Flash: Copenhagen Blue

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Aksel opened the inner sanctum, and Jeffrey dropped his bags inside the door before crossing the room to Amanda’s desk. Her dark eyes lit up seeing him come in. “You made it!”

“Like anything could stop me, sweet cheeks.” Jeffrey kissed her quickly on the lips, not giving her time to maneuver out of the chair.

“I thought they weren’t going to give you time off.”

“Yep. But, cool fact: when you offer to quit, they change their tune.” Jeffrey sat on the edge of the desk to stare down at his very pregnant not-girlfriend. “I’ve spent the last three days training interns.” He reached out to stroke a chubby cheek. “Now, as much as I want to play catchup, when I turned on the international phone after the plane landed, text messages started exploding. Do you have that room for me?”

Two more vibration-related pings shook his carry-on bag by the door, supporting his comment.

“Aksel?” Amanda looked toward her executive assistant. Next came a group of sounds out of her mouth Jeffrey assumed were either Danish or German, the more common languages for the Copenhagen office. If he remembered right, she spoke both of them fluently as well as English and had several more under her belt.

The white man in the expensive gray suit who guarded her door picked up the larger of his two bags. “If you would follow me?”

“And point out the bathroom if you can, that way I won’t need to bother you about anything else.” Jeffrey looked over his shoulder as he exited the room. “I promised to get back to you as soon as I figure out how to walk Intern Two through whatever they did back in Utah.”

A gentle smile crossed Amanda’s lips. “What happened to Intern One?”

“Hopefully a jettison into orbit. Because that guy had no Earthly reason for being hired.” Giving her a final wave, he said “Love you.” As the door clicked closed, Jeffrey flinced. He wasn’t suppose to say that, ever. She didn’t want love and its trappings; it didn’t matter if his feelings had evolved over the last nine months.


“Did you work through the night?”

Jeffrey jerked awake at the question, his tight curls on the left side smashed flat. “Night, day. Things are kind-of confused right now.”

“Well, why don’t you log off and go to your hotel.” Rubbing her belly, Amanda winced slightly before moving over to one of the work surface to half-sit. Getting up required a production clearly making her reluctant to sit unless she was staying for a while. She took a sip from the mug he had sent her.

“That would assume there is a hotel somewhere.” Jeffrey slapped his cheeks a couple of times. “Please tell me that is coffee.”

“Nope, decaf tea.” Amanda snarled. “Can’t have caffeine because of the baby. But you can find some coffee and strong tea down the hall.”

“Right. I remember that. Sorry.”

“Apologize to Aksel. He has had to deal with me for seven months with no caffeine.” Amanda frowned at the colored water before setting it aside. “What happened with the hotel?”

“Didn’t remake arrangements when the company jerked around my leaving time, again.” Standing, Jeffrey stretched, his hands touching the dropped ceiling. “Totally forgot about it after the second or third flight change.” He walked over and placed his hand either side of her belly. “Sorry, I couldn’t get here sooner.”

She shrugged, lifting the specially tailored jacket, “It’s more important for you to get the time off after the holidays when you have her to yourself.”

“Working full-time here is going to suck, but at least you have maternity leave.”

Amanda winced, then moved Jeffrey’s hands over the movement. His white teeth gleamed against his black skin as a smile took over his face. “Had to take it for the nursing. Breaking from meetings would have been too much during the first two months. I don’t like it, but I agree it has too many beneficial effects not to do try. Though who knows if my milk will come in.”

“You should take as least a month to recover even then.” Jeffrey stroked the hair she had pulled tightly back into a bun. “And after two months, it’s holiday season, so we can pop back to America while you get a third month of recovery. The paternity leave is already in place for when you have to go back.”

“Nearly four months of baby and parents one-on-one. Not bad for an American company.”

“Yep, so what is the normal here in Denmark?”

“Fifty-two week,” Amanda reported drolly.

He laughed. “HQ would die if you took off that much maternity.”

“It’s 52-weeks for either the mother or father, or if they want equal time, 26 weeks.”

Looking up from where he had been contemplating her belly, Jeffrey appeared truly shocked. “Half a year of paternity leave?”

“Or a full year, depends who in the couple has the maternity genes.”

“That would be me.”


She smiled up at him, that gentle smile which had never existed before her sixth month of pregnancy. Jeffrey wondered if the gentle Madonna smile will disappear with the baby fat once she gave birth. While he missed the shark smile and full-on barracuda attitude, he had grown fond of this new side during their long-distance communications.

“I promise I will take good care of Amanda Junior.”

She laughed, “You really are going to name her Amanda Maria Hall Junior?”

“Or the Second. If it had been a boy, I would have been required to name him Jeffrey Taylor Reid the Fourth.” Jeffrey darted in for a quick kiss. “So, which do you prefer, Junior or the Second?”

“The Second. Junior will have too many questions, I rather not do that to her.” She picked up the mug for a final sip to take it to the ‘Another cup’ level. “I can’t imagine having a family history so strong names are written in stone before the children are conceived.”

“That’s just because you are an only child of only children, Mistress Troglodyte. We gods have large extended families.” Jeffrey noticed her wince again when she set aside the empty mug. There had been no matching kick under his hands. He reached up to touch her face. “Are you okay?”

“Just a touch of indigestion.” Amanda muttered in annoyance.

“Right, so how far apart is the indigestion?”

The barracuda returned instantly, pushing him away. “Not you too. I’m not going into labor. Hell, the baby isn’t due for another two days.” She waddled with purpose to the door.

“Hey, wait.” Jeffrey grabbed Amanda’s arm. “Tell you what, why don’t I monitor your indigestion?”

She tilted her head while looking up at him, her eyes narrowing. “How?”

“There is an app. Let me download it, and you hit it every time your indigestion strikes.”

“I got a contract negation in,” Amanda looked at her watch, “an hour. I’m not leaving until it is complete.”

“How far do the contractions need to be?”

“The doctor wants me to come in when they are five to seven minutes apart.”

“So I will wait until then.” Jeffrey put out his hand for her phone, and she let him have it. “But this way you don’t have to keep track of the timing. I can do that.” With a few swipes, he uploaded an app and showed her how to use it. The app suggested using it to keep track of compliments in a day to raise self-esteem, work tasks completed, or even laps around a small track.


“It’s time.” Jeffrey said frowning from the office doorway, his voice creaky from a very, very long day. Aksel rounded around him, talking one of the freaky languages everyone around here spoke. Jeff probably upset him by strolling past the guard hound’s desk without stopping.

Amanda let out an answering stream, addressing whatever issues Aksel raised before responding to him. “I’m fine. The office closes in an hour. We can leave then.”

“Askel, what is rush hour like here?” Jeffrey pegged the smaller man with his dark eyes.

“Rush hour, Mr. Reid?” Aksel frowned a moment, translating in his head, before muttering. “Myldretid.  Ah, it is, bad. About one hour using the Metro. Ms. Hall usually works through it and heads home about seven.”

“And when do you leave?”

“About half an hour before her.”

“Excuse me, I’m still right here.”

Jeffrey rounded on the high level manager. “But not for long. Do you really want to go into hard labor on the Metro during rush hour?”

“No.” Amanda blinked at the sudden shift from Jeffrey’s normal laid back demeanor. “But we got the contract to do, plus I need to get everything ready if this really is labor and not a false alarm.”

“Right.” Jeffrey nodded to Aksel. “What does Amanda need to have done for the next three days that no one else can do?”

Aksel walked quickly to Amanda’s desk and pulled out several sheets of paper, plus one large clipped pile. “Ms. Hall, please read and sign these. The team can take care of everything else.” He gathered the rest of the items on her desk into a pile and removed them.


Placing the pile on a credenza under the office window, Aksel interrupted. “My wife went into labor three weeks early with Josefine. I’ve made sure everything has been ready, just in case, for months.”

She looked from one male to the other.

“You have three contractions to finish that, then we are out of here.” Jeffrey’s flat voice brooked no argument.

“Men,” hissed through Amanda’s lips before she started concentrating on the papers and new contract.

Jeffrey came over to stand by Aksel. “Thank you.”

“You are welcome.”

“Could you program into my phone how to get to the hospital from here?” Jeffrey offered the international phone the company provided for his travels.

Aksel quickly opened it up to the Metro app Jeffrey had downloaded on arrival. “Shall I also put in how to get from the hospital to her quarters?”

“That would be great.” Jeffrey leaned against the wall while Aksel entered the information. Exhaustion batted around his mind like a cat playing with a mouse. He had maybe three hours sleep in the last twenty-four. The plane ride out came with non-stop sleep, but that only made up for the abuse he had done training the interns and getting everything at home ready for this trip. Adrenaline would make up for the lack of rest, he hoped. “I’ll be back to pick up my luggage when I know she is okay.”

Intet problem, I have the key and can drop your bags off on my way home tonight.” Aksel handed back the phone. “I’ve entered my number. Please text me when the baby is born. Everyone is going to want to know, and I can send out the announcement. Now if you excuse me, I arrange for one of the guards to escort you. We all are very proud of Ms. Hall.”

“I’ll pack up my stuff.” Jeffrey looked at Amanda, feeling her heckles continue to raise even from as far away as he was as others took control her life, and he knew the only reason while Askel and he hadn’t been eviscerated was she knew they were right. “I’ll be back in seven minutes. We are leaving then.”

(words 1,911 – first published 3/31/2019)


The complete Red Mug series:
3/17/19 – Red Mug
3/24/19 – Green Cheeks
3/31/19 – Copenhagen Blue
4/7/19 – Clear Glass
4/14/19 – Gold Bands