One Year Later
“What are you doing out here?” Dakota asked joining her wife outside on their deck.
Turning from the panoramic mountain view Macy sighed “It’s so beautiful.”
“I guess so,” Dakota shrugged, unmoved by the view she’d grown up seeing every day.
“Is that all? You guess so,” Macy shook her head. “Why did you agree with me about moving here when you obviously don’t want to be here?”
“It’s not that,” she protested.
Macy raised an eyebrow “uh huh right.”
“Fine,” she huffed, letting out an irritated huff. “I never thought I’d be the one coming back to live. I always imagined myself in some exotic place.” Shrugging a little “I just had a lot of dreams and being back here feels like I failed or something.”
“Failed,” she cried. “What makes you think that? There’s nothing wrong in coming home and making the ranch you grew up on thrive again.”
“I know,” she mumbled, taking Macy’s hand “It’s a mind thing. I’ll get over it. I promise. I loved growing up here. Riding horses. My parents. It’s a perfect place to raise a family.”
“It will,” Macy agreed, “although we have plenty of time before we start a family of our own. I want to get things fixed up around here first.”
“What if I tell you we’ll have to do both?” she asked, biting her bottom lip.
Frowning “what do you mean?”
“I’m pregnant,” she watched as her words sank in wondering how Macy would take the news.
A grin slowly spread across her face “we’re gonna have a baby?”
“Yes,” she grinned, nodding “I’ll let you and dad do whatever you want with the ranch as long as I can decorate the house anyway I want. Daddy and I can do that.”
“Deal,” Macy put an arm around her “don’t go overboard.”
“I won’t,” she rolled her eyes “I did go to school for interior design. I was thinking maybe I’ll see if anyone else might want some professional help.”
“I think that’s a great idea,” Macy encouraged. “You might be surprised.”
“I might,” she agreed even though she didn’t sound like she believed it.
Three Years Later
“I like this one,” Natalia said as they stood outside the latest house they had looked at in their long quest to find a bigger home for their growing family.
“It’s nice,” Royce agreed.
“What’s wrong,” she asked, taking his hand.
Shaking his head “nothing really.”
Reaching up she gently turned his head to look at her. “Don’t say that. I know something’s wrong. Tell me. Please.”
Peering into her upturned face, a gentle smile tugged at his lips. “I was thinking about Jason. I miss him.”
Nodding she had a feeling it was something like this. “We could go visit him and Damian.”’
“I’d like that,” he smiled down at her. “We used to be so close. Now I hardly know what’s going on in his life.”
“That happens,” she took his hand again. “I felt the same way when we moved here and Belle stayed on the island.”
“Do you regret moving?” he asked, giving her hand a squeeze.
“Nope,” she shook her head “because as much as I miss her I know I’m meant to be here with you.”
Glancing back at the house Royce nodded as if making up his mind. “Once the house is fixed up the way we want it we can invite Belle and Jason to come visit. Who knows, maybe they’ll like it so much they’ll decide to move here.”
“Oh that would be wonderful,” she chuckled a little “then our kids could grow up together.”
Two Years Later
Montana was in the middle of a yoga class when she felt light headed. Losing her balance she reached for the wall to steady herself. Signalling for her assistant to take over. Walking into the changing room she splashed water onto her face. Moaning a little she rushed to a stall to rid herself of her lunch.
Hugging the cool porcelain she felt cold and clammy. She couldn’t deny what she knew to be true. She was pregnant. It was the same feeling she had the first time. Hope fluttered inside her before her stomach tightened in fear.
She waited until the end of the yoga class before leaving the gym for the day. As much as she didn’t want to go through this again she needed to know for sure.
Tanner watched her leave. A part of him wanted to follow her, another part held back. Things hadn’t been the same since they’d lost the baby. It felt as if there was so much to say that they both got lost in the pain.
Later that night he came home to a dark house. He could see a light beneath the bathroom door. He knew before she even opened the door. His heart lurched inside him. Could he do this a second time? What if they lost this one too?
Montana stood in front of him. Eyes shining up at him. “I’m pregnant,” she announced, giving him a hopeful smile even as her eyes filled with hope and fear.
He could hear the underlying hope in her voice. He pulled her close. There was so much he wanted to say but the words wouldn’t come.
“This time will be different,” she murmured, “this time we’ll get to hold our baby. See their face.”
“We will,” he murmured softly, wishing he had her confidence. Hoping that this time would be different than the last.
One Year Later
Damian could see the blue hair of his husband blowing in the breeze off the ocean. Slowly Damian walked towards him, tired from a long day at work he knew a peaceful night lounging in front of the TV would have to wait as he made his way towards Jason.
Sitting down he waited in silence for Jason to say something. When the silence continued too long he asked “want to talk about it?”
Jason’s hands were buried in the warm loose sand. “How far is Appaloosa from Hidden Springs?” His question is a reminder of their upcoming move.
Smiling softly Damian had almost dismissed the idea of accepting the promotion knowing how Jason disliked change. “It’s not far. About an hour drive.”
“I think it would be nice to be close to my brother and his family. I didn’t realize how much I would miss him until after we came home from visiting them.” Turning his head a little to look at Damian “is that promotion still available? Can we move?”
“I don’t know,” he admitted “but I’ll check if you’re sure you want to do this.”
Nodding “I think I’m ready.” Sighing a little “I’m sorry I reacted the way I did when you first mentioned it. The idea of moving was scary. It still does but what I’m really scared of is losing you. If you want that promotion I shouldn’t hold you back from accepting it.”
Pulling him close Damian said “you have nothing to be sorry for. It was a lot to ask of you.”
Shaking his head “not really. I acted like a baby but I’m ready to listen now and to discuss it.”
Four Years Later
Macy stumped into the kitchen. “I can’t believe they’re building another Simmart. Can’t they see what they’re destroying? The beauty of the natural world? The animals they’re killing?”
Turning from the stove “I don’t see what the problem is. There’s still plenty of natural wonders around. Besides, it’ll be so much more convenient to have a Simmart in town than having to drive a couple of hours to one.”
Putting her hands on her hips “what’s wrong with shopping at the local fleet store? Or shopping online?”
Rolling her eyes “because not all of us want to wear flannel and look like farmer John.”
“Is that all you think about?” Macy demanded “clothes?”
“No but I don’t see why you’re upset either.”
“Because it’s not necessary,” she cried, “we need to preserve the land for our children and future generations. If we keep doing this there will be nothing left.”
“I don’t see what can be done about it,” Dakota sighed “people need places to go, things to buy.”
“I know it’s just a waste is all,” she mumbled.
Two Years Later
“Do you think I should?” Royce asked when Natalia joined him.
“Yes,” she smiled at him. “You’ve been telling me for years how you’d run the spa if it were yours.”
“I know but this is different,” sighing he continued “it’s a big step from managing it to owning it.”
“You can do it,” she assured him.
“Are you saying I should dip into our savings and buy the spa…”
“If that’s what you want,” she said.
“I do but it’s not just up to me. There are other things to consider.” He took her hand “what if it fails? It would take us years to recover and what about the kids?”
“And our eventual retirement,” she chuckled a little, shaking her head at him.
“I’m being serious,” he grumbled, turning away.
“I know but there’s no guarantee in anything. The best we can do is hope for the best.” Taking his hand “I think you can do this. I’ll support you no matter what you decide. I will say this though, you’ll regret it if you don’t do it.”
Nodding slowly “you’re right as usual.”
“I usually am,” she smiled, leaning into him to give him a kiss.
Three Years Later
Montana looked up as her husband joined her on the beach. “Are the kids in bed?”
“They are,” he sighed, putting an arm around her. “They’re worn out.”
“Of course they are. Trying to keep up with you would wear anyone out.” She leaned into him smiling.
“I think you have that backwards,” he chuckled. “they wore me out. I feel like an old man.”
Her eyes skimmed over his body “you don’t look like an old geezer.”
“Geezer,” he huffed, pinning her to the ground beneath him. “I’ll have you know I’m not that old.”
“Even if you were. I’d still love you.” She moved enough to press her mouth into his.
“That’s something at least,” he murmured as his hands moved over her toned body.
“What do you think you’re doing?” she demanded squirming beneath him. “We have two ten year olds in the house.”
“Who are asleep,” he reminded her.
“So? They could wake up,” she giggled at his touch.
“I don’t care,” he grinned undeterred by her protests.
One Year Later
“Thought I’d find you out here,” Damian leaned against the fence watching Jason as he worked in the garden.
“I find it relaxing,” he said, getting up and walking towards him. “How was your day today?”
“It was good,” his eyes narrowed a little at the dirt encrusted hands of his husband. “I’ve got to go back later for a meeting. I just wanted to come and check on you and the kids.”
“We’re fine,” he said, putting his hands behind his back. “Fox is napping.” He could see the worry in Damian’s eyes lessened a little. He’d been coming home to check on them ever since the accident. Fox had looked so small and frail the two months he’d been in the hospital. “You don’t have to worry about us. We’re fine.”
“I know it’s just…” he let his words hang unfinished between them. How many times could he say he was sorry? If only he had paid more attention…
“It’s not your fault,” Jason assured him. He raised his hand, forgetting about the dirt or Damian’s meeting as he gently stroked his face. “It was an accident.”
“You forgive me,” he asked, leaning into his touch.
“Nothing to forgive,” he moved in closer, wrapping his arms around him. “It could have happened to anyone. The important thing is our son is going to be alright.” He paused, swallowing “we’re going to be alright. I promise.”
Smiling a little he leaned in closer resting his forehead on Jason’s. “I’ve longed to hear those words for so long. I thought maybe…”
“I know. I’m sorry.” Words failing him he pressed his lips into Damian’s “we’re going to be fine. I promise. Together we’re going to be fine.”