Baby Things and Diamond Rings

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The weather on Sunday was the same as on Saturday: chilly and gloomy with patches of drizzles on and off. Today, though, I was literally getting paid to sit at a picnic table and pig out on free food.

It was the annual Employee Appreciation Party at the hardware store, and everyone was crammed onto the small field behind the building.

There were people grilling and throwing water balloons at each other, even in the cold. Mom and her teammates were struggling to hit the button on the dunk tank, where Darnell, my front-end manager, was sitting. Mom finally hit the target and Darnell fell with a big splash and a lot of laughs from everyone else. 

It felt like a little bit of karma. I really liked the guy. He was funny and loved to tease Julia and I, but I was a little salty about how he scheduled me to close yesterday, which, of course, made me miss the big exciting part of Julia's gender reveal party.

Little kids of the employees were running all over the place. Mom always used to bring Poppy and I, but I never thought I'd end up here as an employee because I was pregnant and lost my cleaning job.

Julia sat down across from me with her third plate of potato salad and dove right into it. I stared down at my half-empty plate.

"That's all you're eating? One hotdog?" she asked with her mouth full.

"Yeah, at least have some chips or something!" Carlos said as he sat down with her.

"You do realise this is my fourth hotdog, right? I'm kinda full," I said.

"Pregnant girls. Gotta love them!" Carlos said, putting his arm around Julia. 

I watched as the two of them acted lovey-dovey. He kissed the top of her head and rubbed her back while she ate. All of a sudden, my back started feeling extra sore.

I looked down at my phone, and when I looked back up, I saw Linda from HR walking over. She was smiling and holding an extra large water balloon.

"You guys ready?" she asked Julia and Carlos.

Julia smiled and said, "Yeah, in a bit. Kinda hungry." 

"How about you hold it for now, Chrys? Since I'm the one getting hit with it," Carlos said.

"Oh...sure," I said.

Linda carefully handed me the balloon, which I rested on my knees. If I break this, it's going to ruin their entire gender reveal. Well, their second gender reveal.

I kept sitting there and talking to Carlos while Julia ate. The suspense was tearing me apart. Why wasn't it bugging her? Didn't she want to know how badly her Bump Buddy wanted to find this out? 

After what felt like forever, Julia and Carlos announced to everyone that they were going to do the gender reveal. As the most popular person in the store, everyone was really excited for her and paid tons of attention. Mom came over and stood next to me.

"You sure you don't know what they are?" she asked.

"No. I even snuck around on social media. I couldn't find any videos from yesterday," I said.  

The happy couple smiled and I held Julia's phone, taking a video just like I promised. We counted down. Three...two...one! Julia chucked the balloon at Carlos and it burst open, splattering bright pink paint all over his white shirt as the store employees cheered. 

Carlos laughed while wiping the paint off his face. Julia clapped and did a little dance. The couple hugged each other while we all clapped, and now Julia had paint all over her, too. It was pretty clear that she didn't care.

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