Buddy noted that Sally had been unusually quiet and just not herself all morning long. He peered at her suspiciously from his place on the couch. She was busy sitting at the typewriter, but it was almost like she wasn't really there. She stared off into space and made continual apologies for missing half of what Rob was saying to her. Since when had she ever missed a beat?
He and Sally had had a great weekend, or so he'd thought and now that it was Thursday he was looking forward to the next one they'd spend alone together. It had been a little more than a month since they had started going away for the weekend together to play their routine at Herbie's Hiawatha Lodge. And to make things even better, he had some news for her this coming weekend that would change everything about their relationship.
He hoped that she wasn't starting to have second thoughts on their newfound relationship. Even though he'd been married for years, he'd never felt this way about anyone in his life. It scared him and he knew it was wrong, but he couldn't say no and just let her go back to being just his friend. He'd even said it: "I love you." Three times just that morning as a matter of fact.
Once he'd whispered it in her ear when Rob wasn't looking. The second time, he'd passed a note, again when Rob wasn't looking, and the last time he'd whispered it across the room when Rob wasn't looking. He noted that she didn't reply, but it made her smile genuinely but almost bitter-sweetly.
"Sally, what's buggin you?" Buddy asked once Rob had left the office. He couldn't wait he HAD to know what was bothering her. Maybe he could fix it, right? "Is this about well…us?"
"In a way Buddy, yes." She nodded, knowing she needed to talk to him about what had been going on. And she didn't want to at all.
"Well what is it…I know that we've been doing something wrong, but it feels so right to me. I'm crazy about ya Sal." He declared, sitting down next to her and gently taking her face in his hands. She smiled reaching up to grab his hand. She took in her own and squeezed it, noting that his wedding ring had disappeared.
"It felt right to me too." It really had. She didn't want to give it up. There were reasons she'd let herself go there. So many other men were too this or too that, but Buddy was just right for her.
"Felt? You can't mean to say it's over, that it…"
"Yes." He said, pausing for a second. He wouldn't take no for an answer. He just couldn't. "Sally, I love you. You can't leave me."
"Oh Buddy I hope you feel the same when I tell ya…cause I've got to tell ya and I don't want to."
"It's me, it's Buddy your old pal turned lover…you can tell me anything." She laughed a little when he said this and looked down, beginning to collect herself. "Besides, I have some news for you too."
"You do?" She was alarmed now at the thought that his news might interfere too much with her own.
"I do. Come on, whatever it is it can't be that bad right?" He attempted to reassure. "You go first. Come on! I'm all ears."
She looked into his loving, open gaze and realized that she could tell him anything. But it wasn't so simple. No matter what his news was, hers would top it: this was going to be the biggest news of their lives.
"Buddy." She began.
"I'm having a baby." He didn't know whether she was about to squeal in excitement or burst out crying, he thought maybe it was a little of both judging by the look on her face.
"Oh Sal, you're serious. You're really…are you okay?"
"Yeah I'm fine you don't need to worry. We'll get along just fine by ourselves."
"We'll?" He raised an eyebrow.
"The baby and me. And of course I'm going to keep it, and that's final."
"Do you really want to be a single Mother?"
"No…but…I've thought about it a lot. It's a tough decision you know. And, it doesn't look like I'll be getting married anytime soon…and I don't want to be alone all my life. I wanted to get married but…I love my baby very, very much. I can't give him up and live life knowing he's just out there somewhere without me…when I gave him life. He and I will love each other."
"Sally…I'll love him too."
"What?" She whispered. She was starting to think he was loosing his mind.
"This is wonderful." He grabbed her arms and squeezed them gently.
"Buddy…how can it be? You're m-m-m…" She couldn't bring herself to say married.
"Here read my news." He handed her a piece of paper from his back pocket. Sally read it quickly and looked back at him with a shocked and confused expression on her face.
"Divorce? Buddy did she find out about us?"
"No. It was going to happen anyway. It's a long time in coming. She served me last week." Sally could barely believe this.
"Marry me." Buddy got off his chair and on his knees.
"I don't want a pity marriage Buddy." This wasn't exactly the proposal she had been dreaming about.
"It's not a pity marriage. I love you. I've already told you that four times today—and that's before you said anything about our having a baby. I've loved you for years. Otherwise I wouldnt've have let myself kiss you that night...don't you love me?"
"Oh yes I do." She admitted, allowing him to kiss her again.
"Then let me love you, and take care of you…and our son."
"I hope we're having a boy." She whispered.
"Whatever the case may be, let me share this with you."
"You're on." She informed as she kissed him again.
"I love you." He said, maybe seventh time was a charm.
"Clearly…I've never had anyone tell me they loved me seven times in one morning."
"Well I do Sal."
"I do too." She said, beginning to kiss him again. Buddy and Sally stopped when they saw Rob out of the corner of their eye. They pulled apart quickly. Sally was on the verge of going back to her desk but Buddy grabbed her hand. Poor Rob was clearly alarmed.
"Have, have you two lost your minds!" He practically yelled. "Buddy you're a married man and Sal, you're…"
"No time like the present to tell ya Rob."
"Rob I'm going to need to take some time off…" Sally began. Maybe the most shocking part was the best way to start this kind of thing.
"What is it? Is something wrong?"
"Well, Rob, it's kind of difficult to, to say…"
"Buddy, Sally you know you can tell me anything, right?"
"Yeah, but this, this is different." Buddy interjected.
"It's okay Sal. When will you need the time off?"
"Oh, I'd say about nine months from now."
"Oh that's..n-nine months!"
"Yes. Nine months Rob."
"Sally. What are you trying to tell me?"
"What do you think I'm trying to tell you with nine months and time off?"
"You're on the nest?" Rob choked. Sally laughed at the old expression.
"Yes Rob. I'm having a baby."
"Is the fa- anybody I-ye. Oh no! You…you two! Buddy how could you?"
"Rob, are you alright?" Laura asked when he came home. He seemed shell-shocked and didn't answer. "Something happen at work today?"
"Sally's pregnant." He said.
"What?" Laura exclaimed. "Oh poor Sally."
"That's not the most shocking part."
"What is then?"
"Guess who the father is."
"Who?" She asked she was afraid he was trying to tell her something, but that couldn't be it.
"Honey you better sit down."
"What Rob?" She was worried now.
"Oh no Rob." She laughed. Rob stared at her for a second. She hadn't seemed to have digested the information. "Buddy!' She yelled suddenly. He nodded frantically, relieved that she was as upset by this as he was. "Oh darling, they must be kidding you." She finally decided.
"Kidding me? He's been so considerate of her lately…"
"Well they are good friends."
"And poor Sally's been so emotional lately…it's not like her, and so hungry
too. She's got all the funny cravings and everything. I don' t know how I didn't…of course I never would've suspected that…"
Laura nodded at this.
"Rob I still say they're kidding you!" Laura laughed; she just couldn't accept this as reality.
"And then I walked in on them kissing this morning."
"Oh that's…kissing!" She exclaimed.
"Then there's the part you'll never believe."
"Buddy's marrying her."
"Pickles left him last week."
"Apparently she'd been cheating on him too. She doesn't even know about his relationship with Sally."
"Oh Rob that's awful…well I guess in an odd way, this is kind of turning out well for Sally."
"Very. She's getting a husband out of it."
'You don't think it's a pitty marriage, do you?"
"Even if it were Laura its too late for anybody to say. There's a baby involved – they have to get married."
"Who has a baby involved?" Six-year-old Richie asked as he came in the kitchen.
"No body Richie go get washed up for dinner, okay?" Laura asked.
"Okay Mommy." He said, running into the other room.
"Oh Rob." Laura squeaked after a moment of silence between them. "Are you sure this isn't some kind of joke, you know Buddy, he…" Rob quickly shook his head.
"Come on honey, let's just have dinner, I'm starved and have to think about something else for a bit."
"Well, wait Rob…this is a good thing."
"How do you figure?"
"Who could be more perfect for each other than those two?" She giggled, picking up the kitchen phone.
"Who are you calling?" He asked.
"Millie, you'll never guess what!" She practically yelled into the phone.
"Buddy are you really sure about this?" Sally asked. They had they stayed in the office long after Rob left. Neither of them had any place else to go really. "You can go back to Pickles if you want to. I don't want to break up a marriage. We'll be just fine."
"Sally, like I told you, Pickles left me first and besides I love you. I think we're a perfect match: think about it. We're a great team. We make each other laugh. You always make me happy." She smiled up at him. She didn't know that. "And I wanna be a father."
"You do?" She asked.
"Yeah. I haven't really talked about it before."
"I heard you say it once."
"When Richie was born."
"Oh yeah. That sounds about right. Sal look how happy Rob and Laura are with the kid: we could be that happy."
"I didn't know you were this serious about it Buddy."
"Of course I am. I'm serious about you…in fact that was my news…I was going to ask you anyway."
"You were?" She brightened suddenly.
"Of course. This just expedited it a little. I'm just sorry we didn't find love together years ago."
"Me too." She rested her head on his shoulder. "Are you going to tell her?"
"That I'm pregnant? That we're getting married?"
"No." He said. "She doesn't need to know about you and the baby." Sally smiled when she felt him kiss her cheek. "I mean, she never told me who she's leaving me for…just that there's this guy. And she doesn't need to know I get to have a baby out of this deal and a wife I..." He reasoned as he dried her cheeks with his handkerchief. "You don't need to cry."
"Do you really love me, baby aside?"
"That's a silly question. I wouldn't have told you I loved you four times just this morning if."
"Seven." She corrected.
"I wouldn't have told you seven times this morning that I loved you if I didn't.
Do you really love me, baby aside?"
"I always have." She admitted.
"You have?" He was touched. They'd known each other a long time now.
"I have. You're right about what you said earlier, that we're perfect for each other because we are."
"I'm so glad you think that as much as I do. Because I do and I love you Sally."
"I love you too ya big nut." She said as they kissed.