“What’s up, bro?” he answers, sounding like he was sleeping.
“Yo, you asleep? It’s two in the afternoon,” I say, looking at the clock.
“Yeah, I was up late,” he says, and then I hear a female in the background calling his name. “Just a second, baby, my brother’s on the phone,” he replies to her, sounding so gentle that I pull the phone away from my ear, making sure I have my brother on the line and not some other Nico. “I’m going to get some water, if that’s okay?” I hear her say. I can tell he has pulled the phone away from his ear to talk to her. “I’ll get you some. Go lay back down, baby. I’ll be right there,” he tells her. I hear the sound of a kiss, and then he’s back.
“You still there?”
“Who are you, and what the f**k have you done with my brother?” I ask him. I have never heard him use that tone with anyone—not the kids, not our parents, and definitely not a female.
“I found her,” he whispers.
“I found my boom. I had no f**king clue that returning a lost phone would lead me to her, but I f**king found her.”
“Holy shit. Wait, returning a lost phone?”
“Looong story, bro, but I found her, and she is beautiful, and sweet, and so f**king perfect that I worry about touching her and dirtying her up. But I can’t walk away; it’s impossible.
“Jesus, Lil was right.”
“Lil said that you haven’t been coming around because you got hooked up with someone.” I hear his laugh, and I can imagine him rubbing his head.
“It’s a lot more than a hook up, but yeah.”
“I get that.” I sit back in my chair and look up at the ceiling. I never thought that our lives would be like this. I knew at one point we would all grow up and find women to share our lives with, but seeing each of my brothers happy, and now having my own family has strengthened my belief that nothing happens before its time. “So when do we get to meet her?” I ask him.
“Soon. She’s just starting to accept that she’s mine.” He laughs when I hear her say something to him. “You are. Do you need me to prove it again?” he asks her, and that’s my cue to get off the phone.
“Well, I’m gonna let you go,” I tell him.
“Sure, man. I’ll call you soon.”
“Talk to you then.” I hang up, smiling down at the phone. I’m happy that my brother is happy.
“Why are you smiling?” I looked up; Lilly’s standing in the doorway holding a small plate with a cinnamon roll on it.
“Is that for me?”
“It depends on who put that smile on your face,” she says, coming towards me.
“Actually, I don’t know what her name is,” I tell her, pulling the plate from her hand, setting it on the desk before dragging her around it so I can pull her into my lap.
“You don’t know her name?” Her hand comes up to rest on my jaw, her beautiful eyes soft.
“No, Nico didn’t tell me her name.”
“I was right?” Her face lights up and I shake my head. So f**king cute.
“You were, and he seems like he is already lost to her.”
“That’s a good thing, right?” she ask quietly, searching my face.
“If she is the one for him, then yes, a very good thing.” I palm the back of her head and pull her closer to me. “So you brought me a cinnamon roll?” I change the subject.
“No, I brought it in here to eat it while you watch.”
“Yes.” She smiles, looking sexy.
“I have a better idea.”
“What’s that?” Her tongue comes out, licking across her lower lip.
“Save it for later when then kids are in bed and I get you alone.”
“Why?” she asks breathlessly.
“You said you brought it in here to eat in front of me, right?”
“Well, you’re going to eat it in front of me later wearing nothing, and anything you drop I’m going to eat using no hands.
“Oh,” she moans as I lick into her mouth, tasting cinnamon and sugar. And much later that night, I taste cinnamon and sugar from other parts of her body.
“Mommy, this is so heavy!” Ashlyn says. She’s carrying one bag of groceries while I carry ten so I can avoid a second trip out to the car.
“Just a second, love bug, let me get the door unlocked.” I finagle the bags so I can get my hand up high enough to shove the key into the lock. Once the door is open, Ashlyn walks ahead of me and starts dragging the bag she’s carrying across the floor into the kitchen. I laugh as I watch everything that was once in the bag fall out as it tears open from being dragged as she walks.
“Where is Daddy?”
“He took Jax to see his mommy,” I tell her.
“Oh,” she says unhappily as I heft the bags up onto the counter. Once I’ve gotten free of the bags I’m carrying, I shake out my arms, trying to get the blood to flow again. “When is Papa Bear going to get here?”
“We have talked about this ten times today.” I smile. “Remember, I told you he and Grandma will be here in three weeks?”
“Oh yeah.” She shrugs and starts walking out of the kitchen, leaving the mess of cans she dropped along the way on the floor. “Hey, go pick up all the stuff you dropped please,” I tell her. She goes, but I can hear the slight stomp of her feet. She has had a long day and is tired and cranky. I’m feeling tired and cranky myself. Jules had called early this morning. She told Cash that she had to see Jax today because she was going out of town and wouldn’t be able to see him for a week or so. All I could think was good riddance, our lives were better without her in them. I start putting everything away when I hear the doorbell ring; I don’t know who it could be. No one would show up without calling first. I look through the side window, seeing Officer Dan is on the other side of the door. Once I finally get the door open, I can tell by the look on his face that this isn’t going to be a pleasant visit.
“Hi, can I help you?” I ask, looking behind him when I see another officer walking up the sidewalk.
“I’m sorry to do this to you, Lilly, but I’m going to need you to come with me,” he says, and he does look sorry, but that does absolutely nothing to make me feel better.