Lili sat on a Bio Bed in Sick Bay.
Doctor Phlox smiled at her, “You’re surprisingly healthy, and the baby is a dynamo. You’ll be kept very busy. You’d best get your sleep now, while you can.”
She smiled, “That’s a good thing. Assuming Joss lets me rest.”
“Here now, let's do another scan for Doctor Miva.”
She lay there as he ran the scanner and performed tests, “Hmm.”
“Hmm? Is that a bad hmm?” she asked, a little anxious.
He reversed the bed and Lili was brought out of the scanner, “Look here,” he pointed to the scan.
Melissa and Doug made their good-byes, “Let's go hunting tonight,” he said.
“Anything else?” she asked, kissing his ear.
“Sure. But let's do it in a proper bed, not in one of those nasty holding center beds. They always gave me a backache.”
“We could go camping!”
“Yeah, I seem to recall you, heh, like tents. And my back will survive. I also want to tell you,” he faced her and took her hands in his, “Everybody keeps asking me this, and I hadn’t said anything. It’s not that I didn’t feel it. I just – I don’t say it much. It’s a difficult three words. But I do. I love you, Melissa
,” he kissed her slowly, gently.
“I love you too, you icky boy,” she said “Oh, and the baby will be named Thomas. Assuming I have a boy. You okay with that?”
“Of course. Thomas Beckett?”
“Thomas Madden. Thomas Digiorno-Madden if you really want to get technical.”
“Huh. I guess I’ll learn to be okay with that.”
Lili and Malcolm kissed in his room. They broke apart and he sighed, “Oh that is divine. When shall I see you in person next?”
“Yes, but like this,” he kissed her again.
“Ah. Hmm. The springtime – Melissa will have the baby then, and Doug will want to be on Ceres for that. And you and I can – will you be getting vacation time?”
“I'm sure I can swing something. Do you like Risa?”
“I’ve never been there.”
“We can take the children, too, if you like.”
“Do they have day care?” she asked, and then kissed him. This time, she was the one to sigh when they broke apart.
“I'm sure we can get someone to, uh, take care of them for a few hours one day. Or every day, my love,” he said, brushing her hair back from her face.
“So what’s Risa like?”
“Warm. It’s got beaches.”
“We’ll take sunscreen. I burn really easily.”
“What makes you think we’ll be leaving the room that much?”
They kissed again. He looked at her, “Now it's getting a bit painful. You're such a wicked, wicked woman, Lili-Flower.”
“Wish I had a bit more time. And, um, at some point, you know, we will do more than kiss here in this room, on this bed,” she said.
“Oh, I look forward to that.”
“Got everything?” Travis asked.
“Yes, I think so,” Lili said, “Thanks for the case of mints, Brian.”
“Oh sure. Chef could spare 'em. Are you making cookies or something?”
“I'll use them for, uh, something,” she came close to him, “Yimar has good taste in men,” she said quietly.
“Um, thanks. But what's a perrazin?”
“It's a big, carnivorous cow that's found on Lafa XII,” Doug said, “Lili, we need to go.”
Melissa and Malcolm watched them leave, and started walking down a hall, “So, uh, we don't know each other that well,” she ventured.
“No. I suppose this will be a time for us to get better acquainted.”
“I'll only be here another three months or so. Then, according to regulations, I have to be transferred away from combat.”
“Oh. So that's, uh, right before second trimester, right?”
“How are you feeling, Melissa?”
“Still PMSing. So, uh, watch it. Then I have barfing to look forward to. Will ya hold my head, Reed?”
“Huh. I am not exactly looking forward to that as a task. But I will do it,” he said, “Do you like Movie Night?”
“No chick flicks,” she said.
“All right. Something with lots of explosions, then?”
“Yes! Some old war picture or something. Chip must have loads of 'em.”
“Good. I'll take you to Movie Night, then. When you're up for it.”
“People will think we're an item,” she said.
“We'll know the truth. We can just let them wonder.”
Upon returning to Lafa II, their bed was a most welcome sight, “Think Joss will sleep through the night?” Lili asked.
“Just do your best to stay quiet, okay? C'mere,” he started kissing her neck.
“Oh,” she said, although it came out more as a moan, “Professor Beckett.”
“I was wondering. I need to, uh, study mathematics. Can you privately tutor me?”
“I believe I can fit you into my oh so busy schedule,” he said.
“I'll have to bite the pillow again,” she said, a little breathless.
“Better that than anything else,” he said.
The pillow was a goner.
“I am really enjoying camping,” Melissa said, “'Specially the, uh, extracurricular activities,” she kissed him.
“That's why there's only one sleeping bag,” Doug said.
“Did you like the regatta?”
“I did,” Lili said, “Although, ha, when they go by and the coxswain yells out 'stroke!' I have to confess that I'm not thinking about racing shells.”
“This will be a very slow race,” Malcolm said, kissing her.
That morning, Lili woke to the sounds and smells of Doug making pancakes.
“Oh, you shouldn't have!”
“You know, except for barbecuing, this is the only thing I know how to make.”
“Pancakes! Pancakes!” Joss danced around the kitchen, bare feet on the wood floor.
“Yes, pancakes!” Lili enthused, “I had craved them for soooo
Doug turned off the flame, holding the wooden spatula, “Good thing we got the flour.”
“And a good thing there's going to be more trade. I don't want to wait another year for pancakes. Do ya, Ducks?” she asked Joss.
“'Ommy, Duck Duck
“In a few minutes, Joss. I wanna kiss Daddy first.”
Doug said, “I love you. And I love Number One Son,” he kissed Joss on the top of his head, no mean feat as the toddler was still running around and jumping a bit, “And I love Number Two Son,” he knelt down and kissed her belly.
She said, “No.”
“No. Number One Daughter
There was a clatter as the spatula hit the floor and they kissed, and Doug knew, and Lili knew, and Joss knew, and even Marie Patrice knew, that once again all was right, in this or any other universe.