“I told you not to come out of that interrogation room until you had a confession,” Chief Leister growled, glaring daggers at me.
I bit the inside of my cheek, barely holding onto my temper. “I couldn’t get the confession and he lawyered up. There was no talking to him after that.”
“Your team had better find some rock solid evidence to make up for this, Smithson,” the older man said in disgust. “Now get the fuck out of my office.”
I stepped out of the room, back ramrod straight. The only eyes on me were from newbie rookies who hadn’t yet experienced the chief’s wrath themselves. I shot them a glare and found my way outside to get some air. What a horrible fucking day this had been. We’d finally gotten our hands on the guy who’d been doing B&E’s all over Oasis Springs – mopping up the mess the regular crimes division had bungled. The case hadn’t made its way to my desk until this POS almost killed an old lady over some paste jewels. But we’d finally got the guy – and five minutes into the interrogation and he demands a lawyer.
I rubbed temples, aching to be done with this day. I couldn’t go home yet, though. I probably was going to be here until late into the night. Shift hours didn’t mean jack when I was working a case. Maybe, if I was lucky, I’d get home around the time Loralee did. Some days, it was like we didn’t see each other at all. She’d be asleep when I got up for work, and I’d be asleep when she got home from the restaurant. As soon as this case was closed, I was putting in for some well-deserved vacation time. Maybe we could even take a trip to Granite Falls.
With a sigh, I turned around and headed back into the station.
As I got out of the car, I checked the time – 2:37. Shit. Loralee was probably asleep by now. I turned towards our little house and was surprised to find the living room light still on. The idea of actually getting to go to bed at the same time as my wife improved my rotten mood a small degree.
I walked into the house and the moment I crossed the threshold, Loralee jumped up from the chair and bounded into my arms. I smiled and hugged her against me, the scent of her strawberries and cream shampoo wafting up around me. “Well, hey, I missed you too.”
She leaned up on her toes and kissed me fervently. “You’re going to be a daddy.”
Everything froze – my heart, the breath in my chest, every synapse in my brain. Daddy? I’m going to be a daddy? I laughed in a quick burst and held her tighter. “We’re pregnant? We’re having a baby?”
She laughed, peppering kisses over my face. “We’re pregnant!”
Everything bad about my day was gone, like a wet rag wiped over a blackboard. I spun her around in a circle, holding her off her feet. “I’m going to be a dad!”
I walked up the stairs to my parent’s house, Tommy tight at my side. I laughed softly at him. “I’m not going to fall on the stairs, you know.”
He grinned at me. “I can’t be too careful now, you know. You really should take it easy with those heels right now.”
“You’ll have to pry them from my cold dead hands, Thomas Smithson.”
Ever since I’d told him I was pregnant a few days ago, he’d started treating me like a fragile wine glass. I understood his concerns, I really did – I was at the most vulnerable part of my pregnancy right now and it had taken us so long to finally get pregnant. But I hoped that at least once I hit my second trimester, he’d chill out a little.
“I still think we should wait to tell anyone.”
“I know, but it’s my parents. It’s killed me to wait this long to tell them. I’ll never make it two more months.” I smiled at him. “You know you’re going to spill to your parents when we fly out next month.” His soft chuckle assured me that I was right. I gave his hand a squeeze and walked into the house. “Mom? Mama?”
“Loralee?” Mama came around the corner. “Oh, hi, baby! I didn’t know you were coming over.”
I smiled and hugged her. “We decided to pop in.”
“We were just gabbing in the kitchen. Alison is here and – well, I’ll let them tell you.” While she talked, Mom walked into the living room along with Luc and Alison.
“Tell us what?”
Luc smiled and took Alison’s hand. “We’re dating.”
I laughed and went over to hug my little brother. “It’s about time.” He pulled back, a surprised look on his face. “What, you didn’t think I knew you had feelings for her? You’ve both been obvious for years.” Honestly, it was really no wonder Josh had thought they were sleeping together during their trip to France. If I hadn’t known Luc so well, I would’ve put money on it myself.
“You two make a great couple,” Tommy congratulated them.
Mama headed over to the couch and sat down with Mom. “What made you two decide to drive all the way out from Oasis Springs?”
I smiled at them both. “We have something to tell you.” I hadn’t planned on telling Luc yet, much less Alison, but the more the merrier, right? “I’m pregnant.”
“You’re pregnant? Oh, baby, that’s amazing!” Mama jumped up from the couch and hugged me so hard my bones creaked. “I’m going to be a grandmother.” She turned to her wife. “Shirley, we’re going to be grandparents!” A horrified look came over her face. “I’m too young to be a grandmother!”
Mom laughed and urged her wife back down onto the couch. “Breathe, Camille.” She beamed at me. “I am so happy for you, Loralee.”
“I don’t know how I feel about my demon sister spawning.”
I rolled my eyes at Luc. “I was a very kind older sister. I hardly ever tormented you.”
He grinned. “It’s fine. I know you don’t want to confess your sins in front of Mom and Mama.”
I sat down next to Tommy. “Shush, little brother.”
“You know, you’re going to need a new place to live now,” Mom said thoughtfully. “You’re going to have to get on that. It can be hard to find a place these days.”
“Oh! You should move back in here! We’ve got all this space. Your room is just as you left it – we could even make a little apartment for you up on the third floor, if you want.”
“Slow down, Mama,” I laughed. “We’re not moving back to Newcrest.” Part of me was tempted by her offer. This was my home town and the house I’d grown up in. But I’d come to love Oasis Springs. My job was there – and it was a pretty good job, too. I was a sous chef and making a real name for myself. “Tommy and I are going to find a place in Oasis Springs. And if we can’t find anything we like, maybe we can add something onto the house.” I’d grown very fond of our little house.
Mama huffed softly. “I’ll get you back in this house one day.”
Alison smiled at me. “Have you thought of names yet?”
I shook my head. “No. We’ve just talked about the last name. We decided to go with Thoreau-Smithson.”
Tommy chuckled softly. “But we’re not going to torture the poor kid. We’ll shorten it to Thoreau for school and stuff.”
Mom smiled. “How very modern of you.”
Tommy took my hand in his. “It’s a good name to have.”
A/N: I know Luc randomly changes sweaters. Sorry. Screenshotting this chapter was an ORDEAL. It took me three tries to screenshot everything. Relationship culling made Shirley and Loralee forget each other and that relationship still isn’t fixed. -.-