Wearing only a well-worn t-shirt and pair of shorts, Pat was stretched out on the grass beneath the maple tree in the back yard. “Nice day,” she observed looking up through the tree’s branches at a cloudless blue sky.
“If you say so,” Sherry muttered. Wearing a thick sweatshirt, matching pants, and wrapped in a blanket, she was curled up in one of the chaise lounges on the deck.
Pat folded her arms under her head. “You don’t think so?”
“Sweetheart, if you haven’t noticed, it’s freezing out here,” Sherry said tugging the blanket closer around her body. “And there’s snow on the ground.”
“Not here,” Pat declared glancing around at the bare ground under the tree.
Sherry shivered. “It’s cold.”
“It’s not that bad,” Pat said wriggling her bare toes.
“Yes, it is,” Sherry countered doggedly. “And you’re just doing this to make me think you are a big, bad Montanan,” she insisted warming her hands on the mug of hot chocolate she had prepared when her lover suggested spending some time in the back yard.
Pat chuckled. “Goodness sakes, it’s in the forties.”
Looking at the large round thermometer hanging on the side of the house, Sherry took a sip of the hot liquid in her mug. “It’s barely forty-one and my marshmallows are freezing,” she protested.
“Are you telling me it doesn’t get cold in Arizona?”
“Of course, it gets cold… but we’re smart enough to stay indoors when it does.”
“Wimp,” Pat teased.
“Is there some point to this demonstration of your superior adaptation to cold weather?” Sherry asked.
Pat sucked in a deep breath, stretched her arms out from her sides, and exhaled as she rolled over onto her stomach. After a moment, she pushed up off the ground. “No point,” she finally answered her lover’s question walking across the yard, the frosty grass crunching under her bare feet. “I just like to do it,” she explained hopping up onto the deck.
“Bizarre,” Sherry observed gazing up at the woman now towering over her. “Can we go inside now?” she asked through chattering teeth.
Pat smiled. “Yes, my love, we can go inside,” she said leaning over her reclining partner.
Before Sherry could react, the blanket disappeared from her body. She shrieked as her warm cocoon was ripped away and the chilly spring air instantly raised goose bumps over any exposed skin. “Pat Calvin…” she screamed jumping up to chase the giggling woman running for the safety of the house.
Pat reached the door, slid it open, and raced inside. She tried to close the door but her incensed lover was too quick.
“Don’t you dare try to lock me outside,” Sherry snapped forcing the door open enough for her to slip into the warm house. She glowered at her retreating lover. “That was mean, Pat.”
Pat jumped over the back of the couch hoping it would provide her some refuge from the irate woman advancing toward her. “It got your heart pumping.”
“And now my hands are going to start pumping,” Sherry growled, her hands closing into fists.
Both women froze when the doorbell rang.
“Saved by the bell,” Pat said thankfully then scurried across the room to the front door.
“Nice outfit, Coach,” Pete stated sarcastically when the door was opened by the partially clothed woman. “Don’t you know its winter?” she asked walking uninvited into the house.
“My point exactly,” Sherry grumbled from the kitchen doorway. “I’m making hot chocolate… interested?”
“Count me in,” Pete responded.
Pushing the front door shut, Pat asked the player, “What’s wrong?”
“Does something have to be wrong?”
“Well, let’s see…” Pat held up her left hand and started to tick off each finger with her right index finger. “It’s Sunday. We’re approaching the final games of the season. The team was given instructions to take it easy today.”
“I am taking it easy,” Pete objected. “I’m just chillin’ and spending some quality time with a friend.”
“During the season, I’m not your friend,” Pat said ticking off another finger, “I’m your coach.”
Pete dropped onto the couch. “Yeah, yeah, yeah. Well, smarty pants, just so you know, I was referring to Sherry. So why don’t you go put some clothes on while we talk.”
“Oh, ha ha.”
“She’s right,” Sherry said walking out of the kitchen carrying two mugs of hot chocolate. She placed one of the mugs on the coffee table in front of Pete before sitting on the other end of the couch. “You really should put something warmer on, Pat.”
“Where’s mine?” Pat asked when no mug was offered.
“You’re a big girl… if you want hot chocolate, go in the kitchen and make it.”
Pete looked from Sherry to Pat. “Uh oh… trouble in paradise?”
“No,” Sherry said then she took a sip from her mug.
“Yeah, right,” Pete said suspiciously. “What’s up?”
Sherry pulled a leg up, tucking it under her then shifted so she could sit looking directly at Pete. “She just did something really mean to me and she has to learn there are consequences to doing that,” she explained as a dejected Pat trudged into the kitchen.
“Are you really mad at her?” Pete whispered.
Sherry shook her head. “She can be such a brat at times.”
“Ah, you do love me,” Pat called out from the kitchen after finding a steaming mug of hot chocolate waiting for her on the kitchen counter. Carrying the mug out to the living room, she told Sherry, “Thank you, sweetheart.”
“I’m still mad at you… so sit over there,” Sherry pointed to the chair furthest from where she sat.
“Yes, dear,” Pat complied moving to the indicated chair without any argument.
Pete laughed. “You two are a riot.”
“We have our moments,” Pat said raising her mug into the air. “Cheers. Now, why are you here?”
“One track mind,” Pete muttered reaching for her mug of chocolate. “I, ah… I have something to tell you but… ah… um, I’m—”
“Out with it, woman!” Pat bellowed.
“Pat, stop that,” Sherry scolded. “It’s obviously something that isn’t easy for her to say,” she said placing a reassuring hand on Pete’s thigh. “Just tell us. It can’t be that bad.”
“I guess that depends…”
“On?” Sherry asked.
“On how you take what I have to say.”
“I’m waiting,” Pat urged impatiently.
“Alright, I’m just going to say it… Keith and I want to start a family.”
“Boy, I hope you didn’t come here to get our help with that,” Pat mumbled.
Pete glared at her grinning friend. “No. It’s just we’ve… well, we’ve always wanted a family but we thought we’d wait until I stopped playing. But, now—”
“Do not tell me you’re pregnant,” Pat interrupted.
“No… well, not yet.”
“What does that mean?” Pat demanded.
“Cool your jets, Coach,” Pete snapped back. “Keith and I are trying to get pregnant so I’m giving you notice that this will be my last season… I’m retiring—”
“That’s wonderful,” Sherry gushed grabbing Pete’s free hand and squeezing hard. “You’ll make a wonderful mother.”
Pete grinned. “Thanks,” she said keeping watch on her coach out of the corner of her eye. “Look, Coach,” she said when Pat made no further comment. “I wanted to give you plenty of warning. My contract is up at the end of the year and I didn’t want you thinking I wanted to extend it.”
Pat sighed. “I’m not happy,” she muttered.
“Oh, Pat, how could you not be happy?” Sherry asked. “It’s wonderful news.”
“I’m delighted for her,” Pat explained. “I’m just not happy about how this will affect the team.”
“Come on, Coach, my playing days were numbered… we both know it. I’ve already been in the league longer than most point guards.”
“Doesn’t mean you don’t have a few more years.”
“I know. But Keith and I have talked about this… a lot. We don’t want to wait any longer. I hope you understand.”
Pat took a drink from her mug then set it down on the table beside the chair. She smiled at her friend. “Does this mean I get to be Auntie Pat to the rugrat?”
“It does if you’ll babysit.”
“Anytime,” Sherry blurted out. “I love babies.”
“Good, then you can change the diapers,” Pat told her animated partner.
“Thanks,” Pete told the women. “I really wasn’t sure how to tell you.”
“Ah, come on, Pete,” Pat said getting up from her chair. “We’re friends… if you’re happy, we’re happy,” she said pulling the player to her feet then wrapping her in a bear hug. “You and Keith will make great parents.”
Relaxing in the bathtub with her lover, Sherry washed hot water over her skin with a cupped hand. “Honey?”
“Hmm.” Pat murmured. Eyes closed, she was leaning back against the tub rim using a folded towel for a pillow.
“Have you ever thought of children?”
“In what way?”
“You… me… a family.”
Pat considered the question. “I’d love to have kids of our own.”
“Really?” Sherry asked after shifting about to look into her lover’s eyes.
Pat smiled. “Yeah… really. A little boy and a little girl... and a puppy. But I have to warn you, I wasn’t kidding about the diapers. Doing that makes me gag.”
“And just how often have you changed a diaper?”
“Too often,” Pat said frowning. “During college, one of my friends ran a day care. If I could fit it around basketball practice, I would help her out whenever she was short of staff.”
Sherry giggled. “I’d love to have seen that— you in a room of kids.”
“I liked it,” Pat admitted. “I would sit on the floor and play with them. By the end of the day, they’d be crawling all over me. The hard part was the diaper changing… I usually threw up before I finished.”
“Maybe it will be different with our children,” Sherry said placing her head on Pat’s shoulder.
“You sounding pretty sure that we will have children.”
“Oh, I’m sure we will.”
“Only if you change their diapers.”
“Not a problem. When can we start?”
Pat laughed. “How about we get through this season first… then we’ll talk.”
“That sounds fair,” Sherry agreed tilting her head to kiss her lover. “Of course,” she said moments later, “if I have to change the diapers… you have to pick up the dog poop.”
To Be Continued...
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