Chapter 42: Family

I emerged from the washroom, finding Zoe plopped down on the floor in the hallway. She was playing with what I assumed was Mackenzie’s fire truck. Her white stockings were twisted, and her skirt was piled up around her waist. Her blonde hair was hanging in pretty pigtailed ringlets.

I smiled. “Hi, Zoe.” I smiled hugely, awkwardly crouching next to her. “What are you playing with, honey?”

“A fire truck.” She beamed hugely. The first few times I had met Zoe, she had been shy and quiet around me, but now that she knew me a lot better she could be very talkative. I was surprised how much a toddler could speak.

“That’s a pretty fire truck.” I smiled. “You look very pretty today.”

Zoe grinned hugely, perfect dimples forming in her cheeks. “Santa comes tonight.”

“Yes he does. He’s going to bring you lots and lots of presents.” I smiled.

Zoe grinned.

“Did you ask Santa for anything special?”

She nodded. “A doll house.”

“I bet you get a really pretty doll house.” I smiled. I knew that Taylor and I had bought her one. And I knew as soon as we picked it out that she was going to love it.

“I’m hungry.” She said suddenly.

“Okay, honey. Lets go downstairs and see if we can find you a cookie.” I smiled.

I stood and she got to her feet.

“Here, honey let me help you.” I shifted her stockings and adjusted her pretty dress.

She reached for me to pick her up. I lifted her carefully, awkwardly trying to keep her in my arms over the uncomfortable bulge of my swollen stomach.

I carried her downstairs, smiling when she rested her cheek on my shoulder. I smiled to myself, finding Taylor, his parents and my grandmother all standing in the kitchen.

“Emma, sweetie. You really shouldn’t be…” Taylor began, advancing toward me with his arms out for Zoe. She hung onto me tightly.

“It’s okay. I’ve got her… She says she’s hungry. Can she have a cookie?” I asked Mrs. Hanson.

“Of course… dinner isn’t quite ready…”

I reached out and picked up a cookie from the counter. I placed it in Zoe’s hands. She stuck it in her mouth happily, grinning at me.

I smiled and carefully set her back on her feet. She ran off into the hallway.

I watched her go and moved through the kitchen to stand near Taylor. He moved his arm around me gently, pressing his hand lightly against the small of my back.

I smiled up at him happily.

He bent and lightly kissed my temple. “Can I get you anything?”

“I’m fine.” I smiled at him. “Could we sit though?”

“Absolutely.” He took my hand and I followed him into the living room.

I sat next to him on the sofa. He released my hand and moved his hand over my stomach gently. I moved his hand to the side so he could feel the baby kicking.

“The other… is he or she kicking too?”

“No.” I shook my head slowly, smiling. “They’ve been taking turns kicking all night.”

“Oh.” He mused. “You seem very happy tonight. I don’t think you’ve stopped smiling since we got here.” He leaned in and lightly brushed his lips across my cheek.

“It’s nothing… it’s just that this…. This is what I’ve always wanted for Christmas, you know? A big get together with all the family, and kids running around and everyone is happy… no one is passed out under the tree, and no one is in the hospital or sick…” I sighed.

Taylor kissed my cheek again lovingly.

“This is just a perfect Christmas, you know? One I’ve always wanted, and one I hope our kids can have too.” I smiled, moving my hand up and down on my stomach.

“I’m glad you’re enjoying yourself, sweetie. And I’m extremely glad you’re here with me. How could anyone ask for more on Christmas when I’ve got a beautiful wife and two babies on the way?” He smiled.

I laughed happily. “You really think I’m pretty? Even with the swollen feet and ankles, and the big Buddha belly?”

He laughed. “Of course. I never see any of those things, you know I don’t. I just see you and how perfect you are. And how lucky I am to have a wonderful wife like you. I’m thankful for every day I get to be with you, and I love you very, very much.”

I sighed. “Okay, stop it before you make me cry.”

He laughed and leaned forward to kiss me.

“Ugh, will you two get a room?” Zac demanded, coming into the room with a bag of chips.

“Yeah, come on, Tay. You’ve already knocked her up….” Isaac laughed.

I blushed.

“Just ignore them. They’re assholes.” Taylor teased, patting my hand lightly.

I smiled.

“Speak for yourself.” Zac replied, with his mouth full of chips. Crumbs spewed from his mouth.

“Ugh, say it, don’t spray it.” Isaac rolled his eyes, wiping at his tie.

“Yeah, Zac. Don’t be so rude!” Taylor reached out and snatched the bag of chips from Zac’s hand, offering the bag to me.

“No, thank you.” I answered.

“See? She doesn’t even want them, give them back!” Zac reached.

Taylor sighed and returned the bag of chips to Zac.

“Hey, so I was thinking.” Isaac plopped down in an arm chair. “Maybe you could take the piano and I could grab my guitar and we could have a little jam session later.”

Taylor glanced at me.

“I would love to hear you play!” I beamed.

“Sure.” He told Isaac.

Isaac rolled his eyes. “Are you at all familiar with the term whipped?”

Zac snickered.

“Shut up, both of you.” Taylor rolled his eyes.

“Isaac, when is your girlfriend getting here?” I asked, gently trying to change the subject.

“She should be here any minute.” Isaac answered.

“Yeah, knock before you open any door.” Zac warned. “You never know who’s going to be necking on the other side.”

Isaac threw a pillow at Zac. “Shut up. At least I don’t think girls still have cooties.”

“I didn’t say cooties.” Zac differentiated. “I said that they had powers of mind control and the ability to completely wrap you around their finger.”

Isaac laughed. “Oh, so you’ve got it all figured out.”

I sighed. “Both of you shut up or I’ll sit on you.” I warned.

Taylor shook his head. “Don’t piss her off, she’ll do it.”

The doorbell rang and Isaac sprang from his chair. “I’ve got it!” he called.

Taylor moved his arm around me gently.

Walker came into the room with Zoe and sat down carefully in a chair. Zoe curled up against him and resumed sleeping.

I smiled, watching the perfect family moment.

“Zac, easy on the chips.” Walker warned. “You don’t want to spoil your dinner.”

Zac promptly put the bag down, obediently.


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