Unintended - Page 92
“I know.” I leaned over and gently stroked my finger over the soft skin on their cheeks. “I’m just going to miss them so much.”
I turned to look at Ash, who was gazing at Arya and Avery with adoration. From the moment they were born, he’d loved them like they were his own, and he and Jay got along great, which made everything so much easier. Ash adored the girls, and he never interfered in decisions Jay and I needed to make for them, and in turn, Jay had no problem with Ash also being a father to them. I really couldn’t have wished for anything more.
“We should go,” Ash said, reaching into the crib and stroking their hands. “We have a date.”
Smiling, I turned around in his arms. “You know we’re just going home, right?”
Ash placed a gentle kiss on my forehead. “I do. But how good does leftover turkey sandwiches and a cheesy film sound?”
I laughed. “Really good.” Jay’s mum had wrapped up some food for us, and we were really looking forward to going home and chilling out, even if we would miss the girls. I was fully expecting to wake up in the middle of the night, listening out for them before remembering they weren’t there, but it would also be nice not to have to worry about middle of the night feeds and changes too.
Technically, it was our first childless night together, as Ash hadn’t moved in until just after Arya and Avery were born. We’d taken things slowly. We’d kind of had to since I was pregnant when we first got together, and we also both had a whole lot of issues to work through. Me, trying to stay relaxed through the pregnancy and adjust to having both a new man in my life, and getting used to having my ex-husband around again, and for Ash, learning that he was now with someone who was never going to hurt him, no matter what the situation. It was hard at first, especially for Ash, because although I knew he trusted me, there were still moments when flashbacks would hit him, and he’d flinch if I moved too quickly, or if he thought he’d said or done something that might upset me. But it was happening less and less, and I couldn’t have been happier with my life.
“Come on then,” Ash said, and I sighed before we kissed the girls goodbye.
Holding hands, we went downstairs to the living room, where Jay was standing a little anxiously by the bottom of the stairs.
“Are you okay?” I asked him, and he nodded.
“Yeah, I really am. It’s just a bit strange, that’s all.”
“And you’re definitely sure this is okay? Because I can take them home again if-”
“Evie, he’s fine.” Ash laughed, squeezing my hand. It wasn’t like we hadn’t been over it a million times. Jay would bring them back in the morning, around ten. They wouldn’t even be gone for a full twenty-four hours.
“I am,” Jay confirmed, laughing too. “I’m looking forward to having them overnight, but, as you know, it’s a big step.”
“I know. But you can call me if you need to. And you’ve also got your mum, my mum, and Keely all ready if you do need anything.”
He nodded again. “I know. We’ll be fine, Evie. I promise.”
Realising if I didn’t leave immediately, I would never go, I said, “Okay. Well, good luck, and thank you.”
“Not a problem. I hope you two have good night.” He smirked at me, and luckily Ash didn’t see. I rolled my eyes at him, then Ash and I headed out.
A while later, after we’d eaten the leftovers we’d been given and were snuggled up on the sofa, watching the end of The Holiday, Ash said, “I know it’s really comfortable here, but I have one more gift for you so… we need to move a bit.”
I groaned, snuggling in to him tighter. “Do we have to?”
He laughed. “Yes. That’s if you want the gift.”
Kissing him on the cheek, I said, “I do. But, you know we weren’t supposed to buy each other gifts, right?”
We’d spent a small fortune on tickets for a festival the following summer and agreed that that was enough of a present for us both.
“I know. But I couldn’t resist this one.”
Ash sat up a bit then pulled me up from the sofa and led me to the Christmas tree in the corner of the room. We both sat down on the floor in front of it, and he reached behind it and pulled out a tiny box, the kind jewellery usually comes in.
Before he handed it to me, he said, “Whether we meant it to or not, our relationship has always kind of had a theme, so when I saw this, I couldn’t not get it for you. I’ve actually had it for a while but I wanted to save it for Christmas.”
As he passed it to me, I looked up at him curiously before lifting the lid of the box to find a silver chain with a diamante encrusted umbrella dangling from it. It sparkled under the Christmas lights.
“It’s beautiful,” I breathed.
“It’s a symbol.” Ash reached for my hand, his blue eyes shining as they met mine. “I always remembered what you said about why you got the umbrella tattoo, and over time, with us, it’s just become more and more meaningful. But today… that’s when it means the most.” He shuffled closer to me, placing his hand on my cheek. “One year ago today, I was in a hospital bed, wishing I was dead. Wishing there was a way to end my life because I couldn’t see how it could ever get better.”