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“I never thought of that,” Bridget said. “Luke believes in all the old wives’ tales, too.”

“Don’t even get me started on that,” Maggie said, grimacing.

“The brothers Chastain are also steeped in the old tales,” Katrina said. “They wouldn’t do anything harmful, though.”

“That’s true,” Maggie said. “It’s the idea that someone who believes a dragonfly has the power to sew your eyelids together is actually raising your kid.”

Katrina barked out a laugh. “I missed that one,” she said. “Dave is pretty careful about admitting some of that garbage to me.”

“I won’t have any control when I’m gone. I’d better not start worrying about it now. Luke’s going to be taking care of our baby when I’m deployed after her birth.”

“I forgot you’re going back,” Katrina replied. “Wow, that’s not something I would want to face.”

“I didn’t know,” Maggie said. “I’m so sorry.”

Bridget was at a crossroads here—admit that shewantedto go back or let the women think it was something out of her control so they’d offer support and not criticism.

“It’s okay,” she said, choosing to leave questions unanswered. “It’s a risk you take when you enlist. And when you have sex, I guess.”

“Tell us about it,” Maggie said, laughing. “Anyway, do you want to go through the things Tina has outgrown?”

“Yes! Thank you so much.”

“We brought a truckload, too,” Katrina said. “All stuff that is unisex.”

“Why don’t you save this stuff for your next child?” Bridget asked.

“We’ll just get it back from you,” Maggie said, laughing. “Not really. You can pass them on to someone else if you’d like.”

“Right. Our friend Annie also has a bunch of boy stuff that she’s giving me, and another friend, Calista, has twins, a boy and a girl, and she’s also going to unload a bunch of girl stuff to you.”

“Wow, I feel like I’m part of the community,” Bridget said. “Thank you.”

“Everyone loves Luke,” Maggie said. “Katrina and I are newcomers, just like you. So, we’re still learning who all the players are.”

Wondering if that would ever happen for her, if she’d ever feel like she belonged to this backwater area, she just let it go. There was the possibility that a hot boyfriend, a baby girl, and cousins in Cypress Cove might not be enough for her.

They sorted and organized clothes and baby items, then boxed and stacked them on the porch. Soon, the men returned from the barn and the party dispersed.

“When are you going back?” Katrina asked. “I know Dave was hoping to spend more time with you.”

“On Monday,” Bridget answered. “We’ll make a point of getting together next time.”

Once they packed the back of the truck with the baby things, it was time to go. Bridget felt something oppressive lift when Maggie said goodbye; it felt sincere.

“Did you notice how much more relaxed Maggie was toward the end?” Luke asked.

“Maybe she was relieved we were finally leaving,” Bridget answered, smirking. “Just kidding. Yes, I felt like she meant it. She was excited, giving me all her little girl things. They said they’ll take them back if they have another girl.”

“I’ll save them up,” Luke said, already acting the custodial parent.

“Did the men ask you anything you were uncomfortable answering?”

“Yes, but I am now a pro at giving vague answers.”

“Me, too. I made it sound like having to return to a war zone was a risk I took when I enlisted.”

“That’s about what I said,” he replied. “I’m not ashamed you want to go back, Bridget. You know that, don’t you?”