Home > Last Night at Chateau Marmont(9)

Last Night at Chateau Marmont(9)
Lauren Weisberger

“No!” Mrs. Greene screeched. “We never had this conversation. I promised I wouldn’t tell you, so act surprised when he calls you.”

Brooke sighed and smiled. “Great loyalty, Mom. Does that mean you tell Randy everything even when I swear you to secrecy?”

“Of course not. I only tell him when it’s interesting.”

“Thanks, Mom.”

“Love you, sweetheart. And remember, keep this to yourself.”

“I promise. You have my word.”

Brooke hung up and checked her watch: five minutes to five. Four minutes to get to her next consultation. She knew she shouldn’t call right then, but she just couldn’t wait.

She remembered as soon as she dialed that Randy could be staying after school to coach the boys’ soccer team, but he picked up his cell on the first ring. “Hey, Brookie. What’s going on?”

“What’s going on with me? Not a goddamn thing. What’s going on with you is a much more relevant question.”

“Jesus Christ. I told her no less than eight minutes ago, and she swore she’d let me tell you myself.”

“Yeah, well, I swore I wouldn’t tell you she told me, so whatever. Congratulations, big brother!”

“Thanks. We’re both pretty excited. A little freaked out—it happened a lot faster than either of us expected—but excited.”

Brooke felt her breath catch. “What do you mean ‘faster’? You planned this?”

Randy laughed. She heard him say, “Give me a minute,” to someone in the background, a student probably, and then he said, “Yeah, she went off the pill last month. The doctor said it would take at least a couple months for her cycle to regulate before we’d even be able to tell if pregnancy was a possibility due to her age. We just never figured it would happen immediately. . . .”

It was surreal to hear her big brother—an avowed bachelor who decorated his house with old football trophies and dedicated more square footage to his pool table than he did to his kitchen—talk about regulated cycles and birth control pills and doctor’s opinions. Especially when all bets would’ve been on Brooke and Julian as the likeliest candidates to make a big announcement . . .

“Wow. What else can I say? Wow.” It really was all she could say; she was worried Randy would hear her voice catch and interpret it the wrong way.

She was so excited for Randy, she felt a lump in her throat. Sure, he managed to take care of himself just fine, and he always seemed happy enough, but Brooke worried about him being so alone. He lived in the suburbs, surrounded by families, and all of his old college buddies had long since had children. She and Randy weren’t really close enough to talk about it, but she’d always wondered if he wanted all that or if he was happy with his single life. Now hearing his excitement confirmed how badly he must have longed for this, and she thought she might cry.

“Yeah, it’s pretty cool. Can you imagine me teaching the little guy how to throw a pass? I’m going to get him a kid-sized pigskin right from the outset—none of that Nerf crap for my boy—and by the time he’s grown into his hands, he’ll be ready for the real deal.”

Brooke laughed. “So you obviously haven’t considered the distinct possibility that you could have a girl, huh?”

“There are three other pregnant teachers at school, and all three of them are having boys,” he said.

“Interesting. But you are aware that, although you all share a work environment, your future child and their future children are not required by law or physics to be the same gender, right?”

“I’m not sure about that. . . .”

She laughed again. “So are you guys going to find out? Or is it too early to ask that question?”

“Well, being that I know we’re having a boy, I don’t really think it’s relevant, but Michelle wants to be surprised. So we’re going to wait.”

“Aw, that’s fun. When’s the little one due?”

“October twenty-fifth. A Halloween baby. I think that’s good luck.”

“I do too,” Brooke said. “I’m marking it in the calendar right now. October twenty-fifth: I’ll be an aunt.”

“Hey, Brookie, what about you guys? It’d be pretty nice to have first cousins be close in age. Any chance?”

She knew it was hard for Randy to ask her such a personal question so she was careful not to jump down his throat, but he’d hit a nerve. When she and Julian had married at twenty-five and twenty-seven, respectively, she’d always figured they’d have a baby around her thirtieth birthday. But here they were, already past that and nowhere near even starting to try. She’d broached the subject with Julian a few times, casually so as not to put too much pressure on either of them, but he’d been just as casual with his response. Namely, that a baby would be great “someday,” but for now they were doing the right thing focusing on their careers. So although she did want a baby—actually wanted nothing more, especially now, hearing Randy’s news—she adopted Julian’s party line.

“Oh, someday of course,” she said, trying to sound nonchalant, the exact opposite of the way she felt. “But now’s just not the right time for us. Focusing on work, you know?”

“Sure,” Randy said, and Brooke wondered if he knew the truth. “You’ve got to do what’s right for you guys.”

“Yeah, so . . . listen, I’m sorry to run but my break’s over and I’m late for a consult.”

“No worries, Brookie. Thanks for the call. And the excitement.”

“Are you kidding me? Thank you for the incredible news. You made my whole day—my month. I’m so excited for you guys! I’ll call later tonight to congratulate Michelle, okay?”

They hung up and Brooke began the trek back to the fifth floor. Incredulous, she couldn’t stop shaking her head as she walked. She probably looked like a crazy person, but that would hardly draw attention at the hospital. Randy. A father!

Brooke wanted to call Julian and tell him the news, only he’d sounded so stressed earlier, and there really wasn’t time. With one of the other nutritionists out on vacation and an unexplained influx of births that morning—nearly twice the usual amount—her day felt like it was moving at warp speed. It was good: the more she moved, the less time she had to wallow in her exhaustion. Besides, it was exciting and challenging when they got hit like this, and although she complained to Julian and her mother, she secretly loved it: all the different patients from every walk of life, each in the hospital for hugely varied reasons but still in need of someone to fine-tune a diet to their specific condition.

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