Tommy and I stepped off the stairs after Parker. He’d just finished giving us the grand tour. “This is just amazing, guys.” I shook my head in wonderment. Not that many months ago, the house had been small, cramped, and very, very dated, but now – well, look at it! It was open and inviting and just generally gorgeous.
“It came out really well,” Parker said proudly, looking around the space.
Nora walked over from the kitchen, a broad grin on her face. “Awesome, right?”
Tommy nodded his agreement. “I’m really impressed.”
“I thought we’d be living with Mom and Carter forever, but it was so worth it.” She stepped into her husband’s side. “I’m really glad we decided to accept the inheritance and renovate instead of moving.”
I grinned at her. “I’d have had to beat you if you gave up this house. Not everybody gets to live in a historical house like this, Nora.”
“True, true.” She leaned up on her toes to quickly peck Parker on the cheek, then turned back to the kitchen. “Dinner’s ready. It’s nothing fancy, but I hope Chef will like it anyway.”
I snorted softly, walking over to her. “Oh hush. Tomalee isn’t even close to opening.” We’d run into more problems and snags with the renovations at the site than I could’ve imagined. I’d hoped to open the doors in July, but it was looking like sometime in the fall would be the earliest.
“Have I mentioned that I cannot believe you went with that as a name? Did you two become a celebrity couple when I wasn’t looking?”
I rolled my eyes and gave her shoulder a shove. “Oh, shut up. You’re just jealous because you can’t make any cute words with your name and Parker’s.” She was still sore about the Narker and Pora throw pillows I’d threatened to get her as a housewarming gift.
“My relationship is evidently just much more serious than yours.” To emphasize that point, she stuck out her tongue at me.
“Are you hens going to bicker all night,” Tommy said, coming over to stand next to me, “or are we going to eat at some point?”
“Ha! With attitude like that, Nora and I might be the only ones eating tonight!”
“Hey!” Caleb squawked. He flipped the TV off and walked over. “I didn’t do anything!”
I grinned at him while near me Nora rolled her eyes at the lot of us and plated up dinner. “Okay, you can eat, too.”
“Oh, I see how you are,” Tommy said dramatically. “Well, if you withhold dinner, I’ll withhold something else.” Then he reached over and smacked my behind making me let out a surprised yelp.
“Hey, now,” Nora said, full mom-voice. “There are children present.”
I shoved my husband away, shaking my head at him. “Behave.” I smiled sheepishly and sat down at the table. “Sorry, Nora.”
After she made her plate, Nora said, “Really, I don’t actually mind.” She smiled softly. “It’s nice to see you guys are still like that.”
“It bodes well for us.” Parker winked at his wife.
“What do you think of the new house, Caleb?” Tommy asked the twelve-year-old.
“It’s cool,” he shrugged. “I was hoping for a pool, though. Like you guys have.”
“Oh, really,” Nora said in an amused voice. “I seem to remember someone not wanting to move anywhere.”
“Must’ve been Dad,” Caleb retorted.
Everyone at the table went quiet. In a shaky voice, Nora said,” Wh-what did you say?”
“Um…” Caleb fidgeted with his fork. “I just figured, you know, Parker’s basically my dad. I mean, you’re married and he’s the only guy besides Uncle Josh or Uncle Tommy that’s ever been around…Is it alright?”
While Nora beamed, Parker got up. “Yes, of course – God, yes, it’s alright.” He pulled the pre-teen into a tight hug. When he finally returned to his seat, the man had to blink quickly and clear his throat a few times before he could look at the table again. “This is perfect, actually.” He and Nora shared a smile.
My cousin nodded. “Caleb, we were going to wait to mention it to you, but we’ve been talking about adoption.”
“If you’d like, I’d really like to adopt you and be your father, Caleb.”
The boy smiled slowly. “Really?” When his parents nodded, his smile broadened into a grin. “Okay!”
Well, if that didn’t just turn this into the best evening ever, what ever could?
After dinner, Nora and I shooed the guys away from the kitchen. “That was quite a dinner,” I said.
“For real.” Even while gathering up the dishes, my cousin had a smile on her face. “I can’t believe it, almost. We’d been worried Caleb wouldn’t want to be adopted at all, much less ever start calling Parker ‘dad.’”
I washed dishes and handed them over to Nora to dry and put away. “He’s an awesome kid. Not bad for a teenage parent.” I winked at her.
“I think I’ll have to agree with you.” With the dishes done, she leaned back against the counter. Her smile faded. “We’re trying to get pregnant.”
“How long have you been trying for?”
“Almost five months now,” she admitted quietly.
I put my arm around her shoulders and gave her a squeeze. “That’s not that long. It really isn’t. It took me longer than that to get pregnant with Logan. Way longer for Jasper.” We’d almost thought it wouldn’t happen at all that second time. We’d been trying for over a year when the test finally came back positive.
“I know. It’s just – It was so easy with Caleb. One shot wonder and all that.”
“A lot has changed since then. You’re older now. There’s a big difference between getting pregnant when you’re fifteen and when you’re twenty-eight. But I promise, it’s way, way too soon to be worried, Nora.”
She sighed. “You’re right. I know you are. I just can’t help it.”
“Can I tell you a secret?” I smiled a little. “I felt the same way when we were trying before Logan. I even went and talked to Mama about it. And so I’m going to tell you the same thing she told me. Just have fun. Don’t ‘try.’ Just take a look at your smoking hot man and let that do all the work. The rest will come.”
Nora’s smile returned. “Well, you are right about what a hot man I’ve got. You should be jealous.”
“Oh, honey, trust me. You’re the one who should be jealous.” I winked and then made a really obscene gesture that made her blush and go, “Oh, my God.” I just cackled and went to join the men in the living room.