Instead of leaving with her girlfriends that night, she decided to take a chance on a stranger and had another coffee with him. They talked until the shop closed and were married six months later. That first sentence she spoke to him became a joke in their relationship as well as their family once the boys were born. And now, our little Liam was carrying it on for her.
“Sweetheart,” Brandon groaned, his voice was thick with sleep, “is it your turn or mine? What time is it?”
I turned my head toward where the clock sat on my nightstand, but couldn’t open my eyes just yet. “I don’t know. It’s probably my turn though.” Finally forcing my eyes open I blinked at the bright green numbers. It was a little after four in the morning, I smiled that at least he’d slept a little longer this time. Grabbing the comforter, I flung it off myself and onto Brandon. Before I could fall out of the bed though, he grabbed my forearm and held me down.
“If you think it’s your turn, then it’s most likely mine.”
“I have to feed him anyway Brandon, he’s been asleep for three hours. I’ll go.” I threw my legs off the bed and sat up. Brandon grabbed my shoulders and pulled me back down, crawling over until his head was hovering over mine.
“Then let me get him and bring him here for you.” He kissed me softly, then pressed his lips to my throat. “Get comfortable, I’ll be right back.”
I sighed happily and propped the pillows up against the headboard and sat against them. Liam was a little over six weeks old, and while some nights we had to wake him up to feed him, tonight wasn’t one of them. Brandon had been more than helpful with him, I couldn’t believe how lucky I was to have him love and help me. I thought since I was the woman, I would be the one waking up every time to be with Liam, or be the one to change him. I was breastfeeding so of course I was the one doing all the feeding, but like now, Brandon would sometimes get him and bring him to me so I could stay in our bed. And we were always taking turns with everything else. Brandon was an amazing father. He loved Liam and was always so excited to see him, and the same went for our son. Whenever Brandon would talk to him, Liam went silent and just stared at him. If Brandon rained little kisses on him, or offered up his fingers to be gripped by his son, Liam smiled wide at his dad and my heart would melt watching them. They both made my days better, spending time with the two of them was what made me jump out of bed in the mornings, and although I wanted Brandon there as much as possible, I cherished my time alone with Liam whenever he went to his classes.
Brandon walked in holding him against his chest, and of course Liam was completely silent. “Someone’s hungry, he kept trying to go for my chest.”
“Did you tell him the restaurant is closed?” I snickered as he handed our son to me. I smiled widely back at the toothless smile facing me and kissed his forehead before setting him up to eat. Didn’t matter that we were exhausted, I loved seeing my little man.
“I told him that restaurant had never even opened.” Brandon laughed heartily and kissed both of us before climbing into bed next to me. He flipped on the TV and turned on the news, the only interesting thing on in the early mornings.
“How was your nap little Liam?” I played with his hand as he greedily ate, like he wouldn’t ever get another meal.
Brandon placed a hand on my thigh and leaned over to be closer to us, “How was your nap Harper? You’ve been getting less sleep than I have.”
“I know,” I sighed and lay my head on his, “I can’t help it though. Ever since he went to the nursery I feel like if I go to sleep, something will happen to him.”
“He’s fine, and he’ll continue to be fine. But you need to sleep. Maybe –”
“No Brandon, I don’t want to bother them.”
“Harper.” He moved his head out from under mine and tilted my chin so I was looking into his brown eyes. “You know you wouldn’t be bothering them. They’re here almost every day and they ask every time if they can babysit, so don’t act like we can’t call my mom or yours. Tell me what’s really stopping you from asking them.”
I looked down to my precious son before glancing back up to my amazing fiancé. Tears began rapidly filling my eyes.
“Sweetheart, you’re crying? Why?”
“I can’t Brandon…I can’t.” I choked on a sob and put my fist to my mouth to muffle it, Liam had started dozing off again.
“Harper what is wrong? Please tell me.”
I was trying, I just couldn’t speak yet so I held up a finger, silently asking him to give me a second to calm down a little, “I can’t leave him. I’m terrified of what might happen if I do. Chase and your dad were gone just like that. I don’t want to lose him and I don’t want him to lose one or both of us. We know what it’s like to be without a parent, I can’t do that to him.”
“Aw hell, sweetheart that won’t happen. I know why you’re scared, but we can’t live like that. We can’t let what’s happened in our pasts, rule our lives now and in the future. That’s not fair to us, and it’s not fair to Liam. Nothing is going to happen, you need to allow yourself to enjoy our lives, as well as his. I don’t want to be away from him either, but I will admit, I want alone time with you. We need to have time where it’s just us. Even if it’s just a couple hours, once a week.”
“I’m sorry.” I pulled Liam up to my chest and tried to burp him before taking him back to the nursery.
“For neglecting you. You’re right, we do need time for us.”
Brandon chuckled and removed the pillows from behind my back, so he could slide in behind me. “Harper, you haven’t been neglecting me. Not at all. We’ve been extremely busy, and spending time as a family is more important to me than anything.” His deep voice got even lower and he leaned forward to nibble at my ear, “But I’m selfish, and I want my girl for myself sometimes. Do you think we can figure out some us time?”
My heart started hammering from his lips brushing against my skin and I realized we hadn’t had anything other than hugs and chaste kisses since Liam had been born. “I think we need to.” I said a little breathless.
“Date night, every Thursday?”
“How convenient that it’s Thursday.” I smiled and nestled deeper into his chest.
Brandon lightly brushed his hand over Liam’s head before he dropped both of them to my waist and then over where my stomach used to be.
“Do you miss it?” His hands had stilled for a second before sliding over my flat stomach again. I know, I know, I already have a lot of women that hate me. When we walk into the appointments for Liam, everyone asks if we adopted because within a week, my stomach went completely back to normal. It was mind blowing even to Brandon and me, and we definitely knew that my stomach had been close to the size of a beach ball not long before. I had one stretch mark, and it was mostly unnoticeable because it ran along a tip of one of my lilies. But if it weren’t for that and my chest, I would think I’d made the entire pregnancy up and just stolen a baby from the hospital.
“You’re the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen either way.” He shrugged and kissed the top of my head, “I do miss it, but I’m glad that he’s here now. It will just take some time to get used to not having your stomach there. Like right now, I keep going to run my hands over it, and then they just continue to slide straight across and it throws me off for a second.”
“Throws you off? Think about how I felt when I went to set that bowl on my stomach and it fell into my lap.”
Brandon’s husky laugh sent a shiver through me. “I’m sorry, but that was funny as hell. Your face was priceless.”
Liam stirred and we both held our breaths until we were sure he was still asleep. “I’m going to put him back in his crib.” I whispered, “I’ll be right back.”
I slid off the bed after letting Brandon kiss his forehead, and headed to the nursery. Rocking Liam for a minute, I pressed my lips to his head and put him down.
“I love you Liam Chase.” After one last longing glance, I left the door cracked a bit, and went back to my other man.
“Did he wake up?”
I shook my head, crawling onto the bed and over to him. Grabbing the remote, I clicked off the TV and pressed my lips to the hollow at the base of his neck, letting my tongue glide over his collarbone. “Are you tired?”
Brandon groaned and wrapped his arms around me, “Not at all.” He flipped me onto my back and hovered over me.
“I was thinking we could have a pre-date, date.” I shivered as I wrapped my legs around him and pulled him closer.
“Harper,” he spoke against my neck, “you have to tell me if anything has changed. We haven’t done anything in a long time, and unless you set boundaries now, I don’t know if I’ll be able to stop once we’ve started.”
“The only thing that has changed, is that I want you more now than I ever have before. I don’t want to wait anymore, I want to be with you.”
He crushed his mouth to mine and tugged lightly on my bottom lip, keeping his hold on it as he sat me up. In a move so fast, he pulled my shirt off and pressed me back down to the bed. Just having my bare chest against his was incredible and heat churned in my stomach. I arched my back into him as he started trailing down my neck to my chest. When he got to my stomach, he hooked his right hand into my shorts and started tugging down. My breathing was ragged as I waited in heated anticipation for what was finally going to happen between us. After my shorts and underwear joined my shirt on the floor, Brandon slowly explored my body with his lips and hands, but every time I tried to do my own search of him, he’d grasp my hands and pull them over my head. I was whimpering by the time he released his hold on my hands and put them on either side of my body, only leaving his mouth on me. Slowly I ran my hands down his muscled back, narrow waist and h*ps before gripping the top of his jersey shorts. His breath caught as I ran my fingers back and forth along the top and I laughed huskily when he quickly brought his lips back to mine. Before I could pull his shorts down, Liam woke back up and let out a long wail. Brandon cursed and fell to the side, pulling me on top of him. He held me tightly as we listened to him for a minute, both silently praying that he would fall right back to sleep. When he didn’t, I pressed my forehead against his and sighed deeply.
Brandon was still trying to return his breathing to normal, his lips mashed into a tight line, his eyes shut. “Tonight,” he said tightly, “nothing is stopping us. I’m going to take my time with you, and I’m going to make love to you all night.”
“Tonight.” I promised. Kissing his cheek, I rolled off him and the bed, got dressed and went to go get Liam.
When I walked into the room and brought him out of the crib, he cried even harder and it took a few minutes to calm him down. I walked around the dark room with him in my arms, trying to soothe him. Only after his long fingers grasped onto a chunk of my hair, did he finally stop crying. His eyes went wide and his mouth molded into that little O shape I love so much.