One of the funniest things so far about being pregnant was trying to explain to Matt how they counted pregnancy weeks. Frankly, she didn’t really understand it either, that she most likely got knocked up six weeks earlier but was eight weeks pregnant. It was really sweet, though, that he was reading everything he could find about what to expect each week of pregnancy, what was going on in her body, and she was absolutely certain that he was going to be the world’s most anal-retentive husband for trying to make sure she followed every suggestion for a pregnant woman. Now that she knew she was pregnant, though, it was like the symptoms had gotten worse in just a week. She was tired all the time, especially, which didn’t really work all that well with the other ‘symptom’ – she was horny all the time. Her husband didn’t help. He could at least try to be less sexy.
They had agreed they wouldn’t tell anyone, absolutely anyone, for a few more weeks. Sylvie understood the logic behind it, if they lost the pregnancy they didn’t want to have to go through that publicly. Matt, especially, had been through a lot of things publicly and for an inherently private man she knew that had made things harder. She never wanted to make anything harder for him. Dr. Nguyen had assured them that she hadn’t seen anything wrong or concerning or likely to create a complication, but still, it couldn’t hurt to be cautious. She knew that after twelve weeks, the risk of miscarriage dropped, and she’d eventually start to show. Besides, it wasn’t like she wanted to hide anything – she was married and happy and pregnant, there was nothing wrong with it. But if Matt didn’t stop treating her like an invalid, they wouldn’t be able to keep things quiet very long.
“I can get it.” Matt popped up immediately to answer the door. They’d ordered Chinese, because it was what she wanted. Right now, anything she wanted Matt was providing, no argument of any kind. It was kind of nice, and a little surreal. What was annoying was watching him limp to the door when she was perfectly fine. He was actually hurt – not seriously, only a twisted knee. She was just pregnant. Fighting with him was exhausting though.
“Sylvie, you want to eat in the kitchen or here in the living room?” Matt asked, bringing the bags into the house.
“Kitchen. We are not eating anything with sauces on this sofa.”
“It’s been treated to be stain resistant.” Matt pointed out, but headed for the kitchen. “Give me a sec, I’ll come back-“
“Matt, if you offer to help me up from the sofa when I’m carrying a baby the size of a raspberry right now, I will smack you. And not on your butt, because you’d probably enjoy that.” Sylvie called after him even as she stood up. She followed him into the kitchen, where he was already starting to plate the food. God, it smelled so damned good. She was starving. All the time.
“Did we get everything?”
“Almost literally.” Matt replied with a grin. “Egg rolls, crab rangoon, one wonton soup for you and an egg drop soup for me, sesame chicken, broccoli and beef, fried rice, and General Tso’s, plus, of course, extra fortune cookies. For two people, we ordered a lot of food.”
“Sorry, three people.” Matt apologized, leaning forward across the counter/breakfast bar to kiss her gently. “You know I’m just teasing.”
“You better be.” She replied, then grabbed his wrist. “Don’t put all that on your plate.”
“Sylvie, you don’t like General Tso’s.”
“It smells fantastic. Give me some. Just a little bit.”
“Alright.” Matt agreed, shaking his head, but he did put some of it on her plate. He didn’t like fried rice, so it was easy to tell whose plate was whose. Also, he was the only one eating the crab Rangoon. He would eat crab in pretty much any and every form.
“And don’t try to give me chopsticks. I’m too hungry for chopsticks, just give me a fork. We’re in our own kitchen, I can be culturally ignorant or whatever.”
“Yes, ma’am.” Matt pulled out a fork, handing it to her along with her plate. She moved over the table in the dining area. She knew he was going to show off and use chopsticks himself. She didn’t mind, because that meant he’d eat slower than her, so she’d get more helpings in than he would. “What do you want to drink, Sylvie? There’s iced tea, water, lemonade, uhm…”
“Yeah, the rest of that in there is yours. No solidarity from you.”
“I can give up alcohol with you in solidarity, Sylvie.” Matt set an opened bottle of decaf iced tea in front of her, and a Coke for himself. “But for the health and welfare of everyone on second shift, I think it’s best if we don’t both go off caffeine at once. No one wants a repeat of Chief-on-a-diet and Stella being his support diet buddy or whatever.” He moved back to the counter, grabbing his own plate and sure enough, chopsticks, before settling into the chair nearest her. The table he’d built sat six even without the leaves that could extend it to seat a slightly crowded ten (though they didn’t have matching chairs for ten, just six, for now he said). Nonetheless, even with all that space, she always sat at the closest chair on the long end of the table, and he always sat at the ‘head’, next to her, not across.
“You know, if we both stop showing up at Molly’s, people are going to worry about us.” Sylvie pointed out even as she dug into her food heartily.
“You can’t drink – that’s not exactly discrete. And I want to be in this with you.”
“Oh, you will be. You are. Because you are giving me that, right now.” She pointed at his dinner.
“You have a plate-“
“No, I want that chicken, the General Tso’s. It’s fantastic.”
“Are you asking me to literally give you my dinner? Before I’ve even had a bite of it?”
“There’s other stuff. Have that. I want yours. Clearly, this is your child that is being demanding.”
“My child.” Matt said softly, shaking his head slightly. If she’d wanted to manipulate him, she had a feeling she could get by with anything based solely on being pregnant for a very long time. He reached out, his hand resting over her still-flat stomach. He met her eyes firmly, as if he was trying to convey something vital to her. “I love you, so much. Thank you.”
“I’m not giving you anything.” Sylvie kissed him lightly. “I’m taking, give me your dinner.”
“You’re giving me the greatest thing possible, so if I have to give up my dinner – which you normally hate, you won’t even kiss me until I’ve brushed my teeth – that is a very small price to pay. But do I at least get dibs on the rest of the sesame chicken?”
“Sure, whatever, just give me the good stuff.”
“I got a gift for you at the spa today.” Sylvie wrapped her arms around Matt from behind as he got out of the shower before bed. He’d been on a construction site all day, and although he did sometimes out of sheer exhaustion, he didn’t like going to sleep without a shower first.
“Yeah? How’d that go, you and Christie and Violet?”
“It was great.” Sylvie smiled genuinely. “Christie is teaching third grade this year. She seems to really love it.”
“She wasn’t loving middle school the last couple years.” Matt remarked. “I think her breaking point was a pregnant seventh grader last year.”
“Seriously? Seventh grade?”
“Apparently. Girl was thirteen, barely. The ‘father’ was fourteen, an eighth grader. When I was in middle school I could barely speak to a girl I liked.” Matt shook his head. “I’m not going to say ‘kids today’ because I’m pretty sure it happened when I was that age, too, it’s just still…”
“Yeah.” Sylvie knew what he meant. It was wrong on so many fundamental levels. “She seems really happy with third grade. Violet and Daniel are going to Homecoming together. Her dress is really pretty. She wants us to come over for pictures. We’re not on shift that night so I told her we’d be there.”
“Good. Gives me a chance to tell him to keep it in his pants.”
“You think Jim is going to do it? I was a teenage boy once, Sylvie. He’s a junior. Trust me, school dances by junior year….”
“I don’t think Violet is a forty-something cougar so his virtue is probably safe.” She winced after she said it, because she didn’t really think bringing that up was the best approach. She knew, Matt had told her openly, that he had a lot of regrets about that. She moved around him, going up on her tiptoes to kiss Matt softly. “I’m sorry, that was kind of mean. Violet is very responsible, she has a good head on her shoulders, and you should trust her.”
“I do. I just think a reminder to be smart if they can’t be good wouldn’t be out of place.”
“Don’t embarrass her.”
“I won’t. I promise.” Matt kissed her softly. He pulled back with a small smile. “You said something about a gift for me – at a spa? Not usually where I’d send someone who wanted to get me a present.”
“You have no idea how hard you are to shop for. You’re like the only person I’ve ever met who genuinely wants nothing. How is that even possible?” Sylvie complained. His birthday was coming up next month, and Christmas the month after that, and he was ridiculously difficult to shop for. He’d be happy with anything or nothing. He wasn’t lying. He really would be. He was basically impossible. He’d looked at her like she’d lost her mind when she asked for a Christmas list.
“What could I need?” Matt shrugged lightly. “I’ve got a good job, enough food, enough clothes, a nice home, and a beautiful wife who is already giving me the greatest gift possible: you, and this little one, that’s all I ever need. You and her, healthy and happy.”
“I can’t stand calling our baby ‘it’.” Matt shrugged again, but he was blushing a little.
“You want a girl?” She was a little surprised by that, though she didn’t know why. She had just figured Matt would want a little hockey buddy or something first – a son. Didn’t all guys want a son?
“All I really want is a healthy child.” Matt corrected. “I just, I don’t know, kind of want a girl first, if I could have my choice.”
“Well, you did say ‘three’ so…”
“Mm-hmm. And how do you picture those three breaking down – two girls and a boy, a girl and two boys, what?”
“Does it matter?”
“I’m just curious.” Sylvie insisted lightly. She decided volunteering would maybe make him feel less like there was an answer he was supposed to give. He still sometimes fell into that sort of thinking, like she had an answer she wanted him to magically know and provide. “If I could order our babies from a Sears and Roebuck catalog, as my grandmother used to say, we’d have at least one of each, of course, but I don’t know if I want two girls and a boy or two boys and a girl.”
“You sure you want any more Casey men? I have it on good authority we’re kind of assholes.”
“Your mother is just still mad about you being a jerk to Randy.” Sylvie barely resisted rolling her eyes. She didn’t dare to call Randy his stepfather, she did not want to start an argument, not tonight, not when she had other things on her mind – much more fun things. “You could be a little more welcoming to him, a little nicer.”
“He could stop calling me Matthew and being a condescending shit every time he speaks to me.”
“Your mother calls you Matthew, it’s just habit from what he hears.”
“You know what I hear when Randy talks to me?” Matt sighed, rolling his head back for a second, then meeting her eyes. “I hear my dad. He’s just like him, the way he talks down to me like I’m beneath him, only instead of it being because I’m a fucking sissy faggot, it’s just that I barely got out of high school and work with my hands instead of his office job.”
“Your dad…” Sylvie had never heard anything like that come of Matt’s mouth, and she didn’t like hearing it in his voice. It was so unlike him, because Matt was anything but a bigot. He worked hard to give everyone a completely fair shake, male, female, any race, any religion, any nationality, any sexual orientation, any gender expression, Matt accepted and tried to understand. She loved it about him. He was so accepting of people, as long as they were honest. Well…okay, the thing they’d seen on television about polyamory had completely thrown Matt and he clearly didn’t accept or approve but…other than that, he was really accepting.
“Mom killed him because he said something, to her, about me that she couldn’t stand to hear said ever again. She’s never told me what it was, but I think I know.” Matt looked away from her. “He said I was turning into a little faggot, that if he put me in a dress he could call me Martha instead of Matthew and no one would know he had a son. I never even knew why. I played sports, I worked construction sites with him, I just…I couldn’t talk to girls. So I kind of…shied away from them. Mom told me it was normal.”
“Your dad thought otherwise.”
“It was like if I made it to sixteen and didn’t have a girlfriend, hadn’t had sex yet, I was defective or something. God, I think most parents would prefer their teenager not have sex. My dad said he lost his virginity when he was fourteen. Everything I did, he’d always done it better, faster, something. So, yeah, I can’t stand Randy because he’s the exact same way. You could tell Randy I won the Carter Harrison award and he’d have magically won the Congressional Medal of Honor or something.”
“You know what? This is not what I want to talk about right now.” Sylvie decided. “I came in here, because I was hoping to catch you still in the shower. I have a present for you, and I think you’re going to like it.”
“Yeah? Something I could use in the shower?”
“No, just something you can, uh, use naked.”
“I already like it – you, me, and naked in one idea sounds good.”
“Well, come into the bedroom and find out what it is.”
They were in the middle of a pretty typical shift, neither quiet nor particularly busy, at least not for Ambo. Squad had been hopping, but everyone else was sort of a typical shift. She was kind of hoping that no one noticed that she was hungry all the time right now. At least she wasn’t having any kind of morning sickness, which would probably be a dead giveaway. She was really pretty lucky, her symptoms were relatively minor: really just the hunger and the tiredness. She didn’t think feeling attracted to her husband was a symptom, that was just standard for her: Matt was damned sexy. Though, she’d never really thought he was particularly sexy in his turnout gear before. Oh, it looked nice, but no matter how much the guys scrubbed that gear, it never smelled nice. But for some reason, Matt’s fantasy about sex in the cab of 81 was starting to appeal to her. The minor problem of it being a truck, in full view on the apparatus floor, well…there had to be some way around that.
“So, what’s up with you and Casey?” Foster asked, jerking Sylvie out of her thoughts.
“There’s nothing ‘up’. Is there?” Sylvie asked, surprised by the question.
“We all get that you’re newlyweds, but you’re never at Molly’s – and you live literally one minute away. On foot.”
“Matt’s really busy with construction work, and we just like spending time in our own house, that’s all.”
“Uh-huh. That’s what’s had you spaced all morning. Admit it. You two are having hot monkey sex all the time. After all you have to keep your hands off for a full 24 hours on shift.”
“It’s not…hot monkey sex.” Sylvie thought that term sounded too derogatory for what she and Matt had.
“Really? You telling me the captain isn’t all kinds of crazy between the sheets?” Emily looked disbelieving of that. “The quiet restrained guys are usually the kinkiest.”
“He’s not ‘kinky’.” Sylvie defended him.
“Come on, girl talk now. Captain Casey’s a demon, isn’t he? He has to be. All that focus and determination, bet he’s one of those guys who just goes and goes.”
“I’m not telling you that about Matt.”
“You didn’t tell me, just confirm.”
“I’m very happy with our sex life, that’s all I’m going to say.”
“Rumor is he’s not…ah, you know, that’s…inappropriate.”
“Rumor is he’s not what?” Sylvie asked, now she was curious and pressing to know something. What had Emily been about to say?
“I just heard, you know, around that he’s you know, uncut.”
“Who was even talking about that?” Sylvie asked sharply. “That is no one’s business.”
“Rumor also is he’s not that big.” Emily shrugged. “I’m just saying rumor, not saying I know or even care. He’s not my husband.”
“He’s your captain.”
“Well, as you pointed out, he’s not really ours – he’s not our boss, officially. If he was, you’d have to change houses since you’re married now.” Emily paused. “I’m glad you’re happy, Sylvie, really. I shouldn’t have said anything, sorry.”
“No, it’s not your fault. Stupid rumors start and the CFD is like its own small town, gossip and rumors everywhere.” Sylvie sighed.
“You don’t have to confirm or deny, but uh, I’ve found that uncut guys are bit more sensitive about a couple things, but that the whole cut-guys-last-longer-during-sex bullshit is a total lie. It’s pretty much the same. Although, maybe without a condom it would make more difference.”
“I am very happy with our sex life.” Sylvie repeated, then reconsidered just slightly. Thanks to those pictures, some things weren't all that private any more, and Emily wouldn't exactly go around blabbing. “I don’t have enough experience to say if it has anything to do with a foreskin, but Matt lasts plenty long enough.”
“So he is…. Huh, weird. That’s unusual for a white guy his age in the Midwest.” Emily shrugged. “You know, consensus at 51 is that you guys are never at Molly’s because you’re busily trying to get knocked up. So, when you do get knocked up, are you planning to stay on Ambo?”
“I want to, as long as I can do the job I want to do the job.” Sylvie sighed, knowing they’d already started having this argument, though she couldn’t tell Emily that, at least not specifically.
“And Captain? What’s he think?”
“If he had his way, he’d wrap me up in cotton wool and bubble wrap and never let me out of the house, let alone work on an ambulance pregnant.” Sylvie couldn’t help unloading a little. “I know he had some…he has reasons, but he worries too much. Pregnant women aren’t sick, they aren’t weaker, they don’t need ten layers of protections. I’ll be fine.”
“Gabby lost a baby, before they were married – they were engaged, but broke up, then quietly – like literally no one knew about it – got back together, she got pregnant, then they openly got back together, and she lost the baby. Well, really, there was never a viable baby, because it was ectopic. Then, they fostered a boy, were going to adopt him, but his biological father showed up and they lost Louie to his biological family, and then his marriage fell apart over trying to have a family with Gabby later, so he’s a little…I understand why he’s overprotective. But if he treats me like I’m made out of spun glass because I’m pregnant, I’m going to kill him.”
“He already has everyone keeping an eye on you.”
“You didn’t notice?” Emily asked, surprised. “He’s told everyone to keep an eye on you on calls – me, Herrmann, Severide, Otis, Cruz, Mouch, everyone, literally everyone. I mean, I think everyone is just humoring him – you don’t need watching, any more than we all look out for each other anyway – but he’s, Sylvie, I say this as your friend: your husband is going to be all sorts of a pregnancy nazi when you get pregnant. If he’s like this now, once it’s you and a baby together….” Emily trailed off, shaking her head.
“I’ll talk to him. Again. If I didn’t love him so much, I’d be really pissed about him telling people to ‘watch me’.” Luckily, Sylvie did love him, and she knew it was just his natural worry, an outgrowth of how much he loved her. Still, he had to find some sort of way to live with the fact that she was going to keep working, and everyone else had jobs to do on calls that did not actually include being her babysitter.