Finding Home

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Chapter Fourteen

Matty’s Point of View

We had a wonderful night the night before with our parents being here in our home with my little brother and both mine and Kiera’s best friends. I love the idea of us all being together as much as possible. I’m not sure if it’s due to the past events while I was enlisted but I never want to lose another family member ever again in my entire life. And I’m including Kiera’s friends that have somehow crawled into my heart and became family, too.

I couldn’t of planned this a better way.

As soon as I got out of the military I had planned on getting Kiera the biggest ring I could and ask her to marry me. I thought at the time, I didn’t want to interfere if she had moved on with someone else. But once I found out that she actually kissed another dude and she had him sleep in her bedroom with her, I lost it. Something came over me and I said things I can never take back. I wanted to want to be happy for her. But something inside of my took over.

I was nearly gone for five years and I couldn’t have expected anything less but for her to move on. It’d be the moral thing to do and Kelia would’ve had another man in her life while I was absent. The thought of another man in Kiera’s and Kelia’s life filling my position made me sick to my stomach.

Thankfully she only shared only kissing with that loser friend of hers, Luka. I know they are only best friends and she set it straight with him and everyone else, but it still gets to me sometimes that they kissed and that he shared a moment with Kiera. My Kiera. I should’ve questioned his friendship title when I saw the first article of her and Luka and I should’ve spoke up when I saw the pictures of them out in public laughing and smiling with each other. They both looked incredibly happy together and you could tell by the body language that they are feeling each other. But it doesn’t look half as good as mine and Kiera’s outings.

I have started the process of being winged off my anxiety and depression medicine slowly, but surely. I myself feel I no longer need them, but Caroline claims we aren’t just there yet. Caroline claims that I’m only a few more meetings away from being discharged as her patient.

It was bad, so bad. I used to wake up to Kiera holding me in her grasp while I was covered in sweat and loss of breath. It was so terrifying that I’d need to be in constant skin-to-skin contact with her during the night and I needed to know her every location to make sure nothing happened to her and Kelia.

I used to not give a damn about God or the devil, or any supernatural character of the sort. I’m more of a science man. I see the entries of God, I hear what people say about God, and I believe that people believe in God. But I didn’t believe it. I’ve seen the proof of people finding their inner God voice but I simply didn’t believe it. But now? I think god blessed me with Kiera, and shortly after with Kelia.

Kiera isn’t like the other girls in Texas, or here for the matter. In fact, she has almost a perfect reputation here and back home, besides the whole having a baby at sixteen years old situation and the possible sighting of her drinking and smoking a blunt at the beach situation. But she isn’t like the others.

Her heart is made of pure gold and is built on the foundation of love even though she’s gone through so much as such a young child. She hasn’t received anything close to the amount of love she deserves and yet she is always trying to help everyone out. She is always trying to make sure everyone else is okay before herself. She is always trying to shell out her love to everyone she comes into contact with.

I didn’t care if she smoked to have a little fun once in a while, it’s what people our age do. But I would never allow her to smoke it in front of our daughter or because she has to rely on it to be happy. That would never fly over my head, and I am one hundred percent positive Kiera wouldn’t do anything of the sort. She wouldn’t even have it remotely close to the house if Kelia was home or in her presence.

“Good morning,” I kissed Kiera’s bare shoulder lightly as I blinked a couple of times to wipe the sleepiness away, “Mi amor.”

She moaned in annoyance and covered her body with our white comforter, “Ten more minutes!”

“Nope!” I started poking at her side softly, “We promised we would show everyone around town today.”

She started to playfully squirm and laugh as I started to tickle her more aggressively. “Come on, baby.”

“Stop!” she begged in laughter while trying to cover her ribs.

“The only way to stop me is to get out of bed.” I started tickling her inner thighs through the thick blanket. Her thighs are the most ticklish spot on her entire body and it doesn’t matter if you are tickling her with max strength or if you were just rubbing her thighs, she dies of laughter and falls to the ground.

“Fine!” she threw her hands in the air in defeat and tossed the blanket off of her body, “What even time is it?”

“Nine fifteen, we told everyone else to be ready at ten.”

“You know what this means?” she winked at me and I knew exactly what this was.

“I’ll meet you in there.” I quickly kissed her on the lips. I jumped above her and ran over to the bathroom to start a steamy hot shower so it was ready for her to get in with me.

I was startled when she had walked into the bathroom without me knowing and she wrapped her arms around me. I knew it could’ve only been her but I sometimes still get some jump scares. I expect to get them for the rest of my life but I’m praying that isn’t the situation at hand.

After all, the last words that the Military Butcher had said to me before we had arrested him was You’re going to be sleeping with one eye open for the rest of your life, Matteo Santiago.

I hadn’t wanted to believe him. I didn’t want to believe a single word he had said, but I guess you could say it’s in the human nature to second guess things when you’ve gone through the things I had gone through. Between the stalking and the isolation, I had begun to go crazy.

I may or may not have left out a few details in the story I told Kiera and everyone else. Their hearts broke when I told them I had to stay in the cabin alone in the woods for four years, I could only imagine what it would have been like if I told them that I hadn’t had a cabin at all and that I was stuck in the woods with the few hundred dollars I had snatched before fleeing and the few supplies I had bought with the money.

I hadn’t told anyone how I created my own Internet USB that had allowed me to use it into the woods or wherever I go, without being caught and having the signal hit off of towers from all over the world so nobody could ever find me because I downloaded a special VPN program to throw everyone and everything off.

So the Military Butcher couldn’t find me.

I had promised Kiera and Kelia I would come home. And I intended to keep that promise from the jump of it all. My fight was to get to Sammy and get us back home safely. And I don’t even know if that’s considered safe, Sammy is scarred for life physically and mentally and I’m mentally impaired for the rest of my life.

I hadn’t told anyone how he would talk to me, the Military Butcher. We talked everyday at eight pm sharp, not a minute earlier and not a minute later. We would talk for seven minutes, each and every day. Rain or shine, blue sky or black sky.

I hadn’t told anyone how I talked to him for three years on the phone after I had snuck into town and bought a burner phone I had used my last twenty seven dollars I had to my name.

I hadn’t told anyone that he stalked my entire profile. He knew just about every single detail about my life, some that I hadn’t even know about. He would tell me something new every call, something I had or hadn’t known before. It confuses me to this day and probably will for the rest of my life on how he knows more about my childhood and things I had done that I must’ve blocked out or forgotten.

I hadn’t told anyone but Caroline and Sammy about what I had actually gone through. And I’ve decided this is the best way to spare everyone’s feelings and their pity parties. It wasn’t worth the heartache to think about, but sometimes it wanders to the front of my brain and it sticks like super glue.

“What’s wrong, babe?” she lightly kissed my shoulder blade with her arms wrapped around my torso from behind.

“Nothing, just thinking about you getting in this shower with me.” I quickly turned around and wrapped my hands around her waist before lifting her into the air and she instinctively wrapped her muscular and tone caramel legs around my waist before slamming my lips to hers.

“Then get me in that shower.” she smirked at me before slowly kissing me and wrapping her arms tightly but loose enough to breath around my neck.

“Don’t mind if I do.” I smiled while kissing her and helping her top garments off, she had slept in her lilac lace thong so we weren’t too worried about taking her undergarments off. I, however, thought that it was sexy when she showers in her thong and teases me with taking it off seductively.

Probably one of my favorite things that she does.

She’s confident.

“We thought you guys weren’t going to be up and ready in time for us to leave.” Kiera’s mother greeted Kiera and I as we walked downstairs into the living room where everyone else was sitting scattered into the kitchen and the couch.

“Sorry. I hope we didn’t keep anyone waiting.” Kiera said with a grin on her face to try and get away with being late.

I had decided to go with a pair of my Hollister bleached skinny jeans with my extra large Drew House black sweatshirt that Justin had given to me as a friendly gift.

In fact, he was generous enough to give me a piece of the whole collection. I guess he sees us as close friends, I mean I did tell him that I was going to propose to Kiera today and I even asked him to help me make the ring. Sure, it isn’t as big as Hailey’s. But it has weight, and I wouldn’t settle for anything less than this size.

“Well, Garrett and Rickey are both outside with the Suburban’s, if you guys are ready.”

“We are going to see the pretty stars?” Sebastian asked as he grabbed my hand.

“Do you want to go see the pretty stars?” I glanced down at him as we started walking as a group to the front door.

“I do, yes, yes, yes.” he begged.

“Then we shall go!” I playfully squeezed his hand lightly.

“Matty, can I have a word before we go?” an all too familiar statement I’ve heard in that exact tone of voice.

Kiera’s father.

I had planned on asking him for his approval to asking her to marry me, but I was trying to postpone it until I have a big ice cream cone in his hands and we were alone.

“Dad-,” Kiera stopped walking with me and looked at her father sternly.

“It’s okay, babe. You go ahead and we will be out in a few minutes.” I shooed her along, “I wanted to speak with him anyway.”

“Are you sure?” she mumbled to me and looked at me worried.

“Positive.” I lightly kissed her cheek and disconnected my arm from her shoulder before she and everyone else had left out the front door.

“Matty.” her father said my name trying to greet me again, as if we weren’t in the same room for the past three or four minutes. I want Kiera’s parents in our lives for Kelia not for our own pleasure. They were assholes and they abused their daughter by kicking her out because we created a child that they adore now. And I’ll never forgive them for what they have done to her.

“Mr. Johnson.” I greeted him back, anyway.

“I would like to have a word with you about my daughter, before we go out and surprise her with the house we have bought that’s close near.”

“I was also looking forward to having a wor-,” I paused as I realized what I had heard, “I’m sorry. What?”

“What were you planning to have a word with me about?” he leaned against the staircase armrest.

“You can go first, sir.” I decided to disregard what he had said.

“If I’m not mistaken, I already know what you’re going to ask me. So spit it out.” he crossed his arms in what looked to be annoyance.

Remember, Matty. This is for Kiera, Kelia, and our growing family.

Guess it’s time for that speech I had practiced all night the night before our parents had arrived.

“The day I met your daughter I had intentionally had my friends throw the football at her, trying to seek any kind of her attention. Whether we were friends, or more.” I zoned off as he let out a light puff of air, “Firstly, I want to apologize for taking your daughter’s virginity when I knew what her religion situation was. Not that I don’t love Kelia to death and I would do anything for her, but if I knew I was going to get Kiera pregnant I wouldn’t have done anything in the first place. I know you aren’t very proud of the decisions we have made or the fact that we are living together before we are married, but sir, I love your daughter so much—into the universe and back doesn’t even relate to how much I love your incredible and warm hearted daughter. Not that she has many, but I love every flaw she has, and the perfection she carries too. And I know it would mean a lot to her and my parents if I did this the right way and that includes asking for your permission for your daughters hand in marriage.”

He hesitated, and thought to himself for a few moments before turning to look me straight in my eyes with the meanest grin on his face I had ever seen.

I don’t care if he says yes, I just wanted to try and do this for Kiera. I’m going to marry her anyways.

His grin disappeared and turned into a smile while his eyes began to water, “I wouldn’t have it any other way, son.”

“You mean it?” I was astonished by his answer, I only dreaded that speech for a week straight now and I didn’t even think it was going to work. And he just openly called me son and accepted my question. Maybe he really does want to make things right with Kiera.

“I mean it, I wouldn’t want my son in law to be anybody else of the matter. I give you permission to marry my daughter, but only under one condition.” he took a step forward towards me.

“Anything, sir.”

“You get a job and you show Kelia what it’s like to live a normal life, not just this famous bullcrap that Kiera does.”

“Bullcrap?” I was confused, I thought they were proud of what he was doing.

“I didn’t mean it like that, I just meant that I don’t want Kelia growing up thinking her mom has all the money in the world to hand over to her and she doesn’t need to learn how to get out there on her own. I’m very proud of my daughter, but I want my granddaughter to grow up knowing nothing is just handed to you just because you want it. You have to work for what you want.”

“I was waiting to tell everyone, but I got offered a position in the FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit. I plan to give them the life that they deserve plus some.” I assured him with an easy going smile.

“Congratulations, Matty. But, don’t you think you should be with your family and not flying around the world again?”

“It’s an in-office job, and I get to come home every night while helping them catch bad guys. Plus I will be set up in enough time to take my stuff to Africa to help Kiera.”

“Well, we shouldn’t keep them waiting too long, they might suspect something.” he walked over to the door and put his hand on the door knob, “When do you plan to ask her, if you don’t mind me asking?”

“Tonight, after dinner and on the beach.” I reached in my pocket and grabbed the ring that was shoved deep in the corner and showed him.

“That’s one hell of a rock! That must’ve cost a fortune.” he started to open the door and I shoved the ring back into my pocket quickly.

“I saved all of my checks I had received from the military and I made it happen. This is exactly what I wanted to get her, and I got it.” we started walking down the sidewalk to get to the driveway where the Suburban’s we parked and running. “She deserves it.”

“Well I’m proud of you, and thank you for respecting my wishes by asking me. It actually means a lot to me.” he smiled as we got to the same Suburban and swung open both doors as he finished speaking.

We had spent the day walking through the city. Between walking through the Hollywood Star’s, swimming at one of the most famous beaches where all the celebrities go, and even driving to the Hollywood sign itself and taking a hike around there I’d say we all had a blast. I had decided that after we finish eating and start the bonfire on the beach I would ask her, just when the sun is setting. It should feel like a movie to her because she deserves it.

I couldn’t have picked a better time and location with all of our hers and my loved ones around.

“So, what do you guys have planned for the future? Anymore kids in mind?” Kiera’s mom asked.

I could tell by Kiera’s face she had felt like she was put on the spot, so I took the liberty to answer for her, “It’s in God’s hands. We aren’t pushing it, but if it happens then it happens.”

“So, you think you could have more grandbabies sooner than later?” Kiera’s mom asked me in excitement.

“Without a second thought.” I chuckled at their anticipation.

Sometimes I disliked Kiera’s profession only for the fact of the matter that when we are out in public, nothing is private. We always have paparazzi following us around, but I love Kiera and she loves her job. Including now, the paparazzi are following us and taking pictures of us with our families and friends.

“Could you grab me a strawberry water from the cooler, babe?” Kiera asked me as she laid her head back into the beach bed and the red sunset lighting shined on her face.

“Yeah.” I got up from the beach bed beside her and I walked over to the cooler to kneel down enough to cover me taking out the ring and sticking it in the black velvet ring box.

I grabbed a water from the cooler and I made my way over to her bed, “Here babe.” she lifted up her sunglasses and grabbed the wet can from my hands. She took a sip from the silver can. She turned around to hand it to Maria and Roxy who were laying on her other side of her to see if they were thirsty and I took the opportunity to kneel down on one knee and quickly open the small box while I hold it in her face so when she turned around it was the first thing she saw.

“Oh my god!” Maria and Roxy’s faces both turned red and their jaws dropped causing them to cover their mouths. Kiera glanced at them confused and turned around to face me with the ring hanging in her face.

Her jaw dropped to the ground and her eyes filled with joy and she covered her mouth in excitement, “Ma-,”

“Kiera Carelyn Johnson, from the moment I laid my eyes on you I knew that I wanted nothing but to make you my wife and the mother of my children. If I could make a list of all the reasons why I love you and want you as my wife, the list wouldn’t be able to wrap around the world enough times. You’re the best and most generous mother and girlfriend anyone could ever ask for and if it weren’t for you Kelia and I wouldn’t be in the great places we are. And it’s all because of you, with this ring I promise to love and cherish you through thick and thin and above and beyond.” her eyes started watering and trembling while trying not to let the tears fall from her sockets, “Will you do me the honor of becoming my wife?”

The tears started falling and she shook her head in disbelief before leaning over and kissing me while nodding her head fast, “Yes! Yes, I’ll marry you.”

I pulled away from her lips and only far away enough to put the ring on her left finger and she lifted my head to hers while she kissed me repeatedly.

“Yay! Daddy finally asked mommy to be his queen!” Kelia started running towards us and threw her arms around us both while crying. “You’re going to be daddies queen.”

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