The grill was hot and sending enticing aromas floating throughout the neighborhood. Everywhere there was laughter and conversation as the family caught up at the last blast of summer - the annual Labor Day cookout.
Zach stole a glance at the cooler as his uncle fished out a beer. Daydreaming about how good an ice-cold beer would go down, he sighed. There was no way he was going to risk trying to snatch up a couple with the whole family in the back yard. Twenty-one was the drinking age, and his father would hear no argument to the contrary.
Fortunately, there was a distraction available to more than compensate for his lack of alcohol. His sister-in-law Marie sat on the porch, one hand resting on her very swollen tummy.
Zach had been smitten from the moment he saw her, all those years ago. His brother Richard had started dating Marie in high school, and she soon became a fixture at family functions. Her own family was dysfunctional - to say the least - and his had all but adopted her.
His ears burned as he remembered the first time Rich had brought her home for dinner. Zach had slipped in behind her chair to give her a shoulder massage, feeling the need to be close to her. He was only thirteen at the time and full of raging hormones, so everyone had been kind enough not to mention what they were thinking to his face until much later. His infatuation had proved the highlight of the evening behind amused grins, though.
For everyone except his brother.
The enmity that started that night only grew as time wore on. Richard didn't want his girl around any other man, and Zach hated the way his brother treated her. Rich took her for granted, watched her like a hawk, and frequently got into fights with any man who dared make her acquaintance. Zach knew that his family was on his side, because it was a regular topic of conversation whenever his brother wasn't around.
Nothing proved that and the family's affection for the brunette more than Marie being invited to the cookout today, when his brother wasn't.
Days after she'd told him that she was pregnant due to a broken condom, he'd ran off with another woman, leaving his responsibility behind. As soon as the family found out about it, they rallied around her and disowned Richard. Now, she was two days past due, and everyone was doing their best to help her through it.
Sitting in a lawn chair with a pair of dark sunglasses on, Zach drank in the sight of her and daydreamed. She'd always been a goddess in his eyes, but for some reason, her pregnancy had made her irresistible to him. She'd put on weight as her tummy expanded, but it seemed to gravitate primarily into her boobs and butt. Other than the pure physical attraction of that, there was something infinitely sexy about the glow of motherhood surrounding her.
Sunglasses weren't going to do anything to hide the reaction his thoughts were causing, and neither were his shorts. He talked down his erection just in time, because his cousins cajoled him into a game of horseshoes. Shortly after beating them, his cell buzzed. When he pulled it out of his pocket, he saw a text from a friend, telling him to check out something on Facebook.
His cell was annoying to use on the internet, so he headed inside. Everybody was outside in the back yard, so there wouldn't be anyone in the den, where his sister's computer was. He loaded up the site, and added his comment to a friend's embarrassing auto-correct blunder, which had changed an innocent compliment on his mother's lasagna to, "I love Mom's vagina!"
A few clicks revealed that not much else was going on, as everyone was either out with family or otherwise partying. It would heat up later in the evening, but for now, his feed was pretty dead.
After a glance back at the closed door, he shutdown Facebook and opened his email. A series of well-practiced clicks took him to an email he'd managed to forward from his sister's account one day. The picture opened up, and he let out a quiet groan.
The image was of Marie in all her pregnant glory, taken about a month earlier. It was a semi-profile shot, showing her from the neck to the knees. Only the brunette's hands covered her body, hiding her nipples and the garden of pleasure shaded beneath her swollen tummy. Zach looked at the picture several times a day, and it never failed to make him as hard as a steel bar.
The email was no less arousing, describing how swollen and heavy her breasts felt, as well as fears that they would begin leaking more as she went into her last month. She also mentioned frustration about how her hormones were causing spikes of arousal only slightly less frequent than her need to pee.
He couldn't count the number of times he'd wished she'd let him help her with that.
Knowing that people would be wondering where he'd gonebefore long, he reluctantly closed the email, gave his erection a squeeze, and stood up to put his mind on something else before walking back out to the yard. He was milling about near the door, looking at some family photos when he heard voices coming from the front room.
The door opened more or less soundlessly, the tiny creak easily covered by the air-conditioner humming along at full blast. Able to hear clearly out in the hall, he walked toward the back door so he could act as if he were just coming in if anyone happened upon him.
"Oh, but the fun's just starting, Marie," his sister said.
Marie responded, "I know, and I really want to stay, but I'm just miserable. I don't want to be a rain cloud for everyone."
"Everyone understands. You know that."
"I know, but it doesn't make me feel any better."
"But you can't go back to the house alone. What if you go into labor? You could go lie down in the bedroom."
"I swear that I'm never going to go into labor, Samantha. Ow. Calm down in there, little man."
Samantha laughed. "I saw that one. He's feeling confined, and that's all the more reason for you to stay. Besides, everyone's been drinking. I doubt anyone's okay to drive right now."
Thought and action were simultaneous. Zach walked down the hall and into the front room. "Hey, Sam. Marie."
Marie smiled, forcing him to suppress a shiver. "Hello, Zach."
"I thought for a second that it might be time when I saw you two were gone," he said.
Samantha shook her head. "No, but that's exactly why I'm trying to convince her to relax here and wait until I can run her home this evening and stay."
Trying to appear non-committal, he gave a little shrug. "Yeah, you shouldn't be home alone when you're already past due. If you really want to go home, I could drive you and hang out, though."
Marie's eyes brightened. "Could you?"
"Well, yeah. I mean, I'm just watching everybody else get drunk. I can only win at horseshoes so many times."
Marie turned back to Samantha. "Would that be okay with you?"
His sister looked off-balance at the sudden turn of events. "Well, I suppose. All he would have to do is get your bag and help you to the car if you go into labor, I guess."
"Thanks for the vote of confidence, Sis."
"I didn't mean it that way." She sighed and took Marie's hand. "If that's what you really want?"
"Okay. But, you're not leaving without food. Give me a minute or two to put things together."
"I'll go start the car to get the air running," Zach offered, "Back in a minute."
"Thank you, Zach."
"No problem, Marie."
Heart pounding in his chest, Zach hurried out front to start his car. He felt foolish almost as soon as he recognized how his pulse was racing. It wasn't like he was going on a date with her. He was probably going to be sitting around watching television while she napped.
Try as he might to rationalize it, he still couldn't wipe the smile off his face.
After moving the passenger seat back as far as possible to accommodate her comfort, he held a hand in front of the vents. Satisfied that it was cooling off, he headed back inside.
They didn't get out of the house fast - or empty handed. Zach's sister packed an entire picnic basket full of Tupperware containers and foil-wrapped bundles, providing a sampling of the entire feast. Finally, he led the way to the car with the heavy basket in hand.
Once they were both settled, he asked, "You okay? Comfortable?"
"As much as I can be. Thank you, Zach. I really do appreciate it."
The drive wasn't long - only a few blocks away. Once at the house, Zach took Marie's keys and the basket, unlocking the door in advance so she wouldn't have to stand out in the heat.
Marie sighed as she stepped into the air conditioning. "Oh, that feels so good." She stepped over to a couch and leaned against it. "I have to warn you, since you're going to stay, I'm going to put on something more comfortable and look all frumpy."
Zach shook his head and laughed. "I'm not worried about it." He held up the basket and said, "I'll go put this stuff away."
"And I'm going to take a bath." She gave a smile, and then proceeded to the bathroom.
Naturally, he started daydreaming about her sitting in a warm bath, her tummy, breasts, and knees poking up from amongst the bubbles. The picture he'd looked at so many times let his imagination easily fill in the blanks. He could see her running her hands over her body and bubbles hiding what he longed to see. Then the bubbles washed away.
.... There is more of this story ...