As soon as Leslie finds out that April’s pregnant, she organizes a huge Parks department baby shower. The whole thing is kind of lame and cheesy, but everyone brings presents and there’s cake, and April doesn’t have to do any work, so. It’s not the worst thing she could be doing on a Friday afternoon, she guesses.
Except for the fact that Leslie gives them all of this empowered pregnant woman stuff, and Tom gives them this super-creepy mobile that’s made up of pictures of his face, and everyone else just gives them boring baby stuff. Well, everyone except for Ron, who doesn’t give them anything. Which totally sucks because she was at least expecting a tiny baby-sized handgun or something else weird and inappropriate.
Ron does come over to her desk after the party, when everyone’s crashing from their cake-induced sugar highs, and he watches her packing up all the stuff. For some reason, he looks even more glowery than usual.
He doesn’t say anything, so she ignores him, trying to figure out a way to cram Tom’s stupid face-mobile and the rhinestone-studded leopard print baby clothes from Donna into the super-ugly and practical diaper bag Jerry got them. Andy’s right there next to her, but he’s not being any help at all. He’s flipping through one of the books Leslie gave them, making disgusted faces and occasionally laughing.
“Dude, did you know you’re probably going to poop all over the place when you to push the baby out?” Andy asks. He holds up the book to show her the section he’s reading. “Haha. Gross.”
“Shut up,” she says, because that’s seriously about the grossest thing she can imagine. And not gross in a hilarious Jerry-gets-flesh-eating-bacteria-and-his-face-falls-off kind of way, but gross in a straight-up disgusting kind of way. God, who knew having a baby was going to be this humiliating?
“So,” Ron finally says, apparently not impressed by the shit talk. He’s staring straight at her, doing that disapproving dad thing that always weirds her out. “What exactly are you going to do with a baby?”
“I don’t know,” April says, mostly because that’s honestly something she’s been trying not to think too much about. “Raise it, I guess.”
“Raise it, you guess,” Ron repeats, his voice just a pitch above flat. It’s the same tone he gets whenever April lets a call go through to his office instead of hanging up or re-routing the caller to the sewage department.
“Yeah, dude,” Andy adds, glancing up from the book. He’s moved on from the poop page and now the book’s open to a picture of a newborn baby, its wrinkly little body all covered in blood and goo, and ugh, is there anything about babies that isn’t completely revolting? “It’s going to be totally awesome.”
“Of course it is,” Ron says, but he's still looking at her, not at Andy. April can practically feel the disapproval radiating off of him, this look on his face like she's majorly disappointed him somehow.
All her stupid presents are packed, and Ron’s being a jerk, and Andy’s managed to turn on the breast pump, and he’s lifted up his shirt to try it out, and, all of a sudden, April feels like she might cry.
Probably the worst thing about having a baby is how, suddenly, both she and Andy have to act like adults. The second worst thing is how April’s actually really invested in it, and Andy’s still just Andy, trying hard, but not super-good at being a grown-up.
And, at first, it’s great and kind of charming, because April doesn’t want them to turn into lame yuppie loser parents. But then it gets really annoying because, well, Andy is still Andy, and April knows they need to spend their money on actually important stuff, like cribs or baby milk or whatever, instead of video games and recording studio sessions for MouseRat.
Which is why when she walks out into the living room and Andy’s playing the new Modern Warfare game on the Xbox -- the one that costs like sixty bucks and that they both decided they couldn’t get because they have to save all their extra cash for whatever other baby crap they still need to buy -- she's pissed.
“What the hell, Andy?” she says.
“What?” Andy asks, oblivious. April stands in front of him, and he ducks his head so that he can see around her. ”Honey, you need to move. I can’t see the screen, and this mission is totally ridiculous.”
April glances behind her and watches as the screen turns red with blood and then goes black. Ugh, Andy always blows at these kinds of missions, and it totally figures that not only did he buy the stupid game, but that he started playing without her and is completely sucking it up.
And, all of a sudden, it's just a little too much for her to have to deal with right now. “Get out,” she says, seriously.
Andy sighs and restarts the level, trying to crane his neck to see around her. He misses an easy shot and dies again. “Seriously, babe,” he says, sounding legitimately annoyed. “You’re totally blocking the TV.”
April walks up to him and grabs the controller out of his hand. He barely has a chance to say anything before she throws it across the room, smiling a little when it hits the living room wall with a satisfying crack.
“What -- ” he starts, but April holds up her hand, cutting him off before he can say something to make her not mad anymore.
And, okay, she’s maybe being ridiculous, but she’s frustrated and pregnant, and Andy’s just really being annoying right now, so: “Get out.”
Luckily, the controller didn’t actually break when April threw it at the wall, so as soon as Andy stomps out, April picks it up and starts the game again. She makes it through two more missions before the doorbell rings. She sighs and rolls her eyes and takes her time getting to the door. Andy forgets his keys, like, every other day so it’s not a big rush to get over there and let him in.
But when she opens the door, it’s not Andy standing there, it's Ron. There’s a wooden crib sitting in front of him. It looks handmade, whittled smooth and sleek, and there’s a giant red bow on the front.
“What are you doing here?” April asks. She’s still kind of mad at him because of the party, and he’s not going to win her over with some stupid baby gift.
“Hello, April,” Ron says. “Happy Birthday.”
“It’s not my birthday.”
“I know that. It’s for the baby. The day a person is born is the only birthday I will recognize,” Ron says, even though April knows it’s not true. She’s mad at him though, so she doesn’t bother calling him out on the lie.
“The baby isn’t going to sleep in a crib. Andy’s going to do this kangaroo parent thing where he, like, holds the baby next to him all the time so it leeches off his body heat and learns everything through osmosis, so. You can take it back. We don’t need it.”
“Can I come in?” Ron asks, and April moves aside so he can get in. It’s just that cribs are expensive and if Andy never comes back then the kangaroo thing isn’t going to happen, so.
Ron follows her in the house, lugging the crib with him. He doesn’t say anything about the baby shower presents piled up in the middle of the room or the paper skeleton hanging from the ceiling that they still haven’t taken down from the Halloween party last year. “Where’s Andy?”
April shrugs. “He bought a video game so I made him leave.”
“Okay,” Ron says, like that’s a perfectly reasonable explanation. “Where do you want this thing?”
“In Ben’s old room, I guess.”
Ben’s room is actually the cleanest place in the house, which is pretty much why she and Andy picked it for the nursery about two seconds after Ben announced he was moving in with Leslie. Other than the Battlestar Galactica posters and a stack of dorky Star Wars books sitting over near the radiator, it’s more or less spotless.
Ron drags the crib over towards the window and then looks at the books. "Those are a fire hazard," he tells her.
"So it could start a fire and engulf everything in the house in flames."
April shrugs. "Thanks for the tip."
“Is everything okay?” Ron finally asks. His voice is soft and gentle, and April suddenly feels like she might start crying. Ugh, stupid hormones. Being pregnant is the worst.
“I yelled at Andy because we don’t have any money, and he left, and I don’t think I can be somebody’s mom.”
Ron just looks at her. April stares at the floor so she doesn’t have to make eye contact during her giant humiliation, tugging a little at a loose string on her cardigan. After just a couple of seconds, it unravels enough so that a button comes off, falling into her hand. Whatever. She’s going to be too fat to wear it soon anyway.
Ron still doesn’t say anything, so April holds her stray button in her fist and keeps her eyes on the floor. “Like, I don’t even like babies, and I can’t cook, and I'm pretty sure Andy wants to name the baby after a wrestler and, just. This is probably a really big mistake.”
“April,” he says, and he sounds serious. “My mother drank three quarts of homemade Swanson family mash liquor everyday while she breastfed me. And look how great I turned out.”
April smiles a little at that despite herself. When she looks up, Ron’s giving her this weird, fatherly look, smiling under his mustache, his eyes crinkling at the corners.
“You’re going to be fine,” he says softly. He sounds like he means it.
“You think?” She runs a hand across the smooth wood of the crib, trying to picture how this whole thing is going to work out. It’s pretty much impossible.
“I do. And, hell, if you’re not, it won’t matter anyway. If there’s anything this country loves, it’s incompetent youth doing stupid things.”
She and Ron have more or less managed to get the crib set up and most of the geeky sci-fi fire hazards put away, when Andy barrels through the front door, a cheap plastic shopping bag clutched in one hand and a wilted pink carnation in the other. It's the kind they sell down at the gas station on the corner, the ones that sit in those weird little vials of water right next to the cash register.
“I’m so sorry,” he tells April. He’s breathing hard, and he’s kind of sweaty, his hair is combed and parted to the side in the way it always is when he’s trying to look nice. “Although, I’m still not totally sure why you’re mad at me since you’re the one who’s always telling me that saving money is boring and lame and that we needed to teach the baby how to play Xbox as soon as it was born, so I was just practicing and working on my parenting skills. But I am still really sorry. And, also, I bought some diapers.”
He hands her the flower and then the shopping bag. Inside there's a package of diapers, but they're kind made for, like, six year-olds who wet the bed, not actual babies. But Andy’s smiling at her, really proud, and she can’t help the way her heart starts beating kind of fast when he gives her the ugly pink flower. Stupid Andy. Stupid pregnancy. Stupid being in love.
She kisses him then, right in front of Ron, wrapping her arms around his waist and sliding her hands up under the hem of his shirt, pressing her fingers against the soft, warm skin on his lower back. Andy smiles against her mouth and kisses her back, and April just really, really loves him.
Behind them, Ron clears his throat, incredibly loud, and totally ruining the moment. “Well, then,” Ron says, clapping his hands together once, and looking super-uncomfortable at all of the kissing and affection that’s happening in front of him. “I think you’re all set.”
Because Ron was so nice and everything today, April pushes Andy away, so Ron doesn't have to watch any more overt emotional displays. She leaves Andy and the weird diapers in the room and walks Ron to the front door.
“Thanks for the crib and, you know," she says, clutching the pink, gas station flower in her hand. The stem is dry and hard, and the petals are a little brown around the edges, but she can't make herself put it down. "Everything else.”
“You’re welcome,” Ron says, and gives her an awkward pat on the shoulder. "Let me know if you kids need anything."
In the bedroom, Andy's finally spotted the crib and he's yelling about how awesome it is. Ron shakes his head, and his fingers are warm and solid on her shoulder, and for some reason, April can't seem to stop smiling.