attention to anything going on around her. It was perfect. Jake had contemplated going to
his bedroom to read, but quickly decided against it. If he passed out, he didn’t want Abby
to find him unconscious on the bedroom floor. Besides, what if he hit his head and bled
to death? It might take Abby hours before she found him. Jake quietly laughed at his own
absurdity. He guessed that he was more nervous than Abby about this whole thing, and
he thought it showed. Jake only hoped that it didn’t show too much.
With another deep breath, Jake opened the cover and forced himself to look at the
pictures. The blood promptly began to drain from his head, and the young man had to
quickly slam it shut. Hearing the sound, Abby looked up from her keyboard to see her
Jake placing his head between his legs, apparently to keep himself from passing out.
“Are you all right?” she asked, puzzled by his behavior.
“I’m fine,” Jake called out, not bothering to look up, but discreetly shoving the book
under his leg so she couldn’t see what he had been reading.
“Another flashback?” wondered Abby, threatening to get up from her chair.
“No, no,” he quickly insisted, raising his head to look at his wife. “I was just relaxing a
little, that’s all.”
“Are you sure?” she hesitated, her hand on the armrest of the computer chair, as if poised
to cross the room to check on him.
Attempting to prove that he really was fine, Jake grabbed a nearby newspaper and kicked
his feet out on the coffee table. With an innocent smile, he tried to engross himself in
yesterday’s news until Abby was satisfied, and returned to her work. After a few minutes
of waiting, Jake peeked over the edge of his paper and pulled out the dreaded book once
He had to do this. There was no other choice. He had gotten Abby into this predicament
in the first place, and he wasn’t about to abandon her when she needed him the most. It
wasn’t the screaming that he was afraid of, or even the sight of bleeding– it was the idea
that Abby was the one doing it. The book assured him that childbirth was a beautiful
thing, but Jake was having a difficult time believing it. In fact, the baby itself seemed to
be the only positive thing about this entire experience. He turned another page and was
greeted by a crying woman trying to pass a baby between her legs.
With a shudder, Jake closed the book and checked the clock. This time, he had made it all
the way to page twelve. Pleased that he was making progress, the expectant father
returned the volume to Abby’s nightstand without her noticing.