Long Way Home (Chapter Nine, page 2 of 6)

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That was true. She had.

"I wouldn't want anyone to think I didn't cook because I can't. I'd rather they think it's because I won't."

"Point taken." He kissed her lightly on the nose. "Let's enjoy these weekends whilst we can because once this little bundle of joy muscles her way in, it'll be a sleepless and muffinless world we live in."

"I've been thinking about something."

"Uh oh."

"Now hear me out. What would you think if I decided to leave my job after the baby is born?"

She knew that those were not words Mark had ever expected to come out of his wife's mouth.


Alexis rubbed her belly almost defensively rather than affectionately. "Yes. I've been feeling panicky and unsettled lately and I think it's because I'm worried about leaving the baby."

"What about blasting off the glass ceiling?"

"I know, I know. I'm baking muffins and contemplating leaving the work force.

Worst feminist ever."

Mark kissed her sweetly. "Are you worried the nanny will give her chocolate too soon? Or that she'll text her boyfriend all day whilst the baby swings from the drapes?"

"I worry about all of it. That no one will look after it as well as me."

He lifted her chin slightly and looked into her hazel eyes. "It's totally your decision. I'm happy either way."

"Thank you. That means a lot."

"Besides, if the baby's anything like you, you'll be running back to work in no time."

Alexis swatted his arm. "You'd better watch it, pal. If this kid's anything like me, you're going to want me on your side when it's old enough to argue."

"So that buys me, what, another year before I need to make nice?"

"You just lost your banana muffins to Hal."

Alexis swallowed hard, staring at her mother's yellow, electric oven. She would never bake another muffin in her beautiful white kitchen. More importantly, she would never bake another muffin for Mark. Why had she not left her job that very day? Maybe it would have saved a lot of heartache. Why had she put her career above everything else? It was all she could do not to burst into tears.

Tilly placed the laundry basket at the bottom of the stairs and came back into the kitchen, oblivious to her daughter's torment.

"Why don't we do it now?" Alexis proposed. She wanted, needed to move forward. To make new memories. She didn't want to live the rest of her life feeling haunted by a life that no longer existed.

Tilly pulled a large mixing bowl from the cupboard. "Okay then. If you're sure."

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