Walking into his future in-laws’ house, Anderson could feel the tension. He knew her dad wasn’t happy he got her pregnant outside of wedlock. He also knew they didn’t have a high opinion of him for running away from Evelyn and denying they were mates.
“Anderson, Evvy!” Victor called as they rounded the corner into the living room. Anderson could see Jeanie, Luke, and Alexis, but not her parents.
“Where are Mom and Dad?” Evelyn asked, taking his hand and walking them over to the empty couch.
“Mom said something about helping their neighbor with some boxes,” Luke answered, coming over to kiss her on the cheek hello.
“Did Miss Lila break her hip again?” she asked, and Anderson looked at her in surprise.
“My parents moved down here about five years ago and the first time I came to visit they were helping Lila because she had hip surgery,” Evelyn explained patting his hand.
“No. Lila’s kids are moving her closer to them,” Victor replied. Anderson took the time to look over her brothers, they were both much taller than Evelyn, about his height and they all shared their mother’s darker complexion and eye color.
“That is sad. She has loved living out here. Does anyone know why she wanted us here by four o’clock sharp if they aren’t here?” Evelyn asked, and Anderson sensed her irritation.
“You know, Mom. She wanted everyone here in plenty of time to do all her Christmas traditions,” Luke commented with a laugh.
“What are some of your Christmas traditions?” Anderson asked curious about her family. He hadn’t spent much time celebrating Christmas since before he reconnected with Roxie.
“Well we decorate the tree, make cookies, sing carols, go to Christmas Eve midnight service,” Evelyn rattled off each one and Anderson got more uneasy. He’d never been to church, his family never was religious.
“How late does the service go?” Alexis asked.
“It starts at eleven and is over at midnight, that way when we leave the church it is Christmas,” Luke answered and Anderson could see how much he loved her when Luke took her hand.
“You two are so cute,” Evelyn gushed, clapping her hands.
“So Anderson, we didn’t get to talk much at the party. You two were a little busy being congratulated on your baby boy. How serious are you about our baby sister?” Victor asked and Anderson saw Evelyn frown at her brother.
“Evelyn is my mate. We just bought a house and it is currently being renovated so we can move in before our son is born. We also replaced Evelyn’s car with a brand new SUV,” he shared wrapping an arm around Evelyn’s shoulder.
“How does that work in the shifter world?” Jeanie asked leaning into Victor.
“It means that there is no one else for me. Evelyn is my soul mate, when we mate there is no divorce. No cheating, no one else,” Anderson explained and looked down to kiss Evelyn on the forehead.
“That is so sweet. Evelyn, you’ve found yourself a good one,” Alexis squealed clapping her hands together.
“Anderson has been the most amazing mate for me. The dress I wore for the gender reveal he bought me. That morning I realized I didn’t fit in any of my jeans, he knew it was coming and bought me a new dress,” she shared and both the women awed at her.
“Good to note,” Victor commented and Anderson took a deeper breath than he normally would. Evelyn elbowed him and he knew she’d caught him trying to figure out if Jeanie was pregnant.
“Anderson has been wonderful,” Evelyn replied leaning into him. Anderson smiled and pulled her close. He was in his happy place, Evelyn in his arms and he could feel his son kicking.
“Ooh!” Evelyn gasped and he knew the baby had kicked her hard.
“That baby is kicking,” she announced, he watched both Jeanie and Alexis hop up and come rushing over.
“Can we feel?”
“Go ahead,” Evelyn replied, moving her hands. She took Jeanie and Alexis’ hands and placed them where the baby had kicked.
“Whoa,” Jeanie whispered when the baby kicked again.
“That is so cool,” Alexis exclaimed, pulling her hand away and looking at Luke with longing in her eyes. Anderson could tell she wanted children as soon as they got married.
“We are back!” Her mother called coming into the house. Anderson turned to see her and Harold walking into the living.
“Evvy you are here!” He watched to see Julia wrap her arms around Evelyn when she stood up from the couch.
“Hi Mom,” Evelyn said, returning the hug. Her mother pulled away holding her arms out to get a look at Evelyn.
“You look amazing,” she gushed, running her hands over Evelyn’s belly. Anderson’s tiger grumbled about too many people touching their mate and he had to remind him that this was her family soon to be theirs.
“I have a full schedule planned for the next few days. I hope you got your rest. Tonight we are decorating the Christmas tree. Tomorrow we are all making cookies and going caroling. Then, Christmas Eve, we are attending midnight mass and Christmas day Aunt Lucinda, Uncle Ray, and their kids are coming. So are Aunt Yevette and Uncle Milo with their kids.” Anderson had a momentary panic at the thought of all those people, but this was Evelyn’s family and he would do his best to be there for her.
“Why so many, Mom?” Luke asked and Anderson took a minute to look around and saw the surprise on all their faces.
“You are the first to get engaged, Victor the first to get married and Evelyn the first to have a baby. We wanted to celebrate all three of you,” Julia explained her smile falling and he watched Evelyn step in to smooth things over.
“We appreciate it, Mom. I think it just surprised us because normally no one comes for Christmas except Grandma Maye and Grandpa Eddie.”
“They are coming too!” her mom added and everyone groaned.
“Do I want to know?” he whispered into her ear and she murmured back,
“I’ll explain later.”
“Boys and Anderson go help your dad get down all the Christmas decorations from the attic and us ladies will start on dinner,” Julia ordered and Anderson chuckled getting up from his spot next to Evelyn.
“Don’t break him Dad,” Evelyn warned and he shook his head bending down to kiss her gently.
“I’ll be fine, remember tiger shifter,” he assured her. She huffed at him but let him go, he followed Victor, Luke, and Harold out of the living and upstairs to where the attic entrance was located.
“How can I help Harold?” he asked standing at the bottom of the pulldown stairs.
“I’ll go up and grab the boxes you pass them down to Victor and Luke will carry them down to the ladies,” Harold replied and Anderson heard Luke groan.
“I’ll take them down. I don’t mind,” he offered and Luke clapped him on the shoulder.
“I knew I liked you!” Without waiting for their dad to contradict anything Luke took his place on the ladder. Victor positioned himself at the bottom and Anderson stood next to him.
“How many boxes does Mom have this year?” Luke asked.
“I already took out many of her boxes. These are just ornaments. She picked out two trees, one in the living room and one in the dining room. I had to talk her out of a third. So we have seven ornament boxes to bring down,” their dad responded and Luke groaned.
“Doesn’t sound too bad. Your sister had seven boxes of Christmas things in her apartment,” Anderson shared and both brothers looked at him.
“Where does she keep it all?” Victor asked, giving him a shocked look.
“In a storage unit, she has things for all the seasons. Does your mom have it too?” he asked, wondering if Evelyn got it from Julia.
“Yes. Halloween is the worst,” Harold called from in the attic.
“First box!” Anderson watched a large plastic container of ornaments be pushed out of the attic opening down to Luke, he passed it to Victor who walked it over to him. Anderson marched it down the stairs and placed it in the hallway. This continued until all seven boxes were down and waiting in the hallway for the ladies.
“Julia, do you have certain boxes for each tree?” Anderson asked, walking into the kitchen.
“That is so sweet of you to ask. The boxes with a green lid need to be in the living room the others can be in the dining room,” Julia replied and he caught Evelyn’s eye and winked before going back to move the boxes. Picking up the three for the living room he moved them and heard Evelyn say,
“That was nice of you to ask. My brothers would have left them in the hallway.”
“I don’t mind because it is a small thing I can do to help your mom,” he replied and pulled Evelyn into his arms.
“Are you okay with all the people coming over? I know as a tiger you aren’t a huge people person,” she asked.
“I will be fine. Please tell me I get to spend the nights with you?” he huffed and she chuckled.
“I talked to Mom. Dad didn’t want to let us spend the night in the same bed, but she pointed out the worst already happened and I am pregnant. I told her you and I were mated and in the eyes of shifters, we are married. I don’t think this is a mistake and I am happy I am with you,” she assured him. He didn’t like her father and mother thinking them pregnant was the worst thing to happen. She was helping him through his fears and he couldn’t wait to see his son.
“As long as we get to spend the night together I will be fine,” he promised kissing her gently on the lips.
Let me know what you think of this chapter.