I feel extremely bloated right now. They should recruit me for one of those ads that run, "I used to feel like a hippopotamus had mated with an elephant in my stomach every time I ate ... until I discovered Senecot!" Or whatever. I've eaten: beef stroganoff, queen of puddings, lemon meringue pie, and enough cupcakes to build a cupcake fort. (A CUPCAKE FORT, YOU GUYS. NOW I WANT ONE.) I actually made the cupcakes myself, there is pictorial proof and everything! I will share that later. For now, I'll share a little thing I maded for the internet:
haha, how many of you clicked that expecting a photo of a bemused Malawi infant being towed from its native land by a determined popstrel? GOTCHA.
Pete never minds getting up with Bronx, mainly because he's usually up already. He's always had books around for those times when his head just buzzed. They used to be intense polisci treatises and Palahnuik (those Panic kids have way too much influence on him); now he sticks to lighter stuff. He used to think he identified with Tyler Durden; now he feels more like the magician Howl.
Bronx appreciates the genius of Diana Wynne Jones - or, at the very least, finds the pages of her books superior in taste to most other things he's tried to eat in the last five minutes: Pete's hoodie, the leg of his teddy bear, his own toes. Now he's burbling to himself and slapping the book at repeated intervals. Unswayed, Pete keeps reading.
Ashlee thinks she's being quiet, but Pete has lived around too many people in too small spaces for too long not to hear the tiny change in air movement, the light footfall on carpet. His mouth curls up as he reads and he exaggerates the dialogue for a listener who can understand.
Not that Bronx doesn't understand, too, in his own way. Pete's kid is very smart, but that's the love of his life over there, thinking she's being sneaky.
"And then Howl said, 'Do you hear something?' and Sophie replied, 'Yes. Ashlee sounds like she has a cold.'"
"I do not!" says Ashlee, outraged. She laughs a second later, a low sexy rumble that was one of the first things that attracted Pete to her, back when she was a fairly generic blonde teenybopper. That laugh set her apart; Pete had been right to count on it. "Isn't that a little advanced? He's only six months old."
"Are you kidding? You gotta start them early. As soon as he figures out the whole hand movement thing he'll be welded to an Xbox, and it'll be too late."
Ashlee snorts. "Well, give it a few months before you break out the Kirkegaard, okay?"
"It's a deal," says Pete and, softer, "go back to bed. I'll be up for a while."
Ashlee just nods. At the start she'd worried about him making up bottles and whether he knew where she kept the expressed milk, because he wasn't around as much as she was. She's relaxed a little, now, but she still leans over to kiss Bronx's downy head before she leaves. Bronx purrs like a little kitten.
"We did good," says Ashlee.
"I know," says Pete, hugging his son close. Bronx hits him on the nose. "All right, all right. Back to the story, slave driver..."