Bonus Scene: Ambition and Anticipation, Bonus PoV for Farewells and Forever
Congratulations for hitting 200 reviews on Farewells and Forever. It seems like this was just finished, and yet it’s been a hot minute. At the same time, it feels like I just started that series and it was over 3 years ago. Still, goals are goals and you unlocked an achievement with the reviews, so now you get the prize. Here’s a fun little bonus scene just for you. If you haven’t read F&F, this will definitely contain spoilers.
I rocked Charlie gently. His sniffles had gotten worse, but it was just teething. Sweet baby boy was just precocious trying to cut them all at the same time. Izzy had been like that. Thankfully, Joshua had spared us, cutting his teeth with barely a whimper or a roar. He just got it done.
Not that I minded, Charlie just needed extra cuddles when his temperature was up and I felt the same way. It was nice to be cuddled when you weren’t feeling well. Cuddling them was one of my favorite things to do, especially when they were soft and warm from their bath, smelling sweet. I rubbed my cheek against his hair as we just rocked together.
Jake had looked after him while I showered, then I took Charlie in the shower to wash him up too. The falling water always made him laugh. Now that we were dressed again, Jake left me to settle him while he grabbed a shower. The guys would be home soon.
“Hey,” Archie said softly, and I blinked slowly to find him kneeling in front of the rocking chair. “Little guy is sacked out. Let’s put him in bed, then we’re putting Mama to bed too.”
A yawn escaped me even as Archie eased Charlie from me with the kind of expertise he and the guys had developed over the last few years.
“Shh,” Archie hushed him as Charlie stretched and let out a little complaint. I rose slowly to follow them, even as I did my own stretch. Charlie’s cheeks weren’t flushed anymore and his lashes barely trembled as Archie made the smooth transition from holding him to settling him into the bed.
It wouldn’t be long before Charlie, like Josh and Izzy before him outgrew the toddler bed. It made me a little sad. But only a little. I loved every new stage, even when they wore me out.
Sliding an arm around me, Archie nuzzled a kiss to the top of my head. “Mrs. Standish,” he murmured. “You need me to settle you in bed too?”
There was more than a little heat kissing the end of that offer and I smiled.
“Yes,” I told him and his eyes darkened. “But after lunch, please. I’m starving.”
My stomach let out a gurgle right on cue.
“And I really do want some us time, just the five of us—and after, I promise you can put me to bed and do whatever you want with me.”
Head tilted, he appeared to consider my offer. “Can we keep the us time to thirty minutes or less?” He waggled his eyebrows. “You’re looking especially luscious and I missed you.”
“Maybe not that fast, but we’ll see what we can do.” I smothered another yawn before it could escape. Tangling my fingers with his, I drew him out of Charlie’s room and we checked that the monitor was on.
The smell of lunch reached me before I even hit the top of the stairs. Someone had gone to Sleepy Pete’s. They’d brought home meatball sandwiches.
I was about to die and go to heaven. The mouthwatering red sauce, rich meat, and layers of parmesan on toasted bread. “Oh, I’m in love,” I said as we hit the last step on the stairs.
Archie chuckled. “Never let it be said I don’t spoil you with everything.”
“I wouldn’t dare let anyone say that,” I promised him as I half-danced toward the deck where Jake and Ian were waiting. Coop was just coming in the door and I grinned as I beckoned to him with a curve of my hand.
Yes, I wanted all of us in one spot. I wanted to savor their company. I just wanted to be—but meatball sandwiches had been procured and I was starving.
“I see you followed your nose, Angel,” Ian teased as I reached him. I steadied myself with a hand against his chest as I rose up on my tiptoes to kiss him. “Jake called and said you needed the protein.”
I didn’t kick Jake, because he wasn’t wrong. “Honestly, this just smells delicious, but it’s even better because you guys are here.”
Coop freed his tie as I reached him and I welcomed him home with a kiss. Then we were settling around the table as the sandwiches were divided out along with drinks. Jeremy arrived with drinks for everyone. Mostly water, but there was also iced tea.
“I’m going to take care of some errands and I’ll pick up the children after school. Do you need anything else?” He gave me an appraising look. Since Jeremy had already learned my news, I just gave him a smile.
“Everything is perfect, thank you Jeremy.”
He nodded and I swore he could look serene and smug at the same time. It was nice. The guys played catch up, Jake and Archie discussed a little business while Ian filled me in on the proposed tour and Coop drifted back and forth between the conversations as we ate.
But when we were done, Archie said, “Okay, it’s been an hour, Mrs. Standish. I think I’ve earned my time to put you to bed.”
“Well, that’s one way to be blunt about it.” Coop chuckled, but Archie just shrugged.
“Subtlety went out the window when we had to start running interference with the kids to make sure we got time with our girl.”
“True,” Jake said. “That’s just gotten tougher with each addition.”
“But worth it,” Ian mused aloud. “I like our family.”
“It’s just about perfect,” Archie said. “In fact, if we stop now, Charlie will be going to school in three years or less, then we get all day with Mama again.” He gave me a playful leer and I let out a deep sigh.
“Well, I hope you aren’t too attached to that idea. I know it’s good to have ambition, but I’ve waited all week for you to get home—”
I didn’t even have to say it, Archie straightened in his seat and his gaze zeroed in on mine. “Yeah?”
“Might need a raincheck on those all day play dates for roughly five years and seven months…”
His expression shifted. They all did. Coop and Jake high-fived. Ian leaned back in his chair and looked so damn pleased, but it was Archie I focused on. Archie who’d never once worried about the fact that despite our lack of protection, it was the other guys who got their shots at fatherhood before him.
We’d only been trying for a few months again…and we’d been so busy. A glimmer of tears reflected in his eyes as Archie began to smile. “When do we get to find out boy or girl?”
“Probably another eight to ten weeks, Arch,” Coop said. “Why? We taking bets?”
“Hell yes,” Archie said, his grin growing. He paused a beat and studied me. “Do we get to find out ahead of time or do you want to wait?”
“We can do whatever you want, Papa,” I promised. “Though it looks like I’ll be touring pregnant again.”
“A short one,” Ian said firmly. “With healthy breaks in it. I don’t want you exhausted.”
“Agreed,” Archie said, tapping his chin. “We need to modify schedules. Josh took a lot out of Frankie while she was carrying Charlie and Izzy is just going to want to take over everything.”
“We got this,” Jake said. “We know all the tips and the tricks… also, we should hit the gym to keep up our stamina for when her sex drive goes overtime.”
“Oh hush,” I said shaking my head, then focusing on Archie. “That’s the best part.”
Archie laughed. “No, babe. The best part is you. Everything else is just…” He blew out a breath. “You’re pregnant?”
“And everything is good? All healthy? No concerns?”
“Nope. Though I think my stretch marks are gonna have stretch marks.” I’d given up worrying about a flat tummy ever again.
“Tiger stripes for the win.” Archie blinked. “Wait a minute—excuse me gentlemen. Our wife said I could put her to bed and do whatever I wanted with her. I want to celebrate. So y’all are on the Toddler Patrol.”
He didn’t wait for permission before tugging me to my feet. All the way up the stairs, I swore I could hear his brain going a mile a minute and when we made it to our suite, he pressed me up against the closed door and studied me.
“Is it okay if I’m a little terrified this time?” he asked, his voice solemn as hell.
“You’ve been terrified every time,” I reminded him, but I cupped his face. “Your secret is safe with me.”
All of their secrets would be safe with me. Always.
“This is true. So, just to confirm—health checks are good and sex is still on the table?”
“Oh, Mr. Standish,” I informed him. “I may not be able to have coffee, but I would still like to get a little cream.”
I couldn’t resist. His eyes lit up at the comment. “Oh, Mrs. Standish, please put in your order. I will make sure to fill you up…but first, get naked please. I haven’t seen those breasts or that gorgeous pussy in far too long and it’s time to get reacquainted.”
Wrapping my arms around his neck, I lifted my face toward his and he rewarded me with a deep, lingering kiss.
“We’re gonna have a baby,” he whispered. “Fuck, I love you so much.”
We were gonna have a baby.
“Oh shit.” He paused as I lifted off my shirt.
“We need A names,” he told me.
“I’m going to get naked. So are you. We can work on names later.”
“Yes, ma’am,” Archie said. “Getting naked now.”