Ned’s solution to sleeping in the same bed with Chuck (which is both a terrible nightmare and a dream come true) is to stay awake ALL NIGHT. All he needs is the mental image of waking up next to her, dead-forever, to make him remember how important that is. But she’s miles of bare skin because it’s summer and she’s warm, and she grins at him and then suggests they tell ghost stories, and it’s awful, how much he just wants to feel her skin under his palm one last time. He imagines a thousand things: that her father will flay him alive if he touches her, that her skin will light in flames, but the worst is the thought of her dead-forever, her dancing eyes closed forever. But by morning he’s asleep, and he wakes to find her stroking his hair, her hand in an oven mitt and a smile on her face.
Nancy and Ned are home alone at his parents’ house on Friday night (the Nickersons are out of town, and Nancy’s excited and nervous and happy to be spending the night with him) when they hear a frantic knock at the door, and they open it to see Ned’s cousin Amanda, who is begging for a babysitter for the night. She doesn’t have time to explain, but she hands Ned her three-month-old and Nancy the diaper bag, and only waits long enough to hear them say they’ll take care of her before Amanda’s running back to her car, headlights still on and driver’s side door open. Ned’s disappointed, really disappointed, and Nancy is too, but the baby takes all their attention for a while; they have to figure out the diapers and bottles and everything, and once the initial panic has worn off, it’s actually not so bad. The baby cries and they change her diaper, give her a bottle, burp her. Ned ends up having to change his shirt and when he comes back downstairs Nancy’s on the floor with the baby in her arms, telling her softly that she’s a good girl and her mommy will be back soon, and then she looks up at Ned and his heart flips and he can’t get that image out of his head, of Nancy with a baby, their baby.
Once the baby is asleep, really asleep, Ned brings the bassinet his mom put in the attic to his own room and they very gently put the baby in it, and they’re both waiting for the baby to wail when Ned takes Nancy to bed, but the baby stays asleep while they’re kissing, while they hold each other. She doesn’t want to go all the way, and that’s okay with him; maybe he likes the thought of her with a baby, but not yet, just not yet.
And they’re both nervous but Nancy does the changing and Ned makes the bottles when the baby wakes and cries overnight, and Ned has the baby in his arms to feed her in the morning and Nancy looks over at him with this softness in her eyes, and Ned thinks that maybe she’s starting to like the idea, too.