Five years later
A smile lifts up the corner of my lips, as I adjust the cufflinks of my suit, standing in front of the mirror when a flurry of activity is heard outside the room.
A sound of smack followed by a small groan then a few moments later two pairs of arms wrap around my waist as my sons look at me with a smile that can brighten up any dull moment of my life.
Potato has turned six while Nugget is already five years old. Although they look quite similar to each other, both have different personalities, Potato is more reserved and serious kind of kid while Nugget possesses an outspoken personality and will not hesitate to share his true opinions.
Abigail says my personality got split into two of them. Noel is just like outside Nathan while Levi turned out more to be like inside Nathan. Her words, not mine.
“What’s going on? And what did I told you about hitting your brother, Potato?” I arch an eyebrow at him, after they release me from their hug, because I know he was the one who has hit.
“He didn’t hit me, dad.” Levi quickly jumps into his brother’s defense when he sees Noel looking at the floor.
However, this won’t be the first time when they both tried to cover it for each other so I am not surprised. Whenever anyone of them gets in trouble the other instantly comes to his rescue. They don’t lie but try to take the blame on themselves.
“Potato.” I sternly look at Noel ignoring Levi who is looking at me like he is ready to dash with his brother if I scold him.
“I am sorry, dad.” He glances at me and sincerely apologizes.
“Don’t be mad at him, I didn’t listen to him when he asked me not to touch mom’s laptop.” Levi looks at me with a slight pout, “And I accidentally deleted a file from the desktop.”
There is no doubt that he isn’t mine. Even though years have passed but I clearly remember once I have accidentally deleted her file while going through her laptop when she had agreed to work with me.
“He didn’t delete it purposely,” Noel speaks and I notice how he discreetly pushes Levi behind him trying to save him from the scolding.
I can’t even scold him without feeling guilty because he has done something which even I have done in the past.
“You should not look into other people’s stuff, it is not a good thing.” I try to sound firm but internally I am feeling like a hypocrite because even I did the same thing years back.
“Sorry, dad,” Levi says in a small voice.
“It’s okay because this is the first time you have done this mistake, but you are going to go and tell mom truthfully what has happened, okay?” Kneeling in front of him, I look directly into his eyes.
“Okay.” He nods his head with a smile.
“Now, c’mon both of you give me a hug.” I open my arms and they both jump into my arms wrapping their arms tightly around my neck.
Kissing their heads, I release them and step back to look at them to find them wearing blue shirts matching with my suit color. Noel is wearing a button-up shirt, while Levi is in a polo t-shirt paired with khaki pants.
Leave it to Abigail to dress our boys, I don’t think when they will grow up they need to worry about pictures in embarrassing outfits.
Today is mom and dad’s wedding anniversary and we are about to head to the party. Earlier these parties were only attended by adults, however, since they have promoted to the position of grandparents even in the formal parties they want their grandchildren.
“Is mom ready?” I ask as I brush Levi’s hair with my fingers because they are sticking up in all directions.
Instead of replying they both simply shrug clearly having no idea as they must have been busy playing.
“We should head down and there we are going to wait for mom.” I tell them, “Do you want to eat a snack before we leave?” I ask them as we walk outside the spare bedroom where I was getting ready because our bedroom is currently occupied by Abigail.
“Crackers and cheese,” Levi immediately answers, and after thinking for a while Noel asks for a fruit yogurt.
“Okay, go watch some cartoons while I bring snacks for you,” I inform them and watch them happily skip towards the TV room. There are always on the go, I have hardly seen them sitting idly either they are running or busy doing something.
Mostly they are running and jumping around the house, giving Abigail mini heart attacks from time to time by bumping here and there.
But honestly, everything feels so empty when they are not around. So, as long as they don’t hurt themselves I am fine with their running and causing havoc inside the home.
Nearly half an hour has passed by, and I am about to go and call Abigail when she comes outside the room.
My heart flips inside my chest because she is looking so stunning. I don’t know how but still she manages to make my heart skip a beat. And there is nothing which I don’t find attractive about her, whether she is fully dressed up, or she is roaming in the house in her sweatpants and baggy shirts, for me she is beautiful.
However, when she actually spares some time to get ready then she looks ethereal. She enthralls me with her bewitching simplicity and captivating beauty.
I take my time to silently admire her as she is oblivious of my presence. Her burgundy dress falls just below her knees and she has styled her hair in an elegant side bun while some loose tendrils framing her face giving her a casual look.
She looks around and when her eyes connect with mine her lips tilt up in a smile making her look even more gorgeous.
Before she can say anything, I cover the distance and pulls her to myself as I capture her lips in a gentle and quick kiss. Because I am aware our two monsters can jump on us from anywhere.
“You are looking breathtaking.” I cup her face in my palm while my eyes hold her gaze, noticing the twinkle in her eyes as a tinge of pink grace her cheeks giving her an innocent glow.
However, our moment is interrupted when soft cooing gets my attention.
My heart clenches beautifully when my gaze shifts to the little wonderful surprise settled in Abigail’s arms.
“I think someone got jealous because dada’s attention was on mama.” Abigail laughs softly.
“Hi, angel.” I smile as Abigail hands me our two-month-old daughter, Angeline Novi Knight.
“You are the most beautiful girl in this whole world, but of course after your mama.” I place a soft kiss on her head with a low chuckle as I settle her against my chest. Because that’s where she belongs, a piece of my heart should always stay near my heart.
Her little hands try to touch my face as I place another kiss on her forehead.
She was a complete surprise for us, but the best surprise we could have ever asked for.
We were at Miles and Natalie as girls had planned a baby shower for Natalie. It was a special moment for all of us as after five years of trying they were able to conceive. Abigail was feeling down which is not new as these boys drain all her energy by the end of the day. However, when she couldn’t even bear the smell of the cake that’s what alerted both me and Abigail because only on two occasions she hated the cake. That’s when she was pregnant.
The next day only we decided to go, doctor, only to get our suspicion confirmed because she was indeed pregnant with our baby girl.
Abigail and Natalie were over the moon by being pregnant at the same time. Saying that the babies will be best friends like them and Noel, Ryan, and Levi.
Though Lucas was born four months before Angel, but he looks smaller for his age. He is a sweet little boy, who looks more like Natalie than Miles and he can melt anyone’s heart with his dimpled smile.
“Woah, grabbing your dada by his collar, huh?” I smile at Angel as she holds my collar, looking fascinated by the button, “But then you know, that only you are allowed to do that.” Holding her hand against my mouth, I kiss inside of her tiny palm.
Thundering footsteps echo as Potato and Nugget appear and head straight towards Abigail.
“Mom!” Levi exclaims happily and is the first one to engulf Abigail in a hug like he has seen her after ages. “I missed you.” He mumbles pressing his face against her stomach as she hugs him back.
After he steps back then Noel hugs her, she wraps her arms around him and kisses his hair giving him a gentle squeeze.
Levi smiles and stands on his toes to get a glimpse of Angel who is in my arms. Kneeling down, I let him see her.
Levi places a kiss on her head then holds her hand, Noel also kisses her and looks at her adorningly.
From the moment they have met her, she has wrapped them around her finger. They love her immensely and both are crazily protective over her.
Their happiness had no bound when we told them that her middle name is Novi, which is a combination of Noel and Levi because she is their sister. Abigail and I had already come up with this name however when we heard that Novi means Gift of God, so we knew no other name could be better than this to give her as her middle name as we had already zeroed on Angeline as her first name.
“Can I hold her?” Noel asks looking at Angel then at me, hopefully.
“Yes, but be careful.” I nod my head, knowing full well he will not let her fall, “And don’t forget to place your hand behind her head.”
He nods his head seriously and extends his arms. Slowly, I place her in his arms while making sure he held her correctly.
“Burrito.” Levi follows Noel who is carefully holding Angel against his shoulder as he walks ahead. “I love you.” He smiles when she grabs his finger when he waves in front of her.
Abigail glares at me when she hears Levi calling her Burrito.
“It is all your fault that he calls her Burrito,” she says in a low voice only for me to hear.
“I have never called her Burrito, she is my angel.” I counter.
“You have named Noel and Levi, Potato, and Nugget since Levi is a little too much like you he named her Burrito the moment he saw her in the swaddle.” She narrows her eyes at me, “So, it is your fault!”
“But they both did look like potato and nugget when they were born, while my daughter looked like an angel,” I say defensively while giving her a smile which I do hope look innocent.
Abigail arches an eyebrow giving me an incredulous look, but after a moment her eyes soften and I know I am safe.
“Let’s go before we get any more late than we already are.” I hold her hand intertwining our fingers placing a quick on her lips even before she can protest and drag her outside.
Taking a sip of soda, I smile looking at Noel and Levi who are enjoying all the attention they are getting from their grandparents.
But the sight which warms my heart is watching Nathan and Novi together as Nathan is dancing with Novi while cradling her against his chest.
It is so weird that Noel and I call her Novi whereas Nathan and Levi have their own nicknames for her.
When Novi was born Nathan looked like he has got everything that he has ever wished for. I have never seen him so happy, how happy he looked while he held her for the first time.
On the other hand, my boys welcomed their sister with so much love and affection that I was left in tears. Between two of them, Levi is slightly reckless, but when it comes to Novi he is no less caring and protective than Noel.
“Aren’t they looking adorable?” I turn to look at Alice as she comments while looking at Nathan and Novi.
“Yeah, they are.” I nod my head, “He loves her a lot.”
I smile at them as Nathan keeps on swaying her from side to side as whenever he stops she starts crying. It looks like she is enjoying dancing with her dada, as much as he is enjoying it.
“Daughters are special.” She smiles as she glances at me, “And I could have never asked for a better daughter than you.”
Richard and Alice never supported Nathan’s ill behavior towards me when we got married, and on numerous occasions, they had tried to amend our relation. They welcomed me and accepted me in their family regardless of what Nathan thought of our marriage. The love which they showered on me and how they stood against Nathan is something that I can never forget. Even if my and Nathan’s relationship would have ended, but the love and respect which I have in my heart for them would have never changed.
Tears gather in my eyes while I am unable to respond, so simply I engulf her in a hug letting her know how much her words mean to me.
After putting both boys to bed, I clean the mess which I have created in our room while getting ready for the party. A string of toys is sprawled on the bed, which was meant to keep little Novi entertained while I was getting ready.
Novi hardly troubles me, or maybe I have too many hands to help me with her. With Noel and Levi, it was mostly just me and Nathan, however, now with Novi, I have all three of my boys to help me in taking care of her.
Although, even this pregnancy was not the smoothest one, just like always I have great support in the form of my husband so we managed.
Lying in the bed, I wait for Nathan to come to bed as he’s in Novi's nursery, putting her to sleep. He loves to take care of Novi all by himself, from bathing to dressing her up, from waking her up to putting her to bed. Not only him, but even Noel and Levi are always eager to look after her, Honestly, they have held her more than I did and I am not even joking.
Nearly after one hour, Nathan enters the room with a goofy smile on his face, which widens when he finds me awake.
“She’s pouting all the time when I was putting her to sleep,” He smiles, “And when I tapped her lips with my finger she pressed her lips into a thin line, she looked so much like you at that time.” Slipping inside the bed, he continues to talk about Novi.
Keeping his hand behind his head, he looks at the ceiling while he continues to tell me what she was doing until she fell asleep. All this while the smile never leaves his face. Rolling on my stomach, I keep my face in my hand and glance at him not really paying attention to what he is saying but simply admiring him.
He looks blissful, from the smile playing on his face to the brightens in his eyes everything is a telltale that he is truly happy with life. However, the peaceful look on his face every time he is with Novi is something which I have never witnessed before her birth.
“Where are you lost?” He snaps his fingers before my face, raising his eyebrows amusingly.
“Nothing, I was just thinking.” Shaking my head with a small smile, I rest my head on his chest.
“What were you thinking?” Wrapping an arm around me, he pulls me a little closer to him.
“You were happy when our boys were born, but you looked at peace when our daughter was born.” Lifting my head, I rest my chin on his chest as I meet his gaze.
“Noel and Levi are my strength... my two arms.” He looks down at me with a smile as he absentmindedly draws patterns on my arm, “But our daughter is my peace.”
“Sometimes, I feel you love her more than our boys.” I joke and blinks my eyes to dry my tears because his words clenched my heart beautifully.
“No, I love all my children equally.” He shrugs, “It is just that now I have got my favorite child, so, yeah... maybe.” With a hint of humor, his words are sincere.
“Favorite child?” I arch an eyebrow at him.
“Yeah, my daughter, she is my favorite.” He nods his head, “I perfected myself first with the boys so that I am can be the best dad to my daughter. Because she only deserves the best."
“Are you trying to imply that you were using Noel and Levi to brush up your dad's skills?” I pretend to look shocked.
“Yeah, something like that.” He sighs while nodding his head, pretending to look honest, but the betraying smile which is tugging his lips upwards is giving him away.
No matter how much I hold my laugh but I can’t. So, I ended up laughing along with him.
After our laugh quietens down, his lips capture mine in a heartwarming kiss which erupts butterflies in my stomach. Breaking the kiss, he presses his lip against my hair as he holds me.
And soon I drift off to sleep being cocooned in the familiar warmth while listening to the rhythm of his steady heartbeat. Something which always makes me feel safe because I know as long as he is with me everything is okay.
Sometime during the night, I wake up and detangling myself away from Nathan I pick the baby monitor to check on Novi first, then later I will check on boys, it is something which I do often in the night. And my heart nearly stops beating when I don’t find her in her crib.
What if she has fallen from the crib somehow and got hurt?
Quickly, rushing outside the room ignoring Nathan’s voice who must have woken up I walk towards her room. Panic starts to rise in me as thoughts about something happening to her swims in my head.
I can feel Nathan hot on my heels as he must have felt my anxiousness. However, before I can go and check on Novi’s nursery my eyes land on the slightly open door of Noel’s room.
Silently, walking towards his room I open the door and let out a sigh of relief to find Novi sleeping soundly in his room.
“She is okay,” Nathan whispers placing his hands on my shoulders, reassuringly.
The earlier panic is replaced by the feeling of warmth as I watch all my babies sleeping together. Because not only Novi, but even Levi is sleeping on Noel’s bed along with Noel.
Levi mostly slips into Noel’s room sometime during the night especially when he gets scared. It looks like he has even made his sister part of his night escape.
The thing which melts my heart is how they have placed Novi in between them as they are sleeping on the sides. Levi’s hand protectively resting on Novi while Noel is curled up on her side.
“We did good, huh?” My voice is full of emotions while a tear slips from my eye as I turn my head to look at Nathan.
“Yeah, we did.” He wipes my tear with the pad of this thumb, even his eyes are shining with emotions.
I have finally got whatever I have wished for in my life. A husband who loves me unconditionally, a family that makes me feel like the luckiest person in this world and a home that is filled with warmth and love.
“So, now what?” I ask glancing into his eyes, trying to find the answer where our story is going to head from here, as it feels like it is a happy ending.
“Now, another chapter of our life will begin.” He wipes another lone tear which falls from my eye. “We will write a new chapter in our story each day. Because every ending is a promise of a new beginning.”
“It means it is not an end?” I smile as he rests his forehead against mine.
“Nathan and Abigail are for forever, their story can never end.” He gazes intensely into my eyes, "Because this Nathan will always love his Abigail."
"Just like this Abigail's heart will always beat for her Nathan."
His lips brush against mine at the same time I lift my head to eliminate the distance between our lips to seal our promise to love each other till eternity.