Jake woke the next morning about 7. He was so happy to see the redhead next to him and it wasn’t a dream. Her hair was fanned out around her as she lay on her side close to him, using his heat to keep warm. He kissed her forehead and she didn’t stir as he gently slipped out for the covers. He found his clothes scattered around and quietly got dressed. He found some paper on her desk and wrote a quick note, telling her that he had to go run some errands and do some PT exercises before he met them this afternoon. He picked up his shoes and went down the back stairs to the kitchen. He stopped at the bottom and slipped his shoes on. He hadn’t seen Lynn come in from the side and jumped when she spoke.
“Want some coffee?”
“Crap, Lynn! You scared me!”
“Sorry about that. I am still trying to be light on my feet while this pregnancy progresses; I don’t know how much longer I can continue though.”
They smiled at each other. She spoke again, “How about a cup to go?”
“That would be great, thanks. I have some PT to do and some errands to run before I meet my girls this afternoon.”
Lynn filled a to-go cup she happened to have from the bakery and handed it to him. He sat at the table for a minute while she got out the cream for him. She watched as he poured some in.
“I am happy that you and Derek were married. You were really good together before I left. Congratulations on the baby. You look beautiful.”
“And just for that comment, I will bake you something; peach pie is your favorite if I remember right.”
He chuckled, “It is, but you don’t have to. How did you remember that was my favorite?”
“Because it’s Gracie’s. She can easily eat two pieces if we let her,” she said smiling at him.
He looked at her seriously, “Lynn, I just want to say I am sorry and thank you. Thanks for helping to look out for Gracie and being there for Sammy. I can’t tell you what it means to me…”
She smiled at him and put her hand over his and squeezed it, “No thanks necessary. As you will see very soon, Gracie has a way of wrapping you around her finger with just one smile; Kind of like her father,” she added with a smirk.
“Sally always knew you would come back. She said when you had worked some things out, you would be back and make things right. Sammy just needed to hold on. I think she was right. Just be careful with them Jake, don’t hurt them again. Derek will kill you, literally if you hurt either of them. You will be buried in the meadow. But, Sammy loves you so much; she is just scared right now.”
Jake sat back and listened to the words Lynn had spoken and let them sink in. Sally had believed in him. She always found the good in people and she had found some in him. He stood up and thanked her for the coffee. She stood and hugged him and whispered back, “Welcome home Jake…”
He squeezed her back and went to the door, just getting ready to push it open when she said, “I have never been so pleased to lose a beat to my husband before! Although I would suggest next time you NOT use the wood steps on the tree. It is pretty rotted, Jake.”
He stopped and turned, “How did you know?”
“We heard you on the balcony last night. It’s what you did while you were in College, right?”
Blushing a little, he asked “Is that all you heard?”
“We picked our room to be on the opposite side of the house for a reason.”
“What was the bet?”
“On if you would be here in the morning or not. Derek won. I thought you would have left much earlier.”
He winked at her and went to his car, driving home. She sat back down and thought how much he had changed. She really hoped for Sammy and Gracie’s sake that lasted and wasn’t temporary. She went back to watching her cinnamon rolls rise and turned on the oven. Her husband would be back in from the barn soon.
Jake thought about the last 24 hours as he drove to his Dad’s and was very happy. He was making amends for the choices he had made and was moving on and making things right. He got home, changed clothes and went to the exercise room in the house. He worked out for an hour when his dad came in.
“I take it that things are going well then since you are just getting home?” His dad asked as he got on the treadmill.
“Yes Dad. Very well.”
“Just be careful son. Those girls mean the world to me…”
“I know Dad. To me too and I intend on making sure that they know that for the rest of my life.”
Mike nodded and started running. Jake continued the exercises and finally after another hour, said he was done and went to shower. He ate, and then went out to run some errands. He wanted to get something for Sammy and Gracie and went to a jewelry store. He bought a little heart locket for Gracie and a diamond pendant for Sammy. He realized that he had never really bought Sammy any jewelry, and decided that was going to change. And as much as he wanted to marry her, he knew he had to wait on that. She needed to be romanced and spoiled and he was going to do just that.
He took his purchases and grabbed some lunch. He had about an hour before he needed to be at the ranch to meet them. He was nervous and called to talk to Kevin to help keep calm. Kevin said that Ashley was doing fine after the surgery. She needed two pins in her ankle and would be off work for a while. He said that Fish, their Great Dane, knew he was in trouble and trying to suck up as much as possible.
Jake told Kevin that they had gone out last night and that he ended up spending the night. Kevin told him to go slow and keep him posted. Jake agreed as he hung up. He checked the time, changed into some boots that his Dad had lying around and was off.
He pulled onto the ranch side and went into the barn office to get his horse. Derek was there and had him sit down. Jake just jumped into it before Derek could say a word.
“Derek, I just want you to know how sorry I am. I acted like a total asshole and I am trying to make up for it and have a relationship with my daughter. I also want you to know that I love Sammy and I never stopped. I am going to do everything in my power to get her to love me again. I want my family!”
Derek sat and looked at Jake as he spoke. He really hoped to see a change in him as he spilled his heart out to him. They sat quietly for a second before Derek cleared his throat.
“Well, Jake, um… I wasn’t going to talk to you about that, I was just going to make sure that you were still comfortable riding Jetson. My sister is a big girl and can make her own decisions. And if she still loves you and wants to be with you, who am I to stop her? My mom was right in saying that you would come back and here you are. But I am warning you now, if you hurt either one of them again, I will hunt your ass down and beat the shit out of you!”
Jake nodded, and stood up putting his hand out to shake Derek’s and said, “I wouldn’t expect anything less.”
Derek showed Jake over to Jetson, got them reacquainted and reminded Jake of the basics of riding since it had been six years for him. He started out on his way nice and slow, getting a feel for the amazing creature that he was riding. He made his way over to the meadow to meet his girls.