Not a Hiccup
Chris stared blankly into the room, there were four hours to go and he was running out of ideas.
‘Love,’ Annie tried to reason with him. ‘Even if it starts now, it’s not going to finish before midnight.’
‘It’s going to happen,’ he said with conviction, through gritted teeth. ‘It can’t not happen.’
There was a pause while Chris contemplated his next move, and Annie wondered whether to divorce him. Without warning - disrupting Annie’s thoughts like a sudden gust of wind - Chris screamed and leapt to his feet, raising his arms as he did.
‘What was that?’ Annie asked, unmoved.
The man, now posed as a pantomime lion over his unimpressed wife, became crestfallen.
‘You were supposed to be scared,’ he sighed.
‘You can’t scare a baby out,’ she critiqued. ‘It’s not a bloody hiccup.’
Chris retook his seat and retreated into thought. There was no way this kid wasn’t coming out today. It was Chris’ birthday, it was his dad’s birthday, and he - obviously - had it in the sweepstake. It had to.
‘Can’t you just… push?’ he pleaded with his wife, who was rubbing her lower back and trying not to be annoyed that she was having to do it herself.
She only needed to look at him to answer.
Suddenly Chris’ face lit up and he scampered from the room. Annie remained on the sofa, slowly shaking her head. From the kitchen, she heard doors banging and drawers sliding followed by a thud and a cry of pain. She eased herself from the sofa, supporting herself into the upright with a hand pushed against the top of the back cushions, and waddled after the man she, for some reason, married. She found him bent at the waist, with one hand rubbing the crown of his head and the other rooting at the back of a cupboard.
‘What are you doing now?’ she asked, wearily.
‘Where’s that jar of Jalfrezi?’
‘Babe, we just ate.’
‘Look,’ Annie had to put an end to the situation. ‘Why don’t you make us hot chocolates, we can go up to bed and watch a film?’
Chris abandoned his search and stood, taking lengths to avoid the edge of the countertop which had assaulted him before. He closed the cupboard and walked across the room to his beautiful wife, soon to be mother of his child. He placed one hand on her belly, the other softly on her cheek, and moved as close as he could without rebounding off.
‘You’re right,’ he said, in a manner he thought was seductive. ‘Let’s go to bed.’
‘Oh no, no,’ she made very clear. ‘Not a chance in hell.’
Chris dropped his shoulders and backed away, sighing once more before turning and making his way towards the kettle, a beaten man. As he reached for the switch, there was a sound of splashing on the linoleum. Chris froze dead.
‘Erm, babe…’ came the voice from behind him.