I felt Beau's big hand wrap around me and I curled into a tighter ball. He groaned a deep, sleepy sound that still did weird things to me and I gave into him. He pressed his lips to my back and my belly fluttered making Beau press his hand harder against it.
"You felt that?"
I whispered and he nodded against my back.
Beau sat up and nudged my shoulder so that I would lay on my back for him. He settled his body between my legs and kissed my bare stomach.
"Hey, little one."
He said against my skin. Goosebumps covered me and I couldn't tell exactly which part of the scenario put them there.
The little butterflies fluttered again and Beau's eyes shot up to mine. I could've cried just from that look alone. He stayed there, talking to my stomach while I ran my fingers through his hair. I looked over at the clock on the nightstand and sighed.
"We need to go soon."
"Just one more minute I'm telling her a story."
"Just a feeling."
Beau sat up and pulled my body with him until my feet were on the floor.
"What do you want for breakfast?"
I made a face because nothing sounded good. Ever.
"You have to eat something. What about toast?"
I nodded. I could manage toast.
"So, are you nervous?"
He asked and I shook my head.
"Nah, I've graduated before."
I poured two glasses of orange juice and sat down in the breakfast nook.
"Never from Yale."
He smiled and I leaned back in my chair.
Our toast popped up and Beau slathered it in butter before putting mine in front of me. He squatted down and covered my stomach with his hand.
"When can we tell them?"
He was itching to tell everyone but I was more hesitant, I wanted to keep the news to ourselves for as long as possible. I found it oddly romantic.
"The doctor said after twelve weeks, the risks decrease significantly."
He said and drew circles on me with his fingertip. He was always worried, and he had really kicked it up a notch, or ten.
As of yesterday, I was sixteen weeks and I knew it was only a matter of time before someone noticed. I felt like my belly was growing rounder by the minute. My brother had flown in for my graduation and I had a suspicion he would be the first one to put it together. Or the first one Beau spilled his guts to.
I nodded my head.
"We can tell them today, after the ceremony."
Beau smiled before pressing his lips to mine. I loved the way his lips felt when they were curved in pure happiness.
I moved in with Beau when my lease was up at the apartment Maria and I had shared and my brother took that as an opportunity to ask her to move to North Carolina with him. I lost count of how many times Beau had asked me to marry him since then. And I never once said no, it was the date that we couldn't agree on. Beau's answer was always "right now" or "tomorrow" but I had to graduate first, have this baby, then I needed to start looking for a job. I worked best with timelines.
That afternoon I walked across the stage and graduated from college. Jackson sat next to Maria and Taylor was with Anna-Kate right beside them. But I couldn't help watch Beau smile from his seat, his proudness oozed out of him and the only thing I wanted to do as much as have his baby was to be his wife, his suggestions of right now and tomorrow were sounding better and better.
Five months later
He groaned and it was not sexy, it was annoying.
He sat straight up, his hand instinctively flew to my stomach.
"What? What's wrong?"
"I think I'm having contractions."
I tried to breathe buy my God, it was hard.
Beau was out of bed and wrapping his arm around me within seconds. He pulled me up and into his arms.
"Come on baby."
He kissed my forehead and walked me to the car before going back in for our bags.
By the time we made it to the hospital, I was barely holding it together. I squeezed Beau's hand and he rubbed my rock hard stomach.
I could do this I could - ohmygosh no no no there was no way. I tried to stand up but all I wanted to do was curl into a ball, the pain was too much.
"I think I need to push."
I told Beau after I pulled the hospital gown up my arms.
"Let me go get the nurse."
His eyes were frantic as he looked between me and the door. My combat medic was on edge and I would've laughed if I didn't feel like someone was sawing my back in half.
"Just push the button."
I pointed toward the bed.
As he walked over I felt a trickle down my legs that just wouldn't stop.
Two nurses walked in and ushered me into the bed so I could be checked. Beau held one of my hands up to his mouth and stroked the top of my head with his free hand.
"Page the doctor."
One nurse said to another after she placed the blanket over my legs.
"Is everything okay?"
Beau asked, his grip tightening around my hand.
"Of course, you're about to be a daddy."
The nurse smiled.
The doctor barely made it to the room before a screaming baby girl made her way into the world.
Beau kissed my hair, my face, anywhere he could get to while he repeated how amazing I was. I watched as he cut the cord that connected our daughter to me and as he followed the nurse as she weighed her and bundled her up. He was smitten. He walked back over to me, holding a very content baby, and smiled.
"What's her name baby?"
He asked as he put her in my arms. I looked down at her and stroked her perfect little face.
When I looked back at him he was pushing tears from his cheeks. He leaned down and kissed me with a little more passion than I was expecting.
I was in heaven, admiring the flawless baby we had created.
It was no longer a question and I no longer cared about a timeline.
One year after that. . .
"Where's my niece?"
My brother barged in our front door with only one thing on his mind and she ran clumsily toward him.
Maggie shouted as he scooped her up. She was a year and a half now and had every one of us wrapped around her tiny finger.
"There's my girl."
He kissed her cheek then put her down and she tugged at his fingers.
Maria walked in after Jackson carrying her bridesmaid's dress and my nephew in his car seat. He had just turned three months old. I stopped what I was doing and washed up because I couldn't wait to get my hands on him.
I unbuckled him and carefully picked him up, hoping not to wake him.
"My wife, the baby whisperer."
Beau came behind me, wrapping his long arms around my middle, and I leaned back into him.
We’d been married since Maggie was a week old, but no one knew except for us. Tomorrow was our official ceremony and we’d pretend it was our first.
"She still has almost twenty-four hours to come to her senses."
Jackson joked from his spot on the couch. Maggie was forcing him to play with her dolls and he was eating it up.
"Not a chance."
I turned my head and whispered into Beau's ear, his deep laugh on my back. He smiled then leaned down, kissing Eli on his jet black hair, making me sigh. There was nothing more attractive than Beau with a baby.
He walked to the couch and sat next to Jackson, Maggie quickly gave Beau all of her attention because as much as she loved my brother, she held no one higher than she did her daddy. And I couldn't say that I blamed her.
Later that night after our guests were in their rooms and Maggie was sound asleep, I pushed the door open to our bathroom, only having the energy to pee and brush my teeth. I found Beau sitting on the side of the tub that was filled with water and what looked like rose petals. He stood up and pulled my dress over my head before pressing his lips to mine. It didn't take long for the kiss to go from sweet to bruising. Beau grabbed my jaw in one hand and unhooked my bra with the other.
"Are we taking a bath. . . Or?"
He growled into my mouth.
He took his clothes off and I ditched my underwear. Beau lifted me and stepped into the tub with my body wrapped around his. He took me to the edge over and over again, whispering how beautiful I was and covering every part of my skin he could reach with his lips.
"Have I told you that I loved you today?"
He shrugged, trying to press our mouths together but I pushed him back so I could look in his eyes. I could read them from a mile away, but I preferred them at this view.
"I love you."
I had barely spoken the words before he pulled my face back toward his, finishing what he started.
I loved him more every day, so much that I thought eventually my heart would explode from it all.
The man that I never should've looked at twice, but couldn't take my eyes off of.
The man that was completely off-limits, but the only one I allowed myself to drink in fully.
There was no denying that at some point, we were wrong.
But at every other junction, we were right.
I stared at my husband from across the courtyard. We had been married -as far as everyone here knew- a little over an hour with only our closest family and friends in attendance. Even Beau's grandpa, they had started working on their relationship right after I began college and it was so nice to see them here together. So nice to see Beau let that part of his life go. He wasn’t his father. He didn’t take anything for granted, he cherished every piece of our lives.
It was a beautiful day, the sun was around but the clouds only let it shine through here and there. I tilted my head up for just a moment, just long enough to say a silent thank you and when I brought my eyes back down, they connected with my husband's. The invisible tether that had always been there was knotted so tightly I could feel it to my core.
I could never put into words the feeling that washed over me when I thought about Beau. The heaviness that I lugged around for him for so long had become feather-light and it mixed with a warmth that coated my heart. I was grateful for it. I was grateful for a lot of things. My brother, my friends, my life.
But true to form, Beau overshadowed it all. He always had. He had given me everything. Himself, our daughter.
And so much love that it consumed me, touched every inch of my soul.
As I stared at him while he walked toward me with the most serene smile on his face, that was the one thing that was clear in my mind.
I was overwhelmed with gratitude for the man who not only loved me enough to let me go,
But loved me too much to stay away.