According to the Army (thanks to Mitch), Adam Christian Taylor went missing during a mission some years ago. He was declared dead with no body being found. Turns out, he was alive the whole time. He was found six months ago, gravely wounded and with a case of hardcore amnesia.
And Nox hates it.
But it was the only story Mitch insisted would work for Nox to have his old identity back. What Nox hates is being thanked for something he never did.
Steeling his jaw, he says, “Don’t thank me, sir.”
The judge smiles, “’Course not. Just doing your duty.”
Terah takes hold of Nox’s hand, clearly trying to save him. She says to the judge, “I’m sorry, do you mind if I steal them away for some photos? Mom’s getting snappy happy .”
The judge chuckles, “Not at all, dear.” He turns to us both. “I hope you have a long and happy life together. Truly, I do.”
With that, we leave the courthouse and make our way to a local park.
A gazillion photos later, we head to the restaurant for our wedding dinner with our family. And when we get there, Nox pulls me back a little. “I don’t want any crying, babe.”
Shaking my head, I ask chuckling, “Why would I cry? I’m so effing happy, you dork!”
“Yeah, well-” Nox looks passed me and smiles, “Yeah. You’re gonna cry.”
Turning, I gasp in shock.
No way. No way!
Rock and Boo stand there , dressed to the nines, ready to celebrate with us.
And, of course, it happens.
My eyes tingle for a whole second before I cover my mouth with my hand and burst into tears.
Boo rushes forward, dressed in a long tawny-pink number. She looks great. Taking me in a warm hug, I feel her body shake with mine. Crying happy tears.
Rock pulls her away from me a second, only to wrap me up tight. He looks good in slacks and a grey shirt. Wiping my tears away, I announce, “You two look so effing hot!”
Boo barks a laugh, “Damn, Deedee. Never thought I could see someone look so beautiful before, but…” She motions to my very plain wedding dress and shrugs. Rock finishes for her, “You look like an angel, babe.”
My heart warms.
I’m so happy right now!
Clare comes forward with her hands on her hips and wide eyes, “Adam, we’re going to have words later. Why didn’t you tell me they were coming?”
Rock smiles big and opens his arms to her, “Mama!”
Boo knocks him aside, “Wait in line, bub!” Then she runs to Clare, “Mama!”
I should’ve known they’d met before. Mama talked about them when we went to visit her that first time, but had never said she’d actually seen them in person.
We approach our table, and everyone is introduced to each other. We spend the next hour chatting away and having a great time.
It’s relaxed and low key.
And I love it.
Nox and I decided to go against tradition. We wanted a small wedding and we wanted to pay for it ourselves. I know I come from money, but this was important to me. My independence means everything to me.
Everyone orders what they want for dinner (which is something my dad insisted on paying for and Nox agreed on) and I sit back a moment, taking in everything around me.
Looking around, I smile softly. Terah and Jon talk closely together, holding hands. Boo and Rock talk loudly and animatedly, obviously arguing about something stupid. Like always. Mom and Dad chat away to Clare. And Nox…
I turn to my husband.
I find him watching me with that gorgeous crooked smile in place.
Leaning close to me, he says, “Hey.”
Moving even closer to him, our noses touch, and I whisper, “Hi.”
He kisses my lips gently, and my eyes close in sheer delight. I sigh through my nose and kiss him deeper. Pulling away gently, he asks on a grin, “So when are you gonna give me babies?”
Almost choking on my tongue, I laugh quietly, “Not anytime soon. Maybe in a couple of years. You know, when I’ve had enough time to enjoy you.”
His hand rests on my thigh and he squeezes. “I’m down for that.”
Smiling like an idiot, I rub my nose against his. “Good. Because even though I love kids, I’m not ready for them yet.”
Kissing my lips once, he utters, “That’s fair, baby. Whatever you want, I’m good with.”
Suddenly, he asks seriously, “Are you happy?”
My heart expands and warms.
“Yes. Completely.” I lose my smile. “Are you?”
He thinks a moment, his brows furrowed. “Can’t think of a time I was even half as happy as today.”
My heart stutters and I get dreamy-happy.
I watch as he looks around the table and smiles. Turning back to me, he wraps an arm around my shoulders and pulls me close. Kissing the top of my head, he utters, “Nothing’s gonna beat today. Got everyone I care about close, and that’s never happened in my life. I hate to say it, babe…” Looking at me with dead seriousness, he continues, “Never thought I’d be glad about having to protect someone. But, fuck me, I totally am. Hate what we went through to get here. But…we’re here. And that’s all I care about.”
Leaning my forehead into the side of his chin, I say softly, “Love you, Nox.”
He sighs, “Love you more, princess. You have no idea how much.”
I close my eyes tightly, put a hand to his thigh and squeeze.
I’m pretty sure I do.
Two years later…
Coming back from my run, I huff and puff while I make my way into our house.
My heart pounds.
Today was a good one. I beat my personal best and I managed that on my new prosthetic running leg.
It’s so fuckin’ cool. It’s an L shaped piece of carbon-fiber that makes me bounce more than run.
And I’m loving it. But I’m tired as hell now.
Lily and I bought a house not too long after we got married. She was right. The apartment was too small. We needed a place where I could have a room as a gym, and eventually a nursery.
Our house is a modest four bedroom home in the suburbs.
It took Mitch a little time to have my money cleaned and put into an account in my real name. Regardless of how much money we have, Lily insists on working. I don’t think this is a bad thing. In fact, I like that she knows what she wants. Although, I am surprised as hell that she went back to work with her dad at Flynn Logistics.
She’s working her way up. And fast. In the past year, she’s had three promotions.
And this isn’t because she’s Daddy’s girl. It’s because she works damn hard, and she’s smart as hell.
I’m so proud of her.
I, however, am retired.
I’ve worked enough in my young life to realize that I was missing out on too much. So now, I enjoy my life with Lily.
“Lily?” I yell this into the kitchen.
No answer. Walking down the hall and out the back door, I find her. Smiling, I take a look at what she’s doing and chuckle.
I walk down the steps to her, and take the clothes out of her hands. “Let me do that. It’s too high up for you.”
Lily smiles at me like I’m her hero.
Always her hero.
All I did was hang some wet clothes for her.
She asks, “So? How was it?”
Still catching my breath, I huff out a laugh. “Like running on water. So damn good. I don’t think I’ll ever take this one off.”
And she grins, “Maybe I can give you a reason to take it off.”
My brows rise.
Turning, I ask hoarsely, “Oh yeah? How baby?”
Looking left, then right, she crooks her finger. Leaning down to her, she reaches up and cups my cheeks. She presses her lips to mine, and I breathe her in.
My wife is amazing.
Pulling back a little, she whispers, “I’ve got an itch that needs scratching.”
Playing with her, my face turns serious. “Where is this itch?”
The apples of her cheeks flush pink.
I love when they do that.
Licking her pink lips, her smiling, green eyes meet mine. “I need to show you somewhere I can lie down. The bedroom would be a good place to start.”
A good place to start?
She had me at itch.
Turning, her hair swishes down her back, and I feel myself start to harden.
Fuckin’ love that hair.
I watch her ass sway as she walks up the steps, and into the house.
After this afternoon’s spectacular love making, Nox left me to sleep it off. And I needed it.
The man is insatiable.
…Oh, who am I kidding?
I’m just as bad.
Recently, it’s gotten really bad. I feel like such a hussy! But my husband loves me, and is always willing to help me scratch my itch.
Smiling like an idiot, I feel a small sharp pain in my belly.
Ooh. That was not so nice.
Then another. And another.
Standing on wobbly legs, I make my way out to the hall.
Looking down at my feet, my eyes widen to the size of saucers.
“Mom, I can’t tell her to stop working. It makes her happy. Do you think she’d even listen to me if I asked?” I say into the cell phone.
Mom responds, “She won’t listen, but it doesn’t mean you don’t have to try. She’s in a delicate stage at this point, baby. You helping her out?”
Somewhat proud of myself, I state, “Hung the washing for her just this afternoon.”
I can almost see Mama’s smile, “That’s my good boy.”
Leaning back on my chair, I admit, “I like helping her, anyways, it makes me feel like I’m doing something.”
Mom replies, “Oh baby, you’ve already worked too hard. You deserve a rest. Enjoy your time at home. You never were a lazy man. Maybe you could volunteer somewhere if you feel like you’re not doing anything useful.”
I purse my lips as my brows rise. “That’s actually not a bad idea, Mama. I’ll make some enquiries come Monday.”
“Adam Christian Taylor!” Lily shouts.
My brows furrow. “Hold on, Mama.” Turning to my wife, who stands at the end of the hall, I ask, “What is it, princess?”
Sniffling and smiling, she states, “My water just broke.”
My mouth gapes.
Lily takes one look at my face and bursts into laughter, covering her mouth with her hand. Placing the other hand on her swollen belly, she nods. “Seriously. Just now.”
Suddenly panicked, I shout into the phone, “Lily’s water just broke, Mom! What do we do?”
Mama chuckles, “Oh baby! It’s finally happening!” She suddenly becomes stern. “Don’t you panic, boy. Ya hear? You stay cool and calm for your wife. She needs you to be strong right now so she can leech off of it when she doesn’t have any strength left inside-a her.”
My mom’s smart.
Immediately calming, I look over to a smiling Lily and state with a grin, “Gotta go, Mama. Having a baby.”
Mom clucks, “You send Lily my love and call me as soon as he or she is here.”
“Okay, Mama. Love you.”
“Love you too, baby.”
Lily bites her lip and says, “I think we should go.”
Standing, I take the keys to the car, pick up the pre-packed overnight bag, and walk over to my wife. Kissing her on her smiling lips, I agree, “Yeah, princess. Let’s do it.”
Wrapping her arm around my waist, she squeezes tightly and hisses out a breath. “Dammit, that hurts!”
And I can’t help but chuckle.
I think she said the same thing the first time we made love.
Dear Uncle Rock,
My name is Rocco Lennox Taylor.
We haven’t met before, but my mom and dad talk about you and Aunt Boo all the time.
I was born only last week and I have a favor to ask.
You see, I need a set of godparents. According to Mom and Dad, there aren’t a finer pair of people for the job than Aunt Boo and yourself.
Maybe I should tell you a little about myself. I weigh ten pounds even and am almost 20 inches long. I have spiky black hair, and my daddy’s blue eyes.
I love to eat and sleep at this point, not much more.
If you think you’d like to take this mission, we’ll be celebrating my Christening in two weeks at our local church, here in California.
My daddy says you know where we live, and that you’re always welcome.
Mommy says if you can’t make it, it’s okay. Aunt Terah and Uncle Jon are acting as backups just in case.
I really hope you can make it. I’d really like to meet my namesake. If not now, then soon.
Lots of love,
P.S. My fingers are way too tiny to be writing. This letter was written by my mommy.
My eyes blur and my throat thickens .
I re-read the letter.
Covering my face with a hand, I cry like a little bitch.
Clearing my throat, I wipe my eyes, take the letter, and walk out of my room.
Smiling, I yell out, “Boo! Got some good news, babe…”