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New Year’s Day: Chapter 7


“WE’RE NEVER GOING to make it.” I keep my gaze fixed on the road, but it’s tough when there’s so much snow falling from the sky that it makes it hard to see. The windshield wipers are whipping back and forth across the glass at a tremendous speed, but they’re not really helping. And all the cars on the freeway—not that there are many—are creeping along, afraid they might slide or get stuck.

“Maybe we should turn back,” my wife says, patting her giant belly.

I glance over at her, pride filling me as it always does when I see how heavy she is with my child. She’s going to give birth at any minute. It was probably a stupid idea to try and drive out to my cousin’s house for a New Year’s Eve party in the middle of a snowstorm.

There’s no probably about it. It’s an awful idea.

“We can stop at a hotel,” I suggest. “There are some at the next exit I think.”

Daisy nibbles on her lower lip, staring straight ahead. Her brows are drawn together in worry and I feel like an ass for insisting we try and get to Whit and Summer’s house tonight, thinking we could beat the storm. That didn’t work out. “I think that’s a good idea.”

She winces the moment the words leave her, clutching the bottom of her belly in a way that fills me with alarm.

“What’s wrong?”

“Nothing.” She exhales, leaning back against her seat. “Just a cramp.”

“A cramp, my ass,” I mutter as I hit the blinker and pull off on the exit, thankful to see a towering building looming up ahead. I’m sure that’s a hotel and we’re going to be in it in approximately five minutes, if not sooner. “Are you going into labor?”

“Of course not.” She sounds insulted, and I can’t help but smile. “This child of ours is coming in January.”

This child is a Lancaster, which means he is impatient and eager to make his debut to the world. Maybe even right now. We waited a few years after we got married to try for a baby and the minute that we stopped using birth control, Daisy became pregant.

I’m grateful it was so easy. I can’t wait to meet this son of mine. And when Daisy’s ready, I want to try for another one.

And another one after that.

I carefully pull into the mostly cleared drive of the hotel, pleased to see a bellman running toward my wife’s car door when I put the vehicle in park. I climb out of the car in a hurry, thankful there’s a roof above us so we’re not getting pelted with heavy snow, and rush over to Daisy, taking her arm so both the bellman and I can assist her into the building.

“I’m not an invalid,” she gently chastises me with a smile. “I can walk on my own.”

“I don’t want you falling,” I say, tightening my hold on her arm.

“The ground is slippery, ma’am,” the bellman tacks on.

“Thank you,” Daisy breathes once we’re in the warm lobby. Gentle piano plays in the background and there’s no one inside save for a few employees behind the counter.

I arrange for a room while Daisy rests in an overstuffed chair. The bellman even brings her a glass of water, which she takes from him with a pleasant smile on her face. My wife is still sunshine on a cold, dark day and I love it when she shares that brightness with others.

But she saves most of it just for me.

“We’re on the ground floor,” I tell her once I’ve paid for everything and got our keys. I offer her my hand and she takes it so I can haul her to her feet. “They’re bringing our luggage to the room.”

“Make sure you give him a good tip.” She inclines her head toward the bellman who helped her. “He’s so nice.”

“Will do.” I keep her hand locked in mine and lead her to the corridor where our hotel room is.

“Why aren’t we on a higher floor?”

“I didn’t want to have to wait for an elevator in case you go into labor,” I admit, mentally reading off the room numbers as we walk past them. How far down this hall do we have to go anyway?

“Oh Arch. I already told you I’m not going into labor.”

I stop in front of room 188 and wave the key in front of the screen, the light turning green immediately. I open the door and step aside, letting Daisy enter first before I stride in after her, the door slamming behind us.

“It’s nice,” she says as she waddles around the room, wincing every couple of steps. “What will we do for dinner though? I’m already hungry.”

She’s been hungry this entire pregnancy and I knew she’d say that.

“They have room service. I asked.”

She frowns. “I’m sorry we didn’t get to go to your cousin’s house for New Year’s.”

“It’s okay. I didn’t want to party with a bunch of old people any way.” I go to the window and peek outside. The snow is coming down in endless white sheets. I’m glad we didn’t continue on. We could’ve got stuck out there.

Daisy laughs. “They’re not old.”

“They’re older than us.” I turn to study her. She’s got her hand on her belly again, another wince on her face and I rush toward her, running both of my hands on her belly. “You’re definitely going into labor.”

“No, I’m not. You need to stop panicking about it.” She offers me a reassuring smile. “It’s like you want me to go into labor and have your baby in the middle of a hotel room.”

“Better than the car.” I press my hand firmly against her tight belly, pleased to feel movement beneath my palm. “This guy never stops moving.”

“I know. It’s nonstop. Like his daddy.”

“I hope he looks like you.”

“I don’t.” She shakes her head. “I want him to be the spitting image of his father.”

Our son gives my hand a resounding kick. “I feel like Mary and Joseph right now, tucked away at the inn.”

“Seriously? You’re getting your holidays confused.” More laughter. “First of all, that’s Christmas. And second, I am definitely not a virgin.”

“You’ve got that right.” I kiss her, my lips lingering on hers, my hand still on her belly. I can’t get close to her like I want to, her belly is so big. “I love you, Daze.”

“I love you too.” Her lips linger on mine when she asks, “Did you text Whit and let him know we can’t make it?”

“I’ll do that right now.” I deliver another kiss. “We can make our own party tonight. Ring in the new year together. Just the three of us.”

“I like the way that sounds,” she admits. “The three of us. A family of three.”

“If I had my choice, we’ll eventually be a family of…six.”

Her eyes go wide. “You want four children?”

“Maybe more?” I shrug. “It’ll be fun.”

“Right, because you’re not the one giving birth to them.” She rests her hand on her belly once more and I settle my hand on top of hers. “Let’s see how it goes with the first one.”

I smile, my chest tight. God, I love this woman. “Sounds like a plan.”


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