Chapter 29 ~ Three Years On
So, here’s the thing. What Quinn and I discovered, and I’m sure we weren’t alone in our presumption of things, was that parenting… was hard. You have distinct preconceived ideas about how it’s all meant to go, and you realise, very quickly, that you were so fucken wrong. Thank god we had Angelique; she took care of both Tritium and Zaire, our beautiful girl, who was born just a year ago, man, has that time flown by.
Between Quinn’s company and LMPT, we were so busy and our calendars were always filled to the brim, but we always made time for each other, I think was the key to our success, taking that time out for one another. Vinnie now worked at Quinn’s company, stating that he had ready, available, fresh, easy pussy, that were unbelievably accommodating when it came to his unusual sexual thirst. To be honest, I would stop listening every time that boy opened his mouth. Quinn stated he was good at his job, so she overlooked the flirtatious behaviour.
Tonight was the night I had finally decided to propose to my incredible woman, I had planned the whole thing down to tee. To say I was nervous… would be a gigantic understatement and as I looked at the red velvet box, for the thousandth time today, as it taunted me from its position on my desk, I mulled over our years together.
We had been through so much, from our unorthodox beginning to our rocky re-start and finally, our now, where we are in life. Did it bother me that Quinn still kept Tim’s ashes in a house that Angelique and her husband occupied? No. Did it bother me she would still visit his ashes to talk to him? No. There was a part of her that still loved him, this I understood and accepted a long time ago.
I knew she loved me, I knew she loved our kids, I also knew that despite everything she was unbelievably happy, but still, there was a slight twinge of doubt that lingered in the back of my mind, that she would say no. She had kept Tim’s last name, all her documents, all her mail, even her company, it was all under the last name ‘Xeal’ and by saying yes, it would mean letting go of the last connection she had to him.
“Did you not hear me knock?” My hazel eyes snapped up from the box holding Quinn’s engagement ring, to see my father standing before me. “What the hell were you thinking about?”
“Sorry Dad, I was just reflecting.”
He took a seat in front of my desk, “everything set?”
“You don’t look ready, you look nervous,” he eyed me with concern.
“I am nervous, it’s not exactly like I do this kind of thing every day.”
“Well, that’s reasonable, I’d be worried if you weren’t nervous, but son, I know you, hell, I know you better than you know yourself… so why don’t you tell me what’s really going on in that head of yours.”
I leaned back in my chair quizzically assessing my father and his ‘I know you, better than you know you’ smirk that adorned his dial. He never missed a trick that man, sometimes I think, because we spend so much time together, that he really is inside my head and he definitely is an older replica of the man I am.
“You know, when you told me about Quinn’s family and how they were, that you were tearing up their proposal, I took a look into them…” His confession had my eyebrows raise in question, “did you ever think that Quinn’s refusal to change her last name had more to do with blocking the connection to them, and less, to do with releasing her tethers to Tritium Xeal?”
I folded my arms over my chest, blankly staring at the most incredible man I have ever known my entire life. “How did you figure it out?”
“Dante James, you are more like me than you realise,” he grinned like a damn Cheshire cat. “So, see you at seven? Your mother is picking up Mr Chow’s on the way home from work.”
“Seven,” I nodded as he got up from his seat.
“Everything is going to be fine son, that woman loves you more than life, I can see it.”
“Dad…” he stopped, holding open the door, “Thank you.”
The great Logan McCarlock looked at me with not just love from a father to a son, but with pure adoration.
I was sitting there bouncing my leg furiously, man was I nervous, my whole family, everyone I adored gathered around our families table awaiting the arrival of my beautiful woman and our two kids.
I looked over at Aunty Amber and Uncle Pierre with their son Asher, their other two kids had things on tonight and were unable to make it. Mum, Dad, Viola, Blade, Kason and Vinnie, they had all come and I thought to myself that this life I’m lucky enough to live, is special, because I was loved by all of these people in this very room. Not just me though, my kids and my woman, they would sacrifice anything for all of us and I was truly blessed.
My son was the first to come running in, he ran straight into my arms ready for food. Quinn walks into the room after him, holding our beautiful daughter, who had inherited my eyes, “I’m so sorry I’m late.” Quinn was flustered and panicky as she placed Zaire in her high chair next to Mum, giving her a kiss on the cheek before she came to sit next to me.
“Are you alright?” I queried.
“Yes,” she huffed out, throwing her arms around me and pressing her lavish lips against mine. “I’m so happy to see you,” she smiled.
“Why?” I couldn’t help it, it just came flying out of my mouth.
She looked at me, I mean really looked at me. She looked at me as if I was the only person in the whole world, the single look I had been pining for, for so many years. That look of not just lust but absolute, all-consuming, soul weakening, tenderness, affection, endearment and devotion, that kind of passionate love I had only ever seen her give in pictures of her and her ex-husband. She had finally given me the courage I needed to push through with my plan.
My heart beat wildly within my chest as she caressed the side of my face, “why? Because today I didn’t work…”
“What do you mean?”
“I have big news, but we’ll save that for later, after dinner.” I spotted the quick wink she flashed to Mum, suddenly my head was spinning, what the hell did mum know that I didn’t?
“Oh my god, she’s pregnant again,” Viola gasped.
Quinn burst into laughter as my face fell, I couldn’t survive another one, I mean yes it was wonderful and all that, but shit, it was hard work and we’ve only just started to establish a solid sleeping schedule, I haven’t slept properly in three years. “No,” she bellowed in amusement. “No, I’m not, twice was enough, thank you… now, let’s eat, I’m starving.”
I felt a flood of relief wash through me, thank god she wasn’t pregnant, yesterday I found a grey hair, I know for damn sure it appeared because of the ravenous torture children bring.
I took a deep inhale, this was it, this is what I had planned, my dad knew and Kason knew but that’s all I told. I raked my bottom lip harshly through my teeth, as I stood up from my chair, placing our son in my vacant seat as he munched away happily on a spring roll before pulling both him and the chair out of the way and bent down on one knee. Her eyes went wide, those beautiful, haunting sapphire eyes that had drawn me in from the moment I first met her.
“Baby… a lot has happened since we first met…”
“Holy fucken shit.” A collective gasped made its way around the room as Quinn’s eyes glossed over.
“There have been times in our relationship that I thought you would never fully love me, that I would never be enough for you. You were blessed with an incredible husband and that was a hard legacy to follow. We have built a life together, we’ve learned to compromise and work as a team, we bring the best out in each other… well, at least I think we do?” I look down feeling a wave of vulnerability wash over me, did she think that?
I felt her soft, velvety palm cup my cheek, she was assuring me, nodding in encouragement to continue.
“I know we had a rough start, it took a lot to get to where we are, I also know that no matter what we go through in life, we will come out of it stronger and as better people because we do it – together – and that’s all I want, to be together, with you, in every conceivable way, until the day I die. So will you Quinn, do me the profound honour and become my wife?”
Her chin was quivering, the teardrops fell and splashed against her knees as she slowly blinked, but she remained silent, unable to say a word.
I began to doubt myself, shit, had I done the wrong thing? Did she not want a future? Oh no, was her news that she was breaking up with me? We have kids together, how could she do this to them?
Everyone in the room didn’t breathe a word. I wiped the sweat from my forehead with the back of my hand, I had started to perspire from every pore on my body. In my peripheral vision, I could see my family nervously looking between each other, why had she still not said a fucken thing?
“Quinn…” I questioned in a high pitched tone, way higher than it was meant to sound. I was desperate and seeking reassurance, reassurance she was not providing as she silently sobbed in front of me.
“Quinn…” I whispered again as emotion stirred deep within my chest, rising way past boiling point as tears pooled in my eyes.
I had my answer.
I nodded to myself and snapped the box shut. This made her jump in fright, “in all these years, it never occurred to you to tell me you didn’t want marriage?” I growled.
“Daddy?” My son called from the chair just behind me.
“It’s alright Timmy.” I ran my fingers through my hair, shit, this had gone pear-shaped and faster than I could have predicted. I swallowed the large lump that had formed in my throat, it was like swallowing acid.
Suddenly a wave of embarrassment washed over me, “I have to go, thanks for dinner Mum.” I turned back to Quinn, “don’t wait up, I don’t even know if I’ll be home tonight.” I motioned to walk away when I felt her grip my hand, “What?” I snapped.
By now Quinn was hysterical, she was trying to breathe but all she could do was cry and mumble, “mmmm vvei bee yooo.”
“I didn’t understand a word of that,” despite my anger, I pulled a tissue from the box in the centre of the table Mum always kept there and handed it to her.
She looked up at me as her body shook ferociously. “Mmmmm mmm hem,” she sobbed.
I couldn’t handle this, my heart hurt worse than it ever had, and she wanted comfort after rejecting me? No. I had sacrificed everything for her, I have spent years faithfully supporting her through everything and this is what I get for it? Loving someone who doesn’t fully love me.
She tried desperately to hold me there but I yanked my hand away causing her to drop to her knees on the floor. “No,” I spat, “I need space to think.”
She shook her head still sobbing uncontrollably, trying to say something but it only came out in splutters, hiccups and incoherent words. I swivelled around on my heels and stepped forward, “Nnnnooooo!” My mother’s blood-curdling scream hit me at full force, “she was going to ask you, you fucken idiot.”
“What?” every one of us said at the same time.
“Look,” Mum pointed to Quinn’s quivering form on the floor, by now my daughter was crying her eyes out from the tension in the room. I looked down to see a blue ring box similar to mine, clutched in the palm her shaking hand. With her head hung low as she howled in pain, I bent down and collected the box from her grasp, slowly opening it as I rose to my feet.
It was a ring, a masculine ring, a solid platinum band. I pulled it out and noticed an inscription engraved on the inside of it. Mr and Mrs McCarlock ~ Together Forever, and the date of the day we first met.
I was an asshole, not just an asshole, the biggest fucken wanker in the world.
I bent down in front of her again, “were you really going to ask me?” Quinn’s whole body moved up and down to signal yes. “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry.”
The emotion I had been holding back collapsed on top of me and I wept, pulling her to my chest. She rolled her hands into the front of my shirt and clenched the material tightly, lifting her head up, sniffing back the snot that was trying to run out of her nose. She could barely open her eyes and her chin trembled, “I… hate… you.”
I chuckled through my tears, “its okay, I hate me too.”
I wiped my hand over her face, clearing away all the sadness my stupid actions had caused, as she swatted at my hand. We just held each other, there on the floor of my mother and father’s house, everyone was in complete silence until Blade spoke. “Well that was awkward as fuck, don’t anyone repeat it, okay.” Vinnie, Asher and Kason jump to their feet and slapped the back of his head.
“Jesus Christ you two, I’m too old to handle this shit,” Mum growled.
I gripped her chin, “Quinn, will you marry me?”
“No,” she squeaked out. Now I knew she was being a stubborn brat.
“Quinn… Marry me?”
I climbed on top of her, forcing her to lie back against the floor as she laughed. “Quinn?”
She wrapped her arms around my shoulders and gently kissed the tip of my nose. “I didn’t work today, I buried Tritium’s ashes,” my heart stopped. “I signed the house over to Angelique, and I picked up your ring from the jewellers – that was why I was late. I’m sorry I couldn’t answer, I was overcome with emotion Dante because today I closed the book on my past. Here I was, petrified you would say no, making sure that before I even asked you, I would leave you with no doubt that I was five million per cent invested in us and our future. I couldn’t believe that by finally closing the door, it would immediately open a new one. You, us, the kids, I love you, I love them and I love our life and I want your last name to be the name I sign for the rest of my life.”
I claimed her lips right then and there, in front of my entire family but I didn’t care. Timmy jumped on my back as I lay atop his mother. “If I’m not mistaken Ms McCarlock, the first time we met, you swore we’d never see each other again.”
Her lips curved into a big smile, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Oh I think you do, look Quinn…” I teased, “We’re not going to have a problem, are we? The app is specifically for fucks, if I’m not mistaken, so you won’t ever see me again.” She chuckled below me, but my face twisted to seriousness, “I love you.”
Those beautiful eyes looked right through to the very heart of me. “I love you.”
Her Affair - #3 in the Affair Series (Out Now)
Blade was the addiction Viola couldn’t shake.
Every time she got too close, he would burn her alive.
Will she ever be truly loved?
Thank you for reading :)