--Twelve years later--
“And that, my children, is the story of how your father and I met. We were married two years later and had three adorable children. Even though, some of them are little stinkers.” I quirked and eyebrow at my two twin boys. They snickered.
“Mommy,” My eight year old daughter, Amanda was saying, “do you think I’ll meet my prince charming that way?”
“How could you?” Snickered Ryan. “You look like a paper bag.”
“You take that back!” Amanda exclaimed and threw a pillow at her brother. He ducked.
“Hey, hey, hey,” I said, “calm down.” They both looked at me and then glared at each other. “Ryan, apologize to Andie.” He gave me a despairing look. “Don’t give me that look, Ryan. Just do it.”
He sighed. “I’m sorry that you look like a paper bag, Andie.”
“Mom!” She looked to me. “Was that even an apology?”
“No, it was not.” I gave Ryan a disappointing look. “I thought I taught you better, Ryan.”
“Sorry, Mommy.” He looked away, embarrassed.
“Sweetie,” I looked to Amanda and got her attention back. “You’ll know when you’ve met the right guy.”
“But how?” She asked.
“You’ll know, you’ll know.” I told her, not wanting to delve in further on the subject since she was only eight years old. “Alright,” I clasped my hands together. “Time for bed, kiddos.”
They all whined as I shuffled them out of the living room. We passed by Declan as he sat in the dining room working on homework.
“How come Declan gets to stay up late?” Tristan whined.
“Because he’s a senior in high school and you’re six, Tristan.” I explained to my youngest twin.
“Oh,” He said lamely, disappointed.
“Come on,” I said as I pushed him up the stairs. “Go brush your teeth and then I’ll tuck you in.”
“Yes, Mommy.” Tristan said as I watched him climb the stairs. I wandered back into the dining room and wrapped my arms around Declan, giving him a hug. He squirmed a bit. “Don’t stay up too late, Sweetie. You’ve got school tomorrow.” I released him from my hold.
“Alright, Mom.” He said annoyed as I kissed the top of his head.
Just as I straightened up, the front door opened. I spun around. “Evan!” I exclaimed and ran to him before wrapping my arms around him to give him a big hug.
“Oof!” He said when I made impact before chuckling at how silly I still act around him. I mean I’m thirty years old. You’d think I’d act differently, but I still act like a teenager in love when I’m around him. He returned my hug. “Hey, Bella. How was your day?” He kissed the top of my head.
“Oh, you know,” I leaned back from him, his arms still around me, so I could look at his face. “I looked at some more places we could go for our anniversary, did laundry, and worked on some writing. I made sure the kids got ready for school and that they did their homework when they got home.” I glanced at Declan. “Except for someone procrastinated and is still up working on it.”
“I heard that.” Declan said. “And it’s only nine o’clock, Mom. That’s not that late.”
“When you get in your thirties, son,” Evan was saying, “anytime past eight-thirty is late.”
Declan just huffed. “Whatever, Dad.” He said before focusing on his homework some more.
I laughed. I love my family life so much more now than what it had been when I was younger. “Well, your dad and I are heading to bed after we tuck the kids in. Go to bed before midnight, Declan.”
“Yes, Mom.” He waved his hand, letting me know that he got it.
I took away Evan’s business stuff and his coat off, and hung his coat in the closet and sat the briefcase on the floor of the closet, before heading up to tuck the twins in and then Andie. Tristan and Ryan actually went to sleep right away for once after tucking them in. Usually they’re hyper little buggers.
When Evan and I came in to tuck Andie, she asked Evan a question.
“Daddy, how did you know Mommy was the one?”
Evan slid his eyes to mine. “You told them, didn’t you?”
I looked away, embarrassed. “They wanted a story. And not one of the usual ones. What else was I supposed to do?”
“Make one up,” He said. He sighed, then looked to Andie. “I knew she was the one because she didn’t treat me like I was special, she treated me like I was a normal person. Not the heir to my father’s rich insurance company.”
“That was just a bonus,” I piped up jokingly.
I knew Evan had rolled his eyes. “Well, lucky you.” He sat down on Andie’s bed. “Andie, I know once you’re older, you’ll find the perfect man for you. But right now, all I want you to focus on is school and your passions. You’ll have plenty of time to find the right person. I know your mom and I had found each other early in life, but I always thought I would have met The One later in my life. Like when I was in my late twenties, not when I was barely twenty-one.” He kissed the top of Andie’s head. “Just stay positive that he’s out there, waiting to be found by an amazing person.”
“Alright, Daddy.” She responded.
Evan finished tucking her in before we both headed off to our room. After the door was shut, and he started to change into his pajamas—which is just basically his boxer shorts—I flopped down on the bed, exhausted.
“How long did it take you to tell the whole story?” Evan asked after he had sat down on the bed.
I looked up and over at him. He clearly wanted to know. I flipped onto my back. “Let’s see,” I paused for affect. “After dinner, I asked the kids what they wanted to do and they all agreed to be read a story. Besides Declan, he went to his room complaining that he was too old for stories. But then he came down later as I was telling the story. That was at six-thirty and I ended just a bit before nine. So about two and a half hours.”
Evan climbed more onto the bed and then over to me before pulling me into his lap. “You’re too cute for your own good, you know.”
I giggled. “Yes, I know. But it’s your kryptonite, so I think it works in my favor really.”
Evan sighed as he wrapped a piece of my hair around his finger. “It really does, doesn’t it?” He asked rhetorically. I giggled some more like a high school girl. Evan kissed the top of my head. “I love you, Bella.”
“I love you too, Evan.”
We laid like that for a few more hours, just talking, before we both fell asleep, dreaming of happiness for years to come.
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