We didn’t have the monitor on since Carmen was sleeping with Rebecca that night in the guest room, and I regretted that when Nick and I left his room to get some water. We were dressed, but anyone that saw us would know what we were just doing, and his sister was in the kitchen sipping some juice as we stepped inside, holding hands and giggling. “I fucking knew it. You guys looked different this time, and you…you’re so happy.” She threw herself into Nick’s arms as he kept holding my hand, his eyes wide with surprise. “How long has this been going on?”
“A few months, Becca. Carmen doesn’t know. We were keeping it concealed until we knew what it was to protect her,” Nick murmured as he looked at me with a small smile.
We ended up cutting thick slices of pie and sitting at the table as she looked at us with a huge smile on her face. “Your mom knows that something is up too.” Her eyes were shrewd as she looked at me. “That moment when the three of you were on the beach together was precious. It spoke volumes of the love that the three of you have, not just you two.”
“I don’t want her to get hurt again,” I whispered as Nick reached for my hand.
“I have seen her grow in the last few months. Carmen was broken when I came here before, and I knew that she missed her mom. She still does, but she loves you.” Rebecca looked into my eyes as I felt a tear slide down my cheek. “You were meant to be here with Carmen and Nick. It’s fate.”
We stayed at the table for a little long her, talking and eating before Rebecca went back to her room and Nick led me to his bedroom. “I guess the cat’s out of the bag.”
We dropped on the mattress softly, making love sweetly this time. The secret was out, though we had to find a good way to tell Carmen. I also knew that I’d have to call Mom and admit what she already suspected was true. I pushed all of that behind me as I snuggled into his chest to fall asleep, feeling complete as I reminded him that I loved him.
We got up in the morning and started breakfast, smiling when Rebecca and Carmen came downstairs. Today was the day that they decorated for Christmas since it was both the holiday as well as Carmen’s birthday in December and she loved it. We were going to get a tree and set it up in the living room and spend the evening decorating the house. Mom was even coming over for that, and I smiled as I sipped coffee and looked at Nick. There was an ease between us now even though we were waiting to figure out how to tell Carmen about us.
Nick went to the same tree lot every year, and Carmen picked out a massive Douglas Fir that a few guys secured to the top of the SUV. We took it home as Carmen sipped her hot chocolate in the back seat with her aunt. I looked steadily at Nick as he drove, grinning widely as we chatted during the drive.
Nick got the tree set up in the corner by the window before he strung lights all around it. Mom was coming over in a couple of hours, and we were going to eat leftovers before we started decorating, since we grabbed some cheeseburgers and fries for lunch. When Rebecca settled on the couch to watch a movie with Carmen, Nick tugged me into his room and closed the door before kissing me senseless. I wrapped my arms around his neck, happy to let our tongues dance together as I heard him lock the door. “They’re just out there,” I told him as he smiled against my lips.
“They’re watching Frozen. Carmen won’t come back to Earth for a couple of hours,” His lips claimed mine again before he lifted me and carried me to the bed, sliding down my jeans before he buried his face between my thighs. His tongue had lapped at me before his teeth drew my sensitive skin between his lips, making me cover my face with a pillow so I wouldn’t clue the house into what we were doing. When he was covered with my release, Nick tossed his pants to the side of the bed and drove himself into me as I held him close. He took me slow and hard, breathing my name with every movement as I closed my eyes. “You’re sleeping in here with me from now on. We need to tell Carmen so we can live like this.”
“I know,” I replied as I came around him, kissing him to keep myself quiet. He shot inside of me seconds later, holding me close as I cried in his arms. I was feeling so emotional as things progressed with us and Nick kissed me softly as he assured me that everything would be okay.
We cleaned up and made our way back to the living room, one by one as I went to the kitchen for some water first. I drifted in during what I knew was Carmen’s favorite part of the film, slipping onto the couch beside her as Rebecca gave me a knowing smile that made me blush.
Mom was knocking at the door just as the three of us were finished piling up the boxes of Christmas decorations. She had a small bag in her hand, explaining that they were some special ornaments that I made as a child that she wanted to split between the houses.
We ate some dinner first, heating up the spread from the night before and gathering around the table to enjoy it. Carmen was dancing in her seat beside me, and I grinned at her before I glanced at Nick. I think all of us rushed through the meal a bit so the little girl could tear into the boxes with gusto.
In a matter of hours, the tree looked beautiful, and the mantel was rearranged to suit the holiday. I saw Carmen looking at a picture of her mom for a moment in all the excitement and nudged Nick, who was beside me. He glanced at his daughter, stilling for a second as she touched the picture and came over to give me a hug. “I think that Mommy gave you to me for Christmas. She wanted me to have an angel.”
All the women started to cry, and Nick choked as I moved to my knees and wrapped my arms around her. You could hear a pin drop as she nestled against me and I closed my eyes. “Thank you,” I whispered to her as Carmen took a deep breath.
“Can you be Daddy’s angel too? I think that he needs one.” Carmen said as I gasped.
Nick dropped to his knees and hugged both of us as I held my breath. “She is my angel, Carmen. I was going to ask you if you wanted Celia to be my girlfriend for Christmas, but I think you beat us to the punch.”
“Yes, yes!! Will you, Celia?” She said with sheer delight in her voice as I laughed to hold back my tears.
“Of course, I will, sweetie. I love you and your daddy so much, and it’s fun living here with you every day.” I told her as I felt arms wrapping around me. I looked to see Mom, who was crying as she shook her head at me.
“I had a feeling about the two of you.” I smiled and kissed her cheek as Rebecca hugged Nick. We finished decorating after a long group hug, during which I explained to Mom how things happened. She was so happy and assured me that fate took over, that I shouldn’t feel bad that it was just a short time after Melanie’s death. She’d want him to be happy, just like Carmen said.
Once the living room was festive and Carmen was going to sleep with Rebecca, I slipped my arms around his neck and kissed him by the light of the tree. “I am so glad that everyone knows.”
“I am as well, though I’ll warn you that there will be rumors. They might hurt, but I want you to know that I love you,” Nick told me before kissing me again. We made our way to the bedroom, deciding to christen the living room one night when we were alone.
Behind closed door, we didn’t hold back. I kept it respectable with the noise, but we didn’t have to hide it anymore. I could make love with him freely and fall asleep in the very place I felt like I was at home. We went to the movies on Saturday, catching the latest kid’s movie as Nick held my hand. We didn’t want to be all over one another in front of Carmen, but he wanted her to know that it was possible to love after loss. Nick wanted her to remember her parents in love and wasn’t willing to reveal that they weren’t happy at this end, instead letting her move forward with this new relationship the way that we were.
We grabbed an early dinner while we were out and Carmen sat between us as Rebecca looked on.it was later that night over wine that Rebecca asked if we wanted her to stay through Christmas, seeing that Carmen was adjusting well. Nick told her yes, and she blushed if she asked if we minded someone else here, since she’d been dating a hockey player for a couple of months. It wasn’t certain yet when or how long he could stay, but she’d for love us to meet him.
I saw the discomfort on Nick’s face for a moment as I touched his shoulder. He looked at me, and I smiled as I shook my head. “She’s a big girl.”
“He’s more than welcome,” he grudgingly told her as Rebecca laughed. “He’d better not have one of those reputations that I’ve heard about in the sports world.” I chuckled as I shared a glance with his sister.
The weeks passed with time spent with Rebecca, taking day trips, and just having fun during the day. It was as if I was on vacation, though I considered myself part of a family more than a nanny now. Nick still insisted on paying me though I tried to convince him not to every night when we were falling asleep. He told me that he wanted to make it official before he started to use me to care for his child, making me laugh as I kissed him.
Carmen was spoiled rotten on Christmas, with the tree surrounded by brightly wrapped gifts both Christmas Eve as well as Christmas morning. She had a deal with Nick that they were going to donate some of her old belongings to make room for the new since he didn’t have the heart to tell my mom and his sister not to enjoy themselves shopping.
The biggest surprise was the little chocolate lab that Nick decided to adopt for Carmen since she’d been asking for a dog for a couple of years. It really wasn’t Melanie’s cup of tea, but I was more than willing to help with a puppy since I was home all day. Carmen was done opening her gifts when Nick called her to the office, where the puppy was waiting for her. He was just two months old and already set up for classes and training, and Carmen asked Nick what was going on. She was excitedly opening her dolls with Rebecca’s help, but we all headed to the office as I tried to hold in my excitement.
Carmen followed her dad into the room while we stayed behind to hear the squealing when she saw her new pet. I laughed as I hugged Mom, leaning forward to get a peek at what was going on inside of the room. Carmen carried the dog out and announced that his name was Cocoa before she put him down in the living room, where the puppy proceeded to tear through all the wrapping paper. Nick followed us with a giant basket of dog toys that he set up between the couches, hoping to save the furniture from the sharp teeth.
Carmen wanted to take him to the beach within a few hours, but Nick explained that he needed a round of shots before we could take him for walks. It would be a couple more weeks, but we’d have a lot of fun with him inside. She decided that he could go into her bedroom and playroom, with a warning that she needed to keep an eye on him.
Mom cooked a ham for dinner along with several sides with the help of Rebecca and me. I sensed that Nick wanted to spend a lot of time with Carmen, given that this was her first Christmas without her mom. She seemed to be happy, but even I knew that she had to miss Melanie. He was up in her room with the dog setting up toys for Carmen while I heard him telling Cocoa to stay out of something from time to time.
I got some lovely gifts from everyone as well as having a great time shopping for them. Boston seemed like another lifetime as I celebrated the love in my life now even though it was just months ago, that I came back to California. My room on the third floor was still set up for me, and I brought the items up there as I looked around slowly. I had vague ideas for this room now that I was sleeping nightly in Nick’s room, such as a reading room or an office for me. The loft would be great with a TV and some couches just so Carmen would have a place for when she was older, and I walked to the window to look over the ocean for a moment.
This room needed to be enjoyed somehow if I wasn’t living here. It might be a good guest room for Rebecca rather that the second floor one near Carmen’s room. My mind wandered as I thought ahead to having more kids and even Rebecca doing the same. This house was big enough for that and I turned to leave, heading to the lower floor to check in on my loves.