“A couple more pushes,” Josh promised, “and we’re done.”
“We?” Chloe joked weakly, and pushed.
“That’s it, keep pushing,” Josh told her. To Sawyer he said, “Here comes the shoulder.”
Chloe gritted her teeth and pushed for all she was worth.
“Good girl,” Josh said, “here comes the baby, right into Dad’s hands—ah, there she is. Sweet, beautiful baby Thompson.”
Sawyer stared down at the baby in his hands in shock. Logically, he’d known that this was the end result, but holding the baby in his hands it suddenly became real.
They’d made a baby.
Who wasn’t moving. “Josh.”
“I know.” Josh’s hands were right there with him. Together they turned the baby over, laying her chest on Sawyer’s palm, head down while Josh rigorously rubbed her back.
“Is she okay?” Sawyer heard Chloe ask anxiously.
The baby coughed and sucked in a lungful of air. With the next breath, she wailed her distress at the world in general, her eyes still tightly closed.
Sawyer took his own breath. Jesus.
“She’s perfect,” Josh said to Chloe, quickly and efficiently tying off the umbilical cord. He cleaned the baby with a warm washcloth and wrapped her in a towel, handing her over to the new mama.
Maddie had helped Chloe get propped up on the pillows, but the last few hours had been hard on her. Her hair had gone wild and there were shadows of exhaustion all over her face, but she’d never looked more beautiful to Sawyer than she did right now.
She stared down at the baby in her arms with the same awe and amazement Sawyer felt, and then she lifted her head, her eyes shining brilliantly.
“We did this,” she whispered. “My God, Sawyer. They’re trusting us with a baby.”
He laughed softly, but his throat was so thick and burning he couldn’t do more. “You were amazing,” he said.
“Amazing,” he repeated.
“Take her,” Chloe said. “I want to see her in your arms.”
Sawyer took the soft warm bundle. The quick warm bath seemed to have soothed her, because she’d quieted. His hand spanned the baby’s entire body.
He who’d once been the scourge of all of Lucky Harbor, a troubled, neglected, abused kid with no good future in sight, had somehow managed to turn his life around enough that he had an incredible wife and a new baby.
A family of his very own.
Every single inch of Chloe’s body ached and throbbed, but adrenaline was a funny thing. It allowed her to ignore the pain. She was shaking a little bit. Okay, a lot. And from the back of her mind she was aware that Josh and Maddie were still bustling around taking care of her, but she couldn’t tear her gaze off Sawyer and the baby.
She watched, holding her breath as she stared at father and daughter. She’d never seen that look on Sawyer’s face before. The cop face was gone, and the tight mask of control he usually wore as a buffer between him and the world had slipped away, replaced by sheer awe.
The baby had opened her bright blue eyes and seemed to look directly up into her daddy’s gaze.
Gently, his face serious, Sawyer bent his head and kissed her forehead.
The baby stretched and and made a wide yawn, and Chloe nearly melted at the utter beauty and heartbreaking sweetness.
“You’re perfect,” Sawyer whispered to the baby. “Absolutely perfect.” He looked up at Chloe then, his eyes suspiciously shiny. “She looks just like you, thankfully,” he said. “But given how stubborn she was tonight, she might have a hell of a lot of Thompson in her. God help us all.”
Chloe laughed, and held her arms out for the baby again.
Sawyer laid the infant in her arms, and over the sweet bundle she looked into her husband’s gaze. “Are we okay?” she whispered.
His mouth quirked but his eyes remained serious, oh so serious. “We’re always okay. Always will be.”
Again her eyes filled and she tried to say something but let out a sob instead.
“Ah, Chloe,” Sawyer said, voice thick with emotion.
“I’m sorry,” she gasped. “I’ve been such a bitch. I lost my mind there for a while, and then you kept leaving, and I thought—”
“Never,” he promised, cradling her face in a palm, letting his thumb swipe softly over her lower lip. “I’m in this, Chloe. All the way in. I thought you knew that. I thought I vowed that to you when we got married. I thought I’ve been showing you every day for five years.”
Her heart squeezed. “You have. And it’s been the best time of my life, but I guess a little part of me worries I tied you down.”
“Or,” he said, “you worried that you were tied down.”
She stared at him. “I shouldn’t be shocked that you know me better than myself.” She closed her eyes and then opened them. “Yes,” she admitted softly. “I’ve never been so tied to a place, to a person. Until you. But,” she said when his eyes began to shutter, “it’s the way I want it. I want to be tied to you.”
He studied her for a long moment and then his lips curved.
“You’re picturing it, aren’t you,” she said drily. “Me tied.”
“To my bed,” he said on a low laugh. “Yeah, a little bit. But mostly I’m liking knowing that you’re tied to my heart.”