While the ladies were out, Jake and the men went to the country club to hit a few buckets on the driving range and then had lunch at the club. He showed them where the reception would be in the grand ballroom and Smitty whistled.
“Good thing you signed a new contract my friend with guaranteed money! This bill is going to hurt! How many people are you inviting again?”
“It looks like 400 and I know it will be a lot, but Sammy is worth that times ten and I will do anything she asks!” Jake said with a smile.
After lunch, they went to be measured for tuxes and then Jake took them to an office building where they piled out, looking confused.
“What are we doing here JD?” Smitty asked.
“I want your help with a secret. I want to buy Sammy a house as a wedding present and I want you to look over some of what the agent found. Then I want you to talk to your wives and see what they think and relay back to me,” Jake explained.
“You want to buy Sammy a house?” Derek asked.
“Yes, one that we can grow our family in and stay forever,” Jake said.
Derek didn’t look convinced and walked up to the top floor and met with the agent that helped Sammy find her little cottage, Nan. She pulled out a notebook after greeting the gentlemen in her office and asked them to sit at the big table.
“Now Jake, I have been looking for properties based on what you have described to me and this is a few listings that I have found so far. Take a look and let me know what you think so far,” Nan said smiling.
Jake spread the papers out and had his friends take a look. They saw homes that had four to six bedrooms, but didn’t have much character. Sammy liked houses that had charm, like the cottage and the farm house. And space. Sammy and Jake wanted space to spread out and not have people on top of them. Jake told Nan that while that was a good start, he listed the factors of more space and more character.
Nan made notes furiously as the men talked about what they knew about Sammy and what they needed.
“And remember Nan, money is no object. I want this to be the house of her dreams,” Jake said.
Nan smiled and closed her notebook, “I will get on this Jake. I will call you when I have some places for you to look over.”
“And remember, Sammy doesn’t know anything. I want this as a surprise for our wedding. So you have time to find the perfect one.”
Nan assured him she would keep it a secret and promised to work hard for him.
The men left and as they were driving away Derek cleared his throat, “I was wrong Jake. You know exactly what Sammy wants and are going to blow her away. I’m sorry I underestimated your plan.”
Jake thanked him and the men went back to Kevin’s house to play in Kevin’s Man Cave. They were tucked up inside until the ladies arrived and they ordered 15 pizzas for dinner. They ate and laughed as a large group of close friends and family until Emma and Gracie had to get home for school and Lexi put their two little ones down for the night too. Gracie fell asleep before they even made it the short ride home.
The next morning Sammy was a nervous wreck at the thought of what would happen when Jake dropped their daughter off with his plan to confront Quinn’s parents. Then adding Smitty and Kevin to the mix made her heart race even faster. Jake promised he would be good as he kissed Sammy as Gracie skipped to the car, ready to go get Smitty and Kevin.
Gracie was on cloud nine with all three men taking her to school. They parked in the parent lot and got out. Gracie took Jake’s hand and skipped next to some of her favorite men as they walked in.
They passed Mr. Nixon, who was awed to see the three football players walking in with the little girl. Sammy had emailed Mr. Nixon what they had talked about and he was fine with Jake talking with Quinn’s parents as long as they acted maturely. They shook his hand and complimented him on running a great school. He thanked them as he started ushering the older kids away from the celebrities so they could move to Gracie’s class.
She showed them her desk and all the books she had inside. Smitty was stunned seeing her math book, especially considering her age.
“You really do these problems Gracie?” He asked.
“Yes, Uncle Smitty. It’s not hard!”
Smitty was stunned as he leaned in between his friends and whispered, “Fuck, please don’t let my kids be gifted! This scares the shit out of me!”
Kevin sniggered and Jake rolled his eyes as the teacher came up and Gracie told them who was with her. She shook their hands and walked on to greet another student that had come in. Gracie stiffened and motioned for Jake to lean down. He crouched down and she whispered in his ear that Quinn was hanging up his backpack by the door. Jake stood and looked at the kid with dirty blonde hair and kind of scrawny. The man next to him looked like a snooty asshole as he stood there in his suit and had his face glued to his phone as his son was trying to talk to him. All three men were irritated by his actions.
Jake watched him ignore his son, pat him on the head and turned to leave. Jake kissed Gracie then she hugged Kevin and Smitty and they walked out after the man. They finally made it to the parking lot and saw his car was parked right by Jake’s.
“Are you by any chance Quinn’s dad?” Jake asked.
The man looked up from his phone and all but glared at the threesome, “Yes? And you are?”
“I’m Jake Doogan, Gracie’s dad. Do you have a minute?” Jake asked.
He sighed impatiently, “I have a few minutes before my next meeting. What do you want?”
Jake stretched his neck to ease the anger he felt starting to build at the asshole in front of him. He could hear Smitty pop his knuckles in frustration.
“So Gracie told us something on Friday that upset us a little bit. Apparently –“
“Oh that’s right! Your kid hit mine! I remember my wife saying something about that! What the hell do you want? Shouldn’t I be talking to you about hitting my kid?!” the asshole finished.
“What the fuck?” Kevin whispered from the back so only his friends could hear him.
“Wow, ok. Let’s just take a step back here, buddy. I am trying to have a conversation with you about something that happened between our kids!” Jake put up his hands, trying desperately to keep his temper.
“My name is Marcus Phillips the third, not buddy!”
“Sorry Marcus,” Jake said hoping the sarcasm wasn’t too evident, “It’s about what your son said to my daughter that hurt her deeply, and made her rethink her entire family structure.”
“And what did my son say that supposedly ‘hurt your daughter’s feelings?’” Marcus air quoted.
“Repeated something you said to your wife about us. About football players,” Jake growled.
Marcus looked a little nervous, “I can’t imagine what you are talking about!”
“You said that and your son repeated how football players are slimy and that daddies sleep in beds with different mommies,” Jake spit.
“Oh well, it’s well known that professional athletes sleep around,” Marcus replied with a smirk.
“Ok Asshole, I tried to keep my temper, but you pushed me too far with your holier than thou attitude! Do some athletes sleep around? Yep! Are you looking at three men who are deeply in love with their women and are family men? Yes you are!!!” Jake all but yelled.
Marcus scoffed, “I highly doubt that!”
Kevin put a hand on Jake’s arm to calm him as Jake was going to take a step towards the man in front of him and pummel him. Jake realized he was going to punch this man in the face!
“Right. Ok. So I was going to be a nice guy about this, but now you pissed me off! I’m telling you right now. If your kid says another word about me or any of our friends or our family I will be giving my daughter permission AND will teach her to kick your kid’s ass! You are such a fucking spineless weasel!”
“How dare you? Do you know who I am? Who my family is and how much money we have?” Marcus yelled.
The men started laughing in his face. Smitty actually wiped his eyes from tears he had from laughing so hard.
“Do you know how much his new contract is?” Kevin asked.
“I don’t care!” Marcus whined.
“$125 million!” Kevin yelled.
“I don’t care how much money you have! You treat your child like shit! You are not rich; you are one of the poorest men I have ever met! And I pity you and your child!” Jake said, watching the man stutter and try to form words, “You are pathetic! But I am warning you, she has permission to fuck him up if this shit continues!!”
“I’ll sue you!!” Marcus yelled as the men walked to the car.
“Go ahead, I have a law degree and I know one of the best lawyers in the state, so go ahead! Bring it Ass Wipe!” Jake responded.
The three friends climbed in leaving Quinn’s father standing there as they drove away. Smitty commended Jake for his restraint and the men went back to Sammy’s to tell her what happened.
The next several weeks went by quickly. Ashley and Kevin had a baby girl the Monday before Thanksgiving. Brynne Marie was beautiful, all eight pounds of her! Kevin was in awe as he held her and Jake couldn’t help but tear up as Sammy video called him so he could see her. He wouldn’t be back for a while and couldn’t wait to hold her. He sent a massive bouquet of flowers, a cleaning service for six months and a bottle of Kevin’s favorite whiskey to celebrate. Ashely’s parents flew in just in time and were staying with them until January 1st.
Sammy wouldn’t worry about them now at Thanksgiving since her and Gracie were going to Texas to be with Jake. They would have dinner with Smitty, Lexi and their families. Jake and Smitty had the early game on Thanksgiving Day and couldn’t leave. But the good news was they had four days off before they resumed practices and they were going to head to Mexico for a few days.
Mike was worried about not being with Sammy and Gracie for the first time in five years, especially since Gracie had been having a rough time with all the changes that have been in their lives. But, Emily couldn’t get away when school was running her ragged, so Mike and Abby were heading to California for a few days. Mike had a big case he was preparing for as soon as they got back and was going to be pulling long nights for a while.
Sammy made sure that each week when she went to Jake’s games that Gracie was with her. She talked to her teacher and explained the situation; she agreed that this was important for Gracie and she sent extra work for Gracie to do on airplanes. Gracie did it without questions, knowing that if she did she wouldn’t be going to see her dad.
Sammy was helping Lexi, Peaches and Lila at Lexi’s making pies and side dishes for Thanksgiving the next day. The two matriarchs would be making the turkey and ham and watching the little ones while the others were at the game. Smitty’s younger brother, Reginald, would be driving in from Dallas with his two young daughters and wife for dinner too.
Gracie was more than excited for the next few days and had a hard time settling down Wednesday night for bed, even though she had run around like a chicken with her head cut off for most of the day. Peaches and Lila found it charming and funny, but Sammy was not pleased and for the first time, threatened to spank the little girl. Gracie’s eyes went wide at her mother’s words and managed to rein it in while they were out, but started back up the minute they got home.
Jake took over and got her a bath and read her the next chapter in the fourth Harry Potter book. She finally succumbed to her lack of excitement and sleep overtook her. Jake kissed her cheek, pulled up the covers and closed the door behind him, falling into bed next to the beautiful woman he loved.
“She can be relentless, just like her father and grandfather!”
“I prefer the term determined!” Jake said snuggling up to her as she giggled, “So does your dad!”
They lay together talking and until they fell asleep.