Maryse was licking jam off her fingers when she heard raucous giggling coming from the livingroom. Her friends were never above teasing her son, and at barely more than a year old, Alec had no way of knowing when his aunties were making him look ridiculous for their own amusement. Of course, at a year old, he also didn’t quite care much, but that was besides the point.
She left lunch on the counter and sauntered into the livingroom. “I swear, if you guys are making him play with the cat toys again-“ she narrowed her eyes. Everything seemed normal. Celine and Jocelyn were propped on the couch, and Alec was trying to climb Celine’s belly like a mountain. Which, at six months pregnant, it kind of was. Jocelyn’s wasn’t much different. Maryse had only just found out she was going to have another, and wasn’t showing at all.
Jocelyn looked up at Maryse, unable to stop laughing. “We didn’t teach him this!”
“That’s not a comforting start to the conversation.”
“Alec!” Celine patted her belly. “What’s in here? What is this?”
“Behbie!” Alec proclaimed, joyfully.
“A baby? Yes, there’s a baby in there!”
“Whose baby is that, Alec? Is that Auntie Celine’s baby?”
“No! Mah behbie!”
“Your baby?! That’s not your baby!” Celine shook her head dramatically, grinning at him. “That’s my baby!”
“No!” Alec shrieked, plastering himself over her belly. “Mah behbie!”
“What about this?” Jocelyn put her hands on her own belly. “Is this my baby?”
“Nooo!” Alec stood and turned, wobbling. Celine caught him before he pitched right off the couch. “Mah behbie!” He wailed, reaching for Jocelyn. She scooted closer on the couch so he could touch her belly while Celine held him steady.
Maryse had her hand pressed to her mouth, shoulders shaking, afraid that if she let herself laugh, she’d never stop.
“Alec!” She gasped out. “What’s this?” She pointed at her own, still flat belly.
“Mah behbie!” He exclaimed, throwing his arms in the air. Maryse finally broke, cackling wildly.
“You’re gonna take care of all these babies?” She asked, sitting on the floor in front of them. Alec squirmed in Celine’s grasp, and she handed him off to his mother. He nodded seriously at her.
“Mah behbies.” He said matter of factly as she gathered him in her arms, holding him close.
“You gonna protect them?” She asked, kissing the top of his head. “Keep em outta trouble?”
“Yuh-huh.” He agreed.
“It’ll be a big job. I already have to try to keep their mommas out of trouble all the damn time.”
“Fuck you too, Mer!”
The three of them dissolved into giggles again. When they finally settled, Maryse stood, bouncing Alec in her arms. “I think you’re all just gonna have to take care of each other. What do you think?”
“Mah behbies.” Alec confirmed.
“Your babies.” Maryse agreed, kissing him again. “Now let’s go eat lunch.”
“And for the record-“
“Oh by the angel Jocelyn!”
“No. Shut up. Listen. He loves the cat toys!”
“I’m going to hit you.”
“No, don’t worry, Alec. I won’t hit the baby. Just Auntie Jocelyn.”
Jocelyn’s sharp noise of indignation and betrayal was drowned out by Maryse and Celine’s laughter as they settled in for lunch.