“Aunt Sophie!” I hear yelled in time to see July running into the living room, carrying a very annoyed Daisy in her arms.
“Hey, honey.” I sit forward on the couch as she runs to me.
“Uncle Nico said you’re getting another puppy.”
“He did, did he?” I look over at Maggie, who shrugs her shoulders.
Nico hasn’t said anything to me about getting another dog, but with him, I never know what’s going to happen. He never even told me he wasn’t going to be working for Kenton anymore or that he was taking a job with the MNPD working with Leo until he had to be gone for a week to do some training and testing. When I first found out, I was upset; I didn’t want him to change jobs because of me. Then he sat me down and explained that, with the babies coming, he didn’t think he would be able to handle being away all the time, and taking the job with Leo meant he would have more stability. I told him that was good, but if he didn’t like it, he should go back to working for Kenton.
“Yes, but Daisy’s still my favorite,” July says, and I laugh as she pulls a wiggling Daisy up to her face to talk to her. “You will always be my favorite. You’re so cute and small and fluffy,” she tells the Pomeranian before bringing her down to her chest for a hug. Poor Daisy looks like her eyes are going to pop out of her head, making me wince.
“Honey, why don’t you let Daisy down for a bit and go wash your hands? Maybe we can make some sandwiches for everyone.”
“Uncle Nico ordered pizza,” she says, holding Daisy tighter against her, making her squirm.
“Daisy may need to pee.”
I guess those are the magic words, because she immediately puts the dog down. I watch as Daisy jumps off the couch, quickly running away, probably trying to find somewhere to hide.
“I don’t want her to pee on me. May peed on me one time when I was holding her, and that was gross.”
“That is gross.” I laugh at the squeamish look on her cute little face.
“Now that you live here, can we have more sleepovers?” she asks, looking around.
“We can.” I don’t tell her that it won’t be for, like, ten years. She doesn’t need to know that. I’m still trying to recover from the last sleepover we had.
“Good! The last one was so much fun!”
I smile and shake my head. Having six kids over for a sleepover was insane, and not something I want to repeat anytime soon. The first couple of hours were fine, but then it came time for bed and none of them wanted to sleep, except Jax, who was hanging with his uncle most of the time. Then there was a lot of crying. We had to take all of the kids home at around two in the morning, so it really wasn’t a sleepover; it was more like an extended visit. I love them all, but I won’t be doing that again for a long time.
“Uncle Nico,” July says as soon as she sees him walking into the room carrying a box, “Aunt Sophie said we can have a sleepover.”
“Did she?” he asks, smiling at her. I bite back my smile when his eyes come to me and narrow slightly.
“After the babies are born, we will talk about it,” he tells her, carrying the box somewhere into the house and getting out of Dodge.
“Where are your sisters, honey?” I ask her before trying to stand.
“Outside with the other kids.”
“All right. You go get them and bring them in here. When all of you wash your hands, we can get you guys some juice for when the pizza gets here,” I tell July, and she runs off. “I’m gonna go check on Nico,” I say, looking at Maggie, who is lying on the couch with her eyes closed.
“Sure, whatever. Leave me to my dirty fantasies about your husband.”
“Whatever you say.” I laugh, leaving the room. When I get to the office, Nico’s there with his back to me, putting something up on one of the shelves built into the walls.
“We are not having a sleepover,” he says without even turning around.
“I agree—no sleepovers.” I walk behind him, wrapping my arms around his waist, laying my head against his back.
“I set up the bed in our room. Why don’t you go lay down for a while?”
“I’m not tired.”
I look over his shoulder to see what he’s putting on the shelf and see the picture of us on our wedding day. We’re both in profile. I’m in my dress, standing in front of him in his suit. My head’s bending forward, my forehead pressed to his chest, his lips on the back of my head. Both of us have our hands on my belly. Every time I look at that picture, all I remember is how loved I felt right then. We had just walked down the aisle after saying our ‘I do’s.’ Through the whole ceremony, the babies had been going crazy, so I’d stopped Nico at the end of the aisle and pulled his hands forward, splaying them on my belly. He had said something sweet, making me lean into him, and I could feel his mouth on the back of my head where he kissed me.
With the way the picture was taken, you can’t really make out our features, but out of all of our wedding pictures, it’s my favorite. I never would have thought I’d want a big wedding, but the minute I saw my wedding dress through the shop’s window, I knew I needed to have one so I could wear that dress; it would have been a sin to waste it on a courthouse wedding. The dress was white—so white that, if you looked at it in the sun, you might go blind. The top had slim sleeves that hung off my shoulders, and the waist was taken in with a simple white ribbon tied under my br**sts, showing off my baby bump. It was perfect.
After I found that dress, everything else fell into place. All the Mayson women were more than happy to help plan everything. We decided to have the wedding in November and Asher’s backyard. The boys built a bridge over the pool with a perfectly placed altar in the middle, and the colors were pale yellow and cream. Nothing was like anything we’d planned all those months before while we’d lain in bed. We had over a hundred guests, most of them I didn’t know, but all of those people there to see Nico and me get married, and that made it that much more perfect. We had a huge three-course dinner and a six-tier cake for dessert. That night, I learned that my new husband loved to dance. Every chance he got, he dragged me out onto the dance floor to hold me close through every slow song.
“Baby, you really need to rest. It’s not good for you to be on your feet for so long,” Nico says, bringing me back to the present.
“I’ve been resting all day,” I tell him as he turns around to face me.