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Sunday, January 29, 2023

The Biggest Adventure

A Dallas Demons Holiday Short-Reese and JP

                I watch JP from across the room, talking with Matt, throwing his head back and laughing at something he said. Warmth fills me as that beautiful smile of his lights up his face. God, I love that man so much. As much as the day I married him, if not more, if that’s possible.

                “Isn’t it funny,” Holly says, returning to my side after getting a bottle of water, “how you were supposed to be for Matt?”

                I look at my best friend and grin wickedly. “And JP initially liked you.”

                Holly giggles. “That went out the window the second he laid eyes on you for the first time in the WAGS lounge.”

                I think of our entwined history, and how blessed I am that everything worked out this way. I was initially introduced to Matt with matchmaking in mind, but on that day, I ended up not only meeting JP but Holly as well. The woman who would become my best friend, the person who would be with me through all the ups and downs of life, forever. I can’t imagine a life without Holly in it.

                Just as I can’t imagine one without JP.

                My eyes drift back across the room, where JP and Matt are engrossed in conversation by the massive Christmas tree.

                JP is the love of my life. And since the day we met, we’ve shared passion and adventure. Every offseason we travel. We spend summers in Switzerland, in a cottage we bought together. Switzerland is not only our second home but our base for any travel adventures we go on. I’ve been across Europe thanks to JP, and together, we’ve done the most incredible things. We have hiked through Tuscany. Rock climbed in Finland. Cycling through Burgundy.

                But now we are about to embark on the biggest adventure of all.

                A server appears before us with a silver tray of mini sliders. “Kobe beef burger on brioche?”

                My stomach churns. The smell of meat instantly gives me nausea.

                “No, thank you,” I say quickly, hoping she disappears before I am urged to throw up.

                Holly declines as well. I take a sip of my water, hoping this spell can pass without me abruptly running to the restroom.

                “Since when do you turn a burger?” Holly asks, quirking an eyebrow at me.

                I grimace as I hear the word. “Please don’t say that word again or I’ll be sick.”

                Holly’s observant eyes shift to my water bottle. “You aren’t drinking, either.”

                I flush. JP and I are keeping my first trimester quiet for two reasons. One, because we feel more confident announcing it once I hit the second trimester, but also because we got pregnant on the first attempt. Holly and Matt are our closest friends, and I know how hard they have been trying to get pregnant. I can’t imagine how painful it would be to hear about another baby within the Demons family while struggling with fertility problems.

                “I don’t feel great this evening,” I say, which isn’t a lie.

                “Reese, do you want to tell me something?”

                I fidget with the cap on my bottle. I don’t know what to do. I want to tell her, because if JP and I were going to tell anyone ahead of the twelve-week mark, it would be Holly and Matt. But I’m sensitive to her struggle and I don’t want to hurt her.

                But I know I can’t hide anything from her, so I decide the truth is the only answer.

                “Holly,” I say softly, so only she can hear me. “I’m pregnant. It’s early, only eight weeks, but JP and I are going to have a baby.”

                “Reese! This is amazing! Congratulations! I didn’t even know you guys were trying!”

                She embraces me and tears prick my eyes for her. I step back from her, and the second our eyes meet, her nose wrinkles in thought.

                “Why do you look sad?” Holly asks.

                “Holly,” I say gently, “I know you and Matt have been trying. JP and I just started, and it doesn’t seem fair.”

                To my surprise, a beaming smile appears on her face. “What if I were to tell you that you and JP weren’t the only ones who were pregnant?”

                I blink. Her words slowly work through my brain.

                “Oh my God, Holly?” I whisper. “Are you?”

                Holly nods. “I am. We haven’t told anyone, and I won’t tell anyone else until twelve weeks, but we are.”

                “Holly!” I cry, throwing my arms around her and squeezing her tight. “Oh my God, this is the best news I have ever heard.”

                We both laugh and hug each other again.

                “I can’t believe we both are, at the same time,” Holly says, her brown eyes sparkling with happiness.

                “We’re going to go through this together,” I say, excitement bubbling up within me. “Oh, this is going to be amazing!”

                “We need to tell the guys,” Holly says eagerly.


                I happily walk with Holly across the crowded room full of revelers, and we make our way to Matt and JP.

                As soon as JP sees me, his mouth curves up in that sexy smile of his, the one that still can make my breath catch in my throat. His hazel eyes shine brightly, and the love I see in them makes me feel like the luckiest woman in the world to have this man to share my life with.

                “Would you guys escort us out to the terrace for a moment?” I ask. “I need some air.”

                JP’s arm immediately loops protectively around my shoulders. “Are you feeling okay?” he asks. “Do we need to go?”

                “No, no, I’m fine,” I assure him. “But some air would be good.”

                We all head to the terrace. As soon as Matt has shut the door, I turn to JP and smile brightly at him.

                “Are you sure you are okay?” JP asks, placing a hand to my cheek.

                “Absolutely fine, other than the usual,” I say, as JP knows how food scents have been making me incredibly sick lately.

                “What’s the usual?” Matt says, coming up to Holly from behind and drawing her back to his chest.

                Holly turns in Matt’s arms and smiles up at him. “Reese and I discovered we have something very unique in common.”

                JP laughs. “How can you just discover something? You two are together almost every day,” he teases.

                I slide my hand underneath his suit jacket, so I’m touching his back now. “It’s something new.

                “Very new,” Holly adds.

                “And something takes nine months to arrive,” I say.

                JP looks at Holly at the exact same time Matt looks at me.

                “You two are as well?” Matt asks.

                I nod.

                “Get out,” Matt says, his handsome face lighting up at the news.

                “Wait, Holly?” JP says, his eyes wide. “Are you expecting?”

                “Yes,” Holly says, smiling as though she might burst.

                “This is fantastic, congratulations!” JP says excitedly.

                I turn to JP. “I wasn’t going to say anything as we discussed,” I explain. “But Holly guessed when I passed up a slider.”

                “Matt, I know we said we weren’t going to tell anyone,” Holly says, putting a hand to Matt’s face, “but it only felt right to share this with Reese and JP after learning about their baby.”

                Matt nods. “But we keep this between us until we are all past the first trimester,” he says protectively.

                JP moves forward and affectionately pulls Matt into a bear hug, clapping his back.

                “It stays within the fab four,” he promises.

                Matt laughs. “Next year to be six.”

                JP hugs Holly next, and Matt embraces me as well.

                I step back from him and put my hands on his arms. “I’m so happy for you two.”

                I can’t help but notice the joy in Matt’s blue eyes. “I still can’t believe it.”

                My heart fills with happiness. For Holly and Matt, who have waited so long for this moment.  And for me and JP, and this new life adventure we are about to take together.

                Holly shivers, and Matt immediately whips off his jacket for her, draping it gently around her shoulders.

                “Let’s go back inside,” Matt urges.

                “We’ll be right behind you in a minute,” JP says, nodding.

                As soon as Matt and Holly are back inside, JP takes off his own suit jacket and drapes it over my shoulders. Then he slides his arms around me and draws me into his chest. I put my hands on his white dress shirt and gaze up into the eyes I know so well.

                “You are glowing tonight,” he says sexily, dropping a kiss on my mouth.

                I giggle against his lips, and he breaks the kiss. “What?” he asks, his brow furrowed. “You look beautiful.”

                “I’m sure for half the night I’ve looked green because every server has brought me food that makes me want to puke.”

                JP grins wickedly at me. “Green for my mermaid, that seems appropriate.”

                I play with a button on his designer shirt. “I will look more like your whale in a few months. I had to buy this empire waist cocktail dress to hide the bump that is already there!”

                One of JP’s hands moves down to the oh-so-slight bump and lovingly keeps it there.

                “You are going to be as sexy and as beautiful as ever as our baby grows,” JP declares.

                I giggle. “You are being very kind.”

                “No,” JP says firmly, his eyes flickering, “I’m being honest. I will always want you. And you, my mermaid, will always be the sexiest women I’ve ever known.”

                Then, to my delight, he drops his mouth on mine and eases it open in a seeking kiss. Oh, my. He tastes of gin and mint and as I slide my hands up to his neck, to the back of his hair, a groan of delight escapes his throat.

                “How long do we have to stay here?” he murmurs sexily against my mouth.

                “Too long,” I whisper back.

                He chuckles softly against my lips. “We can sneak out.”

                JP kisses me again, and then I break the kiss and gaze up at him.

                “We have to stay for at least a few more hours,” I say. “This is your team party. And CiCi is one of my clients.”

                “How are you going to train her when you are farther along?” JP asks, arching an eyebrow.

                “CiCi knows what to do,” I say. “She just needs me to crack the whip. But more than my current clients, I’m excited about doing some Connectivity story shares about my fitness during my pregnancy and talking about my eating and how I feel with the baby.”

                As soon as I say the word baby, his hazel eyes grow soft.

                “I know we’ve known for two weeks, but I still can’t believe our child is there,” he whispers.

                “I know,” I say, putting a hand to his face and feeling the dark brown stubble scratch my skin. “We have had so many adventures, but this will be our most challenging one.”

                JP smiles at me. “But just like everything else we have done; we’ll do it together.”

                “I love you, Jean-Pierre.”

                As JP answers me with a kiss, I know our life will still be one of adventure. Of working as a team to raise a family. Our children will know a love of the ice and the water like their parents do. They will call both America and Switzerland home. We will raise them to be confident and secure in the fact that their parents love them very much.

                With all this love in my heart and such a joyous future ahead, I decide an hour at this party will be good enough.

This mermaid, I think with a grin, needs her beautiful Swiss husband to herself.

                So I break the kiss and let JP lead me back inside the party. And as much as I love my friends and spending time with them, I’m very much looking forward to being with Jean-Pierre later tonight.

                And for the rest of my life.

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