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A week later

I let my mother convince me that Christmas at her house with the whole family would be fun. Cooper got invited as well while Max was with Sophie, things are still steamy between the two of them. My mother, true to herself, went all out fixing 5 different dishes to please everyone. I should be grateful for being able to spend time with my uncles, aunts, and cousins however some of them have strong opinions when it comes to speaking French in Quebec. Things get messy with a British husband, who hasn’t learned much French, not from bad intentions but mainly because I prefer English myself and I haven’t taught him anything other than the basics. Of course, the fact that his strong accent is hard for them to understand doesn’t matter when it comes time to snap pictures with him for them to show off. Although most of my family is respectful, 2 or 3 individuals tend to give me vile thoughts. With the help of my patient and respectful husband, I’m able to keep my mouth shut and even fake a smile during the photoshoot.

“Remind me not to come here next Christmas,” I whisper to Ryan’s ear, he chuckles. “Ella, who’s the blonde girl looking bored over there?” Cooper moves closer to us. “My cousin, Jo. Ohh and her English isn’t that bad. She’s pretty, right? Should I introduce you? Come with me,” I drag him to meet my cousin, Ryan follows closely. Cooper and Jo can communicate quite well and we’re all excited to find out she’ll be in Florida while Ryan will be there for his next movie in a few months. The four of us sit together at the table when food is served.

I managed to spend the rest of the evening under the radar, hiding with Ryan in the corner of my mother’s living room while Cooper and Jo stayed in the kitchen. The smile on my mom’s face when she opened the gift Ryan and I got her made it all worth it. I should spoil her more often for the love and security she provided all my life.

A week later, our New Year’s Eve turned out to be a blast, we all gathered at Emma and Trevor’s house for the celebration. Maddy and Sam even got to fly in for the occasion.

My eyes are fixated on Ryan who’s sitting with William rocking him. William looks calm in my husband’s long muscular arms that are holding him securely. The green shade of Ryan’s eyes is shining as he looks at the baby, smiling. “You better love my daughter as much as you love William,” Maddy’s chin rests on my shoulder. “Daughter?” I exclaim. “We still don’t know for sure but I keep picturing a baby girl,” she explains. The funny thing is I’ve always pictured Maddy with a daughter just like a son seemed meant to be for Emma. My attempts at getting her to reveal the name or names she’s thinking of are in vain, she wants to keep the surprise. We all know I’m not the biggest fan of surprises but I can’t force her to tell me.
A few hours later, William is taken to his room for the night. I’m standing by the sofa where Ryan is sitting when Sophie comes up to me, she was invited along with Max. Cooper and Jo also came to celebrate with us. Making small talk Sophie quickly moves to the baby subject, either she forgot about our conversation at the restaurant or she’s keen on telling me that Ryan and I should have children, regardless, her questioning is raising my frustration. His strong hands grip my waist bringing me to sit on his lap, his arms then trap me in a bear hug while he turns to Sophie. “Ella’s love is all I need to feel complete. Whether we ever have children or not, I will forever be happy with her. And that’s all that matters,” His lips form a smile, his way of nicely telling her to back off. Luckily, she gets the message moving to the other room to find Max. Only a handful of people are aware of our fertility issues, even my cousin Jo is clueless, and I intend to keep it that way.

The countdown comes on tv and we all gather around ready to welcome the new year. Ryan’s hands caress my face, gently, as he counts with me getting down to one when he leans down to brush his soft lips on mine. The world around us disappears leaving us in a magical moment where only he exists, only his mouth that’s moving against mine fills my thoughts. Too soon, Emma interrupts to wish us a happy new year. More hugs and kisses are shared with all of our friends, my heart is full being in a room with people that are kind, uplifting, and loving.
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