And then her father kissed her on the cheek when she reached me. He said something softly to her, something about how her mother would be so proud of her, how she was beautiful, and how he was happy she’d found love.
She started crying a little more after that.
God, leave it to Liam to be a standup father and a man I could look up to.
He handed her off to me and gave me a stern look that told me not to fuck this up. I gave a sharp nod, understanding and promising without saying anything that I would take care of her above all else.
Piper and I stood at that alter, holding each other’s hands, me staring down into her eyes. My world came full circle when she said she’d be my wife. I knew that even if I died right now, I’d know what heaven felt like.
I’d know what it was like because surely I was experiencing it right now.
Five years later
I headed up the porch, my feet aching from being at the office all day, my eyes feeling like sand was embedded in them. I unlocked the front door and stepped inside, the aroma of dinner filling up the house and making my stomach growl.
“I’m home,” I yelled out and set my keys on the little table in the foyer. I heard pans banging together in the kitchen, and followed the sound, seeing Zane by the stove. He cursed and jumped back, shaking his hand as if he’d burned it.
“You okay?” I asked and moved up behind him. He turned around and grinned, leaning in and kissing me on the lips.
The sound of children’s laughter came from the dining room table. I glanced over to see the twins, our son and daughter, Laney and Parker, throwing utensils, napkins, anything they could get their hands on, at each other.
I smiled when the children looked over at me, their eyes lighting up. They grinned from ear to ear before hopping down from their chairs and running over to me.
“Mama,” the kids both said in unison before throwing their bodies at me. I stumbled back and braced a hand on the island, the marble counter underneath my fingertips smooth and hard, cold. “We missed you,” they said again at the same time.
“I missed you too,” I said.
I hugged them both. They only allowed the embrace for a second before running off and heading back to the table.
The next few minutes were a flurry of activity, and Zane brought dinner to the table.
“Let me help,” I said but he shook his head.
“Sit. Relax. Let me take care of you.” He kissed me again and the kids showed their disgust by making gagging noises.
I sat down across from the kids and chuckled at their disgust of their parents showing affection. They were my life, all three of them.
Once Zane was at the table and the food was served, I sat there and watched my little family.
Since being with Zane, I’d become not only a wife, but a mother, and employed in his architecture firm. I still had a lot of schooling to be completed, needed more years under my belt, and more experience to absorb, before I could think about possibly becoming a partner, but God, I wanted that.
And as I looked at Zane, felt my love for him grow, I knew that I had made the best decision of my life being with him. The fear, worry, and uncertainty of how everything would play out had held me back, but I’d finally pushed it away and now here I was. I looked over at our twins, how they interacted with their father, how he gave them his love and so much more. It made my heart swell.
It was pretty incredible to be where I was at, to have what mattered in my life. And I’d never forget how lucky I was.