Week 2: Monday

Marylee’s eyelids fluttered open at the bright sunlight streaming through Christopher’s window. She blinked and shielded her eyes before rolling over to kiss him good morning, but his side of the bed was empty. Confused, Marylee rubbed the sleep from her eyes and wandered into the kitchen, where Christopher greeted her with a kiss and a plate of waffles.

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“I made breakfast,” he announced. “Sorry if not seeing me beside you freaked you out. I’m an early riser. You always catch the best quality fish early in the morning,” he winked.

“That was really sweet of you. Thanks,” Marylee smiled, stroking his cheek lovingly. Marylee hadn’t had a hot meal cooked properly in an oven since she left Studio Town. The waffles weren’t fantastic, but they made her mouth water all the same.

While she was eating her breakfast, Marylee heard a frustrated noise coming from the bathroom. Concerned, she walked over and knocked on the door. “Chris? Is everything okay?”

“Yeah… just this stupid toilet. If it’s not broken, it’s always dirty, no matter how often I clean the damn thing. It’s so frustrating,” he called out to the hallway. “If you need to use the bathroom, you can come in. I’m just going to take a shower. Sorry it’s so messy,” he yelled.

Marylee opened the door and plugged her nose. He was right. The toilet was revolting. There was no way she was putting her pretty little bum on that breeding organism! I guess I could clean it… she thought. Marylee had never lifted a finger to clean anything in her life. Why clean when you can hire a maid to do it for you? As much as she loathed the thought of picking up a toilet brush, she loathed the thought of her bare bum on that disgusting thing even more. Besides, I should do something nice for Christopher since he’s been so generous to me, she reasoned with herself.

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Christopher wasn’t paying attention to Marylee since he was in the shower, so she took it upon herself to clean the toilet herself and was glad that she hadn’t caught a disease from sitting on such a putrid piece of porcelain. Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed her reflection in the mirror and became distracted. I look great today! Of course, I look great every day, but today I look exceptionally great! She loved mirrors. She loved looking at herself. She used to check herself out in the mirror whenever Greg made her feel ugly to try and convince herself that she was worth looking at and it became a habit she could never break. It helped her deal with his cruel insults and made her feel better.

She was too busy admiring herself to notice Christopher stepping out of the shower. “What are you doing?” he asked.

“Oh… just kind of, well… admiring myself…” she admitted, smoothing her sun-gold locks. “I look wonderful today, don’t I?”

Christopher raised his eyebrows. “Um, yeah you do. You know I think you’re beautiful, but don’t you think gloating about it is well… snobby?”

Marylee whipped around, stung by the comment. “How is it snobby? It’s not so wrong to feel good about yourself! Everyone should feel good about themselves!”

“Not to the point of arrogance!” he retorted angrily. “I can’t stand people like that!”

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Marylee felt two inches tall. Biting back tears, she looked down at the ground so Christopher wouldn’t see. “I think I should go…” she whispered. “I have to perform a composition at the school anyway.” Without another word, she had dressed and fled from his house, angry and hurt tears streaming freely down her face.

The performance at the school went well, but Marylee’s heart just really wasn’t in it. She was happy that she walked out five hundred simoleans richer, but now she was going to be late for work if she didn’t hurry. She bolted from the school to the theatre in a panic. I finally finished that book but my boss isn’t going to even notice if I piss him off by showing up late again! she whined. “Don’t be late don’t be late don’t be late don’t be late…” she murmured to herself, panting and out of breath.

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“Good work. You read the book. I actually didn’t expect you to finish it. I’m impressed,” Stiles McGraw told her at the end of her shift. “You might just have the determination I need in my next Band Manager…” he mused.

Band Manager! Me! I’m so excited! Marylee thought proudly to herself. Her wonderful mood soon vanished when she saw Christopher standing outside the theatre, waiting for her. “What are you doing here?” she asked glumly. “Can you at least break up with me in private so I don’t have to be humiliated, too, please?” she asked, her bottom lip quivering. Christopher sighed and shook his head.

“I’m not here to break up with you. I came to pick you up and take you home with me.”

“After this morning? Forget it! I’m not going to be strung along on a leash like I was back in Studio Town! I don’t deserve that,” she snapped. Since coming to this town and meeting Christopher, Marylee had gained a lot of self-confidence, but it was still so easy for her to crumble again and she felt dangerously close to it, now. Christopher saw the tears glistening in her pale blue eyes and held her close.

“No, you don’t. I’m glad you finally realize that,” he murmured softly. “I want to apologize for treating you that way this morning. The thing is, I dated this girl, Janet, back in high school who I thought was perfect and I was completely in love with her. I was all set to ask her to marry me the night we graduated, but she turned out to be a selfish snob. She told me she was leaving me for some Studio Town producer who was twice her age and a millionaire when I proposed to her. She told me the ring I offered to her was pathetic and that if I thought she’d stick around for a cheap puny diamond like that, I was delusional. She left me standing there alone with the ring still in my hand. I had saved up everything I had for a year to buy her that ring…” he mumbled. “When I saw you admiring yourself in the mirror the way Janet used to all the time, I just… panicked. I’m so sorry I hurt you.”

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“What makes you think I’m any different?” Marylee asked quietly.

“Janet was also mean-spirited and plain evil. On top of that, she was always grumpy. You’re nothing like that, Marylee. There are so many wonderful things about you. Nobody’s perfect, but you’re perfect for me. I was stupid for letting my past jeopardize my future with you.”

Marylee smiled softly, but she knew all their problems weren’t over. “This doesn’t magically fix everything, you know. There’s still this quality about me that you hate.”

“I know, but I also know that I can’t see myself without you anymore. I tried, Marylee. I tried to convince myself that ending things between us was for the best, but every time I pictured my life without you in it, I felt like my heart was being gouged out of my chest. It hurt so much worse than losing Janet… it was torture,” he said fiercely. “Please come home with me. I’ll sleep on the couch, whatever you want. It just scares the hell out of me knowing you’re sleeping outside where so many bad things could happen to you.”

Marylee nodded, too choked up to speak. That night, she slept in Christopher’s bed alone, unsure of what was going to happen.

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Week 2: Tuesday

“Good morning,” Christopher said when he saw Marylee walk into the living room the next day. “How did you sleep?”

“Okay,” she mumbled. She hadn’t forgotten about yesterday. Christopher nodded.

“That’s good. You slept in really late today. I thought I’d just let you sleep. You needed the rest,” he told her gently. Marylee knew he was trying to make up for yesterday, but she was still hurting over it, so she just nodded.

“Thanks.”

After a long awkward pause, Marylee cleared her throat. “I’m sorry, too. I guess I can be pretty stuck-up a lot of the time… I never realized… but I can’t ever completely change…” she mumbled. Christopher shook his head and held her.

“I don’t want you to. I just want us both to try and make this work.”

Marylee showered and ate, and practiced playing the guitar until she had to go to work. She had fallen behind in it lately. Christopher listened and was overly enthusiastic with his praise, still trying to make her feel better after their fight. It did, a little bit. She loved praise. She had never received it very often from Greg.

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At work, Marylee blindly threw herself into her shift and worked solidly, completely wearing herself out. She was rewarded by being promoted to Band Manager. She now made fifty-one simoleans an hour and received a bonus of three hundred and ninety-six simoleans, but Marylee was having trouble being excited when she was so worn out.

It took all her effort to get back to Christopher’s house. She dragged her feet through the door, her head swimming. Christopher didn’t greet her. He must be asleep already, she thought. With every promotion, it seemed she worked later and later.

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Before she knew what was happening, everything was going black and she was falling to the floor. The last thing she was aware of was a loud thud, frantic footsteps racing toward her and Christopher’s panicked voice.

“MARYLEE!”

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When Marylee woke up, she was lying in Christopher’s bed in her pajamas with an extra comforter over her and Christopher’s hand resting gently on her cheek.

“I’m so glad you’re awake. I didn’t know what happened, I thought I might lose you for a while. I tried to take you to the hospital, but they’re full with pregnant women. The ambulance wouldn’t come. They said there was no room there. I was so scared…” Marylee examined his face. The rims of his eyes were red and swollen. It looked like he had been crying, but he put on a brave face for her right now.

“I got promoted today… to Band Manager…” Marylee whispered. It was the first thought that came into her head. Christopher smiled.

“That’s great, Sweetheart. Just don’t keep hurting yourself for your job. I know it’s important to you, but you need to remember to take care of yourself.”

“I was stressed about yesterday, too,” Marylee admitted. Christopher sighed.

“I can’t believe we almost broke up over that. I was thinking about something all day yesterday while you were at work, but I wasn’t sure if I should go ahead with it while things were still rough, but today… thinking that I could lose you forever… I knew that it was the right thing to do.”

“What are you talking about?” Marylee muttered sleepily.

“Not right now. It can wait until you’re rested and feeling stronger again. You want some company in that great big bed?”

“Yes, please,” she smiled.

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Week 2: Wednesday

The next day, Marylee woke up to angry shouting from the kitchen. Alarmed, she leaped out of bed and ran out of Christopher’s bedroom. Christopher was throwing his hands up in the air and shouting.

“Stupid sink! There’s water everywhere! Now the toilet’s broken, too and this whole house is flooding!” He didn’t seem to notice Marylee behind him.

“It’s okay. Can you call a repairperson to come fix it?”

“No. I don’t have the money. I spent it on- nevermind,” he muttered quickly, going red. Marylee gave him a confused look, but didn’t push the issue. He already looked stressed. “I’m sorry. I was going to make breakfast, but the kitchen’s too flooded to do anything. I think there’s some leftover waffles in the fridge,” he sighed.

“Okay. Just go watch some TV or something to relax a bit. It’s just a bit of water, after all,” she smiled, trying to make him feel better. He smiled weakly.

“Thanks, but it’s not just that. Today of all days, I wanted nothing to go wrong.”

“Why?” Now she was really confused. He just shook his head and kissed her.

“Nothing. Nevermind. I’m just rambling.”

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Marylee ate her waffles, thinking hard. What was wrong with Christopher today? He was acting so strange. Her waffles tasted kind of funny, but she didn’t want to say anything. Christopher seemed to be under enough stress. Immediately, she regretted not saying anything. Her stomach was doing flip flops inside her. She winced and rubbed her stomach.

After she showered and got dressed, she walked out to see Christopher standing expectantly, waiting for her with a nervous smile and something hidden behind his back. She felt even more sick now; those waffles really hadn’t agreed with her, but she tried to force the neausea down and ignore it.

“Marylee, I know this isn’t the greatest time to bring this up. I pictured it perfect, but instead, my floor is flooded and my kitchen is now an electrical hazard. Still, if I keep putting it off, I’m going to regret it.”

“What are you-” Marylee began, but gasped when Christopher bent down on one knee and pulled a black velvet box out from behind his back, presenting it to her. He opened the box and a modest diamond ring was seated neatly on a silk pillow.

“I know that there are some things that are going to be tough for us to live with in this relationship, but I don’t want to experience the rest of my life with anyone but you; good and bad. I love you, Marylee. More than I ever thought it was possible to love someone. Will you marry me? Today; right now. I have the waterfall booked for tonight. All we need to do is tell our friends.”

“I-” Marylee tried to say ‘I will’, but her stomach wrenched and she doubled over. “I think I’m going to throw up!” she gagged, running to the bathroom. Christopher chased after her and held back her hair while she vomited.

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“I propose to you… and you throw up… are you that repulsed by the idea of marrying me?” Christopher muttered sadly afterward. Marylee’s eyes opened wide and she flung her arms around him.

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“No! No that’s not it! The waffles I had this morning must have been spoiled. I’ve been nauseous ever since I ate them. Throwing up was just bad timing. Yes! Yes, I’ll marry you!” she insisted. Christopher chuckled.

“Wow, what a crazy proposal. Floods, electrical hazards, bad waffles and a puke trip to the toilet… we definitely have a story for our grandkids,” he joked.

*   *   *

So… I’m here. At my wedding. At the right time… but… where’s my fiancée and wedding guests? Marylee thought, beginning to feel panicked. Had Christopher left her and called off the wedding without telling her? They’d only been engaged for a few hours, what on earth could have changed in that time span? She was just about to accept that she’d been dumped and crumple to the floor, crying, when her cell phone rang.

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“Where are you? Everyone’s here, waiting for you!” It was Christopher.

“What? What are you talking about? I’m at the pond by the stadium.” Christopher laughed.

“You’re at the wrong venue, Sweetie. It’s the waterfall. It’s a bit farther away from the stadium. I’ll tell the guests to hang on while you get here,” he told her, still chuckling. Marylee went very red. Why was she such a ditz?!? On her wedding day, too!

Marylee rushed to the waterfall as fast as she could. She arrived sweaty, panting and out of breath. She was sure her hair was a mess now and that her dress had twigs and leaves stuck to it.

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“You look so beautiful,” Christopher assured her. “Now let’s get married before the guests get bored and leave.”

They said their vows to each other underneath the rushing waterfall and a thousand twinkling stars, the moonlight illuminating everyone’s faces in a soft pale glow. This is so magical… Marylee sighed happily to herself.

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As Marylee and Christopher were being congratulated by the guests, Marylee spotted the same girl who had flirted with Christopher at the gym again! She pulled Christopher aside. “What is she doing here?” she demanded.

“I have no idea. I never invited her,” Christopher frowned. “I’ll ask her to leave.”

Before he had the chance, the woman marched up to Marylee and pointed accusingly at her. “So you’re the trampy bar singer who connived her way into hitching with Christopher in a week. I feel sorry for him, having to spend the rest of his life with a dirty skank like you!”

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“Excuse me? What right do you have to judge me like that? You don’t even know me!”

“How DARE you insult my wife like that and on her wedding day!” Christopher interjected ferociously. Everyone stopped what they were doing, stunned. Even Marylee was shocked. She’d never seen Christopher explode like that. “I talked to you for five minutes at the gym one time! I don’t even know your name, and you know what? You were boring! No sense of humour? Sorry, but that was a complete turn-off. I’m sorry if you’re still upset I fell in love with someone else, but get over it! Stay the hell away from me, my wife and any family we create, you understand me?”

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The woman left, sobbing. After a brief awkward silence, one of Marylee’s co-workers cleared her throat and pulled out her guitar. “Music, anyone?”

Grateful for the distraction, everyone settled in to listen, except for Marylee, who couldn’t stand not being the centre of attention at her own wedding and jumped in with her own guitar. Thanks to the two of them, the night was saved.

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Once everyone had left, Christopher took her into his arms and held her close. Marylee looked up at him, confused.

“I didn’t think you were hot-headed,” she whispered.

“I’m not. I just don’t allow anyone to talk about my wonderful wife that way, especially not on her wedding day,” he smiled, stroking her cheek. “I’m glad she didn’t ruin the whole wedding.”

“Me too,” Marylee sighed with relief.

“So what do you say to one last kiss under these beautiful stars before we go home?” he smiled.

“Hmph… what home?” Marylee replied bitterly. Christopher just chuckled.

“I have a little surprise waiting for you there, actually, but first… kiss?”

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Week 2: Early Thursday Morning to Late Thursday (3:00am to 12:0oam)

“Can I open my eyes now?” Marylee asked, giggling. She was so eager to see this surprise Christopher had planned for her.

“It’s not much, but I hope you like it. Consider it my wedding gift to you,” he whispered. “Now… open your eyes.”

When Marylee opened her eyes, she burst into gratified tears. Where her empty lot with the lone bed used to be, stood a house. Christopher hugged her fiercely.

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“I used our combined funds to have it built. It was actually pieced together, little by little while you were staying with me. Like I said, it’s not much. It’s pretty small, and there’s hardly any furniture. I couldn’t afford to finish the building and furnish the house, too-”

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“It’s beautiful!” Marylee wept. “It’s what I dreamed of having since coming here.”

“Don’t forget to keep striving for that mansion and fame like you wanted, too, Honey. I want you to have so much more than just this.” Marylee laughed.

“I never gave up on that dream for a second. I am Marylee Charm, after all,” she announced proudly.

Christopher swept Marylee into his arms and carried his beautiful wife across the threshold of their new home together for the very first time.

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The house was simple, but finished. There was a small, empty living room with a simple archway to the kitchen in the back. The kitchen had only a cheap stove and fridge, a smoke detector and a patio table with two flimsy patio chairs. No sink and no counter. To the side of the living room, there was a bathroom with a toilet and shower, but again, no sink. They would have to wash their hands with the shower for now. On the other side of the living room, there were two bedrooms. One was empty and the other had the same bed Marylee had bought when she moved to Sunset Valley. The empty bedroom was done in shades of pastel green; a nice neutral colour for a new addition to the family.

That night, they shared their first night together as husband and wife, and didn’t waste a moment of it. They finally fell asleep at five in the morning.

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Of course, Christopher was the first to wake. After leaving his wife a note telling her he had gone out, he headed to the pond across the road from their house to fish. After all the stress from the week; fighting with Marylee, being scared out of his wits when she collapsed, the eventful wedding and building and moving into a new house, he needed some time to unwind and relax. He also hoped to catch some perfect fish to put in fishbowls and sell the rest to pay for a sink and a counter. My own perfect aquarium… he smiled to himself.

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Back at the house, Marylee woke up feeling nauseous again. She groaned and held her stomach. She couldn’t still be feeling sick from those waffles. They had left her system long ago. I need to eat more fibre. Maybe it’s indigestion, she thought as she ate breakfast and showered in her own home for a change.

She had to go to work soon, but she still felt sick to her stomach. She debated calling in sick,  but she and Christopher needed money. He had spent everything they had on the house and they only had five spare simoleans to their name. She rushed to the bathroom to throw up before dressing and going to work. She felt a bit better after throwing up for now, at least.

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Christopher returned with plenty of nice, very nice, great and even a few excellent fish to sell. He even caught a perfect minnow, but he was saving that one for his personal collection. He ended up making a few hundred simoleans off of his long trip. He wasted no time in buying a sink for the bathroom and a counter. Now they could wash their hands in a sink. They could take their dishes to the bathroom to wash them, too. They could finally use their stove to cook food now, because they had the extra space to do so, which was good, because Christopher had just gotten a job in the Culinary career track as a Kitchen Scullion. The more money flowing into the house, the better.

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Christopher was in bed when he heard his wife retching in the bathroom. He knocked gently on the door before pushing it open. She must have just come home from work. “Sweetie? Is everything alright?” Marylee heaved once more, then groaned and collapsed.

“I can’t stop throwing up… I feel miserable and I don’t know why,” she sighed. Christopher helped her to her feet and cleaned her up.

“Come on. Let’s go to bed. If you don’t feel any better tomorrow morning after you’ve had a good night’s rest, I’ll take you to the hospital,” he told her, kissing her forehead.

“Mmkay…” Marylee mumbled. She had been more tired than usual all day and her muscles ached. She allowed her husband to tuck her into bed and welcomed his arms wrapped around her as she drifted to sleep.

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Week 2: Friday

Marylee’s shoulders shook with petrified sobs as she steadied herself over the sink. A positive pregnancy test was lying on the edge of the sink, the single blue line seeming to taunt her and gloat at her misfortune. She took a deep steadying breath. She didn’t want to wake up Christopher with her crying.

I’m not ready to be a mom, she thought, panicked. I’m only nineteen! We can’t even afford a baby. We can barely pay the bills and feed ourselves! Oh Goddess, what am I going to do? she wept.

She had called her boss and told him and he had given her maternity leave with pay, which she was grateful for, but she was concerned about missing out on precious promotions while she was at home with a baby. It certainly was not the life she’d imagined for herself when she had come to Sunset Valley in search of fame and fortune on her own terms. Looking down at the tiny bump that was her child, she gave a weak smile and rubbed her belly lovingly. “I hope you’re a girl,” she whispered. “I want to hand down everything I have at the end of my life to you. I hope it’ll be a lot more than this. I’m so scared, but I promise I’ll do my best to be a good mom and take care of you.”

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“Honey? Are you talking to someone?” Christopher asked curiously, knocking on the door. Startled, Marylee quickly wrapped the pregnancy test in toilet paper and hid it behind the shower.

“Uh, no… just humming to myself!” she lied. She didn’t want to tell him quite yet. She needed time to think.

“Okay, I’m going to work now. I love you.”

“I love you, too,” she replied, coming out of the bathroom to kiss him goodbye.

Once he left, Marylee’s head swam with buzzing. We’re going to need a crib and diapers and milk and bottles and pacifiers and baby food and toys and a training potty and a high chair and baby books and decorations and… oh, I feel sick, she thought, sitting on the edge of the bed and putting her head in her hands. How does all that running around leave me with time to practice the guitar or read pregnancy books or rest enough to keep the baby healthy?

When Christopher came home that night, Marylee cleared her throat and approached him before bed. She needed to tell him. “Chris, we need to talk.” Christopher’s brows knit together in concern and he rushed to her side.

“What is it? Are you okay? Are you still feeling sick? Do you want to go to the hospital?” he asked. Marylee shook her head.

“No, I’m fine… I guess…” she mumbled. Just do it and get it over with! she told herself. “Chris, we’re pregnant. I found out for sure this morning. That’s why I’ve been so nauseous, tired and sore lately.”

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Christopher stepped back for a minute, stunned, and then his face split into a wide grin and he swept her into his arms. “This is such great news! We’re going to have a baby! I’m so excited!” he beamed. Marylee wished she could be as excited as her husband.

“Chris, this is NOT good news! We don’t have the money to raise a baby, and I’m only nineteen! I have to think about how a baby’s going to affect my career! I’ll be at home taking care of a child I can’t really afford, while I miss out on promotions at work! You need to fish for hours to scrape up a hundred simoleans and your job doesn’t pay much. We can’t afford a crib, or toys, or bottles or diapers…” Marylee trailed off, because she was crying too hard to continue.

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“Sweetie, easy now. Think of the baby,” he said gently, but Marylee couldn’t calm down. Her stomach was in knots.

“Ow!” she gasped suddenly, clutching her belly as a sharp pain caught her by surprise.

“Marylee! What’s wrong?” Christopher demanded, easing his wife onto the bed. Marylee shook her head, wiping her tears.

“The baby. The stress isn’t good for her,” Marylee sighed. She hoped that referring to the child as a female would actually make it a reality.Christopher climbed in bed with her and stroked her hair, trying to calm her down.

“It’ll be okay. I’m going to work really hard to be promoted at work, and you have guaranteed paycheques during your time off. I’ll still catch as many fish as I can and sell them, and if we hold off on furnishing the living room and buying lighting for the house, we’ll manage just fine. Everything will work out. You’ll see. Just focus on taking care of our baby.” he whispered.

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“I’m so scared…” Marylee choked out.

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