Feeling the momentary longing work through Fionna as he guided her into Angel’s Arena ballroom for the baby shower, Dan squeezed his wife’s hand. “You okay, baby?”
“Yeah.” Fionna gave him a sweet smile as she ran her hand over her bump.
The ballroom was full of Angels setting up for the shower. Rainer, Logan, and Portwood all made their way over to Dan as the Angels surrounded Fionna and whisked her away.
“So, you missed a showdown at the office today.” Portwood shook Dan’s hand. Rainer and Logan nodded.
“What happened?” Dan was never certain if it was better to know or not. One fed his curiosity but starved his ego. The other just sucked all the way around.
“I offered Jeff the spot on Elite in April as long as he graduates,” Portwood explained.
“And he was thrilled, I’m sure.”
“Yeah, you pretty much made his year,” Logan assured Portwood.
“Hey, he’s a freaking genius when it comes to technology. I honestly don’t even care if he graduates. I’d take him full time right now, but I can’t tell him that. But he was definitely feeling his Cheerios, so to speak, and I gave him the afternoon off.”
Dan wished they’d get on with the story.
“So, Governor Sapman makes his appearance,” Logan picked up the story. “I swear he comes by just to intimidate Jeff. He pretty much ordered Jeff to bring Becca over to the house for dinner.”
“Jeff was nice but he told him that he was taking Becca out instead,” Portwood cut back in.
“Yeah, so Sapman informs Jeff that Becca is his daughter and Jeff Strenton actually stood up for himself and said...” Logan set Portwood up beautifully.
“I’m also aware that she’s my wife.” Portwood grinned.
Letting a low whistle slide between his teeth, Dan couldn’t help but beam. “I knew he had it in him. He just needed his fire lit,” he complimented Portwood.
“He’s a great kid and he’s had a hell of a life. He takes care of his wife, and his mama, and he works himself to death. It was high time he knew somebody believed in him,” Portwood vowed.
Dan wrapped his arm around his wife when she made her return.
“And how is Mama V?” Portwood grinned at her.
“I’m all right. Just fat, and tired, and I pee every five minutes.”
“So, something to look forward to.” Portwood gestured to Julie, who still wasn’t showing but looked thrilled to be at the shower for Fionna.
“Something like that.”
Dan eased her away from the crowd of people gathered to celebrate their upcoming addition.
“You okay?” he soothed as she laid her head on his chest.
“I don’t know. I have a bad feeling.”
“About what, sweetheart?” With Halia’s energies coupled with her own phenomenal powers, Fionna had been feeling emotions much stronger than she ever had before she was pregnant.
“I don’t know exactly. It’s Venton, maybe. And Jeff and Becca. I just… don’t know,” she stated again.
Thinking over Jeff’s biting remark to his father-in-law, Dan nodded. “I talked to Jeff just before he left the Academy. I gave him the check and then he went to work and Portwood offered him a spot on the Elite team in April. I’d say, he’s having a great day. But he also got a dig in at his father-in-law so there might be some tension from that I suppose. And Venton’s been bothering you for a while.”
“I know,” she sighed. She gained strength as Dan held her. Keeping her caught up in his embrace with one arm he let his other hand grasp hers. She drew from him instantly and Dan felt his own energy move with hers. It was still just as remarkable as it was the first time she’d done it. He’d never get enough.
She was smiling and more relaxed as they headed back to their guests. Dan shook his head as he noted that Chloe Sawyer had ordered petit fours decorated with pink-icing sperm. There was also a hanging white board where the guests could vote on which sexual position they thought Dan had used to impregnate his wife.
“Are we going to be naming winners in this?” He gestured to the board.
Fionna rolled her eyes. “This is what happens when Chloe uses the internet to plan baby showers.”
“Very classy,” Rainer pointed to the white board as him and Emily made their approach.
“Yeah,” Dan rolled his eyes.
“Hey, I heard you’re the new owners of your very own island in the Keyes.” Fionna wrinkled her nose.
“Why, yes, we are.” Emily face was almost as red as her hair.
“They settled out of court this morning,” Fionna explained to Dan.
“Had a feeling that was going to happen,” Dan offered Rainer his hand.
“I was really hoping it would. I had no interest in watching my father-in-law and the Governing board look at those photos that Jack was going to use as evidence,” Rainer shuddered.
Numerous photographs of Rainer and Emily on their honeymoon had been published in newspapers all over the Realm. When Dan figured out who was behind it, Rainer had been out for blood. He’d sued the rental company, the man that owned the island he’d rented for their private two-week honeymoon, and every employee that had a hand in the betrayal.
“You gonna keep it?” Dan asked. He’d been impressed with Rainer’s driving determination to end the men that had plastered photographic evidence of their intimate honeymoon all over the news.
“I don’t know,” Rainer admitted. “Can’t say that I really ever want to go back. Kind of leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I’d have to do a lot of talking for a long time to get Em to vacation there again.”
“No one could blame her for not wanting to return.” Dan tried desperately not to recall the photos he’d seen of Rainer and Emily naked on the beach with her on top of him in the surf going for a ride. Or the one of Rainer giving Emily a bath. He shuddered. No one should have to endure something like that.
“Owning my own island seems a little excessive anyway,” Rainer allowed. “I just want to see it in the headlines for a while. You know, you mess with my baby, and I will quite literally ownyou.”
“Here, here,” Dan agreed.
Fionna gasped, “Dan! Look!” She went as far as to squeal as she marched to a fake white Christmas tree situated in one corner of the room decorated with dozens of pairs of baby shoes. “This is so sweet.”
“We all know how Fi loves shoes,” Emily giggled.
“Look! Little Mary Janes,” Fionna was on the brink of jumping up and down. Not something she could actually do. Dan laughed as he watched her. She was applauding as she studied each tiny pair of their child’s shoe wardrobe. “You all are the best!” Tears formed in her eyes as her former teammates surrounded her in a group hug.
“So, we can really do this?” Becca was overjoyed and Jeff felt the customary ache in his heart begin to ease.
“Definitely.” He pulled her close. She’d been changing clothes, getting ready for their dinner, and Jeff was simply unable to keep his hands off of her.
“Let’s just forget everything tonight, okay?” He cradled her face in his hand and guided her lips to his own. He felt her heartbeat fly, felt her energy ease, and then begin to spin in waves of elation. Letting his hands move over her bare shoulders and down her back he traced the top of the panties she was wearing but forced himself not to dip his hand in just yet. They had all night.
“Just you and me nothing else. Not the money, or your parents, or work. Just be with me, okay?”
Becca’s breath panted deliciously as she nodded her agreement. Jeff leaned and mated their mouths once again. Hesitantly, her tongue slipped between his lips. He wanted her so badly he could taste it.
“So, what are we doing after our dinner?” Becca giggled as she pulled away. Her eyes were eager. Her cheeks pink from the lust coursing through her body and Jeff felt his trousers strain in need.
“Well.” Jeff grinned. He was elated that she was feeling better and even flirting with him again. The past few weeks had been tough. “I thought maybe we’d go out to eat, and then maybe walk around the city a little if you want,” he baited, “Then I thought I’d bring you back here,” he let his breath caress over her cheek as he whispered in her ear. She was panting and he fought not to strip her and lay her out immediately. She wanted it as well he could feel her desire in the energy spinning around him. “Maybe give you a bath if I can stand to wait that long,” he admitted delighting his wife. “Then I want to take you to bed Bec. I want to be with you. I want to feel you baby just you and nothing else. That’s all I’ll ever want. And we’ll figure everything out I swear. All I have to do is graduate and then we can get a house way bigger than this, and I’ll take care of you baby, and of our little guy,” he slipped his right hand from her shoulder to her stomach feeling her tense under his caress.
“You are taking care of us Jeff,” Becca soothed. “I’m sorry I got all confused about the money. I’ll do better I swear.”
“Don’t worry about it,” he tried to reassure her. “The bonus I just got will patch the hole. Let’s go eat.”
Already wearing the most beautiful smile in the world, Becca pulled on a long sweater.
Jeff watched her lean back on the bed to tug on a pair of jeans. She looped an elastic band, she normally used to pull her hair up into a ponytail, through the button hole of the jeans and then over the snap. She pulled the sweater down to cover her makeshift fix.
“Um, Bec.” The guilt begin to consume him again. “How about after dinner we go by the mall or wherever and maybe get you some maternity clothes?”
“Can we afford that? I really just want some jeans. Please.”
Reminding himself that he’d just deposited well over a thousand dollars in their bank account that he hadn’t been counting on, and that he was determined to get the other half Monday at work, after catching the idiot that was trying to hack the Senate Banks, he nodded. “Yeah, baby. We can’t get you tons of stuff but we can definitely get you enough to get by for a while.”
Tears sprang to Becca’s eyes. She threw her arms around him effectively breaking his heart.
“Thank you, thank you, thank you!”
“Okay, now I feel really awful,” Jeff admitted in a furtive choke.
“No. Don’t feel bad,” Becca immediately reassured. “I kept thinking that nothing would change until my birthday and that my grandmother would give me some money and I could buy maternity clothes with that. But our little guy sort of had other plans.”
Determination coursed through his veins. He had to get a better job. He had to take better care of his wife and his baby boy. He screwed up and now he needed to fix it.
“Let’s go,” he urged.
Before he could lock up the house, Becca’s phone rang. She rolled her eyes. It was her father calling. Jeff’s stomach turned uncomfortably as he watched her.
“You know what? Not tonight.” Becca delighted Jeff by switching the phone off and leaving it on the kitchen counter.
Focusing on the fact that he was actually going to take her out to a relatively nice restaurant for a real date and then he was going to take her shopping, Jeff settled into the car.
“It’s gonna be kind of sad when we pick out a name and stop calling him little guy.” Becca stared down at her tiny bump. She gazed up at Jeff with a look he hadn’t seen in many weeks.
“Well, Little Guy Strenton might get him beaten up,” he teased just to hear her giggle. The sound made him feel like everything might really be all right.
“I know but he is my little guy.”
“He’s ourlittle guy,” Jeff corrected her. He may not be able to give her everything he wanted her to have, but he would always be there for both of them.
“Very nice, Chloe.” Fionna shook her head, laughing hysterically. She held up a maternity t-shirt that stated “Eight Months Sober.” The box also contained a pink onesie for Halia that said “I got my good looks from my mommy. You should see her rack.” Dan fought the urge to roll his eyes as he handed Fionna the next gift box.
The other gifts were much more appropriate and Dan and Fionna were overwhelmed with everyone’s generosity. Rainer and Emily had purchased the stroller Fionna wanted.
Adeline gave Fionna loads of things for she and Halia to use as soon as they came home from the hospital.
Most of the Angels had a ball picking out adorable outfits for Halia, all well aware of Fionna’s love of fashion. Sasha Cohen, one of the Angels Shields, gave them a pad to put in the kitchen sink to bathe Halia. It was shaped like a huge hot pink flower and Fionna seemed thrilled with it. Angels that had retired before Fionna, most of them to have babies of their own, supplied things like blankets, bottles, burp cloths, pacifiers, and diapers.
The smirk on Garrett’s face had Dan concerned as he handed him his gift. Dan started to give the gift bag to Fionna but Garrett shook his head. “I thought someone should get you something. I mean you did all the hard work right,” he chanted as woman in the room began throwing wads of wrapping paper his direction.
Dan pulled the tissue paper out of the gift bag. “Chloe wrapped it for me,” Garrett explained how it had gotten tissue paper in the first place.
Dan pulled out a bra holding it by his fingertips.
“Did you seriously get me a nursing bra, Garrett?” Fionna asked incredulously.
“No,” Garrett laughed, “I got it for Dan not Halia.” With that, he grabbed the bra and demonstrated how the front flaps opened easily with the pop of a hook and eye closure. “See man, she wears this you have really easy access.”
The room exploded in laughter as Dan shook his head.
“Garrett, man, I thought I taught you years ago how to pop the back with one hand. Did you forget or something?” Dan sneered.
“He already has easy access.” Fionna stuck her tongue out at Garrett. As the men consumed more beer, Garrett eventually donned the nursing bra over his Iodex t-shirt with the cups open. He stayed in costume for the remainder of the shower.