“Do you want to have kids?” Holly asked nonchalantly from her end of the bench.
Aaron, who was sitting on the other end of the same bench, spit out the Snapple that he had just sipped from the bottle.
Luckily for Holly, he was facing the water, and not towards her, when he discharged his iced tea with enough force to almost reach the river.
“What exactly did you have in mind?” he asked with a smirk as he wiped his mouth. “There’s no one around now, but it’s a beautiful day and people are bound to walk by and interrupt us at some point…”
Holly rolled her eyes, but could not prevent herself from laughing.
“You are such a goober!” she chastised him. “Clearly, I did not mean now or with me. I was just asking in general.”
Aaron shrugged and took another sip of his Snapple. This time, he managed to swallow it.
“I’m not sure if you know this about me, but I used to be married,” he said with a straight face even though he was well aware that his best friend knew his romantic history.
To her credit, Holly did not react. She simply sipped her coffee and waited for him to continue with whatever he planned to say.
“When I was married, I was all about having kids. I’m named after my Dad, and I definitely wanted to have a little Aaron, III to carry on the tradition. But we never had kiddos, which was probably a good thing because of the divorce, and now I don’t know where I stand on the topic. How about you? What brought this on?”
Now it was Holly’s turn to shrug. Aaron was her best friend, and she knew she could tell him anything, but sometimes, she hesitated to get too serious. There was a part of her that worried he might bail on their whole arrangement if things got too real.
But she knew that was her hang up, and she couldn’t hold her own insecurities against him. After all, he had way more than enough of his own.
“We had a baby shower for one of my coworkers on Friday…”
Aaron nodded in understanding.
“You got a little touch of baby fever,” he diagnosed her with a smile.
“Something like that,” Holly confessed. “I’m the only woman in the office who doesn’t have a child, isn’t pregnant, or isn’t trying to get pregnant. Sometimes, I feel like I’m in a reproductive cult and in danger of being expelled from the compound as the outcast.”
Aaron raised an eyebrow to that.
“You’ve been spending too much time with me,” he said with a chuckle. “That cult comment was awesome, but not something I’d normally expect from you.”
Holly blushed. “I’m not sure if that makes you a good or a bad influence…”
Aaron took a moment to contemplate that one.
“I’m not sure,” he replied, “but what I can tell you is that if I were a cult leader, I’d never banish you from my compound.”
“You are such a sweet talker,” Holly quipped. “I don’t understand why you’re still single.”
They both had a good laugh at that, and went back to looking at the river.