Lori and Harvey were still newlyweds, at least in their own minds, although it had actually been over a year since their marriage. They still kissed passionately every time one or the other thought of it. And they both thought of it often.
Harvey had secured a good position as an architect working 9-5 with a regular work week while Lori had her job as a director, but only had to work three days a week, and not on weekends. His parents often came over when Lori was off to say hello and catch a good lunch. Shep was adorable in Lori’s opinion; a real sweetheart, but occasionally after eating he either belched or farted with no regard for his table companions. Madeleine scolded him as Lori plugged her nose for a moment, but as far as Shep was concerned it was natural and just a part of life.
“That’s what Harvey says, too, I guess he got that opinion from his dad,” Lori told her exasperated mother-in-law.
“It’s embarrassing, even after all these years. I’m used to it at home, but when we’re out?”
“Yes, so far, Harvey at least confines it to our own property. I suppose he’ll get worse when he gets older, too, and just not care who he blows out of the room. Men.”
Madeleine loved to play “Don’t Wake the Llama”, but Lori and Harvey didn’t have room for that game unless they got rid of their hot tub. No Way. At least not right now. So she and Madeleine played SSX3 instead.
When Harvey came home that day he brought a coworker home with him, who was also a distant relative, at least by marriage. Jesse Blackford was the brother of Jeremy Blackford and Jeremy was married to Harvey’s sister, Margo. Jesse and his wife, Jenna, had twin girls who were in high school, Janice and Jessamyn.
Shep and Madeleine were still at the house and Lori insisted they might as well stay for supper, too. They said yes, but first would Lori play the piano for them. They loved her to play some of the old standards they knew before they were married, so she was happy to please them.
Harvey led Jesse into his man cave with the pinball machines and dartboard. Just before supper they got in a quick game of catch in the front yard. Supper was savory bass with lemon dill sauce, summer squash and smashed herb potatoes. Conversation was lively as Jesse caught Madeleine and Shep up on his family’s activities. They had not seen the twins since they were in grade school.
A couple of days later, Melanie called Lori up to see if she could come over for a while.
“Sure, come on along!”
Lori thought Melanie sounded excited and wondered what was going on.
When they sat down to a light lunch of grilled cheese sandwiches Melanie blurted out her news,
The two best friends shrieked with excitement like teenagers.
“Gareth, a daddy,” Lori laughed, “It’s hard to imagine at first but when you think how good he is with people, he should be a wonderful father.”
“I know,” Melanie just radiated her happiness, “He’s so proud, you’d think that no other couple had accomplished such a feat. Of course Mom and Dad are just over the moon.”
“I can imagine; Mom and Daddy always look at me really close every time we go over there or have them here, like I'm one of their trees they're expecting to bear fruit. I don’t know why when they know Harvey and I want to wait another year or two, but they just want grandchildren so bad.”
“Yes, mom and dad have Simone and they adore her, they can’t wait to have more like her.”
The women talked at length about children and what things Melanie wanted for her family; living at the Flynn mansion and keeping the home and making it a multi-generational family. It was the first long visit Melanie and Lori had enjoyed since they’d had their respective weddings. Melanie stayed almost until 5 and then jumped up,
“Oh, I’m late! I have steaks defrosting at home for supper. Lori, thanks so much for lunch and everything,” Melanie hugged her and left.
After Melanie went home, Lori headed up to the nursery that she’d begged Harvey to let her prepare at the time they furnished the rest of the house. They knew that, both Lori and Harvey being twins, it was more than likely that when Lori got pregnant she would deliver twins, so they’d provided the room with two cribs and decorated for boy and girl. As she surveyed the room, she was thinking, are Harvey and I making a mistake waiting? Are we ready to take on the responsibility? I’m so happy for Mel and Gareth, but I’m a little jealous, too.
That night she told the news about Melanie’s pregnancy to Harvey and they were still talking about it at bedtime.
“Okay, let’s go over our reasons again for waiting to have a baby,” Harvey said in his calm, quiet voice.
“I don’t want to”, she pouted.
“I thought you said you wanted to go to Takemizu Village this fall. Is that something you’d still like to do? Once we have a baby we can't take off at a moment's notice, or maybe even at all.”
“We-ell…” she paused, considering.
Harvey pushed his seeming advantage,
“And we both thought we should save up a little more money so you can quit work if you want to once the baby is here. I’d just like a little more time alone with you before we get immersed in diapers and bottles. My mom wants more grandchildren, but even she said ‘Once they're here; they’re here—no more time alone, no more just thinking about yourselves. Take your time.”
When Lori clouded up he said,
“It’s not forever, honey. Just a year.”
“I wish I could quit work now,” she admitted, “I’m tired of it. Even though I'm not pregnant. I never wanted a career.”
“Well, maybe you should consider quitting, then, but what would you do?”
“Oh, I’d like to get back into painting. I’ve been thinking I’d like to learn how to make pottery, too, after seeing the beautiful things your dad has made.”
“You probably won’t have time for that after a baby comes,” he pointed out, “So I think you should make time for it now. But if you quit work I supposed that will slow down how fast we can save.”
“You’re right, of course,” she admitted.
“I don’t want to be ‘right’, honey. I just want you to think these things over, then we’ll reassess the situation. If you still want to try for a baby then, well, that’s what we’ll do.”
Over the weekend Lori did think their situation. By Sunday afternoon, she was ready to talk to Harvey about it again. She found him, of course, in the man-cave and they sat down on the sofa in there.
“I think we should wait one more year as we planned,” she said, “I’ll continue to work and we can just bank what I make if we can live off your salary alone. Can we do that?”
“I’ll crunch the numbers but I’m virtually positive we can. But I’ve been thinking it over, too, and my suggestion now is that we only wait six months. There’s no guarantee you’ll get pregnant right away so that gives us at least a few months after that, I would guess. What do you think?”
“Okay, six months and I keep working until the baby comes. That’s a good plan. Melanie will have her baby by then. I’ll see if she goes crazy or not and if she doesn’t, we’ll definitely go for broke,” Lori said enthusiastically.
Harvey had to laugh.
“I think we should practice getting pregnant right now though, like a dress rehearsal,” Lori said, climbing onto his lap.
Later, over dinner, they talked about Harvey’s career, which was turning out to be even more satisfying to him than he thought it would be. Lori wished she felt the same way about her own job. Actually, once she got into a production, she loved the creative process. It was just that she wanted to be a mother more than a director and she didn’t want to do both. Well, sooner than it might seem they would be working toward that end.
On her next day off, Lori was up early and sent Harvey off to work with a good breakfast—not just cereal—and then headed up to her art studio. It was practically brand new at this point and she was eager to start a painting. She just wasn’t sure yet what her subject would be.
Harvey was surprised when he came home and she was still up there. He didn’t want to interrupt her so he just jammed for a while to his music and then made himself a sandwich and one for her, too, along with some canned soup. That much he could manage. He was a whiz with ramen noodles, too, but they’d both said when they left University that after all the ramen they’d had to eat in college, if they never had it again it would be too soon. Harvey knew he was just spoiled; on her days off Lori always had a hot meal for him when he came home. He called up the stairs to her to come down to eat. She gobbled down the sandwich and soup.
“Didn’t you even stop for lunch, honey?” he asked.
“No, I wasn't hungry then. I did stop for a little while to get off my feet around three. I watched the Food Channel for about an hour. Then I went back up.”
That night just as Lori was starting to fall asleep Harvey touched her shoulder and asked in a half-whisper,
“Honey, you awake?”
Lori smiled to herself, “Not yet.”
“I just want to know if you’re definitely okay with our decision.”
“What decision?” she was puzzled.
“About having a baby.”
“Harvey, I’m fine, really. You changed it to six months and to tell the truth that’s all I really wanted; to cut the time in half. I just thought I’d suggest we get pregnant right now so I could negotiate.”
Harvey chuckled softly,
“You are still a conniver, my beautiful brat, it's lucky you're such a hottie.”
After she finished the painting and started a new one, Lori paused for a short time to take some very basic pottery lessons at the junior college and then started a project at home.
These new creative ventures we very satisfying to her, but she felt the need for a little excitement. A wonderful idea came to her and she talked to Harvey about it when he got home. She’d made a cherry pie and she served it to Harvey for dessert hoping to butter him up a little.
“I have a great idea.”
Harvey swallowed a bite of pie—it was his second helping—and said,
“Hmmm. Well, I can’t guess.”
Lori leaned toward him and crooned in a Marilyn Monroe breathless and pouting voice,
“Let’s have a party,” then she puckered up and sent him an air kiss.
He gave her a slow smile as his eyes lit up, “Suits me fine, honey. Just let me just finish my pie.”
Lori went back to her normal voice as she laughed,
“Not that kind of party, sweetie--I was trying to be funny! I mean a real party with all our friends. A pool party! To celebrate the end of summer.”
“Actually that’s a great idea.”
“I’ll get a pad of paper and we’ll make a guest list. So far, the weather is predicting sunny and hot for this weekend.”
“A guest list? How many people are we talking about?”
“Oh, I’ll figure that out when we put down all the people we know and like plus relatives."
After supper she began happily writing down names. Harvey came over and looked at the list
"Just remember; the house can only accommodate so many people."
"That's the beauty of a pool party, it will be outside--plenty of room there," she assured him.
"What if it rains, Brat? What if it just pours?"
Lori paused and looked down at the long list of names she had written. It was starting to look like a petition that every citizen of Pleasantview had signed.
"Okay, maybe we could take a few names off here. I guess we could drop the people we don't like all that much?"
Harvey laughed as he took his plate into the kitchen,
"Sounds like a plan. In fact, I'll help you. We don't want the neighbors thinking we're hosting a convention."
In the end they decided by the time they invited her brother, Trey, and his wife, and Harvey invited his sister Holly and her husband Andy Lomas, and his brother, Nicky, and his new wife, that would be enough for this first party.
Next update: Harvey and Lori Ferguson Ch. 4 First Pool Party