As we got ready for bed, me dressing in an oversized T-shirt of Bray’s, I crawled in between his sheets. I was experiencing his soft linen sheets for the first time. It felt new and completely comfortable at the same time. Like I was meant to be here. Despite my fears that he was only being so open with me because I was pregnant, I found myself thankful that he’d invited me into his space before we knew I was expecting. It made his feelings and his declaration earlier tonight more real. It wasn’t just because of the baby. It was because he’d finally realized that he and I were great together. At least I hoped so. I curled into the fluffy pillow and felt Bray crawl in beside me. His arms snaked around my middle and pulled me to him until my back was nested in against his chest. I smiled into the darkness.
“How are you feeling?” he whispered against my hair.
“Better,” I whispered back. “How are you feeling?”
“Happy.” He kissed the tender spot behind my ear and I felt his smile against my skin. “Goodnight, kitten.”
I drifted off to sleep, overwhelmed by all the changes of the day but feeling like with Braydon by my side, all was right.
As the months passed by, I became more and more excited about moving in with Braydon. We lived too far apart and since we wanted to be together every day, the distance became more and more of an annoyance. It was time. And there was no denying my place was a bit of a dump anyhow. He wouldn’t let me carry a single box, even though I was still active and working out regularly.
I remained upstairs in his apartment, intercepting each box and suitcase he delivered and began the process of melding my life with his. My dresser, which sat across from his, was filled with socks, underwear, and maternity clothes; the space in his closet that he’d cleared held my work clothes; and the bathroom . . . well there was no denying that my toiletries, makeup, and hair items completely overtook his bathroom. Braydon didn’t seem to mind at all. He moved his shaving cream and deodorant onto the windowsill and let me have my way with his bathroom cabinets.
He even made room on his living room shelf for all my favorite books—including the ones with buff shirtless guys on them. Now that was love.
“Last box, babe.” Braydon hoisted the cardboard box over his head as he crossed the threshold and toed the door closed behind him. After depositing the box labeled “Kitchen Stuff” on the counter, he joined me on the couch.
As it so often did these days, Braydon’s hand came to a rest on my belly. “Still no kicking?”
I shook my head. “I’m not quite four months yet, so the doctor said that’s normal.” I knew Braydon was excited to feel the baby move, but I’d read that typically happened between four and five months. “Soon enough.” I patted his hand. I was still nervous about the whole giving-birth thing, but I’d come to accept my new outlook on life. I was even excited to see Braydon as a dad. Since the day we met for coffee, and found out I was pregnant, he’d been there for me every step of the way. He’d been my rock, attended every doctor’s appointment, stocked up his apartment with prenatal vitamins, stuffed animals, and baby-proofing materials even though I told him we had a while before we needed those.
“You know what today is, right?” Braydon smiled like he knew a secret I didn’t.
“Um, no. What?”
“For starters, it’s the six-month anniversary of Emmy and Ben’s wedding.”
“Oh. That’s cool.”
“Which means it’s our six-month anniversary, too.”
I chuckled. “Maybe the anniversary of you going down on me.”
“Exactly, and from that very first taste you were mine.” I couldn’t deny what he said wasn’t true. I was his, right from the very beginning. He lifted me from the couch and set me on his lap. “I’m so glad you said yes and that you’re here, kitten.”
I laid my head on his shoulder and inhaled the unique scent that was just Bray. “Me too.” I shifted so I could meet his eyes. “You know . . . the nickname kitten is awfully close to Kat—your ex’s name.” I frowned.
His eyebrows shot up. “I never realized, but you’re right. So no more kitten, then?”
I shook my head. “Nope.”
“Hmm.” He touched his forehead to mine. “How about Mrs. Kincaid then? Would that suit you?”
I blinked at him, utterly speechless.
I loved watching Ellie like this. Her cheeks were rosy and pink from the cold and her fingers were stretched out, reaching for our daughter. “Come on, you can do it,” she encouraged. Brayleigh let go of her grasp around my index finger and let out a little squeal as she toddled toward her pretty momma. She was just starting to take her first shaky steps when she had assistance or something to hold on to. It was amazing to see.
“What a big girl,” Emmy commented, bouncing their baby boy, Mace, on her hip. He was so bundled up he looked like the Michelin Man. But I wouldn’t make the mistake of telling Emmy that again. Seriously, though, what were they feeding that kid, bacon? He quietly sucked on a pacifier and watched Brayleigh with wide eyes.
The last couple of years of my life were anything but expected. I met Ellie and was immediately attracted to her sassy attitude and quick wit. Not to mention her beauty. Her dark hair was currently pinned up and loose strands were rustling around her face in the breeze. It was early spring, and while there was still a pile of snow blanketing the city, the sun was shining brightly overhead and we were enjoying some much overdue outdoor time at the park.
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