I grinned like the freaking Cheshire Cat as we made our way to the nursery.
“Well now that you’ve had those times, I assure you you’ll find time all the time.”
“Ha! Oh I can’t even think about that right now. I’m too exhausted.”
“Well just know, we’re always available to babysit.”
“We’ll keep that in mind.” I laughed softly and pulled my sleeping baby out of the crib. My heart warmed when he was finally back in my arms. “I missed you little Gummy Bear.” I whispered against his head and cradled him in my arms.
“He drank all three bottles you left us, but didn’t sleep much, so hopefully you’ll get a restful night tonight.”
I nodded, hoping that was true. I needed time to recover from the night with Brandon. When we walked out into the living room, my future husband’s smile made my heart skip a beat. I loved this man so much, and I couldn’t believe he was mine. He walked over to us and lightly ran his hand over Liam’s head before kissing him.
Liam yawned and blinked his eyes open to look at Brandon, “Hey little man. We missed you.” After another yawn Liam’s eyes slowly shut again, his mouth popping open slightly. “You ready to take him home Harper?”
I nodded and accepted kisses from Mom and Dad “Are you guys still coming over Sunday?” In order to carry on family day, once a week everyone gathered at either Mom’s, Carrie’s or our house to have family time, and though they’d been skipping our place so I wouldn’t have to worry about cleaning or playing hostess while trying to be a mom, I’d made them promise to let us have our week again.
“We’ll be there, you two have fun until then” Mom said with a smile and a wink. Dad laughed out loud and Brandon actually blushed. I’d never seen him blush before, and I couldn’t help but laugh too.
We got Liam fed, changed and asleep in his crib in record time. Crawling into bed, we kissed soft and slow, clinging to each other.
Brandon brought his lips to my ear, his deep voice making my body burn, “Harper…”
“Round four?” I asked with a grin.
His smile matched mine as he pulled me on top of him.
“Brandon?” I asked roughly. His side of the bed was empty, and cold. Glancing around I noted I’d slept for six and a half hours and should probably go check on my little one.
I grabbed Brandon’s shirt off the floor and slid it over my head before padding down the cool hallway. When I got closer I heard Brandon’s warm animated voice and slowed, trying to hear whatever he was telling our son. I was already smiling to myself when I peeked around the slightly ajar door, he was talking to him about one of his surfing days. No…he was talking to him about one of Chase’s surfing days. And he had the scrapbook of Chase’s life on the dresser below them, pointing to one of the pictures. A soft gasp escaped my chest and I tried to slow my breathing so I could continue to listen without Brandon knowing I was here.
“…he was always doing crazy stuff like that, it’s why everyone loved him, but it got him in trouble more times than not. No one else would have continued to surf after that, and we were all trying to get him to come in. Brad and I rode out to force him to, since he had this huge cut on his eyebrow from where that guy punched him, but by the time we got out there he was already catching another wave and riding it in. I swear he knew how to piss us off too, because those guys weren’t happy we started coming back out. Your dad could out-surf those guys, and I could fight them, but just a warning son, don’t ever try to fight someone while on your surfboard out in the ocean. It doesn’t really work out for anyone, and you look stupid trying to throw punches while treading water. We ended up laughing too hard and inviting them to the party that night, calling a truce.”
Brandon flipped to the next page and chuckled lightly, pointing at one of the pictures again, “Like I said, he was crazy and always doing stupid crap,” flipping the page again he pointed to one and said softly, “but your mom changed that.”
I froze and tilted my head in even further.
“The day I met your mom, I knew she would be in my life forever. There was something about her and I knew I was already falling in love with her that first day. She made you want to be better, to attempt to be worthy of her love. Unfortunately your dad felt the same way; no one understood why he drastically changed, except for me. Even though she was with me, he stopped drinking, stopped sleeping with other girls, it’s like she made him instantly mature into the guy he eventually wanted to be so he could have an opportunity with her. I was always afraid I’d lose her to him someday, it’s like I knew it was a matter of when, not if. But your mom was different, I’d dated plenty of girls, but I hadn’t really cared if they were there or not. It was just someone to try to fill the ache of losing my dad. So when I met her and realized my feelings, I fought to keep her as long as I could. Don’t tell your momma, but Chase and I were constantly fighting over her when she wasn’t around. Hell, we even fought over her when she was around. We knew either of us could have any girl we wanted, but we both only wanted Harper. So of course, being us, words were used and fists flew whenever we were alone. I didn’t tell her this, but I already knew what had happened with your dad before she told me. When I got home from break, and Chase never bothered me again, I knew something had happened. I just didn’t know what yet. But you know what little man? I can’t even be mad about it anymore, because if it hadn’t happened, you wouldn’t be here right now.”
He gently kissed our three month old son who was completely enthralled in his stories and pointed to the last picture in the book. “And he loved you and your mom, so much. I’ll always remind you of that, but I wish you could have met him.”
I placed a hand over my mouth to stifle the sob rising in my throat and slowly backed away to our bedroom. Once I was under the covers, I let the tears spill down my face as I mourned the dad Liam would never meet, and my heart grew even more for the dad that was holding him now. I don’t know how long I stayed there after I finished crying, but Brandon eventually got back in bed and stilled when he realized I was awake.
“Babe, what’s wrong?”
“Do you know how much I love you?” He nodded and I continued, “Sometimes it’s hard for me to even believe you’re real, and that you’re here with us.”
He brushed back the hair covering my eyes and cupped my face, “I am here. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”
“Harper, please tell me what’s wrong. Are you – are you getting cold feet?”
“No! I can’t wait to marry you Brandon. You’re so amazing, I wish I could tell you how wonderful you are and how much you mean to me. I just don’t understand how you can be mine. I don’t know what I did to deserve you.”
He huffed a laugh and that dimple flashed at me, “Then why were you crying? I don’t understand?”
“I – Thank you for telling him about Chase.”
“I told you we would babe.” He wrapped his arms around me and kissed the top of my head. “I’ll always tell him about Chase.”
“I know, just walking in and listening to you tell him stories was…I don’t know how to explain it. It was wonderful, it made my heart happy.” I said with a laugh.
His voice dropped lower, “You make my heart happy Harper.” He pressed his full lips to mine, moving them slow. His left hand dropped under his shirt on my body, his fingers teasing my waist, stomach and hips. “Have I told you recently how much I love you in nothing but my shirt?”
“Have I told you recently how much I love you in nothing at all?” I countered huskily, letting my fingers drop to the band on his shorts.
Brandon moved my hand away from his body, placing our intertwined fingers above my head on the pillow. “Not now babe.”
“What? Yes, now.” I hitched a leg around his hip, pressing myself to him.
He moaned and moved his h*ps against me before stilling and pushing me away, “You’re supposed to have sex after the wedding, not before it. Technically, I’m not supposed to see you today until you’re walking down the aisle.”
“And yet here you are.” I grinned and brought our bodies back together suggestively.
“Here I am.” He agreed.
He pushed me onto my back and let the hand that was still on my waist trail down. I whimpered and wrapped my hands around his neck, covering his lips with mine. When his mouth made a trail down my throat I reached for his shorts and the doorbell rang.
“That didn’t happen.” I kept my hands possessively on his body so he wouldn’t move. The doorbell rang two more short times. I angrily slid out from under my fiancé and rushed to the door, “Are you serious?” I hissed when I flung the door open, “Liam’s sleeping!”
Carrie, Mom, Bree and Konrad all stood at the door.
“Nice outfit,” Bree snickered and her eyes widened when Brandon came to the door with a scowl on his insanely handsome face, “Oh hell no! No screwing until later!”
“Breanna!” My face got red, I could talk to her and Mom about our intimate life. But Konrad was definitely never around and neither was Carrie.
“It’s kinda obvious friend.” She stepped in and grabbed my hand, taking me to the bedroom. “Take a shower and put on something comfortable, we’re going to be at the salon most the day.”
“I hope you realize you stopped us before it got to the best part. I’m going to be mad at you the rest of the day.”
“No you’re not. Wedding first, sex later.”
I rolled my eyes and stepped into the shower, “You sound like Brandon. Why is Konrad here anyway? Is he going to the salon with us?” I laughed and rinsed the lather out of my hair.
“No he’s here to hang out with Brandon until later. They’ll take care of Liam.”
My heart sank, “Oh, Liam.”
“No, no! We are not starting this again. You will be just fine. You guys need a honeymoon, end of story. You’ll regret it in a year or two if you don’t.”
“I know, but we’re parents. I feel horrible!”
“Seriously, you guys won’t even be gone that long. Most people take a week. You’ll be gone three nights, including tonight. Just think of it like a long date night.”
“Bree,” I sighed, “I really do appreciate that you are all doing this for us, but we’ve only ever been away from him for the longest seven hours. This is way different. Do you know that I’ve packed his suitcase four different times?”
“That’s just sad.”
I stopped shaving for a moment and pointed the razor toward her, even though she couldn’t see me, “When you have a baby, you’ll see. And I’ll be there to laugh at you for how ridiculous you are.”
“Are you done yet? You were supposed to have done this before we even got here.”