Roth blotted the sweat from her forehead. “Breathe, baby. Just like we learned. You got this and I’ve got you. What you go through, I go through, remember?”
“Okay, trade places with me,” she said through labored breaths.
One of the labor and delivery nurses chuckled.
“All right, Tressa, one big push and your bundle of joy should slide right into the world. Ready?” Dr. Fiona asked.
After nine hours of labor, hell, yes, she was ready. “Let’s do this.”
Several hours later Tressa watched Roth with their son, Shiloh Randall Lexington. The way he admired the newborn brought tears to her eyes. Thinking back, she remembered how tears had run from Roth’s eyes when she’d told him she was pregnant.
A week after their engagement, she and Roth had married at the only place she would consider—the cabin. At that time she hadn’t believed her life could get any better. It had.
Maybe she should give partial credit to Nettie and the top secret family recipe she’d shared with Tressa as a wedding gift. “Because you’re family now,” Nettie had said.
Turned out, it wasn’t a food recipe at all. It’d been a recipe for a happy marriage. It was an interesting tradition, and she planned to pass a copy down to her boys when the time was right and hoped they committed each ingredient to memory and prepared the dish every day, just as she had.
2 cups of romance.
2 cups of laughter.
2 cups of trust.
2 cups of respect.
2 cups of sharing.
2 cups of tenderness.
2 cups of courtesy.
2 cups of consideration.
2 cups of attention.
4 cups of patience.
She’d altered hers a tad, adding 16 cups of great sex.
The door creaked open and a very pregnant Vivian waddled through, holding Justen’s hand—Tressa and Roth’s three-year-old son. She never used the word adopted, because she felt just like she’d given birth to him. Justen’s thick black curls bounced as his short legs carried him across the room to Tressa’s bedside. He stood on his tiptoes to see her.
“Mommy, okay?” he asked in his tiny voice.
To be so young, the child always showed such empathy for others.
“Mommy is fine, my sweet boy.” She brushed a finger over his caramel cheek. “Let me look at you. I think you’ve grown two inches. Do you want to meet your brother?”
Roth waved Justen over.
Justen patted Tressa’s hand. “Justen be right back. ’Kay, Mommy? I’m a big brother now.”
“Yes, you are, son.” Tressa blinked back tears. God, she loved that little boy. What had started out as a temporary emergency foster placement had turned into a permanent adoption. She thanked God every day for bringing Justen into their lives.
“Congratulations, Mama,” Vivian said, approaching the bed and taking Tressa’s hand.
“Congratulations to you, Godmama. I hope Justen wasn’t too much trouble. He has the energy of several Jack Russell terriers.”
“He was good practice,” Vivian said, rubbing her protruding belly. “Having him at home with us made me even more eager to meet these two handsome fellows.”
“Where’s Alonso?” Roth asked, finally pulling his attention away from his boys.
“Yeah, I can’t believe he let you and those boys out of his sight for one second.” Tressa laughed.
Vivian shook her head. “Well, the godfather of your children is passing out cigars and telling anyone who will listen that he has another godson. Pray for him.”
The room filled with laughter.
Vivian washed her hands and claimed Shiloh. It was the funniest thing ever watching her use her stomach as leverage. While Vivian entertained both boys, Roth pulled a chair to Tressa’s bedside.
“How do you feel, Mama?”
“Like I’ve hit the lottery, over and over again.”
Roth captured her hand and kissed the inside of her wrist. She loved when he did that.
“Woman, do you have any idea how happy you make me, how much I love you and our sons, our family?” he asked in a hushed tone, his eyes full of emotion.
“I do. You show me every single second of the day.” She ran a hand over his stubble. “Man, do you have any idea how happy you make me, how much I love you and our sons, our family, our life together?”