Hey, folks, this is a preview of Bandages, so it's just the three random short stories in the collection. Bandages has been published by Desert Palm Press. If you're interested you can get an ebook or paperback copy of it on Amazon or Smashwords and other ereaders written under the name S. L. Kassidy. Details on my profile.
"Okay, so I should be back for them by six," Adam Wolfe said to Nicole. Even though he spoke to her, his dark brown eyes were focused on his children, Luke and Thomas. They were in Nicole's living room with their aunt, Danny, who was hyping them up about the day they were going to have.
"We could easily bring them to your house." Nicole's gaze drifted toward her girlfriend and the little boys.
The sight brought a bright smile to Nicole's face. They look so small and adorable, standing next to Danny the giant. She liked to give her lover as much time as possible with the boys. Danny loved her nephews, but didn't spend as much time with them as she liked because their mother didn't trust or like Danny. There was a story there, but Nicole didn't ask. Danny seemed to only know she was hated for being a lesbian. They both suspected there was more.
"No, I'll still be out, so I'll just come get them." Adam's anxiety cutting into his voice.
Nicole decided not to argue with him. He wouldn't yield and she didn't want to make things uncomfortable. Adam didn't want to risk Danny running into his wife, Sharon, especially with the boys around. Nicole wasn't sure what Adam thought would happen between the two. Danny ignored most insults, and all Sharon did was snipe. She didn't even do that to Danny's face. It wasn't like they'd have a fistfight if they occupied the same space at the same time.
"Fine," Nicole conceded with a small shrug. "Well, we should get going then."
"Let me say goodbye to my little guys," Adam said. "Hey, guys!"
Luke and Thomas didn't bother to turn around. They were now enamored with Haydn, Nicole and Danny's white shepherd puppy. Adam grabbed them up into a single hug. They squealed and Haydn let out a surprised bark, circling around Adam's feet as if trying to figure out where to attack.
"Haydn, come," Danny ordered, standing a couple of feet away. Haydn made another noise and continued circling until Danny repeated the command.
"Those obedience classes seem to be paying off," Nicole said, as she stepped over to her girlfriend. While Adam bid his sons farewell, Nicole decided to check on her lover. "Are you sure you're up to this?"
Danny ran her hand through her short, onyx locks. "I watch the boys enough to take them to your grandparents for a simple cookout, right?"
"Yes, you do, but that's not what I meant, baby. Technically, you're still healing. Are you up to hanging out with my family?" Nicole asked for possibly the hundredth time. She had been asking since the beginning of the week when her grandparents invited them to an end of summer barbeque. The spontaneous cookout was thanks to the nice, warm weather lasting to the end of September.
"Chem, I'm fine. Stop worrying," Danny replied with a smile. A car had hit her some months earlier. Her ribs had healed over a month ago, but the cast on her right leg had only been off for a few weeks.
Rolling her eyes, Nicole shook her head. "You know I can't," she replied with a bright smile.
A warm smile spread across Danny's face again. "I know. I appreciate the concern."
They turned their attention back to the males in their home as the goodbyes were finished between the anxious father and eager sons. Luke and Thomas quickly returned to cooing over the puppy. Adam gazed at his sons, almost as if he was scared they'd forget him. Danny didn't bother with her older brother, but Nicole at least walked him to the door.
"It'll be fine. We're just going to my grandparents' house. There'll be other children for them to play with and everything," she assured him for quite possibly the tenth time. He clearly didn't spend a lot of time away from his children. She found his separation anxiety to be sweet, even though it obviously irked Danny.
"Okay. Call me if anything happens," Adam said, his eyes wide and slightly wet.
"We will, but it'll be fine. It's just a small, family barbeque. Nothing more than that."
Adam nodded and she finally ushered him out of the door. Nicole breathed a sigh of relief as she shut the door. Okay, so his anxiety was sweet, but also exhausting. She turned her attention to Danny and her nephews.
"Are you guys ready to go?" Nicole asked with cheer in her voice and a grin on her face.
"Yeah!" the boys cheered and the happy noise made Haydn yelp.
"All right, let's get moving. Everybody have everything they need?" Nicole inquired.
Danny grabbed her guitar, which was resting by the couch, and took Luke by the hand. Nicole attached Haydn's leash to his collar and took Thomas' hand. The group exited the house and the boys were buckled up in the backseat. Danny held onto the pup in the front seat, while Nicole got behind the wheel.
"Okay, are we sure we have everything?" Nicole asked again just to be sure. She knew small children needed every chance possible to remember anything they might need.
"Yeah!" Luke answered for the boys. He hugged his backpack. His little brother had one, too, but Thomas had just dumped his bag on the floor.
"Then let's go have fun and eat hotdogs," Nicole cheered. The boys shouted their approval, which made Haydn yelp and Danny smile.
Nicole's family was in the backyard of her grandparents' house. The barbeque was already in full swing with everyone there, including Nicole's parents. Nicole looked around and Dane could've sworn her girlfriend looked embarrassed. For just a second, Nicole's cheeks were almost as red as her hair.
"Hey, everybody." Nicole waved to her family.
"Nikki, we were scared you weren't going to show up," Raymond said, as he moved away from the card game he was playing. The other players included Nicole's aunts, Kimber and Katrina, and Kimber's son, Philip. Raymond grabbed her into a hug.
Nicole smiled and returned her father's embrace. "We had to wait for Luke and Thomas. Danny thought they'd have fun here."
Dane noticed Thomas grip Nicole's hand a little tighter as if to remind her he was there. For some reason, this made her chuckle a little. Luke and Thomas weren't boys that would let anyone forget them. Nicole smiled down at Thomas, giving him the acknowledgement he wanted.
Raymond turned his attention to the towheaded boys. He was familiar with them after meeting them at Dane's birthday party a couple of months ago. He offered the boys his hand, which they both shook like little men.
Nicole thought they were cute mimicking the adult behaviors they saw. Of course, the fact they were dressed in khaki shorts and white polo shirts tickled her as well. Dane didn't get the appeal, but if it made her lover happy, it was good enough for her to just accept.
"Good to see you two again. Have a good time, okay?" Raymond smiled down at the boys and they seemed to almost puff out their chests because of the attention.
"We will!" Luke proclaimed, while Thomas grinned and nodded. Haydn yelped again. Dane was certain she and Nicole were raising a little glory hound.
"You brought your dog, too? Is he ready to be out around people or another dog?" Raymond asked, nodding toward Katrina's dog in the yard.
"We'll find out," Nicole replied with a smile.
Raymond nodded. "Be careful," he cautioned them and patted Dane on the shoulder as a greeting. She smiled at him before turning her attention elsewhere.
Dane thought Katrina's dog was bigger than she remembered, but that was expected. She hadn't seen the creature in months. She remembered the dog was friendly and Haydn was affable. In fact, Haydn had yet to meet a person or dog he didn't like.
Dane decided to see sooner rather than later by letting Haydn off of his leash. He charged off to investigate his new environment. The large backyard set off a rather average house. Luke and Thomas took off after him and Dane followed. Katrina's kids, Eddie and Sabrina, came over almost immediately with their dog. Haydn eased back, settling next to Dane.
"Hey, Danny! Who are they?" Eddie asked with a bluntness that Dane knew would get him in trouble in a few years. But, his cherubic dimples and slightly wavy, dark-chocolate locks would get him right back out of trouble…well, with most girls and adults anyway.
"These are my nephews and my dog. Luke, Thomas, meet Nicole's cousins, Eddie and Sabrina." Dane introduced the duos. She hoped they'd get along, even though her nephews were younger than Nicole's cousins.
"You don't look anything like Danny." Sabrina seemed amazed.
It was quite true, they didn't appear related in the slightest. Luke and Thomas were blonds with creamy complexions, while Dane had a caramel skin tone and black hair with blond highlights. Luke had brown eyes like his father, and Thomas had blue like his mother; Dane had grey eyes. They shared almost nothing in common with Dane, except maybe chubby cheeks.
"You don't look like Nick," Luke countered. He and his brother had taken to calling Nicole by the nickname Dane used. Nicole's family did the same with Danny.
"I'm not Nikki." Sabrina shrugged.
"We're not Dane," Thomas countered.
Luke just moved on. "Dane's puppy's name is Haydn. It's a weird name. What's your dog's name?"
"Beanie." Eddie grinned. "Beanie can do tricks."
As Beanie went through his tricks, Haydn checked him out. Beanie was older than the shepherd pup, but he wasn't too much bigger. Beanie was a mixed breed Katrina had rescued as a puppy. Dane could understand why Eddie and Sabrina loved the sweet dog.
"Beanie's cool," Thomas declared as Haydn nudged Beanie with his nose.
Dane only laughed. She suspected they'd go home, demanding a dog of their own, again. They had done so when they first met Haydn. She also suspected they'd spend a lot of time trying to teach Haydn tricks. With luck, Haydn might actually learn something.
Dane stuck close to her boys, but acknowledged everyone at the cookout with a wave. Nicole's family waved back and let Dane go about her business. The only one who gave Dane more than a nod was Jarred, Kimber's husband. He was working the large grill and pointed toward the food that he had already finished cooking. She shook her head to decline the offer, for now.
"Does Haydn know any tricks?" Eddie asked, once Beanie had gone through all of his little doggie tricks.
"Only if you count whining and jumping on things he shouldn't." Dane smiled, as she reached down and petted the rambunctious pup. Haydn yipped and licked her fingers.
"Sabrina does those tricks, too." Eddie laughed.
Sabrina didn't seem to get the joke, which was for the best. They moved on from dog tricks to chasing the dogs. Dane moved around with them, but couldn't run with them. Even without just being healed from her car accident injuries, she wouldn't have been able to keep up with them because of her lame leg. Still, they called for her participation, so she did what she could.
Nicole settled down next to her grandmother, Alicia, who was at the small picnic table that was slowly being covered in food. Nicole's mother, Kate, was there too. Nicole happily kissed both of their cheeks as greetings.
"Hi, sweet pea. I was worried when your mom beat you here." Alicia snickered.
Nicole laughed. While she was hardly the first person to arrive at a family function, her mother was always the last one. But, her mother didn't have two small kids and their worried father to get out the door.
"Luke and Thomas came late and their dad wouldn't leave once he showed up. So, that's why we're the last to show."
Alicia nodded. "The little angels are related to Danny?"
"I know Mommy already told you those are Danny's nephews. They're her eldest brother's sons. They love her," Nicole replied in a delighted tone. She liked talking about Danny and her relationship with her nephews. She wanted everyone to know how good Danny was with children.
Alicia glanced over at the group. "She looks really good with them. How often do they go places with you?"
"Not often, because Danny doesn't go places often. They come over to the house every weekend now. She always makes sure she has stuff to do with them. They play video games, or go to the park, or just walk the dog. They're very nice boys."
Her grandmother made an odd noise, but it sounded pleasant, so Nicole didn't take offense. "I'm sure they are. So, Danny's good with kids and I see there's a ring on your finger…" Her eyes drifted down to Nicole's hand. The gold band with a small row of diamonds that probably bankrupted her lover sat pretty on her left hand, letting the world know she was taken.
The words ring and finger seemed to be a gathering call for the other women, except for Danny. Nicole's aunts and teenage cousin Jody practically flew over to the table to see the simple ring. Jody went as far as to grab Nicole's hand for a closer inspection.
"I expected better from Danny," Jody declared, while Kate glared at the piece of jewelry.
"It's not an engagement ring, just so we're clear. It's a promise ring. So, you can all get pictures of my wedding out of your heads," Nicole informed all of them. Her mother was the only one that did not look disappointed.
"Sweet pea, your grandma is an old woman." Alicia sighed dramatically and made sure to look extremely pitiful, putting a hand to her forehead. "You want to give me great grandchildren, don't you?" She sniffled.
Nicole gave her grandmother a playful swat. "Not just yet, no."
"She needs to find the right guy first," Kate chimed in.
Kimber rolled her eyes. "Kate, don't start. Danny's a wonderful person and so in love with Nikki that she probably can't see straight, which I guess suits her since she's gay. She's put up with your attitude toward her and she's still here, smiling all the way through. She only wants the best for Nikki, and she's willing to go through hell for it, apparently. I'd think you of all people would recognize that."
Katrina chimed in. "Seriously, how often did Raymond's family try to run you off?"
Kate glared at her younger sisters, which was enough to silence them on the subject. Nicole was aware that her father's family were not fans of her mother, but she didn't know the real details. Her aunts sometimes let things slip, so she knew her mother was resented for what the Cardell family viewed as her transforming Raymond from a carefree, fun-loving guy into a serious lawyer. Nicole thought that was crazy and couldn't help noting the irony in her mother's feelings toward Danny.
"Nikki, you hold onto Danny if she's the person you love. You marry her when you feel the time is right. You have babies with her when you feel the time's right," Alicia said.
"Mom," Kate huffed, but she didn't dare to glower at her mother.
"What? I told you the same thing when you complained about Raymond's family trying to chase you off. I told Kimber the same thing when your father was trying to run Jarred out of here because he wasn't Christian."
Katrina chuckled. "I was the only one that didn't require this little pep talk?"
"Just remember it when Eddie, Sabrina, and Wayne start dating," Alicia said. Katrina laughed again as she nodded.
"Where is Wayne, anyway?" Nicole asked, hoping to get off the subject of her ring.
"He's been asleep for about an hour now," Katrina replied. "This is his usual nap time, so that's good. I don't have to worry about him staying up extra late tonight, as long as I don't let him take another nap after he wakes from this one."
"So, you're not engaged?" Jody asked with bright eyes and a smile practically beaming at Nicole.
Nicole smiled back. "Nope, not engaged. Engaged to be engaged maybe." With luck, that'd be the end of the matter for now.
"What's going on over there?" Dane asked Philip, Eduardo, and Benito, nodding toward the picnic table across the yard. She sat by them at the now abandoned card game. Raymond had gone over to help Jarred clear the grill.
Eduardo, Katrina's husband, chuckled. "I guess you're the guy in your relationship if you missed the female version of the Bat signal."
Dane only arched an eyebrow. What the hell? I feel like I should be insulted.
"Somebody said the word ring, so we're guessing you bought Nikki a ring," Benito, Nicole's grandfather, said.
Philip's head snapped to the side as he stared at her with wide eyes. "Whoa, you're engaged to Nikki?"
Dane shook her head. "No. Not an engagement ring. It was a promise ring."
"That explains why they haven't come over here to talk to you," Benito said with a shrug. Then he looked her right in the eye, almost like a warning. "They will be bugging you about marrying her."
She nodded. "I will one day. I just need to mature some more. Gotta get to a better place."
"You'll know when your ready," he assured her with a warm smile. She nodded, believing he was totally right. "And don't let anyone try to talk you into doing it before you're ready. Nikki's a special girl and she deserves the best."
"Yes, sir," Dane completely agreed. She definitely wouldn't ask Nicole until she felt totally worthy of her and also completely comfortable with herself. She still had a journey ahead of her, but she'd get there. She knew that because of Nicole.
"Hey, Danny, you brought your guitar, right?" Philip suddenly asked with hope in his eyes. There was another nod and he grinned. "Cool, I've got mine, too. We can jam and you can see how my lessons are going."
"Okay, but just to warn you, once those boys see me with that guitar, they're gonna want in on the action." She pointed over at her nephews.
Philip just shrugged before going off to get his guitar. Dane groaned as she climbed to her feet to fetch her own instrument. She barely had her hand on her guitar case before her nephews were in her face.
"Are you playing? We'll play, too." Luke pointed to himself and his brother.
"Yeah, I'll play the drums." Thomas threw his hands up.
"And I'll be the lead singer and play the guitar," Luke said.
Dane smiled. "Okay, but I gotta play the guitar too, and so does my friend Philip."
Luke nodded in agreement and Philip found himself the member of a band by the time he returned. He was a good sport, even though he didn't know he was part of a game Dane often played with her nephews.
"One, two, three, four." Thomas banged together the drumsticks he traveled with. Dane was sure he'd end up an actual drummer as he got older. Thomas played his pretend drums, while Philip played his real guitar, and Dane followed his lead.
Luke squinted as he watched the pair playing the guitars and his little brow was so furrowed Dane wondered if his forehead would drop off. For a moment, Dane thought Luke would object because he didn't know the song. Instead, he didn't try to sing, but played his air guitar with them. Dane laughed a little, glad Luke was so cool about things.
"What are they doing?" Kimber asked, nodding toward the band.
Nicole smiled as she noticed the scene. "Oh, that's their band. The boys love music as much as Danny, so she plays this little pretend game with them like they're a band. They seem to love it."
"Indeed they do, if the little one carrying his own drumsticks means anything. I'm glad Philip's getting the chance to play with Danny. I don't know who this guy is that gives him lessons, but every time Philip comes home, he has some crazy story about Danny in high school," Kimber said.
"Danny actually went to high school?" Kate sneered.
"Be nice," Katrina scolded her older sister.
"Is his guitar tutor an old high school buddy?" Kimber asked Nicole.
Nicole shook her head. "He's someone she knew while she was in high school, but he didn't go to school with her."
Danny had gone to an alternative high school and was a loner even there. She didn't know or interact with many of her classmates. During her teen years, all of her "friends" were older musicians who respected her musical ability and vice versa. The musician she referred Philip to knew not to tell him about any of her wilder exploits as a teen, but was free and clear to tell whatever embarrassing tale came to mind.
"So, what type of stories does Philip come home with?" Kate asked, undoubtedly hunting for ammo to use against Danny to prove her point that Danny wasn't worthwhile.
"Oh, just like she knocked herself out stage diving once. She somehow managed to completely miss the crowd," Kimber told them, earning a laugh from the ladies, except Nicole.
Nicole couldn't laugh. She knew the audience would probably have been quite sizable for one of Danny's performances. Likely, she had been so high she couldn't hit a single person in a crowd. Sighing, her eyes went to her lover, and she decided she didn't want to hear any more unintentionally sad stories involving her lover.
"You should see Danny and Luke freestyle. He's adorable," Nicole said.
Katrina clasped her hands together and grinned. "Oh, God. Can you get him to do it, please?"
"He's a huge ham. All you have to do is ask. There's not a shy bone in that kid's body," Nicole said with a fond smile. It's probably a Wolfe family trait.
Sure enough, right after the band finished playing, Nicole called Luke over for him to do a freestyle rap. His face lit up, and he called Dane over to do it with him. Nicole noticed her grandmother, aunts, and cousin all gave Luke an odd look as he referred to Danny as Dane and didn't attach aunt or any variation of the title. He barely got started before Haydn charged over, yapping at Danny.
"Oops. Time to feed the pup," Danny realized and then she checked her watch. "Time for you little guys to eat, too." She ruffled the top of Luke's golden head.
Haydn got his first taste of people food that day, sharing some hotdogs and burgers with Beanie. Nicole made a plate of food for Thomas while Danny took care of Luke. They sat to eat with the boys and Haydn curled up at their feet when he was done. The boys, however, were off as soon as they finished and pulled Danny with them. Nicole tried to ignore the looks as she cleared their plates.
"You really need to have some babies," Alicia said with a sparkle in her brown eyes.
"Danny's really good with them, so you'd both make good parents," Kimber concurred. There were nods and even Kate couldn't disagree.
Nicole shook her head. "We're not going to have kids anytime soon, so just stop, Grandma." She could see herself having a child with Danny, definitely, and she hoped it was in the future. But, it was something for years down the line.
Alicia smiled and shook her head. "I can't do it. I really think you'd enjoy having a family. I'll let it go for now, though."
"Why do Danny's nephews call her Dane?" Katrina asked.
"That's how she was introduced to them by her brother. It's complicated," Nicole answered. The entire Wolfe family is complicated. "The important thing is that they like her and she likes them, not what they call her. It's good they want to be around her."
A teasing glint flickered through Kimber's eyes. "Sure you don't want kids now?"
"How's school going?" her grandmother asked to save her eldest grandchild.
Nicole's mother couldn't take it anymore and got up from the table. Nicole followed her mother with her eyes, momentarily, but she didn't say anything to Kate. Her mother disliked her partner and the fact that she was going to school for a chemistry degree, but she wouldn't change either of those things. So, her mother was just going to have to stay upset or get over it. Nicole was done kowtowing to her parents as she had done her whole life.
"School's fine. I just started two new classes. I've got twelve credits already," Nicole answered her grandmother's question. "Jody, how's school for you?"
Jody sighed dramatically, pressing the back of her hand to her forehead. "It's harder than you told me it would be, Nikki." The adults chuckled, knowing Jody wasn't serious.
Jody was a freshman at a local university. She wasn't sure what she would major in, but they all knew it'd end up being something with computers. Jody was into computers like Nicole was into chemistry. The thing that Jody had on her side was that her mother was more laid back than Nicole's mother. Jody would not be pressured to follow in Kimber's footsteps.
Dane found herself inside, watching football with the guys. She didn't know much about football, but Benito had taken it upon himself to educate her on his favorite sport. Philip was his assistant in that regard, as he also enjoyed football and wanted Dane to like it, too. Football was the sport of choice for all family gatherings, so Dane figured she needed to learn it if she wanted to be accepted.
"So, who're we rooting for again?" Dane chuckled to let them know she was joking. She earned a playful swat from Benito.
Benito wagged a stern finger at her. "Just pay attention."
Dane laughed, but obeyed. She had plenty of serious questions that were handled by every guy there, including Eddie when he wandered by every now and then. Part way through the second quarter, Thomas staggered in and fell asleep on her lap. Not too long after that, Nicole came in. She took a picture of the scene with her phone before she said anything.
"Danny, it's time to go, so we're not late," Nicole said.
Dane frowned and checked her watch to see her lover was right. Her frown deepened. She was having a good time and she wished they could stay a little longer. Her desire must have been written all over her face, because green eyes softened.
"We'll come back soon, sweetheart," Nicole promised.
Dane sighed, but didn't argue. She rose to her feet, careful of Thomas. She had to give the boy to Nicole, because there was no way Nicole would allow her to carry him. Goodbyes were said as they collected Luke and Haydn. Eddie and Sabrina were near tears that their playmates were leaving.
"Luke and Thomas will come back soon, okay?" Nicole assured her cousins.
That didn't work and Katrina had to go save her niece from her children. With Katrina's help, Nicole and Dane were able to escape, even though it was hard to get Luke to leave. By the time they pulled up to the house, Adam was already there, pacing by his car, and it wasn't even six yet.
"You're early." Dane scowled as they unloaded from the car.
Adam looked sheepish, but that didn't move her. She hated when he loomed, as if she couldn't be trusted with the boys. Of course she wasn't alone with them, so it was like he didn't trust her or Nicole.
Ever the diplomat, Nicole chimed in as she gently pulled the still sleeping Thomas from the car. "You missed your boys, didn't you?"
He smiled. "I did." He turned his attention to Luke. "Hey, buddy, ready to go home?"
"No, I wanna go back and play with Eddie, Sabrina, and Beanie again!" Luke actually stomped his foot.
Dane blinked. Who is this kid? She was used to her nephews being well behaved and fun loving. She never saw them throw a real tantrum, and she wasn't in the mood to see it either. She rubbed the top of Luke's head to calm him down.
Nicole smiled softly. "He was having a lot of fun with my little cousins and their dog." She handed Thomas over to Adam.
Adam nodded while Dane stayed back. She was tempted to say something nasty to her brother for showing up early, but she didn't want to curse him out in front of her nephews. So, instead, she gave Luke a hug farewell and ruffled his hair.
"See you next weekend, guitar hero," Dane said to the little boy. Luke was clearly unhappy, but he nodded and tried to give her a smile.
Adam said his own goodbyes before taking his sons to his car. He and Luke waved as he pulled off. They were gone before Nicole and Dane got to the front porch.
"You okay?" Nicole asked Danny. They were cuddled up on the couch watching a movie. Danny was uncharacteristically quiet during the very cheesy horror movie.
Danny thought about it for a moment. "Yeah, I'm fine. I was just thinking about how much fun today was. Hanging out with the boys and with your family is so normal. I love it."
Nicole smiled. "I'm glad you like being around my family. They like you a lot."
A small smile settled on Danny's face and she nodded a little. "I can tell, and I like them. Your grandfather's great. I've never really had a grandfather, so having him like me is really cool. I just really enjoyed today."
Nicole wrapped her arms around her lover and pulled her closer. "That's great. So, we'll go to Sunday dinners more often, okay?"
"Okay. No problem. It'll be a new thing for me."
Nicole sighed. She hated that so many things she took for granted—loving family, grandparents, and family dinners—were novelties for her girlfriend. She wanted Danny to experience as many normal things as possible.
"Hey, did your grandma and aunts think your ring was an engagement ring?" Danny took Nicole's hand and played with her ring finger for a second.
Nicole glanced down at Danny's hand. "They did. You saw them mob me?"
"Yeah, and the men folk had to explain to me what was going on." Danny chuckled.
"I explained it's not an engagement ring, but they want us married with kids, like now." Nicole grinned.
Danny laughed. "Kids? I only just got qualified to take care of a dog and that's only because you're here."
Nicole rested her head on Danny's shoulder. "Do you want kids?"
"Never thought about it. Do you?"
"I do. I want at least two. But, I'm not in a rush and we can talk about it seriously later on, when you've had time to think about it. I already told you, I want to get married before I have kids."
Danny nodded. "Sounds good. Right now, I just want to hang out with you, Haydn, and the boys every now and then."
A smile settled onto Nicole's face. She felt the same for the moment. She also wanted to help her girlfriend experience a few more normal things in life before anything else. Danny needed some of life's simple pleasures and Nicole consciously decided right then and there to make that happen as soon as possible.