Scott shut the door of the house quietly behind him, listening for the sounds coming from the kitchen. He leaned against the door for a minute, the sound of his wife piddling in the kitchen calming him after a day of hell out in the field. As he took a step, though, he heard a yell. He turned towards the living room and scooped up Lauren, their daughter that looked so much like Riley. He grinned as the little girl said
He held her close and said
"Yes, pretty girl, Daddy's home. Where's your Mommy?"
"Coming to see what all the commotion was about."
At the sound of his wife's voice, Scott looked above their daughter's head. Even though they had been married for three years, the sight of her still set Scott on fire. She smiled softly at him as Scott set Lauren down on the floor. The two year old hurried off down the hall, leaving her parents standing in the living room. Scott closed the gap between them and kissed Riley gently before saying
"Hey yourself. How was your day?"
As they walked to the kitchen, Scott filled her in on his day with Jake. Though he and Riley now had their own ranch up and running, he still worked with Jake so his brother-in-law could spend more time with his family. Now, Scott set the table as Riley finished cooking dinner. When he turned back around, he noticed Riley standing by the stove, looking down at her hands. She was twirling her wedding ring around on her finger; something she only did when she was nervous. He looked at her for a minute before saying
"Babe…is something wrong?"
She looked up at him and shrugged slightly. Scott took a step towards her and took her hand in his. When he met her eyes, Scott's breath hitched in his throat. As he did almost every time he looked at Riley, he thought back over everything that had happened to them in the past three years. Their wedding had been simple and elegant. He remembered every day they spent together. He thought about the night Lauren had been conceived, and all the countless times they had tried before finally getting pregnant. Every time he looked at Lauren he remembered the day their daughter had been born. He recalled the day that Riley told him she was pregnant with their second child. He thought about raising their children together and the fights and the make-ups and everything in between. The woman standing in front of him made his life worthwhile. She helped him when he thought he wouldn't make it through the day. She understood that he still had bad days when he missed his father and she held him when he cried. She loved him unconditionally, just as he loved her. God, could life get any better? He now stooped a little to meet Riley's eyes. She grinned sheepishly before saying
"I think I'm going to take some time off from teaching."
"I thought we talked about that. I don't want you to stop teaching unless…"
Riley nodded and laid her hand on his chest. His heart raced, as it did every time his wife touched him. He looked down at her as Riley said
"Well, Lauren's getting bigger and I want to spend more time with her. Besides, with another running around here in a couple months I'm going to be stretched pretty thin. Plus…"
She took another step closer, pulling him close by his collar. She smiled at him softly before whispering
"I can get everything done during the day so at night I'm all yours."
"I definitely like that plan. I just…I don't want you to stop doing what you love because we have a family. You being happy is the most important thing to me."
Riley knocked his baseball cap off and murmured against his lips
"Raising our children and being your wife is the most important thing and makes me very happy."
After she broke this kiss Riley continued.
"I still see Haley, Sara and Sam almost every day. We get together and let the kids play. I'll be home with you more often, especially now that you've got some cattle here. I just…I really think this is the best move. What do you think?"
Scott met her green eyes; the love shining in them gave him hope he never thought he would have again. He held her waist as he whispered
"I think that if this is really what you want I want it too. I tell you all the time; I want everything with you."
Riley grinned up at him as Scott laid his hand on her still flat stomach. He smiled at her before saying
"Thanks for loving me and just…being you. Thank you for giving me a family and thanks for sticking through all of this with me."
Riley touched his cheek and whispered
"Thanks for coming home."
Scott looked around their house and thought about their life. Riley was right; he had come home. He had come full circle. As he looked down at Riley, Scott knew he still had a great life ahead of him. As long as he had this woman in front of him and his family by his side.