Possibly Worse Than The Reindeer Sweater
"I'm thinking more of a candied almond pink," Elizabeth was saying as she flipped through the book of paint samples. "What do you think?"
"I like it," Carly agreed. "It would go really well with the eggshell white trim you chose."
As soon as Elizabeth beamed and resumed flipping through her book, Carly shot her husband a look and mouthed, What is wrong with her?
Sonny shrugged and held up his hands, indicating that she was not to drag him into this. If Elizabeth wanted to paint her penthouse to resemble the Easter Bunny's private pad, that was her business. Hers and Jason's.
"You know, if Jason's busy with the boys right now we can just come back later," Sonny started, earning a grateful look from Carly who was now being asked for her opinion about the new lavender sofa set they sat on. "I really don't want to bother you while you're…working on this."
"No, no, it's fine, he'll be down in a minute," Elizabeth replied absently as she refolded the baby pink afghan on the back of the couch. "He's upstairs with the boys."
Their five boys: Jake, Hunter, Riley, Sean, and Ethan. Five loud, messy, manic little boys that were always playing cops and robbers, roller-skating in the house, playing catch with valuable things, and falling out of trees. Five darling little boys that she loved dearly, but that also made her extremely happy and grateful to be carrying a little girl this time around.
Little Sophie Idonea Morgan (Jason had insisted on an antiquated middle name beginning with "I") would be born in almost exactly two months and Elizabeth wanted to make sure the penthouse was sufficiently girly enough to welcome her.
And that meant redecorating.
"And I threw out all the bathroom towels and replaced them with baby pink and baby blue ones," she was telling Carly, who looked as if she wanted nothing more than to bolt. "And I'm thinking of repainting the kitchen, too. And did I tell you my plans for the nursery?"
"Pastels?" Carly guessed humorlessly.
Elizabeth's eyes lit up. "How did you know?"
She was just about to reply that everything else in the damn house was a fricking pastel color and why should the nursery be any different, but Sonny cleared his throat and gave her a warning look.
Carly sighed and sat back on the ridiculous lavender sofa. "Just a lucky guess, that's all."
"I was thinking pastels with a Mother Goose theme," Elizabeth continued as if Carly hadn't said anything. The blonde shot her husband a look and arched a brow, silently letting him know that Jason hadn't been kidding when he said that this pregnancy was making his wife a little crazy. Elizabeth clearly wasn't right in the head anymore.
There was a knock on the door and less than two seconds later, Spinelli barged right on in. He was used to doing so, and they were used to him doing so. After all, as all their friends were quick to tell Elizabeth, Penthouse II belonged to the boys, all six Morgan men. And Spinelli was just another one of the boys as far as they were concerned.
He was joined by his girlfriend of six months, Georgie Jones, and the two of them were bickering about something.
"All I'm saying is that a guy shouldn't have to make any grand gestures to let a girl know that he loves her," Spinelli was saying. "I'm not big on the whole grand gestures thing."
"A grand gesture for you is bringing me flowers," Georgie frowned. "And yeah, I get your point, saying it should be enough because the feeling is there all the same, but it's real nice to occasionally have something go along with it. You know, a rose, a box of chocolates, a romantic home-cooked dinner-"
"Grand gestures!" Spinelli burst out. "Hey, Maternal One. Valkyrie, Mister Corinthos Sir. How goes it?"
"What are you two arguing about?" Sonny wanted to know.
"We're not arguing," Georgie was quick to explain. "We're just having a discussion."
"Yeah – a discussion I always lose," Spinelli added conspiratorially, holding his hand up for a high-five that Sonny obliged. "Am I right? Yeah, Mister Corinthos Sir knows how it is."
"Spinelli, you can't lose a discussion," she informed him crossly. "I was just saying that even though saying I love you is nice, it's also nice to get the occasional little something. Like flowers or candy or a hug or-"
"I'm not made of hugs!"
She rolled her eyes and looked over at Carly and Elizabeth. "Do you see what I have to deal with?"
"Look, a guy shouldn't have to make some grand gesture, that's all I'm saying," Spinelli defended himself. "Stone Cold feels the same way – you never see him making any grand gestures for the Maternal One, so it is not logical of the Fair One to expect such a thing of the Jackal. She wants original poetry recited under a balcony or tango lessons or…or…lassoing the moon. I can't lasso the moon!"
Elizabeth frowned at him, but it wasn't about his density relating to the current topic. "Why aren't you wearing that sweater I got you?"
Spinelli blinked. "Uh…"
"What's the matter? Didn't you like it?"
His green eyes darted around nervously. "Uh…well, sure, I liked it, Maternal One, but it's just that…I don't always wear everything I like."
He cringed when Elizabeth's lower lip began to tremble. "But I was definitely meaning to wear it today and I'm so glad you reminded me. I'll go get it!"
Georgie quickly moved aside when he dove for the door, aiming to sprint back to his penthouse down the hall and recover the sweater he claimed "looked like something PeeWee Herman made while on acid."
"I like what you've done with the place, Elizabeth. Those new sofas?"
Carly looked at Georgie as if she'd lost her mind, but Elizabeth was beaming. "Yeah, they are. I picked out a new smaller set for the den. They're buttercup yellow."
"Cute," Georgie cooed, though it was apparent that she didn't particularly think so. Spinelli had warned her that carrying a female fetus made the Maternal One a little crazy in the head. "Maybe you can get a rainbow-colored throw rug, too."
Elizabeth made a face as Carly eyed the girl with newfound appreciation, and they both tried to contain their smirks. "No, that would look awful."
"You're right," Georgie agreed. "I don't know what I was thinking."
"Where's Jason?" Sonny wanted to know. "I thought we were going to take the kids to the park. If something's come up-"
"He's coming down in a minute, Sonny, I promise," Elizabeth replied. "Just relax."
"Sonny, what do you think?" Georgie asked, turning to him. "Grand gestures or no?"
The mobster gave her an assessing look. "Do I have a chance of winning this discussion?"
"No," his wife informed him.
"Then I plead the fifth," he replied firmly. "I'm not saying anything without my lawyer present."
Georgie rolled her eyes. "What's wrong with grand gestures? They don't even have to be that grand! Is it wrong for a girl to hope for the occasional bouquet of flowers or a fancy dinner that she doesn't have to cook?"
Sonny remained suspiciously silent.
"Oh, forget it," the girl huffed, crossed her arms over her chest. "I don't think any of the men here are capable of grand gestures."
"Jason! Are you coming down or what?" Sonny yelled toward the stairs. "Grab the boys and let's go – the girls are trying to talk to me."
"Coming," they could hear Jason reply back. "The kids are just putting on their shoes."
Elizabeth smiled when she saw her husband trot down the stairs and come to an awkward stop at the foot of the stairs. "Hey, honey."
"Maternal One, I got it on!" Spinelli cried, darting back into the penthouse dressed in a baby pink fuzzy sweater. "See? I have it on and I…like it."
Georgie gaped at her boyfriend, then turned to her left and gaped at Jason, who stood fidgeting uncomfortably in the foyer dressed in his blue jeans and a robin's egg blue sweater on over his black t-shirt. Sonny and Carly couldn't quite form any words, and Elizabeth looked ridiculously happy amidst all the pastels.
"I take it back," Georgie got out, her voice awed and quiet as she looked back and forth between Jason and Spinelli. "That is a grand gesture."