11. Lavender

Better Than Chocolate

"Dammit," Anya murmurs under her breath, for the fifth time undoing the errant stitch in the lavender baby blanket she'd been attempting to finish for the last month and a half.

She was seven months into her pregnancy, and her large belly had been making it very difficult to find a comfortable position to sleep in. When she went to her grandmother for some advice, an amused Marie suggested that she take up knitting. If nothing else, it would bore her so much it could serve as a tranquilizer.

She misses a loop. Again.

With a scream of frustration she throws the knitting needle and yarn across the room. Dimitri just barely has enough time to duck when he strides through the door.

"The knitting experiment is going well, I see," he comments as he walks to the bed and sits down on the edge, being very careful to keep the plate he's carrying out of Anya's view.

It was too late. She sniffs, then narrows sapphire eyes at him. "What is that?"

He sighs inwardly. He should've known better, but he figured in her intense concentration she wouldn't pay him or his midnight snack any attention.

"It's nothing. Finish knitting. It looks pretty, by the way."

Anya looks pointedly at the half-unraveled blanket that lay in a heap against the far wall, the small corner of cloth she managed to complete the fruit of weeks of labor. "You don't go through all that to hide 'nothing', Dimitri."

"It's a salad."

She looks unconvinced.

"An apple?"

She shakes her head.


He sees the corner of her mouth twitch like she wants to laugh, but she remains deadly serious. "No."


"Uh-uh." Suddenly, realization dawns and she gasps, appalled. "It's that chocolate lava cake from last night, isn't it?"

Dimitri looks around the room. "No…"

"Yes it is! I thought I ate that already..."

"You ate yours. I managed to smuggle mine out of the restaurant before you could scarf it down."

Anya makes herself comfortable in the high-backed chair of their bedroom. "You know the drill, husband. Hand it over. Baby wants chocolate."

"Aww, Anya," Dimitri whines. Her pregnancy cravings had so far consisted of any and everything with a sugar content higher than a potato. He couldn't remember the last time he'd been able to sneak sweets into the house without her getting to them first. She always seemed to know, like she had a sixth sugar sense. "You already had pie earlier today, and cake yesterday, and that really expensive chocolate mousse the day before that when we went out with Vlad and Sophie. Can't I have anything?"

She snorts. "Are you carrying our child? No. You didn't grow another chin, you don't have stretch marks, you can sleep and snore all night if you want, and you will never know how it will feel to have to pass something the size of a football. So if I want some cake – or anything else for that matter – I can have it."

"Anya, please – "

"Give me the cake, Dimitri."

"All this sugar really isn't good for the ba– "

"Just give me the damn cake!"

He sighs. There was no winning. He might as well go down to the store on the corner and buy some ice cream to enjoy in peace.


He hands her the plate and fork, and she greedily snatches them out of his hands. He looks on scornfully as she stuffs her face with moist cake.

"God," she moans, licking the chocolate ganache she missed off the back of the fork, "it's better than sex."

Dimitri glares at her, crossing his arms over his chest.

"Well, thank you very much."