I lift his arm, detangle my legs from his, and slowly slide out of the bed. When I turn to look at him, expecting to find him asleep, his eyes are open and staring at me with a hint of humor dancing in their depths.
“Where are you going, Beauty?” His voice is thick with sleep and just the sound of it shoots straight through my body.
Slipping one of his shirts over my head, I turn around and try to keep a stern face, but fail after only a few seconds. “You could at least make it a little easier to sneak out and make you breakfast.”
“Babe, seriously? You’re already in bed, so that kind of defeats the purpose of giving me my breakfast when you leave the bed.”
Such. A. Man.
“I hate to point out the obvious, but three year olds don’t sleep in. Since we’re pushing 8:00, I think we are lucky he hasn’t come running in yet.” Greg groans and rolls over at the reminder that Cohen is just down the hall. “I think I hear little feet, baby. You might want to get up and put some pants on. I’m thinking if Cohen gets one look at the size of your dick, we are going to have questions for days, not to mention those delicious decorations you’re rocking there.”
He gets up laughing, but before grabbing his briefs and covering himself up, he folds me in his arms and gives me one hell of a good morning kiss. We are just pulling apart when the door swiftly opens, banging against the wall, and Cohen comes flying in. Cape and all.
“Melwee? What are you doing? Why is Greg not wearing his big boy underwear? Why doesn’t Greg have clothes on? I wanna be naked! You’re gonna see his wiener, and Nana said that boys shouldn’t show their wieners to girls. It’s naughty. You’re gonna go to time out.” Sometimes I wonder if breathing is even a requirement for a three year old. I mean, does he want me to answer that? I don’t think so.
I can feel Greg laughing against my back, trying to hide himself behind my body so that we don’t have even more of Cohen’s one hundred questions. “A little help here?” He whispers in my ear.
“Cohen, did you hear that? I think there is a ninja downstairs! Let’s go check it out.” And like magic, he’s off. Doesn’t take much. One mention of bad guys to fight, and he is instantly ready to protect the world. It amazes me daily how much Cohen is turning into a mini-Greg. With years of no manly figures in his life, I feel beyond blessed to be able to give this to him.
Over the last three months, the bond between Greg and Cohen has become something that even I don’t have a factor in. He spends more time here than he does with my mom. There are weeks that I have to drag them apart because Greg can’t let go. Forget the actual child; I have to deal with a thirty-five year old man pitching a fit because his little buddy is going back to Nana’s house.
“Meet you downstairs, baby.” I give him a quick kiss before taking off to find my little warrior.
Ever since the incident with Mandy, Greg and I have become even closer. It seems odd that we have formed this type of relationship so quickly but when we are together, no one else in the world matter. He once told me I was his missing piece to the puzzle, and he wasn’t wrong. How I ever thought I would be able to withstand the charms of this man is beyond me.
Mandy isn’t an issue anymore, thank God. Greg has tracked down her father. He is high enough up the political ladder that the last thing he needs is his daughter causing trouble. Greg called and explained the situation. According to daddy dearest, the reason that she has been silent for so long is because he has admitted her to some intensive program that deals with severe bipolar disorder. I personally think that they might want to re-evaluate her for some more shit. There is no way I am buying his excuse. She was two steps away from turning serial killer and trapping Greg in a hole, making him ‘put the lotion on’ every few hours, like that guy in the movie Joe Dirt.
I don’t care either way what happens to her as long as she leaves us the hell alone. Sure, it would be nice to see her ass in jail becoming someone’s bitch, but I want it done. I want her gone so that I can enjoy my happy ever after.
The guard will always be up when it comes to her, but for the most part, we are just ready to move on.
A week after we had made up with the best wall sex turned marathon loving, I had officially broken the lease at my apartment and moved in. The way I see it is life is too short to sit on your ass and not live every minute as if it’s your last. Greg is my future and I’m not going to wait to start living it.
We spend a lot of time talking about our sisters, and how we feel they had a hand in bringing us together. Whether it was them, fate, or just damn good luck, we both agree that we are beyond lucky.
Mom has agreed that with things going so well between Greg and myself, it is time to finally get started on fulfilling Fia’s wish that I have custody of Cohen. It isn’t any issue to start the ball rolling, but there are still hoops we need to jump through and red tape to cut. Regardless of the time it will take, soon enough my little guy will be calling this house home. It is hard to tell who is more excited, me or them.
We had our first meeting with child protective services last week and Greg is positive that things went well. We can provide Cohen a stable and comfortable life. We are both young, and have no blemishes on our background. It helps that we learned that the lady that came out to do our first home study has a son in the Marines. When Greg mentioned that he was honored to meet the mother of such a brave man, I thought I would lose it. They started discussing various concerns that she had about her baby being overseas, and that, in turn, ended up being one of those conversations that ended up so emotional that I had to excuse myself. When she left, Greg gave me the reassurance I needed, but excused himself for a few hours.
We talk about his time spent serving, but usually, he is very short with his answers. He told me once that it isn’t that he doesn’t want to tell me, but that he just can’t. He is a proud man and never shies away from telling me what it was like for him to be serving his country, but he doesn’t like to talk about it. The details are never deep; we just touch on how he felt during those eight years. It is one of those things that he will talk about when I ask him, but I can see the pain that is there, so I don’t question him often.
I walk past Cohen’s new bedroom at the end of the hall and continue downstairs with a smile on my face. I still couldn’t believe how much my life has changed in just a few short months.
How’s this for living, Fia?
“Melwee! I got them, got them all! Can I have Coco Puffs this morning?”
“Good for you, C-Man!” I give him a high five and continue to the fridge. “No Coco Puffs, baby. We’re making Greg’s favorite today.” I turn around expecting a smile, because at the mention of chocolate chip pancakes, that’s usually the reaction that follows. But he is sitting at the table just looking at me. No emotion shows, but his little brows crease, and his lips push out in the adorable little pout he always makes when he’s thinking.
“What’s going on in that super brain of yours?” I ask, starting the prep for breakfast. He’s silent for so long that I stop what I’m doing and look up. He is still in the same position. “Cohen, baby, what’s wrong?” I put everything down and turn off the burner, making my way around the island and crouching on the floor in front of him.
“Melwee, why don’t I have a daddy?” The normal happy and carefree tone that is always present has been replaced with a sort of sadness I don’t think I’ve ever heard in my nephew’s voice.
“Oh, Cohen, you had a daddy baby, and he loved you very much.” I almost have to choke on the words to get them out. “But your daddy is an angel now, remember? He and your mommy are angels and God told them that they are the luckiest angels in all of heaven because they get to sit on the brightest cloud and watch over you.”
“But how come my daddy can’t come and play with me like Greg does?” he asks with all the innocence of a child.
I stand up and pull him into my arms before sitting back down in his seat. “Cohen baby, sometimes God wants people to learn to fly even when we aren’t ready. He wanted your daddy to get his wings and fly so that he could be an angel in heaven. When people get their wings and go to heaven, they can’t come back and play with us. I know it isn’t fair baby, but that doesn’t mean that your daddy doesn’t still love you.”
“And mommy. Don’t forget mommy. She loves me too, you said so. She loves me to the moon and the stars and everything in between.”
“She sure does, little man.” I give him a hug, and with his small arms wrapped around my neck, I reach up and brush the tear off my cheek. Right when I get ready to pull back, I look up and meet Greg’s eyes from where he is standing in the doorway, watching us with a small smile. I start to give him one back when Cohen’s next question stops me.
“So does that mean that Greg is gonna be my daddy?” Greg eyes widen slightly and his mouth parts with a small ‘O’. I, on the other hand, have been stunned silent. “Melwee, can Greg be my daddy and you be my mommy now? I really wanna have a daddy, but only if you can be my mommy.”
“Oh, baby,” I whisper and pull him close again. I don’t realize how tight I have been hugging him until he laughs and wiggles out of my lap.
“You’re face looks funny, Melwee.” He laughs, and when he turns around and sees Greg standing there, his whole little body lights up and he takes off running. “GREG! Did you hear? You’re gonna be my daddy because I want to have the best daddy in the world.”
“Yeah, C-Man, I heard. I think that’s best present anyone has ever given me.” He leans forward and kisses him on the head before ruffling his hair. “Run to the bathroom and wash your hands real fast. Make sure you get off all those yucky ninja germs.”
“Okay… Daddy,” he whispers the last word and takes off to the half bath off the garage entrance.
My eyes haven’t left Greg’s once, and when I see his eyes start to get heavy with unshed moisture, I lose it. I’m sure I look a mess, and Cohen would take great pleasure in reminding me how funny my face looks now.
“Beauty, get over here.” His soft rumble fills my ears and I rush into his arms.
“Are you okay?” I ask when I calm down.
“Better than okay. Greatest moment in my life, next to meeting you, was hearing that little boy call me his dad. I love him just as much as I love you, Melissa, and that moment was one to celebrate. Stop the tears. Okay, baby?”
“You’re happy?” When I look up and see his eyes clear and his smile blinding, I know that right here in our kitchen, with the smell of chocolate chip pancakes in the air, we just became a family.
“Happiest man in the world.”
“I love you.” I whisper.
“Love you back, Beauty. Now get over there and make your men some food.”
I turn on a laugh and jump slightly when he smacks my ass, but when we hear Cohen’s laugh, we both look over at him. “Told you that you were gonna go to time out! You shouldn’t look at wieners, Melwee!”
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