A much longer chapter as promised, once again brought to you by charmingly (aka annoyingly) slow Chicago rush hour traffic and the CTA. There is a ton of stuff going on, but I wanted to get all this out of the way so the next one could be fun. :-) Thanks for the reviews. I'm glad people are still enjoying the story and more people are coming along and discovering it. :-)


Angela felt like she was being watched. She was barely awake and hadn't even opened her eyes yet, but she could feel eyes on her. She forced herself to fully wake up, expecting to see Eric keeping watch, instead she saw the cat just lying there, staring at her.

"What's up? Did Eric put you on watchdog duty?" She reached out to pet him. "Pardon the expression." Thor let out a soft meow and lightly hit Angela's head with his. "What are you doing?" She scooted away from the cat, only to have him move with her and do it again, this time lying beside her and resting his head against hers'. "What is this," Angela whispered, "kitty mind meld? Will I finally understand why you are so fascinated with my bras and Eric's dirty socks? One is weird and the other is gross."

/

"Morning," Angela said when she finally made her way into the kitchen about twenty minutes later. Eric's back was to her. He was at the stove transferring French toast from a pan to a plate. It never failed to baffle her that he was perfectly fine with the stove but you needed the fire department on stand-by if there was a single candle present.

He turned his head to look at her. "You're awake."

"Yeah." She took a seat on one of the stools by the island and poured a cup of coffee Eric already had waiting for her. "I've been up for a while, but I was being held hostage by our cat."

Eric caught her use of the word our and wondered if she did, too. He liked it. "What do you mean?"

"I woke up and he was watching me. Then he started head-butting me for some reason and then he rested his head against my forehead until he got bored. I swear, that cat is weird."

"No," he smiled, "that's another way cats show affection. That's a high honor in cat world." He set the French toast in front of her.

"Thanks. And you know this how?"

"I did a ton of reading on cats when I took him in permanently. Not all experts agree, but head-butts can mean they trust you, they're showing affection, or even offering comfort. Or there is a chance he could've just wanted you to pet him."

She looked skeptical. "You're trying to tell me we have an insightful cat who knows I had a rough night and was trying to make me feel better?"

"Maybe," he shrugged. "Animals know things."

"That's true. I'm sure Thor would know I also wanted bacon." She looked at Eric over her glasses with a hopeful smile.

He opened the fridge. "I was waiting until after you woke up. I know you hate it cold."

"You really are too nice to me sometimes."

"Nope, you're carrying the baby, the least I can do is feed your food cravings." He turned the stove back on. "How are you feeling?"

"I have no idea," Angela answered honestly. "I don't know what to think or feel right now. It's like I'm some sort of weird mix of shock and denial. For so long I didn't know what was wrong with my dad and while I knew he was sick, it was kind of an abstract thing." She stabbed her food repeatedly with the fork. "I could focus more on the secrecy. Now I know what is making him sick and it's real and I can't pretend it doesn't exist anymore. It's like I've been done over with an emotional cheese grater."

He winced at her description. "Do you want me to stay home today? I can get the weekend guy to cover for me."

"That's very sweet," she smiled, "but go to work. I think I might call Aunt Trish, go to the doctor's office and..."

All Eric heard was the word doctor. "The doctor, why? What's wrong? Do you feel okay?"

"What? Yes, I feel fine, why?"

"Why else would you be going to the doctor's office?"

"I wanted Aunt Trish to help me finish filling out the paperwork about my family's medical history, that's all."

He visibly relaxed. "Oh, okay."

"I didn't mean to scare you." She got up from the stool and moved around to the other side of the island to hug him. "I'm sorry."

"That's okay, nothing like a little fear to get your adrenalin going, right," Eric chuckled.

"It's just, we have our big appointment tomorrow morning, the twenty week ultrasound."

"I know," he smiled and kissed her cheek. "The date is circled or highlighted on every calendar I have."

"I'd rather not have my aunt in the waiting room filling out paperwork while we're experiencing that," Angela explained as she watched him transfer her bacon to a plate. "I don't want anyone else there actually. It has nothing to do with my aunt. I'd feel the same if your mom or Morgan asked to tag along. This should be just about us and Tadpole. It's private. I'd feel weird and unable to focus if anyone else was hanging around outside."

"Hey, you don't have to justify anything to me. I like it better when it's just us, too." Eric wrapped his arms around her waist and laughed. "You know, this is getting a little more awkward," he gestured to her stomach.

Angela rolled her eyes. "I know, I'm huge and I'm only about halfway through. I don't even want to think about how big I will be in a few months."

"You are gorgeous and you're only going to get more gorgeous."

"You're biased and have to think that."

"I also don't say anything I don't mean, remember?"

"Whatever."

"If that's your way of saying I'm right, I'll take it."

She stood on her toes and gave him a quick kiss. "Can I have the bacon, please?"

Eric turned and reached for the plate, giving it to Angela. "What do you want to do with your aunt for the rest of the time she's here? How long is she staying again?"

"She's here until next Wednesday morning." She sat back down at the counter.

"And today is only Thursday."

"Right," she sighed.

"I think it's good."

"You do?"

"Yes. I mean, sure, yesterday might have been rocky, but you got through it and now you have the next several days to bond and reconnect."

"I hope you're right." Angela jumped when she felt something hit her leg. She looked down and saw Thor pawing at her. "What do you want, pal?"

"Huh?" Eric looked up from his tea.

She pointed at the floor. "The cat. Oh, I know what you want." She broke off a small piece of bacon and gave it to him.

"What are you doing?"

"Thor likes bacon."

He raised his eyebrows. "Since when?"

"Since I dropped some while cooking when you were in Florida. He liked it. I looked it up and it's safe to give cats a little, so whenever I eat bacon I've been giving him some, too." Angela broke off another little piece and dropped it to the floor. "Oh, he also loves scrambled eggs. Don't worry, they're also safe. I checked. And I only give him tiny pieces." She noticed Eric's expression had changed. "What? Is something wrong?"

"No, it's just that I've never given him table food before. His cat food and treats are all natural and very expensive. He probably eats healthier than we do."

"Are you saying you want me to stop with the bacon and eggs? I will if you want me to."

Eric was happy to hear Angela refer to Thor as theirs earlier, but now it was weird having to have this conversation about his diet and table scraps, especially since their opinions on the subject seemed to differ. "So long as it's not an everyday thing, I suppose a little won't hurt."

"Great," she grinned and broke off one last piece. "I'm going to get dressed so you can drop me off at my place before you go to work."

/

/

"Cory, have you seen my dark red sweater? The cashmere one," Topanga asked as she searched through their bedroom closet.

"It's in the living room closet. I put it there when I picked up the rest of your dry cleaning the other day."

"Oh, thanks."

"Are you sure you want to wear that, though?" He followed her to the living room.

"Why wouldn't I want to wear my favorite sweater?"

"You're spending the morning with Rachel and Milo. He pukes and that sweater is cashmere. I don't think that's a good combination."

Topanga hadn't thought about that. She just wanted to wear her favorite sweater. "I guess the silk blouse to wear underneath the sweater was a bad call, too, huh?"

"You'll make our dry cleaner very happy."

She sighed. "I guess I'll change into something a little more baby resistant."

"Last night was fun, right," Cory said as he poured some orange juice.

"Yes, it was, I just wish I could get Nina to stop calling me Toto. Is Topanga that difficult to say?"

"She's four," he laughed, "besides, Toto's cute. She did try Topanga but it came out Topanny, remember?"

"I'd rather be Topanny than something that makes people think, 'I'll get you my pretty and your little dog, too!' It's the kind of name that will stick. Once Eric hears she called me Aunt Toto he'll make sure it's what his and Angela's kid calls me and then I'll be Aunt Toto for the rest of my life. Future generations won't remember Topanga, they'll recall dear Aunt Toto."

"Doesn't your dad still call you Tippy?"

Topanga shot a look at her husband. "I've asked you to never repeat that."

Cory shrugged. "I'm just saying- Topanga, Tippy, Toto…"

"Do you have a point?"

"The more you insist on Topanga the worse it will be. Just let it go." He decided to take his own advice and drop the name conversation. "Nina really liked having you do her hair last night. She seemed to have a good time."

"It was fun," she smiled. "Nina is a fun little girl. I don't know how Jack and Rachel have the energy to keep up with her all day, every day, but she has a very active imagination."

"You were really good with her." He shook some cereal boxes, trying to determine which to eat. "But then you've always been good with kids."

She closed her eyes. "Cory, please don't start this." They had been having a relatively nice morning and now the kid talks were going to begin again.

"Don't start what? All I said you were good with kids."

"Yes, which I'm sure is going to lead yet another conversation on when we are going to have kids and you know I'm still not ready for that."

"No, I was just going to leave it at you're good with kids."

"Oh."

"It's nice to see you're still rigid with your stance, though." Cory put the cereal back in the cabinet and shut the door. "I'll just grab something on my way to Shawn's studio. He should be there by now with Jack and Seth. I think the plan was that we'd meet up at the hotel later and maybe all go out for lunch?"

She nodded. "I think so. Rachel and I are going to go over the details and decisions that have already been made for Angela's baby shower. She said if the kids weren't overtired a picnic might be fun later."

"Okay, so I guess one way or another I'll see you for lunch."

"Yeah, see you then."

Cory slammed the front door a little harder than he needed to. He was so tired of not being able to say the littlest thing without having it scrutinized to mean something more. Last night with the kids had been fun, but he hadn't looked at it to mean anything deeper than it was- fun with friends and their children. Topanga was good with Nina and he enjoyed seeing that. It reminded him of simpler days, when she was a teenager and he would come "help" her baby-sit and would end up actually helping her because she was too nice and good to do anything else. He also remembered when Morgan was younger and how excited she would get when Topanga would do her hair, especially braid it and put various ribbons and other girly things into it, just like she had done with Nina. He hadn't been looking to some unknown future like Topanga thought, he had been reminiscing about easier times in the past- before everything became so damn complicated.

/

/

"She gave the cat bacon."

Max looked up from his laptop and stared at Eric. "Is that code for something? Is it the new, 'The eagle flies at midnight.'?"

"No," he rolled his eyes, "Angela fed Thor bacon."

"Oh, sorry, we're sitting here- you're working, I'm working, and you just start talking random shit about bacon. What am I supposed to think happened?"

"What I said happened."

"Did you tell her not to give it to him?"

"No, I just said so long as it's not an everyday thing he could have bacon and scrambled eggs."

"Eggs, too," Max laughed. "Can cats have eggs?"

"Yes."

"So, what's the problem?"

"I...don't know," Eric admitted. "This is really bothering me and I don't know why. At first I thought it was because I never really give Thor table scraps, but I don't know. This morning Angela was calling him ours and saying that we have a weird cat and I'm happy she thinks of him that way now because they really weren't too sure of each other before. Still, there's this thing that bugs me."

"I know what it is," he chuckled.

"Care to share with the rest of the class?"

"You don't care about the bacon and eggs."

"I don't?"

"Nope," Max shook his head. "They and the cat are symbolic."

"Then what do I really care about?"

"Control."

"Control over what?"

"You, your life, what you are about to lose."

"What am I losing?"

"Freedom."

Eric looked at his friend like he was crazy. "And you're getting all this from bacon and the cat? Freedom? Maybe I just don't want a fat cat."

"Trust me on this. Angela's already agreed to move in with you, right?"

"We're going to be getting a bigger place, but yes, we will be living together."

"Okay, and the baby is due when, July?"

"August," he corrected, "August 26th. We actually have the twenty week scan tomorrow," he grinned. "I can't wait. Angela talked to the doctor and they have the 3-D scans like the kind you had with the twins so..."

"Great, the pictures should be amazing and trust me, tomorrow when you're showing off the kid I'll be the first one to ooh and aah. Behind closed doors, of course. But can I finish making my point?"

"What point?"

"You know how I was before Gina, right?"

"No, you and Gina were already together when I started working here."

"Okay, well, you know Moose?"

"Your dog that could actually double as a real moose, yes. What about him?"

"The most difficult thing- and the one I didn't see coming- was when Moose bonded with her and made the transition from my dog to ours' because he was the last thing I had that was mine alone. He was my buddy. Mine. Then one day I come home from an out of town assignment and Gina tells me she switched his food because she's decided I'm buying him junk and that she thinks we should switch vets because the vet I had was cold and uncaring."

"That doesn't make sense. I'm happy Thor likes Angela and that she thinks of him as hers' now. They weren't crazy about each other at first. What does this have to do with freedom?"

"Because, the pet is the last thing you have that is yours'. You go to the shelter and rescue them, pick them out, train them, bond with them, and then here comes this new person who- don't get me wrong- you love more than anything, but you know is going to take over and nothing will ever be the same. Once they win the animal over, they are into every part of your life."

"First, Angela's already been in every part of my life from day one. We didn't exactly go into this gradually. And I didn't get Thor from a shelter. I took him in when Hollie and I broke up because she didn't want him anymore. You know that."

"Fine, then you rescued him from going back to a shelter. It's still rescuing. You've gone through a lot of changes in the last five or six months," Max pointed out. "You've gained a girlfriend, you're becoming a father, and you are going to be moving in with said girlfriend and baby."

"Those are all things I'm thrilled about."

"I know, but it's also a lot to take in and a big change for a guy who, at this time last year was sleeping on his parents couch with just the cat keeping him company."

Eric glared at his friend. "That's kind of a low blow, isn't it?"

"I'm just stating the truth. This was around the time you started coming out of that initial fog."

"I'm confused, is this supposed to be a pep talk or a doom and gloom, kiss your life good-bye it's all downhill from here talk?"

"Neither. It's me offering advice and saying I've been there. Even though you feel mostly awesome and great about all these amazing changes, it's going to be the stupid little things that get to you and make you realize that your life is changing and will never be the same. Today it was the cat and bacon. Tomorrow Angela could decide to rearrange your apartment or something."

"She already did that when I was in Florida. Our kitchens match now."

Max laughed. "And that didn't bother you?"

"Not really," Eric shook his head. "So long as I can find everything, what do I care?"

"I give up," he threw up his hands. "Maybe you really just don't want a fat cat. I have to go finish prepping this story. You know where to find me if you need me."

"Thanks, Max."

"You just make sure I'm the first one you show those ultrasound pictures to."

"Before my mom? She'd kill us both."

"I mean the first one here, before Janine catches wind of them and tries to make copies or something."

"You got it." After Max was gone Eric thought about what his friend said as he mindlessly stared at the various weather models in front of him. Was he right? Was the enormity of the change that was about to hit finally seeping through in stupid little moments?

/

/

"Who had the heart attack and the stroke," Angela asked as she read over her aunt's shoulder, feeling stupid over how little she knew about her family's own medical history. Trish was filling out information from their family and as much as she knew about Joyce's family.

"My mother, your grandmother, had a heart attack. It's what killed her. She was never in the best health. She hated doctors and thought she knew best, but well..." Trish trailed off.

"And the stroke?"

"Your grandfather. The stress of losing the love of his life was just too much for him. He followed her a couple years later."

She nodded. "I sort of remember them dying close together. I was pretty young though."

"Both deaths were shocking, but not surprising if that makes sense."

"I get it." Angela shifted in her chair. "Yes, I know," she put her hand on her abdomen, "you don't like when I stay still for too long. I know this is asking a lot considering who your daddy is, but have a little patience. I will feed you after we're done here."

Trish smiled at her niece. "Baby kicking?"

"Like crazy," she shook her head. "At least he's not in my ribs today."

"Just wait until you get to the end. And he? I thought you didn't want to know. Or are you hoping for a boy?"

"I don't know," she sighed. "I don't want to know, but as far as hoping for one over the other...I don't think so, but the times I've slipped, I've always called it he. Eric's sister is hoping for a girl," Angela chuckled, "almost to the point of being obnoxious about it."

"Does Eric have a preference?"

"No. He says either way this kid will have fun, imagination, and voices when they play."

"Voices?"

"Eric says he already knows what voices he will use to play dolls with a girl or cars with a boy. And he's also prepared to swap incase a girl wants cars or a boy wants the dolls."

"Just buy a Barbie jeep and call it even."

They both laughed. "Good plan." Angela looked to see what page her aunt was on. "Okay, this was the one my doctor was really interested in getting filled out. So, some pregnancy things can be hereditary?"

"Some things can be hereditary, yes, but that doesn't mean that is how it will be for you. Like there is diabetes in our family, so your risk of gestational diabetes is higher. I developed it in my last two pregnancies- but there is no guarantee you will."

"It's all fun and games, isn't it," she joked.

"Not as glamorous as TV and the movies, huh?"

"Well, TV definitely didn't prepare me for not being able to wear my contacts because my eyes changed so they no longer fit properly." She pushed her hair behind her ear. "But I'm getting off topic, back to Joyce. Do you know why I was born seven weeks early? Was there something wrong with her pregnancy that I need to know?"

"She did have complications. From what I remember, she had what ended up being undiagnosed placenta previa. She also had slightly high blood pressure the entire time, but I don't think it was anything that required more than close monitoring."

"Or maybe she ignored doctor's advice," Angela mumbled.

"Hey, I am far from being Joyce's biggest fan, believe me, and maybe being a mother wasn't on her list of things she wanted to do, but she didn't take risks with her health or yours'. She listened to her doctor just like you do." Trish jotted down a few things on the form. "I will almost never defend her on anything, but when it comes to that I will. She did everything she was supposed to. I still remember the phone call I got from your father. I've never heard him so scared."

"What do you mean?"

"Your dad was the one that found Joyce." She put the clipboard in her lap. "She had been put on desk duty and your dad was coming by her department to pick her up for lunch. When he got there she had passed out on the floor and was bleeding. She got to the hospital and they had to rush her for a C-section."

"Wow," Angela whispered.

"When he called me right after you were born...he was a wreck. He was waiting to hear if you were okay and didn't know yet if Joyce would make it through the surgery. Your grandparents and I got on the first flight to Hawaii to be with him."

Angela unconsciously ran her hand back and forth across her bump, suddenly finding the movements more reassuring than she had a few minutes ago. "If you're done filling everything out, I'm going to go give it back to the nurse. I think we're getting looks for just sitting here talking."

"Sure. I'll just make sure I didn't miss anything." While quickly scanning over the paperwork, Trish couldn't help but notice who Angela had written down to be notified in case of an emergency. There was Eric, naturally, that wasn't a surprise to Trish. If Eric couldn't be reached, his parents were to be contacted. She was not on the list and neither was Alvin. Trish could try to tell herself that it was because they lived 2500 miles away, but she knew that wasn't it. Her brother had gotten what he wanted. He was hoping when Angela settled in Philadelphia that the Matthews would embrace her and take her in and there was clearly no doubt that they had.

"Do you want to get something to eat? Or if you want you can see my apartment. It might be a little messy right now, but it's not bad. I have food there, too, just leftovers from the other night, but they're good."

"I'd like that."

/

"I love your apartment, Angela," Trish said as she exited the bedroom. "Your use of color is fantastic. The jewel tones in your bedroom, your bathroom reminds me of a sunset, and…

"Was I sick," Angela interrupted. Their earlier conversation had been weighing on her mind since they left the doctor's office.

"What?"

"Whenever I asked dad or Joyce about when I was a baby when I was little, they just talked about how much I loved to listen to the ocean. Oh, and that I was bald," she rolled her eyes. "I've never been able to live that down."

Trish laughed at the memories. "You didn't have any hair until you were at least one."

"I know, Eric has laughed at all the pictures you sent. Apparently even as a baby he had great hair."

"But back to your question, all things considered you were healthy for a baby born seven weeks premature. You were small and unable to regulate your body temperature at first because you were born without the fat cells that help control that, so we had to keep you bundled in blankets and layers when you weren't in your incubator. But you could breathe on your own and you were a decent weight, just shy of five pounds. I'd have to check your baby book for the exact number. You did have to wear doll clothes a couple times."

"Really," she exclaimed.

"Yes," Trish nodded, "there wasn't all this preemie stuff like there is now. I'm pretty sure there's a picture somewhere of you being held by Denise wearing a Cabbage Patch Doll dress," she laughed. "The only way she would give up her doll's dress was if she could hold you."

"I'd like to see that sometime. How was Joyce after the delivery?"

"She was unconscious for a few days afterwards."

"What?"

"After the doctors delivered you she kept losing blood and was hemorrhaging. I don't know all the details, but they ended up having to do a hysterectomy to save her and stop the bleeding. It took her a few days to come out of it. It was pretty traumatic for her, and your father for that matter. You left the hospital a week before she did."

Angela was quiet as she spooned the leftover casserole into bowls and tried to imagine being in the same position Joyce had been in. "Do you think that is why she ended up leaving eventually?"

"What do you mean?"

"Having me almost killed her, so maybe she resented me or something." She stared at the food. "It makes more sense than her deciding one day that she was completely sick of being my mother. She never wanted kids, and then she had to go through all that, I could see if she would blame me or was never able to feel close…"

"Angela, no." Trish rushed over to her and put her hand on Angela's shoulder. She wanted to hug her, but she wasn't sure how that would be received. "Nothing that has happened with your parents was your fault. Not when you were a baby, not when they divorced and then Joyce cut herself out, and especially not now with the secrecy involving your dad's cancer. I wish I had an explanation for all of it, but I don't."

"Okay."

"I don't know if this will help, but one of the first things Joyce did when she woke up was ask if you were okay. I doubt she would do that if she resented you."

"I suppose." Angela looked back down at the food, needing something else to focus on. "We should eat while the food is still hot."

"Can I help with anything?"

"Um, you can just grab drinks from the fridge? Water is fine for me. Help yourself to whatever you want. I can start coffee if you'd like."

"I'm fine with water. The food smells delicious."

She smiled and carried the bowls to the table. "Eric made it. I just reheated. He's better at cooking actual meals and I'm better at desserts. I can cook. I won't starve if left on my own, but he's definitely a little better at it."

"He really loves you." She sat down across from Angela. "I mean, he told me so, but even if he hadn't it was obvious. He was right there and wanting to take care of you."

"Yeah," Angela nodded, "he's been really great. I don't know what I'd do without him."

"According to your dad, his family is really nice, too."

"They are," she smiled. "From the moment I started dating Shawn I was invited to things and they let me feel involved because they kind of took in Shawn. They even let me spend Christmas with them when Shawn and I were broken up, like in that awkward break-up stage, but we both stayed in their home. They included me and made me feel welcome. I was never a stranger. And after I left for Europe with dad, Amy- that's Eric's mom, she made me promise to send her a Christmas card with an updated picture every year so she would know where I was and that I was okay. She didn't want an email," Angela laughed, "she wanted an actual card."

"That was very sweet of her."

"And when I moved back here, Eric and I were together but not...it was complicated at first because it happened so fast, you know?" Trish nodded. "Anyway, he invited me over to his parents' house for his dad's birthday and on the mantle I saw the picture that I had sent in my Christmas card the previous year." Angela got emotional just thinking about it. "It turns out they'd always kept my picture up there, displayed with all their other family photos.

"When I asked her about it, because I thought at most my picture would be something stuck to their fridge for about a month, she said that just because we didn't see each other it didn't mean I stopped belonging here." She wiped her eyes with a napkin. "It was the first time in a long time I felt like any place could be home again."

Trish didn't know what to say. One of her biggest fears was that Angela was going to spend the rest of her life drifting from place to place, from assignment to assignment, never finding where or with whom she truly belonged. It seemed though it the past several months she had found that place. Trish only hoped she would be included in Angela's new life, that this visit wasn't the end, that it was the beginning.

"Do you want to meet Eric's parents while you're here?"

"I'd like that a lot," she smiled.

"Tomorrow after the ultrasound we're bringing the pictures over to show them. I'm sure they would be fine with you meeting us there. Mr. and Mrs. Feeny will probably be there, too. Eric and I are naming the baby after Mr. Feeny, boy or girl, so it's little George or Georgia in here," Angela touched her stomach. "I don't know if it will be a first name or middle name, but it's really important to Eric and I want to honor Mr. Feeny as well."

"That's a very sweet gesture. I'm sure he must be touched."

"He's practically speechless whenever it's brought up and Mr. Feeny is never at a loss for words."

Trish jumped when her phone rang. She looked at the Caller ID. "It's your father."

Angela's eyes grew wide. "Please don't..."

"I won't. As far as he knows, I'm in Indianapolis visiting Denise. I won't say anything you don't want me to. I swear."

/

/

"So, Naomi was thinking of doing some kind of frog related theme for the shower."

"What?" Topanga looked up from dabbing her sweater with a napkin. It was a good thing she had listened to Cory and not worn the cashmere or silk. "Why frogs?"

"Eric and Angela call the baby Tadpole. We thought it would be cute and figured frogs would be easier to find than pre-frogs, if you will." She picked up a cloth book and gave it to Milo, who was sitting in her lap. "Here you go, grumpy. So, what do you think?"

"Frogs sound okay. It does sound a bit boyish, though. What if the baby ends up being a girl?"

"Angela seems pretty insistent on not finding out the sex. I don't think frogs are automatically boyish and if Tadpole is a girl, it's not like we'll need to throw a new shower because some people think the decor leaned toward boy. Who really cares nowadays? Milo loves playing with Nina's toy purse. It doesn't bother me and Jack."

"Okay, I guess it will be frogs. What dates were you guys tossing around? Topanga felt so out of the loop missing their initial conversations and planning because she was in Pittsburgh with her mom.

"Well, after talking with Amy and considering I really don't know what our situation will be with the kids, we were thinking maybe it would be a good idea to have the shower when everyone comes in for Amy and Alan's vow renewal. Traveling with kids is a lot of work and I can't guarantee that we'd be allowed to take them on another trip so close together."

"That's right, I forgot you need permission."

"I realized that Angela's birthday is about a week before the renewal. So we were thinking maybe have a little small surprise something for her birthday and then the next day have her shower."

"Both surprises?"

"She doesn't want the shower to be a surprise, but it's been so long since we've all been able to be together for her birthday that maybe we can do a surprise dinner for her or something. She'll just think everyone is here for the shower. Then Jack and I can stay the entire week until the wedding," Rachel smiled.

"That actually sounds really nice. I think Angela will like that. The whole week can just be a family affair."

"Amy described it exactly that way, too." She bounced Milo on her lap a couple times. "Can you hand me that applesauce?"

Topanga looked a little nervous. "Why? Does he need something else to throw up? He's ten months old, isn't he? "

"Eleven months as of yesterday, actually."

"Okay, eleven months. Shouldn't he be out of this constant throwing up stage? He got Cory yesterday, me today, I know he got Shawn before, and Jack said he pukes on everyone."

"The doctor isn't sure if he's allergic to something and we just haven't figured it out yet- which we're trying- or if vomiting is just his response to new situations. It's not an uncommon reaction. He doesn't know how else to express his fear so he cries or throws up. But trust me, he's getting better. He throws up a lot less than he used to. As for the crying- we think he might just be a whiner by nature," she teased. "Seriously though, the longest he went without crying and the most content I've seen him was when he was playing with Cory last night. I couldn't believe how good he was."

Topanga nodded and remembered last night. Cory must've spent at least an hour stacking and restacking blocks only to have them knocked over. He was a little nervous, but perfectly happy to do it and like Rachel said, Milo seemed to have fun as well. "Have we given any thought to food for Angela's shower?"

/

/

"Do you have a few minutes?"

Eric looked away from the computers and was surprised to see Angela standing outside his office. "For you, of course. Is everything okay?" He got up and pulled her inside, closing the door behind her to give them some privacy. "Did things go okay with your aunt?"

"Yes, I think so. It was fine," she reassured him and reached for his hand. "I just got a lot of information today and I'm not entirely sure what to do with it yet."

"You want to talk about it?"

"Not yet." Angela looked away briefly. "How lame and needy would it be to admit I essentially came over here because I needed a hug?"

He smiled and wrapped her in his arms, crushing her to his chest. "That's not lame at all."

"I know you're coming to my place in a couple hours, but it was a long day and I needed to see you." She kissed the side of his neck. "I'm sorry."

"You don't have to apologize. I'm a big fan of the hugging. And if you didn't insist on this whole not being together 24/7 is healthy thing...well, I would happily spend every moment of the day with you."

"Because that would work well for our careers and sanity," she laughed. "Okay, I think I'm good now."

"You sure? You can hang around for the eleven o'clock news if you want. No one will care. You can stay in here."

"Thanks, but I'll be okay. I'll go back to my place and make you something to eat because Aunt Trish and I finished the chicken enchilada casserole leftovers. She wanted me to tell you it was really good."

"You showed her your apartment? That's great."

"I told you today went well. And I said she could meet us at your parents' house tomorrow to see the ultrasound pictures. That's okay with you, right?"

"Sure, if you're good, I'm good. You checked with my parents?"

"Yeah, your mom can't wait to meet her. Is that good or bad?"

"Good...I think," Eric frowned. "It depends on how my mom looks at it."

"How could she look at it?"

"She could see it as a new person to welcome into her home or she could see Trish as someone to potentially protect you from and subtly interrogate her to find out why it's taken her until now to visit and what's going on with your dad."

"Great," she sighed. "I'll call my aunt and make sure she meets us there and doesn't get there before us. I'd hate for there to be trouble on what should be a happy day."

"No, don't worry about it. I'll tell my mom to just play nice. No subtle interrogations."

"Will she listen to you?"

"Oh, she'll have to," Eric grinned, "I have the ultimate thing to hold over her head."

"What's that?"

"She plays nice or no new ultrasound pictures of Tadpole."

"That's cruel," Angela laughed and leaned forward to kiss him. "I like it, though."