We Were Once - Page 145

He starts the engine and chuckles. Pulling away, he says, “Nah, that’s not the part that made you a bad girl last night.”

“Then what did?”

He cocks an eyebrow and then waggles both. “When you begged me to have sex even though we didn’t have a condom.”

“Oh, right.” Tapping my chin, I nod. “I forgot about that.”

Epilogue

Joshua

Two months later . . .

I rush in the door, expecting to see her, but I don’t. “Chloe?” This apartment is tiny, so finding her shouldn’t be difficult. “Chloe?” I drop the bag on the coffee table and head for the bedroom.

“In here.”

Following the sound of her voice, I narrow it down to the bathroom. Passing the empty spot that used to hold her treadmill years ago, I don’t miss it one damn bit. We run outside in the fresh air or burn off the calories in bed. Our love will always move us forward, never stuck in one place. That’s who we are for each other, pushing each other to be better, learning to love bigger.

Moving into her old apartment building while we build our dream home by the lake made sense. I’m close to the diner, and she’s near the hospital. It feels good to be in the space where it all started. Where we began.

Opening the bathroom door, I find her sitting on the edge of the tub crying. Seeing my wife in pain guts me. I go to her, kneeling, and bringing her into an embrace. “What’s wrong?”

With tear-streaked cheeks, she looks at me. “Joshua, tell me you love me.”

“I love you.” I run my fingers over the apples of her cheeks before lifting to kiss each one. “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing. It’s just all so right. We are. Our life. Everything.”

As much as I try, I don’t think I’ll ever fully understand women. “I don’t understand why you’re crying then.”

Her arm flies up, and she points at Frankie and Dwayne Evans. “Because that happened.” I can riddle my way through this. Scratching over my chin, I turn back to her, but before I can ask again, she says, “You should see for yourself.”

Standing, I move to the bathroom cabinet and see the usual stuff, except for one. “This little pot?”

“That’s Frankie’s and Dwayne Evan’s baby pot. I’m going to try to propagate.” She sniffles, rubbing her hand over her stomach

I’m not sure this news warranted a get home stat text, but I keep my mouth shut when it comes to that. “That’s cool, but I’m still lost.” Crossing her arms over her chest, she tilts her head. “I’m clearly missing the obvious.”

She nods, a restrained grin fighting to be seen. “Look inside the pot, Evans.”

A rational man might react differently, but I never claimed to be. I blink and then blink again. “What is that?”

“What do you think, Daddy?”

Staring down at the white stick, I read the word over and over again. My gaze darts to her again. “You’re pregnant?”

She stands and comes to my side, wrapping herself around me. “I’m pregnant.”

The tears make a lot more sense now. I swipe at my own that are weighing heavy in the corners of my eyes. I hug her, kiss her head and then caress her face. “We’re having a baby.”

A giggle escapes her. “We are.”

“I didn’t think life could get better, but you showed me.”

“Pfft. Since I couldn’t do this alone, let’s just call it even.”

“Even.” I kiss her again, letting those annoying tears fall because not only did she make me the happiest man when she married me but she’s making me a dad. “Thank you.”

Her hands cover mine, and my wife rests her head against me. “Bigger than the sky.

“Bigger than the universe.”

She says, “I also propagated the bonsai. It’s a great day all around.”

Her stomach growls. “Did I hear the crinkle of a bag? Did you bring me food?”

I chuckle. “I did.”

“You’re the best.” A kiss is planted on my chin before she heads out of the bathroom. I give Dwayne Evans a little fist bump against his pot. “Way to go, man. You’re going to be a dad, too.”

When I enter the living room, she has her nose stuck in the bag. “Smells heavenly.

“I brought you the special.”

Catching my eyes, she winks. “I thought I got the special every night.”

When she opens the container, her smile has me feeling like the luckiest man in the world. “You brought me chicken and dumplings? Just like the first time.”

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