it's not necessarily yours nor Oliver's fault that your newlywed bliss is twisted in with instant parenthood. Most couples have at least nine months before they have to divide their time between themselves and a child," winked Annabelle and then continued, "I also know that both of you completely adore and love Annie, and you both also feel that without her interference you would still be stuck in a rut."

"Absolutely, positively, without a doubt do we both love and cherish our little minx," cheekily responded Grace. "Now before I have to use the facilities again, I wouldn't mind hearing the spoon story if you're still inclined to share," continued Grace with an edge of mirth to her request.

"Oh, it's one of the most cherished stories of my childhood but with the added adult content it makes the whole situation even richer with mirth and endearment," Annabelle commented before proceeding to recount the famous 'spoon' incident in addition to J.B.'s 'affirmation' that Janice was still sexy as all get out even with her new curves and branding from her unborn child. During the Annabelle's recount of the whole story Grace chuckled, snorted, and even got misty eyed toward the end of it.

"Grace, do you know what papa fondly says of you?" questioned Annabelle as Grace shook her head no, "He says you and mama are cut from the same cloth, and if you two are cut from the same cloth then Oliver and papa are two peas in a pod!"

"He says that about me and Janice?" humbly questioned Grace.

"Yes, he does and I'm sure he's given Oliver a good swift kick in the rear end or some much needed wisdom today. I think all of us are ready for the both you to cease this nonsense also known as misunderstandings and insecurities!"

"So, you really think that Oliver still finds me attractive?" continued to question Grace as her insecurities began to flare again. If Grace hadn't looked so forlorn and fearful Annabelle would have rolled her eyes at the absurdity of the situation.

"Grace, that man is absolutely head over heels in love with you whether thin or not. He's also got that proud peacock walk most males get when they've impregnated their mate," slyly sassed Annabelle as she nudged Grace with a tongue and cheek look.

"ANNABELLE, really is that how a lady should talk!?" Grace playfully mocked right back as both ladies started giggling like schoolgirls again. Their laughing caused Grace to use the restroom again.

"Grace, dear, I'm going to go retrieve Annie before she bursts through that door and ruins the new paint and wallpaper. Also, why don't we take Annie tonight so you and Oliver can 'kiss and make up' appropriately tonight without worrying about unwarranted interruptions?!" cheekily posed Annabelle.

"Leaping lizards Annabelle, you've been around Mama Esther way to long!" replied a playful Grace who felt so much lighter after Annabelle's reassurance and Oliver's wonderful gift. "But, yes, I would greatly appreciate it. I plan to have my way with Oliver!" boldly stated Grace with a tint of red to her cheeks as she rejoined Annabelle in the nursery.

"Glad to see that you are still a blushing bride even though there's visual evidence that it's been a few months since your wedding night," saucily retorted Annabelle as Grace just shook her head and snorted her reply. Annabelle then embraced Grace in a sisterly hug and soon after turned toward the door to retrieve Annie leaving Grace to peruse more closely the intricate details of the nursery Oliver lovingly oversaw.

When Annie returned to the room, Grace was softly tracing her right hand over the crib as she tenderly stroked her belly with her left. She had a far off look in her eyes with a serene look plastered on her face. "Mama? You look better. Are you better? Aunt Annabelle told me not to not ask any questions. She told me to pack an overnight bag 'cause I'm staying with her, Uncle Christian, Evelyn, Twister, and C.J. tonight. She also said maybe the rest of the weekend, if you and daddy say its okay tomorrow. I'm not sure why but that's what she said," rambled on Annie as she nuzzled into Grace's side after slipping into her embrace.

After Annie's 'Mama?' Grace mentally shook herself from her daydream, then immediately accepting her daughter's embrace, and instinctively began to tenderly stroke her face with affection. As Annie continued to ramble on she bit the her lower lip in order to contain her laughter. However, with Annie's last comment she released an unladylike snort, "Annie, my vibrant and curious girl let the grown ups deal with this weekend. If you want to stay with Aunt Annabelle, Uncle Christian, and your cousins longer so you can either play with C.J. or catch up on your art lessons that's perfectly fine but if you want to come home that's okay too. And to answer your question, I'm fine and I absolutely love the nursery!"

"Phew, daddy was adam … adam …" trailed off Annie trying to recall the word she wanted to use.

"Adamant, sweetheart?" supplied Grace.

"Yes, he was adamant that the nursery be done in Peter Rabbit and his Hill Top Friends even though the companies kept trying to sway him toward Raggedy Ann and Andy. He said he already had an Annie with a red mop of hair and he certainly didn't plan on adding Andy to the mix!" chortled Annie. "Besides I already asked him to not name the baby Andrew during one of our swims. Is that okay? I think it would be weird, and daddy said that the Raggedy Ann and Andy series was my very own special series since its what you purchased for me to help me quickly learn how to read better. He said Peter Rabbit and his Hill Top Friends would be special for the new baby."

"Now, that you mention it, it would be weird, so Andrew is definitely out, and your father is right, each of our children should have a special series of their own; however, I'm sure sharing wouldn't be an issue either," continued Grace as she tweaked Annie's nose resulting with Annie nodding her head vigorously with a bright smile on her angelic face.

"That would be a swell idea! I am curious about this Peter Rabbit and his Hill Top Friends! I also can't wait for everything to be normal again. Mom, I hope with me gone you and daddy can 'kiss and make up,'" Annie stated seriously. Grace didn't have time to respond to her comment because Annabelle had stepped into the nursery to fetch Annie.

"Annie, dear, let's go so your mom can get ready for the evening! Uncle Christian is making his famous linguini with Alfredo sauce," Annabelle informed Annie as she started to jump up and down in excitement!

"And his garlic bread too!"

"Yes, and his garlic bread too," confirmed Annabelle as she winked at Grace once Annie turned back to her, to give her one more squeeze and one more 'I love you' before darting out of the room to retrieve her overnight bag.

"Grace, dear, go freshen up for 'your man' because it's time to 'knock his socks off.' I love using Annieisms!" declared Annabelle as she gave Grace a final wink with a bit of wickedness to it.

"ANNABELLE, I do declare! But thank you for taking Annie and I plan to try and 'knock his socks off,'" Grace stated with and edge of self-consciousness again causing Annabelle to whirl around again.

"GRACE, now, you stop that! You need to stop being such a ninny and turn into that vixen Oliver's enchanted with ASAP!" argued Annabelle.

"I am not a NINNY just … just fat and pregnant!" rebutted Grace.

"Again stop it! Get over to your room, find something enticing for him, and have a great time tonight making up! Now go!" ordered Annabelle.

Grace defiantly marched over to her suite muttering under her breath, "If I can find something enticing that's not going to rip the instant I attempt to zip it up due to my protruding belly."

Annabelle having heard Grace's grumbling sassed, "What did you say Grace?!"

"Oh nothing dear have a great time with Annie," saucily replied Grace before disappearing into her shared walk in closet with Oliver. She them shimmied out of her current business suit and started to peruse her wardrobe in her undergarments revealing her belly which up until now she refused to expose for to long since discovering the blue veins and stretch marks.

What am I going to wear? The only outfits I own that are a semblance of sexy and alluring will most likely rip down the seam when I attempt to zip it up over my big belly! Just after that thought Grace received several kicks and karate chops from her germinating offspring. "Oh, so mind reading mommy's thoughts are possible in the womb now, huh! Don't get me wrong I love feeling all the movement and experiencing everything about this pregnancy; after all, if it wasn't for your big sister's appearance in our lives, daddy and I … well we would probably still be Miss Farrell and Mr. Warbucks to each other," Grace shared as she lovingly rubbed her growing belly, "But, tonight mommy needs to earn daddy back, and being a 'blue hippopotamus with zebra stripes,' who can only fit in her businesses suits or bathing suit that Cecile helped tailor, just isn't going to cut it! So, give mommy a break!"

I surely have something in this closet with a larger empire waste line. Who are you kidding Grace, most of your dresses were all designed to show off you slender waste! By this time Grace had removed several potential dresses off of their hangers, but when they appeared to small she discarded them on the bed instead of putting them back on their hangers. After about the seventh dress she was startled out of her musings when she heard Oliver bellow, "Grace!"

She was so startled that she dropped the dress she was measuring up against herself while utilizing the floor length mirror. This immediately exposed her belly to Oliver who had just stepped into the closet allowing him to soak in all her glory; however, his appearance also elicited a high pitched squawk of surprise from his wife, "Oliver!" As she attempted to conceal her belly from him by shying behind the mirror as a horrified look flickered across her face as she meekly shrieked, "What are you doing here?!"


Hugs, hugs, to my beta, Sis21K, for her continued support and encouragement of my creative juices! :-)

I also want to thank MinervaDeannaBond for allowing me to use some of her ideas that she utilized in her Bedknobs and Broomsticks story, She's Having a Baby! Excellent read if you enjoyed this movie as a kid like I did (it's on my favorite list)! ;-)

Thanks to my chapter one reviewers!

Lindsay

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