He woke to the smell of breakfast.
Rolling over in bed, he stretched himself out over the covers. It was no surprise to him, really, that the soft warmth she emanated was missing. He was smelling breakfast, after all. Which meant she was making it, right?
He rolled again, until he nearly fell off the edge. Sitting up, he rubbed his eyes and narrowed them at the clock. Then he rubbed his eyes again.
Okay, he knew she woke up early. She always woke up early. But never this early. She usually woke up at six, then dragged him out of bed. And anyways, it was Saturday.
He groaned, stretching his legs and following the smell. To hell with routine. He knew their routine was shaky at best – not only because of their jobs, but because of her pregnancy. There were days when she'd wake up at five thirty, only to fall asleep at the table. There were other weekends when she'd wake up at noon and spend the rest of the day exploding with energy.
But this had never happened before.
He walked into the kitchen slowly, trying not to scare her. The first thing he noticed was the smell: it was so strong he didn't know how he'd taken so long to wake up. Then he noticed the 'assembly line', marching from the stovetop to the table. Pancakes and eggs and bacon and syrup, cups of coffee and slices of toast.
Lastly, he noticed her. She was standing at the stove, flipping bacon and pancakes and eggs, moving jerkily. Her hair was pulled up into a messy bun, and her swollen belly strained against her nightgown. Her eyes were red and tired, her lips pale and thin.
His heart burst with love and pain for her, with her. He stepped forward carefully, steps loud enough for her to know he was there but soft enough not to startle her. He stood behind her, resting his hands on her shoulders, wincing at the tenseness he found there. He dropped his hands, reaching around her and turning off the stovetop.
She turned around quickly, bumping into him, eyes wide and nearly fearful. "What are you doing?"
He reached up and cupped her face, pressing his lips against her forehead. "It's three in the morning," he whispered. "Come back to bed."
"I can't," she said, her voice strained. "I have to make breakfast."
He looked over his shoulder pointedly at the stacks of food on the table. "We have enough food for the rest of the week."
"No, no," she murmured. "I have to do this. I have to."
He slipped his hands around to rest on her lower back, and then gently pulled them both to a chair. He sat down, pulling her between his legs and pressing his hands against her belly. "Sweetheart," he said softly, loving the taste of the pet name on his lips, "tell me what's wrong."
She tried feebly to pull herself out of his grasp. "I'm..." Her hands rested down on his, and she leaned down to press her forehead on his, tears slipping down her cheeks. "I'm so tired."
"Then come back to bed," he murmured against her lips.
"I can't." The tears picked up their pace. "I can't sleep. She keeps waking me up. And I'm hungry. So hungry. And so tired..."
His heart broke at her voice, and he stood up carefully, gently pulling her towards their bedroom. He switched off the lights as they went, then deposited her carefully on their bed. She stretched out, running her hands over her belly, still sniffling. He leaned forward and pressed his lips to her forehead before running back into the kitchen and grabbing one of the plates off the table.
On second thought, he mused, she should probably eat something healthier.
Quick as he could, he grabbed a tub of yogurt and dropped some into a bowl, added a healthy dose of bananas and oatmeal, and grabbed two spoons. Taking the steps two at a time, he walked carefully into their room, all ready to spoon-feed her if he had to (although that was an 'alpha-male tendency' and would not go well with her).
But she was already asleep, curled on her side, cheek pressed against the pillow.
He smiled, lips curling upwards, and put the bowl and spoons on the night table before crawling beside her and wrapping one arm protectively around her. His palm slipped over her skin until he felt the small push of his daughter against him.
Smiling into her hair, he gently pushed her back.
There was nothing better than knowing they had a life together.
Nothing better than a life with her.