6 MONTHS LATER
“Cade, can you get that!” I call out at the sound of the doorbell ringing. Jude is on my hip sucking his thumb into his mouth as he sleeps silently while I try to clean up the mess all over the floor. There are toys strewn everywhere and it seems that no matter how hard I try to keep the house half decent, the plan always seems to get thrown out the window as soon as Jude enters a room and sees his box of toys.
“Yeah,” Cade replies walking from his upstairs bedroom into the living room before taking Jude out of my arms carefully. “You seemed like you had your hands full.” He says as he gestures with one hand to the mess beneath our feet.
“Thank you,” I murmur, gratefully. “Now go answer the door.” I push him in the direction of the door as I try to neaten up the room. I felt sorry for whoever was on the other side of the door and was about to witness the mess that was our house. I wasn’t expecting anyone and if I had been I would have cleaned the house earlier, but Jude was so restless today and didn’t want to part with his mummy. God, I loved him. There were many things I regretted in life, but Jude was not one of them. I loved the little sighs he made while sleeping and the smiles that stretched his face and brightened my day no matter how bad it was. He was the best thing to ever happen to me and I would be forever grateful to Kaiden for giving me such a beautiful angel.
“I watch as Cade makes his way to the front door and stretches the door wide open, revealing who’s on the other side and I smile at the pair of beaming faces that appear over Cade’s shoulder.
I stop my cleaning to walk over and greet them, hugging the both of them as I do. “Mum, dad. What are you doing here?” I ask confusion obviously written across my features as their eyes twinkle with amusement.
“Cade, didn’t tell you? He thought you might need a night out to relax so he called us to look after little Jude.”
I mentally smile at how sweet Cade is. Lately, I do feel like I need a little downtime to myself and it’s as if Cade knows these things. I’m beginning to think he’s psychic. But on the other hand, I’m not sure how I feel about leaving Jude alone. I start to fiddle with my hands nervously. “What about Jude and if he wakes up? He’ll want to be fed and—” I’m cut off by Cade as he takes my hands in his, stilling my fiddling fingers.
“Letti, there is an extra bottle of milk in the fridge if they need it. But you know how he is, and once he’s out—he’s out. Come on, you haven’t been out since he was born.”
“But—” Once again I am cut off, but this time it is just by the stern look Cade throws me that silently says ‘you know you need this’. And secretly, I know I do.
After a few seconds, I relent. “Okay, okay. But if anything happens you ring me straight away!” I amend.
“We wouldn’t do anything but.” My father states coolly.
“Go get changed into something warm and I’ll set Jude down,” Cade says to me and nudges me with one hand upstairs to my own bedroom as he heads to Jude’s adjoining mine.
Thirty minutes later Cade and I are leaving the house and heading to God knows where. I eventually find out when we reach the cinemas. It’s not anything big, but really it’s exactly what I needed. Just a simple night out, nothing too fancy.
When we find a park, Cade tells me to wait before speed walking to my side of the car and opening my door for me. He holds his hand out and says in a fake posh accent, “Milady.”
“Why, thank you, kind sir.” I return with just as fake a posh accent. Together we walk towards the cinema entry and are within seconds in the line to buy tickets and I still have no idea what movie we’re seeing. But this is answered when Cade next speaks.
“Okay, so I know you love John Green, so I was thinking we could see his recent book-turned-movie ‘Paper Towns’. Is that okay with you?” Cade asks nervously as he rubs the back of his neck, his eyes boring into mine with curiosity.
I squeal with excitement as I jump into his arms. “Yes, that’s okay with me. I can’t believe you are going to sit through a whole John Green movie. You hate these kinds of movies.”
“I’ll make an exception for you.” He says then pauses as if pondering his next words. “I know it’s probably too soon, but I’d really like to start again with you when you’re ready. If you want to.”
I gasp at his words, not sure what to say, but finally, I speak. “But we’re crazy together.”
“How do you know when we never really got the chance to see?” He asks and he has a point.
“I have a kid!” I exclaim as if that will deter him.
“And I love the both of you.” He replies quickly.
I’m speechless and have no idea what I’m supposed to say after that. Cade has been so good to me after everything and I felt that if we tried again we could be great together, but I wasn’t sure if I was ready.
Cade continues as if there wasn’t an awkward silence just seconds before. “It doesn’t have to be now, or ever, but if there is a time when you decide you are ready to be with me, then I’ll always be here. I’m not going anywhere and I don’t care how many times I have to tell you.”
Without me having to say anything else he orders our tickets and food for the movie and then before I even realize we are heading into a cinema room and finding seats as the credits begin to roll.
After spending the time it took to order our tickets, food and finally sit down, thinking I finally know how to answer Cade’s silent question. ‘Can we be together one day?’
I watch as the lights from the movie wash over his gorgeous face and think to myself what I’d do without him. And that’s how I know how to answer. “You’ll go slow?” I ask, referring to the relationship, causing him to turn his head to face me in surprise.
“As slow as you want.” He replies immediately.
“You’ll make me breakfast every morning and dinner every evening?” I continue.
“If that’s what you wish.”
“You won’t get angry at me when I’m scared and emotionally run away?”
“Never. I’ll just catch up and run alongside you.”
“You’ll love Jude just as much as you’d love your own?”
“I already do.” I smile at his final answer and reply easily.
“Then I would really love to date you,” I tell him, my smile growing.
Without any warning, his lips land on mine and I am immediately taken aback with shock. It’s just a small kiss but is long enough to send a wild mass of tingles throughout my body. After a few seconds he pulls back and looks into my eyes with an apology written all over them and happiness as well and that just about makes my heart melt.
“I’m sorry, I just had to do that. I promise from here on out, we’ll go slow.” He lifts his arm up and I immediately snuggle into his warmth as the movie begins.
True to his word my relationship with Cade went slowly. We considered the movie as our first date and what a great one it was, even if there was no kiss at the front door by the end of it. Since then we have had many more dates just as great, if not better then the first.
A few months ago it was the anniversary of Kaiden’s death and all my family, including Kaiden’s, went to his grave and celebrated the memory of him. We told funny stories of his childhood and adulthood that caused us all to just about roll on the floor laughing. Sometimes there were moments when we were just plain sad, but throughout those moments Cade was there squeezing my hand or Jude was giving me his dazzling smile that could make even the coldest of hearts melt.
Jude was turning one in less than twelve hours and Cade and I were preparing the house for a party since the whole three packs were coming. We both understood that Jude wouldn’t really know what was going out, but it was more about the fact that it brought us all together as a family. Even if Jude didn’t remember it, the rest of us would.
Cade and I finally finished the last additions to the walls with the colorful blue, green and red streamers strewn across them. Cade puts his arm around my shoulder and pulls me into his chest, murmuring into my hair. “We did good, baby.”
“Yeah, we did.” I agree as I take in the room. Jude was one spoilt baby boy. He was absolutely obsessed with Thomas the Tank Engine so Cade and I had put pictures on the walls of the different trains and people in the show and movie. We had also put up a ‘Happy Birthday’ banner which had Thomas and his friends all over it. My mother had been extra busy in the kitchen today and yesterday making a cake for Jude, but instead of one, came out with three cakes. Not only were there three cakes, but they were actual train cakes. As in they took the shape of a train. One was Thomas, the other Henry and the third was James.
“Jude is going to love the birthday cakes,” I say, adding on the plural.
Cade bellows out a throaty laugh. “His favorite characters are cakes, of course, he’s going to love them.”
I nudge him playfully. “I can’t believe he’s already one. He’s growing up so fast.”
Cade laughs again at my words. “That’s such a motherly thing to say.”
“Shut up.” I push him, playfully. “I am a mother.”
“And a damn fine one at that,” Cade adds and pulls me back into his arms, kissing the top of my head as he does so.
“I love you.” I murmur into his shirt.
“I love you, too.” He replies, kissing my head once again.
I’d finally voiced my love for him a few weeks after the anniversary of Kaiden’s death. I had already known that I’d loved him because to be honest, I’d never stopped, but I just didn’t feel that it was the right time to tell him. That maybe it was too soon to tell him, especially since Kaiden had only just passed.
With the anniversary of Kaiden’s death I was reminded just how much I needed Cade and without meaning to I’d blurted the words out to him while he was keeping me together after a mini breakdown. It had resulted in me receiving mind-numbing kisses over and over again—not that I minded because Cade’s kisses were like a drug—and us taking the big step of sleeping in the same bed together without sex.
It was honestly the best experience ever to just have someone hold you and murmur sweet words into your ear before you drifted off into a dream filled sleep. Not that I had much to dream for since I already had everything I needed or could ever wish for.
“We should probably get some sleep in before we're woken up by the little terror.” Cade tells me before taking my hand and leading me up the stairs to our bedroom. Before we head into our room we take a sneak little peek into Jude’s room to see him sleeping soundly, his thumb in his mouth as he sucks softly and I giggle at the sight.
We quietly shut the door and head into our room, stripping our clothes to the floor and cuddling close to each other, seeking each others warmth.
“Sweet dreams, my beautiful Letti.” Cade murmurs into my ear before kissing my neck and then resting his head back on his pillow. “I love you.”
“And I love you.” I murmur before drifting to sleep.