Willow & Aiden After Forty

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Chapter 43

I can’t stand sleeping without Willow beside me. I turn over in our bed and look at the alarm clock. It’s going on four in the morning. I might as well get my ass up and run. I know I won’t be going back to sleep or, I groan, burying myself inside Willow.

Jesus, it’s been five days of hell without her here. Phyllis, Jana’s mother, had to go back to work after two weeks of helping with baby Anna. Anna has colic, and Caroline is having a hard time breastfeeding and about one hundred other little things. Both Caroline and Oliver are a little overwhelmed. I stayed for two nights. I didn’t like the idea of her sleeping in that town, close to that fucker, Jake. But four of the boys are in town and watching over their mom, so I came home so I could hang out with Ryan.

I dress and start my morning run at fucking four in the morning. Jesus, I pass people who I think are just on their way home from partying on a Friday night. I don’t miss those days at all. I never liked it even when I was a younger man.

Ryan is taking my name. I hope to have it inked and confirmed in a couple of weeks. I informed all six boys I was proposing to Willow tonight when she gets home from Roseway. I also told them that the wedding would take place in a month and that our honeymoon would be as long as I can keep Willow away from Anna. I’m going to put my foot down and demand at least a month away, just the two of us. I researched newborn babies, and I believe in a month, we can get married and leave. Anna should be in a routine, and hopefully, everyone will settle down in a few more weeks. I need a vacation from not working.

I try to concentrate on the rhythm of my feet hitting the pavement. Sandra called yesterday, and the news of Glassman’s indictment is expected to be announced sometime next week.

I smile, I like having Al and Lexi Reed, over every week for dinner. Who would have thought that I would find humor and enjoyment in listening to the city’s social gossip? Mom loves it when Willow, and, I’ll admit, sometimes even I, pass that gossip on to her. It amazes me that she still knows a lot of the families. I enjoy our Sunday brunches more now that mom has Willow to talk to, she leaves me alone now a little more. The wedding will make her happy, and we’ll have it before she goes to Florida for the winter months. Mom needs to stop with the mushy shit, all of the, ‘I can die now that I know you have a family to take care of you’. I scoff, I love her, but she lives in an ideal romantic life. It still the one that my father sold his soul to keep her living in a happy, pretend life.

I pick up my pace. Christ, the irony is not lost on me. Willow and Mom are a lot alike in a sense that they are always positive and try their hardest to be happy. I also am a lot like my father, the right parts of him. He taught me respect for women, and he showed me how to love a woman and do it thoroughly, completely, all the way to the soul.

Goddamn, I’m going to be an engaged man by the end of the night. I smile. I hope I surprise her tonight. We both know we love each other, and we’ve talked about marriage and how our marriage will someday be. We’ve dealt with so much shit I don’t think she is expecting me to propose.

I turn onto Riverside Drive. I jog up the street and smell the fog coming off of the river’s water. It’s going to be hot today and this weekend. I reach the porch, and I inhale another scent of summer and smile again like the goddamn idiot sap that I am. I’m fucking happy, and I’ll announce it to the world and protect it with my life.

Yeah, I certainly have some of my old man’s blood running through my veins.

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