Cement Heart(10)

By: Beth Ehemann

“Easy there, big guy. Reel your vagina back in.” I glanced over at him and shot him a small, playful smile. “It has been nice, though, hanging out I mean. I’ve been over here so often lately your couch is starting to take on the imprint of my a—” I cleared my throat. “—butt.”

We sat in awkward silence for a minute, trying to figure out how to make our conversation manly again.

“It’s not so bad, you know? Wife, kids, the whole thing. It’s actually pretty awesome.” He nodded toward Matthew. “That one looks at me like I’m a superhero for something simple like throwing frozen waffles in the toaster, and that sleepy little girl smiles all the time, even in the middle of the night.”

“Sorry, you lost me at ‘middle of the night.’”

“Oh, bull. Half the time you don’t crawl home until the middle of the night. Stop acting like you couldn’t handle a 2 a.m. feeding.”

“I need my beauty sleep.”

“That I’ll agree with, ugly.”

I picked a bottle cap up off of the coffee table and launched it across the couch at him, fist-pumping when it bounced off the top of his head. “And why the fu—” I caught myself and looked at Matthew, who was staring right at me, listening to every word we were saying. “—heck are you feeding her at two in the morning anyway? Isn’t that the woman’s job?”

Big Mike’s eyes grew wide and a heavy laugh escaped him. “Viper, my boy, you have a lot to learn. First, never say anything is her job or you’ll be parking it on the couch for a long time with a serious ‘dry spell,’ if you know what I mean,” he said, making air quotes with his fingers.

“I wasn’t being a pig. I was being serious,” I defended. “I thought they had the… equipment to take care of that.”

“They do, but sometimes that equipment gets clogged or doesn’t produce enough milk or she’s just plain tired and you have to step it up.”


I held my hand up to stop him from going any further. “Okay, okay. I get it. No more.”

Mike smirked at me without saying a word.

“What? Stop it.” I was uncomfortable with him staring at me like he was.

“I can see it.”

“See what?”

“You.” He grinned. “With a kid.”

“No fu—” I caught myself again—barely. “No way.”

“I’m not kidding. You’re all rough and tough, but I can totally picture you schlepping some mini-Viper around with you to games and practices, showing him off.”

“Absolutely not.” I shook my head firmly. “The last thing this world needs is another Viper.”

“Well, I agree with that too, but I think it would soften that cement heart of yours.”

“I like my cement heart.” I sighed.

Before he continued his quest to talk me into becoming a father, we heard the front door close. Mike sat up and peeked over the edge of the couch toward the kitchen.

“Hi,” Michelle sighed as she tossed her purse onto the island.

“Hey.” Mike sat up further. “What are you doing back so soon?”

“A couple of the girls couldn’t make it because their kids were sick, so we had a small group tonight. We pretty much just had dinner and called it a night.” She walked over and checked on Maura briefly before kissing Matthew on the forehead and sitting down on the couch next to Mike with another heavy sigh.

“I’m sorry. You sound bummed.” Big Mike lifted his arm and tucked it behind her head, pulling her in tight.

“I am a little, but now I get to hang with my favorite people instead.” She lifted her head and smiled at him.

“Mom?” Matthew asked.

“Yes, baby?”

He twisted his little face, thinking hard about whatever it was he was going to say next. “You’re kind of a woman, right?”

Michelle giggled and tilted her head to the side. “Yes, honey, I am. Why?”

“I was just wondering…” He paused and wiped his nose with the back of his hand. “What are tits?”

Michelle sat up straight and gasped as Big Mike cringed, shutting his eyes tight.