To Have Loved...

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Time Flies...

I know we said we wanted to start slow and grow our relationship little by little, well…that didn’t happen. After that night together, we were practically glued at the hip except when we had to work. I haven’t felt this happy in such a very long time and I have hope that this time everything will work out the way it should.

Some nights we stayed at his place, but most of the time, he was at mine. I loved being in his arms when we went to bed and waking up in them in the mornings.

Our friends noticed the change in our demeanors as we spent more time with them like in the good old days. Shelby was excited to see us back together and was practically planning our future together. Craig loved to give Ian grief about everything and I knew it annoyed him, but it was funny to watch them together.

Not only was Shelby planning our future, our mothers were as well. It’s only been a couple of months that we’ve been back together and Mom and Emily have both dropped hints of a wedding and even grandkids. Do I want both? Of course I do, but not just yet.

I’m still establishing my career at the hospital and Ian is finally active duty on the force now that he is completely healed. He continues to work out every day to gain strength and stamina. He also did get a position on the volunteer fire department for the county, so there is just a little much right now to add anything more to it.

It’s the middle of July on a Wednesday evening and I just got home from work. I decided to make dinner while I was waiting for Ian to come home. His hours vary from day to day depending on what is going on in town, but he’s usually over by 6:00 or so.

I decided on spaghetti and had the meat and sauce simmering. I had just dropped the spaghetti noodles in the pot when I heard my phone ringing. I looked at the caller ID and noticed it was Stacy.

“Hey Sis, how are you?” I answered the phone.

“Hey Sarah, I’m great and you?” she asked me.

“I am wonderful,” I said with a smile on my face.

“You sound happy Sarah. How are things between you and Ian?”

“They are great Stace. I admit I’m still a little scared of something happening, but right now we are in a good place.”

“I’m glad to hear that and I do hope for the best. Mom told me she sees a huge difference in you and I know that makes her happy too.”

“Thanks Sis. So how are you and Jake? How are the girls?”

“Jake and I are wonderful and the girls are growing up way too fast. We need to find time to come out there so they can see you, Mom and Dad, but things just seem so busy here.”

“Yes you do, it’s been too long since we’ve seen you.” I heard one of the girls in the background and asked, “Who do I hear in the background?”

“That’s Hope, but Haley is not far behind. I swear she follows her big sister everywhere,” I heard her laugh.

“Put your phone on speaker so I can say ‘hi’ to my beautiful nieces,” I told Stacy.

“Hope…Haley…Aunt Sarah is on the phone and wants to talk to you,” I heard her say as she put in on speaker. “OK Sarah, I have them both here.”

“Hi Hope! Hi Haley!”

“Hi,” I heard them whisper over the phone.

“You don’t need to be shy with me. Are you both being good for Mommy?”

“Yes,” I heard Hope answer. “But Haley doesn’t like to take her naps and Mommy doesn’t like that.” I heard Stacy gasp a little and I tried not to laugh.

“Oh, that’s not good. I know Mommy probably likes it when it’s quiet sometimes, right?”

“Yeah she does. I tell Haley to go to sleep, but she just wants to play.”

“I see. Maybe you will have to play the sleeping game. Have you ever played that?”

“The sleeping game?” I heard her ask in a squeaking voice.

“Yes, the sleeping game. You have to lie down and whoever can stay quiet the longest and sleep gets a special treat when they wake up. Mommy and I used to play that when we were little.”

“Who won?” she asked me.

“Well, I would have to say your mommy won more than I did. I’m kind of like Haley and I didn’t like to nap either.”

“Although I’m sure if we were to play that today, you would win hands down,” Stacy chuckled over the phone.

“Of course,” I laughed. “I love sleeping now.”

“I only wish I could,” she sighed.

“Someday Sis, someday,”

“Maybe in another eighteen years or so,” she said. “You’ll understand someday.”

“Yeah, someday,” it was my turn to sigh.

“So the reason I called was to tell you my news,” I heard her switch the phone off of speaker as the girls ran away.

“And what news is that?”

“You are going to be an auntie yet again,” she said with a smile in her voice.

“What?!?” I almost shouted in the phone.

“I am pregnant, again. I’m about five or six weeks and due in March of next year.”

“Congratulations Stace!”

“Thank you Sarah.”

“Three kids, wow.”

“Yeah…wow,” she chuckled. “We are actually very excited and hoping for a boy this time.”

“I’m excited for you Sis. Tell Jake congrats from me as well.” Shit, my noodles are bubbling over on the stove and the meat is starting to burn. “Stacy, I have to go. My dinner is about to be all over my stovetop if I don’t get back to it.”

“OK, go. Love you Sarah and talk to you soon.”

“Love you too Stace. Lots of hugs and bye for now.”

I hung up the phone and threw in on the counter just as the smoke detector started beeping as smoke from the meat rose in the kitchen. I took both pans off of the burners and turned them off and started waving a towel in the air to move the smoke.

“What is going on in here?” I heard the voice I love to hear before I saw him walk into the kitchen.

“Ahhhh, nothing?” I said sounding more like a question.

He reached up and reset the smoke detector. “Didn’t sound like nothing,” he laughed.

“I was on the phone with Stacy, and I wasn’t paying attention to the food on the stove and I burned the meat and the noodles boiled over and there is hot water everywhere.”

“It’s OK babe, we’ll just order in tonight,” he said as he wrapped me in a hug and kissed the top of my head.

“I feel so stupid. I completely got lost in the call and forgot all about the food.”

“It happens; God knows it’s happened too many times to me for me even to count,” he laughed again. “I’ll help you clean it up and we’ll order something.”

“Thank you Ian,” I said. I went and grabbed a couple of towels and began wiping up the water on the stove while Ian dumped out the water and threw away the noodles and meat sauce.

He called up a local restaurant and ordered two pasta bowls and some breadsticks for delivery. While we waited for the food to arrive we talked about our day and I told him the news Stacy told me about the new baby on the way.

After the food arrived, we ate in the living room while watching a movie to wind down for the evening. I remember most of the movie, but I must have fallen asleep at some point because I never saw the ending. I stirred awake when I felt myself being lifted off of the couch and carried to my bedroom.

Ian helped me get undressed and grabbed an old t-shirt he had left here and threw it over my head. “Thank you Ian,” I whispered still half asleep.

“You’re welcome babe,” he whispered back. “Go to sleep, I’ll go finish cleaning up out there and will be back shortly. Love you.”

“Love you too,” I said and laid down. He covered me up and I was just about to close my eyes, when I realized what we just said to each other. I looked up at Ian and he just smiled that beautiful smile I love and leaned down and gave me a quick kiss on the lips before walking out of the room. I smiled to myself, closed my eyes and I was out.

******

Another month has gone by and things keep getting better and better between Ian and me. Our careers have been taking off and we are both extremely busy, but we have made it a priority to spend time together as often as we can.

As I was getting done with my shift one evening, I heard sirens and watched the ambulance take off. I headed home and saw several fire trucks speeding down the road. Living in the capital city, it’s not unusual to see this, but there were definitely more trucks than I usually see out at one time.

I entered my apartment and turned on the scanner that Ian had left in my place and sure enough there was a large fire on the edge of the city. I pulled out my phone and saw a text from Ian stating that he was being pulled to assist.

This isn’t his first fire he’s been at, but I still get nervous every time he’s out. Honestly, I don’t know if I fear him fighting fires or being a cop more. But I know this is what he enjoys doing and I can’t stop him from doing what he loves.

Sitting there listening to the scanner, things went from bad to worse. Reports were coming across of the fire getting out of control, areas of the building collapsing and maybe trapping some emergency personnel and more departments being called in from nearby towns and cities. My anxiety was through the roof at this point and the longer I went without hearing from Ian, the worse it got.

My parents had called me to see if I knew what was going on and I asked them to check with Emily to see if she had heard anything from Joe or Ian. They called back a little while later with nothing new to report. “Please God, let Ian and his father be OK. Bless them and all the people working to put out this fire,” I prayed.

It wasn’t until late into the evening when reports finally came through that the fire was out. There were several injuries being reported, but no fatalities. I breathed a sigh of relief, but I still hoped that Ian wasn’t one of the injured.

As I was staring out the window in my living room, I heard my front door open. I turned around, ran and jumped into Ian’s arms the moment I recognized him. He held me close and I broke down. All my anxiety washed away as I cried into his shoulder while he kept reassuring me that he was OK.

I finally let him set me down after several minutes and I immediately searched his face all over for any sign of injury. He was covered in soot and ash, but I didn’t see any blood. He started to laugh a little when I continued to look over his arms and body.

“Baby, I am fine; I might have a few bruises and bumps, but that’s it,” he said.

“Are you sure?” I asked as I cupped his face still not sure he was OK.

“Yes, I am. Let me go get cleaned up and you can see for yourself,” he replied.

“I was so worried Ian when I didn’t hear from you and the reports coming through the scanner didn’t help as things were getting out of control and your mom didn’t know anything either and…”

“Sarah…calm down baby; take a breath,” Ian cut off my rant. “I thought getting the scanner would help, but I am rethinking that,” he chuckled.

“It’s not funny Ian, I thought something bad happened to you,” I pouted.

“I’m sorry Princess, I didn’t mean to laugh or scare you for that matter. Let me get a shower and you can have a much closer inspection,” he said while he wiggled his eyebrows. “Better yet, come join me and you can help me get cleaned up.”

I smiled and shook my head, but I took his hand that he held out for me and followed him to my bathroom. He has spent much of the last month here, so he has all his toiletries in my bathroom, so he didn’t have to use mine.

Once under the water, I washed Ian’s hair to get all the soot out and then proceeded to wash his body to remove the sweat and grime from all over. The water was black as it was rinsed from him, but I got a good look and he was correct in saying that he only had a few bruises and nothing more.

As I was tracing the muscles of his arms with my fingers, he wrapped his arms around me and pulled me close. He swung me around until I was under the water and I dropped my head back to let the water run over my hair and face.

I felt his lips leaving gentle kisses along my neck and shoulder and I gripped his arms even tighter as his feathery kisses sent a shiver down my body. His kissed his way up to my jaw and finally to my lips and I wrapped my arms around his neck as we poured all our emotions from the night into that kiss.

Suddenly, Ian lifted me up and pressed me up against the shower wall as I wrapped my legs around his waist. His hands were now on my ass holding me up as he kissed down my neck to my breasts and back up to my lips.

I moaned into the kiss and shifted my hips against his now quite large erection pressed against my stomach. I heard him groan in response and he bit my lower lip in frustration to my teasing. When he couldn’t take it any more, I felt him shift and position me over his erection and gently lowered me onto it.

I threw my head back against the wall as he moved in and out of me. He kissed my neck and nipped my earlobe before kissing my jaw line back to my lips. It felt amazing and I didn’t want this to end. I felt him speed up his thrusts and I knew he was getting close. His grip on my ass and hips tightened and the sensation in my stomach and core grew and grew until we both released at the same time.

He set me down, but I continued to hold onto him for support until I could stand on my own. He finished washing me and he shut the water off before handing me my towel and grabbing one for himself. After drying off, I threw on a T-shirt while Ian threw on a pair or sweats.

“Have you eaten anything tonight?” Ian asked me. I shook my head. “Come on, let’s grab something.” He took my hand and led me to the kitchen.

Even though it was nearly midnight, we made grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup. While sitting at the kitchen island eating our dinner, Ian surprised me with what he said next.

“Let’s move in together; let me move in here…officially,” he said.

I was shocked and didn’t know what to say. Did I want him to move in with me…of course? Was it too soon…absolutely…right?

“I practically live here already and I realized tonight that this is where I want to be, where I need to be…with you,” he continued when I didn’t respond.

“Ian…are…are you sure?” I stuttered out.

“I couldn’t be more sure Princess. I love you and I don’t want to be anywhere else,” he replied. I smiled up at him.

“We’ve only been back together for a few months; you don’t think we are rushing this?” I asked him.

“We may be, but I let you go once and I don’t plan on ever making that mistake again. Let this be a start to show you how much I mean that.”

“What about your place? You’ve only been there a short time; will you break your lease?”

“I will break it, but it’s worth it. I’ll talk to the landlord and I’ll continue paying until they can find someone to take it. Please say ‘yes’ baby,” he pleaded with me.

He was so cute looking at me with his puppy dog eyes and I knew I could never say ‘no’ to him so I answered the only way I could, “Yes Ian, I would love to have you move in with me.”

He came around the island and pulled me out of my seat and spun me around. When he set me on my feet and pulled me up for a kiss. “Thank you baby,” he said with that beautiful smile of his showing me his amazing dimples.

******

Ian did talk to the landlord and moved in officially on September 1st. Surprisingly, Ian’s apartment was filled soon after he gave his notice, so he didn’t have to pay for September and his lease was terminated.

The landlord had him sign with me and Ian and I worked together to split the cost of living, even though I insisted I would keep paying on my own. He wasn’t going to support that and took over payments on several things including cable and electricity.

Part of his deal with the landlord was to leave his furniture that we didn’t need to offer a semi-furnished apartment to the next renter. He brought his necessities to my place and we replaced a couple of my older pieces of furniture with his.

Our parents were excited about the move, but they all gave us the lecture of moving in together. I know my parents still had their worries based on our past, but this time it was me reassuring them that I want this and have a good feeling about us.

Over our first couple of months officially living together, we established a good routine. It almost felt like we had been living together for a long time and I couldn’t be happier. We both woke up around the same time to get ready for work and would eat breakfast together before taking off.

I continued to work and build my program at the hospital, while Ian continued to advance in the force. Because of his degree and skills learned in addition to the academy, he did become a detective when a position opened up, which was unusual for someone fresh into the force. Apparently, no one really wanted that position, and he was one of two candidates that applied. I was proud of him either way.

After work, we would have dinner together, watch some TV, talk about our day and go to bed to start over the next day. On the weekends, we would spend time with our friends, go visit our families or just hang around and relax together.

I knew I could get used to this and I really hoped that we would be together for a very long time. Sure there was still the fear of us splitting up again, but I had a gut feeling that things would be different this time.

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