:O Last chapter! Oh my gosh, I can't believe I'm here already! I know I was only re-posting this, but still. I got so re-connected with these characters, it's hard to let them go again! Anyways, I'm looking forward to your awesome ideas for the sequel (which will be about four years AFTER this chapter, give or take a few months). I know have a plot! WHOO! It just randomly came to me today and it made me happy. =] But I still want your ideas, because it would be cool to add somethings that you guys want. Well, until next time, have a good day!
P.s. In case you didn't figure it out after reading, this is set seven years after the previous chapter. ;)
I looked down at my precious newborn daughter and smiled. She had the most delicate little features, fingers, and toes. I couldn't believe that one so small could fill me with so much love. She smiled in her sleep and my love for her welled up inside of me. We had named her Laura Elizabeth—after my mother and Ryan's grandmother. I looked up as the door opened. Ryan came in and grinned down at me, walking quietly over to my bed. My husband bent down, kissing Laura on the head softly before kissing my hair, forehead, and finally my lips.
"Hey." I said softly. "How was your morning?"
I handed him our daughter and he cradled her to his chest gingerly.
"It was pretty successful." He said, tearing his eyes away from Laura a moment to smile at me. "There's a man renting out his old partners office, because she moved away. The rent is in our price range and he seems trustworthy."
"That's great, sweetie." I said. He just nodded, preoccupied with rocking Laura gently.
After seven years of college, Ryan was finally ready to start his career as a clinical psychologist. For the past five months he'd been searching for a good place to start his practice.
"Dr. Reiner says I can leave tonight, or early tomorrow morning." I informed him as he placed Laura in the small plastic cradle. He turned back to me, taking my hand and sitting down on the edge of my bed.
"Good. And Laura?"
I nodded. "Unless something's changed she's good to go when I do."
Ryan nodded, and as he did my doctor walked into the room. She smiled at me and Ryan and said, "Afternoon. How are you feeling?"
"Still tired," I said with a laugh. "But good."
She nodded, picking up my file and checking it over. Dr. Reiner was silent for a few minutes but then she looked up and smiled.
"You're good to go. I'll put in the paperwork and as soon as you and Laura are processed, you're outta here. I bet that's a relief, huh?"
I laughed. "I can't lie; it is a bit of a relief."
She grinned and nodded.
"Thank you, Dr. Reiner." I said with a smile.
"Of course. Enjoy your baby girl, both of you."
"That won't be a problem, doc." Ryan said with a small laugh.
Dr. Reiner laughed and gave a small wave before closing the door silently behind her.
"I told Paul the banker I'd meet him for a quick lunch to discuss the deal. You'll be okay?"
I nodded and patted the top of his hand with mine. "I'll be fine, baby. You go and get the office all sorted out."
"I love you." Ryan said, leaning closer to kiss my lips.
I smiled, kissing him back."Love you too."
He kissed me one last time and then stood up, leaving out the door to my right. Later that evening, as promised, Laura and I were released from the hospital. Ryan picked us up, carrying tiny baby Laura in her car seat to our compact SUV.
"Dean called and said he planned on stopping by later." Ryan informed me as he helped me into the car after locking Laura's carseat into the base.
"M'kay." I said tiredly. I still hadn't gotten all of my strength back from twelve hours of hard labor and delivery. It didn't take long to drive to our two story home in the suburbs of Los Angeles, just about thirty minutes away.
I made my way into the house behind Ryan, who carried Laura and my bag. He smiled as he placed Laura's carseat on the ground. I sank back into the sofa and let out a sigh of content. After two days in the hospital it felt good to be home.
"Can I get you anything?" He asked. "Water, food? A blanket?"
Laughing I gestured for him to join me.
"Ryan," I said, snuggling closer to him. "Stop freaking out. I'm fine, Laura's fine. Everything's fine."
He let out a nervous laugh and I felt him relax.
"You're right," he said. "I know you're right. But I'm just so….nervous. What if I mess up? What if accidentally hurt her?"
"How many times do I have to tell you?" I asked in exasperation. "You are going to be the best father a girl could ever ask for. You're going to protect her, and cherish her, and beat the hell out of any boy who dares to break her heart. And so what if we mess up sometimes? It's okay to make mistakes. No one's the perfect parent. All that matters is that we love her and do the best we can."
"I know." Ryan's voice was soft and his gaze was on our daughter, sleeping peacefully in her seat. "I'm just glad I have you. I couldn't do this with anyone else."
I just smiled up at him, nestling closer and resting my head on his chest. As he reached up to stroke my hair his cell phone rang from his pocket. Sighing, Ryan pulled it out and answered.
"Hello? Yes. Really? Um, yeah, hold on." He covered the bottom of the phone with his thumb. "It's Paul. The guy I told you about, he wants to make the deal today. In about an hour."
I sat up in excitement. "So why are you still here? Go!"
He looked from me to Laura and then out the window. I knew by his expression that he was fighting with himself; he wanted to stay with me and Laura, but he also wanted to make the deal.
"Ryan, sweetie, I'm fine. You should go. You've worked hard for this, you've earned it." I said, taking his free hand in both of mine. "If I need anything I promise I'll call you. Dean will be over soon and Katie is only a phone call away."
Ryan nodded but still looked uncertain.
"Are you sure you don't want me to—?"
"Ryan, go! Before I hit you with this pillow." I said, holding up the small decorative pillow from beside me and shaking it threateningly. He smiled and made up his mind with a short nod.
"Okay." Putting the phone back to his ear, he said, "Yeah, Paul? Mhm. Yes, I'll be there in thirty minutes, maybe more if there's traffic. Alright. Sounds good. Yes, okay, bye."
I grinned at him and he reluctantly smiled back. "You're sure you'll be okay by yourself?"
"I had a baby, not lost a limb." I said. "I'll be fine. Promise."
He nodded. "Okay, okay. I'll pick up dinner on the way home. I love you."
I smiled and kissed him as he stood up. "I love you too. And bring me some Chinese."
Ryan nodded and grabbed his keys, heading back out the front door. Scooting over to Laura's carseat, I bent over and unbuckled the straps, then slid her out gently. She stirred as I shifted her in my arms, and soon she was crying.
"Shhh," I told her sweetly as I rocked her in my arms. "It's okay. Are you hungry?"
She responded by crying even harder, her little mouth open and tiny arms flailing around in protest. I settled back in the sofa before pulling up my shirt and letting her nurse. As she did I found the TV remote and clicked it on. I had just begun coaxing her to burp when there was a knock on the front door.
"It's open!" I said, raising my voice a little.
I heard the door open and close and then the sound of footsteps coming down the hall. Dean appeared from around the corner, holding a bouquet of flowers in one arm and a little pink gift bag in the other hand.
"Dean!" I said happily.
"Hey, Kodi. How are you feeling?" He asked, walking over and sitting down next to me. He placed both the flowers and bag on the coffee table.
"Tired." I said with a laugh.
"So, my little sister's having kids before me. Not cool. Way to make me feel old, Kodi." He shook his head sternly, but I saw the teasing in his eyes and the badly disguised grin.
I laughed. "Well, hurry up and get married. Then you can have your own."
"Can you really see me as a father? I don't think so."
I shook my head. "I don't know, I think you'd do well. You have many great qualities, despite your trying to hide them."
Dean laughed. "Sure, whatever you say."
He handed me the little gift bag. "Anyways, here's a little something for my favorite baby niece."
I laughed, shaking my head. "Dean, Laura is your only niece."
He put his forefinger to his lips. "Shh! She doesn't know that. And she's still my favorite."
I shook my head at his silliness, smiling. I handed him Laura gingerly and then took the gift bag from him. After pulling out all the tissue paper I lifted a small outfit. It was several different shades of pink and the shirt had little red daisies on it.
"Ahhh. Dean, it's so cute! Thank you!"
Dean nodded and smiled. "You're both welcome. It's just a little something from Laura's best uncle ever!"
I rolled my eyes but smiled. As Dean held her, Laura fell back to sleep. A few hours later Ryan came home with Chinese.
"Mmm, smells good." I said as he walked into the room. He grinned and nodded. I started to stand, but Dean gestured for me to sit down again. He gave me my sleeping daughter.
"I'll set the table. You, sit. You need to rest."
Shaking my head in amusement at the guys' insistence on taking care of me, I stood to take Laura to her bassinet in the nursery. I walked slowly back down the hall enjoying the sound of my husband and brother talking in the kitchen. The table was all set and the food containers arranged when I reached the open, airy dining room/kitchen combination. I pulled out a chair and sat down. Moments later Ryan and Dean joined me.
"How's your new job going?" I asked Dean as we all started to serve ourselves. Dean had recently been asked to direct a potential big-paying movie that was in the works for production.
"It's going good. Nice pay, too."
"I'm glad. Have you seen Dad? He said he was going to stop by later."
"Yeah, I saw him earlier actually. He said to tell you he'd be here around six."
"Alright," I said with a smile.
After dinner Dean left, and not much later Dad stopped by. He said he had a dinner meeting with several colleagues and he couldn't stay long, and that he was just checking up. We talked for a few minutes, and then he kissed Laura goodnight and left. It was nearly seven then, and I was wiped. I ended up falling asleep on the couch, so Ryan woke me up and suggested we go to bed. Nodding sleepily and yawning, I managed to walk to our bedroom and get ready for bed. Several minutes later I laid down and sighed happily. Ryan got into bed beside me and smiled, lying on his side to face me.
"What?" He asked, referring to my sigh.
"It's just good to be home, that's all. And, although I'm exhausted, I already know it's going to be rewarding to be a mother." Just as I said it Laura started to cry from her bedroom down the hall. At least we knew the baby monitor worked.
I groaned. "On second thought, maybe not."
Ryan chuckled and kissed me softly.
"I'll get her. You get some rest."
He just nodded as he slid back out of bed. I heard the soft padding of his feet as he went down the hall. Smiling, I closed my eyes. I was asleep before he even made it to the nursery door.