Bump Buddies

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Eighteen weeks along with the babies and one week into work, it was a quiet Saturday night. Learning register was really easy, so I was working solo by my second day.

Even though I was mostly antisocial, I liked the job. Because I was forced to smile and be nice to people, it helped put me in a good mood.

Some people were really friendly, some not so much. People would argue about things being too expensive or give me dirty looks, I assumed because of the whole pregnant teen aspect. They glared at Julia too, because honestly she looked like she wasn't much older than Poppy.

It was just scanning things and pressing buttons, so the job itself was pretty easy. It could get boring sometimes, though, depending on where I was placed.

Lumber in the afternoons was totally awful, because all the customers on that end were contractors, who made their routine stops in the morning. 

Then there were times like now. I was sitting on a stool at my register out in the flower nursery with Julia right across from me. I quickly looked at the time on my phone.

It was five at night and mid-August here in Oak Falls. Nobody was planting anything right now. We were alone with the fresh air and the sound of a million chirping birds. It was peaceful, but still, really boring.

I heard the beeping of a scanner and looked up. A few straggling customers were over at Julia's register. She was so outgoing and all the customers seemed to like her better, which was fine with me. She was also much closer with the rest of the employees. There was just something about her personality that made everyone flock to her.

I'd been chatting with a few people throughout the store here and there in the break room. I guessed they wanted to know me because I was a manager's daughter. Some people in the store knew, but some didn't.

On my third day, I heard someone complaining that Mom and her team were "messing up" their departments. I just rolled my eyes and told her later. She was used to the complaints.

Besides all that, my one actual store friend was Julia. We'd gotten pretty close since we were both new to the store and had similar schedules. Being the only two pregnant people in a store with about a hundred employees, she nicknamed us the "Bump Buddies."

"Have a great night!" she said, handing the customers their receipt. They walked out the exit and Julia leaned over her register. "Okay, I'm bored. You want to talk about baby stuff?"

"Sure. Anything to distract me from smelling the burger joint across the street."

"Don't tempt me! If it was allowed I'd literally run out of here and get us some," she said. "So have you thought about names yet?"

"I have no idea. I've looked at lists online but I haven't found anything that stands out."

"Dang. Maybe I'm just ahead of the game. I've got sets of names picked out for both."

I laughed. There was a long pause. "Aren't you gonna tell me? I'm waiting."

"Right, right. Okay, so we wanted to pick names starting with the same letter because you know, they're going to be identical. For two girls it's Georgiana and Genevieve. We'd call them Georgie and Genny for short."

"Aww, that's so cute! I like them both," I said.

To be honest, I wasn't crazy about the Genny with a G aspect, but then again, not my kids, not my rules.

"Thanks. If it's two boys, which I lowkey hope they aren't because I really want girls, they're going to be Ernesto, after my boyfriend's father, and Elliot. So they'd be Ernie and Eli."

"Again, good choices. And really cute, too," I said. 

"I can't believe you haven't thought of anything! But you've still got plenty of time...still don't know what genders you want, I'm guessing?"  

"OMG stop! My appointment to find out is literally in a week and a half. The anticipation is killing me," I said. "My little sister is driving me nuts that she wants a girl and a boy, and I feel like she's going to be super disappointed if they're not. She's going to the appointment with me."

"Wait, you're going to find out there and that's it? No party or cake or anything?" Her jaw looked like it was about to hit the ground. "I've been mentally planning my gender reveal party from the second I found out I was pregnant!"

I shrugged. "My family hasn't mentioned anything. I don't really like surprises anyway. My mom is already struggling to scrape together funds for my baby shower. I don't know how she'd afford stuff for a gender reveal."

"Hey, you do you." I saw her look down and check her phone. She typed a quick message. "Carlos is asking me what I want him to cook for me when I get home. He's so amazing."

"I bet," I said, putting on the best fake smile I could.

I loved Julia, but she talked about her boyfriend a lot. Like, all the time. They lived together, of course, so he could help her with all of the cleaning, cooking, baby bills, and everything else. He even came to visit her once because she forgot her lunch. 

Then I thought about Jace, who couldn't care less about me and who was probably in bed making another random girl pregnant at this very moment. I rubbed my belly. Julia's babies would get to grow up with a father who truly loved them. My babies didn't have anything even close to that.

I mean, they would have a good uncle with Chase, Poppy would be a great aunt, and don't even get me started on how much Mom was going to spoil them. All of that was great, but Julia's kids would have their dad. Each time we were on the register together, I waited for her to ask the dreaded question about...

"So, what about your baby daddy? You never mention him!" Julia said.

And there it is. Oh no. How do I think of a good answer? If I told her I got pregnant out of a one night stand, then she might think I'm just some dumb slut. Then the whole store could find out. This place was like a big rumor mill.

"He's...um...uh..."

"Not really around?"

"Well, I guess you could say that," I said.

"It's okay! I won't bring it up again. I'm sorry!"

"No worries," I said. 

I let out a deep breath of relief, then a gasp.

"What? You okay?" Julia asked.

"Yeah," I said, laughing and holding my belly. "I think I just felt them kick for the first time. I've had lots of fluttering movements, but that felt like the first actual kick."

"Aww! That's awesome Chrys!" she said, then poked her belly. "I can't wait for these two to finally start moving around." 

She smiled and I did the same. I put both hands on my bump and felt the little fluttering movements and kicks of my two little ones as a breeze blew through the nursery. It was the best feeling in the world.

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