“Lobe you, Daddy,” she says, and my eyes start to burn.
“You’re welcome, Dad,” Jax says, hugging my other side.
“Can we go to the zoo?” Ashlyn asks, pulling her face out of my neck and making me laugh.
“You always want to go to the zoo,” Jax says.
“The zoo is fun.”
“The zoo is lame,” Jax returns, and they both jump up so they are standing on the bed and proceed to argue back and forth. I lean forward, grabbing Lilly’s hand, dragging her up to me.
“Thank you for this,” I tell her, running my fingers down the side of her face.
“You’re welcome; we love you,” she says, laying her head on my chest, her fingers picking up the pendent to look at it.
“Thank f**k,” I whisper into her ear.
“Dad, we’re not going to the zoo, are we?” Jax groans, flopping down onto the bed dramatically.
“Not today, little dude.”
“But, Daddy…” Ashlyn whines.
“Ashlyn Alexandra, no whining,” Lilly scolds, and Ashlyn crosses her arms over her chest in a pout.
“But I want to see the wions.”
“If you keep up the attitude, little miss thing, you won’t be going to the zoo for a very long time,” Lilly says, and I bite the inside of my cheek to keep from laughing at the look on Ashlyn’s face.
“Come here, baby.” I hold out my hand and she flops down on top of me, making me grunt.
“How about we go do something that everyone will like doing?”
“Like what?” she asks.
“Well, we could go fishing,” I say. I haven’t gone fishing in a while, and I know that it’s something that Jax enjoys doing.
“Yay! Fishing!” Jax yells.
“Are we gonna fish for salmon?” Ashlyn asks.
“No, baby. Catfish,” I tell her, pushing her hair away from her face.
“Catfish?” Her face scrunches up, looking adorable.
“Are catfish hairy?”
“Catfish aren’t hairy,” Jax says, laughing and rolling around on the bed.
“All right, guys, if you want to go fishing you need to go brush your teeth and get dressed,” I tell them both and watch as they bounce off the bed and run out the door.
“So you guys are going fishing? That’s fun,” Lilly says, and I smile.
“We are all going fishing.”
“No, you and the kids are going.”
“Babe, it’s my birthday, which means it’s my day. So we’re all going fishing.”
“Fine.” She pouts, and I know exactly where my daughter got her attitude.
“What did you tell Ashlyn about her attitude?”
“I don’t have an attitude.”
“Good, so get your ass up and get ready to go fishing.”
“Lil.” I say her name, bending forward so that I can kiss her until she’s quiet.
“So when it’s my birthday, I get to do whatever I want, right?” she asks breathlessly.
“Yes, that’s a new rule.”
“Good. Hopefully, the Fifty Shades of Grey movie will be out then and we can go see it,” she says, hopping off the bed and making a beeline for the bathroom. It takes me a second to realize what she said and I walk to the bathroom, opening the door and catching her just as she’s getting in the shower.
“We’re not going to see that movie,” I tell her. I know all about that shit; Asher told Trevor and me all about it.
“You said I get to do whatever I want,” she says, and I can tell by the tone of her voice that she’s smiling.
“Okay, let me clarify that statement. We can do anything you want, as long as it’s something that the kids can be involved in.”
“Fine, I will go see it with Liz and November.”
“Are you interested in BDSM?” I ask her. When Asher broke the book down for us, he said this dude Grey had a bad childhood, and when he got older he had an urge to dominate the women he slept with.
“Your kink is enough for me, thank you,” she says, laughing. I pull the shower curtain back so I can look at her.
“I'm not into kink.”
“You’re not?” She tilts her head to the side, studying my face.
“No, I'm not,” I say firmly.
“Hmm…so what about the time you held me down and wouldn’t let me come? Or the time you tied me to the bed? Or all the times you’ve threatened—which you haven’t followed through, I might add—to spank me? Or what about the time you had me on my knees and—”
“Fuck me, I'm into kink,” I breathe. I have no idea where this is coming from. With Lilly, I always feel a need deep in my soul to show her who’s in charge. I glare at her when she starts laughing. “Keep laughing and I'm going to turn your ass pink,” I growl. She moans then puts her ass in my direction.
“Jesus, I think it’s you that’s really into kink,” I say, and I can’t help but to run my palm over the curve of her ass. “We don’t have time to explore this right now, but later, I will definitely find out how kinky you are,” I say, smiling when her cheeks turn rosy. “I'm gonna go check the kids.” I adjust myself before leaving the bathroom. Walking out of the room, I try to think of every baseball stat or piece of construction equipment I know, and not the fact that tonight I'm going to see just how kinky I can get with my woman.
“He’s so ugly!” Ashlyn cries as I remove the hook from the catfish’s tail.
“He is ugly,” Lilly says, still holding the pole.
“Babe, I don’t know how you keep hooking them in everything but their mouths, but this is your third one. I hope Fish and Game doesn’t show up.” I smile and she laughs. We have been fishing for over an hour and none of us have caught anything except Lilly, and every time she catches one, it’s never hooked in the mouth; it’s always through some part of the fish’s body—like this one now. Somehow, she caught it right through the tail.
“You said when I felt a nibble to tug, and I did what you said,” she counters.
“I did say that.” I smile, and once I finally have the hook removed, I put another worm on her it for her and set up Ashlyn’s again with the fish dough. She doesn’t like to see the worm on her hook. Jax is sitting next to me, handling his own fishing hook while massacring three worms on it. “Dude, you don’t need so many worms.”