Status: Thank you for everything x

Footsteps for a Bride-to-Be

#1: "The Big News"

November 25, 2010

It was Thanksgiving, and Debbie Phelps decided to gather my Family along with hers as well as a few closest friends and Coach Bob Bowman with his Family to a big dinner party at her home. She said that it was about time that the Phelps and the Miller Family meet, sit down and talk to each other since one of their children would be having a baby. Though they've met a few times, Debbie didn't consider it official, so she gathered everyone to her home and prepared for everything, but she instructed Michael and me to bring the drinks and sweets for his niece and nephew. She made it loud and clear that everyone was to arrive by six o'clock in the evening or else the attendees who arrived would eat without the ones who were late, which had funny reactions from the Phelps children.
My Mom and Step-Father arrived a few days ago because they wanted to attend one ultrasound appointment. My Dad and Step-Mother arrived the day after them because my Step-Mother wanted to tour around Baltimore as it was her first time there. Both my Brothers arrived yesterday, and they were late because my Younger Brother, Ricky, had to wait for my Older Brother, Ralph, to return from Vancouver and he decided that he would bring along his ex-military girlfriend of one year and a few months to meet the Family - since we were gathered in one place.
But I was amazed how my divorced Parents were getting along well. Awkward, but good, I guess?

When it was time to get ready to leave, I sobbed a bit the moment I saw the roundness of my belly in front of a mirror. The Doctor claimed that it was smaller than a normal 22 week old baby bump, I got worried. Though she made sure to check and all, and the baby was confirmed healthy and active. The baby moved around a lot more often too, they would kick and touch around. Michael loved it when the baby moved because they heard him whenever he talked to my belly.

"Anne, why are you crying?" Michael asked as he walked back from the bathroom. He had a towel wrapped around the lower half of his body and the other towel wrestled around his fluffy brown hair.
"I'm not," I muttered under my breath as I quickly wiped the loose tears that escaped. "I was just looking at how bloated I was. It's horrible. You probably won't love me anymore because I can't get my figure back to when it was," I complained as I turned around to face him while I fiddled with the engagement ring that dangled around my necklace along with the M that he bought me a long time ago. The reason it was there was so people wouldn't notice that it was an engagement ring and that he finally proposed, and at the moment, only the people present in that fancy party he planned back in Ann Arbor knew that he finally went down on one knee.
Michael pulled his pants up and tossed the towel around his neck. His body was still a bit damp, so there were some drops of water that trailed down the lines of his body. I groaned as I stared because my body had fully changed for the baby - I often blamed him for it.
"You know what I'm thankful for?" He interrupted my list of complaints as he walked over to me, and his hand grasped onto my left hand and pecked the top of it. "Well there are a lot of things, but I'm thankful for you, for our baby, and that you're putting up with the changes for the baby," He smiled as he leaned over and pecked my forehead. "And I love you no matter what."
"You better, because this baby eats too much just like the Dad," I teased as I tiptoed and stole a kiss.
We both shared a laugh, even when Michael admitted that it was true. It was part of his new diet, and it was crazy when he told me about it. The baby thought it was a good idea to join in too.
"How are we going to say it?" He suddenly asked.
"Say what?" I looked at him with a puzzled expression.
"That we're engaged? We've kept it a secret for a month now," He reminded me as he held onto his towel and continued to rough house it around his hair, which made a few drops hit me along the way.
"Um, well, I... Don't know," I shrugged. "Maybe the moment will present itself."
"Imagine what our Moms would do," He thought aloud. He continued on getting changed as I did the same, but not before I replied, "Michael, we don't need to imagine, we know that they'll hug each other, cry, and then smother us to death."

5:54pm - Debbie Phelps's Home

Arriving at Debbie Phelps's home wasn't a struggle just yet, since the guests who arrived earlier were Lia and Derek as they hitched a ride with us, Whitney and her Family, and Hilary, but she left to do some errands for her Mom. When I walked through the door, the first thing Debbie said to me was how beautiful I looked as a pregnant woman, and she interacted with the active baby inside of me for a few minutes before she gave her son some attention. I wasn't allowed to help around because they didn't want anything to happen to me, so Lia and Derek took my spot as I stayed in the Living Room with Whitney's children, Taylor and Connor.
"Wow," Connor exclaimed as he touched my belly the moment the baby decided to kick.
"It's the same when Connor was inside Mom," Taylor excitedly spoke.
"Are you two being nice?" Whitney asked as she entered the room and sat next to me. Both her kids nodded and ran to the other end of the room where the toys were, and they continued playing. "You know, those two are more excited than ever to meet the baby," She revealed to me as she leaned back on the sofa and turned her head towards me.
"I bet their Uncle had something to do with it," I replied.
"Of course," She laughed. "He's talked about a lot of things, but the only topic he sounded so proud of was about your baby, I'm still surprised that both of you decided not to find out the gender of the baby though," She added.
"Michael suggested it," I revealed. When I was 20 weeks pregnant, we were supposed to find out the gender of our baby, but Michael thought it was a better idea not to know and we placed a bet on it. If the baby came out a girl, I would be the one to name her and have bragging rights. If the baby was a boy, then he got his way and be the one to name him along with bragging rights that his gut was right. We both had different opinions on the name of our child, though we also had a set with what we agreed on.
"MP's going to be an amazing Dad, and I don't have to tell you that, because I'm sure you've seen the way he interacts with my kids, and the way he interacts with the kids in the pool," She said as she turned her attention to her two kids. "I can only imagine how he'll be when he's with his own child."
"I know," I smiled and placed my hand on my belly. I felt the baby move around inside, and it loved to move around a lot, but the baby became more active when Michael was around.
"Oh, by the way, Mom's looking for you," She remembered. "She should be in the kitchen. She wants to feed you, because she thinks that you're a bit too thin."
"I've eaten way more than she knows," I giggled as I pushed myself to my feet and made my way to the kitchen. Debbie always scolded Michael for not making me eat right, but she didn't know that I already ate so much thanks to the cravings. I entered the kitchen and found Debbie and Lia. The two of them walked back and forth to the Dining Room and back to arrange the table. I helped out a bit before they made me stay in the Dining Room and wait for them to finish.
The table was beautifully arranged, had all the food lined up, and the turkey was the last to be placed on the table, right in the middle, and the smell of it was amazing. I was forced to eat one of the triangular cut sandwiches made for the children so that I wouldn't feel hungry, even though I wasn't hungry at all. Debbie placed the stuffing right next to the turkey, and she dusted her hands against each other and turned to me with a wide smile.
"What do you think, Anne?" She asked as she made her way to me.
"It looks amazing." I complimented her a lot, and to be honest, I wanted to cook like her too. My Mom cooked, but she stopped since Dad was the main chef around the time of their marriage.
"We can dig in as soon as the boys, Hilary and your Family arrive."

Surprisingly, they all arrived the moment she said that.

Throughout the whole night, I was separated from Michael. My Family mingled, which was good, and because they did, they would drag me into their conversations when I looked for my significant other. He seemed to have been dragged into conversations too, and at one point, I saw him in a deep conversation with my Dad, Ralph and Derek. The three of them looked really serious that I didn't want to go up to them and disturb them, but Ricky told me that they were talking about their women and he didn't want any part of it because he was single and found girlfriends to be a hassle.
I also got caught up in a conversation with my Mom, Debbie and Whitney, the three of them had provided some pregnancy tips for me along with some awkward topics, especially about the advice and sudden topic about frolicking in the bedroom. Thankfully, I was saved, Lia, saw my distressed face and dragged me out of there with the excuse that Hilary needed me.
"Oh God, I nearly died in there," I sighed in relief as we walked out to the front porch, where my Brother's girlfriend, Hailey, had stayed around. She had been talking to Kim, my Step-Mother, before being ditched. Hailey was shorter than me, but she had pretty light brown eyes and dyed red hair. Ralph said they met in the same squad during the time they served in the military, and they had a fling there and decided to pursue a relationship when they got back to the States, although she moved to Vancouver because of Family as she is Canadian, who was raised in the States by another relative. I think she was Michael's age, so 25? Three years younger than Ralph.
Anyway, Hailey and I haven't spoken to each other yet, well not properly, we were introduced and had phone conversations, but that was it, and because I couldn't fly out to Long Beach when she visited my Dad, I wasn't able to be closer to her.
I felt snobby.

"Hey," I greeted. "What are you doing out here by yourself?"
"Oh, just sat here and stare at the stars," Hailey replied as she brushed her hair behind her ears. She and I were pretty wrapped up since it got chilly in Baltimore. "How are you?"
"Same old, though the new thing is that my bump has gotten a bit bigger," I replied, trying to lighten up the awkward mood between us. "Anyway, how are you finding Baltimore?"
"Ralph's taking me around tomorrow. He said that you'll be our tour guide."
I didn't see that one coming. I supposed my Older Brother wanted me to get closer with the woman he was in love with, and I knew exactly how she felt when Michael made me want to get closer to his Sisters. I smiled and said, "Yeah, sure, but we'll have to drag Michael into it, because I've only lived here for a year now and I still get lost around here."
"Your boyfriend looks like he'll be busy tomorrow though," She revealed. "Your Dad, Ricky and that other swimmer, um, Dirk?-"
"-Derek," I corrected.
"Yeah, him. Well they planned a night out."
"Is Ralph not going?" I asked rather confused.
"He said he'll catch up."
"I see." It fell awkward again. I wanted to bring up other topics, but I didn't know how to start it, and she seemed to be the type who needed to be spoken first before she would start talking. So we were stuck. And when I wanted to ask her how she and Ralph met, Michael came out of the blue and asked if he could whisk me away from her, ending a conversation.

I told you that I was everywhere that night.

Michael led me secretly through the guests and up the stairs to his old bedroom. He closed the door and exhaled heavily. "I thought I couldn't get you alone tonight," He exclaimed.
"Michael, we live in the same house, you get me alone every night," I teased as I sat down on the edge of his old bed. I've been to his old room a couple of times, saw his old photos, old trophies and other things that he didn't want me to see, and because of his strong persuasion skills, he talked me into doing things in bed while his Mom and Sisters were in the same house. The more I thought about it, I realized that there was a slight chance that our baby was conceived in that very bed.
"Anne, do you think it's the right time?" He asked with a serious tone.
I fiddled with the necklace for a bit before I took it off and slid the ring from the chain. I kept it on my lap as I returned the necklace around my neck and stared down at the important piece of jewellery on my lap. I stared at it with such focus that I didn't hear what Michael was saying to me.
"Anne," He called.
I slightly jumped on the spot as I looked back at him.
He wandered over and sat beside me, he then took the ring from my lap as well as hold onto my left hand. He slid the ring to my ring finger and smiled. "That's where it belongs," He commented before he gently pulled me to my feet as he led me back downstairs. Everyone was conveniently gathered around the Living Room, all chuckling away at whatever they talked about.
"Hey everyone," Michael called as he held onto my left hand tight, though he kept it behind him so that people wouldn't see what was wrapped around my finger. Our Families all turned our way, their attention all on us. "We have an announcement to make," He began. There were already smiles around the room. "A month ago, when we were in Ann Arbor, I went on one knee and finally asked her to marry me-"
"-And now we're engaged!" I ended as Michael raised my left hand up and showed off the square cut diamond ring that had the Promise Ring cleverly attached to it. Everyone's expressions were priceless, the women had gasped while the men brightly smiled. My Dad was the first to react and gave both of us a hug, which surprised Michael, since he wasn't used to the fact that my Dad became more accepting towards him. And as we said, our Moms cried, our siblings were excited and we were parted once more. We got separated because our future-in-laws wanted to congratulate us and welcome us properly into their families.
I was excited the more they talked about it, and every time my eyes locked with Michael's, I could see his excitement as well.
We were getting married!

1:32am - Our Love Nest

We got home pretty late, but it was an amazing night.
It was the first time I ever felt so accepted, Michael said the same thing. Debbie wanted us to sleepover at her place because she didn't want us to drive home so late, but Derek drove for us instead. I tossed myself on the bed, my back flat on the bed and my hands on my belly.
"What a good night!" I closed my eyes and let out a loud yawn.
"I can't wait until you have my last name," Michael also yawned as he tossed himself beside me. He grinned and intertwined our fingers together as he stared at the ceiling.
"Roxanne Phelps, hmm, it doesn't really suit," I teased as lifted his hand and bit on his finger. "I'll stick to Miller, unless I legally changed my name to my nickname and I become Anne Phelps. It rings a bell, doesn't it?" I laughed.
He laughed with me, but he looked and sounded exhausted actually.
"Mr and Mrs Phelps, does that ring a bell?" I grinned as I rolled on to my side as he turned his head my way and we stared into each other's eyes. We both had smiles curved on our lips and fell silent, and that moment just felt really serene.
"Anne, I love you and I can't wait to marry you."
"But first, we need to get this baby out of me so that when we get married, we'll enjoy our honeymoon, if you know what I mean," I chuckled with a wink. He shook his head and leaned closer and gave me a kiss.

I loved that man and I was going to marry him. But first, Baby Phelps needed to come out.
Hurry up, Baby Phelps!
♠ ♠ ♠
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