Maybe Just One More

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Epilogue: Six Years Later

Stormie’s POV

“Damn it, Avery,” I huffed. “You promised me.”

“Babe,” his voice broke out. “I’m sorry.”

“You usually are,” I snapped. I hung the house phone up and threw it down onto the counter. I gripped onto the edge of the counter tightly to keep me from going through the roof. Tears fell from my eyes.

Rachel came through the back door with the twins.

Avery had done a lot of renovations to the house. It didn’t even look the same inside. There was no longer a back porch. It was just one big kitchen. It was now only six bedrooms instead of eight. He tore out the two bedrooms that were downstairs to make the living room and dining room bigger. He did it mostly based on my ideas. I have been in college for the last four years to be an architect. I only had one more year of schooling before I graduated.

“Hey,” Rachel said.

“Hey,” I looked up at surprised. I turned my back to wipe my tears away. I didn’t want Corey and Chloe to see me crying.

They ran to me and hugged me before taking off to the living room.

“He’s not coming home, is he?” Rachel asked.

“No,” I muttered. “The coach won’t let him.”

Avery made it to the big time like we always figured he would. He was the quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys. He made around thirty million dollars a year. The kids received a lot of attention at school because of it, but they didn’t fully understand it. We didn’t want the twins to think they were better than everyone else because of who their dad was. Avery was the richest person in Granbury, which was a big deal for a little town.

This was his second season with the Cowboys, and the second Christmas, he wouldn’t be home. He hadn’t been home for thanksgiving two years in a row either. He also missed the twins’ birthday this year.

“I’m being selfish,” I murmured. “I just miss him.”

“You’re not being selfish, Stormie,” she murmured. “I don’t think that he is being selfish either. He’s always trying to make everyone happy. Sometimes he chooses to make the wrong people happy.”

“No, it’s okay,” I said and shook my head. “I’m sure we’ll see him in a few weeks.”

Avery didn’t get to come home too often when it was football season. I was aware that it would happen this way.

After Rachel left, I went in to talk to the twins.

“Awe,” they whined when I turned Scooby-Doo off.

“We need to talk,” I told them. I walked over to the couch and sat down. Corey crawled onto the couch on my right, and Chloe sat to my left. As I predicted, Corey looked exactly as Avery did. Chloe looked like me.

“What is it, mom?” Corey asked.

I smiled. “I wanted to let you guys know that Dad wouldn’t be home tomorrow,” I said.

“What? Why not?” Chloe asked.

“He has to work,” I said.

“Work sucks,” Corey muttered. He crossed his arms over his chest.

“It’s okay,” I said. “We will see Mason and Claire, Grandma and Grandpa, Grandma and Austin. We’ll see Dad soon.”

“Fine,” Corey and Chloe groaned.

“Go wash up and get ready for bed. I’ll be up to tuck you in in a few minutes,” I said.

***

After I got dressed, the twins ran into the bedroom.

“Can we open presents now?” Corey asked.

“Yeah, I suppose.”

We went downstairs to the living room.

I gasped and stopped. The entire living room was packed full of wrapped boxes and things with bows on them that were too big to be wrapped.

“Holy shit!” Corey shouted.

“Wow,” Chloe breathed.

The twins started for the tree. I grabbed the twins’ arms. “W-wait,” I stuttered. “I didn’t buy all of this.”

“Not bad, huh?” Avery appeared in the doorway that divided the living room and dining room.

I took in a ragged breath.

“Daddy!” The twins screamed. They shoved their way through the messy living room and into his arms.

He picked both of them up, which I had to give him credit for because I couldn’t even do that. He kissed them both over and over and hugged them. “I missed you two.”

“Is all of this ours?” Corey asked.

Avery chuckled. “Yeah, have at it,” he said. He put the twins down, and they started looking for which presents were theirs.

Avery bit his lip as he walked slowly over to me.

I shook my head back and forth.

He closed the distance between us. A smile played on his lips.

“You’re such an ass–”

He didn’t let me finish. He wrapped his hand around the back of my neck and smashed his lips to mine.

“Ew!” the twins yelled.

I broke the kiss and laughed at the twins’ reaction.

His eyes met mine. “Are you still mad at me?”

I shrugged. “I never was. I was just disappointed. We missed you.”

He ran his fingers through my hair and smiled. “I missed you too.”

“You went overboard, don’t you think?” I asked.

“I’m not even done yet,” he smirked.

***

“Do you need help?” Avery asked.

“No,” I said. “Go sit in the living room. I think everyone is waiting for you to be on that tonight show or whatever.”

“Okay, then you come with me,” he suggested. He pulled me toward the living room.

“What about the dishes?” I huffed.

“What about them? We can do them later,” he said. He pulled me into the living room to the couch and forced me to sit on his lap.

“This is ridiculous, Avery. I really need to get the dishes done before I’m too tired to do them,” I insisted.

“I will do them,” he said.

“No, you won’t. You’ll forget and leave them for me to do in the morning,” I argued. I tried to break free of his grasp, but it didn’t work.

“I would never,” he chuckled.

Mason, Claire, Mom, Dad, Rachel, Austin, and the twins laughed at our ridiculous argument.

“Shush, it’s on,” Rachel said. She turned up the TV volume.

I rested my elbow on the arm of the couch and laid my head on my hand.

Through most of the show, Avery played with my hair. He talked to Mason a little bit about how football was going. Mason played for the Miami Dolphins as a receiver.

It took us two years before we decided to speak to Mason, and at first, it was awkward. Not only was it awkward, but it was hard. Avery and I had both been angry with Mason for the shit he pulled.

Susie thankfully moved out of Granbury. Last I heard, she talk off to Vegas with some guy she met online.

Ryder worked in Granbury at a factory. I heard he got married and had a baby a couple of years ago.

Avery saw Ryder once at a bar in town, and the two got in a fight. I had to bail Avery out of jail for that one.

“So, you and your girlfriend have been together since high school and have a set of twins together?” Jimmy Fallon asked.

“Yes,” Avery said.

“You said that you had an important question for your girlfriend?” Jimmy Fallon asked.

“Oh, yeah, I do,” Avery said. “I want to know if she will marry me, but she’s not going to see this until Christmas.” Avery chuckled. “It will be hard as hell to surprise her, and I’ll be amazed if I succeed at this because she knows me too well.”

My jaw dropped, and my eyes didn’t leave the TV.

Avery held up an open velvet box in front of me.

The entire living room exploded with cheers before I could wrap my head around it.

I turned my head to look back at Avery. My eyes were still wide with shock. “Are you serious?” I mouthed.

“I’m dead serious,” he said. “I love you. Besides, Prince sounds way cooler than West,” he teased.

I tangled my fingers into his hair and smashed my lips to his. “Yes,” I said.

***

The house cleared out after everyone celebrated with us on the engagement. After I put the twins to bed, I went downstairs to clean up the kitchen.

When I walked into the kitchen, it was spotless. Avery was drying his hands off. He turned around, and his gaze locked with mine.

“Wow, not bad at all,” I teased.

He chuckled.

“You never did say how long you would be home,” I said.

“For a couple of weeks,” he said.

“Really?” I asked excitedly.

“Yeah,” he said. “It’s damn good to be home.”

“Even better than the beach?” I teased. I recalled how much he said he liked the beach and wanted to buy a beach house. I turned around to grab a bottle of water from the fridge. I took a few sips and sat it down on the counter. When I looked back, Avery was staring at my ass. I cleared my throat.

His gaze flickered to mine. He pursed his lips. “The view here is a hell of a lot better,” he said.

I snickered and turned to run for the stairs.

He laughed and chased after me.

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