Part 9: Lines in the window
"She is," cries Louise, and tears come as she reads the box to confirm it. "If there's any line in the middle of the large window - Oh, Wendy, you're pregnant]''
"Honey, you did it," says Kathy to Joe.
"Wonderful, sweetheart," says Joe, dazed, but conscious enough to give her a smooch.
"I can't believe it," says Wendy, swamped by hugs and her own disbelief, though she'd seen the blue lines herself on her way out of the bathroom. "I am? I am? I can't believe I'm pregnant. I'm pregnant. I can't believe I'm pregnant. . . . "
She thinks there's a mistake: Maybe the results were skewed by her drinking too much soda. Maybe the test is faulty: Better save the package, send it back to the manufacturer.
"Wow, wow, wow. Wow, wow, wow," is all Joe can say, steadying himself with both palms against the kitchen counter.
"Who wants to be the one to call Gram?" says Louise.
No, says Wendy. "We should wait and see, like with a doctor, if I really am]"
"You're pregnant," her 15-year-old nephew, Jamie, says, with authority.
"Even if it's just one line in the large window," says Louise, who has read the box.
Wendy hears but doesn't hear - "Yeah, but just say. What if we start telling people, and I'm not. Like how accurate . . .?"
Ninety-nine-point-something, says Louise, then she starts singing, "My babies are having a baby, my babies are having a baby] And Joe is gonna be a daddy]"
Joe hasn't gotten that far yet. He reads and rereads the pregnancy test box - "Wow. Wow, wow, wow, wow, wow. Holy mackerel." He needs a cigarette, and he hasn't smoked in three years. "I need to process."
"You're gonna believe a stick?" says Wendy. "In a couple days I get my period - then what?"
"You're pregnant," Kathy says flatly, then turns to little Rachel - "Mommy's gonna have a baby for Auntie] Can you believe it] Come over here]" she says, enveloping the child in her arms.
Now Joe switches from staring at the box to staring at the test wand - "It stays like that? Wow."
Kathy thinks of her absent brothers - "Ma] Call Chipper] We gotta call Florida]"
"It looks like I am," Wendy muses, to no one and everyone. "It looks like I am. I'm pregnant. Oh, my God." She tells her little girl, "Mom's pregnant, baby. All for Auntie" - but even as she speaks it, she doubts it. "Should we wait and see with a doctor if I really am?"
"No, you're pregnant . . . She's pregnant," says Kathy, embracing her sister and sobbing, "Oh, thanks]"
"I didn't think I was gonna be pregnant," says Wendy, nibbling a thumbnail. "I haven't been pregnant in nine years]"
The men gather around the pregnancy test box again ("Joe," says Louise, "you looking for a loophole?"), and the women get on the phone - "Guess what] Wendy's pregnant] Yes] It's true] I know, I know, I know]"
Of everyone called, only Andy, Wendy's husband, is hard to read. Wendy calls him "grouchy"; later, he'll say he was just tired.
"Are you so happy?" Louise asks Kathy, teasing her.
"I'm gonna tell people right away," Kathy says. "Those lines showed up. It's a done deal]"
Now Kathy gives Wendy a gift, two gold charms that together form a heart - one with "Big Sis" on it, the other with "L'il Sis."
"Which one do I wear?" asks Wendy, remembering the 60 pounds she gained while carrying Rachel.
It's at this point in the party that everyone realizes they're hungry. The veal parm comes out of the oven, and onto plates, along with bread and salad.
"Here we go," says Louise, surveying her family as they restore themselves. "We're pregnant. All of us."