She started to cry, heavy tears streaking down her cheeks. She attempted to wipe them away, a combination of sobs and laughter bubbling from her lips.
“I don’t want you to marry me just because I’m pregnant, Alex,” she argued.
I frowned and shook my head. “To be honest, I’ve been carrying this thing around for weeks. I want to marry you because I love you, Tia. I was planning to propose to you after we told Molly a week ago, but…”
“That was my bad, sorry,” Molly piped up. I had almost forgotten that she was here. I would have been concerned that things had gotten a little too awkward, but I was so adamant on proposing to Tia that I no longer cared. Besides, if Molly was here, it must have meant she was okay with all of this. She had forgiven us, to some extent. And that was all the permission I needed.
I bit my tongue, waited for an answer. And then Tia began to laugh, bright and loud and glorious. It was a breath of fresh air that I so desperately needed.
“Okay,” she giggled. “Okay, yes. I’ll marry you.”
I stood up and slipped the ring on her finger. It fit perfectly. Tia leaned in to kiss me, slow and warm and utterly delightful. I had never been this happy in my entire life.
I was wrong before. This was the best Valentine’s Day ever.
“No, I understand Mister Parsons,” I said into the phone. “I appreciate that, Mister Parsons, we’ll meet you at the courthouse. Yes, I promise. Alex and I have every point of this case covered. We’ll see to it that you get back every single penny. Yes, okay. Talk to you soon.”
I hung up the phone, slipping the device into my pocket just in time to stop Timmy from pulling at my long hair. I had my curly brown locks tied up in a high ponytail for this exact reason, but I couldn’t exactly be mad. Timmy was just in his ‘grabby’ stage.
I turned to Alex, who was sitting next to Molly at the dining room table with piles upon piles of documents surrounding him. He had three different coffee mugs on before him, all empty. I walked over with the baby and leaned down, giving the back of his neck a quick squeeze as I kissed him on the top of his head. Molly was busy on the phone, scheduling appointments for us as our firm’s new secretarial assistant. She gave Timmy a little wave, who, in turn, stared at his aunt with big, wide doe eyes.
“Hey, baby,” Alex greeted me. He then looked at Timmy, holding out his finger for the child to grasp. “And hello, baby.”
“That was Mister Parsons on the phone,” I explained.
“He’s worried because we’re such a small law firm that we won’t be able to close this thing.”
Alex snorted, rolled his eyes. “We may be small, but we’re mighty. Isn’t that right, Timmy? Yes, it is.” Alex took a quick sniff, scrunching his face up comedically. “Oof, I think somebody made a stinky.” Alex chuckled as he took the child from my arms, standing from his seat.
“I can take care of it, honey,” I protested.
“It’s okay, darling, it’s my turn. Besides, it gives me an excuse to stretch my legs.”
I giggled, admiring the sight of Alex with the tiny boy in his arms. I watched as my two boys left for the bathroom, choosing to sit down in Alex’s spot. I sighed. Business had been really good as of the last few months. We were finally on an uphill swing, with consultations being booked around the clock. Business had been on the up and up, but just because we were busy with new clients, it didn’t mean that Timmy wasn’t the center of our world. I stretched my arms above my head, hearing my back pop and crack as I did so.
“How you feelin’, Mama?” asked Molly, a cheeky little grin on her face. She was finally off of the phone, quickly penning in another appointment for Alex next week.
“Oh, you know,” I sighed, rolling my neck to stretch it. “Working hard, as usual.”
“Man, I’m not going to lie, kids really change people,” she commented, a thoughtful look in her eye.
“How do you mean?”
Molly shrugged a shoulder as she gently nibbled on the cap of her blue pen. “I was just talking to my friend, Ryan. You know Ryan, right?”
I bit my lower lip in thought. “Ryan… He’s got a kid named Abby, right? The mom didn’t tell him about the kid until much later. Them?”
Molly clicked her tongue and winked. “That’s them. He’s changed so much after he became a father. Anyways, I guess with kids in the picture, people change. Lord knows it did wonders for my brother.”
I smiled fondly as I reflected on the past couple of months. Alex had changed, definitely for the better. He had been there, just like he said he would. He started waking up earlier and earlier to help me build our firm. He was there whenever the baby or I needed him. He had become reliable, transparent in his motivations. But most important of all, I had learned to trust him without a doubt in my being. I hummed softly, thoroughly content. Sometimes, I could hardly believe how far we had all come.