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Copyright © LJ Sexton 2016

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system without the prior written permission of LJ Sexton, except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976.

This is a work of fiction. All names, characters, places and events portrayed in this book either are from the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, establishments, events, or location is purely coincidental and not intended by the author. Please do not take offense to the content, as it is FICTION.


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This book contains mature content not suitable for those under the age of 18. Involves strong language and sexual situations. All parties portrayed in sexual situations are adults over the age of 18.





Table of Contents



CHAPTER ONE



Keeping secrets was never a hard thing for me to do. Growing up in a house of secrets and lies had taught me well.

My grandmother Yessenia (pronounced either Yeh-SEHN-iy-ah or Jeh-SEHN-iy-ah) Louisa Lewis (who Americanized her name to Jessie when she came here from Mexico) kept many secrets from me growing up. She let go of her Hispanic heritage except for religion. She was a devout Catholic through and through. Her childhood was spent dreaming of marrying an American boy who would rescue her from her parent’s little farm in Mexico. Her parents weren’t rich but just having the necessities was never enough for grandmother. Her need for more was insatiable.

Well, she finally met that American boy while he and his family were on vacation. His name was Clifford Edward Lewis. They met on a beach when she was a young girl of seventeen, and he had just turned eighteen. They spent every day walking the beach and every night laying in the grass in an open field talking about their hopes and dreams. My grandfather’s family came from money—all the things my grandmother wanted in a husband.

The day before the Lewis’s were leaving to go home, Clifford went to my great-grandfather and asked for his daughter’s hand in marriage. When the request was denied, Yessenia threatened to sneak into the United States to follow her future husband. Her parents knew she would do whatever it took to make her dream come true, so instead of risking her life, they agreed to let her marry her love. They were married five years before my mother was conceived. She was their only child.

*****

My grandfather passed away when my mother was twelve. His heart had finally had enough of working sixteen-hour days to give the wife he loved more than anything everything her heart desired and everything she believed their daughter, Marcella Kay Lewis, should have.

My mom’s bedroom was, and still is, a sickening shade of pink with all the accessories to match. I’m talking dressers, nightstands, a canopy, drapes. Hell, most of her clothes were pink.

When I was old enough, I demanded my room be rainbow colored. Grandmother argued with me that I should at least use pastel colors… No. I wanted it to be my personality, not what she expected me to be. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my grandmother, but she was always trying to keep up appearances. Conducting herself as a woman of stature and means, but she was almost broke when she passed.

I was told throughout my childhood that Mother gave birth to me at fourteen. That she had lied and blamed her pregnancy on a sexual assault by a boy whose family was of great wealth and power—his name was Samuel Jacobs.

My grandmother refused to believe this; she called my mom a Jezebel and a whore. See, what I didn’t know at the time was, my grandfather had been retained as the Jacobs’ family lawyer. They paid him well to make sure all their sins disappeared. She refused to hear them spoken of in a bad way even after my grandfather was gone. Attending all their fancy parties and remaining a part of their social circles.

When my grandfather passed on, it broke my mother’s heart. She began to act out and disobey grandmother. She became distant and an introvert of sorts, yet she was forced to go to party after party and behave like a proper young lady.

It was at one of these parties that her sexual assault occurred. Samuel, my father, was an eighteen-year-old that preyed on the emotions of a broken fourteen-year-old girl. He told her that she looked too beautiful to be sitting alone frowning. He whispered in her ear how he had watched her grow and blossom over time. She giggled at his words, and he then suggested they should go downstairs where it was quieter and they could talk.

Samuel was very handsome and a master manipulator. She followed him down to the finished basement furnished with a couch and everything a teenager could possibly want. They relaxed on the sofa, and well, he…wouldn’t take no for an answer. When he was done taking the last of her innocence, she was bruised and sore. He threw a wet washcloth at her and told her to clean herself. As she was straightening herself up, ready to run to tell her mother what he had just done to her, Samuel must have known what she was thinking and threatened to harm to her and my grandmother if she told anyone. She believed him because he went from the boy cooing sweet words into her ear to the monster who took her virginity by force.

When the morning sickness hit, Mom thought she had the flu, so when grandmother took her to the doctor and it was announced she was pregnant, she broke her silence and tried to tell her story. And we all know what happened next. Grandmother made Mom carry me because she said it was against the Catholic religion to have an abortion. Adoption would not be discussed because Marcella had laid down and spread her legs, so surely, she could take care of a baby. I was also told that my mom left me and took off after I turned one years old. But I know now that was a lie.

Before my grandmother passed, when she first fell ill, had been about the time the television was filled with the secrets and stories of the Jacobs family. It all began when my half-brother Samuel Jacobs, Jr., also known as Slick on the streets, kidnapped Nevaeh Johnson. She was his girlfriend who had taken enough of his abuse and decided to escape. He had also taken and almost killed our other half-brother, Jared Trenton.

As everything unfolded, my grandmother began to cry, and she explained to me what my mother had revealed about my conception. She asked for forgiveness, and I told her I was the wrong one to ask for that. She needed to ask her daughter and her holy father for forgiveness. She kept saying it was too late, and up until a few months ago, I wasn’t sure what she meant

*****.

After grandmother, had passed, I was contacted by Samuel Jacobs. He wanted to hire me to defend Jared who had been arrested on bogus charges. I refused and asked him to never contact me again.

I did defend my brother, but not for the sake of that horrible man. I had no family left, and I wanted to get to know him. In that process, I gained a whole family.

After Jared was married, we each received a check for ten thousand dollars. Neither of us wanted to accept the money. Then we decided to donate it to Ladybug House. An amazing home Jared’s sister-in-law Nevaeh started for abused women and children. A place where I now volunteer by giving the women legal advice. We figured something positive had to come from all the hurt that family caused.

Samuel, my father, and his whole family were a nasty bunch. They all held political offices and were corrupt as hell. Samuel had been thought to have killed David Trenton, the father of Ethan, Jared’s older brother. But as it turned out, David had been sent away to an off-the-books witness protection detail with only two people knowing his whereabouts—Officer Jeffery Taylor, Sr. and his partner. Taylor, Sr. was killed by Samuel, Sr. a few weeks later.



CHAPTER TWO



So, secrets are kind of in my blood. The biggest secret being my mother is dead. She was killed in a car crash at the age of twenty-one.

The biggest lie was that she did not just leave. Grandmother threw her out and wouldn’t allow her to take me.

Just before I took over the apartment Jared’s mom, Ashley, was renting before her one true love returned to her, I was cleaning out my grandmother’s house readying it for sale. I had no use for a house so big. I came across a locked metal box, and when I finally busted the lock, there were letters addressed to me from the time my mother left until she died. They were opened, which told me Grandmother had been through them.

I read each letter twice. They started out admitting that she had, in fact, left with an older boy. They went to Vegas to get married because she thought it would help when she came back for me. But with her only being fifteen, even in Vegas, she needed a parent’s signature. Not wanting to come back, they forged the paperwork and got hitched. From what I could tell, husband number one was not a nice person. Mom never actually said his name in the letters; instead, just labeled him husband number one.

The letters started going from bleak to joyful as she met another man; his name was Oscar Cole, and he was older than her. He was twenty-five she was seventeen.

At the time she met him, she was a cocktail waitress. Yeah, she lied about her age to get the job. He was sweet as she explains in her letters. He never pressured her. He got her an apartment—as she was currently couch surfing.

He waited until she turned eighteen then asked her to marry him. She said she had to first tell him about me and what had happened to her. He listened, and he cried with her. They had made plans to marry then come here and file custody papers to reunite me with my mother. They married the following year, and in her letters, she describes him as a selfless man, a loving man, someone that would love me like a father should. But then he was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor six month into the marriage. He made her fly to Michigan to begin the paperwork, and she did. He lived another year due to chemotherapy and radiation and made her promise to follow up on the paperwork to bring her little girl home.

That was the last letter from my mother. The next was a piece of newspaper, an obituary from a Nevada paper.

Cole-Lewis,Marcella,Kay age21. Preceded in death by her husband Oscar and her father, Clifford Edward Lewis. She leaves behind one child. No service will be held.



It gave little information. Apparently, Grandmother had the obituary written.

I searched to see if my mother’s ashes were kept in the house. I didn’t find them, but I came across a receipt for burial of the ashes in my grandfather’s grave. So, my mother had passed away when I was six years old, but my grandmother kept that secret from me and let me believe she never cared.

I cursed, I screamed, I threw things. Only he could calm me down. Only he could understand my anger. Only he could hold me and stroke my hair and tell me that if he could take my pain away, he would do it with no hesitation. He meant every word.



CHAPTER THREE



Jeffery Taylor, Jr. has been a constant in my life since my junior year of high school. He was my best friend Donna’s boyfriend Willie’s cousin by adoption.

Say that three times, fast. Ha!

He was this scrawny, sandy-brown-haired boy who wanted nothing more than to fit in. We met at Donna’s birthday party. He was a few years younger than me, so at that time, I paid no attention to him. But no matter what, when Donna and I would go to the mall, Willie and Jeff were there.

He wasn’t like boys my age. Hell, he wasn’t like boys his age. He was very mature, and he wasn’t pushy or puffing his chest out, peacocking for girls’ attention. He was polite and well-mannered.

We became good friends even though we lived in different cities. He lived in Pontiac, and I lived in Waterford. Not a long distance from each other, but far enough so my grandmother wouldn’t know. It didn’t matter that we were just friends, she would have forbidden me to even speak to him. She always preached that school was important and boys would only distract me.

Jeff was a distraction, but one I only allowed on the weekends. When Donna and Willie were overdoing the public displays of affection, we would walk and talk. He told me his dad was killed in the line of duty and his mother died not long after in her sleep.

“They say her heart just stopped. But I believe it was broken. My mother died from a broken heart,” he told me once.

I couldn’t understand loving anyone so deeply that the beating of your heart depended on them being a part of your life. It was sad to hear his story.

After his parents, Jeff and Diane died, there was no one that could take him in but his father’s partner. Both of his parents were raised in the foster care system and apparently, they met when they were placed in the same home. He came to her rescue when one of the foster brothers snuck into her room one night, and he heard her scream.

They were both removed immediately and placed in Children’s Village until they were found other accommodations. They were almost seventeen.

Jeff, Jr.’s dad pleaded with the courts to allow him to be emancipated so he could work. His foster care caseworker explained to the judge that he was an honor roll student and had never had any discrepancies with any of the homes he was in until the last one. She explained what happened and added that he would be working in her family’s restaurant and living in the small one-bedroom apartment above it. He was asked if he was thinking of a career, and he told the judge he wanted to join the police force. He wanted to protect those that couldn’t protect themselves.

The judge looked over all his reports and granted him the emancipation. Unfortunately, Jeff’s mom wasn’t given hers. His dad worked at night and on the weekends, attended school during the week.

Jeffery Taylor, Sr. graduated summa cum laude, highest in his class. He enrolled in Oakland University to get his criminal justice degree, and ultimately, wanted to be a detective with the Pontiac Police working in drug enforcement.

Diane began living with him soon after graduation. They married the following spring.

While Jeff attended his classes, she worked at the restaurant under their small apartment. Attending classes three days a week at Oakland Community College, she was unsure of what her major should be. All she knew was she wanted to be educated and be the best wife she could. Her husband made her feel something she had never ever experienced before—love—and in return, she gave him her heart and her soul.

Not long after, my Jeff was brought into the world. He was the apple of his parents’ eyes.

His dad made it into drug enforcement as an undercover narcotics officer. He was assigned a case—to infiltrate the Jacobs’ drug ring. He infiltrated the group and worked undercover for a year before he was killed.

Diane was devastated, and not even her precious little boy’s love was enough for her. The one and only person to complete her was gone.

I asked him how he knew all of this and he said his mother left behind a diary of sorts. When his guardian felt he was old enough to learn the truth, he had given it to him.



CHAPTER FOUR



When I left for the University of Michigan Law School in Ann Arbor, Jeff was barely in high school. He wrote me every week, and I loved his letters. They were a highlight in my life at that point.

Jeff graduated a year early due to his excellent grades. Like his father, he attended Oakland University and every chance he could, he would come to visit. With each meeting, he grew more handsome. He had started hitting the gym in his freshmen year of high school, and that scrawny kid became a lean, mean muscle machine.

He attended my college graduation. Like I’ve said, he’s been a constant. When I moved back home after graduation, he asked to take me on a proper date. I gave in and accepted his invitation. My grandmother tried to intervene, but I let her know that I was a grown woman starting my life with a new career. I only moved back in to her house because I felt bad for all she had sacrificed to raise me. A sacrifice that was all a lie.

*****

We have been dating for a long time now, preferring not to let my “new” family know this tidbit of information right now. They think this started when I helped clear Jared of his bogus charges.

Neither one of us are used to the family thing, and the Trenton’s do everything together. Holidays, birthdays, weddings, everything is done to the extreme, and they always include Jeff and me in everything. I’m happy they are so loving, but coming from a home shared only with my grandmother where mostly everything has been kept private, it gets to be a little overwhelming.

Jared is everything I could ask for in a little bother, and Ethan, even being younger than me, acts as if he is the older sibling, always threatening Jeff with bodily harm if he ever hurts me. Nevaeh is the sister I never had, and now I have two nieces, Leigh and Katrina, and a nephew, David. Jared’s husband, Devon, is the only one who seems to understand this is all new to me.

So, when Jeff asked me to marry him, I had one stipulation—we not tell the others. I know it sounds heartless and snobbish, but I just couldn’t go through all the things I watched poor Devon and Jared go through. I wanted a simple ceremony, not a big ta-do. I wanted this to be ours and ours alone.

Jeff told me if that’s what would make me happy, if I said, “I do”, then that’s all that mattered to him. So, on October 8th we were married in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. We drove up on Friday to get our marriage license, and Saturday morning were married at the Falls Wedding Chapel. It was very simple, just a justice of the peace and two witnesses.

It was the honeymoon night that was intense. Jeff is a master of foreplay. He can make every one of my nerve endings tingle. I swear, my body always feels like it’s ready to spontaneously combust before he even works his way inside of me.

But that night, he was possessive. It was like he was claiming me as his and his alone. He all but ripped my clothes off. Every tug, pull, or lick was hard. My mind mixed with pleasure and pain. But when he pushed me face first against the wall, spreading my legs, he began slapping my pussy. I was taken to a whole other world of euphoria. They weren’t hard strikes, but every one hit my clit making my body quiver from the orgasms that came in their wake.

Then he just stopped. My body was wet with sweat and ready with anticipation for whatever he had planned next. And I felt it. The first swipe of his tongue. It started at the tip of my ass crack and traveled to the hard, little nub that had been throbbing since he pushed my face into this wall. He made several passes, just barely touching my clit.

Every time got close, I would try to grind into him, but he was having none of that. He needed to be the one to dip his tongue into my tight little hole and push his finger into my wet pussy. My body turned to jelly, and if not for the one arm he had wrapped around me, I would have slid down that wall.

He kept up the assault. I was so deep into the sensations that I hadn’t noticed he was no longer holding me up, and that his tongue had moved on to my ass as well as another finger. I was taken over a ledge I had never been brought to, and I couldn’t stop the fall. When Jeff’s attention left me, I could no longer stand on my own, so he stood up and scooped me into his arms all in one movement.

My body was spent, but I needed him inside of me. His need for me was just as bad. He gently laid me down in the middle of the king size bed, grabbed my breasts with both hands and lowered his mouth, sucking and licking the left and then the right.

I ran my hand down his chest and over his well-defined abs until I found my favorite trail…you know the one that leads to happiness—the happy trail! Well, I followed it until I found my very own erect happiness. Jeff’s cock is one of magnificence. Its sheer length is a bit intimidating, add to that its girth, and well, it can be downright frightening. The first time we had sex, I thought he was going to rip me apart. But now, it’s everything I crave.

I did my best to stroke him at the same pace he was sucking and licking my tits, but every time his mouth touched them, I felt my body shudder in pleasure. All I wanted was for him to be inside me.

He sat up in the bed to reach for the box of condoms, but I stopped him. We were married now, so there was no reason to use them anymore. He asked me if I was sure, and I showed him just how certain I was by pulling him back until he was lying on the bed and I had maneuvered myself until I was hovering over him.

With an “I love you” escaping my lips, I slid down Goliath, (yes, I dubbed his cock Goliath), the walls of my pussy contracting as he let out a low growl. As I slowly slid up and then back down, his grip on my hips became tighter, and again the pain and pleasure were taking me to limits I had never felt.

When he noticed my reaction to his hold, he decided to up the ante. On my last up-stroke, he slid me completely off his cock and laid me face down on the bed. Using his left arm to pull me up on my knees, he smacked my ass. The sting brought me to tears and an orgasm. Then he smacked it again, and this time, the impression left went from a sting to a burn, but fuck me, it was so erotic.

He did it a few more times before I felt him pinch my clit, and I screamed his name… “JEFF!”

He did not give me warning before he slammed Goliath into me. He fucked me like a greedy man, making sure there was nothing left. I felt the buildup of what would be the biggest orgasm of my life. All it took was him slapping my pussy one last time for both of us to drown in our release. It seemed like it took hours to come down from the high I was feeling. My body grew tired and unable to move, so my husband picked my now lifeless body up, pulling the sheet and comforter down, and putting me to bed like a child.



CHAPTER FIVE



Michigan winters are hell and what should have taken us maybe fifteen minutes to get to Ashley and David’s house has taken twenty-five. Jeff drives like an old man in good weather, so, in turn, his ass is slower than molasses in the winter.

“Babe, you can speed up just a little,” I say to him.

“I have precious cargo in this here vehicle, and I plan to get it to our destination in one piece,” he responds as he grabs my hand and kisses the back of it.

“I’m far from fragile, sweetie. Now drive like the twenty-eight-year-old you are, not the six eight-year-old you’re puttering like,” I say as I pull my hand away from him. My fragility is more nascent than he knows. Like I’ve said, keeping secrets is in my blood, and I have one my husband doesn’t even know.

As we pull into the driveway, I look at all the decorations. There are so many lights, I bet they can be seen from outer space. There are reindeer, blow-up Santa’s. (Yes, more than one.) There’s even a huge inflatable Grinch. The door has a beautiful wreath adorned with red and white bows.

As Jeff knocks, I try to stomp the snow off my boots as not to track it all over the hardwood floors David has been working so hard on. I hear Leigh and Little David holler “we got it”, and then the door flies open.

“Auntie Barbie! Merry Christmas! Uncle Jeff, you’re here!” Leigh shouts as we enter the front door. Jeff was unsure if he would get the time off from the sheriff’s department.

I can smell the aroma of turkey, cinnamon, and a barrage of other smells. It’s making my stomach turn.

The inside of the house is just as over-decorated as the outside. There is pre-lit green pine garland wrapped around the banister in the entry way. As we enter the living room, there’s a big white artificial tree decorated in red and silver bulbs, a few ornaments you can see were made by the kids, and a beautiful angel in a red satin dress sitting on top.

Red garland is hung around the archway and the window frames. On a far wall, the stockings are hung in all different colors, and each one has one of our names on it. There are pictures of Santa, snowmen, and reindeer on the walls. The tree is jam-packed with gifts of all different shapes and sizes.

Everyone is sitting in the living room where Ashley has a fresh pot of coffee and cookies set up on the coffee table. Nevaeh is nursing little Katrina as Devon, Ethan, and Jared argue about some football game. Ashley is sitting on David’s lap watching their grandson shake gifts to see if he can guess what’s in them.

Jeff grabs my coat and hangs it in the closet as I take a seat in the only open chair. I wonder if anyone will notice my wedding ring? I never wear it around them.

Ashley jumps up to offer Jeff a hot cup of coffee which he gladly accepts. He sits on the floor next to my chair with his steaming cup as the other men try to drag him into their ‘why the Detroit Lions suck’ argument. He shakes his head as Jared and Ethan let it be known that they agree the Detroit Lions will make a comeback, and Devon and Jeff give them shit about it. Let’s face it, the Lions haven’t been good in a long time.

“Barbie, could help me get some more cookies and these little ones some fresh hot chocolate?” Ashley asks as she takes the plate that holds a few remaining cookies on it.

I nod and stand to follow her. Once we’re in the kitchen, she reaches into the candy dish on the little kitchen table.

“Here, these will settle your stomach.” She hands me five peppermint candies and winks. Without any more words, we load the plate up with cookies and Ashley warms up the cocoa.

As we walk back into the family room and Nevaeh lays Katrina down in her pack and play, she says, “So, Barbie, what big plans do you two have for New Year’s Eve? The Nyght’s men are hosting a big dinner at Ladybug House, and we are all going up to help them out. New Year’s Day, we plan on taking all the children out sledding. You two are more than welcome to join us.”

“Baby, they aren’t tied down with a house full of kids like we are; they’re probably going to be getting their party on!” This comes from Ethan who is bouncing his shoulders, imitating dancing with his son beside him wiggling his hips.

“We really haven’t discussed anything, but it sounds fun. We’ll talk when we get home, and I’ll text you our answer,” I reply as my man tilts his head back for a kiss.

Ashley left to go into the kitchen when the oven timer buzzed. The smell is nauseating.

I get out of my chair, attempting to walk to the bathroom without blowing chunks all over the top of Jeff’s head. Hurrying up the stairs, I barely make it to the toilet. I reach over and turn the faucet on so no one can hear the disgusting noises as I hurl and gag.

Oh, god how long does this last?

Once my stomach empties, I put some toothpaste on my finger to rub on my teeth and mouth in order to get the nasty taste out, then pop a peppermint in it. As I make my way downstairs, everyone is sitting at the table waiting on me so that David can say grace before we eat. I sit in between Leigh and Jeff. They each grab one of my hands and David begins.



“Heavenly Father, we come to you today to give thanks for this bounty of food prepared by my beautiful Princess, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter. We give thanks to you for bringing us back together again. We give thanks for Katrina and your gift of keeping her momma here to care for her. We give thanks for Devon, my new son-in-law, who without any doubt will love and cherish my son forever. We give thanks to you for bringing Barbie to us, her family. Taylor Senior, I give you thanks for leaving us your legacy, your son Taylor Jr. He’s been a good friend, and I have taken him as a son. Taylor, Sr., I also give you thanks for what you done for me all those years ago. Without you, I may not have been sitting here giving these thanks. Heavenly Father, we thank you for the beautiful and amazing Leigh and our little bundle of energy my namesake Little David. Please continue to watch over each of them keeping them safe and healthy. Amen.”



We all say Amen in unison. Food begins to get passed, and for each dish that passes under my nose, my stomach rolls. It all smells great, but at the same time, makes me want to puke. I put a little bit of potatoes, green bean casserole, and a small piece of turkey on my plate as to not alert anyone to my issue.

Conversation flows, and still, no one acknowledges my ring. I eat what I can. Mostly dinner rolls. I refuse any desserts and sip on a bottle of water. Once we get the table cleared and dishes in the dishwasher, the kids are excited to open gifts.

“Oh, we left our bag in the trunk of the car,” I say as I head to the front door.

“Babe, let me get them,” Jeff responds as he takes the keys out of my hand.

“No. Leigh, will you come help me grab the gifts?” I ask as I take the keys back from Jeff with a kiss.

Leigh throws her boots on, and we head out the door. Once we get the bags out of the trunk, I reach into one and grab a little, wrapped box, handing it to my niece.

“Leigh, this was delivered to my house for you from Josiah,” I say as I look to make sure no one followed us out or can hear me.

We stand there as she tears open the wrapping paper then opens the box to find a beautiful Pandora bracelet with a sea shell charm and a ladybug. Leigh’s face is all smiles as she examines the gift. I hear the door open.

“Hey, do you ladies need any help?” Devon hollers out.

“No!” we holler at the same time.

I throw the empty box in my trunk as she shoves the bracelet in her pocket so her dad doesn’t see it. Yes, we are enablers. Jared and Devon allow letters to come to their house from him to her. If Ethan found out, all our asses would be grass, but. I think it’s harmless, and he needs to chill. I missed out on this type of thing growing up.

We close the trunk and walk hurriedly back into the house.

******

We open gifts from Ashley and David. They got me a beautiful, fluffy pink robe and Jeff a dark blue matching one. Next were gifts from Nevaeh, Ethan, and the kids—slippers to match our robes. Jared and Devon got us a gift certificate to our favorite Chinese restaurant.

We hand Leigh and Little David their gifts to open then Jeff and I start distributing our gifts to the adults. Just as I hand Nevaeh her and Ethan’s, she grabs my hand.

“Oh my god, look at that rock!” she yells as Ashley jumps from David’s lap after opening their gift, our wedding picture.

“You guys got…Wait, when did you…?”

Before Ashley could finish, Jared pipes in. “Mother…fuckers eloped!”

Nevaeh rips the wrapping paper off their picture and tears roll down her face just as they do Ashley’s.

“Why didn’t you guys tell us? We would have been there!” David says as he stands to hug me and shakes Jeff’s hand.

Jared and Ethan stand there with some very pissed looks on their face.

“Please don’t be mad. It was all my idea. I asked Jeff to keep this a secret. I’m sorry, I just wanted this to be ours, alone for a while,” I say.

“Over two fucking months you waited to tell us? That’s fucked up. We are family!” Jared is screaming, his face is red.

“Babe, you have to see it from her point of view. She isn’t used to the big family thing. This can be a little overwhelming at times you must admit. Don’t be mad at them, be happy,” Devon says as he holds his husband tight. My brother stands in his love’s arms for a few more minutes before he kisses his nose and walks over to pull me into a hug.

“Congrats, big sister,” he whispers in my ear. I hug my little brother tight as tears begin to well up in my eyes. Then I hear it.

“I will kill you if you hurt her. I will wreck you like a two-dollar hooker on dollar day if you break her heart, understand?” Oh god, it’s Ethan talking to Jeff.

“Ethan, you do understand you are threatening an Oakland County sheriff’s deputy, right?” Jeff asks with a chuckle.

“Out of uniform. In this house, you are my brother, so I can threaten you all I want,” Ethan replies as he hugs Jeff.

After all the tears, hugs, and congratulations have finished, Leigh grabs the bags that had the gifts in them and announces that there is still one present left to give, and it’s for Jeff. She hands him the unopened gift, and he looks at me with a raised brow.

“Open it,” I say.

He rips the off paper, staring at the framed picture of a positive pregnancy test, a sonogram, and a teddy bear with a blue bow and the words, “Merry Christmas, Daddy. Baby due, July!”

Tears are now falling down his face and hitting the glass on the picture. Everyone jumps up to see what has this man weeping. They all look at the picture then me. Jeff wipes his eyes as he stands up, then he grabs me, picking me up off my feet in a big hug.

“Babe, when did you find out?” he asks as he places me back on my feet.

“Just after Thanksgiving. I wanted to tell you when we were with our family on this special night.”

I kiss his lips. He holds his forehead to mine looking into my eyes, and at that moment, all the people and noise in the room disappears. All I hear is the beating of our hearts.

I’m not sure how long we stood like that, but our brief silence was broken by Little David yelling, “Merry Christmas!”


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