And he wouldn’t change a second of it for the world.
But the pregnancy hormones hadn’t been easy for her. Or him. She’d been on edge nearly the entire time, and he had yet to figure out what to do or how to talk her down. Everything he’d done or said had only seemed to make it worse. So he’d thrown himself into work, thinking if he was out of her hair enough, she might not be tempted to kill him.
But that she’d actually be surprised to see him come for her? Damn. “Did you think I wouldn’t come back?”
She shrugged and tried to turn away. But hell no. He planted a hand on either side of her hips and leaned in close. “Chloe.” He waited until she looked at him. “I’ll always come for you.”
Something in his fierce tone seemed to get through, and she relaxed slightly. But not enough to suit him. He slid the palm of his hand to the back of her neck and stroked her soft, damp skin. “You’re in pain.”
“It’s better now that you’re here,” she said breathlessly. “How did you make it? I heard the roads were closed.”
He considered his response a moment, not sure she needed to hear the difficulties he’d had in breaking away to get here after Tanner had called him to say she’d come to the party. “Got stuck about a mile back,” he said. “Had to walk the rest of the way in.”
She put her hands over his and gasped. “You’re soaked, and your hands are freezing!” Her voice was tense. The pain was getting to her. “Oh, Sawyer. You shouldn’t have come—”
“Could say the same to you,” he said, and slid both Jax and Ford a long, hard stare. They both had the good grace to look a little apologetic.
Good. The fuckers. He’d tasked them with the most important thing in his life, and here she was, in labor, in a snowstorm…
“Don’t start in on them,” Chloe said. “They didn’t know. I sneaked out.”
There was something most definitely in her voice now, and he cupped her face.
Yep. She was ready for battle.
“I wanted to be here with my family and friends.”
He suspected she was going to need that energy for the night ahead. “Then let’s enjoy it,” he told her, and then headed off any reply with a soft hello kiss right on those lips that loved to talk back to him.
Never before had he had someone in his life continuously do that, and at first he hadn’t known what to do with her. It’d taken him a while to clue in, but in the end, he’d had no choice but to love her with his entire heart and soul.
Reaching into his bag, he came up with an inhaler and set it on the table in case she needed it.
She slapped her hand out for it and took a long hit. And then a second. Both a struggle that pinched at his heart. Her debilitating asthma was in better control these days, but stress brought it out. Labor was definitely going to be a trigger.
“You had one of my inhalers on you?” she asked when she could.
Always. “Just in case.”
A little more of the tension around her eyes eased, and seeing that did the same for him. He grabbed a chair and sat, and then shifted her so that she could lean back into him. Once she did, he slid his arms around her, gently kneading her belly, feeling better when she relaxed into him.
He ran a finger over the gold heart locket she wore nestled between her breasts. “You got it.”
“I knew it,” she muttered. “Who was your delivery boy? Not my sisters or Jax or Ford.”
“Are you kidding?” he asked. “None of them can keep a secret. Lance.”
She laughed a little breathlessly. “Makes sense. I especially loved the doughnuts.”
“Thought you might.”
Another cramp hit, and her sisters moved in, fussing over her. And it was a sign of just how much she hurt when she let them. Their conversation went on around him, but he let it, concentrating on the woman in his arms. She was drifting, he thought, resting. And then she sucked in her breath and sat straight up.
Another one. Three minutes apart. “You’ve got this,” he said, and held her through it.
When she relaxed back into him again he took his concentration off her long enough to meet her sisters’ worried gazes. He considered their surroundings and the conditions and what their next move should be.
The windows were lit by the strings of lights, and he could see the heavy snow still falling. Shit. The huge room was filled to the brim. Just about the whole town of Lucky Harbor was here tonight, and that was a good thing, considering people like Dr. Josh Scott were out there on the dance floor, Josh doing his white-boy thing. If the Bean was coming tonight, things could be worse.
One song ended and the next began. Chloe was quiet. While around them the place was loud and warm, they were cocooned from the outside world. Voices filtered to him, and his cop brain processed through the tidbits with one ear.
“Yeah, he’s still the hottest guy here,” came a woman’s voice.
“Damn her for finding him first.”
“Maybe it’s not too serious between them,” the first woman said.
The other one snorted. “Right. I mean, sure, they have a house and now a child together, and there was that whole wedding thing, but other than that…”
Tara snorted and Maddie shot the two other women a hard look.
Sawyer tuned them all out and once again turned to look out the floor-to-ceiling windows lining the north wall.
Snow and more snow.