This week’s excerpt for Sweet Saturday Samples is the conclusion of Chapter 34 of Adicia’s story, “Changing Lives.” Allen finds out he and Lenore are having a baby.

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Allen is a little surprised to see Lenore coming into the bakery at 5:30.  He always brings home the leftovers at the end of the day, and often gets complimentary baked goods for working there, so it’s not like she needs to come in to buy anything.  Maybe she just wants to watch him working, or misses him so much that she couldn’t help stopping in for a quick hello and a stolen cuddle.

“How are you doing, sweetheart?  Is there a reason for your visit?”

“I came to pick up an order I placed earlier today.” She hands him her order ticket. “We’re going to enjoy it for dessert tonight.”

“You didn’t hafta do that. You make such nice baked goods, and we’re always getting free stuff besides.”

“It’s already done.  Be a good boy and go fetch the order, and I’ll pay for it.”

Allen goes to get the box whose number on the receipt matches the number on the order ticket.  When he comes back out to the front of the bakery, he sets it down on the counter and opens the box to make sure it’s the right order.

“There’s been a mistake. The order numbers must’ve gotten mixed up somehow.  This is a cake I frosted for a couple who’s having a baby.”

“I know,” Lenore nods.

“Did you just understand what I said?” he asks in confusion. “This can’t be the same cake you ordered for us, since it’s for some couple having a kid.  I’ll have to take you back so you can look at the other cakes ordered today and see if you can pick out the right one.”

“Allen, I am well aware of what the inscription on the cake says.  There is no mistake.  That is the cake I ordered for us.”

“What are you talking about?  You must be thinking with newlywed brain.  I’ll go back and check the other orders that haven’t been picked up yet.”

Lenore takes a seat and waits for Allen to check the other boxes waiting for pickup in the back.  Five contain various types of cookies, four contain jellyrolls, three contain doughnuts, six contain pies, and two contain brownies.  He goes to look in the refrigerators, and only finds a couple of wedding cakes, which he knows can’t be what Lenore ordered.

“I’m afraid your order never got filled.  I can’t find any other cakes that could be what you wanted.  Why don’t you tell me what kind of cake you had in mind and I’ll make it right now.  It’ll be warm from the oven when I come home.”

Lenore goes over to the counter and points to the cake. “That’s our cake.  Marble cake, raspberry filling, white frosting, orange lettering that says ‘Congratulations on your coming arrival!’  Exactly what I ordered.”

Allen looks at the cake and back at Lenore several times before a slight smile appears on his face. “Are you…?”

She nods.

He rushes over to her. “Are you sure?”

“I forgot my birth control pills on our honeymoon, and I didn’t think anything of it since that was my last active week.  Then I started getting sick and tired a lot during the day, and my menses never showed up.  About a week and a half ago I had it confirmed by my doctor at Planned Parenthood.  I’m sorry if this is far too soon and was a mistake.”

Allen hugs her. “Are you kidding?  This is fantastic news!  Not only did I finally marry my dream girl this year, but we also got our own little honeymoon baby!  Boy, am I excited to meet our baby!” He kisses her on the cheek. “Sit right down and I’ll bring you somea the three-day-old cookies and stuff I’m supposed to take home today.  You’re eating for two now.”

“I think I’m supposed to eat healthy foods, not sugary things!”

“I can’t believe I’m gonna be a father next year.  If it happened on our honeymoon, it might be born on my birthday.  Can you try to have it on my birthday?  That would be the best birthday present ever!”

Lenore is helpless to protest when he brings her a box filled with chocolate chip cookies, thumb print cookies, cinnamon rolls, strawberry rugelach, vanilla cupcakes with strawberry frosting, and date bars.  He looks at her adoringly as another customer comes in and he starts filling up a box with apricot danishes, éclairs, and butterscotch brownies.

“That’s my wife,” he brags to the middle-aged housewife awaiting her order. “We just got married in July.  Just now I found out we’re having a baby.  See the cake she had me decorate as a way to break the news to me?  Boy, if we have a girl, I hope she gets her mother’s beautiful emerald-green eyes.  Of course, a boy wouldn’t be so bad either, but given how I have six sisters and four unofficial sisters, I’ll probably get another girl for my harem.”

Lenore looks down in embarrassment and tries to continue eating as many of the baked goods as she can without stuffing herself or spoiling her appetite for supper.  Her embarrassment increases when Allen relays the news to all the other customers who come in during the remainder of the business day.  It comes as a welcome relief when the bakery closes up for the day and Allen comes over to her, carrying the box of cake.

“Ready to walk home, Mrs. Troy?  Don’t even think about making supper tonight.  I’ll make it for you.  You’d better believe I’m going to spoil you even more from now on.  I want you to stay as healthy as you can so we have the cutest, healthiest baby possible.  Just think, our very own honeymoon baby.  That kid is going to be so loved and spoilt.”

“Don’t get too ahead of yourself.  I’m not even past the first three months yet.”

“Everything will go fine. We’re gonna be a family of three, the way it was intended.  It’s been just us for long enough.  This weekend, we’ll have the girls over and we can have some kinda celebration.  Can I name it if it’s a boy?  You can name it if it’s a girl.”

“As long as you don’t want a mimeographed copy of yourself.  I’m not a fan of Juniors and Roman numerals.  Let the kid have his own name.”

“I think that’s stupid too. We’re not having a prince.”

The manager of the bakery comes over to them before they can walk through the door. “I couldn’t help but hear the news.  Here, take this double chocolate cake as a present.”

“You don’t have to give away your food!” Lenore protests.

“Your husband’s a hard worker, Mrs. Troy, and I wouldn’t dream of not giving a special treat to any of my long-time workers when he’s going to become a first-time father.  Take it and have a great evening.”

Lenore walks out into the evening with Allen, a part of her still feeling as though the past four years are either a dream or a dream come true.  She’s come a long way from Greenpoint, and the modern-day Manhattan fairytale she seems to have stepped into just keeps getting better.

9 thoughts on “Sweet Saturday Samples

  1. that’s one way to break the news…. now I’m going to get a cookie. I don’t think I’ve ever used the word menses … have you? Why’d you mention Planned Parenthood?

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    1. The flagship Planned Parenthood was in Greenwich Village, as well as being just about the only place Lenore could’ve gone for birth control prior to marriage without being turned away or judged. Allen’s older sister Gemma also went there some years back to get birth control pills to prevent having another child by her unwanted, abusive first husband, and in Part IV, Adicia and her husband Ricky go there for their premarital bloodwork and physicals.

      I tried to use older words for menstruation, since I’ve never heard or read, in my experience at least, of women in that era just calling it their period. By Part IV, which is set in the early Seventies, they are just calling it their period. When I got sick with dehydration during my first trip to Israel in 2005, the doctor I saw in the desert clinic used the word menses when he was asking me if I were having my period, since there had been some blood in the sample I’d had to give.

      My characters in my Atlantic City books, which start in 1938, use the euphemistic expressions “being a lady” and “lady days.”

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      1. I believe this takes place in 1966? Or is it earlier? I got married in 1966. I got birth control pills from a gynecologist before my marriage. I called it my Period. At some point called it my “friend” as in my friend came to visit.

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        1. Yes, this part is 1966. (The entire story spans 1959-74.) I’d honestly never heard or seen a reference to it just being called a period in that era, though perhaps the vintage booklets from sanitary napkin companies I’ve read and filmstrips I’ve seen were just trying to be euphemistic for a public audience. I know neither of my grandmothers has ever just called it a period, though they were born in 1927 and I think 1930.

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  2. I’d love to discuss this – you have my e mail address. What do your grandmothers call it ? I think my mother called it period…

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