Willow & Aiden After Forty

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Chapter 43

I walk out of Caroline’s room and into the waiting room. Ryan nods and kisses the top of Jana’s sleeping head. She snuggled up in his lap. It’s three in the morning, and Anna Rosemary Nelson came into this world an hour ago. Both mother and daughter are fine. My Willow is beside herself with joy. Baby Anna is already ahead of the game of life. She has four uncles and two grandmothers fighting to hold, love, and protect her. Willow cried when Oliver told her Anna’s middle name. Caroline and Oliver are continuing the tradition set by her Grandma of using mother nature’s creations as a girl name in their family.

I sit in the chair beside Ryan and blow out a breath. “I’ll take you two home and drop you off as soon as I can drag Willow away from Anna long enough to go home. We need to get a few hours of sleep, then come back.”

I look at Jana, and she doesn’t even stir. I smile to Ryan, what a night. “I don’t want you to think you owe me anything for saving Willow.”

I scowl at him, “When have I ever given you the impression that I do anything that I don’t want to do. I love you kid, that’s the reason.”

“I knew you were once.” He stops talking and kisses Jana’s head.

I’m confused, “Knew what?”

He looks me in the eye, “I knew you were going to adopt me when I was little. I hated you when you didn’t.”

I’m surprised he was only six. “I was planning on it.” I avert my eyes. Christ, it was trying to find out who his biological father is that lead to the discovery that Margaret was fucking around on me.

“I went to your office to get the Lego set I left in there the night before, you were on the phone, looking out the window, and you didn’t notice me. I heard you say you wanted the adoption done by the end of the year. You wanted me to have your last name for Christmas. I was fucking thrilled. I told everyone at school that I had a dad now, and my last name was going to be the same as yours.”

Fuck, he looks away and quietly says, “I was living alone with mom at Christmas time that year. I hated going back to school, knowing I was without a dad.”

My chest physically aches, “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry, Ryan. If I could go back and do things differently, I would. I fucked up. Let me make it up to you. From this day forward, you are Ryan Markley.”

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