Marie had a smile on her face as she sat on the porch swing and swayed gently back and forth. Her hand rested on her swelled belly. She was entering into the final trimester of her pregnancy. Today she’d been to her doctor. Everything was going well. Both she and her baby were healthy.
It had been a great relief to her. She’d asked that Bud come with her to this appointment. This time she wanted Bud by her side through the good or the bad. This was about the time she’d started to have some irregularities with her first pregnancy that she’d tried to dismiss to herself and minimize to Bud. That had been wrong and led to disaster.
Although Bud hadn’t said much after her appointment she could tell some weight had been lifted off him. He’d been convinced this pregnancy would end badly as her first, but she’d seen him changing recently. Bud didn’t want to acknowledge he had hope and was falling in love with their baby, but he was.
Each time he touched her belly at night there was a gentleness and curiosity. Lately he’d even been whispering to her or him. They didn’t know if it was a boy or girl yet. Marie wanted to be surprised. She truly didn’t care. All she wanted was a healthy baby.
She was so excited when he played with Ashley and Lachlan’s daughter. He loved Katie Marie so much already and was fiercely protective of his niece. Bud would be wonderful with a daughter. But the idea of Bud running around roughhousing with his son was very appealing too. Again healthy was all that mattered. Bud interrupted her thoughts.
“Here, Hon.” Bud handed her a tall cold glass full of tea.
She took a sip and smiled at him. “Cold the way I like it.” She patted the seat aside of her and held out her hand to him. Her cool fingers brushed over his warm skin. Bud was always warm. Like a furnace was constantly burning inside of him.
Marie leaned against him as he wrapped his arm around him. Bud took a swallow of his beer and set it down. He pulled her closer to him with both arms hugged around her. So many people only saw the tough side of Bud. The no nonsense cop. She knew better. Actually her whole family did. They’d all seen through the harsh exterior to the amazing man beneath.
His lips brushed against her hair. He could be so tender and loving. She sighed happily. Marie could feel his smile against her hair. She slipped a hand into is hair and stroked the short dense strands. Marie was practically purring.
Bud was not immune.
He picked his wife up in his arms and carried her into their bedroom where he laid her gently on their bed. Marie smiled and beckoned to him. He lay down beside her and pulled her into his arms again.
She laid her head on his chest. Bud closed his eyes as he stroked her hair and took in her scent. He found her incredibly sexy while she was pregnant. His hand slipped to the small of her back.
“Is your back sore, Hon?”
“Mmm, hmm.” She settled into his touch as he began to rub her lower back.
“Relax, Hon,” he whispered to her and kissed her neck where a stray tendril of her red hair lay.
Marie’s breathing evened out until Bud could tell she was sleeping. He continued to contently rub her back and gently kiss her skin. It was turning him on, but he didn’t want to disturb her and molded his body closer to hers. Eventually he fell asleep too.
Bud awoke to Marie’s lush ass rubbing against him. He groaned and slipped his hand beneath her skirt. His fingers skated up the soft skin of her leg. Bud was completely awake. Just as his fingers reached the bottom of her panties the doorbell rang and there was a knock on the door.
The groan of frustration was very different from the one of desire he’d just uttered.
“Who the fuck is that?” Bud grumbled.
Marie leaned her head back against his chest and sighed. “I’d guess Lachlan, Ashley and Katie Marie or Egan and Jessica. Maybe all of them.” She kissed his cheek.
“What are they doing here?” Bud still didn’t sound willing to stop what he was doing or get up to go to the door.
Marie started to struggle to get up. It was taking her longer now that the baby was getting bigger.
“I feel like a beached whale,” she giggled. “I hate to remind you of this, Bud, but you invited them over to barbecue tonight. They’re here at our invitation.”
Bud reluctantly helped Marie to her feet when he’d rather have her in bed with him.
“That was a pretty stupid thing to do. I guess we have to let them in.” He rubbed her low back as he saw her fingers start to go there. There was another knock on the door. “Yeah, yeah, we’re coming,” he yelled. “Or we could just let them stand there and ignore them.” He kissed her with a smirk on his face.
“Bud White! They’re our family.” She laughed. “And you just yelled to them. They know we’re here.” She smoothed down her hair and began to walk toward the foyer.
He took her arm to escort her and considered just picking her up in his arms to take her back to their bedroom. “You look beautiful,” he said wistfully. “Okay, if we must. Later, Hon.” There was promise in his voice.
“Yes, later and thank you.” Her cheeks pinked from his complement. She looked even prettier.
They’d reached the door. Bud took her hand and put in on his chest. “Last chance,” his voice rumbled.
Laughter started on the opposite side of the door. “We can hear you,” Lachlan and Ashley said together. Katie Marie chimed in with her baby giggles. She seemed to always giggle in response to her parent’s laughter. Those three never seemed to stop laughing. It was annoying as hell to Bud’s point of view. He opened the door.
“Come on in.” He stood to the side as Ashley swept in and caught Marie in a hug while she clucked over her like a tiny mother hen.
Lachlan followed her in. He was holding Katie Marie. Bud absently shook his hand, but when the little spitfire baby was around he saw no one else.
“There’s my little niece.” The chubby little redheaded baby held her arms out to Uncle Bud who immediately swept her up to peals of baby laughter. She was flown like an airplane around the living room. There was a lot of flying around the Curry household since Lachlan was a pilot. Katie Marie loved it while clapping her tiny little hands together.
Marie and Ashley exchanged knowing glances and retreated to the kitchen to put food in the refrigerator and oven until the others arrived. The understanding was if Marie hosted the party she was allowed to do no food preparation except the meat which Bud would grill.
Ashley frowned when she saw two fresh berry pies on the window sill.
“Marie, you weren’t supposed to cook anything,” she scolded.
“It was just two pies. And Bud loves them. He’ll enjoy the leftovers.”
“Leftovers? With Lachlan, Bud and Egan I’d say you’re extremely optimistic,” Ashley grinned.
“You’re probably right,” Marie laughed. “I had Bud pick up some ice cream on the way home from work yesterday.” The doorbell rang again.
Ashley was about to ask what flavor but was distracted by the doorbell. “Good, Jessica and Egan are here. You sit down and I’ll get Jessica,” Ashley ordered.
“Ashley, I’m not an invalid. I’ll come in to greet them.” She followed Ashley back toward the door. Ashley’s ever present high heels clicked rapidly across the wooden floor.
Her hands flew to her mouth as Egan was already jumping around the room as a horse stand in for cowgirl Katie Marie.
“Um, just a warning to the plane and horsey. I just fed Katie Marie before we got here and unless you want to be wearing regurgitated breast milk I’d tone down the activity just a wee bit until its better digested.”
Egan froze instantly as if his reins had been tightly pulled. Bud threw her a look of horror.
Ashley dissolved into laughter at the look on both their faces. Katie Marie giggled in response and hit Egan on top of his head with a hand as if to say, don’t stop. She burped loudly as though to punctuate Ashley’s statement. Luckily all she did was burp.
Egan held her out to Daddy who tucked his daughter on his arm. “Ta, mate. She chunders and it’s on me.” Lach didn’t really mind too much. It wouldn’t be the first time. He’d worn worse since becoming a Da.
Ashley glanced over at Jessica who she hadn’t greeted yet. She was standing quietly with her hand posed in an odd position.
Ashley squealed loudly and rushed over to grab her hand to examine it.
“You’re engaged! It’s about time, Egan Varner! Congratulations you two.”
Now most kids would probably cry when their mother screamed, but Katie Marie took it in and started to giggle excitedly and clap her hands again.
“Christ, she’s just like her mother,” Bud said and shot a look at Lachlan who nodded.
“Yep, I’ve got two of ‘em now. Ain’t it grand?” He grinned.
Bud wasn’t so sure about that, but if Curry thought so that was good enough.
“It’s about fucking time, Varner. I was wondering when you’d get the balls to ask her. You talked to us a week ago.” He chuckled while throwing a knowing look at Curry.
“Bud White! Language in front of the b-a-b-y, please,” Ashley scolded before turning back to fuss over Jessica and her ring. Marie had rushed quickly across the room to Jessica as though she suddenly wasn’t pregnant and was again fleet of foot.
“She doesn’t know what I’m saying,” Bud groused. Katie Marie was giggling again and holding her hands out to Uncle Bud who gathered her up again in his arms and started flying her around the room…a little more subdued. He did tell Ashley, “I’ll try,” as they flew by her.
“The first word out of her mouth better not be f-u-c-k or I’ll come and hunt you down, Uncle Bud.” Ashley arched her eyebrow at him for effect which made her appear comical. Bud and Katie Marie chuckled in unison at her.
Jessica was quiet while being fussed over by her cousins. She glanced at Egan. “You talked to Bud and Lachlan before you asked me?”
Egan reddened. “Since I couldn’t talk to your olds I figured I should ask them.” He indicated Bud and Lachlan with his head.
Jessica smiled prettily. It was obvious she was pleased that Egan had asked permission to marry her from Bud and Lachlan. Although Bud White was only 10 years older than Jessica he had become a stand in father for her. At times more than she’d wanted when he gave Egan a hard time because they’d been having a sexual relationship which Bud had discovered first hand.
But Jessica respected Bud and Marie greatly. She only hoped she and Egan’s marriage could be nearly as good as Bud and Marie’s or Lachlan and Ashley’s. She blushed prettily as she looked at Egan. Jessica was so in love with her handsome horseman. And now they were engaged to be married.
Egan had brought her wildflowers and gotten down on one knee to ask her. The ring he’s gotten was beautiful and fit perfectly. She couldn’t be happier. The two of them were quiet and enjoyed each other’s company even when nothing was being said. The attraction had started very physical. Almost overwhelmingly intense for Jessica who’d been a virgin when she’d met Egan.
The relationship that had grown was solid and loving. Yet the heat remained. Jessica couldn’t imagine anything finer. Egan was the man she wanted to be her husband. The only one she’d met who seemed right. The only one she needed.
She was pulled back into the moment as Ashley and Marie plied her with questions of how Egan had proposed. Gradually they all moved toward the kitchen to finish meal preparations and get the men out to start grilling.