"It's so beautiful!"
Lincoln squeezes my hand, tugging me against him as he scanned the room.
"It's better now it's safe," Lincoln reminds me, his hand spanning my back as I twirl around the newly plastered room.
Lincoln didn't mess about, getting the house in ship shape for us to move into within a matter of weeks. It still had so much to be done before we could call it home, but at least it had smooth walls and floors.
"It needs new windows, and the kitchen needs ripping out."
I turned Lincoln's chin to me, his eyes still locked on the kitchen behind me.
"Lincoln, I need you to know how much this means to me," I say, holding his face in my hands. "Not to mention Kiki and Mabel."
At the mention of their names, Kiki looks up from her bed in the corner of the room, tilting her head with interest. Mabel is still in the puppy zone and is asleep on her back with all fours in the air.
Lincoln walks me over to the stairs, his fingers encircling my wrists as a flutter of excitement rises within me. I don't think I'll ever stop wanting him.
"You are forever in my debt, woman."
I shiver beneath his touch, my nipples hardening as he laughs, shaking his head.
"We've got the interior designer coming today. We don't want to be caught in a compromising position like last time."
I cringe at the memory, shaking my head.
"Nope, not like last time."
Our eyes meet and Lincoln rolls his eyes, checking his watch.
"The company said after two-thirty, and it's almost two now. I need to run to the hardware store, will you be okay going through it all?"
I fix Lincoln with an excited grin, waving my hand at him.
"Choosing how I want this gorgeous place to look? Pfft, I don't need you here for that."
Lincoln presses a firm kiss on my mouth, exhaling against me when I refuse to let him go.
"No baby pinks."
"Baby pinks? What do you think I am?" I scoff, moving my hands to my hips. "I love the rustic look."
Lincoln studies me, an unreadable expression on his face as I stare back at him, my heart slamming against my chest.
Now? I wonder to myself, closing my eyes as fear trickles through my soul.
Lincoln frowns, his eyes searching mine like he knows something is wrong.
"What is it?" he demands, gripping my chin.
My mouth dries up, and I open my mouth to tell him that everything is okay, but the words won't come out. Dizziness takes over, and Lincoln looks panicked.
"I think..." I whisper, fear gripping my throat like a vice, my stomach trying to claw the words from my throat before they can escape. "I think I love you."
Lincoln freezes, his eyes widening as he absorbs my words.
"You think?" he chuckles, stepping closer to me.
The heat from his body suddenly stifles me, but I fight the fear, taking a deep breath.
Lincoln loves me. He loves everything about me, and it isn't fair to expect him to fail me like Kurt had. The delight in his eyes calms me somewhat, and I know I'm dangling from the edge of a cliff, dangling above certain death.
"I do, I love you." The words tumble out like if I throw them at him, they won't scare me as much. Lincoln shakes his head, chewing on his lip as he steps back, holding me at arm's length, studying me intently.
"You love me?"
The idea of not loving Lincoln is borderline insanity. "Who wouldn't, Linc? You're perfect."
Lincoln shakes his head, yanking me toward him.
"Nah, I'm not. Don't think that, because it's not true."
Insecurity mocks me silently, and I pray I've not just made a mistake in confessing how I feel for him.
"You are for me." I shrug, daring to be bold.
Lincoln kisses me softly, inhaling my insecurity away with each word he mumbles in between kisses.
"I, fucking, love, you."
"I love you too," I whisper, grinning like an idiot when he beams at me.
"Well, folk are going to think I've won the lottery the way I'll be smiling at everyone today. That's how you make me feel, Alison, like a lucky fucking son of a gun."
"Go to the hardware store so I can make the house all pretty," I tease, as our fingers reluctantly release one another.
Lincoln shakes his head again, winking at me as he turns to the door.
"Lock this behind me, and check for ID when the designer turns up," Lincoln commands, arching a stern brow in my direction.
I nod obediently, and lincoln reaches down to scratch Kiki behind the ears, managing to tickle Mabel's tummy before he leaves. His eyes flicker up to mine, and we grin at each other, both mortified that we are as soppy as lovesick teenagers.
"Get ugly while I'm gone. I can't concentrate." Lincoln complains, taking one last look at me before heading out of the door.
I laugh, hugging myself as I cross to the window, watching him leave.
I still can't believe he's mine.
Moving in together has been the best decision ever. It means we see less of Kurt, for a start, which has taken a massive strain off both of our shoulders. Lincoln will always be his dad, but there isn't the constant reminder of me being Kurt's fiance without him around, glaring at us.
To be fair, Kurt was living in Lincoln's house, refusing to go to his mother's. Lincoln wanted to focus on our new beginning, so told Kurt he could stay there until he could sort something more permanent.
Kurt was adamant that he had nothing to do with trashing Lincoln's house, but it seemed we wouldn't uncover the truth just yet. I didn't trust Kurt at all, and I didn't want to see him either.
So, for now, at least, I was busying myself in our new home, and Lincoln checked in on Kurt every now and then. It suited me.
I potter around for a while, before sinking onto the sofa with a protein bar I'd found in the bottom of my bag.
I dig out the magazines I want to show the designer and pore over those for a while. I almost nod off to the sound of the dogs' breathing, when a sharp knock jolts me awake.
"Shit," I mumble, the magazines scattering all over the floor as I jump up.
Heading to the door, I see a pretty brunette waving through the glass, holding up an ID card that announced her as the designer.
"Hi!" I smile, tugging open the door to let her in.
"Hey, I'm so sorry I'm late!" The woman cringes, her eyes sweeping over the room eagerly. "Wow, this is beautiful. You must be Alison?"
"Great to meet you, I'm Fay. Shall we look around? I'm excited to get started!" Fay smiles, her sparkling green eyes drinking everything in. "Aww, look at these little angels!"
Kiki greets her, but Mabel is flat out after our walk this morning.
"She's still a baby, but I'm sure she will be up and at them soon enough," I laugh, nodding at the sleeping puppy. "We took her on a massive walk this morning. It's hard not to with these fields."
Fay nods in agreement, pushing her hair behind her ear. I'm glad Lincoln isn't here; this woman is the sort I think he'd go for if he wasn't with me.
But he is.
Forcing a smile, I follow Fay and her tiny ass around my house, pushing my insecurities away. Fay points out how to use the space to our advantage, highlighting all the areas where the natural light hits from the windows.
I explain my vision to her, and she seems more excited than me, pulling out a load of swatches and samples, mixing them together as I nod enthusiastically.
"I think the rustic idea will work so well here," Fay smiles. "What I'll do, if it's okay with you, is bring some sample pots of paint so you can see what they look like with the light on them, and of course some of the fabrics we've discussed. What about the kitchen?"
Fay glances toward the kitchen, which is in dire need of renovation.
"My boyfriend is a builder, so he's got plans for that," I say, my cheeks flushing. Referring to Lincoln as my boyfriend still feels weird, but only because it feels too juvenile a term for what we have.
"Oh, that's great! Saves money too," Fay says, scribbling down on her pad. "Okay, well that's enough for me to go by so we can get a quote together. Is there anything else you want to discuss?"
"Um, no, that's all."
I rise to my feet when she does, and I tingle with excitement from her words. Fay is exactly what I need; what the house needs, anyway. I'm convinced she'll breathe fresh air into this place.
"I'll be in touch," Fay says with a wave, heading out of the door. "I think your boyfriend is back, I'll move my car away from your drive, oops!"
Peering out the door I see Lincoln's truck pulling up beside Fay's little blue car.
"No worries, he'll wait! Thanks, Fay!" I call out, waving.
Heading back in the house to wait for Lincoln, I find Mabel running around the lounge like she's possessed.
"Are you playing anti-social, Mabel?" I muse, reaching down to give her a cuddle. Burying my nose in her soft fur, I sigh contentedly.
Life is good.