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As we part, something tickles my ear. A butterfly is fluttering around us. We both stare at it, taking in the beauty of its multi-colored wings as it weaves a flight path around our heads.

I put my hand over his rib cage and rub my fingers across his tattoo.

And when the butterfly starts to fly away, I look up at Sawyer as he tries to control his emotions. “Bye, Mom,” he says after it. Then his gorgeous icy-blue eyes find mine. “I think she approves.”

I reach up and wipe his falling tears. “I think she does, Tom Sawyer. I think she does.”

Epilogue

Sawyer

She finally got us to Hawaii. After more than a year of hearing Bass talk about how it was the best trip of his life, she was able to put it all together. So now, I sit here with my best friends and their wives, the six of us on a beautiful beach in Kauai, taking in the sunset on Christmas Eve.

Caden and Murphy are each holding one of their two-year-old twins. Brady is tossing a baseball to his seven-year-old son over in the grass. Rylee is rubbing her five-month belly.

I look over at my wife and watch her watch the sunset. I’m amazed at how she loves life. I’m amazed at the way she grows more beautiful every day. I’m amazed by how much I love her.

“I wish Denver were here,” she says, looking back at me.

I can only smile. She has no idea that her brother and his girlfriend are flying in tomorrow to surprise her. It’s one of my gifts to her. I’d do anything to make this woman happy.

I come up behind her and brush her hair aside, kissing the butterfly tattoo she got on the back of her neck after we were married. It’s just one of the many places I enjoy kissing her.

“Mmmm,” she mumbles, leaning her head back onto my shoulder. “I could get used to this.”

“Too bad Hawaii doesn’t have a team, huh?”

“And leave Kansas City? No way,” she says turning around and lifting my right hand to admire the World Series ring I’m wearing. “Not after what you’ve done there.”

“Not after what we’ve done there,” I say. Then I hold up my left hand. “Besides, the only ring that matters to me is this one.”

“Me too,” she says, putting her left hand alongside mine as we admire the rings we’ve worn for just short of a year.

I take both of her hands into mine and then I kiss each of her fingers. “I love these,” I say. “I love the music you play with them. Have you given any more thought to the job offer from the university?”

She shrugs and smiles at me. “Come on,” she says, grabbing my hand and leading me out toward the water. “I know you love surprises. Are you ready for one of your Christmas presents?”

“Here?” I ask.

She leads me across the soft sand, out to where gentle waves have the water lapping at our feet. She stands in front of me, pulling my arms around her so my hands rest against her stomach. Then she stretches her neck around and gives me a brilliant smile.

My heart leaps in my chest. “Really?” I ask, rubbing my fingers across her flat belly.

She nods. “I found out last week. I hope you’re not mad at me for not telling you. I thought it would be more romantic if I told you here. I’m nine weeks along. I think it happened the night you won the Series.”

“Oh, my God. I’m gonna be a dad?”

“You’re not just going to be a dad, you’re going to be the best dad,” she says. Then she pulls something out of her pocket. “And if I were you, I’d start getting some advice from Caden.”

I look at the ultrasound photo and try to make sense of what is the very first picture of our child. Then I ask, “Caden? Why not Brady?”

Then she just smiles at me. She smiles at me until I get it.

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