Sweet, Salty or Sour

(Week 20)

'No Moz, not today, I told you I've got something on' said Neal slightly exasperated.

'Neal, you're turning into a walking advertisement for the Establishment. You're losing your mojo' said Mozzie, as he sipped his Merlot

'If living the life I want to live makes me a walking advertisement for the Establishment, so be it, Moz' Neal answered as he continued to adjust his tie in the mirror

'Neal, you didn't forget about today's appointment, did you?' Sara's voice called out from the bathroom

'Not a chance' said Neal, smiling at himself.

'So what's more important than hanging out with me?' continued Moz, who had clearly not given up on harassing Neal

'It's Sara's ultrasound' responded Neal 'and with any luck we'll find out the baby's sex today'

'Yes!' said Sara as she came up behind Neal wrapping her arms around him. 'Do you want me to meet you at your office? We could do lunch before we go.'

'That'd be great. I don't remember the last time we met for lunch on a weekday. Why don't you come by a little early? Diana and Jones have been asking about you.'

'Sure, I'll drop by around 11 :30'

Totally ignoring Mozzie who was hovering nearby, Neal turned to look at Sara, huge smile on his face 'Have I told you just how beautiful you look today?' he swooned

'Okay, that's it. I am out of here before I get totally infected by whatever it is that's bitten the two of you.' huffed Mozzie as he put down his half empty glass of wine. 'I'll be back when you come to your senses.'

Neal and Sara kissed, oblivious to the disruption caused by Mozzie as he left.

WCWCWC

By 11 :30, the crew at the Bureau was starting to wind down and people were starting to make plans for lunch. Neal began to look up every so often to see if Sara might be getting off the elevator. He had turned into a sappy, lovesick puppy lately and the worst part was that he was totally aware of it and enjoying every second.

She finally made her appearance, looking spectacular as always in a gorgeous royal blue maternity dress that he particularly liked. He jumped to his feet and made it to the door before she did.

'Hey, beautiful' he said, opening the door for her.

'Hi' she said, smiling back at him.

'Sara, hey great to see you' Jones said walking towards them. 'Wow, look at you, I've heard about the pregnant woman glow, but you look amazing.'

'Wow, thanks, Jones. Believe me, it's not all glam but I'm glad I can still fake it sometimes.'

Diana joined the group and gave Sara a quick hug.

'Oh my God, this baby is really happening, isn't it?' she said as she touched Sara's baby bump.

'Oh, yeah' said Sara 'got a ways to go but just over half way there'

'Sara and I have a doctor's appointment but we're going to lunch first - would you guys like to join us?' asked Neal putting his arm around Sara.

'Yeah, sure' said Jones

'I'm free' added Diana

'What's this then?' Peter appeared from upstairs giving Sara a peck on the cheek

'Hi Peter, we're just saying we could all go out for lunch together before Sara's appointment' said Neal

'Is there room for two more?' asked Peter 'El is supposed to be joining – and speak of the devil…'

The door opened and in walked Elizabeth. 'Hi, she said to everyone assembled. 'Isn't it your appointment today?' she asked Sara. The two had become close over the past few months and Sara had mentioned the ultrasound to Elizabeth when they had gotten together on the weekend.

'Not 'till two o'clock' she answered 'do you want to come to lunch with the rest of the gang?'

'Sounds great' said Elizabeth.

'How about that place on East 51st, Thai 51? It's good and not too far from the clinic' suggested Sara. 'The baby's really been into Thai lately' she laughed.

They paraded out of the office, everyone chatting and laughing. It had been a long time since they'd all gone out together – not since they had closed their last big case over two months ago.

When everyone was served, the talk turned inevitably to the baby, preparations for the nursery and color schemes.

'So' said Diana 'do you two want to know the sex of the baby?'

'Yeah, I think so' said Sara. 'It helps with planning and with baby names. If we find out we're having a girl, maybe I can get Neal to stop calling the baby Boo-boo.'

At the mention of his pet name for the baby, Neal piped up 'That's a perfectly sweet name for the baby' he said.

'Ooo', said the three women simultaneously

'See Neal, I'm not the only one who takes offence to that nickname.' said Sara feeling vindicated.

'Well, we might find out the sex of the baby today at the ultrasound' said Neal. And, if it's a girl, I promise to find a better nickname for her.'

'You know, back in our parents' day, you didn't find out the sex of the baby until the birth.' said Elizabeth 'They had all kinds of ways of predicting the sex through old wives tales. My grandmother used to say that if your skin was dry, you were having a boy and if it's soft, it was a girl'

'Oh, and my mom always says that if you are carrying up front, it's a boy and if you have weight on your hips, it's a girl' added Jones.

'Well, now I'm thoroughly confused' said Sara laughing 'cause my skin's been really soft but I'm carrying up front. So what does that mean?'

'Well, the best one I've heard' said Diana 'is if you crave sweet foods, it's a girl but if you crave salty or sour, it's a boy. Sara?'

'Well, I do enjoy my chocolate' she paused 'after my hot and sour soup' she replied, leaving them hanging. Everyone groaned.

'Seriously, do you guys have a preference?' asked Diana

'Oh you know' said Neal 'the usual cliché….' And everyone joined in '… as long as it's healthy.'

It was true, although they had discussed it; neither Neal nor Sara had a preference as to the sex of the baby. Sara had a feeling it was a boy and Neal thought it would be a girl. With any luck, they would know by day's end.

The gang disbanded and everyone but Neal and Sara headed back to the office. The lovebirds made their way to the clinic, holding hands and going over the bizarre old wives tales they had just heard. Once inside the clinic, they sat patiently in the waiting room. Appointments were running on time and at precisely two o' cklock, they were ushered into the ultrasound room where the technician welcomed them with a warm smile.

'Mr. and Mrs. Ellis' she said

'I'm Caffrey, she's Ellis' corrected Neal.

'Sorry about that' she said. Neal smiled at her 'No harm.'

'Sara, if you could change into this gown, I'll be right back.' said the technician whose name, according to her name tag, was Holly.

She returned within minutes and Sara was lying on the table patiently waiting and holding Neal's hand.

'This gel is going to feel cold on your skin' said Holly 'have you had an ultrasound before?'

'I had a placental abruption at 13 weeks and they did an ultrasound then but this is Neal's first.'

'It's true, I'm an ultrasound virgin' said Neal turning on the charm

'Well, here you can see the spine and the head' she said pointing to the monitor

Neal could hear a soft throbbing noise and looked quizzically at the technician.

'That's the heartbeat' Holly added 'nice and strong.'

'How does everything look' asked Sara, suddenly a bit apprehensive.

'Everything is exactly as it should be and look, the baby is facing this way so we can get a good look at what's between his legs. Did you want to know the sex of your baby?'

Neal and Sara looked at each other and nodded.

'Well, it's most definitely a -'

WCWCWC

Back home, after dinner, they relaxed on the couch, Sara sitting up with her feet on the coffee table and Neal's head on her lap facing the baby. They looked dreamily at the picture of the ultrasound that they had been handed.

Neal had taken to talking to the baby and sometimes even singing to it in the evening before bed.

'Whoa!' said Neal as he felt the baby kicking against his hand 'that's a very healthy kick for 20 weeks' he added with authority

'Thank you, Mr. Google' deadpanned Sara.

'I like to keep up with this stuff' said Neal. 'What kind of dad would I be if I didn't know every single thing about our daughter? Hey sweet girl, this is your daddy, are you awake tonight? Mommy and I saw your face today and we heard your heartbeat. We can't wait to see you' he said kissing Sara's baby bump.

Sara looked down at Neal, rolling her eyes as she ran her fingers through his hair – oh yeah, she thought, she's definitely going to be a daddy's girl!

LA FIN