You stared straight ahead at Alfred, munching on a peanut butter-covered pickle with the best poker face this world has ever seen. Alfred scrunched his face up in concentration, eyeing his cards and finally glancing up at you with a grin.
"Got any fives?" he asks with his usual confident voice over the downpour going on outside.
You cracked a smile and laid the pickle on the paper plate propped on top of your swollen belly. "Go fish." As he dejectedly retrieved a card off the top of the deck, you asked in a casual tone, "Got any eights?"
"Hey, no fair! You're cheating!" He pouted and handed over the eight he had revealed earlier.
Laughing, you said, "How could I cheat? You hid your cards under the table when I went to the bathroom." You set the plate on the table and sat up in your bean bag chair with a grunt. "And when can we get real chairs? Do you understand how uncomfortable these are for a pregnant woman?"
Ignoring your last comment, Alfred suddenly jumped up. "Of course you cheated!"
He ran over to you and put his hand on your stomach. "My hero baby totally must have developed mind-reading powers and is sharing them with you, _____. Yep, that's definitely what happened. That's awesome and all but-" He hugged your abdomen, putting his face right next to the baby. "C'mon Alfie Jr.! Whose side are you on? Remember: Daddy loves you most!"
Blushing, you pushed him off you and crossed your arms. "That's ridiculous! Who said you loved him most, I'm carrying him. And his name is not Alfie Jr."
Alfred used his puppy dog eyes. "But-"
Looking away before he successfully named your baby after a landmass, you stuffed your pickle in his open mouth. "No!"
He gagged and spit it out across the room. "Gross!" he said, grabbing what he didn't know was your mixture of root beer, strawberry syrup and orange juice and downing it. Eyes bulging, he got up and raced to the kitchen sink and stuck his face under the water faucet.
After about five minutes of him gargling water and you laughing your butt off on the floor, Alfred looked over at you with his eyes still wide open. "You haven't been hanging around Iggy, have you?"
You sat up gasping and tried to dry your eyes. "Now that's a little insulting."
"You almost killed me!"
"And you wasted the rest of my drink! Do you know how long it took me to get the proportions right?"
He started pouting, which made you feel maybe just a little bit guilty about shoving a pickle down his throat. You sighed. "All right, come here."
Alfred walked over and helped you to your feet. You put your arms around his neck. He didn't hesitate to hug you back, and the two of you just stood there for a while.
And then you felt wetness on your jeans.
The two of you jumped apart. Alfred glanced down at himself and then held up his hands. "It wasn't me, I swear!"
Feeling completely weirded out and recalling what your doctor had told you, you tentatively put your hands on your belly. "Ah, um, yeah. Um, Alfred? I-I think it's time." Your heart raced. It's coming now?!
Alfred grabbed a pair of pants out of the basket of laundry you two had avoided folding and started changing. "Time for what?" He froze in his Superman boxers. "Ohmygosh you don't mean your, uh
" He looked at the stain again uncomfortably.
"No!" Your face turned the color of a tomato. "I'm pregnant! The baby, stupid!"
He stared at you in disbelief. "Yo-wha
Your abdomen tightened and you sucked in air through clenched teeth when you felt a stab of pain. Giving your baby daddy the death stare, you said, "The baby. Is. Coming. I suggest you get me to a hospital. Now."
Snapping out of his shock, Alfred started panicking, running around the room still in his boxers. "Holy crap, what should we do? Right, hospital. Do you think we need this? Which shirt do you want? Does this even fit you?" He held a shirt up to you that hadn't fit in the second trimester.
Still in pain, you leaned against the table. "Alfred!"
"Okay, yeah, gotta be fast." He ran down the hall putting on his pants and, after a couple of agonizing minutes, came back dragging a rope tied around most of your belongings. "This should be enough. Come on, babe, we gotta go."
"Ah!" You let out a cry of pain. "I can't! Put all that crap down and help me! How did you even get the dresser? Ow
"Oh man, I'm the worst!" He dropped the stuff and went over to wrap his arm around your waist to support you. "Don't worry. The hero's got you."
"Well, get your hero ass into gear! Owww!" You moaned as you leaned forward.
In panic mode again, Alfred swooped you up and started carrying you toward the door. You wrapped one arm around his neck and kept one on your belly, kicking the storm door open as hard as you could. Alfred hunched his shoulders to keep the rain off you as he ran you to the car, and you tucked your head to his chest.
He may be dense at times, but there was no arguing that Alfred was, as he had said many times before, your hero.